Black bean spaghetti with veggies

Have you all heard of this stuff? Black bean spaghetti?!

Image

Holy smokes this was good. We did, essentially, a pasta primavera with the black bean spaghetti, asparagus, sweet peppers and heirloom tomatoes from the garden. Hubs ran out and grabbed some vodka sauce (Mia’s) and, voila! Dinner!

Ingredients:

  • one package of black bean spaghetti
  • one bunch of asparagus
  • two half peppers of different colors (or one large pepper)
  • one large, very ripe heirloom tomato
  • one jar of pasta sauce
  • one tablespoon dry oregano
  • salt/pepper/olive oil

Boil a large pan of water with a bit of salt and olive oil. When bubbling, add in black bean spaghetti and the dry oregano. Boil for 6-8 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus into one to two inch diagonal pieces, slice the peppers in to strips and roughly chop the tomato(es). Ad a tiny bit of olive oil to a saute pan and first cook the asparagus for about a minute or two and then add in the peppers. A minute or so after that, add the tomatoes. And salt and pepper to taste. Our pasta sauce is a bit spicy so I didn’t add in chili flakes to this recipe. If you are using a more subtle sauce, this is a good time to add in that heat. Stir occasionally.

Image

When the black bean spaghetti is al dente, drain the water and dump in the jar of sauce, making sure it evenly coats the “pasta”. It could get a little sticky, so add a bit of olive oil if you need to. Let it soak up the sauce for a bit.

Plate the spaghetti first.

Image

Test the doneness of the asparagus and then add the veggies on top.

Image

 

I top with a bit of shaved parmesan reggiano.

image (16)

Advertisements

Variation on boerenkool stamppot with tomato/cucumber/barrata salad

With the cooler weather coming on and a few leaves on the streets, I’ve been craving mashed potatoes. A great bowl of savory mashed potatoes is such a treat. But holy lord is it terrible for you. Well, terrible for me*. And the next day? Oy. I never want to get out of bed. So, as many do, I substitute in pureed cauliflower.  It is the PERFECT substitute. 

We also have a hefty amount of heirloom tomatoes about to drop off the vine. And I wanted to use those.

What to make…what to make…

Image

I had a conversation recently with a friend from the netherlands about kale and he had mentioned that his mom used to make something that I thought was called baren-cool (I later learned it was boerenkool stamppot…basically mashed potatoes with kale and sausage). He described it as his comfort food. Sounded amazing to me. And I could do it with roasted cauliflower. 

I also learned last night that our au pair’s mom makes her something very similar in Italy. Not sure what it is called there. 🙂

Ingredients:

The Boerenkool Stamppot (variation)

  • one large handful dinosaur kale stalks
  • two medium heads of cauliflower
  • two sausages of your choice…we used sundried tomato chicken sausage (two of us were eating meat, the third not…adjust your sausage amount accordingly)
  • half of a large vidalia onion
  • salt/pepper/olive oil
  • one tablespoon paprika
  • one teaspoon dry sage
  • half teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (or any other dairy…you could use plain yogurt or cottage cheese, too)
  • 1/8 cup of feta
  • 1/4 white wine

The Tomato/Cucumber Salad

  • two regular cucumbers
  • one lemon cucumber
  • two large, very ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves
  • balsamic of choice
  • salt/pepper/olive oil

This was overall pretty easy to do but just took a bit of time. 

Preheat the oven to 425 and get a cookie sheet out, covered with a silpat. Cut the cauliflower into medium florets and spread them on the cookie sheet. Drizzle with a healthy amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and the paprika and mix together. When the oven is hot enough, put it into the oven on the middle rack.

Put some olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. While that heats up, cut the onions into thin rings and then add them to the pan. While those begin to cook down, pull the kale off of the stalk and rinse and dry. Add in the kale once most of the moisture is gone, stirring it into the oil and onion mixture. It will start to wilt. Add in the wine now. Keep stirring it, getting even heat on all of the greens.  When it is soft and a dark, bright green, turn off your heat and push the greens and onions to the outside ring of the pan, make an area in the center for the sausage. Cut the sausage into 1/4 inch coins and, after turning the heat back on to medium, fill the hole with sausage. Keep an eye on it and turn it when it starts to get brown.

By now the cauliflower should be well roasted. This is where it gets messy. Using a cuisinart (or other chopping device), shred the (hot) cauliflower (using the shredding disk) and transfer all of the shredded cauli back to the pan. Put in the standard blade and add in half of the mixture. Add in half of the milk, half of the sage, half of the nutmeg and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Then do the same with the other half of the cauli. 

Image

 

Image

The salad is the easiest part. Chop the tomatoes roughly, skin the two types of cucumbers and chop roughly. Put them both in a bowl and add the balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Then chop the basil and mix.

Image

Cut the barrata evenly between the number of eaters and plate. We put the salad in a bowl to keep it from messing with the stamppot boerenkool bit.

Image

Yup. Delish. And totally in line with my mood. 

 

* I don’t believe one type of diet is correct for everyone. Listen to your body, not mine. Mine tells me that starchy foods make me feel tired and heavy. Yours may say that fruit makes you hyper, or veggies make you gassy, or whatever. My point is: listen to YOUR body. And eat what makes you happy AND healthy. 

Tomato and Basil Quinoa

ImageAs mentioned in the last post, we are heading out of town and I am trying to use up all of the fresh veg before we go. Stupidly, on Tuesday, I bought a branch of tomatoes forgetting this fact. And the other day when I was going through the veg drawer? Four halves of yellow or white onions. No bueno. I also had a basil plant sitting on my sill that I know will go kaplewy with no water for eight days. Sounds like the perfect makings of a delicious pasta dish, no? Oh. Right. No pasta.

So let’s substitute in some quinoa, add in some fresh oregano from the garden, some chili flakes and some parm. And it was DELICIOUS! A bit onion-y…but I like onion-y.

Ingredients

  • five tomatoes chopped in medium chunks
  • one large bell pepper
  • three half onions 🙂 chopped medium/fine
  • two large stalks of fresh oregano
  • one cup of quinoa
  • two cups of chicken stock
  • one cup (before chopping) of basil, chopped
  • chili pepper flakes to taste
  • salt/pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • grated parmesan

ImageThe process on this one was fairly simple. Before I started, I went to the garden and grabbed two long stalks of oregano. I had too much in the end but I hate having to run back down. I measured out the quinoa and then chicken stock. Cleaned and chopped about two tablespoons of oregano (after chopping). Added some salt and pepper. Brought it to a boil. Stirred all of the ingredients. Brought the temperature down to a simmer and covered. I then let that sit for about 15 minutes.

ImageIn a large saute pan, I heated some olive oil and, when hot, added the chopped onion with a bit of salt. While that became soft (stirring occasionally), I chopped the tomatoes and then added them (and ALL of the juice I could keep) to the pan. While that began to cook, I chopped the bell pepper into small pieces and then added them to the pan. Next, I plucked all of the basil off of the plant and then chopped that into medium pieces, adding them to the pan. Then another two tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano. And then a dash of chili flakes. As the other flavors in this were relatively mild, I added more chili flakes then I normally would. A little bit of heat can be a great thing! After mixing it all up, it sat for a good ten minutes, melding all of the juices and softening the tomatoes and pepper. 

ImageWhen the quinoa was cooked, I turned it off and set it aside until the rest of the mixture was ready. When it was, I dumped the whole pot of quinoa into the saute pan so that it could soak up all of the yummy juices. Then came the balsamic. I would add, stir, then taste, repeating until it had the right amount of bite. At this point, the gas was on low/simmer. This is when you add the parm. Add as much as you want. It doesn’t hurt it. Hubs isn’t a HUGE cheese guy so I only added a bit, with more to add if anyone wanted some later. 

And that was it! A big hit in our house, too. It would have done well with spinach, too. Or even steamed broccoli.

Caprese Salad with Lamb Sausage — A leftover lunch

There is something really fulfiling about eating a meal that is either 100% farmer’s market or from the garden. In a few weeks when my tomatoes come in, there will be more garden meals…but for now, I am 100% farmer’s market at today’s lunch. And holy moly was it delish.

Image

 

I sliced the two leftover Prather Ranch Lamb Sausages lengthwise and dropped them flat into a hot pan. I sliced the mozzarella and tomatoes and arranged them, alternating, on the plate. I chiffonaded some basil from the garden and added a bit of balsamic glaze, fancy fluer de sel and pepper. When the sausage was cooked (having flipped it halfway through to brown both sides), I topped it with some spicy mustard. 

Fast and easy lunch…and using the ingredients from the zucchini ribbon pasta that I hadn’t finished up.  Yum.

 

 

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta with Lamb Sausage and Spinach

 

With our entire crew ill more often than not the past two weeks, we were all craving a bit of comfort food. The no-starch goal greatly encumbers this desire. We ended up with zucchini ribbon pasta with spinach, herbs, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and lamb sausage from the farmer’s market.Image

 

Ingredients:

  • Four green zucchinis
  • Pasta sauce of your choosing
  • Fresh spinach
  • Basil, oregano, parsley or herbs of your choosing
  • Lamb sausage
  • Mozzarella
  • Tomatoes
  • Yellow Onion

Image

The first thing you will need to do is “ribbon” the zucchini. I used my mandolin but you can also use a veggie peeler. Cut the ends off and run it through trying to make the longest thinnest strips.

Image

After chopping the onion and softening half of the pile in a bit of olive oil, I tossed in the zucchini, a bit more olive oil, some salt and pepper. I let it cook down, turning often and gently.

While that is cooking, I dismantle the lamb sausage, taking the lamb out of the casing and chopping the meat into smaller pieces. Back at the oven, in a separate saute pan, I heat the rest of the onion in a bit of olive oil and, once soft, add the lamb sausage.  As it is browning and the zucchini softens, I chop the tomatoes, herbs and ready the spinach. Also chop the mozzarella into smaller bits…but set those aside.

This last bit will go quickly so it is good to have all of the ingredients ready and at hand. 

Separating the remaining ingredients between the two saute pans, add the spinach, tomatoes and herbs and pour as much pasta sauce on the zucchini as desired. It soaks up quite a bit, so be prepared with more than you think. 

Add the mozzarella chunks to the meat pan. Having more room in the pan helps the cheese melt.

Image

Almost there! When the spinach has wilted, mix the two sets of ingredients together. Voila! Delicious sort of pasta.

I served it with freshly grated parm.