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Another one of those just-an-idea posts, inspired by an al fresco lunch at Pentimento on Long Island: season and sear fresh tuna; remove from pan and dice; sweat minced garlic and shallots in evoo in same pan; add baby kale (or spinach or other baby greens) and cook until just begins to wilt; add cooked pappardelle pasta, some pasta water, lemon juice, grated parmesan cheese, and more evoo; stir to emulsify and create a sauce; toss in diced tuna at the very last minute just to warm; garnish with sliced scallions and more grated parmesan.

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2 10-oz packages extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 assorted bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 10-oz mushrooms (I used cremini, but any will do)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2/3 cup white wine
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Cut each block of tofu into 7 slices. Arrange on a sheet pan and place another sheet pan on top of it. Weigh the top down and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain and pat tofu dry.
3. Cook tofu in broiler for 5 minutes per side, or until dried out and golden brown. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F.
4. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and Italian seasoning and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 7-10 minutes.
5. Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce by 3/4.
6. Add the tomatoes and reduce liquid by half. Then lower heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
7. Arrange half of the tofu in the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with half the sauce mixture. Layer the rest of the tofu on top, and finish with the rest of the sauce.
8. Bake for 30 minutes.

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This is attempt #2 at testing this recipe. I think this newer version is better than this previous attempt.

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp curry powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 stalks celery, medium dice
1 medium onion, medium dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch knob fresh ginger, minced
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 avocados, sliced or diced, for garnish (optional, but highly recommended)
Lime juice, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Toss the carrots with 1 Tbsp olive oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast for 25 minutes, or until dark brown and tender.
3. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery and onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the carrots to the pot and cover by 1 inch with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
5. Puree the soup using an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and stir in coconut milk.
6. Garnish soup with avocado and freshly squeezed lime juice (optional). Fresh chopped cilantro would also be a great garnish.

Serves 4 (entree)-6 (appetizer)

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340 grams (12 oz) broccoli
2 cloves garlic
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup half and half
30 grams parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for passing
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti

1. Steam the broccoli until tender and then place in a food processor.
2. Add the garlic, lemon zest and juice, half and half, and parmesan cheese to the food processor and blend until smooth and incorporated.
3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Cook the spaghetti to al dente. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking water.
5. Toss the spaghetti with the broccoli pesto, adding cooking water as needed until it reaches desired consistency.
6. Pass finely grated parmesan cheese and black pepper to garnish.

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It’s Spring, and I must accept it. I, the minority, am annoyed with the lack of the white stuff this winter, and the reality that I’ll have to let another year pass before I’ll be able to cruise down a mountain tumble down a hill on my snowboard on my butt.

To comfort my sorrows, I whipped up a big batch of arugula pesto. And it worked. I mean, who could complain while eating something that looks like this?:

In a food processor, combine arugula, Parmesan cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, and S & P, using water to thin it out to the desired consistency. Since only a small amount of arugula will fit in the food processor at a time, continue to add more arugula in batches, adjusting the other ingredients and seasoning to your taste.

I tossed the pesto with bow tie pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and a bit more grated Parmesan cheese on top.

And though I’m still not completely ready to start a new season, I look forward to the pesto.

One of my favorite veggies, Brussels sprouts are quirky, adorable, stinky and–gulp–healthy. They are surprisingly versatile, but for this preparation, I stuck to simple.

Steam the Brussels sprouts whole until tender. Saute over high heat in brown butter, adding thinly sliced garlic about halfway through. Once the garlic is golden brown and the outer leaves of the sprouts have blistered, season with S & P and be done with it.