Archive for May, 2010

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Spring Pea-sto

May 16, 2010

Another idea from Rachael Ray…if you know me, you know that I am not typically a big advocate for peas.  My brother loves them, but they are definitely not a go-to veggie for me.  This got rave reviews from some friends over for dinner the other night.  Try it!  You might be surprised.

You will need:

  • 1 lb whole-wheat pasta (I used fusilli)
  • 1 package frozen peas, defrosted (the normal, smallish size)
  • 1/4 c lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 1 c packed fresh basil leaves
  • 6 to 8 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves stripped
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 c grated cheese (R. Ray used Parm, I used Romano), plus a little extra for serving
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Then you…

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.  Cook according to the directions, stopping about 1-2 minutes before al dente (the pasta will continue cooking with the sauce later).  Drain, but save 1 to 2 ladles (or 1/2 to 3/4 c) of the starchy water for the sauce.
  2. Place 1/2 of the peas in the bottom of a large serving dish. Place the rest of the peas in a food processor with the pine nuts, basil, tarragon leaves, lemon zest, and cheese. Add a little salt and pepper and then process the pesto into a rough paste, adding the olive oil through the feed tube. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Pour starchy pasta water over the peas in the bowl. Mix in the pesto. Pour hot, drained pasta over the pesto and mix well. Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve with the extra cheese!
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Stuffed Portobello

May 4, 2010

Sometimes I want something earthy and filling, like these portobello caps stuffed with veggies and topped with cheese.  You can vary what veggies you throw in, and it will keep on being a crowd pleaser.

You will need…

  • 3 large portobello caps (about 6 oz)
  • 2 T butter
  • 4 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 oz grape tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or run through a micrograter
  • 6 or so stalks of asparagus, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c seasoned bread crumbs (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 c panko crumbs
  • 1/2 c shredded cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Then you…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Remove the stems (if any) from the mushroom caps.  Place the caps gill-side up on the baking sheet.
  3. Chop the stems and add them to a medium skillet with the butter.  Add in the chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions and garlic.  When there’s very little liquid left, add the asparagus.  Cook about another 5 minutes, or until the asparagus is just starting to turn tender.
  4. Remove from heat.  Mix in the bread crumbs, panko and cheese.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Top each cap with the mixture and sprinkle with a little extra cheese.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes, until the caps are cooked through and the filling is hot.

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Grape Pie

May 1, 2010

Happy May Day!  In celebration I made a grape pie!  I came across the recipe a few years ago and was intrigued…what was a grape pie?  I’d never heard of one.  Now I’ve made one, and it’s delicious.  When you are eating it, it doesn’t really remind you of grapes though.  I thought it was like strawberry-rhubarb, while my friends thought it was like cherry.  Try it and see what you think!  It’s super simple.

You will need…

  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts
  • 8 c seedless red grapes, about 2 1/2 lbs (it turns into about 3 1/2 c after prep)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/3 c cornstarch
  • 1 T nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Cinnamon sugar, optional for top of pie

Then you…

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.  Grease a pie plate and line with the first crust.  Be sure the crust comes up the top of the sides of the plate, so that you can “seal” it with the top crust.  Brush the edges with the beaten egg.
  2. Wash your grapes and pat dry.
  3. In a food processor, chop your grapes until rather small (you don’t need it to be puree smooth).  You may need to do this in batches.  Pour the blended grapes into a strainer.  Push down to get as much of the liquid out as you can.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch and nutmeg.  Mix well.
  5. Stir in the blended grapes.
  6. Pour the grape mixture into the pie crust.
  7. Brush the edges of the second crust with the beaten egg.  With the egg-y side down, place the crust on top of the pie.  Seal the edges.
  8. Cut several slits to vent the pie while baking.  Brush the top with more of the egg. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (optional).
  9. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.  I baked mine on a cookie sheet just in case it became too bubbly!
  10. Allow to rest for about 30 minutes before you try to slice this one.  Otherwise the filling will be a bit runny and not have had time to set yet!

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