Yesterday I was catching up on my podcasts and listened to the July 11th episode of The Splendid Table. I was still mulling over what to do with most of the veggies in my fridge, lucky for me beets were talked about twice in that episode. First several beet ideas were given during the conversation with Sally Schneider, who wrote The Improvisational Cook, and then a caller question concerning beets and radishes. At one point eating beets with their greens and pasta was mentioned, and this idea stuck with me. Of course this was the recipe least covered during the podcast and not given in the episode notes online. So today I looked on Epicurious, Food Network, Allrecipes, Martha Stewart (.com) and Vegetarian Times to see what recipes I could find and then I winged it when none were quite what I felt like making (noting to include rosemary, garlic and goat cheese). I decided to make a bit more pasta than usual since this would be a single entree meal and my past measurements of short pasta have been off when figuring out the right serving size.
Pink & Green Pasta
- 6 oz short pasta
- 1 bunch beets with greens
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1 small sprig rosemary (it was about 1/2 t minced)
- 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut off the beets (I actually used 3 beets and saved one for another dish) from their greens, leaving about one to two inches of stem, wrap beets in aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes. At 30 minutes test by poking with a knife or fork, if the knife slips in easily the beets are done, otherwise leave in the oven longer.
Put a big pot of water on to boil and cook your pasta. Remember to save 1/4 cup of pasta water before you drain the cooked pasta (don’t rinse the pasta with cool water).
While the pasta cooks wash the beet greens well and separate the tough stems from the green leaves. Shake the water off the leaves but don’t worry about getting them completely dry. Chop up the stems and set aside. Cut the greens into ribbons and set aside. Mince the rosemary and garlic. In large skillet heat the oil and then saute the beet stems with the rosemary until tender. Add the garlic and stir until it is fragrant and add the beet greens and a pinch of salt. Cover and let it wilt, stirring a few times. Turn the heat low until the pasta is done. Peel and chop the roasted beets into bite size pieces.
Add the drained pasta to the pan with the cooked greens, then add the crumbled goat cheese on top that and toss to combine. The cheese should get nice and melty. Add a bit of your reserved pasta water if needed (I used about 1 tablespoon of pasta water) and then add the beets.
Top row: spinach, lettuce
Middle row: green onions, flat leaf parsley, kohlrabi, beets, swiss chard
Bottom row: pattypan squash, green cabbage, broccoli, radishes
It is always so nice to have a dinner plan when you get home. I went ahead and made the pasta with fresh herbs and sauteed patty pan squash. This would have been a nice quick meal if I hadn’t also been in the middle of putting all the produce from the pick up away (that squash is still sitting on my table, oops). Half way through making the pasta I realized that it is basically a fancified version of what I used to make in college (fresh herbs instead of dried). My one note is that the recipe states it serves 3-4, which of course it might; but to counter my cheese-love I’m trying to get better about serving sizes and 1 pound of pasta says it makes 8 servings, so typically I weigh out the 2 or 4 ounces of pasta for our dinner. I made the squash in the same pan I heated the garlic and oil for the pasta and cooked it very simply then just threw it on top the pasta.
I made this with whole wheat spaghetti which helps up the nutrition factor as well. Not all whole wheat pasta is created equally though, my first few purchases turned me off of it for quite some time. And I still crave the more refined version at times (like when making fettuccine alfredo). I’ve been happy with most Trader Joe’s brand whole wheat pastas (though not big on it in the rotini form), BioNaturae and Bella Terra.
When I made this I used 4 oz of pasta for 2 servings, 2 handfuls of parsley and one green onion as well as 1 clove garlic. Then I quartered and sliced 2 smallish pattypan squashes and threw a bit more olive oil in the pan and the squash, about half-way through I added 1 minced clove of garlic and a pinch of salt; I stirred occasionally and removed it from the heat when I liked the done-ness of the squash (it only takes a couple minutes).
I still had a big bunch of kale in my fridge. And a few servings of the lemony broccoli pasta in the fridge were still around which meant pasta with kale and white beans was out (I’d also ran out of dinners for the week). Since chrunchy & salty is a standard craving at my house I decided to try making kale chips. Someone had mentioned them online and a quick google search turned up a bunch of blog posts and recipes from last summer (as well as a recipe for Kale Crunchies in my Vegetable Heaven cookbook). The constants were: oil, salt and a 350 F oven. I also decided to season half of the batch with smoked paprika and cayenne. They are indeed crunchy and salty, in fact even though I used a lot less salt than called for (I’d read complaints of too much salt), I still think I could have used less. If I make these again I will also be adding spices (but less cayenne) again.
- 1 bunch kale
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 t salt
- smoked paprika or other savory spice [blend], opt.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and oil a baking sheet. Soak the kale in a bowlful of water for thorough washing, then remove the tough stems and spin dry in a salad spinner. Tear the kale into pieces (anywhere from bite sized to 2″-3″) and put half of it in a large bowl (to keep the tossing contained within the bowl I needed to do two batches). Sprinkle the kale with 1 tablespoon of the oil and using your hands toss, well, making sure the kale gets coated nicely. Sprinkle with salt and optional seasonings and toss again. Place the kale in a single layer on the oiled baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the kale. Bake for about 20 minutes, stir every 5 minutes and remove pieces as they reach the desired crunchiness. I had to remove about half of one baking sheet 5 minutes before the rest of it was done. Let it cool and munch.
I had fabulous plans to use up the last of the produce in anticipation of Tuesday’s pick-up. Then I learned that I would be cooking for one and the planned pasta with herbs and a side of sauteed squash didn’t look so appealing, plus I had some mixed leaf lettuce, a lone roasted beet and 3 radishes to use too. So I made a salad instead. What makes a salad a meal? Large portions and lots of goodies (like yummy cheese and nuts).
- 1 teeny tiny pickling cucumber, sliced
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 large roasted beet, peeled and sliced
- handful of raw pumpkin seeds
- small handful of dried cranberries
- crumbled gorgonzola
- balsamic vinaigrette
This wasn’t the most amazing salad, the ingredients were just a bit mishmosh, but it was yummy and did fill me up. And the squash is still keeping well, as are the herbs so they will wait.
Last summer I found a couple recipes for quinoa and black bean dishes. During one of my early experiments cooking quinoa I ended up accidentally combining two recipes (one a hot dish, one a salad) into my quinoa and black bean salad. Honestly every time I make this it turns out slightly different. I really prefer it with some tangy crumbled cheese like feta or queso fresca. One of the original recipes calls for diced avocado and I think that would be amazing in it.
I decided to make a pared down version for our camping trip the other weekend (with more quinoa and less red bell pepper -oops, that is what happens when I cook without consulting the recipe). For the camping trip I stored the whole (cherry) tomatoes in a separate container and chopped them into individual servings and omitted the crumbly cheese altogether. I like to use cherry tomatoes because I can find good cherry tomatoes more reliably and they seem to make the salad less soggy. This version is what I normally make.
Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
- 3/4 c quinoa
- 1 1/2 c weak veg broth
- 1 c frozen corn kernels
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 c. worth diced tomatoes (approximate)
- cilantro, large handful of leaves, chopped
- 3 T red wine vinegar
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- good shake of chipotle powder
- good pinch of cumin
- 2 T canola oil
- opt. crumbly cheese like queso fresco
- opt. diced avocado
Rinse the quinoa well before you cook it (something about removing a bitter substance from the surface of the grain). Cook the quinoa with the veggie broth (about 15-20 minutes of simmering). In the last few minutes dump frozen corn on top to thaw it. Let cool, if time allows.
In a medium-large bowl add the beans, red bell pepper, green onion. Add cooked quinoa and corn, toss. Add tomotoes and cilantro.
Mix together vinegar, garlic, chipotle powder, cumin and canola oil for dressing. Pour on top of salad, gently toss.
I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to make this. I love broccoli, I love lemons, I love chickpeas, I love pasta and I love parmesan (and garlic, there is lots of garlic, mmmmmm). Anyway, I learned about this recipe just over two years ago when Debbie posted it on words to eat by (sadly she no longer writes there, luckily it is still up and accessible). I made it for lunch today (using up the nearly 2 lbs of broccoli in my fridge) figuring it would make great leftovers. I don’t think I realized it was supposed to be a hot dish when I started, but that is okay, I still think it will make great leftovers and I hope it makes good cold leftovers since we don’t have a microwave. Not much of what I’ve made this week fits that category of “toss in the fridge and eat later”. We did have leftover empanadas, and chard-cheese triangles but both of those are best hot out of the oven and not so good out of the fridge 2 days later.
I almost made the recipe exactly as written. Except it seemed like it had a lot of olive oil, so I cut that down to 1/2 cup, and I added the zest of one lemon, and I forgot to save the pasta water… And I disagree with the amount of cooking the broccoli went under, so I cooked it less in the boiling water and less in the skillet with the oil and garlic but even still I feel like the broccoli was over cooked. I wonder if I just like my broccoli less cooked than most (it should still have a toothsome bite IMO) or if my broccoli florets were smaller? Assuming that is is indeed fabulous cold I will make some modifications for a cold pasta salad dish next time.
I just made as close an approximation to Smitten Kitten’s Sauteed Radishes with Sugar Snaps and dill as I could for lunch. I didn’t have dill seeds or orange juice so I just used dill weed and lemon juice figuring lemon juice is good with the sugar snap peas… no picture since I was very hungry and could in no way compete with the photography of SK. It was pretty good, but of course mine was mostly sugar snap peas and those are always good sauteed up with butter. I was a little worried about sauteed radishes, but no long fear them; however I think I will stick to eating the remaining half-bunch raw since I add enough butter to other foods in my life.
(If you are paying close enough attention to notice that I haven’t ever had sugar snap peas from my CSA share…they came from the farmer’s market and I bought them despite having a mass quantity of produce in the fridge since I just really really like them.)
I made the meal sound so simple, but I actually really went a bit over the top. As we were walking TheDog after dinner TheHusband mentioned how impressed he has been with my cooking lately, how I keep making these great complicated dinners. First I thought, huh, I hadn’t realized dinners had gotten so boring; then I wondered if I was trying to outdo myself for this blog. I probably am a little bit; luckily as I was prepping everything for dinner tonight I thought that I should make a nice simple rice + steamed veggies meal very soon. That might have also been around the moment I realized I’ve been using a lot of oil and cheese in the past few meals. And while I ended up liking dinner I think I’m even more excited that I used up both bunches of spinach tonight. Yay.
So I planned for pizza tonight, a non-traditional pizza topped with greens, loosely based on this Chard and Chevre pizza from the March 2008 Vegetarian Times. So yesterday I make a recipe that calls for spinach with chard and today I make a recipe that calls for chard with spinach… And then a spinach salad started sounding good, and we had leftover hard-boiled eggs to use; and hey isn’t blue cheese and bacon good too? Except of course we no longer cook meat in our house, so I decided to try fakon (fake bacon). Fake bacon, at least the Morningstar version, tastes a lot like bacon flavored toast when eaten plain (I baked mine, maybe frying with extra oil would have helped); luckily crumbled into salad it wasn’t too noticeable.
Spinach Salad: spinach torn into bite size pieces, crumbled hardboiled egg, crumbled gorgonzola, crumbled fakon and a balsamic vinaigrette (balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, S & P, olive oil)
Pizza with greens
- pizza dough
- 1 small bunch beet greens
- 1 bunch spinach
- sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil and sliced)
- roasted garlic cloves
- 2 oz crumbled goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 F. You will want to prep everything first because you will be sauteing the greens while the pizza crust par-bakes and after that it goes together very quickly. Wash and dry your spinach and beet greens removing any tough stems, then coarsely chop them and set aside. Prep your sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and goat cheese and set aside. Roll out your pizza dough – I had two small individual dough size balls from my freezer that had sort of morphed together, it rolled into a approximately 12-inch pizza. Oil a baking sheet and place the pizza on it, brush the crust (that will remain exposed) with a bit of flavored oil if you like. Bake for about 5-8 minutes, you want it to be semi-done. While it bakes heat a big skillet up and add oil and 1 minced clove garlic. Saute the greens, sprinkling with a bit of salt. When they are wilted and bright green turn off the heat (you might need to throw in a tablespoon of water and cover the skillet if you greens are dry – if you do this make sure to then let some of that water evaporate). Pull the pizza out and top with the wilted greens, the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and goat cheese. Put it back in the oven and check after 5 minutes. It will probably need 5-10 minutes before the toppings are hot and the cheese is melty.
I need some plans. Right now I feel like I only use a minute part of our veggies per meal – and we don’t eat meat. Even when I use a lot of veggies, like last night’s massive chard use it leaves me with a lot of food (we ate 4 of the 18 phyllo triangles). It is like I can’t roll enough of them into one meal and end up with too many leftovers (of the uncooked variety) which starts me at each pickup overwhelmed. And my puny freezer can only hold so much stuff.
Tonight I’m making pizza topped with the beet greens as well as sun dried tomatoes and roasted garlic. I might serve it with a spinach salad. Later this week I can make a pasta-kale-white bean dish. And serve it with more salad.
- use the remaining spinach in eggs
- saute the radishes with the snap peas
- roast the beets
- roast or grill the squash
- make a cilantro pesto (does this freeze well?)
If only I could come up with a way to tie the sauteed radishes & snap peas with the roasted beets and roasted/grilled squash into an actual meal.
I still need ideas for
- parsley (it is huge bag of curly parsley)
- green onions (easy enough to use here and there)
- kohlrabi (which can be cut up for snacking)
- lettuce (anything other than really plain salad?)