Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Favorites: Squash and Rice Casserole

July 10, 2018

I don’t make many new things during the summer.  There are barely enough weeks to get in all my favorites!  This is a favorites week.  And this is a dish I’ll eat three meals a day until it’s gone.  I “even it up” in the dish the way some people do with cake.  Ok, I do it with cake too.

If you’ve ever been to a summer potluck in the South you’ve had your pick of squash casseroles.  And if you haven’t, get yourself to one ASAP.  There’s not much better in my book than a table full of six kinds of macaroni salad and nine squash casseroles.  Throw in some deviled eggs and fried chicken and I might never leave.  But I digress.  I love squash casserole.  All kinds of squash casserole.  But this is the only one I ever make at home.  That should tell you something about how good it is.

I found the original recipe for this many, many years ago in a Cooking Light magazine. You’ll see that I’ve made some modifications such that it’s not so light anymore.  Mostly that’s because I don’t believe in low-fat or fat-free cheese.  I have used brown rice instead of white, but I don’t like the texture much.  I have used plain yogurt instead of sour cream, which works fine.  I increased the squash to rice ratio as well.

So, here’s what you need: (ignore that cottage cheese in the back, you don’t need that)

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  • 6-7 C sliced summer squash and/or zucchini (I like both)
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 C cooked rice
  • 1/2 C sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 oz sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1/2-1 C bread crumbs, stuffing mix, and/or panko

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Bring 1-2 C water to a boil in a medium sized pot
  • Add the garlic, onion, squash and some salt
  • Simmer until the squash is cooked, but not mushy

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  • Drain the squash in a colander, pressing out excess liquid with the back of a spoon
  • In a large bowl add the rice and sour cream.  Stir until mixed.
  • Fold in the squash

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  • Stir in the beaten egg
    • TIP:  The mixture in your bowl is probably really hot.  You don’t want to scramble the egg.  So, either set your egg out early so it’s closer to room temp when you add it, or add 1-2 pieces of the hot squash to the egg to raise the temperature slowly without causing a curdle.
  • Fold in most of the cheese (leave a little for the top)

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  • Stir in the bread crumbs (I used half panko and half stuffing mix)
  • Dump everything into an 8×8 glass baking dish
  • Bake 30-40 minutes until the cheese is slightly brown and the edges are bubbly

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This is SO good.  It doesn’t cut into squares, so spoon it out.  Then even it up as much as you want!

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Fresh Corn Salsa

July 7, 2018

My two favorite summer foods – tomatoes and fresh corn.  Throw in some onions, jalapeno, lime juice and spices and you’ve got salsa!  This is my favorite salsa.  You can do anything with it.  Eat it with Scoops as is.  Add black beans and serve it as a side dish.  Add chicken or shrimp, maybe some rice, and eat it as a main dish.  Super fresh, super easy/IMG_2671

The corn is the hardest part.  Shuck and silk it first.  No cooking needed.  My tip is that you keep your hands as dry as possible for the silking.  Water makes the silks sticky and hard to remove.  Then get a wide, shallow bowl and a sharp knife.  Put one end of the cob into the bowl and cut the kernels off.  The bowl will catch the kernels.  Then dice the onion about the same size as the corn kernels.  It makes the salsa easier to eat and it looks nicer.

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Seed the jalapeno and dice it finely.  Add the juice of one lime.  Add cumin, chili powder and salt to taste.  You can add chopped fresh cilantro if you like.

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Here’s another tip.  Don’t add the tomatoes until you’re ready to serve it.  You can refrigerate the corn mixture.  Tomatoes get mealy and lose flavor in the fridge so add them at the last minute.  You can make extra of the corn mixture.  It will keep for 2-3 days.  Just take out what you need and add tomatoes to it.

Enjoy!

 

Leftover Greens Twice Baked Potatoes

June 3, 2018

It’s the end of my vacation week and I’m off on a business trip in the morning.  The last dinner before travel is often a very strange assortment of odds and ends from the week.  I didn’t have a lot leftover this week except some greens.  I decided to make myself a nice meal to close out my vacation, and still use up the fridge odds and ends.  I have to say this is a darn good use of greens that were leaning toward the wilty side.

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Here’s what I had left:  6-7 leaves of lacinato kale; 1/3 of a large container of baby spinach; 1 spring onion; and part of a bunch of parsley.  I also had the last of a buttermilk parmesan dressing that I served with charred vegetables earlier in the week and a little cheddar.

You can use whatever you have.  Leek tops, chard, beet greens, turnip greens.  You’ll need a little liquid – milk or cream or stock.  And a little cheese or plain yogurt never hurt a stuffed potato!

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 400
  • Bake the potato, unwrapped, on the oven rack
  • Chop all the greens
  • Boil a small pot of water, add salt
  • Add the heaviest greens first, then the more fragile ones
  • Drain the greens into a colander and squeeze out any excess water
  • When a fork goes through easily the potato is done – an hour plus, so plan ahead
  • Slice the potato longways
  • Use a spoon to scoop the potato into a bowl
  • Mash the potato and add the greens
  • Add 3-4 T of liquid
  • Stir the mixture to incorporate ingredients evenly, adding more liquid as needed   (I ended up using about 1/4 C)
  • Stir in the cheese
  • Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato skins
  • Bake another 10-15 minutes

Here’s how it turned out:

Hard to go wrong with a twice baked potato! This is a nice upgrade from the sour cream, bacon and cheese version.  This is a way to get some greens in for folks who aren’t big fans.  If you want to hide them a little further, put the greens and a little liquid into a food processor and chop until smooth before adding them back to the potatoes.  You’ll end up with fun, green potatoes!

This would make a entree easily.  I had mine alongside a little steak and some of the spinach sauteed with garlic.

Farewell vacation!  It has been wonderful to sew and cook and bake and run and hang out with the pups.  Next, we’re back to easy weeknight recipes with leftovers!

Chicken Green Masala – Wow!

May 21, 2018

It’s been a while!  I haven’t made anything very interesting lately, but this is a major comeback dish!  If you’ve been reading then you know I love Indian food.  And I’m overjoyed to find that I can make a darn good version of many dishes at home.  I’m incapable of cooking for one so I love dishes that make good leftovers. Check!  And I love versatile dishes.  Check!

This is a variation of a dish from my Rasika cookbook.  Rasika is my favorite Indian restaurant.  It’s in DC so I get to go there a few times a year.  Just can’t say enough good things about it.  If you have a chance, make a trip there.  If you don’t, get the cookbook.  This dish is really popular in the restaurant.  It’s described as really spicy so I’ve been afraid to try it there.  Maybe a good call.  My version made my nose run and my forehead sweat!

Let’s start with the masala.  You can make this ahead.  I love blender sauces because the chopping is minimal.  Note that you use the cilantro stems here.  Love that too, less waste.  Now let’s talk about the chiles.  The recipe calls for 10 Thai chiles.  I’ll admit that my chile knowledge is pretty minimal, but that sound super hot to me.  Medical emergency inducing hot.  My grocery store didn’t have any Thai chiles yesterday so I got a serrano and a jalapeno.  Honestly I didn’t notice that the recipe said 10 chiles until I started.  Just as well.  Plenty hot.  Plenty.  I did include the veins and seeds of both peppers because I was afraid of missing the mark by a lot.  That was a good call if you like spicy.

Here’s what you need for the herb puree: (serves 4)

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  • 1 smallish bunch cilantro, amounting to 2 cups roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C packed fresh mint leaves (spearmint)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 large jalapeno, roughly chopped
  • 1 small serrano, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/4 C fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 C water

Here’s what you do:

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  • Put everything in a blender and puree 2-3 minutes until very smooth

Make the puree a day before if you like.  The chicken doesn’t take very long making this an easy weeknight meal.  I cheated some on the chicken.  The recipe calls for whole cardamom pods; a cinnamon stick; and whole cloves.  I have all of those thing.  What I don’t have is a spice grinder.  So, moving to ground. I had cardamom and cinnamon, but no ground cloves.  Grr.  What I did have was garam masala.  It includes all of the required spices plus a few other things.  Close enough!

Here’s what you need for the chicken:

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  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 C finely chopped onion
  • 1-1 1/2 lbs chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T garam masala
  • 2/3 C unsweetened coconut milk

Here’s what you do:

  • Heat the oil in a heavy pot (with a lid) until the oil shimmers (no smoke)
  • Add the onions and saute until soft, but not brown
  • Add chicken, turmeric and salt
  • Cook with the lid on for 4-5 minutes, stirring a few times
  • Add the herb mixture, coconut milk, and garam masala
  • Bring to a boil
  • Cook 5 minutes, until the chicken is done

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Serve with rice, naan, and yogurt or cucumber raita.

One note.  When you cook the chicken with the lid on it traps the moisture inside, adding a little liquid to your pot.  It keeps the chicken from sticking and burning.

So, what’s versatile about this dish?  You can control the heat.  Leave the chiles out completely if you like.  It’s super easy to make as a vegetarian dish.  Make it with tofu or seitan instead of chicken.  You can control the schedule.  Do the puree ahead or do the whole thing ahead. This dish is designed to eat the next day.  This puree would be good on roasted cauliflower or with shrimp.

I only made 1/2 the recipe, and those are the amounts I’ve provided.  It’s still easily 3-4 servings even without a side dish.  I will say that I made a full cup or cucumber raita and used nearly half of it tonight.  I’m ok with that.  I really enjoyed the heat and was really grateful for the relief as well!

Here’s how it turned out: (cookbook photo on the left, mine on the right)

HOT!  But so yummy.  I’ll make it again for sure.  I’m guessing I’ll make this cilantro puree a lot.  Without the chiles it would be fantastic as a dip for bread or roasted vegetables.  Nice as a sauce for rice as a side dish.  And a great way to use up cilantro stems!

Greens and Gruyere Tart

May 6, 2018

It’s been a heck of a busy weekend here.  It’s the first full weekend I’ve been at home since March!  So, yesterday I put in most of the garden.  Not quite warm enough yet for beans and cowpeas.  You’ll be hearing plenty about the garden in the coming months.  Yesterday was outside, so today had to be inside.  Many hours of cleaning. SO tired.  I might have punted and had wine with cheese and crackers for dinner, but I’ve been planning for this tart for a while.

I had odds and ends of greens from last week – chard, leeks, green onions.  And for some time now I’ve been in a quest to find a use for the green tops of leeks.  It just kills me that most recipes only call for the whites.  I’ve been throwing away 2/3 of the leeks for years.  I hate that!  No more.  Now I know I can saute and eat them like other greens.  Win!  I also had some leek whites leftover so that was my starting place.

Honestly, when you search recipe sites for leeks, this is about the first thing that comes up on most of them.  Let me warn you.  It takes a long time from the time you start to the time you eat, even with a store bought crust, so plan accordingly.  Fortunately it’s not difficult and since it sits for 30 minutes after it’s cooked, it’s perfect for having people over.

I’ll do a separate post about cleaning leeks.  And you do have to clean them.  They’re filthy.  I mean actual mud in between the layers.  So be diligent about the cleaning.  No one likes a gritty meal.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 pie crust – store bought or make your own
  • Assortment of chopped greens – shard, leek tops – about 4 cups
  • 1 leek and 2 green onions, whites and light greens only, chopped
  • 3 T fat/oil (bacon grease, olive oil, butter – or a combination)
  • 1 T flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 C half and half
  • 1 C grated gruyere, divided
  • 1/4 t grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper

Here’s what you do:

For the crust:

  • Preheat oven to 450
  • Place crust in pie pan
  • Prick crust with a fork
  • Line the bottom with parchment
  • Top with pie weights or dried beans
  • Bake 10 minutes
  • Remove weights and parchment
  • Prick crust again, bake another 5-7 minutes, until crust is done

For the filling (while the crust bakes)

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Grate gruyere, set aside
  • In a large, heavy pan, heat 2 T fat
  • Add leek tops and saute 7-8 minutes, until fairly soft
  • Add chard (or other soft greens) and saute another 3 minutes
  • Remove the greens from the pan and set aside to cool
  • Add 1 T fat and heat to a shimmer
  • Add leeks and green onions, saute 8-10 minutes

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  • Add 1 T flour, stir 1-2 minutes

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  • Remove from heat and set aside, mixing with greens
  • In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs
  • Add half and half, nutmeg, salt, and pepper
  • Whisk together

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  • Stir in greens and leeks

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  • Layer 1/2 the gruyere on the bottom of the crust

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  • Pour in filling, spread evenly

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  • Top with remaining cheese

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  • Bake at 375 30-35 minutes until center is set

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  • Remove from the oven and let sit another 20-30 minutes before serving

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Here’s how it turned out:

So good I ate two pieces!  Granted, this looks a lot more like brunch than a dinner after a weekend of killing yourself around the house and yard.  I’m shocked at how filling it is.  Only 2 eggs in the whole thing!  I threw together a little salad to have on the side.  A perfect brunch for guests to be sure, but I’ll be eating this for breakfast, lunch or dinner this week!

Try it with different greens or bacon or another hard, sharp cheese.  Serve it with grits or potatoes or fruit, in addition to a small salad.  Good warm and at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Runner’s World Chickpea Salad

May 3, 2018

I’m a runner.  Not a fast runner.  Not a good runner.  But a runner.  So, of course I have the Runner’s World Cookbook.  I haven’t made much from it, but this seemed like a good option for a long week that’s turned hot!  And for those of you who, like me, are always on the lookout for something new to take to cookouts and potlucks, this is a fantastic choice.  No mayonnaise so it can sit out.  Vegetarian and gluten-free, so workable for almost everyone.  And for the runners out there, it’s listed as “recovery” food.  It also takes about 15 minutes and one bowl to make so hard to beat all around.

If I had to describe this dish in one word it would be, “Zing!”  There are a lot of sharp flavors in here:  red onion, raw garlic, raw ginger, and jalapeno.  Those will wake you right up!  Fortunately there’s a lot of sweet to balance them out:  dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, and parsley.  And then the salt:  feta, smoked almonds, and salt.  In the background, really as the delivery vehicle, are the chickpeas.  Creamy and neutral.  This is good stuff.

And it’s beyond easy.  Drain, grate, dice, chop, dump.  Then for the dressing, measure and shake.  That’s it.

Image result for tip  Do read the directions carefully.  And this applies to every recipe.  There’s a difference between “1C chopped parsley” and “1C parsely, chopped.”  In the first one the measuring happens after the chopping (which means you need more than a cup to start with).  In the second one, you measure first and then chop what you have.

Here’s what you need:

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  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 C smoked almonds, chopped
  • 2/3 C chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 jalapeno, veins and seeds removed, chopped fine
  • 1 C chopped parsley
  • 4 oz feta crumbles
  • 2 T cider vinegar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper

Here’s what you do:

  • Dump everything chickpeas through feta crumbles in a large bowl and mix together gently
  • In a small jar, add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Put the lid on the jar and shake until well combined.
  • Pour over salad and mix gently.

Here’s how it turned out:

This is a wonderfully balanced salad.  And good for you!  Eat it as a main dish or as a side.  It would pair very nicely with steak or with grilled shrimp.  I bet it will be even better the second day!

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Umamen! Ramen Take 2

April 29, 2018

I spent my morning standing out in the cold and wind waiting to start an 8K.  Just one part of a very busy weekend.  Comfort food needed.  If possible, comfort food not full of fat.  I know, you’re thinking, um, ramen?  Ramen noodles have plenty of fat.  Thus, the Umamen.  These are udon noodles!  And rich miso and mushroom broth.  And lots of vegetables.  Comfort food.

This is kind of a combination of two recipes, with my own twists thrown in.  Check out the originals here and here.  The first is a vegetarian ramen recipe from umamigirl.com and the second is a buckwheat bowl from Cooking Light.  My version is partly “what I had left in the vegetable drawer” and partly “what looked good at the grocery store.”  I wanted to use bok choy, but it looked awful.  This may be the first ramen with swiss chard in it.  No idea why I picked up the leeks, but here they are.  I had a box of shiitake mushrooms and some carrots left from last week.  I had some udon noodles left from God knows when.  Throw in some green onions and soft boiled eggs and there you have it.  Vegetarian comfort food.  (A little Hardywood Gingerbread Stout added some comfort too).

Honestly, this isn’t easy.  It has a lot of parts and needs a fair amount of tending.  There’s a lot of “bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.”  The eggs are a little fragile so peeling them takes some care.  You have to pay pretty careful attention to the order in which you add things or you’ll have mushy things or under-cooked things.  Not something to make while you’re doing laundry or packing lunches or talking on the phone.  So, pour yourself a beverage and settle in when you start this.  Of course you can do your chopping ahead of time.

Here’s what you need for the broth: 

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  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 C diced onion
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 T red miso paste
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 C vegetable stock (stock, not broth – if you use broth use 8 C broth and no water)
  • 4 C water
  • 1/2 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 2-4 eggs

Here’s what you do:

  • Heat the sesame oil in a soup pot
  • Saute the onions, ginger and miso until the onions are soft
  • Add the ginger.  Saute 1-2 minutes,
  • Add stock, water dried mushrooms and soy sauce to taste
  • Bring to a boil
  • Add eggs in shell
  • Reduce broth to a simmer.  Cook 7 minutes.

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  • Remove eggs to an ice water bath.
  • Peel eggs and set aside.

Here’s what you need for the umamen: (use whatever you have or like)

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TIP:  Add vegetables in decreasing order of cooking time.  Hardest vegetables first and soft ones at the end.

  • 1 C sliced carrots
  • 1 large leek, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 cups chopped swiss chard
  • 8 oz sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 C sliced green onions
  • 2 bundles udon noodles

Here’s what you do next:

  • Bring the broth to a boil.  Add leeks and carrots.

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  • Reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer 10-12 minutes.
  • Bring the broth to a boil.  Add chard, mushroom and noodles.

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  • Reduce heat slightly.  Cook until the noodles are done.
  • Serve with a soft boiled egg and top with green onions.  Add more soy sauce to taste.

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Here’s how it turned out:

Rich and comforting.  I honestly wouldn’t have said that a vegetable stock could be this rich and creamy, but it absolutely is. The starch from the udon noodles thickens the broth just enough that this dish feels hearty and a little light all at the same time.  The miso and mushroom broth has lots of depth and complexity.  You could use a variety of vegetables here.  Bok choy or napa cabbage instead of chard.  Red bell pepper instead of, or in addition to, carrots.  Maybe a drizzle of sesame oil on the top.  Definitely more ginger.  Maybe some rice wine vinegar.

Take out the egg to make it vegan.  Add some beef or tofu or edamame to bring up the protein.  The options are endless. Umamen!

Cacio e Pepe

April 12, 2018

Sounds fancy!  Really it’s the most grown up “macaroni” and cheese you’ll ever eat.  What do we love about it?  It has five ingredients.  And it’s so amazing that the idea of macaroni and cheese will not cross your mind once.

A couple of tips for cooking the pasta.  Once the water boils, salt it.  No, really.  SALT. IT.  This is the thing most people do wrong in cooking pasta (and potatoes and grits for that matter).  The thinking is that the sauce will have salt in it so the pasta doesn’t need to.  Not so.  In every bite what you’ll taste is yummy sauce on blah pasta.  The salt in the pasta actually brings out the flavor in the sauce.

The other tip for cooking pasta is not to use too much water.  You don’t have to fill up the pot.  Enough water that the pasta is covered and has room to move around so it doesn’t clump up.  That’s all it takes.  Why?  Because you often use the pasta water in the sauce.  The reason you do that is for the starch in the water.  Less water equals more starch, and that’s a good thing.

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Here’s what you need:

  • 6 oz  dry pasta (spaghetti or linguine)
  • 3 T unsalted butter, divided into 2 and 1
  • 1 t coarsely ground pepper
  • 2/3 C grated parmesan
  • 1/3 C grated pecorino romano

You can grate your own or buy it already grated.  In this case the store grated is fine.  All I ask is that you don’t buy the stuff in the can.  When you only have a few ingredients the quality of the ingredients matters all the more.  Buy good cheese.

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Here’s what you do:

  • In one pot, boil water; salt it; add the pasta.  Keep an eye on it.  You want to drain it before it’s done.
  • When the pasta is still very al dente, in another pot melt 2T butter and add the pepper.
  • Drain the pasta about 2-3 minutes before it’s done, saving 1C of the pasta water.
  • Add 1/2 C of the pasta water to the butter and pepper.  Bring it to a simmer.
  • Add the pasta to the simmering pasta water and the last tablespoon of butter.  Add 2/3 C grated cheese.

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  • Stir the pasta so that the cheese melts into the water and distributes through the pasta.  Be sure you stir all the way to the bottom of the pan.  If you don’t the cheese will sink and stick to the bottom.
  • If the sauce gets too sticky add more pasta water.
  • When the pasta is done remove it from the heat and stir in the remaining cheese.

Here’s how it turned out:

What’s miraculous to me about this is that somehow this cheesy, buttery water turns into a wonderful sauce.  And this sauce coats all the pasta strands and still keeps them separated.  Even as I ate and the pasta cooled it never got gummy.  The pasta never clumped together.  It’s not fancy, but it is.  It’s perfect.

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Meatless Monday – Coconut Curried Vegetables

April 9, 2018

So, it’s April.  And it’s snowy, rainy, and cold.  Boo!  This Meatless Monday called for something warm and comfort-y.  Curry in just about any variety fits the comfort food bill quite nicely for me these days.  I found this recipe several years ago and have modified it many times. It started as a Crock-Pot recipe from Stephanie O’Dea that includes chicken.  Tonight, it’s a stove top recipe with many roasted vegetables.  It’s good any way you make it.

Credit to Stephanie O’Dea for suggesting a vegetarian that includes chickpeas instead of chicken.  I haven’t been able to find this recipe online so you’ll have to check out the original in her book, 365 Slow Cooker Suppers.  What you see below is tonight’s variation.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 can Lite Coconut Milk
  • 1 1/2 T red curry paste
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T fish sauce
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 C diced roasted sweet potato
  • 2 C roasted cauliflower
  • 1 C roasted sliced carrots
  • 2 C raw spinach, stemmed

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Here’s what you do:

  • Roast all of your vegetables first until just short of done (You can do this a day or two before)
  • In a large pot combine coconut milk, curry paste, brown sugar, fish sauce, peppers, and garbanzo beans

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  •  Simmer 10 minutes
  • Stir in sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots
  • Cover, simmer 10 minutes
  • Stir in spinach until just wilted
  • Salt to taste

Here’s how it turned out:

What I love about this recipe, other than that it’s yummy and super easy, is its versatility.  Use whatever vegetables you want.  This is a great way to use vegetables that are a little past their prime.  Try adding mushrooms, sugar snaps, green beans, winter squash, sauteed onions.  All good options.  Try topping it with chopped peanuts or stir in a little peanut butter. Ooh, might try that next time.  Serve it over rice if you want to bulk it up a little.  Add some hot peppers to clear those Spring sinuses.  Have fun!

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Resurrecting Squash

April 2, 2018

This is more of a tip than a recipe.  I knew I was having catfish tonight.  I bought some on Saturday and yesterday being Easter, I hadn’t cooked it yet.  My choices today were to freeze it or cook it.  We’ll get to that in the next post.  What I needed then was a vegetable.  A dig through the freezer uncovered some squash and onions. Perfect.  But there’s a catch.  Check that date out.  8/13.  Nope, not August 13th.  August of 2013!

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I grew these squash and zucchini in my garden that year.  I bought a Food Saver that year too. I’ve had really good luck with things I sealed with my Food Saver and stuck in the freezer.  This might be the biggest test.  Nothing to lose by giving it a try!

First thing is to thaw the block of squash ice.  Put it in a pan over low heat and stir it gently.  You don’t want to tear up squash that’s already pretty fragile from being frozen for 5 years.   Then dump it in a colander to get the water out.  Getting the water out is key.  It looks pretty good, right?  Totally recognizable as squash, zucchini and onions.

Now time to put a little summer life back in.  This requires a cast iron skillet; some olive oil; and a little butter.  Heat the olive oil then thrown in a pat of butter.  Let the butter melt and begin to brown.  Swirl it around to evenly coat the pan.  Spread the squash and onions out in an even layer.  I like my squash a little charred, even when it’s the first day out of the garden.  If you want a little char, let it sit still in the pan for a couple of minutes before you stir.  If you like really even browning stir often.

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I have to say, this turned out better than I had any reason to hope it would.  The edges of the squash actually still had a little bite to them.  A little salt and it was the perfect side dish!  So, an endorsement for the Food Saver for sure.  And maybe a little resurrection luck because it’s Easter Monday! Smiley