Linguine Alfredo with Fresh Greens and Vinaigrette

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Yesterday afternoon I arrived home from Austin City Limits. It seems like a year ago (most certainly not last Thursday) that I flew to Texas and skipped right into LiLi‘s open arms. It was like a scene out of a movie, you guys. There was squee-ing and hugging and jumping, and probably a few people watching us who thought we might make out any second (sorry to disappoint, Dallas). After three days of constant sunshine, intermittent assaults on our eardrums, and the rare consumption of flavorless festival food, I arrived home in Denver feeling tired, with the lingering fear that I might still be covered in residual sunscreen, and harboring a varsity craving for fresh fruit, and funnily enough, pasta.

The craving for fresh fruit was easy enough to understand – the week before I left, I had been working my way through 10 pounds of apples I bought at the farmer’s market, sometimes consuming 2 or 3 apples a day. I barely consumed any fruit in Texas, simply because there wasn’t a good grocery store near our hotel. So I think I was simply going through withdrawal in that respect. So I remedied that problem immediately when I got home… I went to the store and bought 5 pounds of pears. Normal, right?

The pasta craving I can’t really explain. But I still took care of it. (I belong to the “If the Craving Lasts for More Than Two Days Then It’s Probably a Vitamin or Mineral That You’re Low On” school of thought when it comes to cravings. As long as you’re not hoovering a 3-pound bag of cookies, of course.)

Fettucini alfredo has always been a favorite pasta dish of mine.

It might have something to do with the cream and butter involved… but that’s just a guess.

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I discovered the Pioneer Woman’s recipe a little over a year ago, and it’s my favorite way to make alfredo now. But, as many of the Pioneer Woman’s dishes (I’m also looking at you, Giada and Paula and Ina), I find that the butter and cream in this recipe are a little… overwhelming. Like, I don’t need a FULL stick of butter in the sauce. That just seems like overkill. And I like to throw in a few vegetables, too, so that I can rationalize the fact that I’m essentially consuming a plate of carbs covered in 2 different kinds of animal fat for my dinner. Generally I like to throw in a handful of spinach into the hot pasta, because spinach is one of my favorite veggies.

But when I was making this last night, I tossed the pasta with the alfredo sauce, and I couldn’t get out of my head how much better the dish would taste with a bit of vinegar sprinkled over the top. I thought of this, of course, just as I realized that I had had a major brain fart and had forgotten to toss in the spinach. Then it struck me – have you ever seen those pizzas topped with fresh greens? – why not put a salad on top of pasta?

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This might be the only way I eat alfredo pasta for the foreseeable future. The texture of the fresh greens is the perfect contrast to al dente pasta. And the vinaigrette cuts through the heaviness of the alfredo sauce exactly as I had hoped; it almost makes the sauce seem light, which is pretty hard to do when it’s basically cream and butter. It’s also quite a pretty presentation, in my mind… I think this would be great as a big dish to serve to your guests at a party or holiday; double or triple this recipe, and serve the pasta in a large shallow serving bowl, topped with all the greens. Pretty, pretty, pretty.

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Linguine Alfredo with Fresh Greens and Vinaigrette

original recipe from The Kitchenette
Serves 2

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Gather:
1/2 pound linguine or other dried pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup cream (heavy, table, or half and half)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon champagne mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
4 cups packed fresh baby spinach or mixed baby greens
salt and fresh cracked pepper

Prepare:
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.  Add a generous tablespoon of salt to the water. Add the pasta, and cook according to package directions.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the cream and whisk to combine. Heat over medium for a few minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Season with a pinch of salt.

Whisk the mustard, olive oil, and white balsamic vinegar in the bottom of a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss greens with vinaigrette, and set aside.

Place grated parm in the bottom of your serving bowl. Pour thickened cream/butter mix over cheese. Season with plenty of cracked pepper. Let sit until the pasta finishes cooking. Reserve a cup of pasta cooking water (which can be added to the sauce later if it is too thick to coat the pasta evenly). Drain pasta and add cooked pasta to serving bowl. Toss to coat pasta with sauce. Add reserved cooking water, a tablespoon at a time, if necessary until sauce coats pasta evenly.

Top pasta with dressed greens. Serve immediately.

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Dawes / Love Is All I Am

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Lili and Carter’s Guide to Concert Etiquette: It’s your f*cking fault for not getting there early

If you haven’t noticed, I’m not in Denver this weekend… I’m in Austin, Texas, at Austin City Limits. ACL is a 3-day music festival to benefit the Austin parks and recreation department. My friend LiLi and I have spent the past 36 hours soaking up both the Texas sun and the musical stylings of some of the best musicians to wield a guitar in the past 5 years.

LiLi was feeling productive last night at 1 am and wrote a lovely rundown of what happened yesterday at ACL. (While she wrote that lovely overview… I slept. Rock on.) But do check out her post.

Today we had our fair share of eargasms, courtesy of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Broken Bells, Two Door Cinema Club, and Monsters of Folk. But, I’ll tell you all about that later.

Obviously I write mostly about cooking here, but today it will be a little different. But hey, that’s the upside of having a blog, right? You can say whatever you want on it. Because it’s your blog!

Be aware, we wrote this post together, and as grown adults, we have been known to curse. (The horrors!) We could have written a late-night rant about the ups and downs of the shows, the people watching, the food, the lines for beer, etc., but what we really chose to focus on is…

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Concert Etiquette.

In our combined 59 years of attending concerts, it has become abundantly clear that not everyone understands the intricate rules of concert etiquette. These are unspoken rules, and despite not having them in tangible form, they should be known by all, a.k.a., you. They should be common sense to every concertgoer.

We realize that not everyone has had live music experience, and that concert etiquette might not have been an ingrained part of your family upbringing. Lili began her lifelong study of concert etiquette at the ripe age of 5, when she attended a Crystal Gale show. Carter had a delayed start, only attending her first show, Incubus, at the age of 15. But regardless of your age, the size, or location of the show, these rules should be an integral part of your concert-attending knowledge.

With that, we will share these basic rules of etiquette. Essentially, the Golden Rule of Concert Attendance is, your love for the band should be in direct correlation to how early you show up for the show. If this isn’t crystal clear, let us interpret the many situations in which it applies.

RULE ONE. If the band is your all-time-favorite omg-I-have-to-see-them-up-close-or-I-will-die-a-slow-painful-death band, then you need to get to the show early. And by early, we don’t mean 15 minutes before your band takes the stage. Especially if your band is headlining (meaning they will go last in the line-up that night), this might mean showing up an hour before the venue’s doors even open. It’s best put this way: if you’re the first people into the venue, you get first dibs on where you stand. If you don’t get to the venue until later, and people are already crowded into wherever you would like to stand, whether it be the first row or somewhere else, then you don’t have any right to move into their space. You know why? Because you didn’t get there early enough — so it’s your fucking fault.

RULE TWO. When picking your spot to watch the show, please keep in mind that an inch by inch square does not equate room for you to stand. It means I just farted, or I need to shift because my tailbone hurts from sitting on the ground. I did not move just so you could squeeze into that free space; if I wanted you to stand there, I would let you know.

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Not free space… I promise.

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RULE THREE. If you get to a concert and the area around the stage is crowded, it doesn’t mean that there is room for you and your four friends, I don’t care how thin/short/generally hot you think you are. You have no right to push your way through the crowd of people (who have presumably been waiting far longer than you have) to get closer to the front. If you are unhappy with where you are standing for the show, let us reiterate: it’s your fucking fault for not showing up early enough.

RULE FOUR. Even though you have no right to be pushing through the crowd in the first place (see rules 1, 2, and 3), please do not tell us that you’re “looking for a friend.” We don’t care. We also know you have no friend up there, so don’t bullshit us. At one point or another you will have to stop looking for your “friend,” and your stopping point will invariably block someone else’s view of the stage. Need we repeat ourselves? You weren’t here early enough, so its your fucking fault.

RULE FIVE. At least once, there will be something that prevents you from showing up early to a show (and therefore from earning a coveted spot in the first few rows of the audience.) It sucks, but it happens; you can’t get out of class/soccer practice/work/walking your dog, whatever. This does not grant you a free pass to be an asshole and push your way to the front (see rule 1.) This just means that you’ll have to suffer watching the show from mid-venue, or (gasp) the back of the crowd. Next time you’ll know better, and you can skip class/ quit your job in preparation… because it’s your fucking fault.

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Welcome to my personal space.

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RULE SIX. In the event that a friend of yours is able to get there early, while you are still stuck at class/work, and is feeling charitable enough to save you a spot near the front… This does NOT give you a right to claim the aforementioned spot. If you are trying to save a spot for a friend, I would suggest only saving 1 spot (not enough space for all 10 of your friends who are late), and perhaps you might mention to the people around you that you have a friend who is running late. We know this is a difficult concept to grasp, but something along the lines of “Hey, I was hoping to squeeze my friend Suzy in here with me. Would that be okay with you?” usually does the trick. Being polite has a crazy effect on people; they usually acquiesce. But, if you’re Suzy, good luck on getting to the front to your friend… The thing is, it’s awful hard for other concertgoers to distinguish you from Able, and by Able, I mean the dumbass trying to tell us s/he is looking for her imaginary “friend” when we clearly know better.

RULE SEVEN. Once the band starts, do not push up against people in front of you to get closer to your favorite lead singer. I do not, under any circumstances, need to feel your business pressed against my backside. This especially applies if I’m up against the fence, and you’re a 300 pound drunk dude standing behind me. Don’t push me into the fence unless you feel comfortable paying my hospital bill for a ruptured spleen.

RULE EIGHT. If you leave to pee/get beer/etc, you risk losing your spot, plain and simple. Pee in a bottle, or don’t complain when you have to watch the rest of the set from the back of the venue.

RULE NINE. Your enjoyment of the show should not impede my enjoyment of the show. Examples include, but are not limited to:

- singing the lyrics: I didn’t pay $50 to hear you scream each word of the Broken Bells’ “The High Road” in my ear. I paid to hear james mercer croon it in his sweet, angelic voice. So mouth the words silently, or STFU.

- dancing: I get it, you’re in the zone, expressing your love for the music. No one is suggesting you stand there like a statue. But please keep your appendages out of my private space.

- drinking: hey, we enjoy tasty, cold, Adult Beverages as much as the next hipsters. But we don’t get super drunk at shows, just so that we can stumble into you, knocking you AND your frosty PBR to the ground. So please don’t do that to us!

- smoking cigarettes and, ahem, other things: well, obviously I can’t stop you. But obviously, don’t attempt to dance like a madwoman while wielding a lit ciggarette, unless you’re looking to get bitchsmacked.

- being “affectionate” with your sig other/a random you met at the show: dude, that’s gross. This is not a rap video, and I do not need extra entertainment in the form of you getting some play right next to me. That’s just nasty.

RULE TEN. “Sorry” doesn’t excuse shit. It’s nice of you to say it, but it’s even more annoying if you say it immediately after committing the unspeakable acts mentioned in any of the above-mentioned rules, and follow it with a bitch brow. For some reason, your apology just doesn’t come off as sincere.

So there you have it. Our top 10 “rules” to experiencing live music… politely. From now on, I promise to actually SAY SOMETHING when a jerk commits any of these unspeakable crimes. (Today, all I managed was “Didn’t your mama teach you better concert etiquette?” It was so lame.)

This is a double post, since Lili’s also featuring it on her blog, Wordvom. Go check out her blog for her spectacular verbal spew on all things hipster, books, and raising twin girls.

What do you think? What would you add to our list? What’s your biggest pet peeve at a show or concert?

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Broken Bells / “Everlasting Light” by the Black Keys

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Drowning My Sorrows in Buffalo Chili

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Summer is the season for music festivals. Coachella, Bonnaroo, SXSW (which technically takes place in March, but whatever), Glastonbury, Austin City Limits, etc. And since the festivals are only a few months away, festival line-ups are starting to emerge.

Last week, the line-up for Coachella was announced…

…Cue the subsequent blow up on the interwebz.

Let’s look at the line-up, shall we?

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click to enlarge my jealousy

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Vampire Weekend!  *breath hitch*
The Cribs? swoon
The Avett Brothers?! omg
She & Him my girlcrush will be there?!
The Temper Trap drool
Hot Chip... hiccup
Little Boots… oh dear
Matt and Kim… be still my heart
Phoenix yessssssss
Spoon… *fangirl squee!*

Since I have featured 6 of the above artists on the blog in the past 8 months, I can only come to one conclusion… This festival line-up may or may not have been planned out by my unconscious. My unconscious who apparently doesn’t care about me, because as much as this line up is totally rocking my world right now… I can’t go. *sadface* I’ll just have to live vicariously through my girls Chelsea, Nikki, and Vicky… sigh.

So, with the thought of missing one of the best indie/alternative festivals in the entire world heavy on my heart, I had to find someway to dull the pain!

Buffalo numbs pain… right?

I’m a big fan of buffalo; it’s a very lean meat and has lots of flavor. I especially like it in chili, since I usually find beef to be too greasy, and chicken and turkey to be pretty lackluster in terms of flavor.

I found this original chili recipe over at Half-Assed Kitchen. I love their recipes, and I would have made the recipe exactly, except Mr. Kitchenette downright refused to let me put 3 cans of beans in the chili (party pooper… you know I love me some beans). I was really impressed with the depth of flavor in the spices and I thought the touch of red wine vinegar at the end was perfect; it really lightened up the chili in the best way possible. Go check out the H-AK site, their rating system is hilarious and they’ve got some great recipes.

So even though this chili was unable to magically conjure me up some tickets and time off for Coachella… it was the epitome of comfort food. And after all… there’s always Bonnaroo.

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Buffalo & Kidney Bean Chili

Adapted from Half-Assed Kitchen

Printable recipe

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Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground buffalo
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2  tablespoons chili powder (not the same as cayenne, mind you)
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons paprika
2 14-oz cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions:
Heat oil and buffalo over medium heat. Break up meat into bite-size crumbles and cook until meat is browned and almost cooked through. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. Add chili powder, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and paprika. Stir for 1 minute to mix with buffalo and onions. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, and vinegar. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until thickened. Serve now or later with rice or cornbread. Serves four.

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Now Playing in the Kitchenette: Hot Chip/One Life Stand

… love this band. Had them on my list of bands to feature, but they fit well here! Follow them on twitter hereI do!

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Sooooo… Are you planning on going to any festivals this summer? Have you ever tried buffalo?

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