Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Pasta with Egg

Feriday night I saw asparagus topped with a fried egg on a restaurant menu and did not order it. By Saturday, I was still thinking of asparagus and fried eggs. I tossed thinly chopped asparagus and fennel and fresh tarragon with spaghetti and topped with egg and so-good-it-was-a-splurge parmesan. Fresh and rich at the same time:

2 small servings spaghetti
1 bunch asparagus
1/2 a fennel bulb
1/2 an onion
1/2 a bunch kale

2 eggs
Snipped fresh tarragon and fennel fronds
1 lemon
Grated parmesan or other hard white cheese - bring out the big guns for this one
Olive oil, butter, good salt & pepper

Start by preparing a frying pan for the eggs and a deeper one for the veggies, and getting water boiling for pasta.

Slice onion and fennel very thin and sautee in olive oil and some sugar. You don't want any burnt or fried flavor here, so use as little oil as you can and keep the heat down. Also resist the urge to make too much onion.

If your asparagus is thick, halve or even quarter each stem lengthwise before chopping into thirds. Add to the onion and fennel once they're soft. Once the asparagus is cooked through, add a confetti of kale pieces and let them wilt, then get this part off the heat.

(Sometime during this process when your water boils, get your spaghetti going).

Once the veggies don't need further attention, melt a swirl of butter in your small pan over medium heat. Add tarragon and fennel fronds to flavor the butter, then carefully break the 2 eggs in. Don't disturb - just let them cook from the bottom up till whites are cooked through and yolks still liquid.

Toss the veggies (leaving any oil behind in the pan) into the spaghetti and divide into bowls. Top each with parmesan, salt, pepper, more of the snipped herbs, and of course an egg. Then douse with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice (1/2 a lemon each). (The toppings are key, so don't skimp.)

Break the yolks and mix into the pasta while still hot, and enjoy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Veggie-Packed Lasagna

Is it strange to reach age 28 without ever making a lasagna? Well, strangeness remedied. I like how this came out - not too cheesy or bland. This is for a double batch (2 glass baking dishes full) to allow for leftoversgloriousleftovers.


2 boxes lasagna noodles
3 jars tomato sauce (2 plain, 1 vodka)

2 zucchinis
4 carrots
4 leeks
Lots of crimini mushrooms
1/2 a squash

1 lb ricotta
6 or 8 cloves garlic
Crumbled sea vegetable (kombu)
Cayenne, Nutmeg, Paprika, Italian herbs

So, basically, the leeks/mushrooms/squash got sliced thin/chopped small/roasted respectively; cooked till soft in a little oil in bottom of saucepan with finely chopped garlic; and mixed with the sauce, ricotta, kombu, and spices. I beseech you: Do not underspice! Shake with reckless abandonment!

The noodles (after precooking per package instructions) and the zucchini and carrots (after slicing into thin noodle-like strips with mandoline and blanching briefly in boiling water) were all used for layering, with sauce in between.

Baked at 350 for 45 minutes, covered in foil for the first 30. Mmm!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Salty Apple Salad

This is inspired by the CSA-gobbling gals at Thyme to Kale, whose blogname puts ours to shame. They've been making variations of thinly sliced apples & cheddar tossed in walnut oil and lemon juice with greens, and that is a bandwagon I am happy to jump on.

I used:
2 apples, sliced w/mandolin
2 avos, thinly sliced
1 bunch chard, torn into small pieces / stems thinly sliced
2 large handfuls crushed pistachios
Thinly sliced cheddar cheese

Dressed with:
Lemon juice (lots!)
Walnut oil
Salt (don't be shy, esp if your nuts are unsalted!)

After tossing this all together, I took my ulu to the salad bowl to turn the large slices of avo, apple and cheese into more bite-size pieces. It has at least one thing in common with its progenitor: I can't stop eating it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Biscuits On A Stick

Last weekend, a group of friends and I jumped on the opportunity to escape the rising heat in the valley and head up north to the fresh mountain air and the red rocks of Sedona. The plans for our camping trip came together a little haphazardly and last minute, so I didn't have time to plan out the elaborate camping menu I normally would. Some people may think camping is a time where one eats only hot dogs and s'mores, but there are so many opportunities that come with a campfire that are just plain fun. One of my friends on the trip taught us this easy trick to make basic camping food a tad more exciting.

Biscuits that come in dough form in a can
Sticks about the circumference of an wooden broom stick, or wooden broom sticks

Take three dough biscuits out of the can. Place one over the end of the stick, stretch down on all sides and push to make it stick. Take another, and wrap it around the stick just below the first, push to make them stick together. Take the third, do the same as with the second. Cook by rotating stick above hot coals, with the same technique as making golden brown marshmallows. Biscuit is ready when it can be pulled off stick without sticking to it. Pull biscuit bun off stick, fill with hot dogs, pb & j, or get creative with your own filling. I think this would also be delicious in the morning with sausage and gravy (made ahead of time and reheated).