Category Archives: DIY

Organic Whole Wheat Gnocchi with steamed CSA veggies

Yikes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted!

I’m writing from the comfort of my porch, borrowing (stealing) my neighbors comfortable patio furniture, and relaxing from what has been a whirlwind July.  This past weekend I ran Great Lakes Relay- a 300 mile relay race across northern Michigan.   Needless to say, I haven’t been doing much cooking, and when I have it’s been the same old things I’ve already blogged about.

view from my porch

Well, not last night.  Last night I made one of my favorite meals in the world- gnocchi.  I’ve been getting these great potatoes lately from the CSA, but I’ve been boiling them almost immediately and never saving myself enough for pasta.  I vowed last night to take the time to make my favorite meal.

Along with the potatoes, I’ve also been getting a good number of cucumber, zucchini, onion, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.  I decided to steam the veggies and toss them over the pasta.  I typically make pesto, but I didn’t have any basil, so I threw in walnuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and dried basil in hopes of a pesto deconstruction.  It didn’t really work, fyi.  In the end, I tossed in some mediterranean sea salt (thanks Becca!) and that made my meal much better.

Organic Whole Wheat Gnocchi

-chop and boil enough potatoes to make 1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes (I prefer to mash potatoes with milk only and omit the butter for this recipe)

chieftan potatoes!

-Once you have 1-1/2 cups of mashed potatoes, stir together with 1 egg and 1/4 tsp salt (I use tea smoked sea salt)
-Stir in 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour.  Sometimes I need to add more flour, up to ~1/2 cup more, if the dough is too sticky.
-roll the dough into long thin logs

it doesn’t matter if this looks perfect if you’re going for the “rustic” look 🙂

-using a pizza cutter, cut the pasta into “pillows”


-place the pasta into boiling water and let boil until they rise to the top of the water.

-While you are making the pasta, steam your veggies.  This can be done in the microwave, a steamer, or a rice cooker (thanks, Jill!)
-chop 1 zucchini, a handful of baby tomatoes, and an onion


-Once the pasta and the veggies are finished, toss together with olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, basil, crushed walnuts, salt, and any other seasonings you desire.

Bon Appetit! (only to be said in a Julia Child -esque way)

Total Cost: $6.91
-7 organic chieftan potatoes: $2.00
-1-1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour: $0.39
-1 egg: $0.17
-1 organic zucchini: $1.00
-handful of organic baby tomatoes: $0.50
-2 organic baby onions: $1.00
-1 clove organic garlic: $0.10
-grated all natural parmesan cheese: $1.00
-handful organic walnuts: $0.75

This meal comfortably fed 2, plus there were leftovers!

Pickled Kohlrabi and Garlic Scapes

I can’t believe how I become more and more overrun with vegetables every week.

I also can’t believe how much fun I have coming up with new ways to make my vegetables.

Like pickling!

This has seriously become one of my favorite ways to use up the vegetables that I’m getting sick or have too many of.  I’m trying extremely hard to not let anything go to waste, and I’m proud to say I haven’t had to throw anything away yet (I will admit I let some otherwise edible beet greens/stems go into the produce bag because I just couldn’t stomach the thought of eating any more).

I adapted this recipe for pickled kohlrabi in my cookbook DIY Delicious.  As per usual, I made quite a few adjustments.

Pickled Kohlrabi and Garlic Scapes

-dice two kohlrabi including greens and stems
-chop ~5 garlic scapes
-in a saucepan combine 1 cup distilled vinegar, 1 whole garlic clove (peeled), 1 teaspoon raw sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds.

i love the turmeric color

-let ingredients simmer until everything is combined
-meanwhile, sterilize a mason jar and pack the vegetables into the bottom

this part always reminds me of sand art from when I was little

-once the vinegar mixture is ready (~5 minutes), pour over vegetables, seal jar, and let sit in fridge for 3 days.

I wish I had a picture of what everything looked like after the 3 days- such a great yellow color.  The kohlrabi pickles really well and the best part is, if you have people over they’re always super impressed by pretty much everything about pickling.  First of all, it looks so freaking quaint to pull a mason jar out of your fridge.  Secondly, the colors of pickled vegetables are usually amazing.  Third, even though it’s easy to do, just saying that you pickled something if you’re under 65 sounds kind of BA.  Maybe the Bloomington hipster mindset is starting to infiltrate my brain.

Tonight I served this with grilled tofu, bison burgers, and a brown rice/red quinoa side dish I made last night that I totally regret not taking pictures of.  Basically, I combined brown rice, red quinoa, chopped kohlrabi, chopped mint leaves, black beans, and garlic scapes in the rice cooker so that I could have something for lunch today.  Totally delicious.

Total Price: $2.65

2 organic kohlrabi: $2.00
-5 organic garlic scapes: $0.25
-1 organic garlic clove: $0.10
-vinegar/spices: $0.30

$2.65 seems like a lot to me, at first, but when I think about it, I’ve had the pickled veggies for a side dish in two meals for myself, I served it tonight as a side for 3 people, and I put the rest in my lunch.  I’d say I stretched every last cent out of that.

Beet Pasta with Balsamic Vinegar-Garlic Scape reduction

I have to admit it.

no beet relief!

I am getting sick of beets.  This week’s CSA contained beets, kale, mint, kohlrabi, and garlic scapes.

I still haven’t eaten all of my beetes (or turnips, or kohlrabi) from last week.  This week I will be better.  More cooking this week!  I don’t know what happened last week, but I ended up being stuck with a lot of quick meals (aka cereal).

I have actually been thinking of making beet pasta for a few days now because I thought the color would be fabulous.  I did a little searching and found a recipe that included ingredients I actually had here.  I also think beets are unparralled when combined with balsamic vinegar, so I thought a balsamic vinegar reduction would be a perfect sauce.  To make it better, I sauteed chopped garlic scapes in the reduction.  (don’t know what garlic scapes are?  neither did I- they’re the flower of the garlic bulb).  You can see them in the plastic bag in the picture.

When I put it all together, the pasta was clearly missing something.  No worries, manager’s markdown specials had me covered.  In went the AWESOME goat cheese I just got at Bloomingfoods on sale- Capriole’s Fromage a trois caliente torta.  It’s creamy and spicy and was the perfect addition to my pasta.

As an aside, you know what helps me keep from spending too much at the grocery store?  Biking to/from the store and only being able to carry back as much as I can fit in my messenger bag.  It was so hard to carry all this!

it doesn’t look like a lot, but try biking up a long ass hill with this in your messenger bag

Beet Pasta with Balsamic Vinegar-Garlic Scape reduction

peel and slice 4 large beets
-toss in olive oil
-roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees or until beets are fork tender
-puree beets
-combine 1/4 cup pureed beets, 2-1/4 cup wheat flour, 2 eggs, and a pinch of salt in a food processor and blend until a ball of dough forms *note- I had to add water to my dough in order to get a dough consistency
-coat a cutting board with flour and roll out the dough into flat sheets
-cut into noodles using a pizza cutter
-boil until desired doneness

my new favorite trick! placing a wooden spoon over the boiling water keeps it from boiling over

-for the baslamic vinegar reduction, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a sauce pan, then pour in ~1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
-sautee chopped garlic scapes in the balsamic vinegar

beautiful colors and flavor

-once the balsamic vinegar has reached its desired thickness, toss with drained pasta
-stir in cheese

Total Price: $3.48
-2 organic beets: $0.50
-2-1/4 cup organic wheat flour: $0.59
-2 organic eggs: $0.34
-6 organic garlic scapes: $0.25
-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar: $0.30
-organic cheese: $1.50

That’s it?  Definitely more labor intensive than expensive.

Baked Black Bean Burgers with Roasted Onions, Corn, and Pork

This meal was so worth it.

finished product

I’ve had a pretty stressful couple of weeks…no sleep, lots of posters/presentations/tests/teaching/research/etc and no sleep.  at all.

Today I was in an especially bad mood so I decided to cook something that would take my mind off of it.  This was a perfect choice.

It’s been a while since I’ve made black bean burgers and honestly I didn’t remember anything that should go in them except for cornmeal and black beans.  I also wanted this to be relatively quick since I need to be studying for a test (…taking a much needed break….)

While this took a little longer than expected (with cooking time, ~1 hour) it was definitely worth it.  Also, it won the approval of Becca, who is a connoisseur of non-meat protein in burger form.

Baked Black Bean Burgers

-mix 1 can (drained) black beans, 1 avocado, 1/4 cup chopped red onion, 1 roma tomato, 1 garlic clove, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, cumin, and cornmeal (start with 1 cup, add more as needed) in a food processor

this, admittedly, looks gross

-form into patties and place on oven safe tin

looking slighly less gross

-add chopped onion and corn on top, drizzle with olive oil.
-roast at 400 degrees C for 20 minutes or until burgers have hard crust

yum

Total Cost: $5.04

organic avocado: $1.29
-organic blackbeans: $1.39
-1/2 organic onion: $0.15
-corn (not organic): $0.68
-cornmeal: no idea, less than $0.50
-organic garlic clove: $0.10
-roma tomato: $0.36
-1/8 red onion: $0.09
-1/4ish lb pork: $0.48

…and I still have 3 left!

Old Bay Pasta with Smoked Clams

I came home from work today so hungry that I wasn’t hungry anymore.I didn’t want to roast vegetables because I knew that would take a long, didn’t want to make rice for the same reason, and didn’t want to thaw any meat.

I knew I wanted to delve into the smoked clams Santa gave me in my stocking.  I love clams.  I started eating them a few years ago because they are extremely high in iron.  The smoked ones in cottonseed oil are beyond the best!

Anyway, I settled on pasta because fresh pasta is usually pretty quick.  Over New Year’s I bought a pasta cookbook at a secondhand store.  It’s pretty amazing..it has something like 127 fresh pasta recipes.  I came across one which intrigued me – Old Bay pasta.  Normally, I couldn’t care less about Old Bay seasoning.  However, when I moved out of my apartment in Milwaukee I hoarded all the food left behind.  One item was a full carton of Old Bay.  I’ve never used it….until tonight!  The only thing I knew was that the seasoning went well with seafood so I figured I’d give it a shot.  The recipe also called for orange juice, so I was pretty excited for this.  The result?  Surprisingly good.  The strongest flavors in the pasta were the celery salt and orange juice.  As weird as it may sound, it worked.  To go along with the pasta I boiled diced carrots, potato, and garlic in the cooking water.  Since the pasta was made with a tablespoon of Old Bay, no seasoning was needed.  For sauce, I just used the oil from the clams.

Old Bay Pasta

unlikely pasta ingredients

-combine 1-1/4 cup semolina, 1-1/4 cup wheat flour, and 1 tablespoon old bay seasoning in a food processor
-in a seperate bowl whisk together 3 eggs and 2 tablespoons orange juice; combine with flours in food processor
-mix until a ball of dough forms

when I first did this, I stopped too early and tried to use the dough when it was like this:

not ready!

The dough was very tough and kind of dry.  I ended up adding another tablespoon of orange juice, but then the dough seemed too moist.  I ended up just kneading it with some white flour to make it the right consistency.

-make the noodles using the 6 thickness and fettuccine die

chop 3 large carrots, 1 potato, and 1 clove of garlic.  Add to boiling water.
-once the pasta is ready, add it with the vegetables.
-boil ~5 minutes
-plate and top with a container of clams!

not the most photogenic, but it tasted good!

 

Total Cost: $4.69

organic whole wheat flour: $1.69
-semolina flour: $1.66
-old bay: free!
-organic orange juice: $0.08
-organic eggs: $0.50
-3 organic carrots: $0.46
-1 organic potato: $0.20
-1 bulb organic garlic: $0.10
-clams: free!

I have so much left over…definitely probably enough for at least 2 meals

 

Pumpkin Pasta with Roasted Veggies and Brown Sugar Sauce

This is one of my favorite meals I’ve made in a long time.  I’m really happy that I made a full recipe because I ended up being able to have dinner last night, lunch today, and a reworked version tonight for dinner.

I still had a lot of pumpkin leftover last night and pretty much all I have in the pantry is various flours, so I thought pasta sounded good.

I also had a ton of potatoes, onions, and half a sweet potato which seemed like it would go well with the pasta.

I didn’t have anything for a sauce, so I just used olive oil and brown sugar (soooo good)

One of my favorite things to do with leftover homemade noodles is saute’ them the next day in olive oil because they never seem to taste as good as they did the first night.  What made this even more amazing was that I added some brown sugar into the frying pan and let it carmelize on the vegetables and pasta.

yummm

The recipe I used is the same one I used a few weeks ago when I had people over, but I made a couple adjustments:

Pumpkin Pasta

combine 2 cups white flour, 2 tablespoons semolina, 3/4 tsp salt, and a dash of nutmeg in a food processor
-in a seperate bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup pumpkin and 1 medium egg
-briefly  mix together in the food processor
-add one more medium egg and continue to mix until a ball of dough forms
-let dough rest for 30 minutes

While this was resting, I made my roasted veggies.  I chopped 1 onion, 1 potato, and half a sweet potato, tossed them in olive oil and salt, and roasted them at 400 degrees C for 30 minutes.

After letting the dough sit, roll the dough through a medium thickness setting on your pasta machine and then use the fettuccine die.  If you don’t have a pasta machine, just simply roll out the dough and use a knife or a pizza cutter to cut thin strips.

Boil pasta for 5 minutes, then toss with olive oil, brown sugar, and the roasted veggies

pure deliciousness

All this was more than enough for 3 meals, probably more for a pereson who isn’t ravenously hungry by the time they come home at night.

I’m not going to attempt to figure out the price, mainly because I bought the flours before I started keeping track of costs.

Bread Fix!

I had no time this weekend to even think.

I literally did nothing besides work, run, clean the house, sleep (barely), and eat.

Unfortunately, I totally forgot to feed my sourdough starter to make bread for the week.  I’m not sure I really would have had the time to, though.

Realizing I have no food in the house, I decided bread was probably necessary.  I opted for a quick bread I used to make all the time in undergrad- beer bread!!

This bread is so ridiculously easy and delicious (if you like beer) (which I do) (a lot).

The recipe calls for a lager, but I have used it all.  PBR is one of my favorites to make this bread with.  My ex boyfriend (who hated to drink and also hated beer) loved making this with Sam Adams Cherry Wheat.  I don’t like it so much because it comes out a little bit too sweet.  Today I made this with Upland Wheat.  I also made a couple other changes from the original recipe.  Instead of 3 tablespoons white sugar, I used 3 tablespoons brown sugar.  I also used all wheat flour instead of white.

I’ve had mixed results, texture wise, with this bread in the past.  It has come out with a very hard crust, it has come out dense, and it has also come out undercooked.  I have no idea if that is a fault on my part (quite possible) or differences in the beer used.  For instance, PBR always seems to make a denser bread with a harder crust.

Tonight’s bread turned out amazing fluffly and moist on the inside with a crispy crust on the outside.  I think the moistness has a lot to do with the wheat flour and brown sugar.  Interestingly, I don’t think this bread has as much of a beer flavor as previous loaves I’ve made.  It’s still delicious and I think it will be good for lunch, possibly with my almond butter.

Beer Bread

-preheat oven to 400 degrees C
-combine 2-1/4 cups wheat flour, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablesppoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients to pour the liquid ingredients into.

Beer Well..what could be better?

-pour 12 ounces of beer and 2 tablespoons olive oil into the well
-mix until just blended (this always reminds me of my mom because she is a stickler on making sure baked goods aren’t over mixed)

no over blending here!

-pour into an 8 inch bread pan and bake for 45 minutes
-remove to cooling rack and let cool

I don't think I have an 8 inch bread pan..

 

Total Cost: $3.93

-organic wheat flour: $2.23
-1 beer: $1.20
-brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, olive oil: no more than $0.50

This was definitely more expensive than other breads I have made, but it’s great in a pinch when you don’t necessarily have the money to go and buy bread, but have a lot of random ingredients and not a lot of time.