What I Made: Mini Spinach Lasagna

I had some filling leftover from the Malabar Spinach Tortellini that didn’t fit into the pasta dough I made, and decided to bake it into a lasagna! You could always make the filling by itself and make a lasagna to share, I suppose, but the personal size is awfully cute.

Pick an ovenproof container that fits your ingredients. Layer filling, noodles, filling, cheese, and repeat. Since the size is small and everything’s been cooked except your noodles, you can cut the cooking time a bit. Bake covered with foil for about 20 minutes, then uncovered for about 10. So easy!

MiniSpinachLasagna

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What I Made: Malabar Spinach Tortellini

Every week, before I pick up my CSA delivery, I get an email with a list of what to expect in that week’s box. Many weeks, this sends me running for Google to figure out just what exactly these mystery vegetables are.

For instance, did you know that Malabar spinach is not actually spinach but is instead an edible vine with leaves that taste a lot like spinach? True, the texture is a bit tougher when the larger leaves are raw, but when cooked, it makes a nice substitute.

I was ambitious with this recipe and made my own pasta! If you are not a crazy person, you can buy pre-made dough, usually in the “natural foods” section of the store.

The recipe looks intense, but it really doesn’t call for any complicated techniques. One of the huge upsides is that once made, the pasta can be frozen. To cook, just boil it until they float.

This is served with a super simple sauce of oil, butter, garlic, walnuts, pine nuts, and parsley, but it looks extra fancy.

Tortelloni

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What I Made: Barley Salad with Fennel and Radish

There is no greater endorsement for this recipe than to say that I liked it so much, I made it for Thanksgiving.  I don’t normally stray too far from the basics, especially for traditional holiday meals, but I cannot get enough of the combination of chewy barley, rich roasted fennel, the sharp bite of radishes and the briny olives all covered in a herbed, tangy citrus vinaigrette. I made this twice, and I am certain I will make it again. YUM

Fennel is thinly sliced, tossed with olive oil, and roasted in the oven.  Barley is cooked, then spread out onto the baking dish with the fennel to absorb all the flavor. Then, the mixture is tossed with sliced radishes, quartered oil-cured olives (you only need a little, so I bought mine from the olive bar at the grocery story!), and chopped dill. The vinaigrette is an easy combination of olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, shallot, and dill. Serve room temperature in a bowl or on a platter, topped with additional radishes, olives, and dill, and served with extra vinaigrette on the side.

BarleySalad

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What I Made: Risotto with Leeks and Turnips

These vegetables have given me a chance to try lots of new things, but for this recipe I stepped way outside of my comfort zone and tried making risotto for the first time. It wasn’t my finest effort, but even imperfect risotto is still tasty, creamy rice and cheese. This one includes scarlet turnips, which gives the whole dish a pink tint, contrasting with the heaping addition of sautéed green leeks.

As the days got cooler, I really looked forward to these leftovers in my fridge.  I also greatly improved my risotto technique – it pays in off recipes to be posted later! However, in the meantime, here’s the first attempt.

Leeks, turnips, and garlic are sautéed in olive oil until tender.  Then, the rice is briefly toasted with the mixture. Next comes hard work and patience: broth is added 1/2 cup at a time and the mixture is stirred constantly. This will take about 45 minutes and if you’re as out of shape as I am, your shoulder and arm will be ACHING. Once the rice is cooked through and a creamy texture, stir in the cheese and serve! More detailed instructions are after the jump.

TurnipLeekRisotto

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What I Made: Gingered Green Beans

While my tried and true green bean recipe serves me quite well, I wanted to try a new flavor combination.  These gingered green beans have a little bit of a kick, but I didn’t find them too spicy. I wasn’t overly impressed by the flavor, but it is difficult to replace my favorite after all.

This recipe is no more complicated than the first. Blanch the green beans, then cook garlic until fragrant in a skillet with olive oil. Next, add ginger and red pepper flakes, then beans and cook until beans are tender.  Try it, I’d be interested to know what you think! GingerGreenBeans

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