Hub’s Hints: Camper’s Comfort Carbonara 1

HUB’S HINTS ~ CAMPER’S “COMFORT” CARBONARA

If you are a fan of “Comfort Food”, those dishes that warm the heart and nourish the sole, you will thoroughly enjoy this rich and savory Italian comfort food specialty – Pasta alla Carbonara. I mean, think about it; what could be more comforting than a combination of heavy cream, butter, cheese, bacon and pasta. Anyone who enjoys a delicious and satisfying “Mac & Cheese”, will find this dish a truly be a religious experience! Carbonara is a traditional Italian pasta dish that is based on eggs, butter, cream, cheese, bacon and seasonings. There are many variations of the ingredients and preparations but, once you prepare the following recipe, you may feel compelled to experiment in order to fully reward your adventurous spirit.

The origin of this dish (like many dishes worldwide) is rather obscure. There are numerous stories about its name but, most Italians believe that the dish was first made as a hearty meal for the charcoal workers in the urban areas south of Rome and in the regions of Umbria and Lazio. The derivation of the name Carbonara is from “Carbonaro” the Italian word for charcoal burner and it has even been suggested that the dish was created as a tribute to the “Carbonari” (the charcoal men, a secret society that figured prominently in the unification of Italy). In parts of the U.S. this dish is often referred to as the “coal miner’s spaghetti”.

Although, this hearty and savory dish can be enjoyed at home, the camping community may soon refer to this dish as the “Camper’s Comfort Carbonara”!

CAMPER’S COMFORT CARBONARA (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

¾ lb of Thick, Center Cut Bacon – A variation of this ingredient could be pancetta and/or prosciutto or, consider a combination of the three – bacon, pancetta and prosciutto.

4 Egg Yokes * Separate the yolks from the clear liquid, place in a bowl to mix with other ingredients. Please consider purchasing only cage free organic eggs – for your own health and to support the care of the animals.

¼ cup of Heavy Cream

1 cup of Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese – Imported Reggiano Parmesan is recommended – variations of this ingredient for future consideration could be Pecorino Romano or Asiago, or a combination of the three – Parmesan, Romano and Asiago. Ultimately, it will be a matter of taste preference.

¼ cup of Diced White Onion

1 clove of Fresh Garlic Minced

½ teaspoon Salt

1 tablespoon of Freshly Ground Black Pepper

½ teaspoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

8 tablespoons of Butter – I recommend Kerry Gold, pure Irish butter made from milk from grass-fed cows (seems a bit against the grain to use an Irish component in an Italian dish but, it works extremely well).

1 lb of Thin Spaghetti – My recommendation is to use Barilla # 3 Thin Spaghetti ~ a variation for the pasta could be Angel Hair, fettuccine, Rigatoni, Penne or Bucatini style pasta.

1 cup Frozen, Early Harvest, Petite Peas

DIRECTIONS:

Fry the bacon until a firm texture (not quite crispy or hard) place on paper towel to drain off the grease. Cut the bacon or break apart into approximate ¼ inch size pieces and set aside. Pour off the excess grease from the pan, let cool – with a paper towel wipe out the excess grease and remaining bacon crumbs around the perimeter of the pan. Leave a bit of bacon residue in the center of the pan – add the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic on medium-high heat for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, remove from pan and set aside.

Cook the pasta “al dente”, pasta should never be fully cooked, soft and mushy. It needs always to be slightly firm and chewy but not hard. Drain pasta and have piping hot ready for the cheese mixture. Be careful not to let the pasta sit too long – it will stick together!

In the bowl, beat the egg yolks for a few minutes with a fork, add the cream and gently stir together, add the cheese, salt, fresh ground pepper – make sure the mixture is well stirred and mixed together before pouring into the hot pan with the butter.

In a large high sided fry pan or a pot large enough to hold all of the cooked pasta, heat the butter until golden (not brown) and bubbling (not separated). Pour in the egg and cheese mixture. Over low heat allow the egg mixture to partially cook in the heated butter. Make sure the egg mixture does not cook too much. The hot spaghetti will complete the cooking process. When the egg mixture is ready, add the spaghetti, crumbled bacon and frozen peas, mix the contents thoroughly. Keep over low heat while stirring. When the pasta is completely coated and all ingredients have been sufficiently mixed – Serve Immediately!

I sincerely believe that this Italian specialty will be warm and comforting, delicious, engaging and satisfying. Enjoy!

POSSIBLE ITALIAN WINE ACCOMPANIMENTS

VINO BIANCO ~

RUFFINO – ORVIETO CLASSICO DOC, UNBRIA

Description: The winery was founded in 1870 by Ilario and Leopoldo Ruffino. Immediately the foundation was established for Ruffino to become one of Italy’s most well-known and beloved labels. Although Ruffino is known predominately for superior quality Chianti, the winery produces a limited assortment of additional releases. The Orvieto is named after one of Italy’s most beautiful cities of the same name, located on a hilltop between Florence and Rome. “Classico” refers to the original delimited vineyard location that made the area famous. “DOC” (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) is the Italian assurance of authenticity and area of production. Ruffino’s Orveito is made from 40% Grechetto, 20% Procanico, with the balance of the blend – Verdello and Canaiolo Bianco. Taste: Flowery (meadow flowers) fragrance, pleasant, versatile, easy drinking and refreshing with a citrus and golden apple fruit flavors and possessing a hint almond and fresh sage.

ALLEGRINI – SOAVE DOC, VENETO

Description: Since the 16th century, the Allegrini family has been engaged in the tireless pursuit of excellence and perfection in a winemaking area just north of Verona. Years of research, experimentation and meticulous attention to detail has established Allegrini as one of the true innovators and respected labels. Allegrini’s Soave is made from 80% Garganega (an indigenous grape variety) and 20% Chardonnay. The fruit is hand-harvested from 25-year-old vines grown in chalky and volcanic soils. The must is cold-macerated to preserve the fresh vibrant character and to add a fuller flavor extraction. Taste: The fragrant, wildflower aroma is complemented by a subtle and elegant citrus, white peach and grapefruit complexity and a lingering, refreshing minerality.

LA SCOLCA – GAVI, PIEMONTE

Description: This is one of Italy’s most respected, superior quality white wines that is intended to be consumed early but, is a wine that will improve with age. Gavi is made entirely of Cortese (meaning “courteous” in Italian). The grapes are grown in the commune of Gavi in the heart of Piedmont approximately 30 miles north of Genoa. La Scolca is known around the world as the paragon of Italian white wines. Taste: Bone-dry, high-toned and intense, crisp, rich and fine, with refreshing acidity and mineral notes.

VINO ROSSO ~

LA CARRAIA – SANGIOVESE IGT, UMBRIA

Description: La Carraia was founded in 1976 by the Gialletti and Cortarella families. Riccardo Cotarella is one of the most respected authorities on the production of Italian wines. La Carraia produces a broad spectrum of wines intended to satisfy the palates of the casual but, demanding value-oriented consumers. This wine is made from 100% Sangiovese (the grape of Chianti) aged in Allier and Nevers (French Oaks) barrels for a rich texture and a refined smooth mouth feel. “IGT” (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) is an Italian wine designation (Law) identifying origin and traditional style of wine. Taste: Brilliant, ruby color, rich and lush layers of fruit with abundant ripe blackberry and currant with hints of chocolate, mocha, tobacco and sweet spice finishing with a vibrant and refreshing acidity.

LE RAGOSE – VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE RIPASSO, VENETO

Description: Valpolicella is an amiable red wine, velvety, fragrant, subtle and delicious. The wine is produced in an area in the northwest portion of Italy, just north of Verona. Le Ragose sources its fruit exclusively from estate owned vineyards, 1,200 feet above sea level and from vines that average 30 to 60 years old. The wine is made from 50% Corvina and 50% a blend of Molinara and Rondinella grape varieties. The fruit is hand-picked and carefully fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel casks. “Superiore” is a designation for aging – in this case 1 year in stainless and two years in Slavonian Oak. “Ripasso” is a production method involving the added fermentation of mat dried fruit – as is done with Amarone. Taste: This special Valpolicella is perfectly balanced, with the rich, luxurious complexity of Amarone and the softer mouthfeel of traditional Valpolicella. The wine has a bright acidity with plum and pomegranate flavors and a hint of ground spice and pine forest.

MONTI – MONTEPULCIAO D’ABRUZZO DOC, ABRUZZO

Description: Montepulciano is produced in the region of Abruzzi in the south-central, eastern portion of Italy (in the region directly east of Rome). Normally, soft, easy drinking and affordable wines come from this area. However, Monti produces something truly special. This is a small family owned and operated facility specializing in fine quality wines of pedigree and reputation. Baffo, meaning “mustached” in Italian, is the name of the family dog that appears on the label of each of the family’s wines. This delicious red wine is made from 95% Montepulciano (the red wine grape variety of southern Italy) and 5 % Sangiovese (the grape of Chianti). Taste: Dark, inky, ruby-red color, fleshy fruit flavors, intense ripe blackberry and cherry flavors with hints of herbs, licorice, black pepper and smoke – round, ripe tannins, a complex structure and delicate acidity.

The wines have not been listed in order of preference. It does not matter if you prefer white wines or if your taste leans more towards red, all of these wine selections would nicely complement this particular “Comfort” dish. Search for these wines at your local retail shop or consult with the resident wine specialist for recommendations of wines that are similar and/or that fit your pricing preferences and tolerances.

Hubs

Alumafandango Lakeside 2012 ~ Part 2 13

The inaugural Alumafandango event was held last week at Lakeside Amusement Park near Denver, CO. The event drew approximately 80 Airstreams both new and vintage models from across the county. We met so many wonderful people last week at Alumafandango! As I mentioned in my post yesterday, Airstreamers truly are a great bunch of people. No one is a stranger in the Airstream community and these rallies really prove that.

Laura D. invited Hub’s and me to join her and a very fun group at “The Breezeway” for a cocktail and conversation. Loved this gathering place in-between two Airstreams where we met new friends and fellow bloggers: Laura and Kevin from Riveted, Tiffani and Deke from Weaselmouth and Kyle from Where is Kyle Now? Another blogger who isn’t pictured here is Dan and Marlene from Mali Mish. All very fun blogs about travel, adventures, gadgets and more all written from their Airstreams. Worth a peek!!

Shari and Rob D’s immaculate and darling “Birdie” was the highlight of one of my favorite Alumafandango events: “Open House”! Streamers open the doors to their mobile homes for all to step inside, ask lots of questions and take many photos. Thanks to everyone who participated in the open house. My favorite event for sure!!

Various other “Open House” Airstreams at Alumafandango…………………..

Lakeside Amusement Park, during the day when it was very quiet…………

I enjoyed a roundtable seminar lead by Rich Luhr from Man In The Maze on Blogging. Leading the discussion was Where is Kyle Now?, Weaselmouth and Riveted.

Friday evening was the very anticipated “Ride Night” where Alumafandango participants had unlimited classic amusement park ride access. I believe the “Kid” was brought out of many ‘Streamers!!

Future Airstream Rallies:

February 2013 in Tucson, AZ ~ Alumafiesta

June 2013 in Jackson Center, OH ~ Alumapalooza

Photo source: Anna Sullivan Photography

Alumafandango Lakeside 2012 ~ Part 1 5

Last week, we attended an amazing Airstream rally at Lakeside Amusement Park near Denver, Colorado called Alumafandango. Sponsored by Airstream Life Magazine and Timeless Travel Trailers, folks arrived in their vintage and new Airstreams traveling from across the country to attend the festivities. For all my non-Airstream followers, rallies are a really big deal in the Airstream community. All over the US, local Airstream clubs host smaller, local rallies throughout the year. The first rally I attended and posted about here in Texas was a great introduction into the Airstream world. But, Alumafandango is more of a National rally. Five full days of fun, sharing, seminars, dinners, contests and more ~ bringing old friends together and almost all participants will drive away having made many new friends alike.

I must admit that I have never met a nicer group of people than Airstreamers. They all share my wanderlust for travel, they are so willing to share information and answer all sorts of “wanna be” questions and then they open their Airstream homes and invite you in to take a peek. Airstreamers like to have fun and fun they had last week in Denver!

Jim and Vicki O’s 1966 Vintage Airstream

Timeless Travel Trailers in Wheat Ridge, CO hosted several tours of their workshop so guests could see current projects and methods of restoring Airstreams and other travel trailers. Here are some of the highlights including Brett Hall, President of Timeless, speaking to the crowd:

Dale “Pee Wee” Schwamborn, Wally Byam’s first cousin once removed, hosted an interesting seminar on Wally’s history and contribution to Airstreaming!

Yvonne Savage of Garden Party lead a seminar about “Landscaping Your Airstream”. Lots of fun items for sale to Glamp-up your Glamper.

Dusty Dog Studio ceramic artist and owner, Corrine Vegter, showcased many of her hand-made, one-of-a-kind Airstream ceramics along with super cool T-shirts and other fun ‘Streaming products.

I fell in love with Judith and Tim S’s ~ 23′ Airstream. Judith is an interior designer from Santa Fe and her Airstream is divine. You can see some of her amazing work at Studio Judith (the 4th photo down was taken by Judith of her Airstream interior seating area).

Various other Airstream sights at Alumafandango. Check back with me tomorrow for Part 2, more photos and more Airstream peeps to introduce you to!

Photo source: Anna Sullivan Photography

Skillet Street Food 3

I have been following Skillet for sometime now! So, when my friend, Thomas Schabarum posted on Facebook that Skillet was parked in his neighborhood last night for a private event, I knew it was time to spread the good word!

Not only do I appreciate the entrepreneurial nature in folks, but, I really love it when they mix the spirit with a vintage Airstream travel trailer. Hence, this post on Skillet Street Food founded by Josh Henderson in 2007. Josh and his Airstream are located in Seattle, Washington. Gosh, Josh ~ I so wish you would come to Denver!! I’m drooling just thinking about his famous Kobe beef burgers and Fried Chicken Sammy shown below. Josh maintains the lunch specials on the streets of Seattle and in 2011 added a brick-and-mortar restaurant located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Skillet’s catering business has taken off ~ weddings, corporate and private events throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Or if you are really craving his Bacon Jam or Pumpkin Sauce, you can order on-line here. Delish! Can’t wait to travel to Seattle and my first stop will be Skillet!

Photo source: Skillet Street Food