Archive | May, 2008

Austin Farm to Camper?

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I didn’t make it to the farmers market this week because the family went to New Braunfels for Memorial Day weekend. Luckily I had some leftover veggies in the fridge from last week and I got fresh eggs from my colleague at work. I had just enough supplies to make my famous Antipasto Pasta Salad (one of Ginger’s favorites) and some deviled eggs. Yum!

Some of you have seen my Antipasto Pasta salad recipe before. I decided to make it a little healthier by adding some veggies to the mix so I did a rough chop on some asparagus, peeled carrots, and squash and blanched them for the last two minutes of boiling the pasta so that they would still be crunchy but not too crunchy.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and that you enjoy the AntiPasto Pasta Salad.

ANTIPASTO PASTA SALAD
Gourmet, June 2004
Makes 6 main-course servings.

2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb rotini (corkscrew pasta), freshly cooked to tender, rinsed under cold water, and drained – I used whole wheat penne and it was great
1 (12-oz) jar marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
1 (12-oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1/2 lb mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 lb thinly sliced sweet soppressata or salami, cut into 1-inch pieces
25
1/4 lb Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and chopped (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
**I added the chopped blanched vegetables here. I used about 4 spears of asparagus, 1 small squash and 2 peeled carrots. Did a rough chop and then threw them in with the pasta for the last two minutes of cooking the pasta. This blanched the veggies but kept them crunchy.

Whisk together red-wine vinegar and olive oil in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and
toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Deviled Eggs
There isn’t anything special about this recipe other than using fresh farm eggs. Farm eggs taste so much better than grocery eggs; it’s completely worth the extra money.

10 hard boiled eggs
mayonnaise
mustard
dry hot mustard
cayenne
salt
paprika

Boil, peel and cut the eggs in half. Scoop the yolks out into a bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork. Mix in mayonnaise, mustard, a little dry hot mustard, a little cayenne and salt to taste. I don’t measure – I just add a little and taste, add a little and taste until I feel like it’s right. Spoon the yolk filling into the egg whites. Sprinkle a little paprika over the top.

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The Italian Curve Ball

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This week I was shopping at the market for a nice dinner for our Sunday family dinner. I decided on one of my tried and true recipes – Poblanos Rajas with Shrimp. It’s a yummy and easy Mexican dish with zucchini, peppers, shrimp and lots of great spices.

By the way, if you haven’t been to the market lately, summer crop is in full swing and there are more veggies than you’ll know what to do with. And, there are peaches and blackberries. Go to the farmers market!

On Sunday, I packed everything up and went out to my sister’s house in Mountain City. I prepped all the veggies, peeled the shrimp and then hear her say, “You know, we have lemon pepper noodles you can use.”

I said, “Huh? Lemon pepper noodles with Mexican shrimp?”

“Oh, I didn’t realize we were having Mexican. I was kind of craving Italian.”

So… the cilantro went in the fridge and I regrouped. I didn’t have any of my spices with me so I rummaged through Ginger’s cabinet and found enough to make it work.

Phew!

We ended up having a great meal and a nice relaxing evening.

Lemon Pepper Zuchhini Shrimp Fettucine

1 pound peeled, deveined gulf shrimp
1 pound zucchini, chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
lemon pepper
salt
oregano
1 package lemon pepper fettucine
1 cup white wine

Toss the peeled shrimp in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, lemon pepper, 1 clove minced garlic and salt. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.

Start water to boil for the pasta. Cook to package instructions.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add zucchini and saute until almost tender. Add shrimp, a dash or two of oregano and white wine. Cook until shrimp are cooked through. If I’d had capers, I would have tossed those in, too at the end.

Toss the pasta in with the sauce until pasta is coated.

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Noodling with Zucchini

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I love pasta, but for obvious reasons, don’t eat it as often as I’d like. The other day I was having a serious craving for some simple fettuccine with Parmesan and a little butter, but I’m trying to watch my carbs so I decided to get creative.

I grabbed the zucchini and a vegetable peeler and decided to make the fettuccine out of the zucchini. It was pretty good and satisfied the pasta urge without destroying my nutritional intake for the day. Woo hoo! A win-win.

I just put some Parmesan, butter, salt and pepper on it, but you could use whatever sauce you wanted. It would taste great with a garlicky tomato sauce.

By the way, my friend Eddie told me I need to start taking pictures of these things when I make them so next time I’ll take a photo, before I dive in to the dish – promise.

Zucchini Fettuccine

2 zucchini
Parmesan
small pat of butter
salt and pepper to taste

Boil some salted water to blanch the zucchini.

With a vegetable peeler or mandoline, create long, thin strips with the zucchini. You want them just thick enough that they don’t tear – like pasta. I was able to do this with the vegetable peeler, but it would be easier with a mandoline. I left the skin on the zucchini, but you could peel it if you wanted.

Toss the zucchini ribbons in the boiling water for a minute or two – just blanch it; you don’t want the zucchini to get mushy. Drain the zucchini really well. I let mine sit for a couple of minutes to get all the water out.

Toss with your sauce or, in my case butter, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

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Kohlrabi Anyone?

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Despite the lack of posts, I have been cooking when I’m home (at least I’m getting it 1/2 done…). Recently, I decided to tackle Kohlrabi. All winter, I had seen this vegetable in the market and had no idea what it was. I mean, honestly, it’s weird looking.
I thought maybe it was some Asian vegetable or a cousin to fennel, which I don’t like. And then, just about the time my curiosity piqued, I got an e-mail from Simply Recipes (great blog by the way) with a Kohlrabi Ham Bake.
Clearly it was a sign from the universe that I was supposed to cook Kohlrabi. I was very interested to learn all the nerdy things about kohlrabi like that the name literally means cabbage turnip in German and that it is used a lot in Indian cooking. If I had ever had kohlrabi before, I didn’t know it.
So, off to the market and I bought my first kohlrabi and some ham from Berkshire farms. How was it? Well, it was good. Kohlrabi has a consistency and texture somewhere between a turnip and jicama, but it tastes like broccoli or cauliflower. I liked it. I don’t know that I’d eat it every day, but I liked it. I think next, I’ll try it in one of the Indian food recipes.
Kohlrabi Ham Bake Recipe
from Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes
3 Tbsp butter – I used olive oil instead of butter
4 kohlrabi, peeled and diced
8 ounces thick ham, diced
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
3 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Pinch of mace (can substitute ground nutmeg) – I used nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the diced kohlrabi and gently cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Beat the egg yolk, and whisk in the heavy cream, flour, mace, salt and pepper until well combined.
Place half of the cooked kohlrabi on the bottom of an oven-proof casserole dish. Layer on the diced ham and parsley. Top with the remaining kohlrabi. Pour the sauce ingredients over the kohlrabi and ham.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.
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