Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pasta Puttanesca

We don't eat a lot of pasta, but lately I've been craving a lighter pasta dish.  Generally, I love marinara and bolognese sauces, but don't really dig putting them on pasta - I'd rather put them over some spaghetti squash.  This time, I felt like pasta, but didn't want one of those heavy sauces, so I did my own version of Puttanesca.  It's mostly traditional, but a little of my own preferences thrown in there.  Came out really delicious.  When I minced together the garlic, anchovies, sun dried tomatoes and olives, it looked like a tapenade of the Gods!  I just wanted to spread it on some garlic toast!  Admittedly, I was spooning some of it onto the tomato halves, sprinkling some basil on top, and munching them that way as I was cutting them in half, heheh.  The dish was really quick and easy to make!

I was reminded the other day that I hadn't used anything from Rancid's new album with one of our recipes.  So here is another Rancid Recipe - the title track, "Honor Is All We Know".  -jen

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 mimuntes
Difficulty:  Very easy
Serves:  4-6, depending on serving size
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • 6 anchovy filets (I'm inclined to use the whole 2oz can)
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives (or green, or black, or D-all of the above)
  • 12oz dried pasta (your choice: spaghetti, bow tie, rotini)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 large scallions, diced (about 1/2 a cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup pasta water
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped or julienned
  • 4oz Romano cheese, crumbled
Bring large stock pot of salted water to a boil while preparing the following steps.

Mince together garlic, anchovies, and sun dried tomatoes.  Roughtly chop the kalamata olives right into the minced mix.  Set aside.

Add pasta to boiling water, bring back to a boil, and then turn down to a low boil, cooking 6-8 minutes until al dente (still slightly under-cooked.  Pasta will cook more in skillet.)  Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet.  Saute scallions and red pepper flakes for 1 minute.  Add white wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until wine has cooked down by half.  Add grape tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the minced garlic, anchovies, sun dried tomatoes, olives and the rinsed capers.  Cook for 2 more minutes or until sauce is reduced and thickened. 

Add pasta to skillet mixture with 1/4 cup pasta water.  Cook another 1-2 minutes (sauce will mostly absorb into pasta).  Remove from heat and toss with lemon juice and zest, basil, (a dash more of wine, if you like,) and crumbled Romano.  Add salt and pepper to taste (careful with the salt since the olives, capers and cheese will add a lot of salt).  Serve immediately while hot, however, it is quite tasty left over cold, straight out of the fridge.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Buttermilk Pumpkin and Oat Muffins

I don't have anything to intro with.  I had pumpkin puree in the freezer from last fall when we got a ton of sugar pumpkins from a friend.  I knew I'd be home today.  I felt like making muffins.  They were awesome.  There's not much else to say.

It's St. Patrick's Day... and there's really nothing Irish about these muffins.  I mean, I'm sure they have pumpkins and muffins in Ireland, so they could be Irish.  But that wasn't really my intention or anything.  I'm just going to use it as an excuse for an Irish tune.  Justin had Dropkick Murphys' "Good Rats" on today, so that's what I'm using.  -jen

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  22-25 minutes
Makes:  12 muffins

  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats, uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats, uncooked
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins or cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups.

In a small bowl, combine all topping ingredients, mix and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, pecans, raisins, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger,  baking soda, salt and orange zest.  Mix to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold together just until dry ingredients are moist.  (Do not over-mix.)

Spoon evenly into paper cups.  Sprinkle with topping and bake for 22-25 minutes, until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool for 5 minutes. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Cauliflower "Couscous" Salad

This recipe is vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, and low-carb!  Oh yeah, and it tastes amazing.  We try to eat low-carb most of the time and jumping on the cauliflower bandwagon the other day, I was making some pizza crust out of cauliflower, cheese and eggs.  I was supposed to "rice" the cauliflower in the food processor, but I did it a little too long and the pieces came out more like couscous than rice.  Then I mixed in some minced garlic and dried oregano as  part of the crust recipe, and decided to give it a taste.  Totally gave me the idea to do a couscous salad out of it.

I can't actually tell you how incredibly stoked I am at how good this came out.  I really enjoy Mediterranean-style cold salads.  I used to do them with rice, but I don't eat rice anymore.  So we started doing them with barley and couscous... but they're still pretty high-carb.  This solved the problem and I foresee us having this salad in the fridge on a frequent basis for lunches during the work week and quick dinners.

I decided to go with Lagwagon's "I Must Be Hateful".  I was feeling pretty hateful tonight towards a medical issue I'm having.  Seemed apropos.  -jen

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes
Makes:  About 6 cups
Requires:  Food Processor
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, diced large
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 2/3 cup English cucumber, seeded and diced small
  • 2/3 cup bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 cup green onions, diced small
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced small
  • 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup green olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup giardiniera, chopped (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil, julienned or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 whole lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Place large-diced cauliflower in food processor and process until it looks like cooked couscous.  Place in a large, microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap (I recommend using glass so the plastic wrap sticks).  Microwave on high for 10 minutes.  Fluff with fork.

Add all remaining ingredients and stir until mixed.  At this point, you can serve it while it's still warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled.

Per 1 Cup Serving:  Calories-130, Fat-9g, Carbs-11.5, Fiber-4, Protein-3g

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cream of Vegetable Soup

We've been making soup about once a week.  Throughout the week, we often have roasted vegetables several times and will often make a salad of some sort.  So when we're preparing vegetables, we've taken to saving things like the ends of carrots and onions, the stems of herbs, all of our vegetable "scraps", and storing them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.  Then Justin makes stock out of them and we make a delicious vegetable soup.  Usually they're broth-based soups, but we felt like going with a cream style this week, packed full of vegetables (and bacon, which is totally optional).  Came out so rich and delicious!  We make large batches at a time so that we have lunches for work.  You can cut the recipe in half if you're not looking for quite so much.

The awesome thing about soups like this, is that you can customize the vegetables to whatever you like.  Don't like mushrooms?  Axe 'em and add cauliflower instead.  Don't like bell peppers?  Axe 'em and add potato instead.  I think most of our soups end up created just using whatever we have leftover in the fridge.  

To go with our soup, for no particular reason except to rock, is The Marked Men doing "All In Your Head".  -jen

Prep Time:  20 minutes (35 if using bacon)
Cook Time:  20 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes: about 14 cups

  • 1 pound bacon, diced (optional), reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat
  • 5 tablespoons butter (6 tbsp if not using bacon fat)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (4 tbsp if not using bacon fat)
  • 2 cups crimini or button mushrooms, diced fine
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (about 1 medium crown)
  • 1.5 cups yellow onion, diced fine (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1.5 cups carrots, diced fine (about 3 medium carrots)
  • 1 cup celery, diced fine (about 3 large stalks)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced fine (about 1/2 medium pepper)
  • 1/2 cup poblano pepper, diced fine (about 1 medium poblano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth 
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • salt, to taste (bacon adds a lot of salt on its own, as do most chicken stocks, so taste your soup before adding salt!)
Place diced bacon into a cold stock pot.  Turn heat to medium-high, and cook until crisped, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Using a slotted spoon, spoon out the crisped bacon and drain over paper towels.  Set aside.  Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the stock pot.

Add olive oil and butter to stock pot (still over medium-high heat).  Add all vegetables and saute until tender, 10-12 minutes.  Add the rosemary, thyme and marjoram to the vegetables and cook 1 more minute.  Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir until flour absorbs oil and is no longer white.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whisk in the stock and turn the heat to high.  Whisk continuously until soup begins to thicken a little.  Once it begins to thicken, add heavy cream, white pepper, black pepper and the crisped bacon.  Stir continuously until soup comes to a boil, then remove from heat.  Add salt to taste and serve.