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.
This salad is a simple delight. The creaminess of the chickpeas, the crunch of the walnuts, perfectly steamed vegetables, lemon and herbs make for a hearty and delicious melange that could easily be a meal in itself.
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 handful string beans, tipped, tailed, and cut in half
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
1 medium zucchini, cut into crescents
1/4 cup walnuts
1 head kale, ribs and stems removed
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
white wine, dry vermouth, or stock (to deglaze, about 4 tablespoons)
Steam the cauliflower, zucchini, and string beans until just done. If you cut all the vegetables roundabout the same size, they'll all be done at the same time when you steam them all together. The zucchini and green beans should be bright green, the cauliflower should be softened but still have a bite to it. Reserve.
Saute the onion and garlic in 2 tbsp. olive oil until translucent. Add the steamed vegetables and chickpeas and stir to coat them lightly with the olive oil. Add your liquid and gently scrape to get any brown stuff off of the bottom of the pan. There should be a good deal of steam in the pot with this, at which point you add your kale. Gently mix the kale into the veggies just a little, and cover. Let this cook about a minute or until the kale has softened and shrunk a little bit. The goal is to just barely cook the kale. Remove from heat. Add the zest and juice of half a lemon (if you don't have a microplane, don't bother....but its such a fun tool, you may want to consider buying one!), season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the parsley and walnuts, and serve warm or at room temperature.
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.