Monthly Archives: May 2013

Papardelle-icious to Vegetarians and Carnivores

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package Trader Joes® lemon-pepper papardelle
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Parmesan to top

P1110468Yum. And an easy “yum” at that. So easy that though I didn’t have time yesterday to write down the ingredients today they are still simple to keep emblazoned in the senses. If you haven’t cooked papardelle before, try it out and learn how it got its name from the Italian verb “pappare” (to gobble up).

P1110447Fry your garlic on ML until just the edges begin to turn golden, then remove the pan from heat and sprinkle on the seasonings. Let that sit while boiling papardelle to the perfect al dente and chopping spinach. When the pasta gets drained, turn off the burner. Mix spinach into the oil/garlic/ and move that pan back to the burner you just turned off (don’t turn it back on). Cover the pan for 1m, then uncover and stir until the spinach is wilted to your taste. Mix in the papardelle and ensure everything is properly coated. Sprinkle with Parmasean. Between the papardelle, spinach (and Parmesan), this vegetarian dish will have more protein – and visual interest – than eating a chicken breast. Of course that doesn’t mean you couldn’t add meat if you want, or skip the cheese for an easy vegan dish. 5 well-deserving spoons!

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Put a Bowtie on That Chicken

In my pantry today:

  • 1 12 oz can chicken breast meat
  • 1.5 c bowtie pasta, cooked
  • 2 c cabbage, cut small
  • 1/2 c carrots, cut small
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida

IMAG0443This is as easy on the wallet as it is on your palette. Drain the can of chicken and rinse thoroughly; set aside. Cook pasta; set aside. Saute garlic in butter and oil over ML for as long as you can stand to — I went about 20m, which wasn’t tough on time since the pasta requires time to cook and the chicken needs rinsing. Turn heat up to M and stir-fry carrots and cabbage for a minute then reduce heat back to the M side of ML and add seasonings, chicken and broth. Let everything simmer while you stir in Parmesan to thicken the broth. Right before serving, mix pasta with sauce/cabbage. Set aside logic and sprinkle a little Parmasean on top for 5 spoons of simplicious!

Chocolate and White Wine for Dinner

In my pantry today:

  • 12 oz butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 c sweet white wine
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • dash asafoetida
  • 1-2 c cooked Basmati rice

P1110189

Sorry if you feel tricked after the title by now reading something about black beans and butternut squash… technically, I do not feel ethically bound to do more than reassure you that both things mentioned in the title of this post are in this meal. Stick with me though, sad faces — I will not disappoint!

P1110177 copyGrapeseed oil has a very nice, light nutty flavor that comes across a lot more chaste than extra virgin olive oil. Turn the stove onto ML and let the onions/garlic cook for about 10m, then reduce heat to L, add the mustard seeds and walk away for an hour. Ready and set out the rest of your ingredients, wash some dishes, tidy the downstairs bathroom… you know, normal weekend stuff.

When everything has paled in the pan, increase heat to M. Add all spices (except cocoa powder) when mustard seeds begin to crackle and mush everything together. Add a splash of water to create a friendly mash then add in the squash. Mix-toss that junk over M heat for a few minutes, scraping the pan and adding nominal splashes of water when needed. When you might need to add a second or third splash of water, go ahead and substitute that undrained can of beans and 1/2 c white wine (Sauvignon Blanc used). Mix in the cocoa, bring everything to a light boil then reduce heat to L, cover and leave for 30-60m (depending on how tender you like your squash). When you come back to see a more liquidy sauce than you’d expected, fear not! Smash some of the squash cubes and mix to thicken the sauce. Serve over Basmati rice for 4 spoons of spicy, sweet savoriness.

Spicy Kale-sadilla

In my pantry today:

  • 2 large whole wheat tortillas
  • 6 oz refried beans
  • 1/3 c kale, minced
  • 3 oz monterey jack, shredded
  • 2 oz extra sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 2.5 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • dash asafoetida
  • salsa/sour cream to taste

P1100876So I’ve been hanging out for the last week with my good friend Rhinovirus, who brought along his girlfriend Anosmia. By the time I could yank my snotty face up out of bed, there was nothing left to smell. I probably don’t need to reiterate what a bad idea cooking without smelling is; probably more for whomever is cooked for, but fortunately I was pliable enough in illness to allow more prepackaged food into my kitchen than I might want to for the next six months.

Tonight I’m stepping gingerly back onto the stovefront with something so simple not even an anosmic monkey could fail.

P1100860Start by slicing your garlic very thinly and letting it simmer in 2 tsp on ML for 15m or so while you mince that kale. After mincing, sprinkle with  and cayenne then rub 1/2 tsp olive oil into your palms and grab the whole bunch. Massage then transfer to a ziplock bag for more massaging. Set aside for at least 15m, but for an hour or more if’n you got it.

P1100860tShred and mix cheeses. Mix refried beans into olive oil/garlic mix and let everything congeal together on L for at least 20m, but for an hour or more if’m you got it. When kale-sadilla time happens at last, lightly oil a pan heated to the M side of ML. While the heating is going on, spread some beans on a tortilla and sprinkle on a bit of kale for good measure since it will stick with a purpose to the beans and not get all over the counter or stove. Put the open tortilla in the pan, sprinkle in cheese and fold it closed. Flip it every 15-30 seconds until cheese begins to show, melted, around its edges. Serve with sour cream and salsa if’n you desire. This turns out to be a great way to sneak kale into a meal without knowing you’re chomping the superfood!  4 spoons, says my wife, who has all of her nasal faculties intact.

Cabbage, Corn and [K]ale Cream Cheese Casserole (or, “An Alliterative Affair”)

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c chopped red cabbage
  • 1/2 c chopped kale
  • 1/2 c corn kernels
  • 1/2 small sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 14 oz can cream of mushroom soup
  • 6 oz cream cheese, in chunks
  • 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 c fried onions
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • dash asafoetida

P1100650Ok, so you’re going to need to do a couple of things first: blanch the kale for 5-9m (taste test it for chewability-without-suspicion) then add cabbage to the boiling water. Taste test for texture; I went about 3m. Drain everything well then line the bottom of a 8×6″ glass baking dish with the strainer contents and corn.

P1100610Now that everything is done boiling, you can use the same pot to start garlic and onions in the oil/ghee. After cooking on ML for 5-10m, add the chunks of cream cheese and smoosh them all around until melted. Sprinkle on seasonings and mix in with the can of cream of mushroom soup. Pour mixture over vegetables, spreading until even. Once you’ve adorned it further with panko and french fried onions let it bake at 350° for 40m. This would have been great served over rice or alongside other dishes at a dinner table, but we ate it almost directly out of the pan. 4 spoons for not entirely knowing its consistency (5 in my heart).

 

Tomato-Topped Tortellini (or, “Salad Capricious”)

In my pantry today:

  • Trader Joes® spinach tortellini
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 M sweet onion, minced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dash asafoetida
  • dash sea salt
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar

tortellinitomatoHeat the oils to ML and address it with your minced finery. Turn them back to L and let sit for an hour or two; this seems like a huge investment for an otherwise simple meal, but trust me on the flavor quotient. If you don’t have that much time to invest, don’t worry your heart — this will still turn out beyond edible.

Closer to mealtime, boil/drain your tortellini and prep tomato and cheese slices until the slice:cheese ratio works for you. While the love for cheese can connect almost all of is it also comes with a wide gradient of loves; slice for yourself and don’t look back.

Add your oil, garlic, onions and Parmesan to a pot where you’ve replaced the tortellini drained. Toss gently and let sit for 5m before serving topped with slices of tomato/mozzerella. Drizzle the tiniest bit of balsamic vinegar over the whole shebang, close your eyes and dream of Italy. 5 spoons!

Slap Yo Rajma-ma Good

In my pantry today:

  • 1 15.5oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 c sweet yellow onion, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced 
  • 1/2-1 c water
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • dash asafoetida

rajmaThis rajma restored my faith in what a single can of kidney beans can deliver apart from being in the ensemble of a pot of chili. While your onions and garlic cook to a diaphanous state on L for the next hour, you can easily assemble the other ingredients, do the dishes, take a shower, set up the coffee pots for tomorrow and start a load of laundry. Promise.

When the time becomes right, turn up the heat to M and mix all the seasonings in with your onions until a nice loose paste forms. Stir in the tomatoes slowly then gently mix in the beans. When a boil is a nigh on M, reduce heat to L and cover. This can be eaten right away but is better left to ruminate on its own flavors for a little while. After a 6 hour wait, this was 5 spoons of delight.

The “Easy Bacon” Oven

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c cabbage, chunked
  • 4 new potatoes, halved
  • 6 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 c sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • dash asafoetida

Untitled-1Sorry vegetarians, but thank you bacon! The longest part of the prep process here comes from letting your bacon chunks cook slowly enough to oil the onions in their stead. Dash them with turmeric and asafoetida for good anti -inflammatory and -flatulent measure. 

Untitled-1zMix your potato halves with olive oil and half the salt so they’re coated enough before relying on the bacon — I had lean slices in my skillet, and that’s not entirely fair to anything that might stick horribly to the pan.

Untitled-1dPut the potato and cabbage in a deep baking pan and spoon the bacon, onions and garlic mix over everything evenly. Bake uncovered in a 375° oven for 45m, then remove from the oven to let cool on counter for 5m. We ate this gladly as a 5 spoon meal, but it would only shine too as a side dish.