I honestly had the best birthday yesterday! It was filled with food, of course, as that is always the most important part of any celebration for me. We started the day with a champagne brunch at a nearby golf course. It was lovely. I had my fill (and then some) of egg dishes, bacon, fresh seafood, and plenty of chocolate fondue and panna cotta for desert. We then did a little shopping at every girl’s favorite shopping Mecca (Anthropologie) and used some leftover gift cards from our wedding at Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn. After we relaxed at home for a bit and I did some reading, we then traveled to the most amazing place for dinner in the Orange County area! It’s called The Hobbit, and it is directly across from where I purchased my wedding dress. This restaurant has now become my official birthday celebration place. It featured 7 courses (yes…7!), which began with champagne and hors d’oeuvres in the wine cellar. After that, we were led to our table where we were constantly surprised and delighted at each creative and decadent course. They also accommodated my gluten intolerance, which was amazing! We shared a wine pairing with each course as well, which added another element of fun to our experience. While I was very happy at my outfit choice for the evening (a loose dress), Colin struggled with the buttons on his already tight-fitting shirt for most of our 3 hour stay; it was quite amusing to say the least! We adhered to the dress code we found on the website, but we concurred that they should have added “roomy clothes recommended!” 3 hours, 7 courses, and 6 shared (small) glasses of wine later, we were full, happy, and ready for bed. It was truly a wonderful culinary experience!
While you probably don’t want to make a 7 course dinner at home on a Monday night, and who could blame you, this easy dish is such a treat when you are craving some nice salty, starchy pasta. I made this last week and we couldn’t get enough and were looking for more! I doubled the recipe below so that doesn’t happen to you.
Easy Pasta Carbonara
16 ounces spaghetti of choice (I used quinoa and flax from Whole Foods!)
4 large organic eggs
10-12 slices of nitrate and nitrite free bacon, plus reserved bacon drippings
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese (or 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast for a lactose-free cheese flavor!)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
**4 cloves of garlic, minced
Cook your bacon slices in a large skillet over medium-high heat, flipping frequently to prevent burning. When done, move bacon to a paper towel to drain and then crumble the slices with your hands. Don’t pour out your rendered bacon fat! Let skillet cool.
**if you have IBS, leave the garlic out. It will likely wreak havoc on your tummy. If you choose to use it, cook it in the skillet after you have removed your bacon. Don’t burn it! Reserve it either in the pan or move it to a small dish so that it does not overcook and become bitter.
In a small bowl, whisk your eggs and cheese (if using or nutritional yeast). Add a few cracks of sea salt and pepper. Once you’ve cooked your bacon, use a teaspoon of the hot bacon grease at a time to temper the eggs: add a teaspoon while whisking briskly. Do this about 3 times. You want to slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs so they don’t scramble when you add them to the hot pasta! Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook your pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta.
Once pasta is drained, add it to the warm skillet with the remainder of the bacon drippings and toss with tongs. Working quickly, add in the tempered egg sauce, tossing quickly and consistently to incorporate well. Add in the crumbled bacon and parsley. Add more salt and pepper to taste and serve!