Tag Archives: pasta

Recipe: Fiddleheads, Fiddleheads (Pasta…)

6 Jun

Oh, the fiddlehead. What a strange little veggie. I had literally never seen them until a few weeks ago when I walked into Whole Foods and they were situated right in front of the produce section. I thought they were very cool looking, and the sign said that they tasted like asparagus. Plus, they were LOCAL! Hooray! I bought about 1/2lb ish.

I read a few articles about how best to prepare and cook them. I don’t usually have to do this but these little buggers are baffling. Plus the Whole Foods sign had warned about them being slightly poisonous if eaten raw, and I didn’t want to take any chances.

At least one of the articles said to trim the outer stem up to the coil, and then to cook them it was recommended that you steam them first, then stir fry in butter or olive oil and herbs, garlic, what have you.

Trim. If your fiddleheads have long handle-like stems, cut them to just where they begin to tightly coil. Discard the stems.

Rinse the coils with some water, because they can have little particle bits caught in them.

Steam them using a veggie steamer if you have one. If you don’t, that’s ok. You can just put them in a frying pan with a very little bit of water-let the water boil then put in the fiddleheads and cover with a lid. If you’re using a veggie steamer, fill a pot with an inch or two of water, put your fiddleheads in the steamer basket, put the steamer basket in the pot and set the pot at medium-high and cover.

Veggie steamer! So Sci-fi.

I steamed them for about 10-12 minutes, and I think that was too long. I would go for 7.

I made them into pasta, and it was quite delicious. If you want to go this route, have some water boiling for pasta. Boil whatever kind of pasta you like according to the package directions, but shave 2-3 minutes off of the cooking time.

When the fiddleheads are done steaming, put them in a big frying pan with about 2 TB olive oil, 1-2 tsp garlic, some parsley, about 1tsp lemon, and salt to taste. Stir fry them around for a minute or so, then add the cooked pasta and 1C chicken broth (or veggie broth if you want to keep it vegetarian-friendly). Keep it on medium-high heat and cook until the broth has reduced to about 1/2-1 inch.

Serve with lots of parmesean cheese and pepper.

Yummy yum yum!

❤ Stef

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Recipe: Cheesy Stuffed Acorn Squash

20 Dec

I know I talk about this all the time and you probably want me to shut up, but I’m a recent west coast transplant.
In California, we get produce all year round. It’s awesome. The local variety changes, so in the winter we get lots of root veggies and greens, but the produce is there so eating local is easy. In Massachusetts it’s a little harder! I recently moved next to a Whole Foods, and they make it really easy for you to see where all of their produce comes from, ie, they label it with country/state of origin, and if it is local they tell you the city or farm/co-op if applicable. I love it. So the point is, nearly all of the veggies, even the winter ones, are from California.
And yes I’M from California but I think eating local is so important,  so for the last few weeks I’ve been eating squash and turnips, the only veggies I could find that are from Massachusetts. Adventure! Danger!
Surprisingly, turnips are really good! I bought a variety that claims to be a variant grown only in Massachusetts, and they were super-cheap and super-delicious. Who knew?
But the subject of this blog is squash. Specifically, acorn squash.
I don’t normally cook with winter squash (summer squash is totally different. I LURVE summer squash). It’s a curious vegetable, hard skinned and tender fleshed, I associate it either with soup or with overly sweet baked dishes. In fact, most of the recipes I found when looking for acorn squash inspiration involved sugar or maple syrup. I understand that this is a popular way of cooking squash, but I don’t usually like sweet-savory main dishes. I don’t eat turkey with cranberry sauce either. It’s weird.
So the recipe I decided to use has you baking the squash, and then stuffing it with cheesy orzo. Um, YUM. It’s like mac and cheese for grown ups! With veggies! SCORE.

Chessy Orzo Stuffed Acorn Squash (recipe from epicurious.com)

I halved this recipe because there is only one of me.

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded

1/2 C orzo pasta

1/2 C milk

1/4 C veggie broth (I used chicken. Just used whatever you have).

1/4 C parmesean cheese

(The original recipe calls for a combo of 1/4C sharp cheddar and 1TB parm, but I didn’t have cheddar. Feel free to make it any way you wish).

Cracked black pepper.

Preheat your oven to 400˚. Then ready your squash for the baking by cutting it in half (please don’t cut off your fingers.) and scooping out all of the seeds.

Now you are going to bake these guys by placing them cut sides down in a baking dish. Add about 1/3C of water to the baking dish and cover it with foil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Take the squash out of the oven, discard the water, and turn right side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Keep the oven on.

Now you’re going to make the orzo! Bring a small pot (like 3 C of water) to boil and add the orzo. Let boil for 5 minutes and drain. Add the milk and broth to the orzo and bring back to a boil. You want the liquid to thicken up and the orzo to become tender, which should take 5 ish minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cheese, whichever you’ve decided to use, and the cracked pepper. Add salt to taste. Stir until everything is melty and combined.

Now you’re going to stuff the squash, muahaha! Divide the cheesy orzo into the squash halves and sprinkle with some more parmesean.

Bake at 400˚ (you should have just left the oven alone) for 12 minutes. Remove.

Serve!

Very satisfying.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Cheese Tortellini with Lemony Chicken and Asparagus

19 Mar

I usually post Fridays, but I am flying to Seattle this evening for an interview with Seattle Pacific University. I didn’t want to deprive you of my culinary genius for a whole 24 hours, so I thought I would just list my recipe early this week. 😉
This recipe is very easy and super delicious. I tend to cook a lot of pastas and soups, for a few reasons.
1. I’m broke.
2. They are easy to make, and require minimal clean up.
3. My boyfriend is much pickier than he would have you believe.
I elected not to use a cream sauce for this dish, because I am trying (half-heartedly) to eat healthier and lose some weight.
This recipe can very easily be made vegetarian. Just use a whole pound of asparagus and eliminate the chicken, and substitute veggie broth for the chicken broth.

Ingredients:
12 oz cheese tortellini. I used fresh; you can use dried or frozen, whatever. The only thing it will impact is your cooking time.
1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 lb asparagus tips
1 TB crushed and chopped garlic
1/3 C chicken broth
Juice of 1 small lemon, approximately 1/8 C
1/2 tsp flour
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper
grated parmesean, to garnish
Instructions:
Set a pot of water to boil for your pasta. While you wait for the water to boil, you will be making your sauce.
First, chop your veggies and the chicken. You want to slice the chicken into little strips.
Chop the asparagus into quarters.
Next, crush the garlic with the flat of your knife and chop into tiny pieces.
Heat 1 TB of olive oil in a pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until slightly brown, but not burnt.
At this point, add the chicken and cook until half cooked. This is what partially cooked chicken looks like.
Add the asparagus, chicken broth, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. It is important to add the asparagus while the chicken is only halfway cooked because you otherwise run the risk of overcooking the chicken. Dry chicken is just as bad as undercooked chicken. Perhaps worse, actually, because once it is overcooked it is difficult to talk down from the ledge.
Yum yum yum. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir. Allow to simmer for a further 2-3 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Add the chicken and the asparagus to the cooked tortellini, reserving the sauce in the pan.
Next, you are going to reduce the sauce by half. Boil the sauce over high heat for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Bubble bubble bubble.
Be sure to watch the sauce, or it will reduce too much and you will have too little sauce! This is just about perfect, but even then I think I reduced it just a little too much.
Not exactly the most flattering picture, but tasty just the same.
Add the reduced sauce to the tortellini, chicken and asparagus. Stir to coat and serve with lots of parmesean.
Mmmm. Doesn’t this look lovely? The end result is slightly lemony, which is perfectly complemented by the parmesean.
I should note that this recipe is me
ant to serve two people. You could probably serve 4 if you don’t eat very much. My boyfriend and I polished off the whole thing ourselves, but we had seconds. We’re eaters.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Avoglemeno Greek Wedding Soup-Originally Posted 1.16.09

29 Jan

My first soup recipe!

I originally got this recipe from Rachel Ray-her Greek Wedding Soup. I changed it just a little, added chopped kale and I made it avoglemeno. Avoglemeno is a traditional Greek sauce made of eggs and lemon that is added to soup. Avoglemeno soup is usually made with chicken and rice (that’s how my Dad used to make it for me when I was little, anyway) but the sauce itself can be added to any soup that you like.

Ingredients:
5 cups of chicken stock (or beef, whatever you have on hand)
1/2 lb of ground beef
3/4 C orzo pasta
1 C chopped Kale (or other leafy green veggie, like spinach, chard, or collards)
2 eggs
1 lemon
1/2 C of breadcrumbs
1 tsp Parsley, dried
1 tsp Oregano, dried
2 tsp garlic
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Drizzle some olive oil (about 1 TB) into a pot large enough to hold 5 cups plus of liquid. Remove the inner stem (unless you’re using spinach) from the leafy green of your choice and chop into small pieces. Saute the greens for about 5 minutes, and add the orzo. Saute for another few minutes, until the pasta starts looking like it is toasted (5 minutes max!). Add the stock and turn the heat to high. While you wait for the liquid to boil, make the meatballs.

Meatballs:
Mix together the ground beef, breadcrumbs, 1 egg, garlic, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper. Once the stock is boiling, turn the heat to medium so that the liquid stays as a simmer. Form the meat mixture into balls with your hands and drop them one by one into the simmering liquid. Then, start on the avoglemeno.

Avoglemeno:
Crack the remaining egg into a medium to large sized bowl, and scramble. Add the juice of 1 lemon and scramble again. Next is the tricky part. If you have ever made egg drop soup, you will know that if you add egg to a hot liquid the egg will curdle. That is NOT what we want. So the trick is to mix the lemon and egg sauce with one hand while you carefully add little bits of hot stock, about a 1/4 cup at a time. I usually use a big soup spoon, or a small ladle. Continue to add the hot stock a little bit at a time until you have added at least a cup of stock (I prefer to add 2 cups just to be sure) to the egg mixture. Then, turn off the heat to the soup. While the heat is off, stir the soup with one hand and add the avoglemeno and hot stock mix with the other. Once the two have combined, turn the heat up again to about medium and let the soup come to a boil, stirring the entire time.

Turn the heat off and check the seasonings, adding more pepper, salt, lemon, what have you. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!