Archive | October 2015

Leeks Vinaigrette

Once again the need to use something that had been in my fridge for a while provided the basis for this week’s recipe. I don’t remember why I bought it precisely, but I bought a leek awhile ago and needed to do something with it, and I found a recipe for “Leeks Vinaigrette” in the French Market cookbook. Well, since I needed to use the leek, and miraculously had everything on hand (except mustard, I don’t like mustard and avoid it like the plague) I figured I should roll with it.

1 medium leek, halved and sliced lengthwise into ribbons
olive oil
1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
salt
pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 hard-boiled egg

Put the leeks, tossed with a little olive oil, in a smallish pan. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes, or until the leeks are limp but still have some crunch. While the leeks are cooking, mix the garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and a splash of olive oil together. When the leeks are done, toss them with the vinaigrette and let it sit for a few minutes. Once the leeks have marinated a little, stick them on a plate and sprinkle some parsley on top. Chop the hard boiled egg into little pieces and add that on top as well and serve.

leeks vinaigrette

Really good. It’s not spectacular, quite frankly it’s far to basic to be a wow of a dish. But it’s good and with a few slices of bread and cheese makes a lovely and fast meal. It’s a good – I made something cool and elegant-looking with few ingredients and work – dish (totally a thing). I had this with a Reisling, and I think it’d go pretty well with any number of white wines. Honestly, this felt more like a spring dish than a fall one from my perspective. Song of the Week: Habits as done by Postmodern Jukebox. This was insanely hard this week because I’ve basically be obsessively listening to Postmodern Jukebox and Sam Tsui all week and choosing between those two insanely difficult. But Habits won (watch and you will understand). But just go on YouTube and lose yourself in both of their channels.

The Return of Butternut Squash

It really is fall now – chilly nights, leaves turning colors, and overheated apartment buildings (ok, that one’s just me at the moment). The return of fall also means the return of butternut squash! I never ate it much growing up, but I have been fully converted to their awesomeness. So I based this week’s recipe on this 5-ingrediant pasta dish, which I found via Buzzfeed.

Pasta with Squash and Pine Nuts
1/2 a medium butternut squash, chopped
Olive oil
Salt pepper
1-2 ounces goat cheese
3 large cloves garlic
1 cup pasta
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Chop the butternut squash into smallish chunks and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut the tops of the garlic cloves off and stick on a baking sheet with the squash. Roast at 400 until tender. While the squash is roasting, boil the pasta until done (I used macaroni because that was what I had, but the suggestion from the recipe I based this off of was penne). Drain the pasta. Once the squash and garlic are done roasting, mince the garlic. Toss the pasta with the garlic, a little oil, and the goat cheese, add the squash and pine nuts. Serve warm.

pasta with squashThis was really tasty! A bit heavier and more filling than I expected, but extremely tasty. I was surprised that it didn’t take too long to put together either. So you should totally make some sort of version of this! Naturally, since its fall, I have moved on to red wines with dinner. This one was a cab-heavy South African blend. I know I’m pretty skeptical about South African wines, but I’ve had a couple red blends I’ve liked. Song of the Week: Take On Me by A-ha. So this weekend I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which btw, is super entertaining – I totally recommend it. Since part of the point of the book is an obsession with 1980s culture, I listened to an 1980s pop soundtrack while reading it. I was debating a lot about which song should be up for this week, but Take On Me is just so 80s, so it won.

Sunshine Polenta Casserole

Seriously, the weather in DC has been gorgeous for the last week or two. Warm, sunny but without the humidity that makes you die a little that happens in the summer. So I wanted to celebrate the sunshine a bit and have a sunshine-y meal. Naturally, this meant lots of yellow. I was considering lemon cupcakes, but instead I decided to make a casserole. So – I used yellow as my base – polenta – and yellow as my main veggie – yellow bell pepper. The result was very pretty.

sunshine casserole

Sunshine Polenta Casserole
3/4 cup polenta
2 1/4 cup water
salt
pepper
1/3 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/3 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
gouda cheese, grated
olive oil

Boil the water with some salt. Add the polenta and boil, stirring constantly, making sure to get rid of any lumps that formed. Cook until soft and no longer grainy. Spread in a casserole dish and set aside. Toss the onion, bell pepper, and garlic with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on top of the polenta. Then add the dried basil and the grated cheese. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until it starts turning golden. Serve warm.

Oh this was soo good. Fairly simple and easy to throw together, and the flavors all mesh well together. It tastes a little sweet and I think it is very sunshine-y, which of course was the goal. I had this with a Malbec-Syrah blend from Argentina. It might not be cold yet, but I’ve switched to red wine from white. Song of the week: Sunshine Superman by Donovan. I love Donovan; even though his quality is uneven at best his good stuff is gold. This isn’t actually my favorite Donovan song, but it seems particularly apt for the week.

How is this not a Dessert? Apple Kugel

This week I had a terribly difficult time trying to find a new recipe which seemed appealing to do. So I was talking it over with my BFF and she suggested I try making kugel, which I’d never made before, and sent over he family’s favorite recipe, which is for apple kugel. It looked pretty tasty, but going over the recipe I was like, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, apples … wait a sec, is this a dinner dish or a dessert? She assured me it was a dinner dish, although suggested I pair it with something healthy, like a salad.

Apple Kugel
8 ounces egg noddles
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup raisins
2 granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced

Cook the egg noodles until just shy of al dente (or, if you are me, until they are done). Drain and stick back into the pot. Add the butter and let it melt into the noodles, stirring so all the noodles are covered in butter. Toss with the applesauce as well. In a large bowl, bear the eggs, egg whites, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla. Add the apple, raisins, and noodles and mix the whole thing together thoroughly. Stick in a pan (I used both my 8X8 and my oval baking dish – this makes a lot). Now, the recipe said to cover, bake at 350 for 45 minutes, and then 15 uncovered at 375 for the final 15. However, I didn’t have aluminum foil, and didn’t feel like buying any, so uncovered at 375 for 30 minutes it was! Serve warm or room temperature.

kugel

This was incredibly tasty, but I’m not convinced it isn’t secretly a dessert. It tastes like a dessert, noodles not withstanding. I had this with a green salad and a reisling, as I figured a slightly sweeter wine would work better (and it did!!) Also, this dish makes for an awesome breakfast the next day. Just a warning – the recipe makes a ton of food, so I’m hoping my BFF was right and it really does freeze well. Song of the Week: Sunday Morning by Maroon 5. For some reason this song just spoke to me this week. I had a ton of anxiety that I soothed by listening to this song on repeat until I was calm.