kitchen

Peanut Sesame Noodles!

There are times when you need to get dinner on the table, and a jar of spaghetti sauce just won’t cut it. You’ve got a crisper full of veggies, some spaghetti (or other long thin noodles) and the ubiquitous peanut butter jar. This dinner, fast and easy, is so satisfying in every way. Check out this video for a tutorial! Gorgeous, creative, inventive, thrifty, and completely delicious. Give it a try and wow your family!

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Peanut sesame noodles

Adapted from Gourmet magazine

 INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ c creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ c soy sauce
  • ½ c warm water
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBS sesame oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (you can leave this out if you wish)
  • 1 lb linguine – this is a good recipe to use ww or whole grain pasta
  • 2 colored peppers (red and yellow, or orange – not green!), thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces on the bias and steamed to crisp done
  • 3 TBS sesame seeds, toasted and cooled
  • optional: ½ bunch cilantro, chopped fine
  • optional: 1-2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced thin

 TECHNIQUE:

  • Put first 8 ingredients in a blender and whir until smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Cook linguine according to package instructions. Drain. Add the sauce immediately to the pasta and toss well. There will look like a LOT of sauce! That’s okay!
  • Arrange pasta on a platter. Decorate the pasta with the vegetables – it will look so pretty . . .
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds for the final touch.

 Good hot or cold or in between!

 

Snow Ice cream

March 20, 2014

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This spring has been crazy here in Central Virginia. Our poor maple tree has had buds on it for 3 weeks now, and the snow just keeps coming. White snow on red buds.  I prefer the normal temps, please, the 50s and sunny with only the occasional snow.

But this week, on Monday, we wound up with yet another snowstorm. (another one is scheduled for a week from now.) And I decided to make a fast simple dessert.

SNOW ICE CREAM!

Ingredients:

Clean snow

Maple syrup

 

Technique:

Scoop clean snow into a bowl. Drizzle with a measured amount of maple syrup (preferably Vermont maple syrup.) Too much will be too sweet, which, if you are my kids, you will tell me is impossible. If you heat it, you will melt the snow – so don’t heat it up.

 

Eat with a spoon.

 

Might be enough to make even me like spring snowstorms.

The Time Factor

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I’ve been thinking a lot about time, and how it generally seems that we are working AGAINST time in our lives. It’s a race, or we lament the lack of it, or we wish we had more of it.

So when I find something that uses time to work its magic, it makes me slow down in general. Bread making is like that – there’s not much one can do to speed up the bread process. Sure, you can add more yeast, or throw in baking powder – but those “fixes” affect the taste and frankly the pleasure of eating it.

Nope, time is the magic in bread making. Learn to embrace that time magic with this recipe for Homemade Pita Bread, featured on this week’s Tasty Thursday.

And maybe it’s time to figure out what else in our lives is made magic by time?

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ c warm water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 scant TBS yeast (1 packet )
  • 2 c bread flour
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • ¾  c warm water
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  • Combine ½ c water, yeast, and honey in a medium sized bowl (you’ll use this for the whole recipe, so plan accordingly) and let sit 5 minutes, until bubbly (if it doesn’t get bubbly, toss it out and start again – there is an issue with your yeast. Maybe the water was too hot.)
  • Whisk flours together.
  • Whisk ½ c flour mixture into the bubbly yeast mix and let sit, covered, for 45 minutes.
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients – rest of flours, more water, oil, salt. Knead for 10 minutes, or until really silky smooth (can also do this in a stand mixer or food processor – reduce kneading time.) You may have to add more flour to prevent sticking.
  • Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled bowl, turning it to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and put it in a warm place to rise until about doubled, about an hour.
  • Turn dough out onto a floured board. Cut into 8 pieces and form into balls.
  • Squish the pieces and roll them out into rounds about 6.5-7 inches in diameter. If you are shy on counter space, put them on cornmeal-sprinkled cookie sheets and let them sit on top of your stove.
  • Cover and let rise about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put bottom rack of oven at about the bottom third level. Remove any stray pizza stones that happen to live there.
  • Preheat oven to 500.
  • When the oven is hot and the pita is puffy, put 4 pita breads onto the rack (directly onto the rack!) and close the oven door as fast as you can. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip them over (I find a Teflon spatula and a wooden spoon to be better tools than tongs, which can pierce the pitas.) Cook for another minute.
  • Remove and let sit for 2 minutes, then cover (wrap) in a clean dish towel and let cool in a kind of steamy environment.
  • Repeat with the other 4 pitas.
  • Do not blame me if your family refuses to eat store-bought pitas ever again.

Tasty Thursday GADGETS!

gadgets Tasty Thursday!

One of these days I will do a video on setting up a kitchen for ease of use, and one on how to set up your first kitchen – what you need as a bare set of basics. For now, though, and seeing as how it’s the holiday season for many, today’s video is on my favorite kitchen gadgets – small non-electronic utensils that actually make my life easier as a cook. What are your favorite such gadgets?

Pretty much everything is available on Amazon.com (these days what isn’t?) but the first place I’d check for many of these is my local hardware store or local kitchen store. Bed Bath and Beyond often has lesser versions of these, so be careful shopping there.

  1. Susi/zyliss garlic press (Bed Bath and Beyond)
  2. Generic citrus reamer (local hardware store or kitchen store)
  3. Silvermark kitchen shears
  4. Oxo locking tongs (local kitchen store)
  5. Microplane zester/grater (local kitchen store or BBB)
  6. Wusthof knife sharpener
  7. Le Creuset heat-proof spatula (local kitchen store)

These all help me cook like a badass. You?