Fennel and Leeks

Fennel and Leeks

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Trofie con Noci e Parmigiano (Trofie with Walnuts and Parmesan)


I was leafing through one of my favorite Italian cookbooks when I came across a recipe for pasta that looked so delicious, I decided to prepare it for dinner. As I completed the recipe and glanced down at my newest creation with pride, I experienced deja vu. I had a sudden sneaking suspicion that I may have prepared the dish a few years back. Guess what? I did a blog search and found that I prepared this recipe shortly after I started my blog in January of 2011. Yep, there it was. An entry for Spaghetti or Trofie con Noci e Parmigiano on February 12th, 2011. In my defense, I have prepared over 200 recipes for the blog since January of of 2011 so unknowingly repeating a recipe was bound to happen.

I had a good chuckle and then got excited because when I first prepared this recipe, I wasn't including photographs with my posts. Although this makes my life a little too easy for this write-up, I have included the recipe below as well as a link to my initial 2011 entry (click on the link in the paragraph above). It contains a detailed description of the ingredients and especially of Trofie pasta.

14 oz trofie
4 to 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 oz chopped walnuts
4 oz freshly grated parmesan
3 to 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp crushed thyme or marjoram leaves

Cook pasta in large pan of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil with walnuts, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and thyme or marjoram. Mix well. Drain pasta and toss with sauce, then serve in warmed shallow bowls before it cools.


For tonight's preparation, instead of searching high and low for the perfect pasta as I did with my first preparation, I went with an organic Casarecce pasta that I already had on hand by a company called Garofalo. It is an Italian pasta, made from 100% organic durum wheat semolina. This particular pasta worked just great but after reading my entry from 2011, I am convinced that the Rustichella D' Abruzzo Casarecce that I used for my initial preparation was the way to do it right. Whatever type of pasta you decide to use, enjoy this dish! It is fairly easy but yields a sophisticated final product for a weeknight pasta dish. 

As information, the only changes I would make is to use 2 1/2 to 3 ounces of walnuts instead of 4 ounces and to keep the olive oil to 4 Tbsp, which is on the lower end of the recommended amount.

Recipe Source:
"Pasta" by Marlena Spieler, Page 142

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Turmeric Tomato Detox Soup


Tomato soup has long been one of my favorite foods but in recent years, it has become more difficult to eat on a consistent basis. I require a low-fat dairy or non-dairy version for allergy reasons so I find that ordering tomato soup at restaurants is nearly impossible. As a result, I find myself often longing for a hot bowl of tomato soup. I am working on finding a few recipes to prepare at home that meet my dietary needs.

This particular recipe jumped out at me because it includes turmeric and apple cider vinegar. Not only do both of these ingredients appeal to my taste buds, they offer vast health benefits. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties as well as aiding in liver detox. Apple cider vinegar lowers blood sugar levels and cholesterol, contains antioxidants that help fight disease, and helps with acid reflux and digestion. In addition, the health benefits from coconut oil deserve mention. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which helps increase good cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. Lauric acid also aids in fighting bacterial and viral infections. The health benefits of this recipe are clear so I was hoping that the soup would be tasty.

Ingredients:

5 oz cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup vegetable stock, low sodium
1 can diced tomatoes with sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp coconut oil
mixed seeds and nuts for garnish

Heat coconut oil in sauce pan and fry onion and garlic for one minute. Add turmeric and cherry tomatoes, and cook until tomatoes soften and leave their juices. Add canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, apple cider vinegar and basil. Bring to boil, cover with lid and let simmer for five minutes.


Transfer into a blender and pulse to obtain a creamy liquid.


Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with mixed seeds and nuts.

After preparing the recipe and testing the result, I proceeded to wolf down two bowls within about 15 minutes. I love this soup! I will say that this does not resemble what we recognize as classic tomato soup. The apple cider vinegar flavor is quite prominent so in order to enjoy this recipe, you might need to be a person that appreciates vinegar. I was curious how I would react to the combination of turmeric and apple cider vinegar because they are both such strong flavors, but the combination was quite delicious. The kicker is that the texture of the soup was nearly perfect. I prefer tomato soup that is not perfectly smooth and this one fit the bill. The addition of seeds on top made the texture even better. I chose to use sunflower seeds because I love them on everything but I could envision using pepitas or toasted almonds as well.

I recommend using Bragg Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. Not only is it organic, it is also Non GMO, kosher and the flavor is pure.

Recipe Source: detoxdiy.com

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pea Hummus


On a recent trip to the public library, Olivia found a cookbook that interested her enough to check out and bring home. As a cute side note, I love how eclectic she is when we go to the library. On this trip, she checked out two books about animal fairies, a book about birds, one book about items you can make with fabric scraps, and a cookbook. I love my girl! She is interested in so many things and just plain fun to be around.

The following recipe for Pea Hummus is the first recipe that Olivia chose to prepare. The flavors ended up being more light and fresh than traditional hummus made from garbanzo beans. Pea hummus, however, has the same health benefits as other types of hummus; it is high in protein and contains lots of vitamins including iron, zinc, vitamin K, folate, and vitamin C. The only change we made to the recipe is that we omitted the tahini. If included, it would definitely add a nice, earthy quality to the final product but the recipe was tasty without the tahini. From Olivia's kitchen to yours; enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp tahini
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
14 oz can chickpeas, drained
salt and freshly ground pepper

Tools:
medium saucepan
strainer
food processor
bowl

Cook peas in a saucepan of boiling water for 3 minutes.


Carefully drain through a strainer, then refresh under cold water. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.


Season with salt and pepper. Use teaspoon to test a small amount. Transfer to a bowl or into paper cups to serve. Serve will sliced vegetables such as carrots, peppers, celery, and snow peas. Olivia chopped and arranged all of these vegetables herself because she wanted to make sure she had a good presentation. Can you tell she has watched a bit of Food Network? She just couldn't be more adorable!



Recipe Source:
"Mommy & Me Start Cooking" by DK Books, pages 64-65

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Zucchini and Hazelnut Salad



To say I am behind in posting recipes is the understatement of the century. I must be backlogged by at least seven or eight recipes by now! I am dedicated to getting caught up over the next few weeks so be on the lookout for several recipes coming your way.

I prepared this particular dish for an event that I attend every June and wow, it is a good one! This recipe is one of the tastiest that I have prepared in quite a while. In posts from year's past, I have written about the Emerald Water Anglers cooking competition that I judge every June (click on this link for details about the competition and this link for info about Emerald Water Anglers). I always prepare a few dishes to share with attendees and this was the favorite dish that I prepared for the 2016 event. As my best friend Natalie said after she took her first bite, "Feel free to make this for me anytime!" I have since made it twice for different events and it has gone over like gangbusters both times.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup shelled hazelnuts
7 small zucchini (1 3/4 lbs in total)
4 Tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 cups mixed green and purple basil leaves
3 oz high quality Parmesan, broken up or very thinly sliced
2 tsp hazelnut oil


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Scatter hazelnuts over baking sheet and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until nicely browned. Allow them to cool before chopping roughly or just crushing lightly with the side of a large knife. Place a griddle pan on high heat and leave it there until it is almost red hot; at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim ends of zucchini and cut on an angle into 3/8-inch-thick slices. Place them in a bowl and toss with half the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place slices in the hot grill pan and char-grill for about 2 minutes on each side.


Turn them over using tongs. Make sure to get distinct char marks without cooking the zucchini through.


Transfer to mixing bowl, pour balsamic vinegar over top, toss together and set aside.

Once the zucchini have cooled down, add remaining olive oil, basil, and hazelnuts. Mix lightly, then taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Transfer to a flat plate, incorporating the Parmesan, and drizzle with hazelnut oil. Enjoy!

Recipe Source:
"Plenty; Vibrant Vegetable Recipes" by Yotam Ottolenghi, Page 70-71