One Pot Pasta
I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit of a Pinterest nut. I find so many interesting and tasty looking treats that I just can’t help but to “pin all the things!” When I started seeing one-pot pasta meals I was intrigued as it goes against everything I was taught growing up regarding the proper cooking of pasta. Which is why I was expecting this post to be more of a #pinterestfail than anything else, I just couldn’t imagine this working. Just worked it did, after checking out almost half a dozen recipes. I wanted to insure that my pasta was al dente and my vegetables cooked but not floppy – which isn’t exactly the easiest thing. The first step was figuring out what vegetables have a similar cooking time, and what type of pasta was equal to or less than that cooking time. I wanted the pasta to have the shortest cook time just in case the vegetables needed extra time, again al dente pasta is (and always will be) the goal for any pasta dish. Luckily green vegetable are starting to show up at the market so I had a very large selection to pick from!
Now this recipe comes with a true tip/trick: cut and EVERYTHING first! Once it’s time to add the water everything needs to be ready to go in order to avoid a mushy mess. For this same reason I would avoid most members of the squash family and would also hold off adding any tomatoes until the very end.
Egg Foo Young
When I saw the challenge for /52weeksofcooking was to use a TV show for inspiration I realized two things: 1) there aren’t many vegetarians/vegetarian friendly shows on TV and 2) I don’t really watch that much TV. As part of our move we did away with cable, relying on Netflix and honestly haven’t missed “normal” TV at all. So I made a list of possible shows, and then tried to figure out if a vegetarian meal would make sense. Some of the bigger shows, such as House of Cards or Game of Thrones, it was clear from the beginning that going meatless was not an option. I debated making some “fish” fingers with pudding for Doctor Who, but the best part of that is the fish so…I enlisted some outside help. Which lead me to Firely, easily one of the best TV shows ever and one that has a few options when it comes to food. From mock protein bars to anything involving strawberries. however my friend who suggested Firefly also suggested doing an American/Chinese dish (aka what most Chinese restaurants serve) since that’s all the Alliance seems to be made of. I debated the options and decided to go with Egg Foo Young, for while delicious it does resemble the protein dish served during Out of Gas.
As a bonus it turned out Joe had never had this dish, and there’s something rather awesome in introducing someone to a new dish. At some point I want to figure out a way to vegetarianize the sauce that comes with this dish, but it wasn’t until researching it that I found out it normally contains fish sauce as well as shrimp paste – so I probably won’t be ordering this dish anytime soon. Another great thing about this dish is it works well for all meals, I served it as part of a weekend brunch – but typically order it as part of dinner. Nothing like a quick and versatile meal 🙂
Thai Coconut Curry
As part of my New Year’s pledge I’m trying to participate in all of the challenges on /52weeksofcooking – which means I have to actually finish the ones from 2013. Luckily I’m only two behind, and I’ve already figured out two of the ones for 2014 so I’m not horribly behind…or something like that! First up is from week 51: Thai! I’m a HUGE fan of Thai food and rarely get to enjoy it because of Joe’s peanut allergy (tho I’m rather certain he’s worth it). I debated making drunken noodles, but wasn’t able to find the right type of rice noodles so I decided to go with a simple yellow curry. I found a great recipe for a homemade yellow curry powder, tweaked it as needed to get the right spice level, and went to work.
This dish came together incredibly fast, and making the curry powder from scratch added a new level. I’ve always used store brand curry powder, and occasionally curry paste when I can find some that is fish sauce/shrimp paste free. Was also pleasantly surprised that making it myself wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Roasted Linguine and Broccoli
Time for the March installment of the Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned Angela‘s Spinach Tiger, which is an amazing blogs with one of the most honest tag-lines out there. I was immediately drawn in to the open nature of her blog, especially when it came to the entries about her brother and cousin. As for picking a recipe, that was much easier said then done. For the longest time I was going to one of her Red Recipes but I couldn’t stop thinking about her roasted pasta recipe. I had sauted pasta before, tossing it with vegetables or various sauces right before serving but had never roasted it so that it actually started to brown in the pan. I did make a few changes to this recipe, namely adding some garbanzo beans to add some protein, but otherwise I kept it as written.
I topped Joe’s with some shredded cheese, leftover from some pizza made earlier in the week while I kept mine “naked”. Everything came together so quickly, plus being able to make the pasta in advance was great since I had yoga planned. The addition of the beans also added another dimension to the dish as a contrast to the crunchiness of the pasta tips and broccoli. A huge thanks to Angela for introducing me to such a great dish which will probably become a frequent addition to my monthly rotation. A larger thanks to the wonderful hostesses of the Secret Recipe Club for another amazing month. I can’t wait to see what fantastic blog I’ll get next month!
Coconut Soba Noodles
Sometimes the best dishes are the ones that result from emptying out the cabinets and seeing what all is hiding. I was inspired by last month’s Random Recipes to continue going through my pantry as part of my fall cleaning. In doing this it turned out that I have a large collection of soba noodles, probably because I only have a few recipes for cooking them and lately fresh ginger has been scarce. So I decided to start throwing ingredients together, based on some of my favorite ingredients. The result was a very rich dish popping with flavor and crazy filling, the fact that it came together in no time at all just made it even better.
One day I’ll get better about keeping my cabinets clean, but until then I’ll be turning to quick and easy pantry cleaning recipes. I will certainly keep experimenting with the soba noodles, there are a few Thai inspired recipes I want to try as well as another Burmese noodle dish.
Cheesy Brassica Soup
My kitchen now has LIGHT! Since buying my house many moons ago I had been dealing with a rather dark interior galley style kitchen that was lit by one 4×4 recessed light. This recessed light was not one of those nice “let there be light” versions, but rather the kind frequently found over the shower in middle school locker rooms across the nation. So not only did I suffer from no light, I also had to deal with everything being tinged a sickly yellow shade. Not anymore!!! Now my kitchen has three (3!!) gorgeous modern normal recessed lights and I can finally see what I’m doing in the kitchen at all hours of the day. There are a few more things left on the kitchen to-do list, but having these new lights is enough to satisfy me for now. For some reason it seems that doing one project seems to push me towards other projects, many of which are on the don’t really need but man would it be nice list.
This soup was one of the first things I made in my “new” kitchen, and with that I was finally able to appreciate how white cauliflower really is. I also wanted to cook something a little different than normal, using some new-to-me herbs and another attempt at a cauliflower soup. I number of years ago I tried recreating a delicious Curried Cauliflower soup and failed dramatically, killing my old blender and a nice white sweater in the process. Since soupgate, I had avoided using cauliflower in anything but basic stir frys for fear of recreating the crime scene that featured cauliflower soup on the walls…ceiling…and dogs. My new kitchen gave me the strength to get over my issues, knowing that with my new lights I would be able to see if the blender lid wasn’t fully sealed. This time, I would be eating the soup instead of wearing it!
Perfection! I served this with some left over English Muffin bread to make sure none of the soup escaped by hanging on to the side of the bowl. In the end I did decide to use my immersion blender instead of my pretty pink blender, just didn’t feel like tempting fate. If you decide to add salt or pepper, make sure to wait until after adding the cheddar cheese to avoid a salty mess.
Pasta with Anchovies and Broccoli
I’m not sure when I first stumbled upon Dom and Belleue’s Kitchen, but it was back before the amazing kitchen transformation. Random Recipes was one of the first link-ups I thought about joining after discovering the fun of International Incident Party, yet it has taken a long long long time for me to actual join in. The idea is rather simple, randomly select a cook book and a recipe and then COOK! I’m coming in just under the wire this month and I’m thrilled that I finally got my act together so that I could finally participate.
To obtain a random cookbook I asked the husband to just grab me one, he assigned numbers to them and then I called out a number which gave me the Essential Pasta Cookbook. This month Random Recipes had an extra “rule” to pick something from the middle of the cookbook. Halfway thru the book, on page 152 to be exact, are two delicious pasta recipes: Pasta with Anchovies and Broccoli and Pasta with Creamy Mushroom sauce. I have done variations of the mushroom sauce more times than I can count meaning that the time had come to cook some anchovies. I did make one alteration to the recipe, switching the cream for half&half, but everything I everything else exactly as written.
Overall it was a great dish, the broccoli and anchovies really did go well together and it came together extremely quickly. In the future I’ll probably add more pepper to balance out the salt of this dish, that or half the amount of Parmesan Cheese. This cookbook is one that tends to stay on the shelf but I think I might need to bring it out more often and see what other goodies are hiding in it.
Make sure to check out Dom’s round-up page for the rest of the entries!