24 October 2014

Quick vegetarian pasta dishes and links

A fast pasta dish is such a glorious way to end the day with friends and family. I open some wine (we call it "work wine" in my house), chop some veggies, start a pot of boiling water, and halfway pay attention to what I'm doing while catching up on all the poop that went down throughout the week. Plus, it's comforting food and, without the meat, not too heavy before bed. Here are my absolute favorites when I'm too tired to cook, but too cheap to order pizza:

Pasta with broccoli, lemon, and capers

Serves 4

1 cup broccoli florets
1 small lemon
½ pound dry spaghetti, linguine, etc.
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoon capers (or roughly chopped olives)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
bread crumbs and grated Parmesan for serving

Bring a pot of salty water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, with the addition of the raw broccoli (if using frozen, add the last two minutes or cooking).

Meanwhile, in a serving bowl, combine the juice and zest of the lemon, capers, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil in and stir to combine.

Drain cooked pasta and toss with the dressing in the serving bowl. Put some bread crumbs and cheese on the table for sprinkling

I list some no-cook pasta sauces in this blog post, too; all you have to do is cook pasta and chop a little bit.

It doesn't get easier (or more gluttonous) than Bittman's version of Pasta alla Norma, published in NYT.

Whaat?!?! Lentils and mushrooms in pasta sauce?!  And if you keep some cooked lentils ready in the freezer, you can whip this up in no time.

21 October 2014

Salty-Sweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

You have to be a monster to not love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate (or allergic. But if you're allergic to peanuts, maybe the universe is trying to tell you something, like that you are going to have a miserable life). Even better? Salty-sweet peanut buttery chocolaty goodness. This dessert can be thrown together in a few minutes, but they have to cool before you cut them, so plan ahead. 

Salty-Sweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Yields between 1 & 12 servings

¾ cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
⅓ cup oil (coconut is great, but canola will also work)
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup milk (any kind)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup unbleached white flour
½ teaspoon salt (halve this if you want the sweet without the salty)
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a baking dish.

Mix the oil, sugar and peanut butter in a large bowl until smooth. Add the milk and vanilla essence and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix. It will be a very thick batter, almost like cookie dough. Fold in the chocolate chips and tip the mixture into the baking dish.

Press down evenly with the back of a spoon to spread it into every corner of the dish. Bake for 22 minutes till the edges are brown. The center will remain a bit soft. 8. Allow to cool completely, preferably overnight, before cutting into squares.

17 October 2014

Friday favorites and a cocktail

I may be a sucker for pumpkin spice in the fall, but I am an absolute whore for apple cider (not literally). I also like drinks that are easy to make because, well, I am old and cranky. Here's what I've been drinking lately:

Bourbon Cider

Serves 1

2 parts Apple Cider
2 parts Ginger Ale
1 part Bourbon

Combine the cider and bourbon in a glass. Top with the ginger ale, give it a little stir and plop in some ice ice. Garnish with an apple slice.

I like lots of other things, too, actually. There are so many clever bloggers out there with brilliant ideas.  Here are a few I thought worth sharing this week: 

This recipe for chicken tinga tacos is so simple and delish.  I used actual chicken, but I think you could definitely substitute seitan and never the dead bird. 

Who couldn't stand another creative grilled cheese recipe in their life?  Especially when it has a fried egg on top!

It am probably too cheap to pay for this after my 30-day trial runs out, but for the time being, I am digging the tutorial vids on Salted tv. And I love that you can browse recipes by mood.

Frosted Red Velvet cookies.  That is all.   

14 October 2014

Eating in unlikely places

In the spirit of open-mindedness, we all try some things we probably shouldn't: street food in a town with no street food tradition, a city-wide festival in the summer heat with weak refrigeration units, or maybe a sushi restaurant in small-town Wyoming.  But you know what? I still think it's worth it.  So here's to all the adventures we embark upon in the name of food exploration and faith (albeit misplaced at times) in local foodies everywhere.

Crappy Crepes in Fort Collins

Cultivating a dislike for celebrity chefs

Eating Italian in a Cow Town (hint: don't)

Everyone's Favorite Hot Dog and Doughnut Themed Restaurant

Getting a little too fancy with eggplant

But there is such a thing as a Guide to Edible Airport Food

The Illusive Search for Pie

Looking for a Sidewalk in the O.C.

The Misery of Shirataki Noodles

Ode to the Horseshoe Sandwich

Sometimes Beer Just Isn't Enough

And from elsewhere on the web...

Why that last food festival you attending wasn't so satisfying

And believe it or not, The broadening experience of eating at Epcot