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Posts from the ‘Grains.Rice,Pasta’ Category

Homemade Pasta

I grew up eating homemade pasta, my Mom made it all the time, she did it all by hand the rolling, cutting etc… no recipe she dumped flour on a work surface added eggs in a well she made in the middle of the flour and that was it. I remember seeing her knead the dough, roll it out and it was a lot of work but homemade pasta has always been one my favorite things to eat and a cherished childhood memory.

I take advantage of modern appliances and use my food processor to make the dough and have a pasta machine which really makes quick work of it all. One of my favorite ways to enjoy this pasta is simply with fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil and garlic. For this dish I wanted to use some leftover very soft tomatoes and a friend gave me some tiny grape tomatoes and some basil from her garden. I planted 8 tomato plants this year and 2 basil plants, I was so optimistic about the tomatoes and had some beautiful  fruit on the plants, unfortunately I only got 1 tomato the squirrels got the rest and my basil died, both plants. I am lucky that the farmers market has beautiful heirloom tomatoes so like every year I will rely on my trips to the market for my tomato fix.

the almost ripe tomato that the squirrels decimated

Homemade Pasta

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

2 1/2 cups flour

4 eggs

2-4 tbs water (start with 2 add more if needed)

2 tbs olive oil

I used my food processor it’s so easy, put all the ingredients in the bowl of your processor and pulse until it becomes a cohesive dough. Take the dough out and knead until it’s smooth and elastic, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for at least an hour.

Homemade pasta

After resting, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Keep dough you are not working on covered with a tea towel. Use your pasta machine according to manufacturers directions. I start on 1 and work my way up, folding and re rolling as I go. I decided on fettuccine for this dish. After cutting the pasta place on baking sheet and toss with flour so it doesn’t stick together. Cover with towel while making each portion. Note: Pasta freezes beautifully so you can freeze whatever you don’t want to cook.

The pasta dish is so simple to make. I roasted tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Put a large pot of water on to boil, add about 1 tbs of salt, the water should be like sea water. In a skillet or sauté pan add some olive oil add some sliced garlic and sauté until the garlic is lightly browned and soft, add the roasted tomatoes. When water boils add the pasta, fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook. Using a strainer or pasta fork add it directly to the pan with tomatoes and garlic. Toss and cook for about 2 minutes. Add some fresh cherry tomatoes and some torn basil, grate some cheese, parmigiana or Romano or both, and enjoy!

More From Teagan, Comfort Food For Pip- Souffléd Macaroni And Cheese

I absolutely love working with Teagan, and admire her and her wonderful work. This is another snippet from Teagan involving her feisty character Pip. We wanted to do something involving comfort food and when I think of comfort food one of the first things that come to mind is macaroni and cheese. In keeping with the 1920’s flapper theme of the story this recipe is from that era from another feisty and very talented woman named Clemantine Paddleford. Enjoy, and take it away Teagan!!

PS: The recipe is fantastic, light and flavorful really a wonderful change from the traditional macaroni and cheese.

Pip Arrives in Savannah
Thanks for letting me visit again, Suzanne!  Here’s another little vignette from the “universe” of my character Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip.  This would happen after The Three Things Serial Story It’s inspired by Suzanne’s macaroni and cheese.

Pip’s dad didn’t appreciate her escapades in that novella. So now she’s been sent to her grandmother, to learn to cook!  I hope you’ll enjoy this tidbit.

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Pip Arrives in Savannah

The breeze that rustled through the fronds of tall palm trees was tinged with salt.  I inhaled deeply as I walked out of the tall arched door at Savannah’s Union Station.  I heard the bell of a streetcar, which had gone past a moment before.  I stretched to see the trolley, but barely got a glimpse of its back-end.

With a loud Bronx cheer I dropped my suitcase to the curb of West Broad Street.  I thought the Jazz Age slang for the rude noise I made was appropriate, since my Pops was continuing on the train to New York City.

Pops said I needed to be reigned-in, and Granny insisted that I needed to learn to cook.  Neither of them would admit that I was a modern woman.  No self-respecting Flapper needed to cook!  Anyhow, Pops had unceremoniously dumped me off the train, saying he’d visit with Granny and me on his way back.  I blew another raspberry at the streetcar that I had just missed — and at my wretched situation.

Union Station Savannah, GA

The ringing of the streetcar’s bell faded into the distance.  The first time I ever saw a trolley was during a visit to my grandmother, there in Savannah, when I was a very little girl.  I slipped away from her and Pops, and scampered onto a streetcar.  I didn’t get far, but Granny Phanny was mad enough to spit. 

This time, I had done the opposite.  Instead of getting on a trolley when I shouldn’t have, I had missed the one I was supposed to ride to get to her.  Now Granny would be waiting to meet me at some Chinese restaurant downtown, but I wouldn’t be on the trolley.  Horsefeathers!  She would be in a lather.

A nearby news vendor walked away from his stall, probably headed for a bite of lunch.  I called out and waved as I hurried toward him, my suitcase bumping along at my side.

“Hey Mac!  Was that the trolley that goes to Pearl Street?” I called out, but he didn’t hear me over the blast of a train whistle.  “Enjoy your lunch,” I grumbled and my empty stomach answered in kind.  “I sure could do with some of Granny’s macaroni and cheese.”

“Did you miss the trolley, sweet cheeks?” a clear tenor voice asked.

I didn’t see him until he moved forward.  He had been leaning against the opposite side of the newsstand.  He wore a suit and hat, but they had flair.  He cast a furtive glance over his shoulder, but then tilted his head back and blew a smoke ring into the air.

Applesauce!  He looked pos-i-lute-ly like the kind of character I had always been told to avoid, but he was as sexy as the Sheik of Araby.  Then his cigarette smoke drifted to me and I sneezed.  So much for me being a sophisticated Sheba.  I had to agree with Pops that smoking was a nasty habit.

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“You’re new in town, huh?  I’m Floyd.  I can take you where the giggle water flows aplenty.  It’ll be a real blow,” he said with a smile and a wink that made him even handsomer.

“Says you,” I countered coyly, thinking he was joking around.

“At least let me drive you over to Pearl Street.  Stick around until my pal gets back.  He’s picking up something for me,” he added gazing up and then down the street, as if looking for his friend.  Stay right here and I’ll get my machine.  It’s a sweet ride.  You’ll love it,” he called over his shoulder as he rushed away.  “Don’t move.  Promise.  I’ll be right back.”

I stood baffled, gaping at Floyd’s retreating form.  I was also feeling flattered by his interest.  There was an intensity about him that I found exciting.  Not to mention the fact that I was relieved that I might avoid Granny’s wrath over me missing the streetcar and leaving her waiting.

Signorina, do not be going with that man.  It would be a bad thing for you.  Trouble comes,” a voice, heavily accented with Italian, said from behind me.  “There will be other transportation.”

Turning, I saw a portly man in odd looking chef’s clothes.  He lifted his brimless toque and bowed.  A jalopy backfired so suddenly and so loudly that I jerked around to face the noise.  When I turned back, the chef was gone.  I didn’t see him anywhere.  It was as if he disappeared into thin air.

I quickly forgot about the odd occurrence when a wooden crate fell off a passing truck.  The driver pulled to the curb beside me.  Without thinking I went to help.  He had not been traveling fast, so little damage was done.  A few oranges rolled from a broken crate.  I started picking up the wayward fruit.1920s delivery truck

An Asian looking guy with a quasi-British accent jumped out of the driver’s door, apologizing even before his feet hit the street.  He gingerly hopped over the tailgate and began re-positioning the crates.  A couple of them looked ready to fall.

I noticed lettering on the truck proclaiming Wong’s Chinese.  Was that the name of the restaurant where I was supposed to meet Granny?  I was so resentful about being sent to Savannah that I hadn’t even paid attention to what she said.  I knew there wouldn’t be more than one Chinese restaurant on the street.

“Your place isn’t on Pearl Street by any chance, is it?”

“Yep, that’s Wong’s,” he replied with a grin, stopping his work.  “Hey, are you Pip?  Miss Phanny will be looking for you.  I’m Alastair Wong,” he bent from the truck bed and shook my hand.

I sighed with relief.

Then a brand new Ford stopped and gave a long blare of the auto’s horn.  “Hey! Move it,” my Sheik of Araby from moments before shouted angrily, and followed that with a racial slur.

Floyd got out of the automobile, moving toward us in a menacing posture.  I stood up, a smashed and dripping orange still in my hand.

“This cake eater’s bad news, Pip.  You don’t want to have anything to do with him,” Alastair Wong whispered as he stepped in front of me protectively.

In the distance a police whistle trilled.  The guy’s eyes widened and he looked over his shoulder.  Before I knew what was happening, he had hit Alastair in the head with the butt of a pistol.  I shrieked as he dragged me into the open Ford, my arms and legs flailing.

I could hear the coppers coming toward us, shouting and blowing whistles.  Suddenly the Ford was blocked between the delivery truck and police vehicles.  Alastair lay unconscious on the street.  The busted orange dripped juice all over my skirt.  The guy waved his gun around excitedly.  A maniacal gleam came to his eyes when he looked at me.

1920s Police car

An over eager copper fired his gun.  I heard the whiz of the bullet pass by my head.  Startled, Floyd jerked toward the policemen.  Movement from the delivery truck caught my eye.  A catawampus crate started to wobble.  Suddenly that crate and another one tumbled down to land on the windshield of the Ford.  Floyd started screaming and cursing, waving his pistol even more.

When he turned back to me, on sudden impulse I stuck the busted orange in his face and smeared it into his eyes.  By then the coppers had reached us.  They grabbed him before he could do any damage with the gun.

A copper helped me out of the Ford.  I ran to Alastair as another cop helped him stand.  Across the street I saw Floyd’s pal, the news vendor being held by a policeman.

“What just happened here?” I demanded.

A paddy wagon rolled up and the policemen pushed Floyd into it, along with his pal.

“Bootleggers,” a copper told me.  “As if we didn’t already have enough of those around here.”

“So Pip,” Alastair said while he held a handkerchief to his bloodied forehead.  “How do you like Savannah so far?”

I chuckled despite everything.  At least he had a sense of humor.

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“Well, I was afraid I would be bored to tears here,” I told him with a dramatic sigh.  “But I suppose it will be interesting enough.  So far I’ve learned three things.  Don’t take any wooden nickels.  Don’t get into Fords with handsome men.  And Wong’s Chinese is the right place to go.”

Alastair laughed.  “That’s a good slogan, doll face.  Mind if I use it?  How about we get you to the restaurant.  Miss Phanny will be getting impatient.”

And so began my adventures in Savannah.

The end

***

 

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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Souffléd Macaroni and Cheese

Makes 4 servings

Recipe by Clemantine Paddleford

1 1/2 cups scalded whole milk

1 cup soft bread crumbs

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese Note: I used 2  cups cheddar cheese

1 cup cooked macaroni

3 eggs separated

1/4 cup diced pimentos

1 tbs chopped parsley

1 tbs grated onion

1 tsp salt

3 tbs butter melted

Pre heat oven to 350 degree’s Grease a casserole Note: I baked at 375 degree’s

Pour milk over soft bread crumbs, add cheese. Cover and let stand until cheese melts. Add macaroni. Combine and add beaten egg yolks, pimento, parsley, onion, salt and buttter. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into the mixture. Note: I sprinkled the top of the mac and cheese with breadcrumbs and grated some cheddar and gruyere on top.

Pour into prepared casserole. Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes.

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Beef And Eggplant Ragu

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I love a good meaty pasta dish, it’s rich and perfect cold weather fare. This recipe couldn’t be easier, and has a surprise ingredient, eggplant which adds an amazing flavor and texture, it’s similar to a bolognese but not your traditional recipe.  I have posted recipes from Windy before, well, it was a few years ago and I posted her recipe for turkey meatballs in a cream sauce.  She doesn’t have a food blog but I think she should. Her recipes are delicious, nutritious and budget conscience. Whether making this for one or a family (it tastes even better the next day) you should give this recipe a try. You can use whatever type of pasta you like, whether long noodles or a substantial pasta like rigatoni it is wonderful, gnocchi would be great as well.

Beef and eggplant ragu

Serves 4 generously

4 garlic cloves chopped
1 shallot chopped
1/2 small onion (red or yellow)
1 lb 80% Lean ground beef
1 small Eggplant  peeled and cubed
1 28 oz can Tomato Puree
1 cup red wine
Salt
Pepper
3 Bay Leaves
1 tsp sugar (optional)

Dice and sautée garlic, shallots and onion for about 3 min. Add ground beef. Cook until ground beef is browned then add eggplant and cook about 4 min longer. Add canned tomato, wine, salt, pepper, sugar and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for about 20-30 min.
Cook pasta of your choice. I used fettuccine. Toss pasta with sauce and sprinkle pecorino Romano on top. Also good with a dollop of ricotta. 😋

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Stuffed Peppers, A Visit From A Friend And Nectarine And Meyer Lemon Preserves

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Two weeks ago a new farmers market popped up only 2 blocks from my home. It’s small only 2 stands one with baked goods and the other fresh fruit and vegetables. It does not have an abundant selection but the vegetables are good and fresh and it’s great to have a farmers market during the week and near me. I’ve shopped there the past two weeks and have some beautiful produce to work with.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve made stuffed peppers, a really long time, I’m not sure why because I like them. I usually stuff the peppers with meat and rice and vegetables and simmer them in a tomato sauce, actually when I first made them years ago I saw a recipe using Campbells tomato soup. I made them on the stove top and the peppers were soft and tender and the filling was delicious, I always topped them with some cheese which melted on the peppers and the sauce that you spoon over the pepper was really good. So I bought some tomato soup and decided to recreate this forgotten recipe. I have never seen a purple pepper before you can see it below, I thought it was so pretty I had to buy it and thought it would be nice to have an assortment of colors. These are great because they are already individually portioned and with a salad you have a great meal. For a vegetarian version you can add lentils or beans instead of the ground meat, even tofu would be good.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

Makes 4 large stuffed peppers

1 lb ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken

1  cup cooked rice, white or wild or both (I used wild rice)

1/2 cup cooked yellow split peas

1 medium onion chopped

1 large clove garlic minced

1 cup diced fresh tomato tomato

2 cups chopped kale (uncooked, it will cook down)

1 cup grated cheese, your choice, I used manchego and cheddar.

1 can tomato soup or tomato sauce + 1 can water (a can of soup is 10 3/4 oz)

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Boil your rice in salted water until it’s cooked al dente. You don’t want it completely cooked or it will turn to mush when it’s cooked in the pepper. In another pot boil the yellow split peas in salted water until soft but a little toothsome.

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Pour the tomato soup or sauce and water in a baking dish and whisk to combine. Clean your peppers, cut the top off and clean the inside of the pepper removing seeds and membranes. If the peppers won’t sit well cut/shave a very thin slice off the bottom of the pepper being careful not to cut a hole or the filling will fall out.

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and add the onion and garlic, cook until soft and transluscent. Add the ground meat and cook until meat is browned. Drain any fat, season with salt and pepper and set aside. Add a little more olive oil and cook the kale until softened. Chop the tomatoes and add to a mixing bowl along with the meat, onion,garlic and kale, mix in the rice, split peas and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Note: It’s important to season along the way then before you stuff the peppers season again if needed.  The cheese acts as a binding agent but you can also add a beaten egg.

Stuff each pepper all the way to the top gently pressing the filling into the pepper and place in the baking dish sitting in the tomato soup. Sprinkle a little cheese on top. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes, uncover, increase the temperature to 425 and cook another 15-20 minutes. The peppers should be soft but not falling apart.

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Over the weekend I got to meet Gerlinde- Sunny Cove Chef. Meeting other bloggers is wonderful and a great perk that comes with blogging,  she is such a lovely and sweet person. We had lunch at a local restaurant and walked around the neighborhood. Gerlinde is German by birth and lives in sunny California. She is also an accomplished and avid traveller, part of her blog is devoted to her travels, she calls it Wanderlust Blog. She brought me a gift, so sweet of her. Some meyer lemons from her tree, beautiful ceramic egg cups, some German pesto salt and some tea. I used one of the lemons with the nectarines to make this preserve. An unusual combination, maybe, but it works and the preserves are delicious, a little tart, a little sweet and the meyer lemon adds this wonderful flavor that is distinct to that citrus fruit. I only made one 16 oz jar using the nectarines I had that were over ripe.

Nectarine and Meyer Lemon Preserves

Made 1 16 oz jar

5-6 nectarines peeled and cut into slices- they were sizeable nectarines so if yours are smaller use more

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

pinch of cinnamon (about 1/8 tsp)

Juice of one meyer lemon (You will put half of the lemon in with the nectrarines while cooking)

Add the sliced nectarines to heavy bottom sauce pan along with the sugar, honey, cinnamon,lemon juice and half a lemon. Bring to a boil on medium high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until thick, test it by placing a spoonful on a cold saucer it should thicken when it’s ready. It cooked for close to an hour. Place in sterilized jar, seal and process with your preferred method. No shots of this open the jar is sealed, waiting for winter.

Quick Butter Chicken- Murgh Makhani

 

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I had butter chicken for the first time only a few months ago at a local Indian restaurant. It was wonderful and I have wanted to make it ever since I tried it. I am sometimes hesitant to make Indian dishes because spicing and I do not see eye to eye, balanced spices is a challenge for me, I follow and have had help from great Indian cooks like Sonal, Aruna, Chitra, Sandhya to name a few.  The other day I received an email from Food and Wine Magazine and it contained a recipe from  Andrew Zimmern’s for Butter Chicken, now Mr. Zimmern is a great chef, daring eater and fun to watch on TV. I trust his palate and thought I would give his recipe a try, it looks so easy all you use is vindaloo prepared spice, no tempering, toasting, grinding etc…. I did not have vindaloo spice mix so I ordered from Penzy’s and can’t wait to try it.

The recipe is very easy to make and I love how quickly it all comes together. Whenever I make a new recipe I try to follow the instructions, I didn’t want to add a stick of butter, not that I don’t like butter (love it) it just seemed like a lot, I threw caution to the wind and used a full stick, the other ingredient I had a hard time with is the spice the vindaloo mix, the recipe calls for 1/4 cup +2tbs, I have a very very light hand when it comes to spices and really wanted to only add 2 tbs but followed instructions and added the full amount.  I did not use chicken thighs, instead I used boneless skinless breast tenders, it’s what I had. Now the butter chicken I had at the Indian Restaurant was almost orange in color. Mine looks like the one in the photo at Food and Wine I guess the color doesn’t matter but I would like to know why some recipes that I have seen are almost a bright orange, is it maybe an addition of some chili powder?

It was tasty, a bit too spicy for me, but I am a real wimp when it comes to heat. I would probably make it again putting my own spin on it. I don’t like adding meat without sauteeing first, so I would do that, I would use less spice because it was a bit too spicy for me, would use less butter, half a stick rather than a whole stick, I would possibly thicken with cashew cream rather than heavy cream or even coconut milk. Well, I guess it’s not the same recipe then. It was very easy, took less than an hour to make and that I love.

What I learned making this recipe:

  1. There is a reason they say to use thighs I think they are sturdier, the breast tenders fell apart in the marinade when left overnight, I had to sieve so it is smooth.
  2. I think it would be worth it to mix your own or have someone custom mix the vindaloo spice mix to tailor to your taste, less of the super spicy stuff.  I like this it’s good but I think there are some things I would change to suit my taste. I thought I might have tasted cloves and I was right, I checked the list of spices and cloves were there albeit a small amount it was the last one mentioned.
  3. Although this is tasty I prefer to layer flavors, searing or sauteeing the meat adds a lot of flavor IMHO.

Butter Chicken

Andrew Zimmern for Food And Wine

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vindaloo spice (see Note)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Basmati rice, cilantro sprigs and chopped salted roasted cashews, for serving
  1. In a large bowl, mix the yogurt with the vindaloo spice and lemon juice. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and its marinade along with the crushed tomatoes and stock to the casserole and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer until the sauce is flavorful and the chicken is cooked through, 
10 to 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and serve with basmati rice, cilantro sprigs and chopped cashews.
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Community Meeting, Half Marathon, Bark Fest And a Noodle Bowl

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It has been a crazy few weeks. Have to say it is kind of a blur. Our neighborhood has been fighting a proposal by DOT to change Clinton Ave a two way street into a one way street with TWO buffered bike lanes. Safety for everyone on that stretch came into question. There are many big coop buildings with MANY elderly and disabled residents and we saw flaws in the plan because (in a nutshell) they did not take into account emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles, access-a-ride- fire trucks, sanitation trucks not to mention how the elderly and disabled can cross two bike lanes to get to their vehicles or service car.  The plan was ONLY considering cyclists. The 2 way (NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE IN BROOKLYN) buffered bike lane would be curbside thereby eliminating curb side parking for residents with cars, the city has long been trying to make it as difficult, unsavory and as expensive as possible for those who drive. Limited parking would be in the middle of the street and the one lane would be going north bound. Traffic from the eliminated lane would be diverted to my street and one other.  My opposition to this plan is because of safety issues for the residents but also the block I live on CANNOT safely sustain any more traffic, it is already a bumper to bumper traffic nightmare during certain times of the day and it would get much much worse.

Even the elected's had concerns

Even the elected’s had concerns

I don’t own a car, I walk, take public transporation or even bike from time to time and I am all for safety for cyclists but this plan is only taking them into consideration and not the needs of the community as a whole. We fought back and fought back hard, opposition was HUGE and loud and it got ugly because the people from Transporation Alternatives, a very powerful and wealthy lobbying group for the cyclists were there to try to discredit us. In the end DOT temporarily withdrew their proposal and promised to go back to the drawing board, we will see but we are still mobilizing and fighting because the battle is has not been won there is only a short reprieve. More to come on this one.

Brooklyn Half Marathon

I had the honor and priviledge of holding the tape for the winners of the Air Bnb Brooklyn Half Marathon. What a great day it was, beautiful weather for running and over 27,000 runners started at the Brooklyn Museum on Eastern Parkway and the race ended at Coney Island. The race started at 7AM and I had to be at the finish line before 7:30AM, a very early morning, Percy is not used to having his morning walk at 5AM but he was a really good sport.

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Bark Fest

Percy is ready for bark fest

Percy is ready for bark fest

My friend Carla and I took our dogs, Percy and Olive to Bark Fest. It was in Manhattan on Pier 97 on the west side of the city. We bought VIP tickets which gave us some perks. It was my first bark fest, last year Nando was very ill and I couldn’t go, I have heard it’s fun so thought we would give it a try.

It was a beautiful day, not too hot a little over cast which was good for the dogs. I would have preferred it were held in a park with grass rather than a concrete pier. The people from Bark Box were the people who organized it. Honestly, it was ok but we were a little disappointed, It was packed there were thousands of people there, only 2 food trucks we had to wait in line almost 2 hours to get something to eat, there was a long line for everything. We got there right when it opened at 2 PM and got a few minutes in the VIP lounge  but after that there was over a 1 hour wait to get in. Would I go again? Doubt it.

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Spring Roll Bowl

I saw this on Pure Wow and thought it looked easy, delicious, light and fresh and I wanted to immediately make it. I did just that and it was really good, so good in fact that I had to make it again and tweak a bit. The first one I made I used chicken which I sauteed in sesame oil as called for in the recipe, the second time I marinated a pork tenderloin in soy sauce, lime, sesame oil and ginger. It really is a wonderful light meal.

Spring roll bowl with chicken

Spring roll bowl with chicken

SPICY PEANUT SAUCE

¾ cup smooth peanut butter

2 teaspoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

¼ cup rice vinegar

⅓ cup water

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon agave or honey

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Sriracha

Salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the ingredients for the peanut sauce and process until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. Set aside.

carrot, cucumber,watermelon radish spiralized

carrot, cucumber,watermelon radish spiralized

The bowl

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or you can use pork tenderloin

sesame oil

boston lettuce

scallions

carrots ( I spiralized a purple carrot you can grate or cut into strips

straight thin cut rice noodles

cucumbers cut into strips

Avocado cut into slices

sesame rice crackers (optional)

Place some rice noodles in a bowl and fill with boiling water add some salt, add a little salt and let sit until noodles soften.

Clean lettuce and place in bowl, saute the chicken in sesame oil, season with salt and pepper and slice.

Cut cucumber into strips, spiralize or cut carrot into strips.

toasted cashews chopped as a garnish

lime wedges

Add whatever you like, avocado, eliminate meat entirely if you like. Drizzle with peanut sauce and enjoy.

The second time I made it I used pork tenderloin which I marinated in sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger and pan seared then finished in the oven. Takes only minutes.

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Recipe Redux Bread From The Solitary Cook

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Next Week it will be 4 years since I started the blog and I want to feature just a few recipes from my first week of blogging,  this recipe was posted on January 22 of 2012,  Rustic Italian Bread, the recipe comes from my friend Cynthia whose lovely blog The Solitary Cook has been around about as long as mine, we have known each other longer through Food52 which is where we met. I have linked the recipe and did not copy it into this post, Cynthia is a teacher, a chef and a real artisan, her recipe explains everything involved in making a loaf of bread, it’s a tutorial so click on the link above to see the recipe on her site. Before Cynthia, making bread scared me. Her gentle and comprehensive recipes helped me overcome my fear of failure when it came to yeast breads. Note: Here is the link for the preferment which will need to made before you make the actual bread dough.

I love this bread, it’s simple to make and the result is a lovely loaf with crisp crust and soft pillowy inside. It’s delicious!!

One of my favorite ways to enjoy a slice of this crusty delicious bread is so simple. Good butter, watermelon radishes, sea salt and honey. I get most of my produce which is sourced locally from Farmigo, I have talked about them before, it’s an a la carte CSA, love it!! The radishes and butter are from local farms and the honey was a gift from a friend it is sourced in Manhattan, Hells Kitchen, there is actually a bee keeper in a community garden there. The honey is amazing.

Love local food

Love local food

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Or for breakfast, fried bread, lightly buttered pan fried in olive oil, oven roasted gold tomatoes and a medium soft egg. Quick and easy and hey who doesn’t love fried bread.

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Minestrone And Meatball Soup With Tortellini

Hearty soup

Hearty soup

A few years ago I saw this recipe on Bourbon and Brown Sugar’s site. I immediately knew I had to make it. It’s a great recipe, simple to make, hearty and delicious. You can see the link above for the original recipe. I have adapted to my taste making a few alterations and substitutions but keeping with the basic premise of the original. The soup is a real meal, warm and filling and comforting. It is pretty much my favorite soup. I make this every year, many times over and it never fails, it’s a crowd pleaser and although I think it would freeze well I never seem to have any leftover at all. If you have never visited MB’s site and seen the gorgeous and delicious food she cooks up, do yourself a favor and check it out. I used to get notifications by email when she posted new recipes but it stopped so I just followed again. The photo’s are gorgeous and the recipes are delicious. Here is my adaptation of MB’s amazing Hearty Minestrone With Tortellin and Mini Meatballs:

Adapted from a recipe from Bourbon and Brown Sugar

Meatballs:

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork

1 heaping cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 cup grated cheese, parmigiano, romano or a mix

2 eggs

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1/3 cup water

salt and pepper

Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s and line a sheet pan with parchment. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Spray a little oil on the parchment and start rolling small meatballs about the size of a quarter and line them up on the sheet pan. I used about half of the meat and froze the rest. It made 35 small meatballs. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until done and lightly browned.

Soup:

1 smallish yellow onion chopped

1 shallot chopped

2 stalks celery chopped

2 carrots chopped

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 1/2 cup chopped (into bite size pieces) uncooked butternut squash

7-8 cups chicken broth

26 oz canned chopped or fresh tomatoes

a piece of rind from parmigiana cheese (always save the rind)

1 medium size zucchini washed and cut into bite size pieces

2 cups fresh baby spinach

1 15 oz can cannellini beans drained and rinsed

the cooked meatballs.

8 oz fresh tortellini

Heat some olive oil in a large dutch oven, add the onion, shallot, celery, carrot, garlic and butternut squash and cook until the vegetables become tender, it took about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, tomato and rind from the cheese. Bring to a boil and cook on medium heat for 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the beans, zucchini, spinach and meatballs and let simmer for about 30-35 minutes. Soup will be quite thick with all the ingredients. Add the tortellini at the end simmering for about 10 minutes and serve with some grated cheese and warm bread and butter,  a good glass of wine and a fresh salad make this an outstanding cold weather meal.

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Mediterranean Cold Cous Cous Salad

Cous Cous salad

Cous Cous salad

No recipe required here, all you need is some Israeli Cous Cous and whatever vegetables you might like to add, make as much or as little as you want and adjust to your own personal preference, I am sure you know that there are two kinds of cous cous readily available there is a finer grain semolina and the Israeli which is much larger and when cooked al dente is nicely toothsome, it is my favorite and I use it all the time. It actually reminds me of Pastene which is almost identical in size and texture. I did not add onion or garlic although I think it would be good. For a milder onion flavor I used some chives. NOTE: Don’t skip the toasted pine nuts, they add so much to this salad.

Israeli cous cous

Israeli cous cous

I throw this salad together almost weekly, the ingredients vary depending on what I have that needs to be used. As shown, here is the list of ingredients:

Israeli Cous Cous

Fresh tomatoes

cucumber

Olives

Feta Cheese

Fresh herbs, basil, parsley and chives

dried mint

toasted pine nuts

lemon juice

olive oil

salt and pepper

IMG_5790Make the cous cous first, bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil, add the cous cous and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from stove and pour into a strainer, run cold water over it to stop the cooking process, it’s ok if they are slightly hard. They will soften in the dressing and I recommend letting this sit for a few hours or even over night. I chop the tomatoes, add the herbs and olives and toss in the cous cous, toast the pine nuts and crumble the feta into the salad, squeeze some lemon and drizzle on the olive oil, do this according to however you like it. Season with salt and pepper. There is no right or wrong way to make this salad,  really!!!  Have fun with it.

Spaghetti With Fantasy Sauce

Linguine with fantasy sauce

Linguine with fantasy sauce

I saw this recipe (see the recipe)  on Food52 and found it intriguing, Fantasy Sauce, with a name like that I expect a lot. The recipe looked very easy and quick, thats important to me right now, the ingredient list is in most pantries and refrigerators, so I decided I have to give it a try. BTW, for my vegetarian friends this would be equally delicious without the bacon, you could probably even make this vegan with some substitutions.

I did not have spaghetti but I did have linguine so I used that, I had the bacon, spinach, leeks and onions, wine, butter and cream. A short list of ingredients done very quickly.  First let me say I didn’t really pay close attention to nor measure everything, unless I am baking I tend not to measure. I did use 3 slices of bacon that I cut into bite size pieces, a small yellow onion and probably a cup of chopped leeks.  The recipe comes together quickly, the recipe calls for a handful of spinach I added more than that and it kind of disappeared, next time I make it I will use more spinach. Posie tells you to get your spaghetti done first.. well mine was cooking while my sauce was and the timing was perfect.

The dish is very tasty, it is reminiscent of a carbonara in flavor and I love that. I think it could easily be adapted to other ingredients and can be an elegant dish at a dinner party or an easy weeknight pasta supper.

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