Archive | May 2016

New Apartment, New Cookbook

I finally finished moving!! All my crap, including all my hundreds of books, have been unpacked and I’m starting to feel settled in my new place. As a housewarming present to myself (along with all the other new furniture and stuff I bought) I got a new cookbook – Plenty by Yotan Ottolenghi. I bought one of his cookbooks for my sister a couple years back, and the pictures are like food porn at its finest. The recipes looked good once I read them too. I didn’t want to make anything too complicated but I also wanted to do something definitely different. So I decided on Artichoke Gratin since the weather was totally gross out yet it was late spring.

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1 bag frozen artichoke hearts
1 small crown broccoli, cut into florets
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
1-2 pinches dried thyme
Zest and juice from 1 very large lemon
salt
pepper
olive oil
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2-3 tablespoons parmesan

Squeeze the lemon juice into a pot of water, and par-boil the broccoli and artichokes in it. You don’t need to cook them totally, it’s still gonna bake, but do at least par-boil/make the artichokes not frozen. Drain and set aside. SautĂ© the onions in olive oil until soft and getting a bit golden. Add the broccoli, artichokes, parsley, lemon zest, thyme and salt and pepper to taste Once the veggies are ready, make the bĂ©chamel sauce.

Bechamel
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk

In a saucepan, melt the butter, then quickly stir in the flour so a paste forms. Pour in the milk and stir, constantly and making sure to scrape the bottom so nothing settles there, until the sauce has thickened. Mix the bechamel with the veggie mixture and stick in an baking dish. Dot the dish with little spoonfuls of ricotta and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Pull out the dish and sprinkle with the parmesan, then bake for another 10 minutes, or until the parmesan has become nice and golden. Serve warm.

I really loved this dish. It’s perfect for a stormy spring day, because it tastes like spring, and it’s all full of veggies, but it’s still a warming gratin. The lemon zest just makes the whole thing smell fresh in my opinion, especially when you eat it as leftovers. And there is a pretty good amount of cheese in there as well. I’d never cooked with frozen artichoke hearts, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to use fresh ones when they are crazy expensive on the east coast. I think they turned out perfectly good (and infinitely more cost effective). Song of the Week: Take a Bow by Rihanna. Now for the record, I don’t like Rihanna. Or 99% percent of her music (I will never forgive Umbrella). But this is actually a surprisingly good song and for whatever reason I listened to it a lot this week.

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Pasta with Spinach-Parmesan Sauce

Making a long story short: My apartment was invaded by mice, so I am moving apartments. Between being, shall we say, less motivated to cook in my kitchen after seeing mice and the packing/work involved in actually moving, I’ve been lax about new recipe day. But I have had to use up a bunch of things like milk, and my frozen spinach, so I made Spinach-Parmesan sauce, which I’ve made a few times, and stuck it on pasta, which I haven’t done. Thereby technically making a new recipe.

Recipe
2-3 servings linguine
1 cup frozen, chopped spinach
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
2/3 cup parmesan
dash of nutmeg

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Cook the pasta. While the water is boiling/the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Defrost the spinach in a microwave, it should only take a couple minutes. In a saucepan, melt the butter, then quickly stir in the flour so a paste forms. Pour in the milk and stir, constantly and making sure to scrape the bottom so nothing settles there, until the sauce has thickened. Add the cheese and nutmeg, mixing it until the parmesan has melted. Then remove from heat and stir in the spinach. Once the pasta has been cooked, drained and served into bowls, plop as much (or I suppose as little) sauce as you want on it and stir till it is evenly coated. Serve warm with salad.

This was really good. I’m a big fan of adding something green, usually kale or spinach, to something otherwise super carb-y or unhealthy to make it a little healthier and more balance, and honestly, it never takes anything away from the cheesy goodness of the sauce. And you can’t ever go wrong with cheese sauce on pasta, especially parmesan sauce which I like more than alfredo sauce. I had this with a super fruity malbec rose that I’m rather fond of. Song of the week: One Last Time, from Hamilton. Yes, I’m still totally obsessed with Hamilton, and this song really resonated with me, because one of my close friends moved to a different continent last week, and we made sure to have one last beer together before he left.