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Archive for February, 2009

I love pasta

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Is there any food better to eat than pasta? Or more universally loved? Check out this week’s Presto Pasta Nights Roundup at the Food Hunter’s Guide blog. And bring your utensils, napkin, and maybe a bib!

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Cauliflower Alfredo

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A big SHOUTOUT to Chef John of FoodWishes blog, for the inspiration to try his Cauliflower Alfredo. I’ve embedded his video here, cuz it’s easier than writing down all the directions. This recipe worked really well nondairy. All the parmesan cheese called for I subbed with soy parmesan, and instead of the 1/4 cup of cream in the dish, I used nondairy creamer. This pasta sauce was not only creamy, it was healthy, too. And the crumbs on top were simply perfect. I’ve listed my ingredients below the video. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Alfredo

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more about “Cauliflower Alfredo“, posted with vodpod
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 heat cauliflower, cored, cut in large pieces
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups water
1/4 cup nondairy creamer
1/2 cup grated soy parmesan cheese
for topping:
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated soy parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste 2 tablespoons any chopped fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, oregano, basil)(I used oregano)
1 pound spaghetti, cooked and drained
1/2 lemon, juiced

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Ever since I bought my bag of farro last week, I’ve been intrigued with its delicious possibilities. When I saw this recipe on Pink of Perfection blog, I decided to try it. VERRRRY tasty. I just love the chewiness of farro, and all the ingredients worked well together. I only modified it slightly, using black beans instead of kidney beans, and topped everything with soy parmesan shreds. Very easy to make, too. Enjoy!

Bean and farro soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage

5 cups chicken broth

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices

1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup farro

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over moderately high heat, then saute onion, garlic, celery, and carrots, until onion is translucent. Add basil, rosemary, crushed red pepper, sage, and chicken broth. Stir in tomatoes, black beans, chickpeas, and farro. Raise heat, bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until farro is tender. Makes 6 servings.

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I won!

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This must be my lucky day. I never win ANYTHING, but today, my luck changed. Hannah, author of the cookbook My Sweet Vegan,  was running a contest on her blog, BitterSweet The book, Go Dairy Free, written by Alise Fleming (also of One Frugal Foodie blog and Go Dairy Free.org fame), was the prize for two randomly selected winners. All the stars and biorhythms in the universe must have been properly aligned for me today, because there in my email inbox this morning was my winner notification.

I can’t. wait. to. get. this. book. Thank you, Hannah, and thank you, Alisa.

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Tonight was soup night, and a good thing, too, cuz it’s plenty cold out there. This is lip-smacking, colorful, gut-warming, and oh, so satisfying. Try it, you’ll like it. I used chicken sausage instead of turkey sausage, which was originally called for. Enjoy!

Escarole lentil soup with chicken sausage (modified slightly from Pink of Perfection blog)

1 2/3 cup lentils, rinsed well

4 cups water

4 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

4 garlic cloves, divided, finely chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound sweet Italian chicken sausage, cut into 1/2″ pieces

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 pound escarole, chopped (1 small head)

1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Simmer lentils, water, broth, bay leaf, and half of garlic in a 4 quart pot, uncovered, for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a wide 6 quart pot. Brown the sausage, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, carrots, celery,remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Stir occasionally until softened, then add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the sausage and lentils with cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, 3-5 minutes.

Stir in escarole and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Don’t forget to discard the bay leaf. Makes 6 servings.

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So, the other evening I was hungry for some spaghetti, and what better reference for searching for pasta than the Queen of pasta herself, Ruth’s blog 4EveryKitchen. Ruth is the founder and host of Presto Pasta Nights, the weekly pasta carnival that tantalizes readers with recipe submissions from all over the world (and cyberspace).

When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I modified it only slightly, using ground beef instead of lamb, and I could not find any split yellow peas 😦 so I used split green ones. I was very pleased with the results, and the aroma and taste were just delightful. Enjoy!

Persian saffron spiced pasta with split peas

1 cup green split peas, sorted and rinsed

3 cups water

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

6 ounces ground beef

1 small eggplant (about 3/4 pound), unpeeled, diced into small cubes

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

1 19-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup water

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

your favorite pasta

Cook the split peas in a large saucepan in 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, over and simmer about 20 minutes, until peas are just tender.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a Dutch oven and add onions. Saute over medium heat until soft (5-7 minutes). Do not brown. Crumble ground beef into the pot and continue to saute until meat is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Add the eggplant, salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant begins to soften (5-6 minutes). Add the cinnamon, saffron, and tomatoes. Mix, cover, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.

Mix the tomato paste with 1/4 cup water and add to the meat sauce. Fold in the split peas and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until all the flavors meld together. Add som lemon juice, taste for seasonings.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to instructions, until al dente. Drain and place in a large serving dish. Top with sauce and sprinkle with some freshly chopped parsley. Makes 4-6 servings.

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This week’s Presto Pasta Nights brings all good things pasta. Visit Noob Cook blog and get into it!

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