Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cracked Pepper Fettuccine with Roasted Cauliflower and Lemon- Caper Parsley Sauce

There is nothing like a bowl of fresh pasta.

A bowl of cracked pepper fettuccine tossed with crispy, oven roasted cauliflower, a chunky parsley, lemon and caper gremolata, some crushed red pepper flakes and plenty of fresh grated pecorino.

It was heaven I tell you.. HEAVEN.

I picked some up at the farmers market from Flour City Pasta. They had so many flavors to choose from, like pumpkin, wasabi, wild mushroom, and thai chili just to name a few. I had my heart set on the wild mushroom, but since my husband is a funghi hater I settled on the cracked pepper fettuccine.  At $8 a pound the stuff wasn't cheap, but was so well worth it. 


Cracked Pepper Fettuccine with Roasted Cauliflower (serves 2)
Recipe adapted from Flour City Pasta

1/2 lb. cracked pepper fettucine
4 T. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small cauliflower, sliced 1/4" thick
3/4 c. flat leaf parsley
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. lemon zest
1 1/2 T. capers, drained and rinsed
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
grated pecorino romano
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta, drain and set aside.
Toss cauliflower with 2 T. olive oil, spread on a sheet pan and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the cauliflower is lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.
In a food processor combine the parsley, lemon zest, capers, garlic and 2 T olive oil.
Toss the cooked pasta with the cauliflower, parsley sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper.
To serve, top with extra grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto with Fried Sage

Yes. ANOTHER dish involving butternut squash, butter and cheese.

I've gone almost five days without any greens. It's sad, I know.

I'll probably go on a kale binge soon enough, but for now, all I'm craving is squash.

Risotto is one of those perfect dishes to enjoy on a nippy evening.  Comfort food to the max.

Best of all, you only dirty one pot.

You can throw in whatever vegetables you have on hand, based on the season.  I've used corn in the summer, asparagus and lemongrass in the spring and wild mushrooms whenever I can get my hands on them.  Traditionally risotto is made with arborio or carnaroli rice (arborio being less expensive and more readily available), a good stock/broth, a bit of wine and some high quality cheese.  Once you've got all of those in your possesion, you are good to go.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Fried Sage (serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side)

1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 medium onion, diced
2 c. arborio rice
6 c. vegetable broth
1/2 c. dry white wine (I used sauvingon blanc)
4 T. butter, divided
1 T. fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 t. dried
1 c. grated pecorino romano
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
10 sage leaves
1 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place peeled and cut squash in a large bowl, drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, a heavy pinch of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper. Place on a sheetpan and bake for 20 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place your broth in a stockpot over medium heat. You want your broth to be warm when you add it to the rice.  The wine should be room temperature as well, so before you stash that bottle in the fridge, set a little aside first.

Heat 2 T. of the butter in a stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sautee for 3-4 minutes, until it softens and becomes translucent. Stir in your rice, and cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly.  This step toasts the rice giving the final dish a pleasant nutty flavor. Add the wine and stir until all of the liquid evaporates. Begin adding your broth one ladle at a time, ocasionally stirring until most of the water evaporates.  Continue doing this until the rice becomes tender. When the reaches a desired consistency, add a bit more broth, remove from the heat and stir in the butternut squash, 3/4 c. pecorino, the remaining 2 T. butter, thyme, salt and pepper.

In a small saucepan, heat 1 T. olive oil. Add sage leaves and fry until they begin to crisp up. Drain on paper towels, then crumble the leaves into the risotto.

Serve with the remaining grated cheese and some fresh cracked pepper.
Don't forget to break out that bottle of white that you opened earlier..

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Butternut squash ravioli with sage brown butter.

If I were all fancy pants and the like, I would be making fresh raviolis from SCRATCH.

But.. I'm not.

I'm all about making my own kraut, bread, and kale chips, among other things, but for some reason homemade pasta scares me. It looks like an awful lot of work with little room for error, so when I'm craving ravioli without all the nonsense I have a little trick...

Wonton wrappers!!

You can get them at the Asian market mad cheap, which allows you to pump out massive quantities of ravioli with little effort.

Traditionally, ravioli is stuffed with ricotta cheese. I love me some ricotta, but never have the stuff on hand, so I decided to use grated pecorino romano.

Butternut squash + sauteed onions + cheese + nutmeg = A whole lot of yums.

Add in some sage and butter. Do it. It will not dissapoint.

Butternut Squash Ravioli (makes 18 raviolis)

1 1/4 lbs. butternut squash
1/2 red onion, diced
3/4 t. fresh grated nutmeg
6 T. grated pecorino romano
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. black pepper

18 wonton wrappers
1 t. arrowroot
2 T. sunflower oil

sage brown butter:

3 T. unsalted butter
10 sage leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle a bit of oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash in a baking dish, cut side down. Pour 1/2 c. water in the pan. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until fork tender. Set aside to cool.  When cool enough to handle, scoop out the squash and place in a bowl.

Meanwhile, place a drizzle of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and sautee until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the onion to the squash, along with the nutmeg, grated pecorino, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place 6 wonton wrappers on a cutting board. Place the arrowroot in a small bowl and add 1/4 c. water. Dip your fingers in the mixture and trace the exterior of each wrapper with your finger (this will act as a "glue" so the raviolis won't fall apart).  Place 1 T. filling in the center of each wonton wrapper, then fold over to make a half moon shape, running your fingers along the edges to create a tight seal.

Repeat with the remaining wrappers.

Place 2 T. sunflower oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the ravioli and cook until lightly browned on the bottom (about 3-4 minutes). Pour 1/3 c. water into the pan. Cover and cook until all of the water has evaporated, then continue to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to crisp the ravioli back up.

Sage brown butter:

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter develops a layer of foam on the top, add the sage and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the butter turns a light shade of brown.  Be careful.. the butter can go from browned to burned in seconds if you don't keep a close eye on it.

To serve:

Place desired amount of ravioli on a plate and drizzle with the sage brown butter.  A little grated pecorino on top never hurt anyone.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Apple Crisp

Apples, apples, apples...

These days I'm borderline obsessed with the fruit. Apple cider, apple pancakes, hard cider, cider donuts, apple muffins, apple butter.. and now..

Apple Crisp!

I'm usually not a dessert person, but a recent trip to a local apple orchard left me with more apples than I knew what to do with.  I picked up some braeburns, which seemed like a good apple: hard, tart, and crisp, perfect for snacking or baking. 

They weren't all that.

Crunchy, yes. Flavorful, no.

So, I added some sugar, spice and everything nice, popped it in the oven and transfomed my ho-hum apples into a delicious sweet treat.

I'm one of those people that will justify eating apple crisp for breakfast. I mean it's got oats and apples and it's vegan.. It's pretty much like eating a bowl of heart healthy oatmeal.

Or so I tell myself.

Apple Crisp (serves 4-6) Slightly adapted from this recipe

4 lbs. apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. organic sugar
1/2 c. apple cider
1 T. arrowroot
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. allspice
1/8 t. cloves


1 c. oats
1/2 c. oat flour
1/2 c. spelt flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. organic sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. sunflower oil
3 T. rice milk
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place sliced apples in a 9" by 9" pan. Mix together the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves, pour over the apples and mix well. In a small bowl, dissolve the arrowroot in the apple cider, then pour over the apples.
Now for the topping: Mix together the sugars, flours, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl combine the sunflower oil, rice milk, and vanilla. Stir the oil mixture to the flour/sugar mixture.  Crumble the topping evenly over the apples. Bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Let cool fifteen minutes before serving.

P.S. share the apple peels with your dogs... they will love you hardcore.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


It's just a bowl of soup.

Packed with kidney beans, carrots, spinach and a rich tomato broth.

Basil and oregano and thyme and crushed red pepper flakes.

A splash of balsamic for a little bit of zing.

Yeah, this soup's got it goin' on.

This is my staple winter soup. It's quick (especially if you use canned beans), hearty enough to pair with a nice hunk of crusty buttered bread, and is highly versatile.  In other words, you can throw this together with whatever bits you have in your fridge, it will be ready in less than a half hour and will fill you up good.

It's also supercheap, so you can eat this all week when you just spent all your money on booze and that $40 bottle of cold pressed organic extra virgin olive oil with the pretty label that you HAD. TO. HAVE.

Minestrone  (serves 4)

3 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic (about 2 T.), minced
1-16 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or appx. 2 1/2 c. cooked beans)
1- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
4 c. vegetable broth
2 c. chopped spinach
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 t. dried basil
2 t. dried oregano
2 t. dried thyme
2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1 T. balsamic vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, carrot, basil, thyme, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the kidney beans, broth and crushed tomatoes. Cover, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, then uncover and cook the soup for an additional ten minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.

This recipe is a basic template.  You could switch up the beans, using chickpeas or cannelini. Throw in some kale or chard or maybe some red bell pepper.  Or if you want to make it even heartier you could add some cooked pasta or top it with some croutons.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Miso Curry Delicata Squash

Squash. Potatoes. Kale. Tofu. Miso and Quinoa.  Really, this dish couldn't get any better.

I've been working my way through Heidi Swanson's Supernatural Everyday.  So far I've made the bran muffins and millet muffins with great success and when I saw a dish with delicata squash, miso AND kale, I had to jump right on it.

Delicata squash is one of my favorites.

You can scoop out the seeds and stuff it or slice it up and roast it.  The skin is also edible so you don't have to worry about peeling it (bonus!)

Miso is a fermented soybean paste that has a salty taste and buttery texture.  I used a combination of chickpea miso and mellow white miso, which has a less salty, more mellow (hence the name) flavor than some of the darker varieties.

I don't eat a ton of tofu, but it definately has it's place when you want a little texture and an added protein boost.

Red thai curry paste contains aromatic herbs such as lemongrass, thai red chilis and galangal (thai ginger).

Miso is mixed with curry paste and extra virgin olive oil to create a delicious sauce. So. Good.

Miso Curry Delicata Squash (serves 4)
(From Supernatural Everyday by Heidi Swanson)

12 oz. delicata squash
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
scant 1/4 c. white miso
scant 1 T. red thai curry paste
8 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
4 medium new potatoes, unpeeled, cut into chunks
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 c. chopped kale, tough stems removed
1/3 c. pepitas, toasted
2/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven.
Cut the delicata squash in kalf lengthwise and use a spoon to clear out all the seeds. Cut into 1/2 inch thick half moons.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, miso and curry paste. Combine the tofu, potatoes, and squash in a large bowl with 1/3 c. of the miso curry paste. Use your hands to toss well, then turn the vegetables onto a rimmed baking sheet and arrange in a single layer.
Roast 25-30 minutes, until everything is tender and browned. Toss once or twice along the way after things start to brown a bit. Keep a close watch, though; these vegetables can go from browned to burned in a flash.
In the meantime, whisk the lemon juice into the remaining miso-curry paste, then stir in the kale until coated.
Toss the roasted vegetables gently with the kale, pepitas and cilantro.

A couple of notes...
I had the vegetables in the oven for 25 minutes, but they weren't getting as browned as I would like.  I transfered them to a pan with a drizzle of olive oil and gave them a quick sautee, maybe 3-4 minutes, till nice and browned.
I served this on a bed of quinoa, but it's totally substantial on it's own.
I could literally just eat the kale tossed with the dressing as a side on it's own.  Raw kale deliciousness!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hearty Bran Muffins

I eat alot of fiber.

Fiber is good.

It's keeps your bowels strong, lowers cholesterol, can help you lose weight, and helps to control blood sugar levels so you don't get all cray-cray.

In the effort to cram even MORE fiber into my diet I decided to whip up these muffins from Heidi Swanson's latest book Supernatural Everyday .

I love the fact that most of her recipes rely on whole grain, fresh, seasonal ingredients.  Most bran muffins that I have come across on the internet and in other cookbooks contain bleached flour and tons of sugar with only a touch of bran to pass them off as "healthy".

Muffins have become my new go-to snack in the afternoon. I'm always looking for something healthy that will tide me over until dinner, and these bad boys fit the bill perfectly.

Local eggs, organic yogurt, maple syrup, whole wheat pastry flour, and oat bran.
If you want let your inner hippy shine, you can also throw in some sprouted grain cereal.

Bran Muffins (makes 1 dozen)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. barely melted, unsalted butter
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. oat bran
1 1/2 c. plain bran cereal (ezekial sprouted grain cereal)
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c. organic sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle of oven.
Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and maple syrup. Sprinkle the bran and cereal across the top, stir and allow the mixture to sit at room temp. for 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the top of the wet and stir until just combined. Immediately fill each muffin tin 3/4 full. Bake 18-22 minutes, until edges of muffins begin to brown and tops have set. Allow the muffins to cool for five minutes in the pan, then turn the muffins out on a wire rack to cool.