Category Archives: pasta

Squash Dumplings

I’m still alive! (sort of).  I’m actually home sick today so I figured I could FINALLY update my blog.  Since the semester has started back up I have been busy teaching, taking a class, and doing research.  This usually accounts for 10-16 hour workdays.  By the time I get home I make something quick and easy (omelette, 10 bowls of cereal, oatmeal…) but occasionally I have a particularly bad day and need to cook.  I think I have 4 or 5 recipes that I will be posting today, so stay tuned!

When my CSA decided to call it quits, they cleared out their farm and gave each of us 2 boxes – about 40 pounds – of produce.  In the end, I probably received as much as I would have over the following weeks.  Among my bounty was 17 squash, an enormous bag filled with garlic (I would estimate 30-40 bulbs), bags of potatoes, and lots and  lots of greens.  Also, my CSA gave us this link http://www.localgrowers.org/csa-programs/ to help us find a new farm to support.  I joined a winter CSA and am very excited about it.

So, I have a lot of squash.  Becca and I took a cute date to Nashville, Indiana, and I bought a down home, kitschy squash cookbook.  I’ve been getting ideas from it, but mostly for breads.  When I have a lot of squash, I typically roast 2 or 3 at a time and just keep the roasted sqash in the fridge to put on oatmeal, bake into a casserole, or make breads.  I wanted pasta the other day so I had the idea to adapt my gnocchi recipe for squash.  I got lazy so instead of making “pillows” I just rolled the dough into balls.

Squash Dumplings

-In a mixing bowl combine 1 egg and 1.5 cups roasted squash
-Continue mixing in 2 cups flour (I use wheat) and 1/4 teaspoon salt
-Once dough reaches dough-like consistency, roll into balls and boil until no longer chewy

Mizuna Pesto
-combine (with a mortar and pestle, blender, imersion blender, or however you want) chopped mizuna, 1-2 cloves crushed or finely chopped garlic, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper

It’s really tough to quantify how much any of this costs because of how I got 4 week’s worth of vegetables at once.  These are my best estimates:

Total Cost: $3.29

organic squash: $0.75
organic garlic clove: $0.10
2 cups organic flour: $0.52
1 organic egg: $0.17
Mizuna: $0.75
1/4 cup paremean cheese: $1.00

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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!

Zucchini Pasta

This freaking heat has really been getting to me lately.

As a result, I have no appetite for anything heavy.

I picked up my CSA yesterday and had 4 zucchini, 5 cucumbers, a bag of chieftan potatoes, and basil.  With the extreme drought and high temps (2+ weeks straight of 100+ degree weather) the CSAs haven’t been quite as bountiful.

With the basil, I absolutely wanted to make pesto, but definitely didn’t want heavy pasta.  Instead, I opted to make zucchini pasta.  I had done this before with eggplant and figured it would work with zucchini, too.

The pesto was fantastic, plus I got to use my mortar and pestle!!  Overall, the “pasta” turned out pretty well.  The only downside is that this takes some time, because you’re supposed to let it drain.  I personally don’t know if this really makes a different or not.

Zucchini Pasta with Walnut Pesto

Zucchini Pasta
-using a potato peeler (or a mandolin, or whatever you want), thinly slice the zucchini
-place zucchini slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let sit for 30 minutes

-after 30 minutes, rinse and cook in boiling water
-cut red potatoes into quarters, and boil with the zucchini

Pesto

-using the mortar and pestle, smash a clove of garlic
-add fresh basil leaves and continue to smash the leaves and garlic, add olive oil as needed
-add walnuts until you reach the desired consistency
-add salt, to taste

Normally pesto has parmesan, but I didn’t have any.  I really don’t think it made a difference.

To go with this, I also added some goat cheese and chicken I had cooked and previously frozen.

Total Price: $8.60

-4 organic zucchini: $4.00
-1/2 package organic basil: $2.00
-1 organic garlic clove: $0.10
-handful organic walnuts: $0.25
-4 organic chieftan potatoes: $1.00
-organic goat cheese: $0.25
-1/2-ish pound organic chicken: $1.00

I had no idea this ended up being so expensive.  I suppose what I have found is that grains are certainly cheaper than fresh vegetables.  Obviously  I think this has a lot to do with the recent weather, as the shares haven’t been as large lately.  oh well.

 

Zucchini!

Being from Indiana, I know a thing or two about zucchini.

1. In the right environment (Indiana), it will grow like crazy.

2. It’s super versatile.

3. There are far, far better things you can do with this veggie than just delegate it to zucchini bread (even though that’s a good option!)

I’ve been hesitating to blog lately because I haven’t done a great job taking pictures, and, well, I hate blogs without pictures.

To overcome that, I’m going to post a stock photo of a zucchini to make myself feel better

I’ve been getting HUGE zucchini in the CSA lately…we’re talking zucchini the size of my forearm.  Literally.  So far I’ve done three things, each pretty different.  I have a recipe for chocolate zucchini cake, which I’m looking forward to trying, so stay tuned for that.  Each zucchini recipe I’ve made would be great for a gathering, especially the two salads I’m going to share.  The roasted zucchini would make a fantastic side dish with fish or tofu.

Pasta Salad with Zucchini, Cucumber, Garlic Scapes and Chard

-cook one package fettuccine (or whatever pasta is available)
-sautee 1 chopped zucchini, 5 garlic scapes, and 2 stalks of chard in olive oil
-when pasta is done cooking, add olive oil and vegetables
-stir in goat cheese, until pasta is coated
-add salt and old bay seasoning; continue to stir
-add 1 chopped cucumber

Total Price: $4.00
-1 box fettuccine: $1.00
-1 organic zucchini: $1.00
-5 organic garlic scapes: $0.25
– organic chard: free (garden!)
-organic goat cheese (Trader Joe’s): $0.75
-1 organic cucumber: $1.00

This pasta salad feeds a ton; I took it to a cookout and had enough left over for lunch and dinner

Fresh Zucchini/Cucumber/Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese
-chop one zucchini, one cucumber, 2 large strawberries, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I used aged, but normal b-v would work too)
-top with goat cheese

Total Price: $2.80
1 organic zucchini: $1.00
-1 organic cucumber: $1.00
-2 organic strawberries: $0.50
-organic goat cheese: $0.30

This was a perfect, single serving salad for me after a hot day when I just wanted something light.  Walnuts or almonds would also be great.

Roasted Zucchini “crostini’s”
-slice 1 large (this was the forearm sized zucchini)
-using a garlic press, press one large garlic clove into a small bowl filled with 1/8-1/4 cup of olive oil (alternatively, you can just finely chop the garlic)
-toss zucchini slices in olive oil, being sure zucchini is coated with both oil and garlic
-lay zucchini slices out on a baking sheet
-lightly salt and add a small dollop of goat cheese to the middle of each slice
-roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes

parmesan cheese also goes really well with this recipe

Total Price: $1.85
-1 organic zucchini: $1.00
-1 organic garlic clove: $0.10
-organic goat cheese: $0.75

 

Also, in case you were wondering:

 

Kohlrabi and Yukina Savoy Sautee over Red Quinoa and Barley in Garlic Scape Tzatziki Sauce

As of late, I feel like the names of my meals have become more and more complicated.

I was so excited to come home and cook today.  I had a long, frustratingly unproductive day in the chemistry building after an AMAZING weekend with my best friend from college.  This meal came out better than I expected it to, and I absolutely attribute that to the sauce.  I had a few moments of trepidation about mixing the sauce with the grains and greens, being afraid to ruin the dish, but it came out so. great.

Before I talk about that dish, first I want to share the pasta salad I took to a picnic I had with my visiting friend (Dani) and two new friends, Matt and Matt.

We went to Oliver Winery, bought a bottle of Moscato, and sat outside to eat the food we each brought.  I had so many veggies to use up from the CSA that I thought mixing them with pasta would make a perfect picnic food.  I don’t have any pictures of it, but I do have a picture from our picnic!

Dani and me!

CSA Pasta Salad
boil a 1 lb bag of rigatoni with 1 cup (cooked) black beans.  When I’m making pasta salad I cook the noodles a little bit past al dente since they will be served cold
-while the pasta is cooking, toss 2 sliced beets, 8 chopped garlic scapes, and 2 chopped kohlrabi, including stems and greens in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt.
-roast the veggies at 400 degrees for 20ish minutes
-add olive oil to the pasta and toss the veggies together
-add goat or another soft cheese and blend all together

This salad was so cheap.  I had bought the pasta for $1, the leftover black beans cost me about $0.20, and all in all the CSA veggies were probably $3.25.  That makes this salad about $4.50, but it lasted through the picnic and 3 more meals!

Anyway, onto the main meal I’m trying to blog about.  I’ve been really, really bad about posting what I’ve been getting in the CSA as of late.  This week I got Irish Cobbler potatoes (already gone, boiled them, then seasoned with olive oil, rosemary, salt, and parsley), Yukina Savoy, Kohlrabi, Cabbage, and a cucumber. When I came home, I went through the fridge and pulled out everything that *needed* to get used soon, along with some grains that had been sitting in my pantry for a while, and the tofu I opened last night.

tonight’s ingredients

Let me take you through my thought process:

1.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph that’s a lot of garlic scapes.  I’m going to pickle those with the kohlrabi because I am getting sick of kohlrabi
2.  I have a cucumber, garlic, AND plain yogurt?  tzatziki- no brainer
3.  Does tzatziki go with quinoa?
4.  Does it matter?
5.  I’m sick of eating greens raw so I’m going to sautee them.
6.  I can add mint leaves to the tzatziki.
7.  Browned tofu sounds really good.
8.  I’m going to sautee the tofu/greens and serve them over the quinoa/barley, and mix in the sauce.

..and that is pretty much a look inside my brain at how meals are made.

If you’ve never heard of yukina savoy before, you’re not alone.  I never had, either, before the CSA.  If you’ve ever eaten in a Japanese restaurant before, though, you have probably had it, or something similar.  It’s what I consider to be hardy.  It sautees really well because it maintains some of its crunchy silkiness.  if that makes sense.

-chop tofu, kohlrabi greens, and yukina savoy
-coat a large pan with olive oil and add the veggies.  Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and zahtar
-sautee, but also let sit for 2-3 minutes at a time to allow tofu to brown
-combine quinoa and greens/tofu
-in a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 finely chopped cucumber, 2 finely chopped garlic scapes, a couple dashes of salt, and 3 finely chopped mint leaves
-combine, add black sesame seeds, and toss together in a large bowl

Like I said, I was worried about adding the sauce and ruining the flavors.  The zahtar and black sesame seeds, however, went really well with the garlicy sauce.  Also, I’m not sure when I got so into tofu, but it’s most definitely thanks to Becca!

Total Cost: $5.35

1/2 cup organic red quinoa: $0.88
-1/4 cup organic barley: $0.40
-1/2 package organic tofu: $1.00
-1/4 organic cucumber: $0.25
-greens from two organic kohlrabi: $1.00
-2 organic garlic scapes: $0.15
-1/4 cup organic plain yogurt: $0.42
-3 organic yukina savoy leaves: $1.00
-3 organic mint leaves: $0.25

Considering I had enough for 2 helpings, plus lunch tomorrow, I’d say this turned out pretty great 🙂

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.

Squash Pasta with Oysters

Ha, this ended up being a disaster of a night but damn this was good pasta.

I don’t know why I always decide to make pasta on the nights I’m starving.  Don’t get me wrong, pasta isn’t a meal that takes hours, but when you make it from scratach it is a bit time consuming.  I thought I was being smart by making the dough and then letting it rest while I went to the grocery store.  Indeed, that was smart.  However, nothing went right after that.

Part of the problem is that I never follow pasta directions to a T.  I think this, from now on, will be a mandatory rule.  If the dough is not perfect, it can be very difficult to use with a machine.  If you are having problems, though, you can just roll it out by hand and cut it with a knife like I ended up doing.  (note that the tom and jerry glass served as my rolling pin haha)

pretty orange

Squash Pasta

-mix 3/4 cup cooked squash, 1-1/2 cup semolina flour, 1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
-let rest for at least 30 minutes
-roll out according to pasta machine directions or hand roll and cut
-add to boiling water
-add can of oysters
-when ready, top with olive oil, raw sugar, and crushed red pepper

Unfortunately I don’t have a total price because I have no clue how much I paid for the semolina flour.  I have to imagine it was probably between a dollar or two’s worth.  The squash was probably $0.15’s worth.  Maybe $0.80 for the wheat flour, <$2.00 for the oysters.

All in all, considering I got 4 meals (two dinneres, two lunches) out of this recipe, I’d say I did pretty well.