Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Summer Sauce for Pasta

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

I’m hung over this morning, I think. It’s been about thirty years since the last time so I’m not sure, but I had a lovely time last night eating and drinking in the garden talking about current affairs and unions and now I’m kind of fuzzy-headed.

Picture me now, lying in my hammock as I copy out the recipe for what we ate from the New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant cookbook. I would be happy to eat this every warm day all summer long.

Summer Sauce for Pasta
Serves 4

On those hot, lazy, sultry summer days, when, like a character in a Tennessee Williams play, you haven’t got the energy to do much more than lie around the house in an old tattered slip, try this quick, uncooked sauce. It’s fragrant, refreshing, and light.

6 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms (8 ounces) [500 g]
6 to 8 ounces [200 g] mozzarella cheese, grated or cut into thin strips
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

1 pound [500 g] spaghetti or linguini

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce) [30 g]

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and let sit at room temperature for an hour or so, for the flavors to mingle.

Cook and drain the pasta. While the pasta is piping hot, serve it in well-warmed bowls, topped with a ladleful of sauce and garnished with Parmesan cheese.

Of course I don’t make it exactly like that. I use fewer mushrooms, less olive oil, more garlic (which I crush instead of mincing) and I hate Parmesan so I use Romano instead. But you won’t make it exactly like that either.

Enjoy!

scrambled eggs for Alston

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Scrambled eggs are so simple that most people don’t know there’s a way to make them. I have often seen people break eggs directly into a hot frying pan and stir frantically until they had a pile of tough, dry crumbs. This does not produce a yummy meal, but scrambled eggs can be very yummy.

Eggs
1 tbs milk or water per egg
Butter to taste
Salt and chili (not cayenne) powder
Cheese (optional)
Heavy frying pan (use a cast iron pan for more nutrition unless you can taste the iron)

Melt butter in the frying pan on medium-low heat.

Beat the eggs and milk or water gently with a fork. You aren’t going for perfect uniformity and you certainly don’t want froth.

Pour the eggs out into the frying pan… and don’t touch them. Not right away. If you want you can lay thin slices of cheese in the liquid egg at this point. Let them cook gently until the bottom 2-3 mm are set. Use a spatula to gently push the set egg into a heap in the middle of the frying pan, letting the liquid egg flow back out to set. Continue until all the egg is set.

Sprinkle with salt for taste, chili powder for looks.

Eggs cooked this way will be soft and delicious. If soft eggs aren’t your thing, put a lid on the frying pan and leave it off the heat for a few minutes to let the eggs continue to heat.

Eat with hot buttered toast and maybe ketchup. Ketchup sounds scandalous, but scrambled eggs are comfort food. If you loved them with ketchup when you were a little kid, then let yourself enjoy the ketchup now.

watercress soup and (leek) quiche

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

This week we went to Sami Fruits, a wholesaler/retailer of fruits and vegetables with an almost exclusively foreign-born clientèle. We love Sami Fruits. When we have guests from out of town we try to take them there because we think they’ll love it too. As usual we bought more vegetables than would fit in the fridge. I was watching the leeks (12 for $2.99) wither on the counter and thinking I should make leek and potato soup forthwith, but I had bought watercress for soup too and watercress goes bad if you don’t use it right away.

Mark wandered by, complaining that having diabetes is very boring because you can’t eat cake and cookies. It’s true, and I can’t do anything about it, but I can make an alternate rich baked treat. Quiche to the rescue of both the leeks and my beloved! To be accompanied by watercress soup!

Watercress Soup
2 large bunches of watercress
3 small potatoes
(other vegetables you might have on hand: spinach, carrots, celery, parsley, zucchini, rutabaga)
garlic and a little fat for heating it
2 or more cups vegetable stock (I use vegetable bouillon cubes)
1 or more cups soy milk

Cut the bunches of watercress in half at the elastic, separating the stems from the leaves. Chop the stems small, chop the leaves big. Prepare all the other vegetables. You  can leave the skins on the potatoes. Divide them into soft (watercress leaves, spinach, zucchini) and hard (watercress stems, potatoes, carrots, rutabaga, parsley).

Heat the garlic in a little oil or butter. Before it browns, add all the hard vegetables and cover with stock. Cook until soft. Add the soft vegetables and cook a little more. Spoon most of the vegetables into the food processor or blender. Process or blend. Put back in the pot. Add the soy milk. Thin with more water and soy milk as desired. Heat through.

Eat.

Basic Quiche
1 10-inch uncooked pie crust in a flat-bottomed pie dish
As much grated cheese as you think is nice (I seem to think about 7 oz is nice) (for the leek quiche I used cheddar and mozzarella, but whatever you like and have on hand will work)
Vegetable filling
4 eggs
1 cup  milk

Sprinkle a little more than half the grated cheese on the bottom of the pie crust. Fill with vegetables. Mix the eggs and milk and pour over the vegetables. Sprinkle the whole with the remaining cheese and bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let rest 5-10 minutes and enjoy.

Leek Filling
5 leeks
8 oz mushrooms
Dill
Olive oil

Trim off the toughest, darkest green ends of the leeks. Wash the leeks by cutting down through the leaves towards (but not through) the bulb and root, exposing the insides of the leaves so you can rinse them under the tap.

Slice the leeks thin. Slice the mushrooms thin. Chop the dill fine. Heat everything in a little oil until soft.

(You really can use anything for the vegetable filling. Another great version is fresh sliced tomatoes sprinkled with basil and black olives. The same formula but completely different, especially if you use feta or goat cheese for the cheese.)

Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup butter
3 T ice water
1/2 t salt

Make the pastry dough the usual way: stir the salt into the flour, cut in the butter (I use a food processor, but a pastry cutter is better), stir in the ice water, form into a ball and refrigerate. If you’ve thought ahead, wait four hours. Otherwise use it whenever you need to.

Try rolling it out, but whole wheat pastry dough doesn’t roll out as well as white flour pastry dough. Rather than working the pastry dough with a rolling pin forever and making it tough and getting frustrated, content yourself with rolling out smaller pieces and patching them together in your pie dish. It’s fine.

Thank you L, K & E!

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

On our third day in BC, Nora took us to visit her friends in Victoria, on Vancouver Island. For some reason we only took one picture while we were there, like so:

Olympic Peninsula as viewed from near L, K & E's house

 

We stayed two nights. L is vegetarian, so in addition to bringing a bottle of wine, Nora volunteered me to make supper, which I did. It was simple and flavourful and asian-inspired, and I made three different dishes to maximise the chances that everyone would find something they could eat, like so:

Dal
red lentils
curry powder or paste
a little canola oil

Heat the red lentils in the oil, stirring until they turn pale. Add water, about four times as much as the lentils by volume. Keep cooking until soft, adding water as necessary. Dal should be soft and slurpy, not stiff. When the lentils are soft, stir in curry powder or paste to taste. Keep cooking on low heat for another fifteen minutes or so.

Carrots and Apricots
2 large onions, sliced thin
500 g carrots (1 lb), chopped into irregular 1-cm (half-inch) chunks
a fistful of dried apricots, sliced into 4 or 5 strips each
a little canola oil

Heat the onions gently in the canola oil while you chop the carrots and slice the apricots. When the onions are soft, stir in the carrots and apricots. This can be ready in as little as ten minutes after you add the carrots, but you can also keep cooking gently for another half hour or more as the onion flavour deepens and the carrots soften.

Rapini and Garlic
1 bunch of rapini
6 cloves of garlic, put through a garlic press
a little sesame oil

Boil a pot of water large enough for two bunches of rapini. Chop the rapini roughly and drop it into the boiling water. Leave it there for about three minutes or just until the stems start to soften. Pour out into a colander, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking and squeeze out the excess water. Set aside until just before you are ready to eat. (Blanching vegetables like this is scary to most people these days, because of all the vitamins that are leached into the cooking water. Note however that by completely immersing the vegetables in boiling water you cook them very quickly, and the reduced cooking time almost makes up for the leaching.) Just before you are ready to eat, heat the sesame oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Stir in the garlic then immediately stir in the rapini before the garlic starts to burn. Heat through for five minutes.

Barley
1 cup pot barley
2 1/2 cups cold water

Put the barley and the water in a pot together and cook over medium heat until done, about 45 minutes.

*** *** ***
This menu is easy to make because there is very little timing to worry about. Everything can pretty much sit on the stove until you’re ready to sit down. The rapini are in no danger of getting grey and mushy because you don’t stir-fry them until you’re sure people are coming to the table. It’s nutritionally balanced even if you’re a little kid and you can’t stand rapini.

Apple Berry Crisp

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Anne wrote:
>I do read your blog posts

Then you should comment on them!

>though I
>don’t really feel an urge to respond on your
>site.

Harumph.

> Liked the one about toenail clippings ;-)

Then you should comment on it!

>I have a request for you. Recently I made
>something like apple crumble, but the topping
>didn’t turn out great. I remember you making a
>very nice dessert out of fruit with some kind of
>crisp topping consisting of oat flakes and other
>stuff. Could you email me the recipe?

I will go one better: I will post it on my website!

*** *** ***
2 boxes of frozen mixed berries
6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

Topping:
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 t salt
2 T cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter

Put the berries in a deep round baking dish and layer the apples over them. Put all the topping ingredients in the food processor and whizz. Sprinkle as much topping as you want over the apples and freeze the rest for another time. Bake half an hour at 375°F.

*** *** ***
Mark would like me to make this with about twice as much butter and sugar, so that it’s more candy-like. I say tough beans, it’s plenty yummy the way it is.