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: Summer Veggie Quiche

Quiche is one of my favorite things to make.  The technique is always easy, the results are always good, and it makes for great leftovers for brunch or for an actual meal!  This recipe is even better, because it combines 3 of the items from my basket this week: zucchini, tomatoes, and onions.  Read on for the recipe.

Chop up the zucchini, tomatoes, and onion and add to a greased pie dish or casserole.  I recommend the latter, since this will be a FULL pie dish.  I used half peeled zucchini and half not because of what I had on hand, but it’s up to you.  Sprinkle over the top with parmesan cheese.

Buzz baking mix, milk, eggs, and pepper in a blender for about 15 seconds.  I used this as my opportunity to break out my unused stick blender, and it worked great! Pour this over the veggies.

Bake in a 400 F over for 30 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

VeggieQuiche

I couldn’t even wait to take a photo before I ate a slice!

 

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What I Made: Scallopini alla sorentina

I have the best intentions for recipes I bookmark, but inevitably, some excuse comes up as to why I can’t make them: I don’t have the right ingredients, or it’s too hot to run the oven for that long, or I don’t have enough time. (Similar excuses seem to arise when thinking about going to the gym, but I’ll leave that topic aside.) I got scared off by the time-intensive prep work involved in this recipe from Lidia’s Italy, even after I bought all of the ingredients! The technique was simple, but a 50 minute wait for the eggplant to be ready is too long for my hungry self after work! I started searching for a similar but simpler recipe, and came across this one from Saveur. I decided to combine them into a Franken-recipe, using chicken instead of veal and combining the simpler eggplant prep from Saveur with the more detailed sauce from Lidia’s.

 

Scallopini1

The breaded eggplant technique.

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The more complicated homemade sauce.

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Ready to east after baking to melt the cheese and thicken the sauce.

The results were good, and I’ve been enjoying the leftovers all week!

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What I Made: Venison Pot Roast

This summer has not been a scorcher like we have grown accustomed to around these parts.  We have even had some downright cool days, especially considering this is usually the hottest part of the year in the DC region!  That’s my excuse, at least, for why I made a meal more closely related to fall or winter cooking.  Nothing like coming home on a dark, cold evening to a roast waiting in the crock pot.  It even tastes pretty great in the summer, too.

Instead of the classic beef or pork, this roast was made with some Grade-A Colorado venison tenderloin.  The fact that I got potatoes and onions this week, combined with carrots from last week, meant a roast was the obvious choice. As with most crock pot recipes, add all the ingredients, set on low for the day, and let the crock pot work its magic.

 

Veggies for roast

Potatoes, onions, and carrots for pot roast base.

Naturally, I was too busy digging in to get a photo of the finished product.

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What I Made: Caramelized Fairytale Eggplant

The day of my CSA pickup, I get emailed a list of what I’ll be receiving in my share for that week. Most of the time, the descriptions are pretty basic (blueberries, escarole) or are variations that, while unfamiliar, are otherwise straightforward (8-ball zucchini? dinosaur kale?) adaptations of a better known ingredient.  But then I’ll come across something in the list that really throws me for a loop.  That was the case with fairytale eggplant.  Small and delicate, they don’t really lend themselves to a lot of the standard eggplant treatments.  My first move is always to do some thorough Google research, and when I did, i found this New York Magazine recipe for caramelized eggplant.

It’s a simple recipe: slice the eggplant lengthwise, sauté in some olive oil until caramelized, deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar, and season with herbs. It’s a great, quick side dish.

The original recipe recommends 2-3 inch eggplant for this recipe, and I think that is the key. I had some larger fairytale eggplants that I cut into 2-3 inch pieces, but I found the skin on some of them to be tough, although they softened up after a day in the fridge and made great leftovers.

FairytaleEggplant

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What I Made: Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

This post begins with a tragedy and a word of warning.  REFRIGERATE THIS CAKE. If you do not, it will get moldy and you will have to throw out more than half of it and you can probably still hear my anguished cries. *sniffle*

But enough doom and gloom, before this “unfortunate incident”, I was raving to everyone about how great it tasted and how happy I was with how the cake turned out.  It’s moist, but still light and very chocolately.  And fear not, I’ve got tons of zucchini and plan to make it again soon.  The full recipe is after the jump.

The recipe starts out pretty basic and has the consistency of a regular pudding cake, until the 2 cups (!) of grated zucchini are added.  Hidden veggies are still some of my favorite veggies.

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Top with 2 cups of chocolate chips and a half cup of chopped walnuts, and the cake comes out as pretty as it does tasty!CCZucCake2

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