Sunday, March 13, 2011

Puddle of pasta

Pasta from scratch. It's mouth watering. Actual flavor, not just a starch that you will sprend some taste on later.

go to. butter. parm cheese. heavy cream. some parsley. yum. add some andouille sausage? double yum. replace the parm cheese with blue at the end? triple yum.

Red? sauted onions. sauted carrots. italian seasoning. fresh parsley. stewed tomatoes. salt salt salt. simmer simmer simmer.

savory. parm cheese. butter. heavy cream. sate (Penzey's Spice). shrimp.
Do it.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Our Pasta Salad

The recipe that isn't.  I make this salad very frequently.  It's based on my father's noodle salad consisting of macaroni noodles, mayo, mustard, peas, and onion.  Some times I don't use any of those ingredients, but that's where it started.  It's also the "recipe" most asked for by friends and family.  I try and tell them that I have no recipe!  I put stuff together and wha-la!  Magic!  Well, close, but not entirely true. My husband and I have been making variations on this salad for ages, and I think we have the winning combination listed below - BUT, this is a VERY versatile recipe.  Add a little of this, take away that... new salad!  

O.k., so here's the rub.  In my salad (the one that isn't my husband's) there does exist a little bit of magic.  It's called Sate and I buy it at Penzy's. . We have 3 here in Minnesota, one just blocks from my house.  They're located around the US... but the best part??? Order it online.  If you haven't tried their sate, you are missing out on one of the best spices in all the world.  I know, Satay is a style of Indonesian food, but Penzy's makes a spice based on this curry - it's a yummy, yummy, yummy mix of wonder and magic.   I love it best with Shrimp...But that's another post.  Today, it's pasta.  Orzo to be precise.

Orzo Salad:
1 box Orzo - cooked aldente (macaroni or rotini also works)
2 large Roasted red bell peppers (jarred or do-it-yourself - whatever works)
1 small red onion - finely chopped *optional
1 block of fried small cubed Tofu.  PERFECT with Tofu, but canned salmon is also very yummy, and small shrimp is excellent.
Corn - seared.  We use good frozen corn, thaw it and dry it completely and put it in a HOT cast iron and sear it until it starts popping.  YUMMY, makes a great side dish when you add a touch of soy sauce. 
Pineapple  - chopped.  
sharp cheddar cheese - small cubes
mayonaise (used sour cream thinned with Soy milk today... ran out of mayo.  it was also very good)
dry ranch dressing

Cook the pasta, run cold water over it, or put it in the fridge/freezer until it's cooled completely.  Sear the thawed corn until slightly blackened - I guess we add a dash of sugar when frying to give it a sweetness.  Then let cool.  Tofu:  Use extra firm, and press dry for a 1/2 hour while you're doing other things.  Cube the tofu.  Then fry in a pan in about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of Canola Oil - add a couple dashes of sugar and good soy sauce to add some flavor.  Set aside to cool. In a small mixing bowl, mix together ranch dressing, sate, mayonaise and little bit of soy milk or cream to thin it out a bit. 

Here is where the magic begins - Mix everything together and put it in the fridge.  Let it get cold before eating - it's just better that way.

This is the part that troubles people so much though, how much of this? how much of that?  I DON'T KNOW!  sorry, but it's true. This is not the website for people that don't know how to cook.  This is a website for people that know how to cook and are looking for ideas.  so there. tough. deal.

It's worth it if you play around with it! yummy yummy yummy.   

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lovely Lentil Soup

I used to make this - vegetarian style.  But now that we are recovering vegetarians, Ryan has begun making the yummy yummy meaty version.  Although we aren't full fledged carnivores yet,  we enjoy the occasional local meat. Kowalskis offers a great selection of local meats, albeit expensive.  But one item that is low cost and extremely flavorful is the smoked pork shank - $4.00 and we have flavor for a HUGE pot of lentil soup.   The celery and lentils and pork cooking together fill the house with warmth that is well needed in mid January in Minnesota.  The aroma makes me feel cozy.

Smoked ham pork shank
Tomatoes (optional)
salt and pepper

What to do with it all:
fry up the bacon in the bottom of a soup pot.
Set aside.  Fry up the onions in the bacon grease.  Add the carrots and celery and chopped pork shank and saute for a bit.  Add boiling water and the lentils.  simmer until the lentils are aldente.  Chop up the bacon and throw it on in.  If you want tomatoes - add a couple cans of stewed tomatoes at this point, I just add them and cut them with the soup spoon.  Ryan is much more prepared and drains the tomatoes (adds liquid to the soup) and dices the tomatoes before adding them.  Oh, and  make sure to add s and p all the way through.  This soup freezes very well.

Enjoy with a drop of red hot, sour cream, or whatever else you like.  Can you smell it?  It's Fabulous!