What I Made – Week 4

I made pretty much everything we had planned this week. We still have a head and a half (!) of lettuce left to use, as well as some cilantro. See a selection of what I was able to use up in the photos below.

Here’s the pasta with mushrooms, escarole, chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. I followed the planned recipe pretty closely, except that I used penne instead of shells and cremini mushrooms instead of shiitake. I also let the escarole cook with the lid off to further reduce the broth since reviewers complained it turned out a little soupy. Tasty, easy, and a great way to use escarole!

Knowing how much lettuce we had to eat this week, I turned this harissa-roasted broccoli and tofu quinoa bowl into a salad! I was rushing to finish dinner and forgot the red onion and mint. (This also explains the less than stellar plating and lighting conditions.) I think the red onion would be good sliced and roasted with the tofu and broccoli. I’ve also made this before with quick pickled red onions and that’s delicious as well!

This was my first time making this Instant Pot butter chicken recipe. I swapped chicken thighs for the boneless skinless breasts since that’s what I had thawed. I used tomato sauce combined with my four chopped up tomatoes because I couldn’t find tomato purée. Once the pressure cooking finished, the sauce was thinner than I wanted, so I put it on Sauté for several minutes to reduce before I completed the last step and added the butter and cream. I also only added two tablespoons of butter at the end instead of four because I couldn’t bring myself to put nearly a half cup of butter plus almost a cup of heavy cream in this dinner! The result was creamy and delicious all the same.

Tonight we’re trying the clam pizza with kale and white sauce. Maybe with a side salad? 🙈We have too much lettuce!

Whatever you’re having today, have a happy Friday!


What I’ve Planned – Week 4

A long weekend provides such a chance to catch up on my home to-do list, including meal prep for the week ahead. With summer temperatures setting in, it’s going to be more difficult than usual to spend a whole day over the stove. Alternating roasting veggies with a pan of brownies in the oven might be just the motivation I need!

Here’s what I’m thinking for how to use up my basket this week:

    Smoked ribs, roasted asparagus, green salad
    Instant Pot Butter Chicken (will chop up and toss in my tomatoes along with the tomato purée, didn’t get quite enough to cook it down for a substitute)

I’ll probably also use the kale and last week’s green garlic in a quiche. I definitely need to make some salads to work on using up all the romaine we got this week. I have some extra berries in the fridge and I love a Black and Blue salad – I add sliced steak to make it a more substantial meal.

What I Made: Chicken Orzo Skillet with Peppers

Hearty, one-pot meals are my go-to during these season, both to cook up during the cool evenings and as microwaved leftovers to warm me up from my typical popsicle-like state in my office. This has pasta and chicken and uses s many of the peppers I’ve been receiving, along with the tomato sauce I made previously. It’s great served with a nice green salad on the side, along with some crusty garlic bread.

There’s a bit of chopping involved, but afterwards, the meal comes together pretty easily.  The chicken is cut into tenderloin-sized strips and orzo should be cooked and kept hot.  Half of the chicken is cooked in the skillet, then removed and set aside.  The remaining chicken, along with some peppers, shallot, and garlic are added and cooked until the chicken is done and the peppers have softened.  The reserved chicken is added back and given a toss with the cooked orzo, tomato sauce, and basil. Once the mixture is hot, season it with salt, pepper, and cheese and serve.


Sorry the cheese is in the way of the actual dish, but that shouldn’t be surprising by now…

Detailed instructions follow.

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What I Made: Cavatelli with Squash and Sage

One of the things I have come to appreciate about getting my produce from a CSA is the unmistakeable slide of the seasons. There’s no need to check to calendar to know it’s no longer summer. We’ve clearly left the tomatoes and peaches behind for substantial squash and crisp apples. With its warm spices and hearty sauce, this dish is one of those that tastes like fall and is perfect when the days start turning a bit cooler. (Those Pumpkin Spice Latte aficionados understand that sentiment, I’m sure.)

This was another attempt at homemade pasta. This time I got even more adventurous by combining all purpose and whole wheat flour. It wasn’t exactly a failure, but I did think the dough could rest longer to better incorporate the whole wheat.


Cavatelli with Squash and Sausage, adapted from Simply in Season
(Cavatelli recipe via Food Network)


2 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 large egg
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/cavatelli-with-asparagus.html?oc=linkback
1 pound Italian sausage (I used spicy, but recipe suggests sweet)
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh sage, cut into thin strips
1 cup dry white wine (could also use chicken broth)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup acorn squash or other winter squash, cooked and pureed
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Mix the ricotta and egg in a small bowl with a fork and then dump into the well. Using the fork and working your way around the well, gradually mix the flour into the ricotta mixture until the dough is crumbly. If the dough is too dry to come together, add up to 3 tablespoons water, a little at a time.
2. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic (not sticky), about 6 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature, 30 minutes. (The dough can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator, just bring it to room temperature before rolling it out and forming the pasta.)
3. Take about one eighth of the dough (leaving the rest wrapped), roll the dough on the counter into a 1/2-inch-thick log. Cut the log into 1/2-inch pieces and then roll each piece into a small ball.
4.With a butter knife, gently pull the the dough towards you and let the dough curl up over the knife edge, making a thin, twisted pasta.
5. Place completed cavatelli on a floured baking sheet, and repeat step 4 to make the remaining cavatelli.
6. Cook pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente, about 5 minutes.
7. Brown sausage in pan. Remove meat and drain off fat.
8. Return pan to heat and sauté garlic and onion until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
9. Add bay leaf, sage, and wine and cook until reduced by half.
10. Mix in pureed squash and chicken broth, and bring to a simmer. Add sausage back in to mixture.
11. Stir in milk, cinnamon and nutmeg and simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
12. Remove bay leaf and add cavatelli.  Cook 1 minute until pasta is heated. Serve  topped with with additional sage and grated Parmesan.

What I Made: Orecchiette with Radicchio

Fresh handmade pasta is something special.  Sure, it leaves my kitchen covered in a thick coating of flour because I am the world’s messiest cook, but it also takes a regular pasta dish and turns up the YUM factor.  Making pasta is my newest interest, and it’s definitely something that is going to require quite a bit of practice. And time. And patience.

This recipe is my second go-round making orecchiette, and I’m steadily improving. At least, my pastas looked a lot more ear-shaped this time, and since that’s how orecchiette gets its name, I’m taking that as a good sign…

To make the orecchiette, roll a portion of the dough into a long log about a half inch thick, keeping the other dough wrapped tightly in plastic wrap while not in use.  Cut into 1/2 inch pieces and roll into a ball.  Flatten the ball with your thumb, then, still pressing, pull slightly to one side to create a dimple.  Then, take the pasta and flip inside out, placing on a floured baking sheet until it’s ready to cook. It will cook to al dente in 8 minutes. Then, the shallots are cooked until softened and wine is added and then reduced.  The herbs, pasta, radicchio, and cheese get a quick toss and the whole dish is served at room temperature.


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What I Made: Corn and Poblano Lasagna

My awesome cousin Anna heard my pleas for more zucchini recipes and sent along a whole bunch!  As I’ve mentioned, I love trying recipes that use more than one of my weekly ingredients, so of course this was the first recipe I tried.

This is a lasagna where the layers are a pureed mix of sautéed corn and cream, no-boil lasagna noodles, and a mix of onions, zucchini and poblano peppers, all topped with Oaxaca cheese. My neighborhood grocery store carries Oaxaca cheese, but if you can’t find it, the recipe suggest substituting mozzarella.

The original recipe says to use an 11×8 baking dish.  Naturally, I only had a 11×7 or a 9×13.  I sized up, but in hindsight, I should have sized down.  The bigger dish meant that the veggies didn’t fully cover the noodles, so they didn’t get soft on the top layer.


You can see from this photo that I didn’t have enough veggies to cover the top, so the noodles got a little crispy.  Nothing some time in the fridge as leftovers won’t fix! However, this meant that I avoided broiling the lasagna to crisp the cheese, since I didn’t want to burn the exposed noodles.

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What I Made: Linguine with Peas and Red Onion

What do you call the act of removing peas from their pod?  I have always called this “shelling peas” but recently came across this recipe that calls it “shucking” peas!  Do you use one of these words or another altogether?  Leave your answer in the comments below! Whatever it’s called, it’s a sure sign of summer. The full recipe for linguine with peas and red onion is after the jump.

For this recipe, you’ll need 2 cups of peas.  I only got about a cup out of my CSA’s peas, so I made up the rest with frozen ones I had on hand.



The beginning of the job.

Next, heat 1 tablespoons of butter in a skillet.  Add a thinly sliced red onion and a little water.


Cook the onions until they are softened.

Then, add the peas and cook 1-2 minutes.  The fresh peas will turn a bright shade of green.


Beautiful, fresh colors!


Finally, add cooked linguine (about a half pound dry)


Toss linguine, onions and peas with a quarter cup of basil (I didn’t have quite that much on hand) and 2 tablespoons of butter.peas6


Unlike some previous recipes, this makes a really pretty plate!



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What I Made: Cheesy Fettuccine with Escarole


Oh Food & Wine, can you do wrong in a recipe?  This recipe for fettuccine with escarole in a brie sauce was one of my favorites thus far.  Not too heavy, but with a decadent touch of creamy brie that makes a simple but sophisticated sauce.  Check out the photos and recipe below.


Behold! A pound of escarole.  This was about half of my very large head of beautiful leafy goodness.


The original recipe calls for 2 ounces of bacon or pancetta, but in hindsight, I would have added about 4 ounces of chopped cooked ham, cut into a much coarser dice.  The meat taste was faint to nonexistent! EscaCheese2

I rolled up the escarole and cut it into roughly 1 inch ribbons.  You can see at the top right that I trimmed the leaf base a bit to get rid of some of the tougher stalk material.


Cooking up the shallot with the bacon.



The escarole goes in light green and fluffy.

 And cooks down to a glossy dark green after about


Add the cooked fettuccine, some pasta water, and the brie.  The sauce will thicken as it sit.

Fettuccine with Escarole and Brie via Grace Parsi/Food & Wine

3/4 pound fettuccine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, coarsely chopped (see above, I would add 4 oz chopped ham)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 pound escarole, cut into 1-inch ribbons
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound Brie (preferably a wedge), rind removed

  1. In a large pot of generously salted boiling water, cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 1/4 cups of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and shallot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the escarole, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, just until wilted.
  3. Add the pasta to the skillet along with 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cut the Brie into 1-inch pieces and add to the skillet. Cook the pasta over moderate heat, tossing, until the Brie is melted and the sauce is thick and creamy, about 4 minutes; add more of the pasta cooking water if the sauce is dry. Season the pasta with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to bowls and serve immediately.

What I Made: Bok Choy Two Ways

I used up my bok choy with two simple recipes this week.  The first was a spaghetti with bok choy, poached egg, and Italian cheese, adapted from this Vegetarian Times recipe.  I left the egg in the water for two long, and it was definitely not runny and delicious like I had hoped.  Turns out, I should have cut the heat from the water once I added the egg, then removed it to dry off after the cooking time was up.


The second recipe made for lots of delicious leftovers.  The beef is a Beef with Lemongrass recipe from a random Wok and Stir Fry cookbook that I found in a box.  (The best thing about living in the city is boxes that say “FREE BOOKS”.)



The bok choy recipe is adapted from Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Roasted Peanuts from my new go-to CSA cookbook, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I didn’t have peanuts or peanut oil, so I left out the nuts and substituted vegetable oil that I had on hand.  My adaptation is below:

2 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds bok choy (stems sliced into 1 inch pieces and leaves roughly shredded)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (note: this is plenty of salt for me, but the original recipe suggests adding more)
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water

Heat oil and stir fry garlic and ginger for 1 minute.  Add bok choy and stir fry until wilted.  Add soy sauce and cornstarch/water mixture and stir fry until bok choy looks glazed, about 1-2 minutes.

Please enjoy a blurry picture of my leftovers, below.


A decidedly unfancy look at lunch: stir fried beef and bok choy.