Melissa Guerra’s New Years Resolutions

Melissa Guerra’s New Years Resolutions
Store News

By now, the brilliance of your shiny new resolution for 2016 may be fading. At the first of the year, I was too busy to be formulating my plan for self-betterment in the New Year. I had a house load of kids, meals, birthdays, funerals, and general chaos that I was swimming through. Now, on the other side, I am ready to commit to some good stuff.

So here is my list for 2016:  

Weight management – Being model skinny has definitely been checked off of my list, but keeping myself well – fed while maintaining my ability to fit into a single airplane seat without the extension seat belt seems to be a reasonable goal. I got this.

Worry Less – If fretting were an Olympic sport, I would sweep the competition.  It seems I always have tomorrow and yesterday on my mind, when today is pretty darn good. Having faith that all will be well is not my usual habit, so I have some work to do in this arena. Performing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day also helps wear out all that extra anxiety. And prayer. More prayer in 2016.

Write more – My college roomie is hunkered down in a cabin in New Hampshire, writing her first novel. She hasn’t seen anyone in 3 days, as of this morning. I am going to stay in closer touch with her (as our relationship has always be predicated on how much we can annoy the other one during serious endeavors.) while I write my own prose here at the dining room table in Texas. She inspires me. And, I need a new camera. If you noticed that my writing stopped for a while, FYI my camera busted during high retail season at the store. Looking at a nice, new used camera body today. And, I started sketching out a baking book this morning. 

This year promises so much, and I am ready to accept whatever is sent my way.



A Thanksgiving Message from Melissa

A Thanksgiving Message from Melissa
Store News

The weather has turned crisp, and V shaped formations of birds drift across the evening sky. The beginning of cold weather turns the world’s thoughts to homecoming, and I am awaiting my own flock to return to the ranch.

This week will include a celebration of cooking, which for me, is the pinnacle of my year. Turkey, dressing, gravy, all of it has to be prepared just so. Variations are not allowed, as I have been waiting 364 days for these particular dishes. I think the kids feel the same way. They are already asking “Are you going to make…?”

The comment has been made often that the U.S. economy depends on 4th quarter – when our entire population goes ape in the retail stores, emotionally overspending in frenzied haste. Those big box stores concoct ploys to get us lined up outside their doors at 2 A.M for a door-busting holiday buying spree. It’s a bit much.

Thanksgiving, however, is our national day of redemption. There are no big purchases to make, no outlandish decorations, a tasteful level of glitter, and no Santa style spokesperson. We, as a nation, get together with our family, and friends, and enjoy a meal. That’s it. And it couldn’t be more wonderful.

It would be easy to drift into a rant on how the U.S. culture is politically flawed in this way or that, or debate the irony of our current immigration policies. But I would like to point out that Thanksgiving is unique to North America (you too, Canada) and that it is a national day of love and gratefulness. I think we deserve some credit for keeping this New World holiday a tradition. Being thankful is part of the American experience, and once a year, we synchronize our hearts as a nation to feel the same way, at the same time. For a day, we are all welcome at every table. This is good.

Have a lovely holiday with your family and friends. The boys will be here soon, and I am already awash in peace, and gratitude.

Love,

Melissa



Shrimp Alfredo with Chile Poblano Recipe

Shrimp Alfredo with Chile Poblano Recipe
Recipes

Living here on the ranch, we don’t have too many Italian restaurants nearby. If we have a hankerin’ for a lush tomato sauce, or a Mediterranean style fish dish, chances are we would have to make it ourselves. But as you may have noticed, we are really into cooking. No problemo.

The Perfect Alfredo

For years, my husband has searched for the perfect Alfredo sauce recipe. Every recipe had proven to be a disaster: too thin, too chunky (yes, chunky) or devoid of flavor. But he kept trying, and found this reliable recipe that delivered the creamy, cheesy sauce that he was craving.

The trick that he discovered was that the Alfredo sauce ingredients needed to be mixed in a separate bowl, and then poured over the pasta, so that the pasta and sauce simmered together in a skillet. Voila! Sweet success.

And then, the butt-inski wife shows up.

Of course, I always take his successes, and do my best to improve them. Yes, we are competitive cooks, but he usually lets me win. Or at least he lets me think that I won. He’s a gentleman like that.

This Time, It’s Personal

So my personal tweak on his successful Alfredo sauce find was to add roasted chile poblano. Creamy sauces, although delicious, can be a bit heavy if they are not laced with a lighter element, such as a vegetable, or an herb. Chile Poblano is a terrific, unexpected Latin twist on an old Italian restaurant favorite, giving it not only a fresh flavor, but an updated presentation.

You can experiment a bit with the meats if you like: Add swordfish instead of shrimp, or even chicken breast will do if you are hustling to get a simple meal on the dinner table. Who knows? You might find a signature ingredient that improves this dish even more.

Shrimp Alfredo with Chile Poblano Recipe

 

  • 2 chile poblano
  • ½ lb fettucine, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 4 green onions, minced
  • 1 lb. uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Roast the chile poblano directly over an open flame, or under a broiler. Once the chiles are well blackened, wrap them in a clean towel, then place the towel in a paper bag. Allow the chiles to sweat in the bag until they are completely cooled. Scrape off the blackened skin, remove the stem and seeds, and rinse briefly under running water. Chop and set aside.

Heat a 10” skillet on the stove. Add the butter, and allow to melt over medium heat. Add the green onions and shrimp. Cook over medium heat until the shrimp are completely pink, about 4 minutes.

While the shrimp are cooking, in a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Once the shrimp are cooked, add the garlic, and then add the cooked fettucine. Toss the fettucine with the shrimp and butter until well combined. Pour in the cream mixture, toss well with the pasta and shrimp, and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes, until thickened. Add the chile poblano, and toss to combine well.

Serves 4-6