I love Italian food but can't always put in the effort... yes, we always make our own sauce. Chopping veggies, simmering on the stove for hours and puree it up! And sometimes, yes, we even make the pasta. Lately we've been looking to alternative grains and gluten free options, which we have not had much success with making from scratch.
On a trip to Whole Foods we skeptically decided to try some ready made options. Taste Republic pasta in the refrigerated section caught our eye. Being from Wisconsin we tried the cheese tortellini. It's gluten free, made with a blend of brown rice flour and tapioca. Most of those gluten free pastas we've tried we've struggled to make successfully. This tortillini we followed the instructions and it cooked up perfectly. It had a great texture and taste, not gummy or soggy like many other GF pastas. This was very close in taste to a handmade conventional pasta. Next time, we will try the other varieties - they have fettuccini, linguini, vegetable based doughs, and even chickpea/lentil doughs! In looking to learn more about this company that makes this good stuff I was excited to see it's made by RP Pasta who we used to buy from at the Farmer's Market in Madison, Wisconsin. It's great to see a small company grow nationwide. Now that I'm in North Carolina I can enjoy a treat from back home. Website currently has $1 coupon towards the pasta - check it out here!
For sauce we went with Cucina Antica, tomato basil. When we make our own sauce we always use San Marzano tomatoes. We were drawn to this as they do as well. All of the ingredients I recognize, no strange fillers - all legit vegetables and spices in there, just like we'd make at home. The taste was of fresh tomato flavor. I like seeing the garlic and basil pulsed together with tomatoes. I just put it in a saucepan and heated it up. In a few minutes I had something like I'd be simmering away all day to make. So easy and delicious! I looked into getting more on the regular and am happy to see it's on amazon!!
To complete the meal, I roasted some ready cut butternut squash and grabbed some kale and spinach from the garden to toss in a raw handful. We added some protein and topped with basil from the garden. Such an easy fancy dinner that we look forward to repeating again!
This is a blast from the past that I read in a Self Magazine diet plan. I do like a green drink, and this one is an easy option. The addition of orange juice is nice; I use fresh or just throw in fresh orange slices. When I'm out of protein powder I like recipes like this that help fill me up with simple add ins, like flax seeds.
Great Greens Smoothie
Self Magazine, April 2011
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 cup spinach
2 1/2 tablespoons flax seed
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend until smooth.
Note: To make bigger, use 2 cups soy milk and 1 full banana.
"Wise Cocktails" by Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield
Makes 1 Cocktail
1 teaspoon white tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon rose petals
1/2 teaspoon dried strawberries
1 pinch dried lemon peel
4 1/2 ounces brewed tea base
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 slice lemon
1. In a cup, place 6 ounces of room temperature water. You will only use 4 1/2 oz for the tea base in this recipe, so don't worry if there is extra left over. Feel free to sip, save or discard!
2. In a tea linen or tea ball, combine all of the ingredients for the tea base. Brew in the room temperature water for 10 minutes, agitating from time to time. Remove the sachet/ball.
3. In a shaker, combine 4 1/2 oz of the tea base, the vodka, and agave nectar. Dry-shake until the agave dissolves. Pour into a glass over ice. Gently swirl to chill. Garnish with the lemon slice.
Notes: White tea is complimented by clarifying and energizing lemon peel. Strawberries and rose petals add a boost of vitamin C.
*For a strawberry punch: Add 2 fresh strawberries to the shaker and muddle. Then add the tea base, vodka, and agave, and dry-shake. Serve over ice.
Banana Chocolate Shake
2 cups water
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon cacao
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 sprinkle cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts
3 bananas, frozen
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup panko
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, each cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup no salt added ketchup
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
1. Preheat air fryer to 400 F.
2. Stir together flour and pepper in a shallow dish. Put panko in a third shallow dish. Put panko in a thrid shallow dish. Dredge avocado wedges in the flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture, allowing any excess to drip off. Dredge in panko, pressing to adhere. Coat well with cooking spray.
3. Transfer avocados to fryer basket. Cook, turning over halfway through, until golden, 7-8 minutes. Remove from air fryer and sprinkle with salt.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together ketchup, mayonnaise, vinegar and sriracha in a small bowl. Serve with avocado fries.
This recipe takes me back!.. a great dish to put in the oven on a cold winter day. It's from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a time when a mushroom flatbread was an exciting restaurant option. The call for exotic mushrooms cracks me up. This was the first time I sautéed them with sweet vermouth, which was amazing! Am I that old that I will call this a classic?!
Wild Mushroom Flatbread Pizza
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - July 25, 2010
1/4 cup butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups exotic mushrooms (oyster, shitake, etc), chopped
pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup sweet vermouth
4 10" Italian Herb Flatbread (see note)
extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces gouda cheese, coarsely grated
Notes: Marek-Loper uses Tandoori Naan, which is a thicker flatbread than some brands.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Add butter to saute pan over medium-high heat until mostly melted. Add shallots and garlic and saute until opaque, stirring constantly to prevent burning or browning. Add mushrooms, then salt and pepper to taste. Saute until almost soft. Add sweet vermouth and continue to saute until liquid is absorbed.
3. Remove flatbreads from package, place 2 per cookie sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Generously top with Gouda cheese and layer mushroom mixture on top.
4. Bake pizzas in preheated oven about 10-16 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is slightly golden brown around the edges. Be careful not to burn. Cut each into 8-10 pieces and serve immediately.
Outpost Foods Co-op is one of my favorite places. I always stop in on a trip back home to Milwaukee. The deli and bakery area is my favorite. I love to discover what they come up with, and grab a magazine of course to see what beautiful foods they are showcasing and recipes they are sharing. This recipe comes from their old school newsletter.
The Green Tomato sauce recipe mentioned is my favorite way to use up green tomatoes. I make a batch of it every year. Ten years after reading about it I finally tried the soup recipe that uses the sauce. It is a winner! A great change of pace. I didn't have any yogurt to add and it's fine without it. I have for lunch, adding whatever roasted veggies I have leftover in the fridge.
Outpost Foods Curried Green Tomato Soup
September 2010 newsletter
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 large carrots, peeled and medium diced
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 quart green tomato sauce
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon red curry paste
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
whole milk yogurt, for garnish
1. Heat oil in a small, hot stockpot.
2. Saute carrots, onions and celery until slightly soft, about five minutes.
3. Add green tomato sauce and 1 cup vegetable stock and cook until vegetables are completely soft, about 10 minutes.
4. Puree in a blender or food processor.
5. Add additional stock if desired.
6. Add the curry paste and additional seasoning as needed.
7. Serve with yogurt garnish.
Crumb-Topped Apple Bars
Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan
These bite-sized bars come as close to pie as a cookie possibly can. They're a triple-decker affair: The base is a brown-sugar cookie, that once pressed into the pan, might just as well be a crust; the midsection is apples cut into chunks and tossed with a little honey (raisins and nuts are optional); and the topping is crumbs made from the same dough as the crust. It's very beautiful and very delicious.
No matter what apples I use; the cookies are always great. After you've mixed the apples with the honey, taste a piece and add a pinch or more of sugar if you'd like more sweetness, or a drop of lemon juice for bite. You an also add a smidgen of spice if you want - go for the apple-pie spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and/or allspice - but I don't.
FOR THE CRUST AND CRUMBS
225 grams unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
150 grams sugar
100 grams light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
374 grams all purpose flour
FOR THE FILLING
680 grams apples, such as Granny Smith or Braeburn
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
sugar, if needed
freshly squeezed lemon juice, if needed
40 grams plump moist raisins (optional)
30 grams coarsely chopped nuts, such as almonds, pecans or walnuts (optional)
confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13" baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. TO MAKE THE CRUST AND CRUMBS: Put the butter, both sugars, the salt and vanilla in a food processor and whir until the ingredients are blended, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Pour in the flour and pulse until the flour is fully incorporated and you have soft, moist clumps of dough. Turn the dough out and knead it gently to bring it together. Cut off one third of the dough, cover and set aside; you'll use this for the crumbs.
3. Break the other hunk of dough into pieces and press them evenly over the bottom of the pan, making sure to get into the corners. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
4. Bake the crust for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Although you're going to bake the crust again, this is really the only opportunity you've got to get color on it and to make certain that it's baked through, so take advantage of it; well baked is better than underbaked here. Transfer the crust to a cooling rack.
5. TO MAKE THE FILLING AND CRUMBS: Peel and core the apples, cut them into chunks about 1 inch on a side (don't worry about precision) and put them in a bowl. Drizzle the honey over the apples and toss to coat evenly. Taste a piece of apple and decide if you'd like to stir in a pinch or two of sugar or a squirt of lemon juice. Mix in the remaining raisins and/or nuts, if you're using them, and then spread the fruit evenly over the crust, again taking care not to neglect the corners.
6. Pinch off pieces of the reserved dough and scatter them over the fruit. You won't have a heavy coat of crumbs, and there'll be fruit peeking out from under the crumbs.
7. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the crumbs are well browned and the fruit is soft when poked with the point of a knife or slender skewer. If your apples were juicy and they're now bubbling, you're golden. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool until just warm or at room temperature.
8. Put a piece of parchment paper over a rack, unmold the bars onto the rack and peel off the parchment, then turn the bars over onto a cutting board. Cut into 24 squares. These are good warm or at room temperature, and they're not at all bad chilled. If you'd like dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.
STORING: The crust can be made up to 8 hours ahead, cooled and kept covered at room temperature. It can also be wrapped airtight and frozen up to 2 months; no need to defrost before using. In think that the bars are at their peak within hours of baking. The crust gets soft, ditto the crumbs, when left overnight - though this seems to be a condition preferred by some cookie lovers, notably my husband, so I leave it to you to discover what you like. The bars can be refrigerated, well wrapped for up to 2 days or frozen up to 2 months.
I love making all types of preserves, pickles, vinegars, etc... so "The Food in Jars Kitchen: 140 ways to cook, bake, plate and share your homemade pantry" cookbook definitely speaks to me. Never have a come across such a great resource to help me use up some of these jars of stuff!
This quinoa salad uses pesto (I had carrot top pesto on hand), pickles (yep, had some of those!), vinegar (I used beer vinegar I made from a keg we had that went flat). And to be extra instead of water I used whey from mozzarella cheese making.
This salad helped me clean out my fridge and is really interesting. I'd never thought to use pickles in a salad but I'm loving that! I highly recommend this book for any preserver!
Quinoa Salad with Pesto Dressing
The Food in Jars Kitchen: 140 ways to cook, bake, plate and share your homemade pantry by Marisa McClellan
2 cups quinoa, uncooked
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 cups water
4 ounces pesto
1/4 cup cider or red wine vinegar
pepper, freshly ground
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red onion, diced
1 cup sour pickles, diced
15 ounces chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1. Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh sieve or very fine colander and rinse under running water. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add the wet quinoa. Add the 3 cups fresh water, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is finished cooking, spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet so that it will cool quickly and won't become gummy.
2. In a spouted measuring cup, combine the pesto and vinegar. Whisk the vinegar into the pesto to loose in. Still whisking, stream in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Taste and add salt and black pepper as needed.
3. Place the red pepper, onion, pickles, chickpeas, feta and parsley in a large bowl. Add the pesto vinaigrette and stir to combine.
4. Once the quinoa is cool enough so that it won't immediately wilt the parsley, stir it into the salad. Taste and add salt, if necessary.
5. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Everyday Almond Cake
from "Sweet Vegan Treats" by Hannah Kaminsky
Makes 10-12 Servings
For a more decadent rendition, she suggests to double the recipe for both cake and ganache and create a double-decker layer cake by sandwiching extra ganache between the two rounds! Served that way at Nourish Cafe in San Francisco.
1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup nondairy milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
whole almonds, for garnish
Preheat your oven to 350 F and generally grease one 8" cake pan.
Combine the almond meal, both flours, baking power, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
Separately, whisk together the oil, nondairy milk, maple syrup, and vinegar vigorously until the mixture is slightly frothy and bubbly on the surface. Incorporate the two extracts. Slowly add in the dry mixture, whisking just until everything is combined. Don't be alarmed if the batter seems thin, almost like crepe batter rather than your traditional cake. That means you've done it right!
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool. Make sure it's completely cool before decorating.
To make your ganache, heat the chocolate, coconut milk, and maple syrup together in a medium saucepan over very low heat, stirring well until completely smooth. Pour generously over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Use a flat spatula to smooth over any gaps until it's fully covered. Place whole almonds decoratively around the border, if desired. Let the ganache cool and set completely before serving.
is the smallest kitchen ever. We used to watch those decorating shows that said they were doing small kitchens and then could see that 4 of my kitchens would fit in their "small kitchens".
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