Classic Sunday Dinner

In my mind Sunday dinner equals family, gathered around a table, for a hearty meal. Perfect Sunday DinnerIdeally, the meal should be eaten at a leisurely pace, with the table cleared between courses, a tablecloth, and linen napkins.

In my mind nobody does hearty, leisurely, cuisine quite like the French.

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Casual French Cuisine

My go-to Sunday dinner:

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Exploring Utah: Capitol Reef National Park

imageimageIf you live in Utah you can, and should, explore the multitude of national parks, recreation areas, and monuments within just a few hour’s drive of Salt Lake City … and my favorite is Capitol Reef.

Located just three and a half scenic hours southeast of Salt Lake City with hotels, developed RV facilities, and first-come-first-served national park campsites Capitol Reef is the perfect weekend getaway March – May and October – November. Avoid the summer months where you’ll bake in the dessert heat and hike nose-to-tail with European tourists in their black knee socks and trekking poles.

Instead, pick an April Friday, reserve a hotel room in Torrey on Friday night, head out of town at 3:00, make good time, and enter the park just in time for a beautiful sunset hike. Then, grab a patio table for pizza, live music, a fabulous canyon sunset, and a beer at the Rim Rock Inn.

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Although the in-park campgrounds are some of the best around, they fill up quick and don’t accept reservations. Fortunately, just ten minutes outside the park is the tourist (in a quaint way) town of Torrey and the Red Sands Hotel where for $100-$150 per night you can have two queens, wifi, pool and jacuzzi, and a view of the red rocks while you enjoy the included breakfast (coffee, waffles, eggs, and cereal). Or, you can do it up right at the less conveniently located but more charming Lodge at Red River in Teasdale for $150 – $250 per night.

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Wherever you rest your head will be secondary to the easy and accessible hikes, scenic drives, board-walk petroglyph trails, canyon arches, and the Pioneer Register where pioneers from 1884 to 1962 recorded their passage through the Capitol Gorge.

Head out of town after a delicious brunch at Cafe Diablo, flip your radio to The Splendid Table and enjoy transmission while you can. Arrive home in time for two loads of  laundry and a quick prep for the week ahead.

It’s a vacation without the stress of planning.

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Shallot Carbanara

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Okay, I know, this is not technically a carbonara. Technically, a carbonara should contain pepper, egg, pancetta and a hint of cheese. But, “technically”, in order to get it right you need a perfect pancetta and a homemade noodle – and on a given Tuesday night I have neither. Fortunately pretty good and a willingness to ignore the purists can result in a damn fine dinner.

Ingredients:

Splash of white wine
1/4 stick butter
1 pound sliced portabella mushrooms
1 diced shallot
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 pound cubed pancetta
1 cup milk
1 box angel haired pasta
Parsley
Salt and pepper

30 minutes, serves four

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Brown the pancetta in a medium sized skillet on high heat (or use your Le Creusette if you scored an awesome Christmas pot from the hubbs in 2009) and set aside on a folded paper towel. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine and turn down the heat.

Sautee the butter, shallots, and mushrooms over low heat while boiling the noodles. Melt cubed cream cheese and parmesan while slowly mixing in milk (carefully adding heat so as not to curdle).

Crack an egg into the cream sauce then spoon in the noodles (do not rinse) and mix to coat noodles. Add pancetta, salt, and pepper to taste, and heat through.

Serve in shallow bowls and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

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