two skinny jenkins

090901 – Leek and Swiss Chart Tart
090901, 10:31 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , ,

Leek tart


I adore tart pans. It seems like just about anything you put in them looks dainty and cute and tasty.  Like pie, but more refined.   Unfortunately, I do not yet posess a tart pan.  Now, with each tart i attempt to bake in our pie plate, i am building a reason to buy a tart pan.

I have always wanted to make a savory tart, but Joe has a slight aversion toward (especially baked) eggs.   I, on the other hand, believe that an occasional egg is healthy.   I was attracted to the recipe initially because it sounded really healthy.  Full of leeks and Swiss chard – the latter known to be nutrient-packed.  However, this recipe also started out with a lot of unnecessary fat – much more than what you see below.

The Crust:

  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 1 t rosemary + thyme
  • 1 t fine grained sea salt
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1/2 C cold water
  1. mix together flours, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
  2. add olive oil and mix thouroughly with a fork.  Add water and mix just until combined.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead just until it comes together.
  4. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a disc slightly larger than your pan.  mold carefully to the pan, trim the edges and reserve the trimmings to make shapes (like J’s)


    • 1 1/2 T butter
    • 2 large leeks, coarsely chopped
    • 1 t dried thyme
    • 1/2 bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed, leaves chopped (about 2 1/2 C)
    • 1 1/4 C skim milk
    • 3 large eggs
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 1 t salt
    • 1/4 t ground black pepper
    • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
    1. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook leeks until they are very tender but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
    2. Add chard; saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
    3. Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Whisk milk and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in leek mixture. Pour filling into crust.
    4. Bake tart 15 minutes (if you are using a pie plate – bake for 20 min here). Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until filling is puffed and just set in center, about 15 minutes longer (25 minutes with a pie plate). Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes.

    *I served it with green onions and parmesan cheese on top (always eggs with cheese).  And a side salad.  And some vino verde…


    090816 – vegetable pasta sauce
    090817, 11:04 am
    Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , , ,

    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.

    090806 – Baba Ganoush
    090806, 10:24 pm
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    Baba Ganoush

    Thank you David Lebovitz!  This Baba Ganoush was delicious and super easy.  My parents have a gas stove top so i had a great time charring the eggplant.  As an appetizer for 4 adults, i used only one medium sized eggplant and improvised a little…

    • 1 medium eggplant
    • 2 T creamy peanut butter (you can substitute any nut butter if you don’t have tahini on hand)
    • 1 t salt
    • 1 T+ 1 t lemon juice
    • 1 clove garlic, quartered
    • 1 t evoo
    • 2 T chopped parsley
    • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
    1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
    2. prick eggplant and char over gas stove burner (so fun).
    3. roast in preheated oven for 20- 30 min (25 worked for me).
    4. cool eggplant, scoop out insides, and puree will all other ingredients in food processor till smooth.
    5. Add additional lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.  Will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

    090805 – Homemade Ricotta Ravioli
    090806, 9:20 am
    Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , ,

    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



    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.

    090715 – zucchini pasta
    090715, 10:17 pm
    Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , ,

    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.

    090630 – Granola Bars
    090702, 9:33 am
    Filed under: BREAKFAST, SNACK | Tags: , , , , ,

    Hungry - why wait?This is a simple, two step thing.  First, to make the granola, then form the bars.  I have made granola a few (three) of different ways in the past and have my favorite recipe prettymuch down.  To make the bars, i just added a bit of maple syrup to my usual granola recipe, to make it more sticky.  Next time i might add some chocolate chips…

    Homemade Granola Recipe:

    • 2 C rolled oats
    • 1 C peanuts or toasted almonds
    • 1/4 C sesame seeds
    • 1/4 C flax seeds
    • 1/2 C toasted sunflower seeds
    • 1/2 C coconut (this time i used the fresh coconut i had hand cut at the beach)
    • 1/4 C fiber one (crushed in a coffee grinder)
    • 1 t sea salt
    • 1/2 C raisins (i like to mix golden and regular)
    • 1/2 C dried fruit (dried apricots + craisins)
    • scant 1/4 C canola oil
    • 1/2 C honey
    • 1/4 C maple syrup
    1. Mix the oat, nuts and grains in a large bowl.
    2. Measure oil into the measuring cup and swirl it around before pouring into bowl.
    3. Then measure out the honey in the same, unwashed cup. The oil will help the honey exit the cup.
    4. Toss everything together until evenly coated and then pour out into a baking pan. I use a large roasting pan, as it keeps everything contained. A cookie sheet with a lip also works, but you have to stir it slightly more carefully if you use that.Baking Granola
    5. Bake at 300° F for 30 minutes, turning it with a spatula every ten minutes or so. You want everything to be an even golden brown.
    6. When it is finished cooking, returned the baked granola to the mixing bowl, add the raisins and fruit and stir to combine. Granola Press
    7. To form bars, line a rectangular baking dish with wax paper.  Immediately pour the warm granola into the dish, cover with another piece of paper, and press down HARD, packing the granola as tightly as possible.  Cut Bars
    8. Let the pressed granola harden cool for at least 3 hours (i let mine sit overnight) before cutting.  My pan yielded 14 thick granola bars.  For lack of more sustainable  packaging ideas, I wrapped them up in some saran-wrap.

    090629 – picnic 2
    090629, 10:01 pm
    Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , , ,

    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.