30 March 2009

the lost recipes.

The other day I was looking though all my backup photos and I came across a few meals that I had made that never got posted... they didn't even get labeled in preparation for a post. They just got lost in the computer, waiting around to be found again and loved.

The main on that I wanted to post from that grouping is this one: my first experience making fresh pasta. I had a lot of fun doing it and I used it in this recipe because I, for some reason, thought that it would make it better. I don't really remember why now, but it was really good, so I guess I was right.

I will continue to make fresh pasta in the future, in fact I did it again just this week, but that recipe is still on the camera, so you will have to wait a little while for it. This one, however, is great and you should definitely give it a try. It is on the rich and decadent side, but it is something a little different then your plain old pasta dish.

Carbonara Deep Dish Pasta-Crusted Pan Pizza
adapted from Rachel Ray

1 pound fresh fettuccine pasta or 2 packages fresh linguine (9 ounces each)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta or bacon, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
4 large eggs
1/2 cup cream
Salt and black pepper
2 cups ricotta cheese
A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat water for pasta in large pot, salt it and cook pasta for three minutes.

While water boils, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil. Add pancetta and brown, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook a minute more.

Drain pasta and add to pan to toss with the garlic oil and pancetta. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Beat eggs with cream and pour over top of pasta. Let eggs begin to set up, one minute, and pat pasta into even layer to make the pizza pie crust. Place in oven and cook for five minutes.

Mix together the ricotta and parsley. Remove pie from oven and smooth the ricotta over the top. Scatter the mozzarella over the top and return to oven. Bake 10 minutes more until cheese is melted and golden at edges. Let ricotta sit a couple of minutes to settle, then cut into wedges and serve out of pan at table.

25 March 2009

a new staple.

I had never made curry before. It just always seemed like something that was too out there for my kitchen. Something to eat out at dinner, not in. I don't know why. But when I read about this curry, for some reason, it struck a cord. I called my husband from the grocery store to have him look up the ingredients. It might have been the bean aspect. I have discovered a new love for beans that I never knew I had. And I am so glad that I discovered them because, man, this is good stuff. So easy to make and awesome for a quick and healthy dinner. Plus, great lunch for the rest of the week from the leftovers! We've had this for dinner once a week for the past month. It is that good.

Red Kidney Bean Curry [Rajmah]
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 plum tomato, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large green chili, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
8 ounce can of tomato sauce or puree
3 cups boiled red kidney beans or 30 ounces canned red kidney beans, undrained

Heat oil in a deep sauce pan over medium heat for one minute. Add ginger, garlic, onion, green chili, and let sizzle for one minute. Add the tomato sauce, salt and remaining spices and cook for an additional five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the kidney beans with water or canned red kidney beans (undrained) plus one additional cup of water, and tomatoes. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and let cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with yogurt for a little creamy-ness. Serve over rice or with naan.

04 March 2009

an homage to jamie.

Jamie Oliver has a magazine! My mom came across it at Barnes and Noble the other day and I couldn't be more excited. I can't get enough of Jamie Oliver. He has always been my favorite. I was a huge fan of the Naked Chef... it must be the british thing that started it all, but I have been hooked ever since.

Last fall when I saw that Food Network was showing his new series "Jamie at Home" I immediately set the DVR (8:30 a.m. on a Saturday is a little early for me to commit to) and it really is a great show. The cookbook, also great. Jamie shows people how to cook using more local ingredients by cooking straight out of his garden. I love it! I also knew when I saw this recipe that I would love it as well. But I wanted to wait for the right carrots. You see, the carrots that Jamie used were all different beautiful colors and I never knew where I would ever find carrots like that. So I filed the recipe away and hoped that I would find some someday. And that someday came one of the first weeks we were in Lincoln. The little co-op around the corner, Open Harvest, had the most beautiful carrots! I immediately picked some up and that next day we had this salad. It has so much flavor and an amazing texture. Your meat-eating significant other won't even notice the lack of meat. So, in honor of Jamie's new magazine, here is that recipe for you.

Roast Carrot and Avocado Salad with Orange and Lemon Dressing
adapted from Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver

1 pound medium mixed colored carrots, with their leafy tops
Sea salt
2 level teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1 or 2 small dried chiles, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
Extra-virgin olive oil
Red or white wine vinegar
1 orange, halved
1 lemon, halved
1 lime, halved, optional
3 ripe avocados
4 (1/2-inch thick) slices ciabatta or other good-quality bread
4 handfuls interesting mixed salad leaves, washed and spun dry
2/3 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
4 tablespoons mixed seeds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Parboil the carrots in boiling, salted water for 10 minutes, until they are very nearly cooked, then drain and put them into a roasting pan. You should flavor them while they're steaming hot, so while the carrots are cooking get a pestle and mortar and smash up the cumin seeds, chilles, salt and pepper. Add the garlic and thyme leaves and smash up again until you have a kind of paste. The idea here is to build up the flavors. Add enough extra-virgin olive oil to generously cover the paste, and a good swig of vinegar. This will be like a marinade, a rub and a dressing all in one! Stir together, then pour over the carrots in the pan, coating them well. Add the orange, lemon and lime halves, cut side down. These will roast along with the carrots, and their juice can be used as the basis of the dressing. Place in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden.

While the carrots are roasting, halve and peel the avocados, discarding the pits, then cut them into wedges lengthwise and place in a big bowl. Remove the carrots from the oven and add them to the avocados. Carefully, using some tongs, squeeze the roasted orange and lemon juice into a bowl and add the same amount of extra-virgin olive oil and a little swig of red wine vinegar. Season, and pour this dressing over the carrots and avocados. Mix together, have a taste and correct the seasoning. Call your gang round the table while you toast or broil your ciabatta slices.

Tear the toasted bread into little pieces and add to the dressed carrot and avocado. Mix together, toss in the salad leaves and transfer to a big platter or divide between individual plates. Spoon over a nice dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt and drizzle over some extra-virgin olive oil.

01 March 2009

the perfect lunch.

I have trouble deciding what to eat for lunch. My husband comes home and he is perfectly happy to eat the same thing everyday. It is either a hot dog or a turkey sandwich. I, on the other hand, enjoy a little variety and sometimes a turkey sandwich just won't cut it. It seems boring. And bland. I need a little spice in lunch. So when I saw Giada making this recipe on Everyday Italian, I knew that it would join my lunchtime menu. I love white beans and this soup is so easy, it comes together in minutes. The perfect time line for lunch. I made a half batch and it lasted me through 2 lunches (one all soup, one soup and half a grilled cheese). Next time, I might make a double batch and freeze some for a quick heat up at a later date. A great lunch for any time of year, this light and fragrant soup is a must.

Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Italian

I used rosemary instead of sage because I thought it would work well with the beans. It did. I think you could use any herb that you wanted here. I also ran out of stock when I made it, and used half water. It worked just as well if you need to do that, but I am sure it is better with all stock.

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 sage leaf or rosemary stalk
2 (15-ounce) cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, cut in 1/2
1/2 cup cream or half and half
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Place a medium, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and beans and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the garlic and simmer until the garlic is softened, about 10 minutes. Pour the soup into a large bowl. Carefully ladle 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. (Alternately, use an immersion blender right in the pot. It works great too and is easier in my opinion.) Be careful to hold the top of the blender tightly, as hot liquids expand when they are blended. Pour the blended soup back into the soup pan. Puree the remaining soup. Once all the soup is blended and back in the soup pan, add the cream and the pepper. Keep warm, covered, over very low heat.