Monday, July 15, 2013


I don't usually write about things that are purely experiments, especially if I'm not really sure I'll ever make them again, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

My parents are currently inundated with fresh produce, because they've been given the CSA share of a neighbor who is away on vacation.  Their solution has been to pass on lots of delicious veggies to Ryan and I.  Last week we ended up with kale, radicchio, zucchini (clearly for Ryan only) and red leaf lettuce.  By the time I got around to the radicchio I wanted something that didn't seem like greens or salad, so started thinking about making a pasta.  Maybe something with some white beans.  Then serendipitously, I ran across this recipe. So I thought I could use radicchio instead of escarole, keep the white beans, add some garlic and parm and have something that would resemble dinner.  I also had this box of Kamut and Quinoa pasta that Ryan had gotten as a free sample.  It is a bit shameful to admit, but I've never eaten any type of whole grain pasta, much less something as exotic as this.  But honestly, the earthy taste (and yes, there is one, it's not going to just hide under tomato sauce) went really well with the greens and beans.  Plus, I love the idea of getting extra protein in when I have a vegetarian pasta dish.  So I definitely need to experiment with different kinds of pasta in the future.


8 oz whole grain pasta, I used Kamut and Quinoa Twisted Pair
3-4 C radicchio (I only had 2 C and was sad)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1-2 t vinegar (I used red wine vinegar, but I think balsamic would have been a better match)
1 can white beans (reserve the bean liquid, but go ahead and drain the beans)
1/6 C bean juice
red pepper flakes (1-2 t or more depending on how spicy you like things)
2 cups grated parmesan cheese

In a large pot, boil some water for the pasta and don't forget to salt the water.  This particular pasta said to cook for 10-12 minutes, but it was DONE at 6 minutes, I can't even fathom what disgusting mush it would have been if we'd let it go.

In a non-stick pan, heat up your olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic on low heat, you want your garlic to release it's garlicky goodness, but not brown.  In 1-2 minutes when it is golden, go ahead and add the radicchio and let it wilt.  Radicchio can be extremely bitter.  So add some salt now, and a small hit of vinegar to combat that.  Definitely taste the radicchio to see if it's coming along nicely.  You want it to have a little bite (both texturally and flavor wise) but you shouldn't have to force down bitter greens.  A bit before you think the greens are done, add the white beans and some more salt.

When the pasta is done, drain it, reserving a bit of cooking water.  Add the pasta to the pan with the radicchio and beans.  Add a bit of the bean juice (I used 1/6 C) and a splash of pasta water to help it all be a bit of a sauce.  Add the parm and mix it all well to combine.  Recheck your salt, pepper and liquid, adding more of whatever it needs to become a normal dinner dish.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Type A Personality + Uncontrollable Events = A Full Freezer?

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me (or to longtime readers of this blog) that I prefer situations where I am in control.  Needless to say many people are cackling and rubbing their hands together in anticipation because they know that having a child will definitely lead to me being faced with an unbroken chain of uncontrollable events, possibly for the rest of my life.  And some people are mean and take perverse pleasure in things like that (oh, you know who you are).

So while I wait (ah yes, the waiting for the first of these uncontrollable events) there's nothing I can do other than to try to organize my food world.  So despite my husband's protests that we'll be able to cook dinner ourselves, I've been stocking the freezer.

My current freezer status ~

5 balls of homemade pizza dough - This recipe would make 6, but I stole one for calzones.
4 artichoke and spinach calzone although made with a small amount of provolone rather than mozzarella
2 huge portions of macaroni and cheese
2 big (but not huge) portions of fancy macaroni and cheese
2 meals worth of meatballs although I added garlic to them
3 meals worth of lasagna

Ice cream - this is critical for my sanity.  I have a coupon for Ben and Jerry's and you better believe I'll be adding a few pints to the collection.
Tortellini - this is one of my go to foods when I'm not actually cooking.  I pretty much lived on it during the first trimester.  I bought a huge club pack from Wegman's.  Just plain cheese.
Lou's Natural Sausage  - A while back we did a taste test of chicken sausage and these won.  I love them especially because they don't have sausage casings (Ryan won't eat sausage casings, so I have to peel them off).  I got a few flavors.  They go along way to turning mac and cheese into a meal.

We are lucky enough to have an amazing farmer's market nearby.  And because of where we live, this farmer's market includes a few stands run by the Pennsylvania Dutch (I don't know whether or not they're Amish, I do know they wear bonnets and old fashioned clothes).  One of these stands has homemade baked goods and for years (I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not) I've wanted to try their cinnamon buns.  They look amazing.  Last week my mother surprised me with a package, all individually wrapped, ready to freeze and enjoy later.  I did test out one, just for quality control reasons you understand and I was not disappointed.

I really don't feel like it's enough but it's what I've got and there's not a ton of room left in there as you can see.  What else do you think I need in my freezer?


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