This is a variation of a soup from my cookbook Bowl Food, as I sort just opened the refrigerator and morphed my ingredients into a meal. The variables you’ll need to keep track of (as they relate directly to each other) is the amount of broth you use is in relationship to the amount of cauliflower you use. I cook the leek and garlic, then add the chopped up cauliflower. I then add broth so it’s just covering the vegetables. You be the judge.
1 Tablespoon oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 potato, chopped (can add a cooked. chopped, potato later in the soup, if that’s what you have in your larder: that’s what I did)
6 cups chicken stock or canned broth (3 cans)
1/2 cup cream
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 -1/2 cups sweet white frozen corn
Heat the oil in a large pot, large enough to hold all ingredients. Add the leek and garlic, and cook over medium heat until the leek is soft, but not brown (about 6-8 minutes). Increase the heat to high and add cauliflower, potato, chicken stock and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower and potato have softened.
Turn off heat. Using a stick blender (or, alternatively, cool the soup and use a blender or food processor), puree the soup until smooth. Add the cream, lemon, red pepper flakes, chives and frozen corn. Place over heat until all ingredients are warmed, about 2-3 minutes. Sometimes the heat of the soup will suffice.
This dish came about because we had too much zucchini in our garden. Well — instead of too much — a bounteous harvest of zucchini. I found this recipe on the New York Times website, and followed it pretty much to the letter.
2 pounds zucchini
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan, for serving (more to taste)
¼ cup (approximately) light cream
Recipe adapted from Chris Jaeckle, All’onda, New York.
Published March 2014 in the New York Times
Further adaptations from Sam Sifton, and then further adapted in my kitchen.
TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes
Put the water on to boil for the a Lemon Paparadelle noodles from Trader Joe’s or use any high quality flat noodle that is at least 1/2″ wide. In between all other tasks, cook the noodles to al dente and the let them drain. Just before combining with the mushrooms, run hot water over them to freshen and unstick, the let drain again. Or, just get the timing down so the noodles are ready when the mushrooms are.
FOR THE MUSHROOMS
About 20-30 ounces of mushrooms, thinly sliced (It’s better with a combination of mushrooms, such as Golden Oak, Crimini and Shiitakke, but it’s still quite good with just white mushrooms and crimini.) I do not measure, but when combining the mushrooms at the end, most go into the mixture, but some might be held back for another day. You be the judge.
Roughly 6 ounces cold butter, cut into 2 tablespoon pats
3 ounces butter ( for finishing)
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed through a press (or minced)
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon low-salt soy sauce
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
- So as to not crowd the mushrooms as they cook,work in batches to cook them. For each batch, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a sauté pan set over high heat until it has melted. Add 1/2 pressed clove of garlic, then about 2 -3 cups of mushrooms, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes, turning until browned, tossing frequently, until mushrooms are coated with butter and start to wilt slightly. The ratio is more important than the quantity (a small amount of butter and garlic to the mushrooms), so if your pan is smaller, use fewer mushrooms. Remove to a bowl, then repeat until all mushrooms have been cooked. Remove last batch to the bowl.
- Add the beef broth to the pan deglaze the surface, using a wooden spoon to scrape at the browned bits. Allow the stock to reduce by half, then turn the heat to medium-low and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, whisking to combine, followed by the soy sauce, cream and olive oil. Allow mixture to cook until it thickens a little, then remove from heat. Taste for seasoning, adding black pepper, if desired.
- Add the mushrooms to this, tossing to coat as well as incorporate any accumulated juices (can drain those out earlier into soy mixture if desired).
- Put the warm noodles in a warmed bowl, then top with mushrooms and the sauce. Serve immediately.
Even though I call this Summer Pasta Salad, asparagus is typically a spring vegetable. But I always make some version of this just as the heat begins to creep into our days, as it’s easy and delicious. Add some bread, and bowl of fruit for dessert and dinner’s done.
1 lb. package of high quality cheese-filled tortellini
about 8 ounces of golden cherry tomatoes (2-3 handfuls)
about 8 ounces of sweet red pearl-like tomatoes
bunch of asparagus, about 15 spears
pitted black Greek olives, about 10 very large ones, or 20 medium
extra-virgin olive oil
good quality balsamic vinegar
red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
a light shake of cayenne pepper
Toss the tomatoes with some olive oil and some salt and pepper, then spread out on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 425F for 15 minutes. The tomatoes should still have their shape but be a little wobbly-looking. Set aside to cool.
Wash, then prepare asparagus by snapping off the ends. Hold your fingers at the end of the spear, letting it snap off where it wants to, then cut into 1″ pieces. Cook in a gently simmering pot of salted water for 1 minute, then plunge into an ice-water bath to stop the cooking. They should have some chewiness to them, but not crunchiness. I always test first as some batches can take up to two minutes to be at the right texture. To do that, grab one piece and put it in the ice water bath, then taste.
After each batch, place cooled asparagus to drain in a strainer or colander, then set aside.
Cook the pasta in lightly salted water on a gentle boil until done, but not DEAD-done. You don’t want the pasta to fall apart. Tip into a colander in the sink and rinse with cool water. GENTLY.
In a large bowl, place drained pasta, tomatoes, blanched asparagus, Greek olives. Splash more olive oil on the mix, then some balsamic and some red wine vinegar (about 2-4 Tablespoons combined for the vinegars) then grind on some fresh pepper and salt, then a light sprinkle of cayenne.. Toss gently, then taste. Adjust as needed.
Serves a crowd.
This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen (link to the right), but my sister Christine says she’s made it, so I know it’s been around a while. Basically you puree some peas, add the rest of the pesto ingredients and toss cooked linguine with this and some of the pasta water, and you have a quick and delicious summer meal. I mean it was so delicious I’ve had it every day this week and I’m still not tired of it. It’s creamy without being high-fat-high-calorie. I used the frozen peas, but did buy a fresh bag so we didn’t have to use that bag that’s been kicking around the back of the freezer all winter. We served it with fresh tomato bruschetta on crostini--a perfect meal.
1 1/2 cups (from approximately 1 1/2 pounds peas in pods) fresh pea or a 10-ounce package frozen peas (I didn’t defrost mine–just dumped them into the boiling water.)
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup (1 1/8 ounces) finely grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon table salt, plus more for pasta water
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound dried linguine
Garnish (optional): thinly slivered basil leaves
Prepare an ice bath, a large bowl filled with ice water. Bring a small saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook for 2 minutes (this leaves them with a bit of structure). Drain peas then add them to the ice bath (if using) and drain again. If you haven’t used an ice bath, let your peas cool to lukewarm before making the pesto.
Set aside 1/2 cup of your cooked peas. Whirl the remaining cup of peas in the work bowl of a food processor with garlic, pine nuts, 1/3 cup parmesan and salt until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil.
Cook your linguine until al dente. Reserve about two cups pasta cooking water, as the pea pesto will be surprisingly thick, then drain linguine and return it to pot. Over moderate heat, toss pasta with pesto, reserved peas and as much reserved pasta water as needed to smooth and distribute pesto; let cook for one minute so that the pesto adheres. Adjust salt to taste, add freshly ground black pepper if desired. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh herbs, if using, and remaining parmesan.
It was at the end of a long three weeks of baking, prepping, shopping, comparing prices and shopping again for a women’s conference luncheon (for 300!), when we had the occasion to have over some family who had come into town unexpectedly. What to serve? While elaborate dishes can be fun to make if you are in the right mood, I was not in the right mood for such a recipe. So my husband and I opened up our brains and creativity to pull together what we call Pasta Jumble. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it contains just about whatever you have in your refrigerator. But it all starts with a box of small, shaped pasta. My favorite is campanelle–a trumpet-shaped pasta with a fluted edge, but do try and keep in your pantry interesting shaped pastas. They go on sale quite often.
This may vary depending on what vegetables and other items you have in your fridge; I’ll list what has gone into the above dish. This serves 6-8, amply.
1 lb. box shaped pasta (this is “campanelle”)
1 bell pepper, red or yellow
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 white or yellow onion
8 oz. frozen white corn
about 10 Spanish olives (pimimiento-stuffed green olives), sliced (We usually use 1/3 small can of chopped black olives, but had run out. So we substituted.)
1/4 pound good-quality bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4″ strips
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped into small pieces (about 1/2″ dice)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, cut into smaller pieces (about 1/4″ dice, approximately)
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken (we buy it at Costco, take it off the bone and pack it into freezer bags for a quick meal–one chicken yields about 4 bags)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
red wine vinegar
Boil pasta until nearly tender (al dente), drain well, then place into large mixing bowl. While pasta cooks, fry bacon until cooked, but not dark or too crisp; drain on paper towels. And while that cooks, melt butter and olive oil together and add onion and bell pepper; cook until tender, about 5-8 minutes.
Add corn, olives, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, black beans, cooked bacon, sauteed vegetables, fresh tomatoes to the pasta, and toss lightly to mix.
A proper vinaigrette could be made here, but instead I’ll include the cheater method: glob some olive oil over the mixture (about 1/4 cup), two to three shakes of vinegar (roughly 2 Tablespoons), a squirt of mustard, salt and pepper, and stir. Add cayenne to taste (we’re wimpy–about 1/4 teaspoon for this amount). Add more salt and pepper if needed.
Recently my sister came to visit and while I was more than happy to go out for dinner every night (my husband was gone and I like doing that), there came a time when we were both ready to stay in. What to cook? I’d just been reading Dorie Greenspan’s blog, where she gave the recipe for her Beggar’s Linguini, from her new book Around My French Table.
This sounded great to both of us, and I already had most of the ingredients. Basically it’s a sauce made from browned butter, golden raisins, pistachios and chopped almonds, tossed with some Parmesan and some grated orange rind. It has a rich, yet not overly heavy, taste. I made it again the next week for Dave and we were both angling to have the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Cynthia and I served it with fresh broccoli, lightly marinated salmon, grilled on the barbeque. One last note: even though she says it doesn’t reheat well–I liked it fine the next day for lunch.
1 box (1 lb.) linguine
1 1/2 stick butter (salted or unsalted)
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
8 plump dried Mission figs (or 3 dried Kadota figs), finely chopped (confession: I didn’t have any, so I used dried apricots–about 1/3 cup, chopped)
1/4 cup moist golden raisins
salt and pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
grated zest of 1/2 orange (or more to taste)
Minced fresh chives and/or parsley, for serving (opt.)
Cook the linguine according to the package directions; drain well.
Meanwhile, about 5 minutes before the pasta is ready, melt the butter in a large high-sided skillet or casserole over medium heat, as you’ll be adding the pasta to this (so make sure it is large enough). Whe the butter is melted and golden, stir in the nuts, figs (or dried apricots) and raisins. Allow the butter to bubble and boil, as you want it to cook to a lovely light brown, or to turn into a beurre noisette, butter with the color and fragrance of hazelnuts.
When the butter has reached just the color you want, add the pasta and stir it around in the butter to coat it evenly and make sure the fruits and nuts are well incorporated, then season with salt and a generous amount of ground pepper.
Place in serving bowl, and add the grated cheese, tossing to blend, then dust with the orange zest, chives and/or parsley. Taste, and add more zest/cheese if you like. Serve immediately, but give it one more toss to blend in the zest and herbs.
When I saw the movie Julie/Julia, I really wanted that recipe for the bruschetta Julie and her husband eat in the first scenes. Of course, he was acting, but the way he went over the moon for the crisp slices of baguette topped with fresh tomato made it all the more appealing.
We’d had some “bruschetta pomodora” together, Dave and I, on our last trip to Italy in Montepulciano–a little town in the hills (above).
I’d also had a wonderful version earlier, while lunching in Florence (above). All of those appeared to depend on fresh tomatoes (not grocery store), good quality bread, and high-grade olive oil, and not much else.
Fast forward to today. A perfect trio of happenings all conspired to deliver to our dinner plates the same meal. First, some ciabatta bread from Kneaders Bakery in Orem, Utah had survived the trip home, and after a sojourn in the freezer, Dave pulled it out trying to decide what to do with it. Second, our neighbor, Julie, had too many tomatoes and brought over two large red toms along with a handful of little yellow pears tomatoes. Third, a version of this recipe appeared in the Sunday Magazine and I ripped it out immediately.
2 large red tomatoes, handful of golden pear tomatoes, or 2 lbs. assorted heirloom/garden tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed through a press (if you do that, scrape what’s left behind, and press it through again)
1/4 to 1/2 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced (adjust as needed–we used about 10 leaves from our garden plant)
3 Tbsp red-wine vinegar (or several splashes)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and fresh pepper
Place the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil and the basil into a medium bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Prepare the crostini. You can either follow the directions in the linked recipe (it’s on this site), or grill it on the outside barbeque grill, or do what Dave did: lay out the thinly sliced bread (about 3/8″ thick) on a cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil, and broil under high heat until golden brown and crisp. He took out the center crostini that were done first and redistributed the others more evenly under the heat.
Build your bruschetta: mound the tomatoes, including some of their juices, up onto the bread and eat immediately. We made each delicious serving at the time of eating, as the bread quickly soaks up the juices and would get soggy if it sat at all.
Optional: add in about 1/2 thinly sliced red onion. We decided that our servings in Italy didn’t have onion, so we left it out.
Another Optional: place a slice of fresh mozzerella cheese (the kind that’s sold with liquid around it–a soggy looking thing) on top of the crostini before you place the tomatoes over it. We had that, and the meal was amazing. And we weren’t even acting!
History of the Terms (from Wikipedia):
Bruschetta (Italian pronunciation: [brusˈketta]) is an appetizer from central Italy whose origin dates to at least the 15th century. It consists of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, and/or cheese; the most popular recipe outside of Italy involves basil, fresh tomato, garlic and onion or mozzarella. Bruschetta is usually served as a snack or appetizer.
And this interesting note: Following a semantic shift, some Americans use the word “bruschetta” to refer to the topping instead of the dish. Many grocery store chains in the United States sell bottled “bruschetta,” which is typically tomatoes, onion, garlic, and herbs.
Definitely not as good as the one we enjoyed tonight.
I first read this recipe in the New York Times, in a special article on summer salads with recipes by Martha Rose Shulman. I subjected Dave, my husband, to a series of these, and he declared this one to be a winner. It’s pretty–green and red–and crunchy, but not a wildly out of control crunch–just pleasant fresh vegetable munching. While this is a summer salad, I could also see it served as cold side dish at a holiday buffet, as the colors are so beautiful. Regarding the “optional” feta cheese: we tried it both ways–with and without. Adding the feta cheese brings a creaminess, a certain “mouth” satisfaction to the dish. I recommend it.
For the salad:
1 cup quinoa, cooked (I made it with chicken broth, but water works as well. Click **here** for basic quinoa cooking directions.)
1/2 of a 16-ounce bag of WHITE frozen corn
1 small red onion (about 1/3 cup), cut in small dice
1 red bell pepper, cut in small dice
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery, from the tender inner stalks
4 or 5 radishes, sliced
1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen edamame
2 ounces mild feta, cut in small dice (about 1/2 cup), or crumbled. I buy the bricks, then crumble it.
1/2 jalapeño chile, seeds and membranes removed, minced finely
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 small lime, depending on size)
1 garlic clove, finely minced or pureed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Soak the onion in cold water to cover for five minutes. Drain, rinse and drain on paper towels. **I have no idea why this step is here, but I did it. Must be some kitchen chemistry.
Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the salad. Serve.
Yield: Serves four main dish, and six side dish servings.
Advance preparation: The quinoa freezes well and the assembled salad will keep for a day in the refrigerator.
Here’s our version. I served it with a delicious foccacia from the local bakery, which was topped with tomatoes, potatoes and dill. We were full after our meal, and our leftovers the next day were even better.
Nutritional information per serving (four servings): 359 calories; 18 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 43 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 25 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 10 grams protein
I first tasted a variant of this salad on an airplane in the glory days of airline travel, when they served real food with real utensils in-flight. I was intrigued with the savory-sweet combo of the spices and onion against the corn kernels, and wanted to reproduce this. It didn’t seem to really provide that perfect combination of flavors, but I couldn’t figure out what I was missing until my sister Christine came to visit: she added a shake or two of cayenne pepper to the pasta salad. Eureka! That was it.
Use Lemon Vinaigrette for your dressing and then gently shake the cayenne over the top of the salad, then blend in. Caution–a little cayenne goes a long way.
1/2 lb. (1/2 of a box) orzo (a rice-shaped pasta), cooked and drained–you may need to use a wire mesh strainer instead of a colander to drain (it’s tiny!)
1 can black beans (15 oz.), drained & rinsed
1/2 bag bag frozen WHITE tender corn, approx. 16 ounces
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced (pieces are about 1/4″ size)–roughly 1/2 to 2/3 cup
fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, to yield about 1/3 cup
Place in large bowl: cooked orzo, beans, corn, pepper, onion and cilantro; pour vinaigrette over the top and stir gently. As you toss it over the salad, add more olive oil if it looks dry. Season with salt, pepper and a small amount of cayenne, gently fold into salad. Be cautious: you can always add more cayenne. Sometimes I’ll just sprinkle that over the finished dish instead.
You can serve with grilled chicken breasts (marinate them also in the vinaigrette before cooking); garnish with lettuce leaf.
If you make it ahead and need to refrigerate it, bring it to room temperature to serve. Serves 4-6 main dish servings.
For a variation: serve with crumbled mild Feta cheese and halved grape tomatoes.