a serendipitous trip to Italy

Olive Tree | theclevercarrot.com

Never in a million years did I think that touching a bag of fresh pasta would magically transport me to Italy only two months later.

Are you ready for this story?!

One summer night, I found myself in the kitchen cooking a big pasta dinner for my family. We were up in Lake Placid on our annual summer vacation. It’s always a very lively trip; my cousins and their kids come along with extended family and their friends. It’s like “My Big Fat Italian Wedding” except no one is getting married (or eating lamb).

On the menu was fresh tagliatelle with a simple tomato sauce. Right before adding the pasta into the pot I looked at the bag (the brand was Giovanni Rana- remember that name!) and thought to myself, I hope this is going to be good!

What I didn’t realize however, was that things were about to get really good….

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Ina Garten’s Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ina Garten's Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts | theclevercarrot.com

I love Ina Garten.

If there’s one chef I’d be so lucky to have dinner with it would be the Barefoot Contessa herself (and Jamie Oliver, of course).

You think they’d get along?

Seriously though, every one of her recipes are meticulously tested, they taste amazing, and I can tell you personally she’s the nicest (and I mean the nicest) person ever. My cousin makes a version of her meatballs and they are so, so good. I think it’s the nutmeg…

But enough celebrity crush talk for now… let’s get into some brussels sprouts!

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overnight cranberry pecan sourdough

Overnight Cranberry Pecan Sourdough |theclevercarrot.com

Just a quick note: I wanted to personally thank each and everyone of you for your support re: Artisan Sourdough Made Simple! It’s truly overwhelming to read all of your comments, reviews, and to see your bread pics on social media and blogs! It’s very inspiring. And the book is currently #1 on Amazon for new releases in bread baking! I couldn’t have done this without you. Please continue to use hashtag #ArtisanSourdoughMadeSimple so I can see more beautiful bakes from the book! 

♦  ♦  ♦  ♦

Seasonal baking: it’s one of my favorite things about sourdough.

Here on Long Island, the leaves are changing colors, pumpkin spice everything is cluttering the stores, and all I can think about is Thanksgiving dinner (and the delicious leftovers, of course!).

This hearty cranberry pecan sourdough is not in my book, however it’s lightly adapted from my Saturday Morning Fruit toast. It’s soft, chewy, slightly sweet… and if you toast the pecans prior to baking you’ll get an extra hit of nutty flavor which is always welcome, if you’re in the mood.

Speaking of pecans, if you bake with them often, Costco sells huge bags of assorted nuts at a reasonable price (I can’t remember the exact cost, but check it out the next time you are in the store).

If you prefer smaller bags of nuts, hit up Trader Joe’s and buy their ‘pecan pieces’ which cost less/ per pound than whole pecans. There’s absolutely no reason to spend more money on whole nuts; you’re going to chop them up anyway….

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