It’s fall my favorite time of year. And it means the return of red wine and butternut squash. So, naturally, I had to make a fall, butternut squash recipe this week to celebrate it’s return. This is largely a “variation on a theme” kinda thing – linguine with kale and roasted butternut squash.
2 servings linguine
3 kale leaves, ripped into pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 onion, chopped
1 cup or so chopped butternut squash
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat the oven to 400. Toss the butternut squash chunks with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven until soft – probably 25-30 minutes. While those are roasting, saute the onion and garlic, and then add the kale. Be careful not to use too much oil. Once the squash is done, mix with the kale and veggies. Add the pasta and toss all together. Serve with Parmesan cheese if you like.
So, not only was this pretty, but it was also really tasty. And it’s vegan if you don’t add the cheese. Lots of veggies, super filling, and perfect for dinner in the fall with a glass of red wine. So omg, so it’s been over a month since I last posted. Between work, finishing up some writing projects, and family craziness I’ve been neglecting cooking. But things have calmed down now and I’ll have a travel post coming in in the next couple weeks too! Song of the Week: Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. So it’s the 10 year anniversary of this album, and omg, I forgot how good it is and how much I like it. You should listen to the whole album, but if you don’t, at least listen to this song.
One of the stranger gaps I have in my cooking repertoire is that I’ve never actually made lasagna. Growing up it was a thing my mom or sister did, rather than me or my dad. A few years back, before I started this blog, I made a polenta lasagna, but that’s the closest I’ve gotten. Well, there is no time like the present to fill such a ridiculous gap, right? I found this recipe and it looked super tasty – and I only made a couple minor adjustments to it.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons parmesan
a couple tablespoons chopped parsley
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk together. Add the milk and whisk so the butter-flour mixture gets thoroughly incorporated into the milk. Stir continuously – this is important, as it prevents lumps or sticking at the bottom of the pan. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat. Add the parmesan and stir it in (the sauce will still be warm enough to melt the cheese). Then add in the parsley.
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1-2 ounces shredded mozzarella
1 bunch fresh kale
zest from 1/2 a lemon
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
salt and pepper
Rinse the kale and rip/chop into little pieces. Heat some oil in a frying pan and saute the garlic and shallot. Stick in a bowl. Then saute the kale – you are going to have to go in batches, but you only need to cook them till they wilt, about 5 minutes. Stick the cooked kale in the bowl with the garlic and shallot. Let the kale mixture cool a bit (this is a good time to boil the lasagna noodles or start the sauce). Once the kale is cool, add the lemon zest, cheeses and salt and pepper (to taste) and mix it all together.
Assembly: Lightly oil the bottom of an 8X8 pan and stick the first layer of noodles down (if you stick cheese sauce on the bottom it will burn a little while the lasagna cooks)then stick some sauce on the noodles, and then about half the kale-cheese mixture. Then more noodles, and the rest of the kale cheese mixture. Then the top layer of noodles and more sauce. You can add a bit more mozzarella on top if you want as well. Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350. Serve warm.
So the main issue I has with this comes down to the fact that I used the no-boil lasagna noodles. This was a bad idea, as apparently you need to add extra sauce, which of course I didn’t really intend to do since white sauce is more caloric than tomato sauce. Also, sticking white sauce on the bottom on a pan can easily burn, which is a little annoying. There were no problem exactly, but the noodles were a little gummy, so you should probably boil the noodles. Song of the Week: Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen. A classic for a reason – such a perfect song, and a perfect collaboration.
So I’ve been back to trying to do more and different things with kale for the past several weeks. And I came across this recipe which seemed interesting. Now I wasn’t interested in the exact way they prepared the “grandma’s pie” thingy, but I was curious about the way they decided to prep the kale so I decided to combine it with pizza dough and make a fairly simple sauce-less pizza recipe.
Two large kale leaves, ripped into bit sized pieces
Lemon juice, about ½ lemon
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces goat cheese
Stick the kale in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set on the counter and let it sit for at least an hour and a half. While the kale is sitting, make the pizza dough.
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package yeast
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4-1 cup flour
Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water, and let it sit til the yeast gets all foamy, about 10 minutes or so. Add the olive oil, and then mix in the flour, a little at a time, until a soft dough ball forms. Knead the dough until it is elastic, then set aside to rise for like an hour. This recipe will make either two little pizza-tarts, or one larger one.
Once the dough has risen, divide it into half, and roll out the dough into a circle. Stick it on a pizza stone. Stick the kale mixture on top of the dough, and then cover with the crumbled goat cheese. Stick in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so at 400. Serve warm.
This was actually really tasty. It’s also easy and the actual cooking takes very little time. Letting the kale sit for so long meant you could still taste the lemon a bit, which I thought was a nice touch. As you can see from the picture, I had this with Anchor’s Winter Wheat beer, which is really good and paired really well. Song of the week: Late in the Evening by Paul Simon. I’m a big Paul Simon fan and this is a lesser known but really fun song; great to groove to while walking or cooking.
Ok,so pi day was technically Saturday, but whatevs. For those uninitiated to the work of being a totally nerd, Pi day is March 14, because the first three digits of pi are 3.14. This year it’s especially cool because the first five digits are 3.1415 and the date was 3/14/15. So naturally pi day means that I had to make some kind of pie. I decided on savory pie because I was not quite up for attempting key lime this weekend. After going through a number of different recipes I came up with this conglomeration.
1 cup flour
dash of salt
1/3 cup butter
Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter until there are no significant sized lumps. If compressed, the dough should almost be able to stick together. Add water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together. The dough should be soft and pliable, but cohesive and not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside while you make the filling.
1 small leek, halved and thinly sliced
2-3 smallish sunchokes (a bit larger than a golf ball), peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
2 large kale leaves, ripped into small pieces
3/4 cup grated comte cheese
2 large pinches dried thyme
Slice/grate/rip all the ingredients. Stick them in a big bowl and mix with your hands until they are thoroughly combined and all the herbs and spices are evenly distributed. Take the dough and divide it into two balls. Roll the first one out and stick in in a baking dish or pie plate. Dump all the filling on top of it, like a large mound. Roll out the second dough ball, and cover the mound of filling crimping the edges together with the bottom layer. It should look kinda like a little hill. Prick holes in the top and bake at 350 until the crust turns golden, 30-40 minutes. Serve warm.
This was freaking delicious. I can’t recall ever having eaten sunchokes before, and they are rather tasty. Kinda like potatoes, but with their own special umph. Good balance of everything – I’m pretty proud of how well this turned out, especially given that it was a amalgamation of random recipes and I didn’t really measure anything. I’m sure there are minor changes that could be made, but it seems unnecessary to me. Song of the week: Sunshine Highway – Dropkick Murphys. One of my favorite songs by this, one of my favorite bands.
A religious history lesson from an atheist: In eastern Europe, the week leading up to Lent (because Lent begins on a Monday, not Ash Wednesday like it does in Western Christianity) is known as Pancake week. This is because Orthodox are hard-core and you needed to get rid of all milk, eggs, and butter before Lent began and you couldn’t eat them anymore. I may be an atheist, but I’m still Russian and I love pancakes so… I didn’t have time to make bliny this year, so I went with more straight-forward potato pancakes with a twist – kale. I love potato pancakes, but they never seem very healthy to me, so adding some green veggie (I’ve also done spinach and cabbage) makes me happy, and feel less guilty. Also, it’s extremely tasty!
2 large kale leaves, chopped
1 large russet potato
1/3 onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons flour
Canola oil for frying
Put the kale and onions in a large bowl. Grate the potato, and mix it in with the other veggies. Add the salt and flour and mix all together. The mixture should stick together somewhat. Crack the egg into the mixture, and mix the entire thing throughly. In theory you should beat the egg separately first, but I’ve always found that to be unnecessary. Heat maybe 1/2 an inch of canola oil in a large frying pan. You really want to use canola or vegetable oil for the frying, as other oils will change the taste of the dish subtly. Once the oil is very hot (like nearly boiling) add small bits of the mixture, and flatten it out into pancake form. I’m bad with exact measurements, but a medium-sized frying pan should fit 2, 3 if you make them very small. Fry until golden on one side – the edges will be crispy – and flip and fry the other side. Remove and place on paper towels to soak up the extra oil. Serve hot.
So, so good. Anything fried is good, but these were really awesome. Lask week I made different kale pancakes, but these were much better. The key to a quality pancake, is that you shouldn’t need to add anything to it. Adding things can be awesome, but it should taste delicious all on its own. These met that criteria. I had this with Blue Moon’s First Peach ale, which I really like. I get crap for drinking Blue Moon because it’s owned by Coors, but they make good stuff. And I see it as a victory for the craft beer movement that one of the giants of shitty American beer is jumping on the band-wagon. Song of the week: Uptown Funk/Lips are Moving by Sam Tsui. Every time I hang out with one of my friends, he introduces me to some pop song I quickly get obsessed with – this time it was Uptown Funk. But I love Sam Tsui, and this version is better.