Archive | September, 2010

Pasta Bake

27 Sep

This is a dish from my college days.  Cheap, easy, fast, and always good.  Ali (my college roommate) & Jack (her boyfriend) were making this last week— and asked me for a reminder of the recipe.  So, when I was at Rachel’s apt (Rach’s mom is the famed Mrs. Weiner), feeling lazy but wanting something homemade on a Sunday night– it was top of mind– and fit the bill perfectly.

1 package pasta (i use rigatoni)
1 jar tomato sauce
1 pack shredded mozzarella
1 pack ground turkey or turkey sausage links (these add some extra flavor- take them out of their casings)
1 onion, small diced

Preheat oven to 400.  find 9×13 pan.
Cook pasta in salted water until al dente (shave a few minutes off the time on the box- will cook more in the oven).  Saute onion until starts to soften and look translucent.  Add ground turkey and saute until browned.  Strain pasta, put back into the pot.  Add ground turkey/onion- transferring w. a slotted spoon to drain.  Add whole jar of sauce.  Add 2/3 of the bag of cheese.  Add salt and pepper.  Can add some red pepper flakes too.  Mix up.  Pour into pan.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.  Can add some Parmesan too.  Bake for about 20 mins until cheese is melted and the top starts to look a little browned.

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JJ’s Guacamole

24 Sep

A couple weeks ago, Chrissy and I headed to JJ’s rents’ house in nj.  We made some killer fish tacos and JJ spearheaded the guacamole.  He did it almost all by himself.  And he did good (said in jewish grandma voice).  It was tasty.

adapted from Ina and others
4 ripe avocados
1 lemon
1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
hot sauce (or we added some chipotle adobo sauce)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced (jj asked me to include that while he was doing this, I yelled “I SAID MINCED NOT CHOPPED!!”)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
1 tomato, seeded and small diced (remove juicy seed stuff, then chop firm remaining part)
1 teaspoon ground pepper

Cut avocados in the half.  Make grid of slice marks on each half, turn inside out so chopped avocado falls into bowl.  Add juice from lemon, garlic, salt, cilantro, onion, and pepper.  Mix (don’t mix until smooth– just to combine)  Add lime juice, additional salt and hot sauce to taste.  Can add red pepper flakes too.

best baked tofu

21 Sep

i got this recipe from my friend Eric in college.  Where he got it from, I’m not sure– but it is so delicious, easy and versatile.  Tastes great with roasted vegetables, on its own or on a salad.  For lunch tomorrow, I decided to put it over spinach sauteed w. garlic and oil and cous cous.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1 package tofu (i like the vacuum packed kind, but the firm in water works too)
6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger (i cheat and use the minced jarred kind)

Slice tofu and lay in an 8×8 pan.  Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour over tofu.  Bake for 30 mins.

I-can’t-believe-this-is-made-in-the-microwave-applesauce

20 Sep

went apple picking in nj this wknd.  it always happens that when you’re picking apples- you want to take every shiny apple in sight.  but then you get home, and realize you have a shit ton of apples. such was the case at my sister’s in-laws this wknd, and the question became whether one can make applesauce without a food processor or mill.  when i got back to brooklyn, i checked my trusty silver palate for a recipe.  i was surprised– yet intrigued— to find one made in a microwave.  if you don’t have a micro this can be done on a stove top— give me a shout and i can give you more detailed instructions. this makes a relatively chunky applesauce.  i usually favor the silky smooth kind— so if i hadn’t been so lazy, i might have run the end product through a food processor.  Or, i think that cutting all the apples into 1-inch chunks might have yielded a smoother product.  but given that this is made in 12 mins (w. out dirtying the food processor), i was pretty impressed.

adapted from silver palate
2 McIntosh apples
2 Granny Smith or other tart apples [i used 4 random kinds of apples from farm- and it was all good]
1 cup water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sugar (this seemed like a lot- so i took a bunch out– but ended up putting some back in once i sampled the sauce– maybe try 1/3 cup)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1.  Peel apples if you like (I did, but this recipe implies you don’t have to)
1.  halve and core the McIntosh (or just two if not using Mc) apples.  Cut each half in 6 wedges.
2.  halve and core the other 2 apples.  cut into 1-inch chunks.
3.  combine apples, water, and lemon juice in a deep microwave-safe 2-1/2 quart casserole (i used a 7-cup pyrex bowl)
4.  toss cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl, stir this into apple mixture
5.  cook, uncovered at full power (650 to 700 watts) for 5 mins [they suggest that if your micro is not that powerful multiply the time by 1.5.  mine never seems powerful, so i did 6 mins]  Stir, pressing the apples into the liquid, and return to the microwave.  Cook for another 5 mins (i did 6).
6.  using a potato masher (i don’t have one, so used skimmer– slotted spoon type thing), coarsely mast the apples, stirring them into liquid.  Allow the applesauce to cool to room temperature, and then cover and refrigerate.
4 portions

everything but the salad

16 Sep

What to bring for lunch? Ah, the eternal question.  There are two things that make this salad so especially great.  First, is that it has a grain base instead of greens, which makes it much more filling.  Second, it tastes good with pretty much anything.  Consider the ingredients I listed as a starting off point.  Mine is a bit southwestern themed… but italian (sun-dried tomatoes, mozz, salami, balsamic vinegar, spinach etc) or greek themed (olives, cucumber, feta), all work well.  But no theme required… go wild.

p.s. this makes a couple days worth of lunch

1 cup bulgar wheat (can also use couscous, qunioa, barley etc)
2 cups water
1 pepper (red, green or yellow)
black beans (or chickpeas, kidney beans etc)
Smoked gouda (or feta, cheddar etc)
raisins (or dried cranberries, cherries etc)
nuts (if you like, i don’t)
baked tofu (can buy packaged baked tofu- my recipe coming soon- or can use regular tofu- i prefer the vacuum packed to the kind sitting in water)
1 lime
red pepper flakes

Cook your grain of choice according to its instructions. For bulgar wheat, put 1 cup bulgar and 2 cups water in a small saucepan and cover.  Bring to boil, then lower heat.  Simmer for 15-20 mins.  Take off heat (don’t uncover) and let stand for 10 mins .  Fluff w. a fork.

Add chopped pepper, cheese, tofu, rinsed beans.  Sprinkle w. red pepper flakes and juice from lime.

ants on a log

15 Sep

This is more a reminder of a great childhood snack than an actual recipe.  Though, I’ve had two cookbooks- one as a child and another “healthy college cookbook” that include this tasty treat.  Ants on a log is simple and o so satisfying- even at 2am.

a couple stalks of celery
a big spoonful of peanut butter
raisins

apple crisp

13 Sep

Easy. Delicious. Everyone likes it. It’s pretty much my favorite.  My mother used to make it for holidays.  But again, such deliciousness need not be reserved only for special occasions.

Adapted from Silver Palate
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (other apples such as honeycrisp/suncrisp etc work great too)
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

1. Preheat over to 350.  Grease an 8 inch cake pan.  (I usually a rectangle Pyrex w. roughly the same area- worked fine.  I vaguely remember my mother doubled the recipe and used a 9×13 Pyrex, but that will be up to you to experiment. Last time, i went for a round cake pan- i like the look)
2. Place a layer of apple slices in the pan and sprinkle with some of the lemon juice.  Repeat the layers until all the apples are in the pan.  Lightly press down on the apples to even them.
3. Process the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade just to to combine. Add the butter and process, using repeated pulses, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
4. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the apples, making sure the edges are well sealed.
5. Bake until the top is golden and the apples are tender, about 1 hour.  Serve warm w. ice cream.  (can be made day before- and reheated)
6 portions

*usually i make in a pyrex rectangle pan- but the other day, i went w. a round cake pan- i like the look

 

New Peeling Trick!

Learned this great peeling trick in Ireland. Peel in a circle around the top and the bottom of the apple. Then you peel up in strips. Not only is this faster- but it keeps the edges smooth  and pretty.

 

 

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