Archive for the Recipes Category
Posted by: Erin in Recipes
Yes, loads of oil, butter, and salt, it turns out, are the keys to tasty eating.
You know when you watch a cooking show and the host just sautees some stuff and then throws in some pasta and a few ladles-full of pasta water and they have this really delicious looking dish. But then you try something similar at home and you end up with a bowl full of bland sogg? I found out recently that lots of olive oil, butter, and salt are the antidotes to pasty pasta. Oh, and a mountain of Parmesan doesn’t hurt either.
Twice recently I have made a variation on this pasta dish, and both times it was really incredibly delicious. As with many of my “recipes,” what follows are really just general guidelines; please play with proportions to suit your taste, this recipe is hard to mess up. Just be sure to use more salt and fat you are probably comfortable with if you want it to taste really spectacular!
Firstly, you need to pretty heavily salt the pasta water. The water should be salty, not merely salted. Use whatever type of pasta you’d like. The first time I made it I used spinach rotini, the second time I used whole wheat linguini. You can also use various different types of vegetables, but ones that cook relatively quickly probably work best (think green and leafy/flowery). The first time I used broccolini (or, broccoli: the good parts), which I sliced into long, thin pieces. The second time I used Brussels sprouts, which I sliced into c. 1/8-inch disks lengthwise (ie, on the axis of the stem).
Due to all the fat in this recipe, you probably shouldn’t eat it too often, but considering how easy to make and tasty it is, you might want to!
Pasta with Garlicky Green-leafies in an Oil and Butter Sauce
as many cloves of garlic as you want, sliced very thin
veggie of choice (I suggest broccoli, broccolini, brussels sprouts)
a few sprinkles of dried/powdered sage
red pepper flakes, if you want them
Parmesan or Romano cheese, shredded (with a microplane if you have one)
While your salty water is heating, do all your cleaning, chopping, and prep (including putting your sautee pan on the stove). When you put your pasta in the water, work quickly:Â Heat up a good amount, at least two tablespoons, of olive oil in a sautee pan over high heat. Add your veggie of choice, along with some thinly sliced garlic (don’t add the garlic first, it will burn). Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, then turn the heat down to medium. Add some salt, pepper, sage, and hot pepper flakes if you want ‘em. Cook for a few more minutes.
The pasta should be almost done now. Ignore package cooking instructions. Cook until almost al dente (if you cook according to package instructions, the pasta will be over-done). Add pasta to the veggies, along with a couple of big pats of butter and a couple of ladles of pasta water. Cook until butter is melted and a thick-ish sauce is formed. By this time the pasta will be perfectly chewy and tender. Turn off the heat and dump in a bunch of cheese. I mention a microplane grater above because when you grate Parmesan with one, you create this luscious salty cloud of cheese that just melts immediately upon hitting the soft pasta. Toss and enjoy!
And, seriously, you will enjoy.
I am not even sure I can call this a ratatouille, conformiste ou non-, seeing as I totally made up the recipe without reference to a single recipe for actual ratatouille. [Quelle dommage!] Oh, and this was my first attempt at making ratatouille. [Zut!] But we all know what the basic components of ratatouille are, right? Luckily for me, it is a forgiving dish, and this whatever-it-was that I made and am calling ratatouille was delicious.
I was inspired by our lot of goods from the CSA last week, where there was buzz that all the veggies that day screamed to be made into a ratatouille. So, susceptible to suggestion as I am, I decided to make it. In the box were: yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, eggplant, onions, and garlic, among other things. Not included in our CSA lot were tomatoes, so I had to go buy some of those.
The non-conformiste part of the recipe comes mostly from the treatment of the eggplant, which was grilled before being added to the dish. I did this because I thought it would add some smokey interest to the pot, but also because the eggplant we had added to stir frys past had turned out unpleasantly oil-logged; I thought grilling the ‘plant first would keep this from happening. Another element that might seem odd to you is the addition of the poached egg. I did this to add some protein to the dish, but it was actually inspired by a long-ago lunch in Paris I enjoyed: a ratatouille crepe with an egg cracked on top, gently cooked only by the heat of the ratatouille.
This is not the most flattering photo possible, mostly due to the inelegantly shaved cheese that was allowed to sweat from the heat a bit before I snapped the pic. But ratatouille is a humble dish, not meant to impress the eyes, but only the mouth. And at that, at least, this succeeded.
What follows is more of a technique than an actual recipe. As with most non-baking kitchen endeavors, I encourage you to play with proportion of flavor and texture to suit your taste. I love a lot of garlic, but you may not. You might have a glut of zucchini in your garden, but no crooknecks. Or maybe you have some mushrooms or other non-conformiste vegetable you need to use. Go with that!
white or yellow onions
and/or summer squash
dried or powdered thyme
tomato paste or powder
balsamic vinegar [or wine]
Put thick eggplant slices on a piping hot grill (or cast iron griddle if you are stuck indoors). Brush with a little olive oil, flip slices, brush with more olive oil. Cook until browned and charred in spots, drain on paper towels.
Heat a good amount of olive oil, add some sliced onions (at least one medium), saute until softened a bit. Add a few sliced squash (I did a half-moon shape) and a couple cloves of minced garlic. Sautee for a few minutes until the squash is beginning to soften and the mixture is aromatic. Do not let brown. Add a few tomatoes, roughly chopped, along with some basil, oregano, thyme, salt, and black pepper, to taste. Your eggplant should be cool enough to handle by now, so chop that roughly and add it to the pot and give it a good stir. Add some water, a bit of tomato paste or tomato powder, and a splash of (white or traditional) balsamic vinegar [You can instead add some white or red wine here, but I elected not to as I am preggers]. It couldn’t hurt to add a little more olive oil at this point, too. Stir, and then cover.
Let simmer for 15 minutes or so until the squash is soft and the flavors have mingled. Taste and adjust seasonings as usual. If it is too thick, add a touch of water (you need it to be pretty liquidy to poach the eggs). Now, crack an egg into a little bowl or ramekin and transfer gently to the simmering mixture. Repeat until you have one egg per mouth to feed. Try not to let the eggs touch each other. Use a ladle to spoon some of the hot liquid from the ratatouille over each egg. Cover again and let cook until desired doneness. An almost raw yolk would be the most appropriate, but as I am pregnant, and the Hubs doesn’t like raw yolks, I must confess I cooked the hell out of these eggs. But, do as you wish!
Spoon the ratatouille into bowls, placing an egg in the center of each bowl. Top with shaved parmesean, and voila! Dinner is served.
Intriguing post title, no? Whatever could it mean?
The answer is much less obtuse than you might think: These are the names of two cookbooks; one that I gave to the Predicate for Christmas and one that she gave to me. I have blogged previously about Eat Me, which was a thoroughly enjoyable read.Â Now I am writing specifically about the recipe from the book I made, and also about the dishes that the Predicate made from Turquoise: A Chef’s Travels in Turkey by Lucy and Greg Malouf. Turquoise is a really gorgeous book, filled with not just recipes but also with spectacular photographs and personal essays. If you are at all interested in Turkish culture and cuisine, I would recommend this book.
Since she gave me a cookbook, and I gave her one, we of course had no choice but to have dinner party featuring dishes cooked from each. The fact that Eat Me is heavy on egg and other breakfasty recipes made it a bit of a challenge for us to coordinate what would go together, but we persevered.Â She decided to make some zucchini and feta fritters and cacik (the same thing as tzatziki–but don’t tell the Turks that!), which I thought might go well with soup, especially on this chilly evening, so I went with the African green curry soup (recall be damned! I love those legumes!).
The soup recipe, unusually, calls for Thai green curry, which Shopsin explains seems to have the same flavors as African spice mixes. Lemongrass? Thai basil? These ingredients don’t leap to mind when one thinks of cuisine from any part of the African continent. I admit that I was skeptical, but also intrigued.Â I followed Shopsin’s recipe faithfully, with the exception of adding some more colorful vegetables than the all-green mix called for by the recipe. (My mother also mandated that her meals be “colorful,” and I guess that rubbed off on me!)
When the soup was nearly finished, I gave it a taste, and wasn’t happy with it–it just didn’t have a lot of flavor, and the flavors it did have didn’t work well together. I added more peanut butter. Still no good. More curry? That definitely didn’t help. Still more peanut butter. No dice. Hey, maybe some siracha would give it a kick? No. There was just no way this was going to be a good soup, I realized. It could have been a matter of the type of curry used. I bought the only type available at Whole Foods, which was Thai Kitchen brand, and as the cookbook happens to illustrate the tub of curry that Shopsin uses in his soup, i know that it is a different brand. In the end, I don’t think the Predicate minded the soup as much as I did (or she was just being polite!), but it definitely wasn’t a make-again winner in either of our books. I am tempted to go to the restaurant to see if I like his version of it, but that will have to wait until my bad memory of this concoction is long gone.
The Predicate’s fritters and cacik, on the other hand, were fantastic. She showed up armed with the fritter batter already made, and of course the cacik was prepared in advance too (anybody who has made tzatziki knows that it is better after sitting a while). I fired up the frying pan for her, and looked a little warily at the batter–it looked awfully thin. But the fritters really held together well while being pan-fried, and boy were they delicious! The perfect balance of veggies and fats, and a subtle melange of spices. They went perfectly with the cacik she had made using Greek yogurt (tzatziki tip: if you can’t find Greek yogurt in your area, then you can strain regular yogurt–but do look for the Greek type!), garlic, cucumbers, and lots of fresh dill. She left out the mint that the recipe called for, but it was still so delicious. Winners, both! I can’t wait to try other dishes from the book.
It is hard to compare the two cook books. One is about Turkish food and the other about American sort-of-but-not-really diner food, but they are both part personal essay, part recipe book.Â In short, if you want to read a thoroughly entertaining, food-centric biography featuring kooky New York personalities, make a grab for Eat Me, but if you are interested in some totally dreamy recipes, accompanied by beautiful photography, then Turquoise might be the book for you.
Posted by: Erin in Recipes
After all the indulgence over the holidays, you can imagine that I wanted some healthy food after returning to post-holiday normalcy. But, as it is winter, we still wanted a satisfying meal. Am I alone in feeling mid-winter salads just don’t satisfy for dinner?
So, with some Brussels sprouts we had in the fridge, and a bunch of staples from my cupboard, I created a meal of whole wheat pasta with a chickpea and tomato sauce and Brussels sprouts on the side. I slightly browned the chickpeas, which enhances the nuttiness of this legume, and helps lend a richer flavor to the sauce without adding extra fat. To go with the pasta I made these breadcrumb-coated Broasted (c) Brussels sprouts. I say “broasted” because they are half-braised and half-roasted. It was an idea I came up with that had surprisingly tasty results! Ok, there is some butter in the recipe too—maybe I wasn’t quite ready turn to an ascetic lifestyle!
Chick Pea and Tomato Pasta
c. 8 oz. of pasta, preferably whole wheat
splash of olive oil
I medium onion, chopped
1 can of chick peas, drained
2 cloves of garlic, minced (or more, to taste)
2 T tomato paste (or paste made from tomato powder)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste
Get water boiling for the pasta. And in the mean time:
Heat up a splash of olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat, add onions, sautÃ© until soft. Dump in the chick peas and garlic and keep sauteing until the pan is pretty dry and the chick peas are browning in spots, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and spices and stir around until the chick peas and onions are well coated. Add the canned tomatoes and stir. Let cook, uncovered, on low for 20-30 minutes (about ten minutes out, get your pasta started cooking). The sauce should be pretty thick. If still thin, crank up the heat a bit and cook a little longer. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add pasta and give it a stir. You can add a little olive oil at this point if you want to richen it up a bit.
Garnish with a dusting of parmesean.
Broasted Brussels Sprouts
1 pint of Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, very finely sliced, or shaved
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 T white wine vinegar (or dry white wine)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup bread crumbs (whole wheat or white)
2 T Parmesan cheese
1 T butter, cubed into bits
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat olive oil in an oven safe sautÃ© pan over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down. Let sit for a few minutes, add the garlic, salt, and pepper, then give it a stir (don’t worry if some of the sprouts halves flip over–they’ll get their turn). Stir intermittently a few minutes more until most of the sprouts are browned on the cut side. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar (or wine) and water, and give the Brussels sprouts a stir, scraping any browned bits of the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium for about 10 minutes until most, but not all (there should be a couple tablespoons left), of the liquid is burned off. Turn off heat.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs and cheese over the top andÂ dot with butter. Cook, uncovered, in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until breadcrumbs and cheese are lightly browned.
I know what you are thinking–pancakes? How banal!
These may look like your run-of-the-mill pancakes, but I assure you they are not! The Hubs offered to make pancakes for breakfast last weekend, and who am I to refuse? Scanning the cupboards for the necessary ingredients, he quickly noted that we were out of the regular vegetable oil with which we usually make pancakes. Thinking I might have to change out of my cozy PJs and face the harsh weather outside in order to retrieve more, I panicked: “Use that mandarin olive oil! It’ll be (gulp) great!” I feigned authority in saying this. In reality, I knew it was a risk. Olive oil might be weird in pancakes, but the alternative was the by far less attractive option at that moment. He looked at me skeptically for a moment before shrugging his shoulders and saying plainly, “okay.” And he fired up the griddle.
Besides the mandarin olive oil (which I have used before), he added some pecans, a dash of cinnamon, and a tiny splash of pure vanilla extract. The result? Sweet and subtly exotic pancakes! And not olive-y at all. I don’t need to tell you how to make pancakes, but next time you are whipping up your favorite morning ‘cake recipe, think about adding some orange- or lemon-flavored olive oil to the batter in place of plain ol’ vegetable oil. It doesn’t sock you in the face with fruit flavor, but offers a hint of bright citrus flavor that will surely perk up your Sunday morning.
Posted by: Erin in Recipes
I know, I know: what the heck is going on with this eggplant, right? This is a technique that I learned from making imam byaldi, an amazing eggplant dish, my special recipe for which I will share with you some day. Anyhoo, as with imam biyaldi, stuffing slits cut into this eggplant (which is about to be roasted) with thin slices of garlic helps infuse the relatively bland vegetable with a rich caramelized-garlic flavor. In this case, the garlic-stuffed eggplant was only part of my meal.
As you can imagine, after a week in Mexico of eating mostly unhealthy food, heavy with beans, cheese, bread products, and, above all, guacamole, I was ready to have something a little more wholesome after returning home. In short, I was craving vegetables, as unadulterated as possible. But it was so chilly out, I didn’t think a simple salad would be satisfying.
Not knowing what we were going to make, the Hubs and I went to the market, where I was immediately drawn to some terrific-looking beets with gorgeous greens still attached. Then I spied some adorable baby eggplants, the size of limes (limes!)—how can one resist a tiny eggplant? I saw some fennel, and though I thought the combination of beets, eggplant, and fennel might be getting a little too freaky even for our adventurous taste buds, I decided we were up to it. I rounded it all out with some more flavor-neutral shallots, small yukon gold potatoes, and some garlic. Now, what to do with this peculiar melange of veggies? All these vegetables roast really well, but would they roast well together? I was determined to find out…
I have roasted vegetables here before, so I am not going to include a formal recipe, but basically: after inserting garlic in the trimmed eggplant haves as illustrated above, I scrubbed and cut the potatoes in half lengthwise; peeled and cut the shallots in half as well; trimmed and sectioned the fennel into pieces roughly the size of the potato halves; then tossed all these things with a few teaspoons of olive oil and about a teaspoon seasoning blend from my favorite spice store (Savory, in Denver).
Then I trimmed the beets, reserving the greens, and peeled the roots, which I quartered and tossed with some whole peeled garlic cloves, a few teaspoons of olive oil, and some salt and pepper. (I roasted the beets separately because they tend to stain other veggies they are roasting with purple.) I roasted all the vegetables in their separate pans at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.
About 10 minutes before the root veggies were done, I washed the beet greens (don’t dry them–the water helps them cook) and sliced them into 1-inch strips. I also cut one reserved shallot into thin slices. I sautÃ©ed the shallot slices in just a touch of olive oil for just a few minutes, until soft, then added the beet greens and a splash of white balsamic vinegar. I cooked a few minutes more and seasoned with salt and pepper. The greens should be a bit beyond wilted, but not yet dark green (like, not collard-tone) in color. Look at the lovely shade of pink the greens’ red stems dye the shallots!
This was a good light meal.Â Altogether, it was surprisingly harmonious—the savory eggplant, potatoes, garlic, and shallots, balancing the flavor of sweet fennel and beets. The Hubs thought the beet greens were too sweet (I suppose from the vinegar, I didn’t add sugar), but I really enjoyed them and would definitely make them again. In deference to the dear man, I might next time substitute something less sweet than balsamic, like a plain red-wine vinegar.
These are healthy but satisfying sides to pair with a protein of your choice, or, perhaps, an all-vegetable meal-in-itself for some winter’s evening you feel a particular need to make amends for, say, a weeks worth of indulging in guacamole for three meals a day. Not that you wold do that.
Posted by: Erin in Recipes
We threw out the rest of theÂ last apple pie I reported on, due to a weird and unpleasant mushroomy/bacony (depending on who you ask) flavor we suspected might have been caused by an off apple. I now fully comprehend the adage about that one bad apple… Anyway, I was determined to make another one, this one with better apples, and a homemade crust, which I didn’t have time for last time.
All the pie crust recipes from Joy of Cooking, my go-to source for basic recipes, used a combination of butter and vegetable shortening, the latter of which I resist in both practice and concept. But one can’t just substitute all butter in such a recipe because it has a different weight, and more water content, than shortening, and an off-balance water-fat proportion can totally derail a good pie dough. So I turned to my recipe box, which happened to contain a long-forgotten recipe for an all-butter pie dough from my sister-in-law’s grandmother, Maxine. Here’s the rather concise recipe:
Maxine’s Pie Dough
2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter
3 T ice water
Sift flour and salt. Add butter and mix. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until dough forms. Roll out as desired.
The recipe actually calls for softened butter, but I used cold butter as that is the norm for pie dough, no offense to Maxine. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. Well, eventually….
I elaborate here as there isn’t much to the instructions portion of the recipe—Maxine came from a generation in which pie-dough-making was such a basic part of female existence, that it must have been a scandal not to know how to make it.
I don’ t have a pastry blender, so I used two table knives to cut the dough (see action shot, left). It takes a lot longer, but gets the job done eventually. I needed more ice water than 3 T to get the dough to hold together. I also don’t have a rolling pin, so I used a wine bottle which I had soaked to get the label off and cleaned and dried thoroughly. (A wine bottle works like a charm, and actually, if you ask me, better than a wooden rolling pin.) I had to use a ton of flour to get the dough to roll out, and even still, it didn’t hold together, and half of the recipe hardly covered the bottom of the pie pan. Plus, there were all sorts of holes in it, it looked like a nightmare in swiss cheese. I started rolling out the second half, and it was just an equal if not worse disaster. I realized I had to start over again.
That is the point at which I realized that I had mistaken the half-cup measure for the one-cup measure. I had put only one cup of flour into a recipe that calls for two! Ay ay ay. The second time around, the pie dough was a rousing success! I haven’t made pie dough in a long time, so it was a little rougher looking than the Pillsbury ready-made-pie-dough-pie I made, but a 100 times more delicious!
I used 6 apples (2 golden delicious, 2 pippin, 2 jona gold), which were piled really high in the pie pan when raw, but really baked down a lot (you can cook the apples first if you want to bypass that phenomenon, but I find that makes the apples too soft once the pie is baked). I tossed the raw apples with 3 T flour, juice of half a small lemon, 3/4 c sugar, and spices (1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 each of powdered ginger, nutmeg, and cloves). It was just the perfect amount of spice–it added some zip without overpowering the flavor of the apples. Just before putting the pie dough top on, I arraned a few little pieces of butter on the top of the pile of spiced apples.
I baked the pie at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, then put it on a cookie sheet and turned the temp down to 350, for about 30 more minutes, per the JOC instructions. I wish that aromanet existed, because I would love for you to have smelled this pie as it was baking. I guess you will just have to try it yourself at home! Happy baking!
As I mentioned the other day, the all-American menu for Election night consisted of: baked beans, corn casserole, a salad, and apple pie. As you can tell from the pictures, this isn’t the most attractive meal you have ever seen, but it was darned tasty.
Since I had to accomplish the both baked beans, salad, and pie after work (plus, the Predicate was bringing the corn casserole, which would need to get heated up in the oven), I jumped into action immediately after coming home from work.
I started with the pie as I wanted to give that as much time as possible to set after baking, as per the instruction which stated it needed to sit at room temperature for 3-4 hours before eating. Luckily, because of the apple peeling-coring-slicing machine I have, I was able to prepare a pie’s worth of apples in less than 10 minutes (aftermath, left), which was awesome. I pretty much followed the apple pie recipe from The Joy of Cooking, except added more cinnamon and less sugar than that recipe calls for. Also, I, gulp, used Pillsbury ready-made pie dough. I just didn’t have the time to make and roll out my own. To mix things up a bit, I shredded some sharp cheddar cheese and pressed it into the bottom crust of my pie. (If you have never had sharp cheddar cheese on a slice of apple pie, you haven’t lived! Truly!). After getting that into the oven, I started on my baked beans.
I once made baked beans, years ago, for my friend Eddie, and literally every single time I have seen him since then he has mentioned them–such was their deliciousness. Unforunately, I have no idea what I did with the recipe, so I had to find a new one for my Election Night Party. After looking at Epicurious, I decided upon the Hot and Smoky Baked Beans recipe. My friend KK once told me that the key to successfully use Epicurious recipes is to read the reviews, which often offer tips for revision. I find that to be consistently true, so when I noticed that many reviews for this recipe said the beans weren’t saucy enough, I decided to increase the sauce-to-beans ratio. The recipe really couldn’t be easier, and it was totally delicious. The only thing I would do differently next time (and there will be a next time!), is I would not use the Great Northern beans the recipe calls for. I thought they were too big and tough-skinned for the recipe. I think next time I would use smaller Navy beans, which are more traditional for baked beans, anyway.
We ended up not having a liberal-loving arugula salad, but just a simple mixed greens salad as that was what was available at the store. The Predicate’s corn casserole was amazing. This is an extremely unhealthy dish, and not something you want to eat all the time, but it is so good. It is sort of like a hot dog in that you can only truly enjoy it if you are ignorant to what goes into it. But if you really must know, here is a recipe for it. Sounds gross, but it is magic. The apple pie look beautiful (see below), but ended up having a bit of a funny taste to it, caused, I think, by one of the apples (I used several types) that tasted a little funny–no fault of the recipe, which worked really well.Over all, the patriotic meal was tasty, especially paired with the dry Lambrusco (ok, not American at all!) that we popped to celebrate our candidate’s victory.
Posted by: Erin in Recipes
Celery root is an awful-looking thing (here one is on the left). It is a large, lumpy, dirty, hairy (yes, hairy), thick-skinned root vegetable that looks like it might just be better off staying in the ground.
As its name suggests, celery root (aka celeriac) is from the celery group (Apium graveolens), but isn’t simply the root of the stuff of which ant-on-a-log are made. It is a type of celery that is cultivated especially for its big root, and not for its long stalks and leafy greens. As far as root veggies go, it is not very dense and starchy, and it has a nice green, mild, celery-y flavor. Despite its disagreeable appearance, it is actually a quite rewarding vegetable: it makes a wonderful creamy soup; it is great roasted, and I have always wanted to try it scalloped in place of potatoes.
Last night I braised them along with some baby carrots I bought at the farmers market. (I used small carrots, each about the size of a finger, but not the slimy nubbins omnipresent to kids’ lunch boxes. My carrots were craggy little numbers, with tops and dirt still on board!). In the interest of full disclosure, the recipe differs slightly than what I actually cooked last night. I had never cooked these two roots together before; it turns out carrots take a lot longer to cook, so my celeriac ended up a little over done, but otherwise tasty. I have changed the cooking times to account for this. Another note: if you can, use fresh thyme. I have made braised carrots and fresh thyme before, and it is awesome.
These braised vegetables were delicious. They have the perfect balance of sweet and sour, and reducing the braising liquid forms a delicious, sticky glaze. This is a tasty–and easy!–side dish for fall. I hope you enjoy it!
Braised Baby Carrots and Celery Root
1.5 T butter
1 pound baby carrots, peeled and ends trimmed
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced paper thin
8 sprigs of fresh thyme, cleaned and woody/dirty ends trimmed [OR: 2 tsp dried thyme leaves; OR 1/2 tsp powdered thyme and 1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary]
1 pound celery root, peeled and cut into pinky-sized pieces (place pieces in acidulated water as you are working to prevent them from oxidizing)
2 T white wine (or white balsamic) vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter in a small stock pot/large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add carrots, garlic, and herbs and sautee for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse celery root, then add to the pot and sautee for a minute more. Add water to more or less cover (you don’t have to totally submerge every bit). Add vinegar, sugar, salt, and a couple grinds of pepper. Stir every so often until it boils. Cover and turn heat down to medium-low. Cook, stirring every so often, for about 25 minutes, until carrots are crisp-tender. Take the lid off, turn the heat up to high, and boil the water down until it has formed a sticky glaze. Taste again a few minutes before it is done and adjust seasonings as necessary.
In these first crisp days of Fall, there is nothing more satisfying for dinner than pasta made using the last of this season’s tomatoes, roasted in the oven to eke out every last bit of sweetness.
I had planned on using plum tomatoes for this recipe, but when I got to the store, all they had were hothouse tomatoes from Holland and some grape tomatoes from the USA. I went for the grape tomatoes; I often find hothouse tomatoes to be tasteless, plus these were shipped so much farther. The grape tomatoes ended up working surprisingly well here.
In addition to being easy and scrumptious, this recipe is pretty recession-proof: the tomatoes aren’t too expensive, and everything else is probably already in your pantry. If you want to splurge on fresh herbs, or if you grow your own, go for it. But especially in roasting, I find dried herbs work perfectly well.
Roasted Grape Tomato Pasta
4-6 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
2 T olive oil
2 pints grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
2 tsp dried rosemary, rubbed between your palms
1 tsp ground dried red pepper
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp salt
more olive oil to finish
10 oz penne pasta
parmesan cheese, shredded, to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Put garlic and oil in a 9×13 glass baking dish (using something along the lines of a pyrex dish, not a cookie sheet). Stir it around gently with a wooden spoon to ensure all the garlic slices are separated. Put this in the oven while you wash and slice the grape tomatoes. (I find the garlic needs a few more minutes cooking than the tomatoes do.) Take dish out of the oven and put tomatoes in, being sure to scrape any juices from the cutting board into the dish to (be careful, there might be splatter!). Add seasonings and stir it all up. Roast for 20 minutes. Toward the end of the roasting process check to see how dry the tomatoes are. If they haven’t given up much juice, add another splash of olive oil.
In the meantime, cook the pasta in salted water until barely al dente. Add the pasta and a ladleful of pasta water directly to the Pyrex dish. Stir to incorporate, and while you are at it, scrape up some of the caramelized bits sticking to the bottom of the baking dish.
Top with some shredded parmesan cheese and serve!
Serves 3 or 4.