Musing with Max

Musing with Max

January 10, 2015

Happy Meals

This is not a food blog. It would be a tad presumptuous of me to ever suggest such a thing considering the myriad of fabulous food blogs permeating the stratosphere. I am in constant awe of the great food writers and cooks out there of which I pale by comparison. That's not to say however than on occasion I can't weigh in with what pretty much is my favorite past time and something I'm pretty good at, if I do say so myself. Unlike a lot of people I look forward to winter because it allows me to spend hours in the kitchen and that makes me happy. Cue Pharrell Williams! Just kidding! 

Anyway when we were in Miami during Christmas week we took advantage of that fact and pretty much ate Cuban food all the time, except for the salad I had for lunch at the museum during my one futile attempt at trying to eat a little healthier. But I barely cooked so when we finally made it home on Sunday evening we needed something warm, homey, somewhat quick, and not Cuban.

Saffron Risotto with Sausage & Peppers-serves 4 An 8 on the happy scale.

Pinch of saffron threads
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 red onion, minced
1 stick celery, finely chopped
8 ounces Italian sausage, diced
2 fresh sage leaves
2 red and green peppers, cored, seeded and cut in strips
1 3-4 cups whole canned tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 1-2 cups Arborio rice
4-6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
sage leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place saffron in a small bowl, pour on two tablespoons of boiling water and leave until needed.

In an oven proof skillet heat the oil and brown the carrot, onion, celery and sausage. Add the sage and peppers and cook for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and half the juice from the can. Season and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the rice, stir in the saffron, add remainder of the juice (enough liquid to just cover the mixture, if more is needed use broth) from the tomatoes bring to a boil. Stir and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and cooked. Garnish with fresh sage.

New Year's Eve called for something a little fancier so we bought a big hunk of meat and called the neighbors.

Pepper Crusted Prime Rib- serves a bunch of people depending on weight, a 9 on the happy scale unless you're vegan, then it's a minus something.

Salt and pepper the meat. Rub all over with a mixture of Dijon mustard, a little olive oil  chopped rosemary, thyme and different color crushed peppercorns. Roast in a preheated 400F oven for about 20 minutes, lower temperature to 350F and roast for another 1 1-2 to 2 hours depending on weight.

Serve with roasted onions

a 10 on the happy scale just because they are onions!

The first day of the year is always the laziest day of the year and calls for some light, yet very happy, meals.

Brown butter Pasta-Serves 4- A 10 on the happy scale, I mean just look at the ingredients...and it's got an egg on it! Need I say more?


Kosher salt, to taste
8 oz. fresh pasta, such as fettuccine or tagliatelle
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
¾ cup pine nuts
4 eggs
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan 
Grated nutmeg, to taste


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta; cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 4 minutes. Set a strainer over a bowl; drain pasta, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water, and set aside. 

2. Melt butter in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pine nuts to a bowl. Working in two batches, crack eggs into butter and cook, spooning butter over yolks, until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Transfer eggs to a plate and keep warm. Add pasta and half the pine nuts to skillet and toss until hot. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water to create a sauce, and season with salt and pepper. To serve, divide pasta between 4 serving plates and top each serving with a fried egg. Sprinkle with remaining pine nuts, Parmesan, and nutmeg.

And even though he doesn't get any, Max is doing the happy dance!


  1. Hello Amelia,

    Well, this all looks very delicious and professional to us. However, it has to be said that we are rarely to be found in the kitchen and, when we are, the results tend not to be very attractive. We are just glad if they are edible. We really do wish that we had been one of the neighbours on New Year's Eve.

    What fun to be away from home at Christmas and to eat your Cuban food. We too were away and it is always fun to try out the local cuisine in other countries.

    Thank you for your kind comment and we wish you too all peace, joy and success for 2015

    1. Thank you,you are too kind. Warmest wishes to you both for the coming year.

  2. Hey--go ahead and call it a food blog. Or a dog and food blog. That's one of the nice things about blogging--you can be whoever you want to be. And that recipe looks amazing. The men in my family would go nuts over it.

    1. Welcome back Jen! You've been missed. Can't wait to hear about your trip and see the fab pictures! The men can have the recipe any time they want.

  3. OMG!!! Delicious! I am a terrible cook, but will try your delicious recipes. They look soooo good.

  4. OMG how did I miss this, why are you not on my blog list? No, really. Rushing off to rectify immediately!

    PS this means you have to post more often.

    xo J