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Archive for August, 2011

Penne w/Cheese, Squash & Tomatoes

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Pasta w/cheese, pattypan squash & tomatoes

This is the last of the white pasta in the house (and before I realized my jeans no longer fit). From hereon out, we’re back to whole wheat pastas…and lately, soups (out of season for many of you but perfect for SF year round) and salads.

Last week, we didn’t feel like going out but didn’t have a meal planned, so this was put together on the fly. I boiled some penne in salted water and sauteed shredded pattypan squash in a bit of butter (from our Paso Robles trip several weeks ago…its amazing how long squash can last on the counter!). Once the pasta was ready, I mixed in the squash, a pat of butter, some shredded cheese (whatever we found in the fridge: parmesan, goat pimento and edam), cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market, salt and pepper.

Easy, simple and flavorful!

Lake Tahoe
View from our cabin in Lake Tahoe last weekend

Categories: pasta, vegetarian Tags: ,

Summer Farro Salad

August 29, 2011 1 comment

Summer Farro Salad

Though we generally eat fairly healthy, we can always stand to eat healthier. We had started a backslide into white rice, white pasta and cookies so it is time to right the ship again (though you will see a few recipes for cookies and white pasta in the coming days as I work through the backlog).

I’ve never cooked farro but have had some delicious farro salads at restaurants, most recently a Marinated Farro Salad with romano beans, pickled cucumbers, radish & ricotta salata from Ragazza.The farro cooks up amazingly fast (15 minutes!) so this can easily be a weeknight meal…especially if you cook the farro the night before (to accommodate for cooling time). We’ll be making more farro around here because I like the nutty, chewy farro and all the fresh vegetables you can easily include. I’m looking forward to making Farro Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Parmesan next time.

Though this salad is vegetarian, it was hearty enough for dinner (even the Midwestern boy concurs!) and the leftovers made a great lunch! If you want meat, you can easily add that too. I think I’ll be bringing something similar to my brother’s upcoming BBQ. Read more…

Categories: food, salad, sides, vegetables, vegetarian Tags: ,

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup

August 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
I love the bright orange of this soup

This weekend, the two of us were cooped up indoors with a cold. When I’m sick (especially when I have a sore throat), I want soup. Usually, I make chao ga (chicken rice porridge) but I had a kabocha squash sitting around and thought I’d try something new.

I have never cooked a kabocha squash before but we bought it because we love red pumpkin curries at Thai restaurants. Because of the squash’s texture, the soup is creamy without requiring any actual cream. The sweetness of the squash is offset by the pancetta and sour cream. Served with some crusty sourdough bread, we had a comforting meal that helped put us on the mend. Read more…

Categories: food, soup, vegetables Tags: ,

Polenta Lasagna

August 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Polenta Lasagna
Yes, its kinda ugly but it tasted good!

There are a few things I will always order if I see it on a menu: polenta and brussels sprouts. My cousin made a vegetarian version of this lasagna a few months ago and it was awesome. You can put whatever you want in it. Hers had portabellas, ricotta, spinach and yellow squash. I made mine with spicy Italian sausage, padron peppers, eggplant, green pattypan squash, and a mixture of parmesan and cheddar cheese.

The recipe is super flexible based on whatever you have around. I think I need to find another brand for polenta in a tube because mine didn’t get as mushy as my cousin’s. Oh well…still good and an easy way to sneak in a lot of vegetables. I could reduce or eliminate the meat entirely.

Polenta Lasagna Read more…

Categories: Italian, pasta Tags: ,

Nem Khao (Laotian Fried Rice Ball Salad)

August 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Chiang Mai
Nem khao from a street vendor in Chiang Mai

In December 2009, I spent 2 weeks in Thailand. My favorite thing about the trip was the food. One of the most memorable dishes was a fried rice ball salad, which I later learned is called Nem Khao.

My friends and I were wandering the street markets in Chiang Mai and stopped at a stall where a woman was frying mystery balls and tossing them with peanuts, ginger, shallots, scallions and what looked like pork skins. After a lot of staring, the woman handed us some mystery balls to try–turned out they were fried balls of seasoned rice! We stood staring a little more before the woman asked if we’d like to buy some…duh! We all shared a serving and I was sold: salty, sweet, sour and crunchy…all in one bite! I found the rice ball salad one more time in Bangkok, but it wasn’t nearly as good…the rice balls were a little stale.

When I got home, my Thai friend identified the dish as Nem Khao, which is a Laotian dish that can also be found in Northern Thailand. As you can imagine, I couldn’t find any restaurants in Chicago that served Nem Khao…and there are only a few restaurants in the Bay Area that serve it. A few weeks ago, my friends took me to Champa Garden in Oakland for the Nem Khao and it was as amazing as I remembered.

As we were eating, I knew I had two choices 1) drive to Oakland every time I have a craving or 2) learn to make it myself. I figured I would try to make it myself and I’m glad I did. This is one of the best dishes I’ve made so far. Read more…

Categories: Asian, food, Thai, travels Tags: , ,

Pan-Roasted Shishito Peppers

August 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Shishito Peppers

One thing I’ve been obsessed with lately is shishito peppers and their cousins, padrona peppers (neither of which are spicy). I’ve had roasted shishito peppers as appetizers and padrona peppers on pizza at restaurants and really enjoyed them. I had never cooked them until last week when Joel picked up a few baskets for me from the Mission Community Market. He also picked up some pork belly ramen to go from HapaRamen for me: Read more…

Bo Ssam sliders & Paso Robles

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Bo Ssam Sliders

In addition to the fried rice previously described, we used the bo ssam leftovers to make pulled pork sliders. I bought brioche mini buns from Draeger’s, warmed up the bo ssam, squirted some gochujang on the meat, and topped it with Vietnamese do chua (pickled carrots & daikon). On the side were some sliced dill pickles, a recipe I am still perfecting. Last night, I tried Andrew Zimmern’s recipe…I’ll know the results in a few days! Read more…