Archive for the 'pasta' Category

08
Aug
10

broccoli rabe, yoga, Thai food

I just had the most demoralizing experience. Despite prior claims to become a dedicated yoga-goer, I’ve had a hard time dragging myself to more than a class a month (at best). I think it’s because I have a hard time equating it with exercise. I feel all soft when I put on the loose pants and barely bother to tie my hair back. I get so much more out of running in 90 degree heat with sweat dripping in my eyes. I feel like I earned that shit.

I have to gear myself up for, like, weeks before I’ll attend a yoga class. This weekend I had four separate sets of plans to go until I finally caved and went this afternoon. Five minutes into the class and my muscles had had it. I found myself cursing during downward dog and half-assing every plank we did. And the sweat? It found my eyes (and arms, back, legs, etc.) I honestly can’t remember the last time I got that disgustingly sweaty in front of about 50 strangers, but it was probs at The Atlantic. Ahh memories. Anyways, yoga was all, “you got served” to me, and I was like, “recognized and modified, thanks.” I don’t care for smugness.

the least offensive yoga photo on google images

On the spicy side, there are so many greens I’m just now getting to know. And I’ve been a vegetarian for, like, years (two). Last week, I decided to get to know broccoli rabe. I found this recipe on Epicurious, and decided to make it, mostly because I still have pounds of untouched orecchiette pasta left over from my birthday. For those just joining, I had plans to make four sets of appetizers on my birthday, and I grossly misjudged how long I would need to prepare. I ended up cutting the appetizer list in half, sacrificing my much hyped truffle mac and cheese. Failure suuucks.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 15 1/2-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), well drained
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh sage
1 1-pound bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
1 lb orecchiete pasta

You start by boiling the pasta, and in a separate pot melt the butter and olive oil over high heat. Add the garlic and garbanzo beans, and saute for about 8 minutes until they get all golden brown. Add half the sage and saute for a minute more.

Add broccoli rabe, wine, and 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid to the pot. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the broccoli rabe is tender. Then add pasta, remaining sage, and Parmesan cheese; toss to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. I, of course, added some red pepper flakes for some spicy. It was goooood. I think the acidity of the white wine cut down the bitterness of the broccoli rabe or something, because everything worked really well together.

Try as a I might not to steal Giada de Laurentiis‘s identity, I’m kind of doing it. She’s so damn adorbs, and she has it all. I watched her make Thai food last weekend, and I found myself jacking the Veggies in Yellow Curry recipe for dinner that night, with a few modifications.

orecchiete with broccoli rabe and fried chickpeas

Ingredients:

1 yellow curry jar (she called for coconut milk and curry paste)
1 small russet potato, peeled
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 15 oz can baby corn, drained and rinsed
1 Thai chile, sliced
5 sprigs basil, with stems, plus 1/4 cup chopped (she used Thai basil)
1 tsp lime zest (she called for 3 Keffir lime leaves)
1 tbsp fish sauce

Ok, so Giada made her own curry with curry paste and coconut milk, but I wasn’t able to find yellow curry paste anywhere. I had to settle on using one of these. Just admitting this makes me feel like a fraud, so imagine how I felt doing it! I never like to take shortcuts while cooking. If anything, I like to make things harder on myself. Even the Asian grocery was out of curry paste, though, so I had no choice.

Anyways, you start by heating the sauce, and then add everything. Easy enough, Giada. You win at life. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I made this really good whole grain brown rice and read a little from my new ibook. That’s right; I’m trendy. Once 30 minutes are up, you remove the lid and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, for about 5 minutes. Discard the lime leaves and the basil sprigs. I served atop the rice, and it was all kinds of delicious. It also fed me for — count it — 7 nights. Hello, record breaking leftovers. Where were you when I was perpetually broke? Better late than never, I guess:

veggies in yellow curry

15
May
10

linguine with clams, veggie sandwich.

I just reached a major culinary milestone. In a lady-balls-to-the-wall moment, I approached the seafood counter at Whole Foods with nothing but bivales on the brain. After probing the seafood man for his expertise (Clams or Cockles? Jersey clams or Maine clams? Boxers or briefs?), I walked away with two pounds of Littleneck clams and a totally unnecessary and premature sense of accomplishment.

I’ve had no experience with clams save for a few encounters with clam chowder, so I was pretty glued to the recipe I found on Epicurious. It was meant for cockles, but the Whole Foods man said he favored clams (they’re sweeter and less briny, apparently) and steered me in that direction. It called for:

linguine with clams

Ingredients:

12 oz linguine (I used whole wheat)

2 tbsp butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry white wine

2 tbsp tarragon

1/4 tsp saffron

2 pounds cockles ( I used clams)

It also requested I add whipping cream, which I excluded because I can. I love exerting my power over dairy. You start by cooking the linguine as the box instructs, and melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and sautee for a couple of minutes, and then add the wine, half the tarragon and the saffron. Bring to boil, add the clams, and cover the skillet. They took about 8 minutes to cook, and suddenly all the clams pop open and, like, all but unhinge! It looked just like the Reach toothbrush cartoon, but an edible version. Side bar: what happened to Reach? Anyways, you toss the cooked linguine in with the sauce, season with salt and pepper, and then top with the clams. I added some crushed red pepper flakes for some spice, but the tarragon and saffron did a pretty good job of seasoning. I really enjoyed the whole clam experience.

In sweaty news, I’ve been going at this whole workout thing with a new perspective. Harder, faster, stronger, if you will. I used to be all “treadmill for 20 min a day? Done.” Now I’m all, “Treadmill for 20, Cybex for 30, Stair master for 15? Done,” or some variation of that. It’s swimsuit season much too soon, so it’s go time. I will never stop wishing there were pools in the city, though, because I loooove to swim. I also enjoy that whole “fetus in the womb” feeling of floating around and doing somersaults and whatever. Also, it’s sweatless exercise. Something to think about, NYC.

While looking through my repertoire of recent eats, I realized that my most photogenic recipe was another from Epicurious. Is there such a thing as a recipe app addiction? If so, I suffer from it.

I want

Ingredients:

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise

1 teaspoon finely chopped canned chipotle chile with sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

8 slices whole-grain bread

2⁄3 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta

1 medium avocado, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tomato, cut into 8 slices

You start by boiling 1 cup water with vinegar in a small saucepan. Add onion; turn off heat; let sit 30 minutes; drain. I love red onions more than life itself, and this was a delicious way to prepare them. They’re almost pickled. Epi then wants you to puree beans and cumin in a blender. Mix mayonnaise, chipotle (I used a jalapeno) and lime juice in a bowl, and spread on 4 slices of bread, which I toasted. I’m normally not a mayo fan, but I figured it was alright to include as long as lime and jalapeno were involved. Top remaining slices with bean puree, onion, cheese (I used goat cheese due to the overwhelming absense of feta in Whole Foods that week), avocado, cilantro and tomato. I’ve made my fair share of well documented veggie paninis in the past, but this was by far the most hearty. It’s also arguably the prettiest, and I’m showing it here in all its openfaced glory. See below:

black bean and veggie sandwich with pickled red onions and jalapeno mayo

08
Feb
10

pasta with truffle oil, spicy crab cake panini.

Ok so a couple of months back, I was all “Wooooo my computer’s back! All is right with the world. Prepare for the best blog of your LIFE. I’m going to blog so hard. So very hard.” And my computer, vindictive as she is, staged a preemptive strike and almost melted into herself. Who does that?! Whores. That’s who. I sent her to Florida to straighten out. Then, I went to California for shits and giggles, and I didn’t cook for like a week. Also, my fitness was dangerously low, so I had enough material to write something like, “Today I walked from the car to the restaurant and ordered enough French Toast to gag a Frenchman. Like, easily. And then I went and consumed a giant frozen yogurt with frosted Animal Crackers.” No one wants to hear that. So, yeah, I’ve been absent for two months. All apologies.

A few weeks ago I decided to have a few friends over, and I got all kinds of creative with the appetizer list. I quadrupled every recipe, and then of course had poor time management and only made half of what I’d planned. As a result, I have so many unnecessary ingredients just sitting around, taunting me. I made a pasta dish last week with a bunch of my lefties, and it came out kind of Batali-worthy.

pasta a la Deena

Ingredients:

1/2 pound pipe rigate pasta

2 cloves garlic

1/2 vidalia onion, sliced

1/2 lb. portabella mushrooms, sliced

sundried tomatoes

parsley, chopped

lemon juice

truffle oil

olive oil

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

I started by sauteeing the chopped garlic and onion in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and let that go ahead and brown away. Then I added the sliced mushrooms and a little bit of the truffle oil, and continued to cook until they were ready for me.

Meanwhile I boiled the pasta, and then chopped the sundried tomatoes and parsley. Once the pasta was done, I drained it and then added the mushroom mixture right in. I stirred in the tomatoes and parsley, added some lemon juice, and then shredded a bunch of parmesan cheese on top. It was pretty much my proudest pasta ever. Isn’t she lovely?

It was hearty, so my workout routine had to match. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with and really taking to the midday gymming. Every day is kind of a race against the clock, though, so variety has fallen off as a result. I went to my first yoga class in months yesterday, and I’ve decided it’s probably necessary that I welcome it back full time. I’m really sore and MUCH too zen for a New Yorker right now. I kind of love it.

One of the appetizers that made the final cut for my get-together was Spicy Crab cakes with Lemon Aioli, which I bogarted from the Neelys:

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

1 shallot, chopped fine

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 cup plain panko bread crumbs

1 large egg

Hot sauce, to taste

1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage and shell fragments

1/2 cup peanut oil

I pretty much stayed true to the recipe, although Whole Foods seems never to have heard of this “crab boil” seasoning, so I used Old Bay. And way more hot sauce than just “to taste,” obviously. You basically just mix everything in a giant bowl and then form into patties, roll said patties in bread crumbs, and then sautee over medium heat for about 4 minutes on each side. Since I’d quadrupled the recipe, I only had enough time to make about half of the patties, so I made the rest of the bowl the day after.

I ate some of the 20 some-odd patties in typical ass out, face-in-the-refrigerator fashion, but I got a little fancy with the remainders. I had planned on making some crab and avocado crostinis, so I had a couple of untouched baguettes. I decided to make a crab cake panini with some grilled red and yellow bell peppers and avocado. I drizzled the bread with olive oil, and toasted both halves. I already had the grilled peppers leftover from a delicious bruschetta I’d made (touche Bobby Flay), so I placed those along with some sliced avocado opposite the crab cake. The whole thing was incredible and, like, gives Crayola a complex because of its purdy colors. See below:

Crab cake panini with grilled bell peppers and avocado




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