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Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

I don’t usually worry too much about sending my husband to the store for me. I know some women cringe when their husbands say, “I can go to the store…,” but Gary’s pretty good about knowing what I’m referring to and not coming back with a whole bunch of unnecessary items, unless it’s a Take 5 candy bar of course. Though he did come back with a Nerf basketball hoop once…

Well last week I was going to make tzatziki sauce (I really should post that recipe sometime) but I was low on dill. I meant dry dill but I wasn’t very explicit about it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fresh herbs, but they’re too expensive for most occasions. So Gary, who’s getting very familiar with all my chef-like idiosyncrasies at this point, went straight for the fresh dill. Never even thought about the dried stuff. Both work just fine in a recipe of course but damn, what do I do with all this fresh dill now? I only needed like a tablespoon for my tzatziki.

And so one day we were trying to figure out what to have for dinner. We’ve been eating at home a lot these days. We eat at home at lot normally I guess, but we’ve not even been going out on weekends lately (… $$$). So we’re getting a little tired of our usual pasta-stir fry-tacos-pizza standbys. We even had paninis one night (the only thing a George Foreman grill is actually good for). Well, it was about time for pasta again in our dinner rotation and I thought the dill might make for an interesting sauce. You never know until you try right?

Well I freaking loved it!

It’s super fragrant, hot and spicy, but not in a sriracha-thai food-makes you sweat way; in a pungent-peppery-this isn’t your grandma’s pasta way. I served it with gluten-free noodles, mushrooms and broccoli. I think leeks would have been great but I didn’t have any on hand.

This would probably go well as a sauce for a main item like broiled tofu, or salmon if you swim that way. Maybe even a dip for crudités (just use less liquid). If you aren’t a big dill fan I would probably keep on walkin, but if you are a dill dabbler you should definitely give this a go. We’ll certainly be making it again, and my husband even said he’d eat it again (sometimes he likes something but only for that evening :)).

Dill Cream Sauce

  • 12 oz extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
  • ~ 10 sprigs fresh dill, more or less to preference
  • 1 cup veggie stock or bean juice
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • Juice from 1 lemon, or 2 if they’re dry
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper, or to taste

Pull the little dill fronds off the stems. Place the tofu, dill fronds, soy milk and garlic in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree again. Take it easy on the salt and pepper and taste as you go. I like a lot of salt and pepper, but you may not have such a high tolerance for it. Pour the sauce into a small pot and gently warm it up. Pour over cooked pasta or whatever your heart desires. Enjoy!

I think that was possibly the shortest recipe I’ve ever typed out! If you want to make this but aren’t sure what goes with dill, you should check out the Flavor Bible book. I absolutely love this thing. It’s not all-inclusive of course but it’s a wonderful springboard for your imagination.

I wasn’t planning on this dish turning out so I didn’t have a photo op setup so the pictures are fairly mediocre. But you can still see the colors well. I think the light minty green hue of the cream sauce is nice. 🙂

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This past month has totally flown by! School’s been keeping me so busy; I still haven’t had any time to get in my own kitchen and make anything. And on top of all my school stuff, both my computer and cell phone decided to die on me, so I’ve had lots of fun and expensive things to deal with lately.

I have, however, found time to make lunch and dinner, of course. I know I usually (lately) only post dessert stuff, but something’s better than nothing right?

My husband and I are members of a local CSA (community supported agriculture) so I never know what veggies I’ll have to cook with until we go pick up our share every Sunday. Eating seasonally can be challenging, but once you figure out some basics and get creative with what’s available in your fridge it can be a lot of fun. And sometimes very pretty!

Some last-minute randomness a few weeks ago turned into this gorgeous combination of kale-cilantro pesto, roasted red beets, patty pan squash and turnips. Just look at how beautiful it is! I absolutely love the colors mother nature gives us.

Any random combination of veggies could go together to make this dish, so I won’t get all specific about the veggies. Just select what you want and cut them in half, lightly oil the cut sides, place them cut-side down in a baking dish and roast them at 375 until you can pierce them easily with a fork. Keep in mind that different veggies cook at different rates so not everything will be done at the same time.

Once they’ve cooled enough to touch, peel them if necessary, slice into 1/4 inch wedges or so. Place them in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and some minced cilantro. Try adding a little bit of olive oil and a splash of sweet white wine.

For the pasta I used gluten-free macaroni, but any type of pasta will do. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the noodles until al dente; drain and keep warm.

Kale-Cilantro Pesto

  • 4 C kale
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C cilantro
  • 1/4 C roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3 T water (or more olive oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 – 3/4 t black pepper

Typically pesto is made from uncooked ingredients, but I decided to blanch the kale for a minute before making the sauce. Blanching tends to help tone down some of the bitterness in leafy greens. If you decide to blanch, bring a pot of water to boil, toss in the kale and let it cook for about a minute. Plunge the kale into an ice bath once that minute it over to stop the cooking and then drain it.

Toss the cashews into a coffee grinder, preferably one not used to grind coffee or you’re gonna get some off flavors. Grind up the cashews.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until everything is evenly combined. Toss the pasta with the pesto and then add the veggies and tuck in!

Well, there you have it. I have about five more weeks of school left, so hopefully this blogging dry spell will end soon. Until then, happy eating!

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Would still just be cheesy sauce I guess. This stuff probably doesn’t even taste like cheese but one of the good things about not having had cheese in a few years is that you don’t quite remember what it tastes like. I have a friend in North Portland that would scoff at that, and I think one in Tigard too – I’m not sure they think there’s really anything good about not eating cheese.

I came across Vegan Yum Yum’s cheese sauce recipe quite awhile ago. But being that there are about 13 ingredients in it I often find myself lacking one or two of them, or I just can’t bring myself to put 1/3 cup of butter and 1/3 cup of cashews in it. Thankfully, this conglomerate is quite forgiving and flexible. I don’t think I’ve made it the same way twice.

Last Saturday the old man and I (he called me old lady already so it’s payback time) went to Higgin’s for dinner before going to The Decemberists show at the Schnitzer (phenomenal show by the way). Higgin’s technically has nothing to do with my cheesy pasta, but since we went to a nice place for dinner we did the whole before, during and after dinner drinks thing. Then we had wine at the show (well I did, the old man stepped on his – but I was nice enough to share). That said, I was just a teeny tiny bit hung-over on Sunday. My favorite hangover food? Aside from pizza? Mac and cheese!!!

So whether or not it tastes like cheese I don’t really give a damn. It’s good. It’s versatile. It’s healthy. And it hits the spot. Nothing like carbs the day after!

This time I found myself without carrots, and I didn’t feel like using butter or tahini. So I threw a few slices of orange bell pepper and sesame oil in the mix and gave it a whirl. I used gluten-free pasta and added some arugula, broccoli, olives and mushrooms (I just don’t feel right eating pasta with just pasta).

So, here it is.

Cheesy Pasta (vegan and gluten-free)

  • 2 medium red potatoes
  • Half an orange bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup whole cashews (roasted, unsalted)
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • Couple dabs of mustard
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T red miso
  • A few splashes of GF tamari
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • ½ t vinegar (light tasting)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Several dashes of paprika, thyme, basil, sage, cayenne

Roughly chop the potatoes, throw them in a pan and cover with water. You can peel them if you want but I don’t think it’s necessary. Boil until soft and drain the water.

Grind the cashews in a small food processor, blender, or coffee grinder.

Add the cashews and everything else to the pan with the potatoes. Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You can use a normal blender if you don’t have an immersion blender.

Poor over cooked pasta and veggies. Mix. Eat.

This makes a decent amount of cheesy sauce. I cooked about 9 ounces of pasta and still had 3/4 – 1 cup left over. I like to munch on the remains with chips or veggies. You can throw some jalapenos, tomatoes and Mexican spices in and call it nachos. Enjoy.

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i make gnocchi

For some reason the thought of making pasta always scares me.  Probably because I have never done it.  Until now.  Well, at least I’ve made one type of pasta (which will probably turn out to be the easiest one).

Making gnocchi seemed like it would be a daunting task as it takes quite a bit of your time, which is why it took me several months to get around to making it.  But in reality it just takes quite a bit of your oven’s time, and like he has anything else to do anyway.  I guess if you’re used to throwing something in the microwave gnocchi would still fall under time consuming, but I had the dough formed, rolled, cut and grooved in probably under 30 minutes – my husband didn’t even realize I was in the kitchen making something.

I’m guessing you would typically use a baking potato to make gnocchi, but I had randomly picked up some small red potatoes at Trader Joes the other day so that’s what I used.  I may be biased but I think they worked rather well.

Another deterrent for me making gnocchi was the fact that almost every recipe I see uses an egg.  After having successfully made it with only 3 ingredients, none of which are eggs, I am somewhat baffled as to why you would need an egg to make this at all.

And to top it all off my sister and brother-in-law bought me a potato ricer for my birthday!  What the hell is a potato ricer??  That’s what I said the first time I heard the word.  Is it for potatoes?  Is it for rice?  I guess most people consider them unnecessary kitchen gadgets, but I think it’s kind of nifty.  Basically it’s a great big garlic press that squeezes tiny little strips of potato out.  Mine even manages to remove the skin for you (it’s magic).  You can probably mash up a potato with a fork or masher or food processor, but I’m thinking consistency plays an important role in the gnocchi.

So being that I had the potatoes and a potato ricer, and even some left over marinara in the fridge, I no longer had any excuse to not make gnocchi.  I even found a recipe that didn’t use eggs.

Gnocchi, from In Jennie’s Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 lbs of potatoes
  • 3/4 C organic, unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

What you do

Heat the oven up to 400.  Stab the potatoes a few times with a fork and place them on the middle rack or in a pan.  I put mine in a pan and put foil over them halfway through the baking period as I wasn’t sure if they would dry out (I don’t bake a lot of potatoes).  Bake for about an hour or until the potatoes are soft enough to pierce, or accidentally smash.

Once they are cool enough to touch, grab a bowl and your potato ricer and, well, rice them.

Add the flour and salt and mix with a spoon until it’s mostly homogenized.  Then use your hands and shape it into a ball of dough.

Now divide your dough.  I only divided it into 3 portions but more would have made it easier to roll out into ropes.  Place the pieces on a floured surface and use your hands to roll them out (like you used to do with playdoh).

Gently cut the ropes into pieces; mine were about 3/4 – 1 inch long.  This is where you put the little grooves in the gnocchi.  They have wooden paddles specially designed for this, but I don’t have one.  I took Jennie’s suggestion and used my pastry cutter.  I rolled mine with the cutter on a cutting board but placing it in your hand and doing it that way may work just a tad better.

When you’re ready to eat, get a pot of salted water boiling and boil the gnocchi for 2 – 3 minutes; they float when they’re ready.  Use a slotted spoon and transfer them to a plate or dish.  And word to the wise, don’t place them on a paper towel (they stick).

Top with whatever sauce and accompaniments you desire and tuck in!  We were a little low on veggies so we got frozen peas and black olives.

They were soooo yummy!!!  This recipe supposedly serves 4 but Gary and I gobbled it all up without a second thought.  Definitely worth making!

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In a perfect world you would always have a vibrantly green basil plant growing on your kitchen windowsill, and ¼ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of pine nuts wouldn’t affect your hips at all. In my world, however, I have yet to plant some basil, the grocery store charges out the wazoo for it, and 102 grams of fat in one pan of pasta scares the bigeezes out of me. So I gave my friend pesto a little face lift. It’s still a work in progress, but it wasn’t bad the first time out of the gate, especially since I pretty much closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, and resolved myself to eat whatever despicable mess would turn out to be my dinner since I had no idea what I was doing. It didn’t turn out so bad though…

A long time ago I saw an asparagus pesto recipe on the FFV. Yesterday I was trying to figure out what the hell to make for dinner when little butternut squashes started dancing around in my head. “Hmmm…,” I said to myself, “Why not?”  But before I begin I wish not to lead you astray so let me warn you that it would taste a lot better with all that olive oil in it, not to mention fresh basil (definitely go get some fresh basil), but the 30-some-odd grams of fat in my sauce pan is worth the missing flavor of the other 70ish.  That’s 30-some-odd divided by 4 meals by the way, just remember that (you do need some fat or you will kick the bucket).

ButternutSpinachPesto

So basically I cubed up a small (1-1.5 lbs) butternut squash (I know you can’t see it, that spinachy green overtook every bit of orange), seasoned it with salt, pepper, basil, etc. and pan-fried it for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile I ground up 1/3 cup of whole raw almonds and 5 cloves garlic in a food processor.  I added about 1 T olive oil, 1-2 T lemon juice, 2 T water, 1/8 – 1/4 C white wine, 1 T dried basil, 1-2 tsp oregano, and salt and pepper.  Then I added about 2 cups packed baby spinach (this is where you would rather use fresh basil – and if so omit the dried stuff).  I pulsed all that up in the Cuisinart and once the butternut squash was cooked and cooled enough I threw it in with the rest of the ingredients and pulsed some more.  E va bene! Buon appetito!

I cooked about 12 ounces of spaghetti and there was a little pesto left over, which turned out to be pretty tasty on a tortilla chip.

This recipe isn’t perfect, but it’s a good base and a good way to incorporate more veggies into a pasta dish.  Be creative!  I would try adding some nutritional yeast if you make it.  If you have a larger squash reserve some of the pan-fried pieces so you have some texture in your dish.

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Typically I’d have some witty repartee to greet you with, or I think I’m witty… anyway, but as I’ve just spent far too many minutes simply typing out the recipe, my brain is shot.  Tonight’s dinner:

IMG_2149

  • 6oz silken tofu
  • ¼ C whole, raw cashews or almonds
  • 1 T olive oil or grape seed oil
  • 1 C soy milk, or other non-dairy milk
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ C white wine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Rosemary, oregano, basil, to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Red pepper flakes, optional
  • Onion powder, to taste
  • ¼ C water, if it appears to be too thick
  • Dab of mustard
  • ½ C nutritional yeast (large flake)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 T rice flour (or sorghum, wheat, white, etc.)
  • 2 T ground flaxseed and 6 T hot water
  • 10oz frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 jar or can of artichokes hearts, drained and rinsed
  • Half a large zucchini, sliced
  • Bread crumbs from 1-2 slices bread mixed with a little oil and spices
  • 8oz spaghetti

Geez that’s a long list of ingredients!  I had no idea…  You can imagine me spinning around in my kitchen grabbing all these things at various points in my cooking soirée this evening.  Perhaps you can’t actually since you don’t know what my kitchen looks like…  Anyway, the other day, or month rather, I made this pasta pie dish from the Goddess.  It wasn’t bad but the sauce wasn’t quite to my liking.  Due to my recent excursion with an ice cream maker I had half a block of silken tofu sitting in my fridge, begging to be done with – something, anything, it didn’t care.  So we talked and it agreed that tonight it should become a part of dinner.

Let us commence.  Ahem..

For the sauce: place the tofu, cashews, olive oil, and ¼ cup of the soy milk into a blender.  This is where you’re going to connive your way into using the food processor but trust me, the blender gets it better, more smooth that is.  Puree the above until smooth, likely after scraping down the sides a few times with a spatula.  If you’re using rosemary and it’s not already ground up, throw it in the blender as well. 

Spray a little olive oil in a sauce pan over medium/ low – medium heat.  Sautee the garlic for a minute or two until fragrant.  Add the rest of the milk, tofu mixture, wine and stir.  Add the seasonings and mustard.  If the sauce appears too thick add some water, I added ¼ cup.  Next stir, or whisk, in the nutritional yeast.

This would be it for the sauce but since this is going to end up as a “torta” we must make it sticky.  Whisk the ground flaxseed with the hot water, or use Ener-G for 2 eggs.  Add it to the sauce as well as the baking powder and flour.  Now this caused a few lumps in my pan so you may want to consider sifting in the baking powder and flour.  Stir until combined, let simmer a moment, and remove from heat.

Moving on, if you haven’t already cooked your pasta, now’s a good time to do that.  Drain.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350.

If you didn’t previously thaw the spinach, heat a pan over medium heat and put the spinach in to thaw.  I cut the artichokes into eighths and added them to the pan of spinach.  Sautee for a few minutes with some salt, pepper, oregano, etc.  Remove from heat.

You should use a deep pie pan or pyrex, or a spring form pan worked well for me.  Place the drained pasta into the baking dish and add about half the sauce.  Mix it well and try to get the noodles to be spread somewhat evenly.  Arrange the sliced zucchini next in the pan, and dabble some sauce over it.  Next add the spinach and artichokes, cover with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle the breadcrumbs.*

Bake for about 25 minutes, then turn the broiler on for just a few minutes to brown the top.  Let cool.  Slice.  Enjoy.

*I never buy premade breadcrumbs – it just strikes me as silly.  Toast 1-2 pieces of bread in your toaster and then tear it into pieces and place in a mini food processor, or a blender.  Add some seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, etc.) and a little olive oil and pulse it until crumbly.

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So I was having my backup meal tonight, which is pasta with red sauce.  My default topping for pasta is typically broccoli [sigh].  Don’t get me wrong, I love broccoli, but sometimes you just don’t want something green.  Well, I waltz into my kitchen, look to the left of my stove, and what do you know, I have a butternut squash sitting there, begging to be eaten!  I was excited.  Usually I roast the squash, which takes eons so I didn’t feel like doing it.  Instead, I chopped the little guy up, threw on some salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano, and pan-fried em.  The result, very tasty atypical pasta!  The slight sweetness of the squash went very well with the salty red sauce.  Yes, they look like home fries but don’t be fooled!  Butternut squash season is basically over I believe but you should keep this in mind.  They worked well by themselves as a finger food too.

butternut-squash

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