One of the things I enjoy most about blogging and social media is that you get to meet and make friends with a bunch of like-minded cooks and food writers from all around the world. Barbara Kiebel, who lives in Denver, Colorado and blogs at Creative Culinary, is a 'friend in food' across the miles and it gives me great pleasure to welcome her to Good Things.
Barbara started her online life 18 years ago when she began professionally developing websites. The first website she made for herself was in 1995 and was a place to feature her best recipes for family and friends. In the last few years she segued to a food blog, Creative Culinary, with the motto 'Eat, Drink, Repeat'. She prepares new recipes, photographs them and talks a bit about the store to table experience.
Barbara's specialty cocktails are making news on her ‘Happy Hour Friday’ column, where she occasionally pairs them with appetizers. Barbara is a mom to her grown daughters, Emily and Lauren, and precious dog named Abbie. She loves to create, cook, garden, decorate and read websites that inspire her each day. Barbara says she enjoys good wine and great cocktails, and when the weather is warm, nothing makes her happier than entertaining friends in her garden and feeding them barbecue and smoked favorites, along with a current favorite libation.
In this Good Things guest post, Barbara tells us about growing basil in water (!) and shares a delightful pasta recipe...
'I love how working in the world of blogging can offer so many rewards never imagined when all you thought you wanted to do was keep a diary of recipes online. First and foremost is the acquaintances I've made all over the world. I now have friends beyond the reaches of North America who live in England, France, Switzerland, India and Australia. I've always been the kind that thinks of bringing food to friends when they are not feeling well; now I can do that in a different way from across the pond. Thanks for asking Lizzy... I am really so very happy I could help even in this small way! [Lizzy says: Not at all, Barbara, thank YOU!].
This dish is not a restaurant recipe or a long held family tradition. Nope; it came about much differently. I'm staying with a friend who finds a lot of recipes she wants to make but many end up in a pile of 'wants' that never happen. Karen had originally planned to make this herself to take to her parents for a get together but those plans went awry with some family conflicts so I offered to make the dish for her. That was a win win; she had a chance to regroup and I was introduced to something new that I really, really loved!
Originally made when we still had basil growing right off the patio and I could grab fistfuls for a simple dish, doing the same now might be more difficult. Except for this wondrous discovery I made! Basil that grows in water. Yes, really!! I bought some last year and though nowhere near as prolific as the plants that thrive outdoors, that little plant served me well throughout last winter so when I saw them at Sprouts recently, I bought one for Karen knowing how much her family loves basil. Settled into a vase with just enough water, it is flourishing in a sunny window in the kitchen making this dish something that can be enjoyed all year without having to dig into a retirement fund to afford those pricey packets in the herb section of the grocery store.
I used a cute pasta I found at Safeway that I don't recall the name of but without them I would have called on my favorite standby, Farfalle. Did you know that the name Farfalle is derived from the Italian word farfalla for butterfly? I will now forever call them butterfly pasta; a descriptive term I think much more appropriate than bowties! This is a great picnic dish as the pasta is served at room temp and it's the perfect blend of ingredients I just love; lemon, ricotta and basil. We heading into winter here and it's something that will help to brighten a gloomy day but also a fantastic, easy dish for a picnic Downunder. Which is where I wish I was right about now. G' Day Mate!'
LEMON RICOTTA BASIL PASTA
8 oz/225g uncooked pasta
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Lemon wedges for garnish (optional)
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of cooking liquid. Combine ricotta and next five ingredients (through pepper) and reserved cooking liquid in a large bowl. Add the pasta and toss to combine. Garnish with lemon wedges if desired and serve immediately. Serves 6-8.
I love this recipe, Barbara, it's fresh and delicious.... and perfect timing, as basil is just starting to flourish in the early warmth of our Australian springtime. Thanks ever so much for your kindness and generosity in sharing a post, especially given that you are in between homes right now. This has given me the opportunity to take a break this weekend. You're the best!
Note: all images in this post appear kind courtesy of Barbara Kiebel and are copyright Barbara Kiebel and Creative Culinary.
Dearest readers, please join me in welcoming Barbara and Creative Culinary to Good Things, and make sure you pop in and sign up to Barbara's regular newsletters and recipe updates. Now tell me, do you grow basil and did you know that it grows in water?!
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.