Archive for May, 2008

pasta shapes

This week’s edition of Presto Pasta Nights Roundup at Once Upon A Feast looks especially delicious and appealing. Take a trip over to Ruth Daniel’s blog and you’ll be in for a treat of pasta recipes.

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Many, many thanks to LisaRene at Little Bits for inspiring me to try making these truly delectable pot stickers. They looked soooo good on her blog, and was just what I was in the mood for eating tonight.

When I got home from work, I started to prepare my workspace, starting with gathering my ingredients. Much to my chagrin, all the carrots that I had bought this week were mysteriously gone! Known to improvise, I did just that, and created my own filling. I used zucchini, scallions, cilantro, peas, and corn, all chopped finely in the food processor. I had some leftover chicken too, and cut it into small pieces, placing one little piece on top to the filling of each pot sticker.

I made her basic dipping sauce, too, and these were truly a stupendous hit. The color of the vegetables glistens through the wonton wrappers after cooking, and looks quite seasonal and attractive.

Thank you, LisaRene. My son has already informed me that this must be made again and again, with new fillings and different dipping sauces. I always love a dish that’s a hit with the family. Enjoy!

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Last night’s weather was the preview of typical summers around here – very warm and sticky. The air was thick. Perfect night for something that’s clean and fresh on the palate, easy on the eyes, and ever so cool going down.

Big salad came to mind immediately. There is really no recipe – I opened two fresh bags of lettuce and filled a large serving piece with them. Then the pile-on began – some of my favorites include: halved grape tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, cubed soy cheese, orange pepper slices, slivered kalamata olives, hard-boiled eggs, flaked white albacore tuna packed in water, sliced boiled potatoes, sun-dried tomatoes pieces, canned artichoke bottoms.

Arranged decoratively, and topped off with a balsamic vinaigrette, recipe to follow. Served with some whole-wheat lavash bread on the side – now what tastes better than that? Let your creative juices flow, and see what you come up with – it will be so good, and good for you. Enjoy!

Balsamic vinaigrette

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

2 teaspoons crushed and minced garlic

salt and pepper, to taste

Place everything in a 1 cup plastic container, tightly covered, and shake very well to combine all ingredients. Makes 3/4 cup.

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Here is a different take on the cute little Italian lump of pasta known as gnocchi. I sauteed in a little olive oil a fresh batch that I bought from the market, and then started adding enhancements, beginning with cooked edamame beans. I think you could just follow your imagination and personal tastes on this recipe. Go for color and flavor – it’s a quick preparation and high on flavorful bites. Next time I’ll definitely add a little chopped Italian parsley at the end. Enjoy!

Lightly crisped gnocchi with edamame

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

12 ounces of fresh (or frozen and thawed) gnocchi

salt and pepper, to taste

1 16-ounce package frozen shelled edamame beans (or fresh)

2 tablespoons capers

2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, cut in strips

1/4 cup soy parmesan cheese

1/2 dozen spicy pitted olives, cut into strips

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and saute the gnocchi over medium-high heat, until lightly crisp and golden. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil, add the edamame beans, and boil for 5 minutes. Drain.

In a large bowl, place the gnocchi. Add the edamame beans, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, soy parmesan, and olives. Toss everything together and serve. Makes 4 servings.



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Enjoy another Presto Pasta Night Roundup at Ruth Daniel’s lovely blog, Once Upon A Feast. Always a never-ending array of pasta-bilities!

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Here’s the latest dish that I made from Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano. It tasted as good as it looks.


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So last week, I made this dynamite Sausage & Egg Pizza Tart, and, I confess, I am still on a bit of a pizza jag right now. One of the comments I received on the pizza recipe was from Monica, who runs a fitness website. She recommended a great looking Pizza Fiorentina, which can be made dairy-free. Okay, now you’re talkin’ my language. I tried it tonight, with excellent results. You may recognize a familiar ingredient – the addition of the egg as a topping on the pizza. Doesn’t that look great? You really must to try it – it’s a wonderful pizza topping. This time I used a ready-made pizza dough instead of frozen puff pastry – all I had to do was roll it and then add my toppings. Enjoy! (btw, I think I liked the sausage and egg pizza better!)

Pizza Fiorentina

1 ready-made pizza dough (I used whole-wheat)

6 tablespoons pizza sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 onions, chopped

1 10-ounce package of baby spinach

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

salt and pepper, to taste

several generous handfuls of shredded soy parmesan cheese

2 eggs

several shakes of Italian seasoning

2 tablespoons blanched almond slivers

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Sprinkle a little cornmeal on your rolling surface, and then roll out your pizza dough. Carefully lift and place in your pizza pan. Spread the pizza sauce over the dough.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until soft. Add the spinach, cilantro, and parsley, and heat until the spinach is softened and wilted.  Season with salt and pepper, and spread over the pizza.

Sprinkle the soy cheese over the vegetables, and leave two hollows for the eggs. Break in the eggs, sprinkle with a little Italian seasoning, and sprinkle the almonds around the top.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until the eggs are just set but not hardened. The whites should be done but the yolks should be a little runny. Serve immediately.

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Here’s a different idea for a frittata – try putting some spaghetti into your pan. It sounded like a good idea to me when someone suggested it, and tasted just great. I think I will definitely be making this again. Next time, maybe, I’ll use less spaghetti and add a couple more vegetables. It was quite tasty, and a nice change of pace. Enjoy!

Pasta frittata

1 pound cooked spaghetti, coarsely chopped (next time, I will only use 8 – 12 ounces)

4 eggs

2 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons capers

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup sliced black olives

1/2 cup soy parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place the spaghetti in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs, then add the scallions, capers, cilantro, black olives, and parmesan cheese. Mix together well. Pour over the spaghetti and combine.

Heat the olive oil in a 10″ pan. Pour in the spaghetti mixture, flatten out the top, and cook over medium heat until the bottom is nicely golden.

Invert the frittata onto a large plate, and then slide the frittata back into the pan and cook until golden. Makes 4 servings.

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Yesterday, I got my inspiration from Baroness Tapuzina’s lovely blog, and this particular recipe just lured me right in. It is quite easy to prepare, and very high on flavor. Not to mention, it’s very healthful, too. Thank you Baroness, and I love your blog. Enjoy!

Pistachio-crusted salmon

4 salmon fillets

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

1/2 cup raw shelled pistachios

1/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs

Grind the pistachios to a medium-fine texture in your food processor. Mix with the breadcrumbs.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Coat the top of each fillet with the mustard, and then cover the top with the pistachio mixture, pressing topping into the salmon. Drizzle each fillet with a small amount of olive oil.

Place in a pan lightly sprayed with non-stick spray, and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until the fish is lightly pink in the middle. Serves 4.


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I was visiting the Equal Opportunity Kitchen the other day when I came across this recipe for stuffed turkey scallopini. It sounded sooo good I simply had to try it.  Giz, one of the blog’s co-authors, so adeptly explains the preparation of this dish, and this is only enhanced with some really great photos of the whole process. So well done!

I made a few adaptations to the original recipe, starting off with the turkey. I couldn’t get any in the market, so I used chicken breasts instead. Also, in keeping with my dairy-free cooking, I substituted soy parmesan and soy mozzarella where the recipe called for the real thing. All I can tell you is that this recipe rocks! Very very yummy. Enjoy!

Stuffed chicken scallopini

4 boneless chicken breasts, flayed and flattened out

1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic

1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard

fresh thyme

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup soy parmesan, mixed together

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 asparagus spear cut to fit

6 thin slices soy mozzarella cheese

Mix together the garlic, mustard, fresh thyme and olive oil, to make a paste.

Smear this paste on one side of the breasts; add kosher salt and pepper.

Place mozzarella cheese and 2 asparagus spears in the center and roll up scallopini style.

Smear the outside with more paste, and sprinkle on a little more pepper, then roll in the breadcrumb/soy parmesan cheese mixture.

Lightly grease pan with olive oil. Place the four scallopinis in the pan, and bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for  about 30 minutes, until golden brown.

I served this with roasted brussel sprouts and roasted sweet potato spears.

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