Egg Wonton Ravioli with Arugula & Ricotta

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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These are pretty easy to pull off, despite the fragility of the eggs.  You could do these ravioli with proper pasta dough but wonton wrappers really do work in a pinch.   I used small round ones.  I do not recommend that.  I’d go square & either leave them square or use a cookie cutter or rim of a glass to cut them round.  These round wrappers were pretty small & left little room for error – especially as the tight squeeze threatened to rupture the egg.

These could be made with any filling at all.  Anything.  I used an arugula & ricotta mix but spinach or goat cheese or sweet potato or whatever would work.  This recipe would make about 6-10 ravioli, depending how large you go.   While this recipe only shows a ravioli made with egg – my recommendation is that you only make one egg ravioli per person & make the rest just stuffed with whatever else you are using.   The egg adds a great creaminess but an egg in every ravioli might get overwhelming.  If the egg grosses you out – blow it off completely.  Or – maybe consider just making one of these per person – as an appetizer.

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Egg Wonton Ravioli with Arugula & Ricotta

(for two)

INGREDIENTS

Wonton skins (12-24 – depending on how large you make them)

2 eggs

2 cups arugula

4 garlic cloves

Olive oil

1/4 cup ricotta

1/2 cup Parmesan

S&P to taste

Parmesan, olive oil & parsley – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Heat a TBS or two of olive oil in a pan.  Add the garlic for about 30 seconds & then the arugula for about another 30 seconds until wilted.  Puree the arugula with the ricotta & Parmesan in a food processor or chop the arugula & mix well with the cheeses in a bowl.   Add S&P to taste.

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Lay out some wonton skins.  Put a small amount of the arugula mix on the wontons.  Create a well in two of them to accommodate & secure the egg yolks.  Crack an egg & separate the yolks & whites – reserving the whites in a bowl.  Carefully place the yolks into the little wells you created.  Whisk the whites a bit & brush the edges of the wontons with it.  Top with another wonton, carefully squeezing the edges sealed while also trying to work out any excess air pockets.  My ravioli were so tight, I had to pinch them with my fingers & really manhandle the whole thing but, if you were listening, you got larger wontons & you have some room to spare.  Fork tines might work to seal the edges, in that case.

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Boil water & lower the heat so the boil isn’t so intense that it assaults (and breaks) your ravioli.  Boil about 3 minutes for the egg ones – three to four minutes for the others.  Carefully remove with a slotted spoon & place on plates – serving each person one of the eggy ravioli.  Top with a drizzle of olive oil, some grated Parmesan, some chopped parsley & some freshly ground pepper.  Serve immediately!  Use some nice bread to sop up any leftover cheesy egg mixture.  Rejoice!

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Zucchini Squash Blossom Pizza

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Squash blossoms are beautiful to look at, fragile to the touch & fun to eat.  They have a delicate flavor & are most often served stuffed & fried – like mine HERE.

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They are also pretty hard to come by.  You are most likely to find them at a farmer’s market.  I was lucky enough to find them at the amazing Super King – but they only had them for a few weeks.  I also made quesadillas with them – HERE.

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And – finally – I made this pizza.  I used Ricotta Salata on top (in addition to fresh mozzarella underneath), also from Super King, but I recommend you use a more melt-friendly cheese.  Fresh mozzarella might be best or one of the store-bought grated blends.  Other than that – this is just a pizza like any other – except it is covered in pretty flowers.

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Zucchini Squash Blossom Pizza

INGREDIENTS

Zucchini squash blossoms

Pizza dough (mine in HERE)

Marinara (mine is HERE)

Cheese (fresh mozzarella recommended)

Chopped jalapeno (optional)

Chopped tomato & basil or parsley as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Pinch the pistils from the center of the blossoms, wash the blossoms & set out to dry.

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Heat your oven to 450-500 degrees.  Be sure it is at that temperature before putting a pizza in there.

Roll out the dough to your liking.  Top with marinara, mozzarella & blossoms and more cheese.

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If using diced jalapeno – you can opt to add them now or wait until the pizza is cooked.

Then bake the pizza 10-12 minutes or until the crust is browned & crispy & the cheese is melted goodness (a goal which my ricotta salata was unable to reach – hence my suggestion you not use it).

Eat the whole thing alone, destroy all evidence & deny it ever happened.

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Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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LARGE BathingandthesinglegirlOrangeV52

My debut novel is out!  Check it out!  I think it is HILARIOUS!  I hope you will, too!

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Very quickly – let me report a story of frustration, disgust, financial devastation & simple kindness.  In March, while I was celebrating an anniversary of sorts in Memphis with this shady character,

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my housesitter reported that the tub had backed up with black sludge & wasn’t draining at all – even over an entire day.  I had been out of town for a week already & was remaining away for nearly another week which meant he had to handle the plumber situation for me.  I got a great referral & the plumber fixed the problem for $650 but left my dining room looking like this.

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A few months later, another bathroom on a lower floor also began to back up but, this time, with raw sewage.  Ugh!  When the same plumber came to deal with that issue – he noticed I had hung a piece of art over that hole in the dining room wall.

“You haven’t repaired that hole yet?”

No.

“You might just want to leave that art there then.  Because it is just a matter of time until I will need to get back in there.”

Say, what?  I had all the plumbing replaced on this house when I bought it 16 years ago.  Why should I be facing recurring issues like this?

He mumbled something about “old pipes” and went to the yard to access the clean out thingy & snake the main line.  Lots of drama & a high pressure water thing & the house seemed restored.  This was another $500.  The work was guaranteed for 6 months.  Six months & two weeks later – the sewage problem recurred – this time – flooding a carpeted room with the foulest waste and dumping said foul sewage into my yard, too.   Good-naturedly, he fixed the pipe again & for free, but I still had to get Stanley Steamer out to salvage the carpet and I did a bit of human waste removal myself in the yard so that it would be safe for dogs.  YUCK!  He gave me a long sob story about his truck getting stolen with $50K worth of tools in it that were uninsured.  For this reason, he was unable to give me any real estimates on my options to more permanently solve my “roots in the pipe” plumbing issue.  He told me to call him in a few weeks & said that when he had replaced his equipment – he would come bid options like some resin coating that is guaranteed for 30 years but costs $100 a foot (and my line to the main sewer is over a hundred feet long, easy, even by my own estimation).  I’m not sure if I can think of a less sexy way to spend $10K.  $10K spent INSIDE my house would make this place feel like I had moved up in the world.  I could change/fix everything that needs it so badly – from floors to painting to tile repair.  But spending $10k for underground pipes, more than half of which are under my neighbor’s yards & under the sidewalk & street – well – that just feels like losing it in a fire.

Fast forward 6-8 weeks from that SECOND repair job.  Oh no!  Raw sewage again – in both the lower bath & the yard!  Criminy!  I called my plumber.  Oh, yeah – he is on vacation because he is getting married this weekend.  “Call Mike Diamond.  They will charge you $99,” he says & hangs up.

Yeah, well, Mike Diamond wanted $350 to clear the line with ZERO warranty.  I complained.  They said I should call Roto Rooter.  I did.  $450 – but with a 3 month warranty.  So – I did that.  And then because the repair guy seemed SO nice – I asked him to bid a more permanent solution because, at this rate, I’d need emergency repairs every three months at $500 a pop.  He ran a camera or something and came back & said that the bad news was that a section of pipe was nearly destroyed by roots & the issue would definitely keep repeating but the good news was that the damaged pipe was in an easily accessible area of my yard – rather than under a deck or something in my neighbor’s yard.  The cost to fix it?  $3600.  And that resin stuff that my other plumber said costs $100 a foot – Roto Rooter does for $50 foot but, it seems, I have 183 feet of pipe to reach the city sewer.  That would be a $15,000 job!

So – I bite down hard & agree to the $3600.  They were here yesterday in sweltering heat, digging a trench & cutting roots & whatever else they do.  At lunch time, the repair guy knocked on my door & said they were going to lunch.  He asked if I cared to join them.  I said thank you, but no.

“What?  You don’t like Chinese?”

After some back & forth with him – with me declining all offers of food – he asked, “If you get Chinese – what do you order?”

“Shrimp or veggies,” I said.  “But don’t get me anything!  Really!”

An hour later – he delivered a piping hot container of shrimp fried rice to my door!  Can you believe how sweet?  I had it for lunch & dinner yesterday.  And I nearly cried into it – overcome by disproportionate gratitude that someone out there saw that I needed a weency bit of kindness.

And, when the work was done, he brought this pipe to my door to show me the problems.

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Look at the image of the roots!  Am I supposed to believe that those grew like that in just the last 6-8 weeks since my plumber was last here?   I asked the Roto Rooter guy.  Years, he said.  Years.  And there is no way it had been cleared in the last two months – let alone twice in the last 8 months.  He believes my old plumber was just meting out temporary fixes to either keep making $500 every six months off of me or to get me so panicked that I went for a far more costly repair.   When I mentioned that I had been told to leave the dining room wall open for future access he said, “Uhm – isn’t that a red flag for you?”

And so there you have it.  I’m $3600 poorer but I had a lot of shrimp fried rice for that money.  And my new guy said that the warranty on the drainage for the entire line would be for a year.  He also told me to call him in 11 months & he would do a “warranty servicing” on the pipe for free – as the work would still be covered – thereby extending the one year warranty to two.  Aw!  See?  There are still nice folks out there and, right about now, I REALLY needed to cross paths with one.

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This dish is SO easy & outrageously delicious!  It is also genuinely spicy but you can control that level yourself.  I used Japanese eggplant – at least I think they are Japanese.  They are long & thin – like a forearm.  You can use any kind you find available.  With rice, this would feed two people very well.

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Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant

INGREDIENTS

2 large Japanese eggplants (or 1 large regular one or equivalent) – cut into 1 inch cubes

1 onion – diced

Thai basil (or red basil or regular basil) – chopped – optional

Sesame oil

Coconut oil

6 garlic cloves – chopped

4 TBS minced ginger (I used jarred)

3 TBS brown sugar

1 TBS sriracha

2 TBS sambal oelek (or chili garlic sauce)

2 tsp molasses

3 TBS reduced sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used homemade I had leftover but jarred or canned is fine)

1 TBS rice vinegar

1 TBS white vinegar

Crushed red pepper

Salt

Sesame seeds

1/2 cup water

Scallions – green parts sliced – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

One reader recently expressed disgust with the quantities of oil & soy sauce I used in this.  If you are looking for a lighter dish with less sodium – use a low sodium soy sauce ( I ALWAYS do) and/or use less of it & cut the oil to the minimum required to cook each step of the recipe without it getting too dry or burned.  In fairness – there really is a generous amount of oil in my directions below & cutting it down won’t hurt flavor much – if at all.

Heat 2-3 TBS sesame oil in a pan & add the eggplant.  Add a little salt & some crushed red pepper.  Saute over medium heat until tender but not mushy.  Maybe 5-8 minutes.  Set aside in a bowl.

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Using the same pan, heat 1 TBS coconut oil & saute the onion with a bit of crushed red pepper.  When soft – add to the bowl with the eggplant.

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In the same pan, heat 1-2 TBS coconut oil.  Add 2-3 TBS sesame seeds & the garlic & the ginger.  When the garlic begins to brown add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, srirachasambal oelek (or chili garlic sauce), molasses, soy sauce, rice vinegar, white vinegar & water.  Simmer over med-low heat for ten minutes.  Add the eggplant & onions & simmer another 5 minutes.  Stir in some chopped basil (if using).

Serve over rice garnished with additional chopped basil, the scallions & some additional sesame seeds.  Drizzle with a small amount of sesame oil.

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Saffron Risotto with Asparagus & Fava Beans, Ziplock Omelettes, Pasta with Watercress & Lemon Cream and Disturbing Pedicures

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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YUP!  I wrote a very funny novel!  I hope you will read it!  www.BathingBook.com

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OK.  First of all, let me say that I like risotto.  A lot.  But I am finding that, when I make it, it tastes pretty much the same no matter what I use as the highlight ingredients.  That can be disappointing.  Also – there is an art to cooking it just right & to not presenting some waterlogged, mushy rice mess.  The risotto I made last night disappointed me primarily because the saffron color & flavor both somehow got lost.  That was certainly not the case with my Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower.

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That pasta dish was exactly as delicious as it is stunning to see.  But my risotto – not so much.  I’m not saying it didn’t taste good.  It did.  But it has no big wow factor.  So – I am going to use this blog to post a few different items I’ve made that, while I recommend them, I didn’t feel they merited their own post.

But first – let me tell you about a recent experience I had at the nail salon.  This week, my friend Laura is in town from Boston.  She suggested that she & I (and her 12 year old daughter) all go for pedicures & maybe some lunch.  Sounded good to me so I picked them up & brought them to my local, strip mall nail salon.  When I go on my own, I just sit in the regular chairs & eschew the massage chairs because 1) they add $4 to the tab & 2) I think massage chairs are pretty lame.  But, Laura & her daughter were already planted in them & Laura insisted that I join them for the experience.  As I crawled into my chair, Laura said, “Hey!  This chair is pinching my butt!”  I made some lame joke about being desperate & lonely enough to welcome a little grab ass from an electronic chair & plopped myself down.  Now, I don’t know if there is a default setting on the chairs or if the staff sets them a certain way or if you just get it the way the last resident left it but my chair was on full assault mode.  The remote control for it was more complicated than trying to set a VCR to record a TV show & so, as I fumbled, I was victim to the existing settings.  The settings included words like “flap” & “knock” & “knead.”  Flap?  What the fuck is flapping?  I knew what knocking was because it was actively happening to me.  I felt like I was at Super King in the sorry position of standing in front of an especially impatient (and rude) woman with a mustache, black socks & Jesus boots prodding me from behind, angling to cut me in line at the cheese case.  I was in the middle of trying to express something or other to Laura when the chair commenced its “lower body” massage.  I froze mid-word, clamped my mouth shut & my eyes widened in surprise & horror.  Laura looked back at me & knew exactly what had just begun with my chair.  “Right?” she asked rhetorically, her eyes as wide as mine.  And she laughed.  The butt pinching she had mentioned was no butt pinching at all.  It was more like there was a little person under the chair wearing a boxing glove – who was using that boxing glove to massage our taints.  The glove rolled around, providing pressure from front to back & back to front again.  It was very disconcerting and, quite frankly, a shocking violation.  Who thinks they are going to get a vulva massage at a low end nail salon?  Not me.  Was this some sort of “happy ending” house of prostitution?  Did this require a bigger tip?  Ugh!  And if you think sleeping in a cheap motel on a bed with sheets of questionable sanitation is gross – just think of the places that boxing glove has been!

“OMG!  How do I turn it off?!”  I was panicking.

Laura was laughing and, sotto voce, asked, “What do you think…” and she subtly gestured over her shoulder where her 12-year-old daughter sat placidly in her chair.  Oh jeez!  Was that chair molesting her daughter, too?  These chairs had succeeded in freaking out a jaded 48-year-old & a mother of two.  What damage was that third one doing to the psyche of Laura’s innocent middle-schooler?  Methinks – in retrospect – that her chair must have been set differently because, if she was getting the full “lower body” treatment (vagina massage!  Let’s call a spade a spade here) – she gave no indication & I have a really hard time believing anybody could field the initial goosing & not have THIS reaction:

So – after much fumbling, I managed to get the pelvic exam part of the massage to stop.  But in my panic, I apparently upped the “knocking” part & couldn’t turn that off.  I tried to ask Laura but I was getting punched so hard, my speaking voice got all choppy – like I was Katherine Hepburn in the final grip of Parkinson’s.  “La-a-aur-a?  H-how do-o-oo you-ou t-t-u-uh-urn th-is-is o-o-offf?”  While I was speaking, I looked down at myself & noticed that my boobs & every other loose bit on my frame (and there are lots of bits looser than I would like) were being jostled around like a bowl of Jello.  I looked at Laura, a woman gifted in the breast department, and saw her body also looked like it was being wrestled by one of those old-fashioned fat loss jiggle machines.

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By the way – I am old enough to have belonged to a gym in Boston (Gloria Stevens) that actually HAD those things AND the stupid roller machines.

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Jesus.  Had I known what this chair would get up to – I might have worn a corset or some other support device.   A full body Spanx.  Something.  A wet suit.

As Laura and I jiggled & giggled & poked randomly at the remotes to no avail – ah, yes!  Cue the creepy male proprietor.  Here he comes to position himself before the display of waggling female appendages.  He not only stood there taking it all in – he also engaged us in conversation & passed his phone between us – sharing his remarkable weight loss photos.  This effectively kept us from being able to focus on our remotes & end the shaking that would eventually take a harder toll on our boobs than gravity.  “Oh, yes!  I see!” we said, politely enthusiastic.

“Exercise & eating!  I eat a lot of cheese!” he declared.

Good for you, buddy.  Now take your “before & after” photos & your prominent moles with three-inch whiskers dangling from them & get outta here!  I need to adjust my bra straps!

Eventually, we were able to get the chairs to settle down & we got down to the business of the pedicures.  Here is a photo of Laura & me – exhibiting the post-rough-sex glow we had – courtesy of those perverted chairs with anger issues.

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Notice the Bat phone in the background?  Look at this thing.

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Maybe Fu Manchu there was more than just a thinned down, lusty boob man.  Maybe he was a superhero & this was his special superhero phone?  They also had this throwback-looking thing.

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Maybe that was his teleporter.  I have no way of knowing.  What I do know is that I got glittery, red toenails meant to draw your eye from my increasingly problematic bunions.

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Are feet copacetic in a food blog?  Likely not – and for that – I apologize.

I also know that when we went to lunch – I opted not to take any chances on this place –

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– because I still felt violated by the massage chair & was in no shape to roll the dice on the “anal beer” these guys seem so proud of.  Even if it is served ice cold.

That really is an unfortunate breakdown of a perfectly decent word, no?

Alright – now that I’ve gotten that off my chest – I can share a few underwhelming recipes!  YAY!

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I grilled shrimp for this but you can lose them if you want to.

Saffron Risotto with Grilled Shrimp, Asparagus & Fava Beans

INGREDIENTS

Shrimp (optional)

2 cups Arborio (risotto) rice

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

4 cups stock (I make 5 just in case the risotto needs overcooking)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1 large shallot (or small onion)

Asparagus

Saffron (3 TBS of the liquid or a generous pinch of saffron threads steeped in 3 TBS hot water)

1 (16 oz) can fava beans (or white beans of any kind)

4 cloves garlic – minced (or to taste)

olive oil

S&P

1/2 lemon

Basil or parsley as garnish (I happened to have red basil)

DIRECTIONS

Put the shrimp (if using) in a Ziplock bag or a bowl & squeeze the 1/2 lemon over them.  Add a glug or two of olive oil & some S&P and maybe a minced garlic clove or two.  Blend well.  Set aside.

Drain the fava beans & puree in a food processor.  Set aside.

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Hold each asparagus spear by the far ends & bend until they snap.  They will naturally break at the point that the spear is too tough to eat.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a stock pot.  Add the asparagus & some garlic & saute about 3 minutes over medium heat or until the asparagus is vibrant & softens a bit.  Set aside but keep the pan for re-use.

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Grill or pan-fry the shrimp until just pink.  Set aside.

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In a clean pan – heat the stock to just simmering & keep it there.  Add the saffron to this stock.

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in the asparagus pan.  Add the shallot (or onion) and saute until soft – about 3 minutes.  Add garlic & the rice & saute for about 2 minutes over medium-high heat – stirring constantly – until the rice is translucent at the edges.

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Add the wine (if using) & cook for a minute or so.  Then, add the stock in 1/2 to 1 cup increments, stirring almost constantly and allowing the liquid to be mostly absorbed before adding more.  You might need more or less stock – depending on the softness you like – but do not add so much that the rice is mushy.   Be sure to add enough broth, though, so that the risotto is creamy.

Add the asparagus & the cheese & the pureed beans.  Serve with grilled shrimp on top & with some chopped herbs.

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OK!   Onto another recipe that I could not post because I hate all the photos I took of it.  That is really the only reason – as it is quite tasty.

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That is my Watercress & Lemon Cream Stacenate (stracnar) Pasta.  It is the same pasta I made for this dish:

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That is Stracnar (Stracenate) Pasta with a Pan-Fried Cauliflower, Tomato & Clam Ragu using the labor-intensive but really pretty cavarola-boarded pasta.

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I don’t expect anyone to hunt down a cavarola board & make this stuff – so – just use bowtie pasta or something.

Watercress & Lemon Cream Pasta

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb bow-tie pasta (or pappardelle or something)

4 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup ricotta

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (plus extra for garnish)

1 bunch watercress

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves – minced

juice & zest of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBS pepper

1 tomato – diced (optional – but it would add nice color)

Parsley or basil or reserved watercress as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Wash the watercress & remove any large stems.  Chop it up.

Heat the olive oil in a pan & add the minced garlic.  Saute 1 minute & then add the cream cheese, ricotta, Parmesan, juice & zest of the lemon and the S&P.  Blend & heat through.

Cook the pasta.  Drain & toss with the lemon cream sauce, add the watercress & serve topped with chopped herbs & tomatoes (if using) and lots of ground pepper.

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And lastly – this dish – Ziplock Baggy Boiled Omelettes.

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I saw this posted on my friend Cheryl Patrick Van Allen’s Facebook page & tried it out immediately.   Basically – you take eggs & whatever else you want in your omelette & put it all in a resealable baggy.  Squeeze out the air, seal the bag & smoosh everything around until well-blended.

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Whether camping or just serving several folks that require different ingredients in their omelettes – this is an easy way to make a bunch of varied omelettes all at one go & in one pan of boiling water.  Just be sure to write everyone’s name on their bag.

Then – boil them for 13 minutes.  Be careful the plastic doesn’t melt on your pan – a problem that actually bothers me & is a main reason I didn’t post this as a stand-alone recipe.   Folks say the omelette slips out of the bag onto your plate – and it does – but mine slipped out & looked more like an eggy heart than an omelette.

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That isn’t very appetizing.  But – it is nothing a fork & herbs & some peppers cannot fix.

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The other reason I didn’t post this before is because of the controversy about boiling in the bags that are not meant for that task.  It seems that the plastic can leak chemicals etc into your food.  Eh – but that is true of every dish you ever zapped in the microwave in or on something plastic.  I hate microwaving anything because I believe it alters the food in such a way that your body cannot even identify it as food – but I have been known to succumb to the convenience occasionally.  Still – I try to put things (even things meant to be zapped in their packaging) onto paper or glass before the nuking.

So – there you have it – boiled baggy eggy weggies!  Try at your own risk!

You know what isn’t risky?  A bottle of smiley face wine!

Bon appetit!

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Massaged Kale and Avocado Caesar Salad Dressing with Jalapeno & Cilantro

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is an easy salad & better for you that the traditional Caesar with romaine.  I made a different dressing for it than I am posting here (a traditional Caesar dressing) – but I wasn’t as happy with it as I was with my Avocado Caesar Salad Dressing with Jalapeno & Cilantro – so I am going to repost that recipe here instead.  The photos do not show that dressing on the kale, however.  Just FYI.

My kale was rather sad & limp so I removed the ribs & tore it into bite-sized chunks & immersed it in ice water for 15 minutes. Worked like a charm!

Massaging the kale changes the color from that uninspired sage green to a vibrant forest green.  No candles or aromatherapy required.

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Massaged Kale and Avocado Caesar Salad Dressing with Jalapeno & Cilantro

INGREDIENTS

Kale

Parmesan cheese – shaved

Croutons (homemade or otherwise)

Lots of freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

Wash the kale in cold water (immerse it for 15 minutes in ice water if you feel it is a bit limp) and spin or pat it dry.  Remove the ribs & tear it up.   Massage it for 2-3 minutes – a good deep tissue massage – until it looks all bright green.

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For the dressing

INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup mayonnaise

2 garlic cloves – chopped or pressed through a garlic press

juice of half a lemon

1 TBS olive oil

1/2 large jalapeno (or more) seeded & chopped

1 ripe avocado

handful fresh cilantro

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

Blend everything in a food processor.  Add more olive oil or WATER if you feel it is too thick.

Toss the kale with some dressing.  Add the cheese & croutons & lots of freshly cracked pepper.  Feel healthy enough to drink a whole bottle of wine with it as your reward.  Now THAT is a happy ending!

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Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes (Vegan Option)

6 Comments

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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That photo is un-retouched & shot in natural light.  So – yes!  That pasta really IS that color!  Pretty to look at but with the delicate flavors of saffron and cauliflower – this is a delightful pasta dish.

I found this great saffron liquid at Super King for $7.

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That is a way cheaper option than saffron threads but saffron threads will be easier to find, I suspect.  I actually made this twice because the first time I made it – I made it with whole wheat fusilli & I didn’t like the photos.  This dish above was made with regular linguini.   The first time I made it, I used white wine & ghee (clarified butter).  The second time, I used regular butter & skipped the wine.  I think they tasted pretty much the same so I am going to post the one I made this morning.  There is only a tiny bit of the heavy cream per serving so do not be alarmed.  It isn’t as rich as you might fear.

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Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes

INGREDIENTS (for two very healthy servings)

1/2 lb dry pasta or your choice

1 small head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets

2 large shallots – minced

2 tomatoes – diced

2 TBS ghee or butter (or vegan alternative)

1/2 cup heavy cream (or vegan alternative – almond milk should work fine)

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

1-2 TBS olive oil

1 generous pinch (1/2 a tsp or more) saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup hot (not boiling) water OR 1 TBS (or more) saffron liquid from a bottle

Crushed red pepper to taste

Salt to taste

White pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

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Heat the olive oil over medium heat & saute the shallots until just soft but not browned.  If using wine – add it now & cook it off for about a minute.  Or just skip ahead.

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Add the ghee or butter and the heavy cream & the saffron.  Simmer over medium heat until it reduces by about half.  Add the tomatoes & the steamed cauliflower.

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Add salt & white pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta according to instructions, drain & add directly to the pan with the saffron sauce.  Combine thoroughly.  Serve with lots of crushed red pepper.

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Asparagus & Basil Pesto and Parsley Cashew Pesto on either Pizza or Pasta

2 Comments

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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As you can see HERE – I have posted about a zillion different pesto recipes.  Cilantrocollard greens, Swiss chardbroccoli & goat cheesebroccoli rabe & pistachiodill & almondspinach & pecanspinachspinach & kalepea pesto and simple kale to name some.  Here is what those recipes looked like – not necessarily in the same order.

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The reasons for this are that pesto is wicked easy to make, full of flavor & an excellent way to put wilted or less than picturesque produce to use.  Pesto can be frozen by putting it into ice cube trays & then, once solid, transferring the cubes to freezer bags with the pesto flavor written on the outside.   You could freeze larger portions in mini or regular muffin pans, too.

OK – so – I had a bunch of asparagus that sat in my fridge a tad longer than I had intended.  Sometimes my fridge has odd drops in temperature & asparagus is very sensitive to extreme cold.  Hence – my spears got a bit soggy looking & several were unsalvageable.

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See?  It wasn’t happy at all.  I had to throw a lot away.  But, though it was well past its sell-by date – about half of it was usable for a pesto.  So that is what I did.

Also – at my favorite place on Earth – Super King – I got 7 huge bunches of parsley for .99 cents.  So – I made a parsley pesto, too.  The two recipes will follow.  They both go very well on pastas or on pizzas and even work as a condiment on sandwiches so – go nuts.  Speaking of nuts, you might notice than none of my pesto recipes use the traditional pine nuts.  That is because they go rancid easily & also because they are often from China – a country about 300 years behind us in their food safety regulations.  Rancid pine nuts might taste OK but they can give you pine mouth.  Here is a bit from the FDA.

“Pine Mouth” and Consumption of Pine Nuts

March 14, 2011 
 

In the past year FDA has received a number of consumer complaints regarding a bitter metallic taste associated with pine nuts. This taste, known as “pine mouth,” typically begins 12 to 48 hours after consuming pine nuts, and lasts on average between a few days and two weeks. It is exacerbated by consumption of any other food during this period and significantly decreases appetite and enjoyment of food. The symptoms decrease over time with no apparent adverse clinical side effects.

In response to increased consumer complaints, FDA developed a detailed questionnaire, and collected and analyzed samples from some consumers submitting complaints. The Agency found that the majority of pine nuts associated with “pine mouth” were eaten in the raw state (either as snacks or as a component of salad or pesto sauce). It also found that consumers did not detect a rancid or off-taste when eating the pine nuts. Finally, FDA was able to confirm that “pine mouth” is an adverse food reaction to pine nuts that is clearly distinct from a typical food allergy.

FDA continues to analyze consumer complaints to identify the potential causes of “pine mouth” and to determine whether the severity of symptoms and likelihood of developing them is related to the amount of pine nuts consumed. FDA will continue to monitor this problem and keep the public posted regarding any new findings.

Consumers experiencing “pine mouth” may contact the FDA District Office in their area. For a list, go to the Consumer Complaint Coordinators page athttp://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm.

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So – that said – I just avoid them altogether.  I find them oily & too rich, anyway.

So – without further adieu – I present the two latest pesto recipes.

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Asparagus & Basil Pesto

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch of asparagus (or as much as you can salvage from a bunch on its last legs)

1 cup basil

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup Parmesan

4 garlic coves (or to taste)

S&P

DIRECTIONS

Hold each asparagus spear by the far ends & bend until they snap.  They will naturally break at the point that the spear is too tough to eat.  You can then blanch them by dunking them in boiling water for about three minutes & then immersing them in ice water or wrap them in a wet paper towel & microwave them for a minute or two.  Chop into 1 inch chunks & set aside.

Toast the walnuts in a dry pan for two or three minutes or until they are fragrant & begin to brown.  Stir the entire time & be careful not to burn them. You can see from this photo below – I burned mine.

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Then – simply blend everything up in a food processor.  You can use more or less olive oil – depending on how thick or thin you prefer your pesto.  Then serve it mixed in with some cooked pasta or smear it on a sandwich or pizza!

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Parsley Cashew Pesto

INGREDIENTS

I bunch of Italian parsley (flat leaf)

2/3 cup chopped cashews (or almonds or walnuts or pecans – or other nuts)

2/3 cup Parmesan

2/3 cup olive oil

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Toast the cashews (or other nuts) in a dry pan for two or three minutes or until they are fragrant & begin to brown.  Stir the entire time & be careful not to burn them.  Then simply puree everything in a food processor.  Again – serve it mixed in with some cooked pasta or smear it on a sandwich or pizza!

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