Archive | January, 2010

Recipe: Pasta with Chickpeas and lots of Parsley

31 Jan

Another winner from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers.  I’ve make this recipe several times and am always amazed at how easy and delicious it is.  We didn’t have sage, so I left that out and topped each serving with a fried egg for extra protein.  A great way to use up lots of parsley.


  • 1 T olive oil, plus extra to finish the dish
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • a few pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, liquid reserved
  • 1 big bunch of flat-leaf parsley, the leaves stripped from the stems
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • small handful of sage leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground peper
  • 3/4 pound whole wheat pasta shells
  • freshly grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.  Heat the oil in a wide skillet and add the onion or shallot and pepper flakes. Cook for a minute or two then add the chickpeas. As they warm, chop parsley, garlic and sage together so that they form a nice melange. Toss 1/3 of that mixture into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, add a little chickpea broth to the pan and cook on low heat. Add liquid as it cooks down.

Salt the pasta water and cook the pasta. When it is done, drain and toss it with the chickpeas, the rest of the parsley, garlic and sage mixture and the extra olive oil you were supposed to remember. Taste for salt and season with freshly ground pepper. Grate some Parmeson over the top and serve with additional pepper flakes.


Recipe: Pizza with Broccoli, Red Onion and Veggie Italian Sausage

30 Jan

There’s no big recipe for this pizza.  Pizza’s one of those things that great no matter what you put on it.  Here’s what I made:


  • 1 head of broccoli, cut up into small florets and blanched for about a minute
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 veggie Italian sausage, thinly sliced and browned
  • 1/2 jar Trader Joe’s pizza sauce
  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s pizza crust
  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s quatro fromaggio shredded cheese

Stretch out the dough, spread a thin layer of sauce, scatter the cheese and toppings on the pizza and top with lots of red pepper flakes.  Bake according to directions.  We enjoyed this with a simple salad with a garlicky balsamic vinaigrette (make a classic French style vinaigrette and grate a clove of garlic into the mix with a microplane).

Silver Lake Farms CSA – Week 4

30 Jan

Here’s what we got at the pick-up last night:

fresh garlic
red romaine lettuce
green romaine lettuce
italian parsley
baby bok choy
arugula aka rocket
green curly mustard

Ideas so far:

  • Pizza, of course
  • Pasta with lots of parsley and garlic
  • Green garlic aioli (we made this before, it’s heaven)
  • Celery risotto
  • Lots of salads
  • Braised bok choy with ginger/orange
  • Creamy carrot soup
  • Radishes with French butter

Recipe: Potato Skillet Pie with Green Garlic

30 Jan

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks of all time, Vegetarian Suppers by Deborah Madison.  The skillet pie is great with a simple salad and really showcases the green garlic.


  • 4 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1 cup bread crumbs or 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese for the pan
  • Scant 2 pounds Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chunked
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten with a little water
  • 3 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 2-3 heads of green garlic, whites and tender greens minced

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Put a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven with a tablespoon of the butter until melted (we don’t have a cast iron skillet, so we used our regular non-stick, but i think this would work much better using cast iron, we had a little trouble getting the pie out in one piece). Brush it around the pan, then scatter bread crumbs or Parmesan cheese into it to make a crust for the potatoes.

Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. While they’re cooking, smash the regular garlic in a mortar with 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth. Take the green garlic and simmer in a little water until tender, then drain.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the garlics and remaining butter and mash. Taste for salt and pepper, making sure the potatoes are highly seasoned. Then stir in the eggs and sage, transfer the mass to the skillet, and smooth the top. Bake until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 45 minutes. Remove, let stand for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and unmold onto a serving plate.

This is great topped with sour cream!

Recipe: Stinging Nettles Pizza

29 Jan

I was super excited when we got stinging nettles in our bag a couple weeks ago.  I’ve never cooked with them, and I’m not sure if I’d ever eaten them before, but I knew that they were something special.  First special thing about them: they sting, like a bee sting, so you can not handle with your bare hands.  A stray leaf brushed against my wrist and immediately caused redness and welts.  But, just like a bee sting, relief is comes quickly in the form of baking soda mud and a nip of bourbon (the mud goes on the welt, the bourbon goes in my mouth).   Second special thing about them:  they are a ridiculously rich source of countless vitamins, minerals, protein, etc.  They’re the original super food – it’s said that certain monks lived for years on nothing more than nettle tea.

So, what to make with this special stuff?  Soups and teas are standard, but for years I’ve heard of the magical  nettle pizza at Chez Panisse so I tried to recreate that.  It was yummy, though I’m sure that it be just as good with spinach or arugula if you don’t want to live too dangerously.


  • 1 large bunch nettles
  • 1 head roasted garlic (cut off top 1/3 of head, top with olive oil and wrap in foil, roast at 400 degrees for about an hour)
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Italian cheese blend
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s pizza dough

Preheat the oven according to package directions.  Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.  We didn’t have any rubber gloves, so instead of taking the leaves off before blanching them, I put the whole bunch, still tied together, into the water with some tongs.  Blanch for about a minute and then plunge into some ice water, or at least run cold water from the tap to stop them cooking.  At this point they’re safe to handle.  The leaves kind of turn to mush, so just do your best to separate the leaves from the thick stems and put the leaves aside.

To assemble the pizza, stretch out the dough to whatever shape you like (mine was a rectangle), put on a sheet pan or pizza pan or pizza stone or however you usually make pizza.  Cover dough with cheese, then place the nettles on top, then put a little more cheese on top of that.  Dot with the roasted garlic cloves and drizzle a little olive oil over top.  Bake according to directions.

Serve with a simple side salad and enjoy!

Recipe: Glazed Carrot Soup with Tequila and Lime

29 Jan

If you know me, you know that I love tequila.  I’ve been known to bring my own tequila to parties and we had tequila shots at our wedding.  We received an abundance of carrots one week and I wanted to make soup – I found this recipe for glazed carrots with tequila and lime in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and it seemed like a match made in heaven.  The recipe was a success – spicy in a way that I didn’t expect (especially since the only spice here is black pepper, but maybe it’s the sharpness of the lime).  This also made a lot of soup that took us a few days to finish.  Served with mushroom and manchego quesadillas, it made a great dinner for a chilly night.

Ingredients for the soup

  • 6-8 carrots (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 t maple syrup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 t grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup tequila (Cazadores is a great brand that’s easy to find and not too expensive, but tastes like it is)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • chopped cilantro to garnish

Put all ingredients except for the stock and garnish into a big pot and turn the heat on high.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  When the mixture boils, turn the heat down to medium low, cover and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Uncover the pot and raise the heat.  Stir the carrots around until the liquid evaporates.  Lower the heat and cook until the carrots are very tender.  If the carrots brown too much, add a little stock to the bottom of the pan.  Once the carrots are tender, add the stock and bring to a boil.  Stir the carrots around and make sure to dissolve any fond that developed on the bottom of the pan (those caramelized yummy bits).   After the soup boils, turn the heat back down to low and let cook for another 10 minutes or so.  Puree in batches in the blender (the blender will make a smoother soup than a food processor) and return to the pan.  Or if you’re lucky enough to have an immersion blender, use that to make the soup silky and smooth.  Garnish with the cilantro.  This soup is also very good with a dollop of sour cream (but what isn’t made better by sour cream, seriously!).

Ingredients for the quesadillas

  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • a few mushrooms, sliced
  • a couple handfuls of dandelion greens, chopped
  • cilantro, chopped
  • grated Mexican manchego cheese (different than Spanish Manchego, softer and more melty)
  • sour cream to garnish
  • salsa to garnish (we got some great bottled taco sauces from my brother that his neighbor makes, I’ll figure out the name and insert it later)

This recipe is for 2 quesadillas, but you can make as many as you want by adjusting the amounts.  Saute the mushrooms and jalapeno together until cooked.  Add the greens and continue cooking until wilted.  Sprinkle in some cilantro into the mixture.  Warm the tortillas on your pancake pan on both sides.  Once warmed through, layer cheese, then veggies then a little more cheese on tortilla and top with second tortilla.  Repeat with other quesadilla.  Once the tortilla starts to brown, flip over and toast other side.  Slice with a pizza cutter, top with sour cream, salsa, and more cilantro and enjoy!

Recipe: Giant Kitchen Sink Salad

28 Jan

It’s Thursday and we’re picking up more veggies tomorrow, but have too many that we haven’t been able to eat yet.  So tonight we combined as many of them as we could into a giant kitchen sink salad.


  • A few leaves red oak leaf lettuce
  • A few leaves green oak leaf lettuce
  • A few leaves wildfire lettuce
  • A few leaves dandelion greens
  • Small bunch of radishes, sliced
  • 1 avocado, chunked
  • Bunch of sugar snap peas, from our garden (!)
  • Half red onion, thinly sliced
  • Baked tofu (five spice flavor), cubed
  • 2 cuties (tangerines), separated

Wash lettuce and tear into bite sized pieces.  Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a giant bowl and toss with salt & pepper.

Ingredients for dressing

  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 5 T olive oil
  • 2 green garlic, sliced

Whisk together mustard and vinegar, add salt and pepper.  Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified.  Throw in garlic and let sit to marry the flavors.

Toss everything together in the giant bowl and serve on giant plates.  Try to figure out how to use the rest of the lettuce asap.

Recipe: Negi Cakes with Ginger Orange Glazed Carrots and Mizuna Salad

27 Jan

With all the Japanese veggies we get, I thought I’d try to make a Japanese meal.  I doubt that this is authentic, but it was tasty!


I found this recipe online, translated from a Japanese cookbook.  It was super easy to make.

Ingredients for cakes

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 negi, “shredded” which I read to mean finely sliced
  • sesame oil

Saute the negi in a little oil in a pan until a little wilted.  Cool a little and add to eggs with a pinch of salt.  To cook, heat up a pancake pan to medium high.  Coat with sesame oil and carefully pour or spoon the batter into 4 little cakes – the recipe makes 8 cakes.  If your floor is’t quite level like ours, the batter will come out in strange shapes, but don’t worry, it all tastes good.  Fry until golden brown and flip to fry the other side.  Do the same for the next batch.  Top with the sauce.  I know this recipe seems weird, but somehow it all works out.

Ingredients for sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T cornstarch mixed with 1 T water

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened.  We only used half of this sauce, so you might want to cut the recipe in half unless you love sauce – it’s pretty mild.


This recipe is based on one in Mark Bittman’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  (I made another variation of this recipe into an amazing tequila-lime-carrot soup, which I’ll share another time).


  • 2 carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • juice of 1 orange, plus a little bit of water to make about 1/3 cup of liquid
  • 1 1/2 t ginger, grated

Put all ingredients into a pot with some salt and pepper and turn on high.  When the liquid boils, cover with a lid and turn down heat to medium low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Take lid off and raise heat.  Stir occasionally until all the liquid boils off.  Cover with lid again and cook for another 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  If it starts to burn, add more water to the bottom.  Cook until the carrots are tender and shiny.


Ingredients for dressing

  • 2 t rice vinegar
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 1/4 t sugar
  • 5 t oil

Whisk all ingredients together until combined, toss with mizuna.

Action Shot

Recipe: Mustard Green Gratin with Roasted Potatoes

27 Jan

I’ve never cooked mustard greens before and wanted to do something fun with them.  Most recipes I found featured ham hocks, which ain’t my thang chicken wang.  I found this recipe from trusty Alton Brown and tweeked it a bit.  I don’t know if it really showcased the delicate greens in the way I was hoping, but it sure was tasty!


  • 1 bunch curly mustard greens, cleaned and tough stems removed, then roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 or so ounces of ricotta (left over from the baked pasta)
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces mushrooms (or the other half of the tub left over from the pasta), sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter and saute the mushrooms and garlic with a pinch of salt until the mushrooms give up their liquor.  Add the mustard greens and continue to saute until wilted and any water has evaporated.

Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, eggs, and parmesan together.  Season with a little salt & pepper.  Stir in the mushroom/greens mixture and pour the whole thing into a small gratin dish (note:  this does not make a huge amount).  If you’re feeling a little white trash, sprinkle crushed ritz on top of the casserole.  For something classier, try some more parmesan.  I did parmesan and breadcrumbs, but I would skip the breadcrumbs next time.

While you’re prepping the gratin, have your husband slice a bunch of new potatoes, coat with olive oil and salt & pepper and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Place the gratin and potatoes in the oven and let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring the potatoes around once or twice to promote even browning.

Let the gratin cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.  Yum!

Recipe: Baked Penne with Random Vegetables

27 Jan

I had wanted to make a baked ziti, but didn’t have the tomato sauce or enough cheese, so this is what we made instead – it was great.


  • 1 package organic penne from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 carrot, sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • 1 head of broccoli (from last week’s basket), cut into small florets, cut the stalk into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • half a package of mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 veggie Italian sausage, sliced to resemble the carrots
  • small handful of parsley, rustically chopped
  • shredded Italian cheese mix from Trader Joe’s
  • ricotta, a few dollops
  • tomato sauce (we didn’t have any, so I made my own using some tomatoes from our garden that I had frozen last summer.  Freeze the whole tomatoes and to cook, just put them in a sauce pot and turn the heat up to high.  They will let out A LOT of water, but don’t worry, let everything boil and reduce for a while, add some salt, pepper, tomato paste and sugar, if the tomatoes need it and you have tomato sauce!  If you want to be picky, you can take out the skins, but i don’t mind them.)

Cook the pasta to al dente in salted water.  Add in the carrots about a minute after the pasta starts cooking.  Add the broccoli at the last minute, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, saute the onion until golden in olive oil, remove from the pan.  Saute the mushrooms, veggies sausage and garlic until toasty.

Mix the pasta, veggies, onion, sausage and parsley together with a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper.  Transfer mixture into a baking dish, spoon tomato sauce on top.  Dot the top with spoonfuls of ricotta and cover with a couple handfuls of cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

This recipe made enough for dinner plus at least 4 lunches.

We served this with a simple salad of torn red oak leaf lettuce in a sherry vinaigrette.