Posts tagged ‘pasta’

Pasta, Veg, Veg, Veg, Dairy, Fruit

Menu: Mini ravioli with squash, shells, and parmesan shavings * chopped roasted eggplant with red and yellow bell peppers and basil * sauteed spinach * ricotta-yogurt blend with blueberries

Really more of a Thursday kind of supper, where I’m cleaning things out and/or trying not to have to go to the store, but there it was a Saturday and we had no meat or fish thawed or ready in the fridge and it was time for dinner and we are trying not to call Mangia Pizza in these circumstances.

I’d been to the farmers market, so once again I had lovely small Italian heirloom eggplants. I roasted them in a 400-degree oven for 40 minutes, along with a red and two yellow bell peppers. I found half a box of dry-pasta mini-ravioli stuffed with squash next to a quarter-box of shells (why I kept a quarter-box of shells instead of cooking it, I have no idea), and cooked them together (same cooking times). The vegs finished roasting and I peeled and chopped them together in a bowl with olive oil, a splash of balsamic, and a handful of basil from the patio, intending to use them to dress the pasta. Then I remembered the parmesan shavings, so decided to toss those with the pasta instead and serve the eggplant and peppers beside for mix-as-you-go-if-you-like. And so I did.

Finished the meal out with another batch of sauteed spinach (same as the last seven times you’ve seen it here); quick, easy, nutritious, delicious.

For dessert, I came across the end of a small tub of part-skim ricotta, and mixed it with the end of a big container of Brown Cow vanilla yogurt. Served it with blueberries and it was also interesting, though next time I might drain the yogurt a bit first as the dairy mixture separated out just a little towards the end.

About to head to the grocery store to replace all of the used-up-the-tail-ends ingredients above, plus purchase marinade ingredients for either lamb chops or steaks for Sunday dinner…


June 29, 2008 at 4:01 pm Leave a comment

Pork, Beans, Veg, Pasta, Veg

Menu: Sauteed Pork with Broad Bean Ratatouille * Lemon-Pepper Fettucine * Cucumber Tomato Artichoke Salad

We’re trying to watch our wallets and our weight here, so I buy a lot of produce at the farmers market so we have good healthy vegetables, and today I was shopping at Sam’s and came across a huge batch of boneless pork back ribs and thought, “hm, I bet I can do something with that.” I’d been planning some marinating and some braising, but by the time I got home, it was time to find something quick to do for dinner. It wound up taking an hour, but it was worth it.

Sauteed Pork (serves 3; we provide leftovers for an injured friend on Mondays, and I always want them to be good leftovers) (original recipe from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything”… it was for pork chops)

8 boneless back pork ribs
fresh ground sea salt and mixed peppercorns
2 T olive oil
1/2 c vermouth (original recipe called for dry white wine; this was as close as I could get)
1 tsp minced garlic (original says “or 2 T minced shallot, onion, or scallion)
1/2 c water (original says “or chicken, beef, or vegetable stock)
1 T wine vinegar (original says “or freshly squeezed lemon juice, which I might try next time)
a handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 small eggplant
1 red bell pepper
1/4 corno di toro pepper
1 15-oz can broad beans (butter beans or limas)
1 15-oz can cannelini beans

Sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minute.s Add 2 T olive oil; as soon as the first wisps of smoke rise from the oil, add the chops and turn the heat to high. Brown the ribs on all sides, moving them around to develop good color all over. The entire browning process should take no longer than 4 minutes, and preferably less.

Reduce heat to medium. Add vermouth and garlic and cook, turning meat once or twice until wine is all but evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 c water, turn to low, and cover. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, turning meat once or twice, until meat is tender but not dry. When done, they will be firm to the touch, juices will run just slightly pink, and when you cut into them (which you should do if you’re at all unsure of their doneness), the color will be rosy at first glance but quickly turn pale.

(this is where I switch to one of the Eight Ways provided by Mark Bittman, Sauteed With Onions and Peppers, which I change quite a bit)

Leaving everything else in the pan, remove the meat to a preheated oven to warm. Sprinkle chopped sage over before closing oven.

To pan juices, add 1 small eggplant, diced; 1 red bell pepper, diced, and 1/4 corno di toro pepper, minced. Stir, re-cover pan, and cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Remove cover and cook, stirring, until vegs are softened and beginning to brown, about 5 more minutes. Add 1 can broad beans and 1 can cannelini beans, both drained. Moisten with 1/2 c water (or stock), then cook til most liquid is absorbed. Splash wine vinegar over; taste and correct for salt if need be. Keep warm over lowest heat, stirring occasionally.

If you wind up waiting for salad or pasta to be finished, add pork to pan for final warming on low.

Cucumber Tomato Artichoke Salad:
2 medium to large pickling cucumbers (large relative to other pickling cucumbers)
1 medium to large tomato
1/2 can quartered artichoke hearts packed in water
fresh basil
feta cheese
Steen’s cane vinegar

Chop cucumbers; chop tomato. Halve quartered artichoke hearts to make eighthed hearts. Combine in bowl; sprinkle lightly with fresh ground sea salt and cane vinegar. Chiffonade basil; sprinkle over, them add feta cheese to taste (we always add rather a lot). Mix.

How wonderful it would be to use fresh noodles, or almost-fresh noodles, but instead we assayed “al denteTM All-Natural Carba-Nada Lemon Pepper Fettucine Noodles” … which were not that bad. Cook your favorite pasta as you like; serve.

We were going to have fresh blueberries and vanilla yogurt for dessert, but life intervened in the form of someone coming by to buy a bed we’d listed on Craigslist and it got too late.

Chef’s sustenance
Cherry tomatoes out of the bowl… diet tonic water with lime

Chef’s soundtrack
Donovan, “Jersey Thursday” * Doc Watson, “Cotton Eyed Joe” * Joan Osborne, “Make You Feel My Love” * Stevie Ray Vaughan, “Love Struck Baby” * Joe Henry, “Angels” * Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli, “Tiger Rag” * Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Maps” * David Bowie, “Heroes” (Live at The Bridge School Concert) * Jimi Hendrix, “May This Be Love” * The Smiths, “Back to the Old House” * Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd, “Desafinado” * Sparklehorse, “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away” * The Smiths, “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby” * Sting, “I Burn For You” * Fleetwood Mac, “Oh Well, Part 1” * Royskopp, “Remind Me” * Suzy Bogguss, “Comes Love” * Stereolab, “Percolator”

How did it turn out?
I really liked it. It wound up being more work than I’d anticipated, and I always resist “remove from the pan you just got all dirty by cooking into a whole new pan that will get all dirty, just to sit and keep warm in,” but I’m glad I did. I really really wish I’d been able to have fresh noodles. And I will spend the rest of my cooking life trying to make sure I can replicate that salad. Not a drop of oil, just the slight maceration from salting the cukes and tomatoes, and a few shakes of cane vinegar, mixing with the feta cheese, and it was wonderful.

Would I make it again?
Yes, even with low-carb pasta.

June 23, 2008 at 2:22 am 3 comments

Chicken, Pasta, Veg

Menu: baked lemon-rosemary marinated chicken * oven-roasted zucchini romanesco with parmesan shavings * trecce dell’orto pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh basil * vanilla yogurt with fresh blueberries
Wine: Famega vinho verde

I made my grocery run this afternoon to provide main dishes with the farmers market veggie sides this week. Tilapia and salmon from Sam’s, marinated chicken breasts, marinated pork tenderloin, and a flank steak at Central Market.

Zucchini romanesco
1 large-ish zucchini romanesco, purchased from the fine water-challenged growers at Tecalote Farms

Preheat oven to 400. Slice zucchini in half; place cut side down on oven rack. Roast 30 minutes.

Roasted cherry tomatoes
Three dozen cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Drizzle oil on nonstick rimmed baking sheet. Add tomatoes; shake to coat. Place in oven with zucchini. Roast 25-30 minutes.

1 large split boneless chicken breast, marinated in lemon juice with chopped garlic and rosemary by the fine butchers at Central Market
Olive oil
Drizzle olive oil in glass baking dish. Set marinated breast in; place in oven for last 15 minutes of zucchini and tomatoes’ 400-degree baking. Turn oven heat to 375. Continue roasting until chicken reaches safe poultry temperature of 165.

Note: this is the same pasta I cooked last week, and last week I completely mis-read the package. Trecce dell’orto, not trecce dell’oro. Which makes it, rather than “braids of gold,” “braids of the vegetable garden.” It’s a specialty pasta whose multi colors come from vegetable. I love “braids of the vegetable garden” (or, to make it even more fun, “braids of the kitchen garden” or “braids of the market garden”). Boil water; add pasta; cook 10-12 minutes. Drain; toss with butter and fresh-ground salt. Chiffonade a handful of fresh basil leaves.

Plate a zucchini half for each person; grind fresh salt and garlic over, add parmesan shavings and basil chiffonade. Plate a pile of pasta; top with cherry tomatoes and basil chiffonade. Plate chicken. Serve.

For dessert, a handful of blueberries with Brown Cow organic vanilla yogurt over.

Chef’s sustenance:
vodka-tonic (still no gin) with Beemster graskase (a Belgian pilsner for M)

Chef’s soundtrack:
final round of the U.S. Open, play-by-play provided by M as I cooked

How did it turn out?
I loved all of it. M felt the zucchini was bland. I thought it was intensely zucchini-flavored, and loved the rich note of the parmesan, but could experiment next time with a shake of cane vinegar or lemon juice for him. Would have tied it in nicely with the chicken. That chicken, by the way, is now on my standby list of Things To Pick Up At Central Market To Cook Quickly In The Evening. Very nice. And I am convinced that you just cannot go wrong oven-roasting (or sauteeing) cherry tomatoes. It really concentrates the flavor.

Would I make it again?

June 16, 2008 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

Pork, Pasta, Veg

Menu: butterfly pork chops * roasted beet salad * trecce dell’oro pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes * sauteed spinach * peaches with vanilla yogurt
Wine: Peter Lehmann 2005 Barossa shiraz

With a crisper drawer full of kale from the farmers market, I’d found a recipe in The New Best Recipe for Kale with Lentils. To go with, I was thinking of some kind of Indian chicken… a yogurt or tandoori kind of recipe… and then our dog got heatstroke and the hours slipped by and it was too late to marinate anything. Time for a quick Plan B.

I’d roasted chioggia beets from local market vendor Tecolote Farm yesterday, for a salad I do based on one in Mollie Katzen’s Still Life with Menu… roasted beets, an herb, a nut, a cheese, always with fresh-ground salt, pepper, and garlic (I have a grinder for dried garlic), a kind of vinegar, and a kind of oil. The combinations can be a lot of fun. I picked up butterfly center loin pork chops at H-E-B, and had a bag of trecce dell’oro (golden braids) pasta, so thought I would do something vaguely Italian.

Pork chops:
2 butterfly center-cut pork loin chops
olive oil
fresh-ground salt (to lightly cover chop surface)
fresh-ground pepper (to lightly cover chop surface)
fresh-ground Italian herb blend (to lightly cover chop surface)
fresh-ground red pepper flakes (just a bit)
2 dozen cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle slight amount olive oil in bottom of cooking pan. Place pork chops in; grind seasonings over. Turn over; repeat. Scatter cherry tomatoes around and on top. Bake 40-45 minutes or until pork reaches internal temperature of 160-165.

Roasted beet salad
4 beets, greens and tail removed
leafy herbs (choose one like mint or basil; tonight I used basil)
nuts (choose from walnuts, pine nuts, pepitas, hazelnuts; tonight, walnuts)
crumble-able cheese (choose from feta, blue, even tiny mozzarella pearls; tonight, feta)
specialty vinegar (choosed from balsamic, champagne, cane syrup, white wine, etc.; tonight, balsamic)
oil (choose from olive oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil, etc.; tonight, olive)
fresh-ground salt
fresh-ground pepper
garlic (fresh-ground, very finely diced)

Preheat oven to 400. Wrap each beet individually in foil; bake 45 min to 1 hr. Let cool; peels will rub right off. Cut into quarters; slice each quarter in thin slices. Toss in bowl with salt, vinegar, oil, and garlic. Add nuts, cheese, and herbs to taste. Will change anyone’s mind ever about beets.

Trecce dell’oro pasta: Bring water to boil; boil 12 minutes. Toss with butter or olive oil and fresh basil cut in chiffonade. (An amazing technique that works on leafy ingredients from basil to collard greens; stack leaves, roll tight like a cigar; slice thinly across roll to create lovely thin ribbons.)

Sauteed spinach: In large saute pan or wok, heat a drizzle of olive or other oil on high. Add fresh spinach (for 2, somewhere between 6 and 8 oz); quickly stir. Grind fresh salt and/or garlic over. Continue to stir as if stir-frying. Entire cooking process takes 2 minutes at most. No other ingredients needed, though various vinegars can be quite good. I’ve used everything from mirin and soy sauce with rice vinegar, to lemon juice, to balsamic, to nothing else.

To plate: Pork chop, spinach, pasta, each in a separate pile; roasted cherry tomatoes atop pasta. Great eaten individually or mixed. (I am a one-thing-at-a-time girl; M likes some of everything.)

After dinner, take the recovering dog for a short, slow walk down the block and back. Come back; peel and chop peaches, drizzle with vanilla yogurt. Enjoy, but not as much as if they were Chilton County peaches (a whole nother post).

Chef’s sustenance:
Vodka-tonic with lime (note to self: pick up gin)

Chef’s soundtrack:
Flaco Jimenez, “Sorry Boy”
Professor Longhair, “Big Chief”
Bill Murray, “More Than This”
Moby, “Novio”
Journey, “Send Her My Love”
Sia, “Breathe Me”
The Pogues, “Love You ‘Til The End”
Marty Robbins, “That’s All Right”
The Holmes Brothers, “And I Love Her”
Suzanne Vega, “Ironbound/Fancy Poultry”
Crowded House, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”
Johnny Cash, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”
Paul Simon, “She Moves On”

How did it turn out?
The pork was a little tough, but the flavors were good. I don’t know whether I overcooked it (I was careful about the internal temp) or if it’s just the meat. Anything with a farmers market ingredient was terrific… fresh, fresh, fresh. The beet salad, the cherry tomatoes… the definition of the flavors.

Would I make it again?
This is a recipe I vary up frequently. Cherry tomatoes either are roasted or sauteed to mix with pasta. Pork chops take all kinds of seasonings.

Note: Tecolote Farm is a great example of a local farmer struggling to make it work. There was an article in the Austin American-Statesman a couple of weeks ago about how overuse of water in their area (to water playing fields) could cost them everything. I feel absolutely obliged to buy something from them every week now. And their plight makes me think twice about the length of my showers.

June 9, 2008 at 2:02 am Leave a comment

Some of my cookbooks

In no order except for how they appear in my LibraryThing cookbook catalog: True Women Cookbook: Original Antique Recipes, Photographs, & Family Folklore, Janice Woods Windle (1997) * Made in Texas; H-E-B's 100th Anniversary Cookbook (2005) * The Texas Cowboy Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos, Robb Walsh (2007) * The Silver Palate Cookbook, Julee Rosso, Sheila Lukins (1982) * In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks, Ti Adelaide Martin & Lally Brennan (2007) * Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine, Daniel Boulud (2006) * Moosewood Cookbook : Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, Mollie Katzen (1977) * Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans, Susan Spicer (2007) * Saveur Cooks Authentic American: By the Editors of Saveur Magazine, ed. Colman Andrews (1998)

Twitter Updates

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3 other followers