Monday, February 6, 2012

An Elegant Birthday Dinner: Brandy's Virtual Party!

Welcome to Nutmeg Nanny's Virtual Surprise Birthday Party! She's turning the big 3-0 and a few of us decided to surprise her with a fun and virtual dinner party! Our host, Jessie over at Living Mostly Meatless, was the mastermind behind all this and I'm so happy to be part of this joint and delicious effort! Brandy a.k.a. Nutmeg Nanny is such a sweet person, with a great sense of humor! She'll help you find a wedding dress in less than a few hours, as well as creates the most delicious recipes on her blog. Since I've been assigned the pasta course, I poked around her blog and here are some of HER pasta recipes: Pasta with Shrimp & Feta; Pasta & Pancetta in Smoky Tomato Sauce; and Poblano Macaroni and Cheese.

Now, what did I bring to the party? Since I know her love for pasta, I wanted to create a pasta as unique and special as Brandy. One full of flavor but quick to make, and the only rule was that it had to contain bacon (that was my own made up rule!)

Quinoa Linguine with Cherry Tomatoes & Bacon
with Avocado and Lime Dressing

Lately, quinoa pasta has become my love affair. I make it about twice a week, tweaking recipes and trying out new methods. This has been one of the best results: smoky bacon, fresh cherry tomatoes and a silky and raw avocado and lime sauce. You'll dirty one pot and one saute pan, plus a pair of tongs. Quick, flavorful and a healthy lunch idea, or better yet, as a side dish to a protein for dinner.

Last touches are added with the Avocado Lime sauce

Quinoa Linguine with Cherry Tomatoes & Bacon
with Avocado and Lime Dressing

1, 8 ounce package quinoa linguine

2 medium avocados, chopped
1 lime, juiced and zested
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

6 strips of bacon, diced
1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes, halved

  1. Cook quinoa linguine as instructed on box. Strain and reserve.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix avocados, lime juice and half of lime zest, mayonnaise and olive oil. Blend with immersion blender (or regular blender) until smooth. Adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. 
  3. Cook bacon in cast iron pan and add cherry tomatoes when bacon is desired crispness. Do NOT remove bacon fat, this adds flavor to dish. 
  4. Stir in Avocado Lime sauce and serve. Sprinkle with lime zest and if you have extra avocado lime sauce, serve with a dollop on top.

Now head on over and congratulate Brandy by following her on Twitter: @NutmegNanny. Want to see what everyone else brought to the party?

Meat- Heather over at 
Dessert- Barbara over at

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