Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Own 30-Minute Marvel - Spaghetti with Sautéed Onions, Garlic and Roasted Tomatoes

Fall is firmly entrenched here in Ottawa.  The calendar says so and so says the frosty nights.  My tomato plants have given their last gasp and I am grateful for their offerings and sacrifice.

As the remaining soldiers ripen on the counter, I eventually take the most red and juicy and press them into service.  Yesterday's roasting was a combination of Romas, San Marzanos and cherry tomatoes.  The cherry tomatoes stay whole. A dribble of olive oil. Salt and pepper. 300ºF for 2 hours. Works like a charm.  Often I just lay them out in a ziplock bag after and freeze them.

The Autumn issue of LCBO Food and Drink has a classic recipe for Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe in its 30-Minute Marvels feature by Kristen Eppich.  I saw it yesterday while flipping the pages, but I wanted more than 'macaroni and cheese for grown-ups'. Not one for following recipes anyway, I treated it as inspiration for my own pasta dish.

In the spirit of being free and easy in the kitchen, this recipe has no specific measurements. I just go by feel.  It's pretty easy to make and 30 minutes might actually be a stretch. I was the only one dining in last night so it was dinner for one. Dining alone doesn't have to mean tea and toast. I dare you.

Play away and use lots of garlic. And cheese too.

Go fetch yourself a nice glass or wine and turn on the dinner music. Maybe you're dining alone but you're doing it in style.

Buon appetito!

Inspired by millions.

Cooked spaghetti noodles for one
Olive oil
Unsalted butter
Cooking onion, finely diced
Garlic, minced
Chili flakes
Salt and Pepper
White wine
Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
Oven-roasted cherry tomatoes

Heat olive oil and butter. Sauté the onions.  It's okay if they take a bit of colour. That will just give more flavour. Add minced garlic and chili flakes and turn the heat down low. Garlic can burn easily. Season with salt and pepper.

To make a sauce in the oil and onions, turn up the heat, add the white wine and reduce.

Add the pasta (it should be slightly underdone in order to finish in the pan) and a small handful of cheese.  Combine so the pasta gets well coated in the sauce. Add the tomatoes to warm. Do not stir them in or they will break apart. You can add warmed tomatoes at plating if you are worried about them bursting apart.

When plating, incorporate torn pieces of basil. Sprinkle with more cheese and then chives.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Roots and Shoots Farm - 11th Week of CSA Food 2014

We have had our Roots and Shoots Farm CSA basket from week 11 for ten days now. Although we have been eating out and enjoying other market produce, the basket is getting fair attention and plans are being made for it all.

I did not take as many pictures of our dishes as I have the prior month. There are a few included here.  Just try to imagine it all, though!

Parsley - I used a good part of it in my Italian Meatball recipe. The darling son used some for the broccoli soup.  I plan to clean the rest, chop it and freeze it.

Swiss chard - I have a special friend who needs good food to help her body feel good as you faces monumental health challenges.  I will be gifting her some lentil soup with Swiss chard on my next visit.

Romaine - we used this head last weekend for one of our favourite salads.

Carrots - we have been eating these sweet treats raw.  I have a blue cheese dip in the fridge whenever that bite needs a 'pow'. The remainder were roasted and used in a Roasted Carrot and Coriander Soup.

Broccoli - the darling son made a Broccoli, Red Onion and Dill Soup.

Tomatoes - they have been used in a big Greek Salad and also on sandwiches.

Cucumber - we used it in our big Greek salad.

Potatoes - we served them as baked potatoes at a dinner party.  Butter, sour cream, chives, bacon. The whole dreamy messy business.  I microwave the potatoes first until they are done 3/4's and then put them on the BBQ to finish and get a crispy skin.

Sweet peppers - the red one was used in the zucchini fritters.  The other two remain.  I haven't made green pepper steak in ages.  It will happen on a cool day when we want hearty food.

Onions - we used the white one in our penne pasta dish.  The red one has been used in our big Greek salad and in the Broccoli, Red Onion and Dill Soup.

Beefsteak tomato - we used him in a pasta dish.

Kohlrabi - it was pickled.

Music garlic - we used the garlic in two soups, the penne pasta, the bowtie pasta and also when pickling the kohlrabi. Garlic keeps so well, I am not worried about how long it hangs around.  This is my 36th garlic for 2014.  The third one in my CSA baskets.  I have been buying garlic as I see them at farmers' markets and festivals.  I plan to cellar about 50 heads over the winter.

Zucchini and summer squash - they were all used for zucchini fritters.


Broccoli, Red Onion and Dill Soup

Penne Pasta. The beefsteak tomato was peeled, slightly seeded and then added into the pan with the onions, garlic and kale for a hint of a tomato flavour.  We actually used a small jar of our homemade basil pesto on the penne and tossed in some oven-roasted Roma tomatoes. Garnished with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Mama Alberta's Italian Meatballs -  I used my favourite recipe.

Roasted Carrot and Coriander Soup

Pickled Kohlrabi - - I used Linda's recipe on Garden Betty. I hope they turn out. They are still in pickling mode for a few more days.
Zucchini Fritters.  I used Smitten Kitchen's recipe for inspiration.  I use less flour, added bits of red pepper and also cilantro.  They ended up being served up with pico de gallo, avocado whip, sour cream, sriracha.

Bowtie Pasta - Used a clove of garlic in the homemade basil pesto. (Basil and tomatoes are from our garden.) 
Lentil Soup

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Roots and Shoots Farm - 9th Week of CSA Food 2014

When I picked up my Week 9 CSA basket from Roots and Shoots Farm I did not expect that my golden beets would turn into pickles.

We have had golden beets before this season.  For this half share member, repeats hardly ever happen because of careful planning by owner, Robin Turner.  He makes a point of managing the variety from basket to basket.

I was delighted for the second go-around (and said as much to Robin) because I love roasted beets - particularly in a salad. And they might as well be golden because they sure look good on the plate.

Because they cellar so well, beets are one of the last items used up in our share. First to hit the kitchen counter here is the more delicate produce.

For almost two weeks I had it in my head that I would eventually roast my beets. It didn't happen. Maybe because of the big heat this past week. Instead, the beets were pickled.

Although my bunch only gave me two 500 ml jars of pickled beets, I found my Rødbeder groove.

Rødbeder is a Danish recipe for pickled beets.  It's practically a national dish.  My mother used to make rødbeder all the time. Sometimes just a few jars and sometimes it was a preserving bonanza.

I happily channeled my mother to make these gorgeous beets.

The entire basket was beautiful. Check it out for yourself. I have also included pictures of some of the dishes we made with our produce.  You can see why it's been a challenge to eat out this summer.  The fridge is constantly full.

Iceberg Lettuce

Adirondack Reds - Surprise! They have pink flesh!!

Beans - Green, purple and dragon tongue



Curly Kale




Green pepper


Golden beets


Wedge Salad I used the Iceberg Lettuce. If you need a blue cheese dressing for the Wedge, I blogged about it here.

Hash browns with a poached egg. I did not realize our potatoes this week were a variety with pink flesh.  I found out they are called Adirondack Reds. They do keep their colour and apparently even more so when boiled or roasted.  I also used some of the onions and green peppers for this dish.

When I discovered the potatoes had a pink flesh I wanted to make an old-fashioned retro vintage potato salad with hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise.  I did mince in some of the onions.  I used other potatoes too as well as green onions and chives.  I kind of thought the Adirondack Reds looked like big chunks of canned ham.  It actually was delicious. Just had to eat with my eyes closed! ;-)

I eat beans raw or steamed.  Pretty plain.  I think they deserve that - as does much produce.  But this time I was determined to be clever.  I decided to bake them with a coating and treat them as party food.  They were coated in flour (consider a gluten-free option), egg seasoned with Dijon and salt & pepper, panko and Parmesan seasoned with cayenne.  The dip is mayonnaise with chives, dill and Michaelsdolce's sriracha.

Heirloom Tomato Salad. I used one of my tomatoes from my CSA share, tomatoes from my garden and some tomatoes from the Ottawa Farmers' Market.  I like this salad because the Parmesan crisps add a bit of crunch. (They are easy to make!)

Bruschetta. I was able to use more of my tomatoes, onion and garlic.  I added basil from my garden and broiled a bit of Parmesan on top.

Greek Salad! I used a lot of my tomatoes, a cucumber, and some of the green peppers.  Also in there is olives, red onion and feta cheese from Milkhouse Farm and Dairy. Check out Milkhouse on social media.  I dare you to not fall in love with their sheep.

Judy Dempsey's Shakshuka recipe featured in the Ottawa Citizen.  I used onion, kale, green pepper, garlic from my basket.

The darling son took most of the carrots with him to Algonquin Park for his canoe trip. His paddle buddy took a great shot of their carrot sticks on the scene.

Agurkesalat is another Danish recipe I make often. It is a quick pickle recipe for cucumbers.

I often use my agurkesalat on my open-faced sandwiches.  It goes well with pork and beef. And in this case, lamb sausage from Milkhouse Farm and Dairy!

Zucchini Fritters.  We used all our zucchinis for this party snack.  The usual suspects of flour, egg, salt and pepper.  Plus green onions. Next time I'm going to add red pepper for colour. This dish has me wanting a Spiralizer.

Pickled beets.  Most people eat their pickled beets so fast that they don't make it into the pantry for winter.  Just to be a food safety nut, I did put these through the water bath canning technique to keep my options open.  Gift receivers like to know you went the extra mile for their safety too.
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