just look at jess now!

Several years ago U/M student Jess Constable worked part time in my store while she was finishing up her undergrad degree in the business school, while also launching her own jewelry business. After graduation Jess moved to Chicago where she has been growing that business and blogging her life experiences. I’m so proud of her! She received high accolades today, shown in her post for today….pretty darn cool, if you ask me.

Jess visited me this past weekend. She was impressed to see how much Heavenly Metal has grown since her time….and happy my store has gained a following. Jess convinced me that it’s time for the store blog to become my blog too! So, I’m going to share other things about the Heavenly Metal Vicki besides just the Heavenly Metal love.

Thanks for the inspiration Jess! And because you appreciate the cooking lessons I give you, here’s last Saturday night’s pasta recipe (a delicious meal I made for Jess and friends):

1 pound of peeled/deveined uncooked shrimp
leftover chicken cut off the remainders of a roasted chicken that was in my frig
finely diced shallot & garlic
baby spinach (a pound or so…the more, the better as it cooks down)
fresh italian parsely and chive that is still growing in my garden!
red chili pepper flakes
s & p, of course
white wine, of course

First I put on the pot of pasta water. After it came to a boil I turned it to low with the lid on so I could begin cooking the pasta sauce. I always use Al Dente pasta because it’s only the best, made right here outside of town by my friends Monique & Denny Deschaine! Because it cooks in 2 or 3 minutes, you want to time everything to come out just right, so have the water ready but don’t throw in the pasta just yet!

In a large saucepan I quickly sauteed the shallots and garlic in 3 or 4 tbs of olive oil. I sprinkled in a handful of red chili pepper flakes (that are always in my spice pantry). While Karen, one of our dinner guests, was washing the shrimp she brought, I tore the chicken off the carcass, breaking it into small pieces. This happened pretty quickly, so the olive oil was ready at just the right time! The shrimp and chicken went into the saucepan. So did the parsley and chive that I snipped right into the pan. And salt and pepper. And the spinach. Stirred. Lid went on for a minute or so. The pasta went into the boiling water. I then poured at least a glass of chardonnay (from the bottle we were all sharing) into the saucepan, stirred and covered again, with the heat turned low. Added a few more chili pepper flakes to be sure there was a teeny bit of a bite. Dumped alot of capers in, without the juice from the jar.

Oh yes, I had cooked up some lovely oyster mushrooms purchased at the farmer’s market earlier in the day. They were cooked in a stick of butter with minced garlic. Covered to cook, then poured in half a glass of sherry. Covered. Served with a sliced Cafe Japon baguette. That was a mini appetizer everyone shared sitting on the floor in my tiny sun/cabin room.

The leftovers of the mushrooms were thrown into the saucepan too — why should they go to waste? A great addition!

The cooked pasta was ready at the same time as the shrimp/chicken sauce. The pasta went into one of my big old wooden bowls, with some olive oil sprinkled and mixed through. Then the goodies from the saucepan were stirred in. Before I began cooking the main dish and the mushrooms, Jess diced up a package of pancetta, which I cooked in a small saucepan, to be added later to the salad that we never got around to enjoying. I sprinkled a few fingerfuls of the cooked pancetta into the pasta sauce just before mixing it with the pasta. I didn’t want the crispy bacon to get soggy, so I waited until the end to add it. Last, I sprinkled fresh parmesan on top and called everyone to the table!

As I am writing this, I’m lunching on the leftovers. I’m glad I’m saving the recipe to print, because I rarely remember my pasta creations! And this one is a keeper….and now you too can make this!

Unfortunately the photo I took Saturday night while we were enjoying the dish just got eaten by my computer. The only cooking disaster!