two skinny jenkins


100526 – Spinach Fetucchini
100527, 8:26 pm
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green pasta

Joe is such an amazing cook!!!  As soon as his exams were over last week, he started cooking for me every night.  So far everything has been terrific.  Last night was the first night that i finally got the camera out.   We have been making plain semolina pasta with our beautiful new pasta machine quite a bit, but this was the first time we tried a new flavor.  The recipe originally comes from The Silver Spoon – one of the greatest books of all time.

  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 3/4 C 00 flour
  • extra flour for dusting (plenty!)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • generous 1 C spinach, cooked, well drained, and chopped
  • salt
  1. sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a mound on a counter.
  2. make a well in the center and add the eggs and spinach.  using your fingers, gradually incorporate the flour, then knead for a few minutes (about 5).  This is my favorite part.
  3. If the spinach is very damp, add more flour, a little at a time.  Shape the dough into a ball and let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. roll out on a lightly floured surface or use a pasta machine to make a fairly thick sheet.
  5. The pasta may be used for lasagna, tagliatelle, tortellini and ravioli, but with enough flour works for fettuccine.
  6. After boiling for 3-4 minutes in a large pot of salted boiling water, Joe finished the pasta in a saucepan of heated, red pepper-infused olive oil and grape tomatoes.  A little Parmesan on top – perfect. ENJOY!


090910 – butternut squash bake
090911, 1:41 pm
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butternut bake

At the beginning of this week, i set out on a mission to cook only recipes from our home ‘library’ and only things that i have not made before.  Well, now that we’ve prettymuch reached the end of the week,  and i know i am making pizza tonight, we have only made three new recipes.  it was the first week of school for joe, and some last minute outings thwarted my plans.  Still, a gallant effort and i am glad we made each of the recipes we completed.  Especially the butternut squash…


I am semi-obsessed with butternut squash and was happy to find another recipe for it that both of us liked.  This dish will definitely be making an appearance in our kitchen again this winter.

  • 1-1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1-inch cubes (3 C)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 8 oz. dried no-yolks wide noodles (i have been waiting to use up my bag of these!)
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 small onions, chopped (i threw in a little finely chopped celery as well – it was nice)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 8-oz. carton mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, snipped
  • 1 C bread crumbs (i used some homemade Italian seasoned crumbs)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In bowl toss squash in oil; place in oiled 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes, until lightly browned and tender, stirring twice.
  2. Meanwhile, in Dutch oven cook noodles according to package directions. Drain; set aside. In same Dutch oven melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add shallots; cook and stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until onions are tender and butter just begins to brown. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Add noodles and squash to onion mixture. Stir in mascarpone, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1/4 cup parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Transfer to greased 2-quart oval gratin dish or baking dish.
  4. In the same large saucepan, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter; stir in bread crumbs, remaining Parmesan, and parsley. Sprinkle on noodle mixture. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes, until crumbs are golden.

This recipe is supposed to serve 8, but it made about 5 servings as a main course for Joe and I.  What can i say- it was tasty!



090827 – Broccoli Rabe Pesto
090828, 8:38 pm
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Broccoli Rabe Pesto

My first post in our new place…

I had never tried broccoli rabe before, and could not resist it when i saw it at Market Basket here in Boston.  Joe and I went there on our first grocery shopping here in Boston.  It was about 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning and the store was PACKED.  I have never seen a store so crowded at that time of day/ day of the week.  It didn’t take long to figure out why – the prices are amazing!  I though we were going to have to start budgeting more for food whilst in B-town, but now we might be saving money!

I found this recipe in Food & Wine cookbook, which my Nana gave me as a moving gift. The book suggested using the pesto over crostini for Bruschetta, but i served it with pasta.

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, washed and large stems cut off
  • 1 C walnuts (or shelled pistachios)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 C evoo (I tried to cut back and use only 1/2 C, but it came out too dry)
  • 1/2 C parsley
  • 1 C parmesan cheese (or Pecorino Romano)
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. preheat the oven to 350 F and put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
  2. sprinkle the nuts into a baking dish and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. boil the broccoli for about 2 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water.  Squeeze and pat dry, then chop coarsely.
  4. combine garlic and nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  add the broccoli, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil and continue processing.
  5. use a spatula to transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste.

with the pesto pasta, I made a simple romaine salad with homemade whole wheat garlic croutons.

garlic croutons:

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread, cubed
  1. preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. melt butter in a medium saucepan with the garlic.  add the bread pieces to the pan, and toss in the butter.
  3. spread the bread out on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes, or until crisp and dry.


090816 – vegetable pasta sauce
090817, 11:04 am
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Vegetable Pasta

Still maybe under the influence of Food Inc., veggie dishes hold more appeal than meaty entrees.  There are more and more Farmer’s markets popping up all over town here in Charlottesville, and plenty of opportunities to get fresh vegetables.  This recipe was found in the August publication of In The Kitchen, a sort of local, organic food newspaper that can be picked up at the nearby Whole Foods.  The magazine centerfold has a month of recipes designed to minimize wasted food.  So the chicken you roasted one night might show up a couple days later in a chicken salad recipe. The following recipe made enough for 7 adults, plus enough leftover for 2-3 lunches.  I think this would be a great thing to make with fresh summer veggies, and freeze for wintertime.

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped (i usually like to keep the skin on things, but was afraid the eggplant skin would be too bitter for this dish)
  • 2 onions, diced (i used one red, one yellow onion)
  • 3 small zucchini, grated (i used one yellow and two green)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 C chopped red bell pepper
  • 7-8 medium-large tomatoes, chopped
  • 3-4 T each fresh minced oregano and basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. heat a couple tablespoons olive oil in a LARGE, deep rimmed skillet or two medium sized skillets over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water for pasta.
  3. add the eggplant, onion, garlic, squash, and red pepper to the pan and saute till caramelized (all soft).
  4. Add the tomatoes, increase heat to high, and simmer until the sauce thickens (about 25 min.)
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta (spaghetti, angel hair, or fettuccine work well) according to the package directions.
  6. in the last few minutes, stir in the spices.  Serve with fresh grated parmesan cheese.


090805 – Homemade Ricotta Ravioli
090806, 9:20 am
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long awaited ravioli photo

I will start by saying that the pasta made just enough for 6 adults.  Had I used a pasta machine, it could have fed 8.  We used a combination of online recipes and The New Best Recipe book that I have falling in love with…  Unfortunately the pasta dough was intended for a pasta machine  – but i thought i could work it by hand.  I rolled it out as well as I could, but the elastic, resilient dough resisted my efforts and in the end was twice  as thick as it should have been.  I would not attempt this dough again without a pasta machine or very strong helper.

The ricotta filling was delicious.  The recipe below made just the right amount to go with the pasta.

Joe made an amazing red sauce.  If I had been making this alone, i would have used jarred sauce for times sake.  We served the pasta with some French Bread from my most recent BBA Challenge, a salad, and some watermelon.

making ricotta

Fresh Ricotta Cheese:

(recipe yields about 1 1/2- 2 C ricotta)

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 1/6 C white vinegar
  • 1 t salt
  1. rinse a large, heavy duty pot with cold water. This helps the milk from adhering to the pot.
  2. Add milk and heat to roughly 180°F, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the milk has reached 180°F, remove from heat, add vinegar and salt.  Stir ONCE, cover with a clean dishtowel or cloth napkin,  then let it sit undisturbed for 2 hours.
  4. Line a colander with cheesecloth and set so that it can drain over a large bowl.
  5. Scoop the curdled cheese from the pot with a slotted spoon into the cheesecloth.  Let it drain for 1-2 hours depending on the creaminess you want.  We were crunched for time, so Joe pressed the cheese with the cheesecloth, ringing out as much moisture as possible.  This worked fine for ravioli, but the cheese would have been better if we had the time to let it sit.

Ravioli filling:

  • 1 1/2 C Ricotta cheese
     
  • 1/2 C fresh parsley, minced
  • 3/4 C Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 t salt
  • pinch fresh ground pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir together until basically homogeneous.pasta making

 

Pasta:

The recipe below makes roughly 1lb of pasta.  For 6 adults, I made a double batch.

  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  1. Measure flour out into a food processor and pulse until fluffy.
  2. Add eggs and mix for 30 seconds straight, then pulse for an additional minute or so as the dough forms a ball.  It will look like small pebbles at first, then eventually come together.  If it stays in pebble form for 45-60 seconds, add 1-2 t water (1t at a time).  I made two batches of dough and each one needed about 1 1/2 t water.
  3. roll dough ball and few remaining pebbles onto a dry counter and knead for 1-2 minutes.
  4. cover dough w/ plastic wrap and let rest for 15  min- 2 hours.
  5. Feed through pasta machine to create 5-6″ wide sheets for ravioli.  Or, if you’re like me, use a rolling pin and make it AS THIN AS POSSIBLE.
  6. Add a dollop (t sized) of ricotta mixture in a row along dough strip, fold dough in half and push closed around ricotta.  Using a pastry wheel (or regular knife), cut between each ricotta pouch and trim excess dough off seam edges.
  7. cook for 4-5 min in pot of rapidly boiling salted water.




090723 – Movin out + Mac n’ Cheese
090723, 8:49 pm
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mac n'cheese n'brussel sprouts

This is what cleaning out the fridge looks like for two skinny jenkins.  Macaroni and cheese is an old reliable recipe in our house. The brussel sprouts were doused in ketchup immediately after taking this photo.

here’s the recipe: link.  The only change is tonight i used half cheddar and half asiago cheese, and sprinkled a little extra asiago on top.




090715 – zucchini pasta
090715, 10:17 pm
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Zucchini Pasta

Joe is a master at these kind of pasta dishes.  When asparagus is in season, he makes the same thing with that.

  • 1/2 package of whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 T evoo
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into coins (or peeled longways)
  • 2 cans petit diced tomatoes
  • 1 T basil
  • 1 t onion powder
  • S + P to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to the box.
  2. Saute garlic in olive oil in a large skillet.  Add zucchini and saute until soft (about 6 minutes).  Add tomatoes and spices and continue simmering for 5-7 minutes.  Once the pasta has finished cooking, drain and add to the skillet and continue cooking for a minute or two.
  3. Serve and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.


090629 – picnic 2
090629, 10:01 pm
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This picnic got a little more creative than the last one.  Sorry i forgot to bring my camera along!  it was a pretty colorful meal.  At least I took a few photos during prep.  Here’s the menu:

  • Baguette with nettle and Rembrandt cheese.
  • Steam frozen edamame and chill. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, lots of chopped mint, salt, pepper, and Parmesan.

marinated soy beans

  • Peanut sauce noodles.  Sauce = (1/4 C peanut butter, 1/4 C soy sauce,  1 T C warm water, 1 t ginger, 1 T rice vinegar, 1 1/2 T Asian toasted sesame oil, 1 T honey, 1 t dried hot red pepper flakes)

Peanut Sauce Noodles

  • Toss 1 C cooked couscous with oil, chopped parsley, chopped black olives, capers, sun dried tomato, chopped onion, feta, salt and pepper.
  • Brown fresh corn kernels in hot oil with chopped chili and garlic, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and toss with cilantro and lots of lime juice.

spicy toasted corn

  • Watermelon for dessert.


090522 – lasagna(e) nite
090523, 7:22 am
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Lasagna

Joe’s family came to visit this weekend, and that makes 5 of us in our little apartment.  so instead of our usual pizza Friday, we opted for lasagna(e).

Joe found a very well rated recipe on allrecipes.com and adapted it a bit to meet or taste.  Basically omitted the sausage, added some spinach, and tweaked the spices.  In the end, it is a very similar lasanga to my Uncle Tom’s recipe, but a better sauce.

  • 1 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 C minced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 T white sugar
  • 1 1/2 t dried basil leaves
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t fennel seeds
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 4 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed (or 4 C fresh spinach)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a Dutch oven, cook ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices, then spinach. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over spinach, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.


090521 – Mac n’ Cheese
090521, 9:50 pm
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Cheese Please!

so… i was going to make plantain chips as an appetizer tonight, but when i went to peel one, it was NOT RIPE.  The middle felt ripe, and is turning color, but when i went to open it, it was just like a bright GREEN banana.

JOE ended up making mac n’cheese for dinner tonight, and it was perfect.  it is so satisfying and easy to make.  we had some yummy cabbot sharp cheddar to use up, too.

here’s the RECIPE.  ENJOY!




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