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Hi there.

Checking in with the part of my Goals for 2015 that involves reducing the number of unmade recipe cards that I’m hoarding  interested in.

March started out slow.  Lots of things on my plate lately and not a lot of time devoted to the kitchen.  I made up for the slow start though and did pretty well.  Here’s what I made:

Sweet Chili Thai Dressing – So good!  I made a salad with this to serve alongside these amazing…

Tofu Banh Mi 1

Tofu Banh Mi 2

 

 

Tofu Banh Mi Sandwiches – DELICIOUS.  Tofu instead of pork – vegetarian and genius!

Brown Sugar Salmon

Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze – I found this recipe via one of my favorite blogs, Dinner: A Love Story, and it is fantastic!  Already made it twice this month!  It is one of those rare meals that I can make for us and the Misses (both of whom gave it big thumbs up!).  Delish.

Roasted Winter Vegetables – So good and so easy.  Great side dish and the hardest part is just peeling the veggies.   I love roasted vegetables and this was the first time I have ever made parsnips!  Won’t be the last…

Green Salad with Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette – Delicious salad dressing to serve with simple mixed greens.  Creamy and incredibly simple to prepare.  You might already have all the ingredients in your pantry.

Garlic Soba Noodles with Edamame – A weeknight meal that is quick and healthy.  Good flavor, but the edamame doesn’t integrate well with noodles, so kind of hard to eat but, it didn’t really stop me…  :)

Penne with Brussels Sprouts and Chile

Penne and Brussels Sprouts, Chile and Pancetta (without the pancetta – We sub in some liquid smoke in place of the pancetta) – Please tell me you know that Trader Joe’s sells bagged, shredded Brussels Sprouts?  I would lose fingers if I had to cut the sprouts into slices.  Yummy pasta!

Four-Color Potato Vegetarian Stew – UGH.  Gross.  This was my attempt at something for St. Patty’s Day and it was a poor one.  Recipe is from the Houston Chronicle a long while back, but I can’t find it online.  You’re better off without it.

White Pizza Dip – Soooo creamy, ooey-gooey good.

Oatmeal-Cranberry-White Chocolate Chip Cookies –  Yum.  How can anyone not like white chocolate and cranberries in a cookie?

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes – Made with the most gorgeous farmers market tomatoes!!  From Eating Well magazine, this made for a really yummy, healthy, and super easy side (note: the fresh oregano is key…).

Cheese Sauce for Cheese Fries & Nachos – I wanted to love this, I REALLY did.  But, alas, it turned out with a grainy texture.  I did all the right things – used good cheese, shredded it myself – but not so great.  The recipe comments are a mixed bag with lots of testers reporting the same issue, so there you go.

Chianti-Spiked Italian Shells

Chianti-Spiked Italian Shells – Vegetarian baked pasta! Full of spinach and mushrooms, this is an easy weeknight dinner (because it is cheaty and uses jarred marinara and pre-sliced mushrooms) that even the Misses liked!

Pesto Mashed Potatoes

Pesto Mashed Potatoes – Another easy side dish, especially when you use Trader Joe’s Pesto…  :)  (Recipe from Cooking Light, so it’s not that bad for you, and I used non-fat milk.)

14 more cards filed this month, 41 to date this year.  Woo Hoo!

I hope everyone had a nice Passover / Easter weekend.  I feel like I didn’t stop all weekend and indulged in one too many Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, jellybeans, and Sour Patch Bunnies (please tell me that was not just me…).  Definitely need to back slowly away from the Easter basket sugar overload and head over to something healthy.

Fortunately I have just the thing to offset all those jellybeans – kidney beans!  :)

Red Kidney Bean Curry

To say that I am a little obsessed with this recipe is an understatement.  I’ve made it twice now and forced my mother to make it too.  If I could, I would force you all stop right now and make it too!

It is so easy – with LOTS of pantry ingredients – but is so complex and flavorful with all those wonderful deep, aromatic spices.  I use canned beans, and served with some rice topped with plain Greek yogurt and loads of cilantro.  Obviously, you can omit the cilantro if you are not a fan like some (crazy) members of my family. The level of spice is up to you also – I leave some seeds in because I like the heat, if you don’t use a smaller jalapeño and remove the ribs and seeds.

Spicy Red Kidney Bean Curry

Yield:  4 Servings

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large jalapeño chili, seeded and chopped

8 oz. can of tomato sauce

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 cups boiled red kidney beans OR 30 oz. canned red kidney beans

1 plum tomato, diced

1 cup of water

Chopped fresh cilantro, non-fat Greek yogurt, and/or rice to serve

1.  Heat olive oil in a deep sauce pan over medium heat for one minute.

2.  Add ginger, onion, garlic, and jalapeño; sauté for one minute.

3.  Add the tomato sauce, salt and remaining spices.  Cook for five more minutes, stirring frequently.

4.  Add the kidney beans, tomato, and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and let cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

5.  Remove saucepan from heat.  Spoon over rice, garnish with cilantro and yogurt, and serve.

Source:  Pink of Perfection, who adapted (mostly by reducing the amount of oil and ginger) from Smitten Kitchen

Why, this totally amazing clutch purse, of course!!!

cassette clutchEdie Parker Cassette glow-in-the-dark and pearl-effect acrylic box clutch (Net-A-Porter)

Sadly, this Edie Parker clutch sold out before I had a chance to scrape together the $1,295.  (I am kidding, this is so out of my realm of possibility right now, but a girl can dream…) Also sadly, the Misses have NO idea what this is supposed to be.  A cassette tape is a completely foreign object.

I so love their acrylic bags (Google “Edie Parker” and fruit and tell me you don’t love the cherries and watermelons!).  Here’s a sampling of current offerings:

Edie Parker Heart

Heart

Edie Parker Silver

Silver Confetti

Edie Parker Cool

Cool.  Indeed.

Edie Parker nude stripe

Nude and White Stripe

Edie Parker Solar System

Solar System

But given my love of all things monogrammed, this might be my favorite thing yet:

Edie Parker personalize

A personalized clutch in any color combination with any name, words or monogram of your choice.  Love.  Would also be a killer Texas flag clutch!  Endless possibilities.  Limited wallet.

I love hummus and eat it FAR too much.  Like every day.  Or maybe six days a week at a minimum.  I feel like I should find a new snack.

Well, D did find me a new snack and I kind of want to kill him.  These Cheddar Jalapeño Chex Chips are proving to be VERY dangerous.

Chex Chips Cheddar Jalapeno

Back to my hummus addiction…  I’ve made plenty of hummus over the years and really like the different combinations that can be achieved.  It is a totally adaptable dip.  Case in point, this Cilantro Jalapeño Hummus.  It is spectacular!  It is spicy, flavorful, and the texture is perfectly smooth and creamy.

Cilantro Jalapeño Hummus

If you haven’t figured out by now it out by now, I LOVE jalapeños. (Really, just search this blog for the keyword jalapeño…)  I use two peppers and leave in quite a few seeds when I make this recipe because I like the added heat.  I think it works really well with the creamy tahini.  I also love the Pretzel Crisps pictured above – less fat and calories than pita chips.  You can also serve with fresh veggies.  Happy snacking!

Cilantro Jalapeño Hummus

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 cup water

6 Tbsp. tahini

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, ribbed and seeded according to level of heat desired

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cumin

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and water.

2.  In another small bowl, whisk together the tahini and olive oil.

3.  Combine the cilantro, jalapeños, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the ingredients have been finely minced.  Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl.

4.   Add the chickpeas, salt, cumin, and cayenne and process until almost fully ground, about 15-30 seconds.  Scrape down the food processor bowl again.

5.  While the processor is running,  add the lemon juice-water mixture in a steady stream through the feed tube.  Process for one minute, pausing to scrape down the bowl as needed.

6.  Again, while the processor is running, add the oil-tahini mixture in a steady stream through the feed tube.   Process for 15-30 seconds, until smooth and creamy pausing to scrape down the bowl as needed.

7.  Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl.  If you can wait this long and not eat it right away, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand to allow the flavors to meld, at least 30 minutes.

Source:  Annie’s Eats

We’ve had a rough time around here lately – starting with the loss of our beloved Merlin, the death of my father, and then, five months to the day after that, D’s father passed away.  To say we need a break is kind of an understatement.

EEM and EAM

Eddie Papa reading Goodnight Moon to a very young Miss E.

The day after his dad died was a bit of a blur, the Misses stayed home from school, and we were all just going through the motions.  I wanted to make dinner because the kitchen is my therapy, and knew quickly what I wanted to make.  These ravioli are not only delicious, but make you focus on the preparation.  From the filling to forming each little packet, you have to be present (not like risotto where I can stir away, deep in thought and chardonnay…) for their construction.  So there we stood, D and I in our kitchen, side by side, talking about everything and nothing, and healing just a little bit.

Green Pea Pesto Ravioli

 

I’ve made these ravioli so many times and have never gotten around to photographing and writing about them.  In fact, I also made these for my mom and sister the day my father died.  I needed to be busy and to comfort them.  This is how I do it.  Culinary therapy.

Green Pea Pesto Ravioli2

The original recipe calls for one package of wonton wrappers, but I always have plenty of filling left over, so I suggest either buying two packages of wrappers or using the leftover as pasta sauce or slathered on toasted French bread.  Equally delicious either way.

Green Pea Pesto Ravioli

Yield:  about 3 dozen ravioli

1 16-ounce bag frozen peas, unthawed

1 – 2 small cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp. diced shallot

1 Tbsp. lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs (just toast some bread and crumble it up)

1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 packages refrigerated wonton wrappers

Your favorite jarred or homemade spicy tomato sauce  (We use Rao’s Arrabiata Sauce)

To Make the Green Pea Pesto:
1.  Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the frozen peas and some salt.  Boil the peas for about 3 minutes, until just blanched.  Drain well and set aside.

2.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine blanched peas, garlic, shallots, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, bread crumbs, and cheese.

3.  Process until the mixture is well incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

4.  While the food processor is running, slowly pour in the olive oil in a steady stream until you have a thick and glossy pesto.

5.  Transfer the pea pesto to a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To Assemble the Ravioli:
1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2.  Arrange your workstation with the wonton wrappers, the bowl of pea pesto, a small spoon, and a small bowl of water.

2.  Place a wonton square in front of you at an angle so that it resembles a diamond.

3.  Spoon a teaspoon of pea pesto on the bottom half of the diamond.  If you don’t overstuff them, they hold together better when boiled.

4.  Dip your finger into the bowl of  water and  moisten the edges of the diamond.  This helps the edges of the ravioli stick together when folded.

5.  Fold the top half of the diamond over the pesto to create and upside down triangle.   Press the edges together, removing any air bubbles, until well sealed.

6.  Wet your finger again in the bowl of water and moisten the two opposite points at the top of the triangle.  Bring them together in the center of the ravioli and press lightly to seal.

7.  Set the ravioli in a single layer on a cutting board or plate.  Continue until all the wonton wrappers are filled or the pesto is used up.

8.  Carefully place the prepared ravioli in the boiling water, for 2-3 minutes, or until the wontons look more translucent than opaque.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander.

9.  Serve with marinara sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Source:  Adapted from Joy the Baker, who cites The Gourmet Cookbook

Note:  Joy also includes instructions for freezing the ravioli on her site.

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