When you want that big bowl of pasta but your actions (or lack of actions) doesn't really warrant a pasta party for one in front of House of Cards. It's a great way to use up that last little bit of pasta sauce and get your cravings under control. It's satisfying, and simple, and the chili flakes and capers give it enough dimension to keep it interesting.
YOU WILL NEED:
1/2 Cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup leftover spaghetti sauce (mine is just San Marzano canned tomatoes, lots of onion, and garlic at this point)
1 tablespoon capers in brine
Chili flakes to taste, about 1/2 a teaspoon is my dosage
Steam your cauliflower until it's softened but still retains it's crunch. About 2-3 minutes in the steamer.
Heat up your leftover sauce in a skillet when it's bubbling at the edges add the cauliflower and fold in to coat evenly. Add capers and chili flakes and sauté three minutes, or until the sauce is clinging to the cauliflowers.
Serve in a bowl with some torn basil and a nice drizzle of olive oil.
Braised cabbage in cider with apples, onion, caraway seeds, and baked tofu. I stole this recipe from @mortenlovach but he makes his with beer and veggie sausage which and sour cream which, honestly, is way better. But this gluten free and dairy free option serves a medicinal purpose today. Cabbage is loaded with electrolytes and minerals, and so much fiber! It kind of works as a scrubber to grab onto old dirt that might be lingering around in your digestive tract and get it on the move. So not only is this hearty and warming on a cold day, but it's a great way for me to scrub away anything I may have accumulated on my bartenders weekend (tuesday/Wednesday) for a happy, healthy gut and a flat belly. Sometimes balance is just one day away!
YOU WILL NEED:
1 small head of cabbage, chopped into pretty big chunks
1 large organic apple, or two small ones
1 large white onion, or two small ones
3 cloves garlic
12 oz cider, or you could use any blonde beer
3 branches thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or any kind but balsamic)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (this really makes it)
1 tablespoon mustard (any kind you like)
about 8oz or one package baked tofu, or you could use tempeh, or any veggie meat substitute, just read the label if you're avoiding gluten
chili flakes (optional)
Saute the onion in olive oil until translucent, add the apples and cabbage and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper, and you can drizzle a little extra olive oil on top so it all looks a little coated. All of this will cook down so if your pot looks pretty full, don't worry. When things sound pretty hot in the pan, pour the cider in, and add the garlic, thyme, vinegar, mustard, bay leaf, caraway, and whatever tofu or whatnot you're using. Stir it all up, the liquid should be almost to the level of the vegetables. Turn the heat to medium, cover, and let cook for about 30 minutes or until everything has started to meld together. Check your seasoning, and finish with a big drizzle of olive oil (or butter if you go that way). Serve with some extra mustard on the side with some potatoes, as a stew on it's own, or take it to work with some quinoa, like I did!
My shift at work is 12-8 and I generally try not to eat after 8pm, so I pack lunches that I won't mind eating the other half of for dinner. These "casseroles" are my favorite, and a great way to use out leftovers. Adding a little liquid to this dish kind of brings it all together when you reheat. I had leftover French onion soup so that's my base here (spaghetti sauce, beans, or even just stock is great too) If you have your oven on, cook something extra! Being able to whip up lunch from leftovers in minutes is crucial to us workers always running around! Bake or nuke, or even have it cold.
CREAMY TOMATO AND ROASTED RED PEPPER BISQUE01/30/2014
For a long time I had great difficulty perfecting my tomato bisque. I love the Pacific brand cartons of the stuff, and when I tried to make it at home it was either too much like tomato-sauce or over-seasoned and had lost that sweet tomato taste. The cherry tomatoes are essential because even the conventional brands will have ten times the sun-sweet, lemony tomato flavor than a traditional plum tomato will. As far as cans go, San Marzano brand has no BPA's and is a really delicious tomato.
(ingredients in boldface)
🍅➡️chop one onion, one carrot, three cloves of garlic and sauté in olive oil
🍅➡️when translucent sprinkle 2 tbsp of flour and cook for a few minutes, scraping the sides of the pan.
🍅➡️add two branches of fresh thyme
🍅➡️(optional)deglaze with a 1/4 cup white wine/sherry/brandy/vermouth, reduce, then add 3 cups of stock and one bunch of thyme (whole)
🍅➡️blitz 12 oz or one container of cherry tomatoes (they're sweeter) and add to the soup
🍅➡️blitz a 16oz can of whole tomatoes (I like San Marzano) and add to the soup
🍅➡️ let this whole conspiracy cook down until the level of liquid in the pan is down an inch, remove the thyme (which will just be twigs at this point) then (working in batches) transfer to the blender.
🍅➡️add a 1" cube of pecorino to one of the batches (or skip it and make it #vegan)
🍅 ➡️whisk in a little olive oil for richness and if it seems a little flat (sometimes you get a boring tomato) perk it up with a little balsamic vinegar. Like, a tiiiiiny bit. Garnish with crouton and olive oil and share with someone you give a big shit about. Like yourself!
CREAMY LEEK AND POTATO SOUP WITH WILD MUSHROOM01/30/2014
This is probably the only dish that I'll use a package of anything for in the recipe. I adapted this from Jacques Pepin's recipe, and I love how quickly you can throw it together (15 mins) . It's hearty and delicious. If you have leftover mashed potatoes PLEASE omit the dehydrated potatoes.
Creamy Leek and Mushroom Soup
(adapted from Jacques Pepin)
You can use any kind of mushrooms in this recipe. All will give it a different, but still excellent, flavor, whether you use white mushrooms from the market or wild mushrooms.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 branches fresh thyme
2 1/2 – 3 cups leeks, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, coarsely chopped
4 cups stock
1 cup instant potato flakes (or 1 cup mashed potatoes)
1 cup milk (you can use soy or almond)
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a large sauecpan over medium heat. Add olive oil, leeks and mushrooms and stir. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes to sweat the leeks, just until they start to become tender.
Add in chicken stock, cover and bring to a boil.
When soup boils, remove the lid and stir in instant potatoes. Return soup to a boil and cook for one minute. If you prefer a thinner soup, you can add up to 1 cup milk (or chicken stock) to thin it.
Season to taste and serve with a hunk of bread and a drizzle of olive oil.
I've been cooking since I was seven. Institute of Culinary Education grad and NYC trained chef. Food dork. Health nut. Bounty Hunter of beige foods. I don't think there needs to be a separation between food that's good and food that's good for you.