Friday, June 25, 2010

Cherries from my own garden

They are tart and juicy, and just fill up one bowl, all the sour cherries from the tree in my garden.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Penne and Broccoli Rabe

Last time at the farmers market, local broccoli rabe was available. Not a tiny, dark green bunch like in the grocery store, but large, light green and leafy and rather inexpensive. My favorite dish is cooking pasta and broccoli rabe in the same pot, and serving it with a spicy garlic sauce and parmesan slices.

whole bunch of broccoli rabe (washed and sliced into 2 inch chunks)
2 oz penne
1 ts grated garlic (I like the one from Trader Joes, so easy)
1 ts olive oil
1 ts red pepper flakes
1/4 cup water with a 1/4 ts vegetable broth powder (like Rapunzel)
fresh ground black pepper
parmesan cheese

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Salt the water, and add the pasta and broccoli rabe. Saute until the pasta is al dente (ca. 10 min).

In a separate saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic until fragrant (1-2 min), and add the red pepper flakes. Add the water and stir. Reduce for 2-3 mins, and take off the stove. Once the pasta is ready, drain the pasta and broccoli rabe, plate, and spoon sauce over the pasta. With a vegetable peeler, peel thin slices of a piece of parmesan or pecorino cheese. Serve!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Growning Tuscan Kale

Last year I discovered lacinato kale, and fell in love with its texture, soft surface that reminds me of elephant skin, and its delicious taste.. This spring, I managed to actually grow lacinato kale from seeds in my garden, something that I am typically not very good at (the growing from seeds part). It worked so well that I had to start putting plants into pots because I ran out of space in the raised bed. Kale country.... glad, I like it so much...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mache Salad

One of my favorite salad: the delicate, yet nutty flavored, crunchy mache salad. Just lovely taste and texture. It is a common green salad in Europe (as "Feldsalat" or "Nuessli Salat" in the German speaking countries), but not so common in the US (yet). But now, it is available at WholeFoods from Epic Roots.

It works well on its one with a slightly sweet vinaigrette, with almonds, goat cheese or cooked beets. Or just as the green lettuce in a mixed salad, with tomatoes, string beans, cannellini beans and hard boiled eggs.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Treasures from the Orono Farmers' Market

On the days after Saturday, my fridge is full with treasures from the Orono Farmers' market, fresh fish, vegetables, eggs, goat cheese..... Today's lunch was a composition of a few of them: sauteed scallops (from picturesque Stonington) on mesclun greens (from Peacemeal Farm) with garbanzo beans (dry, from the Natural Living Center) drizzled with spicy peanut and hot thai sauce. To eat well....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Penne with Rapid Ragu

I still had frozen organic local ground lamb from the FM and pancetta in the freezer, and this recipe by Nigella Lawson sounded scrumptious: rapid ragu with ground lamb, crispy pancetta, a good shot of marsala, and tomatoes, simmered for a bit. It is divine!

Rapid Ragu (makes 2 large servings):
1/2 pound ground lamb (organic)
1 oz pancetta, cubed
1/2 small red onion, diced
salt, fresh ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced or microplaned
1/4 cup sweet marsala
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water

2 oz penne (cooked according to instructions)

Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high, and add the pancetta to the pan. The pancetta will release its fat, and crisp up (so, no additional fat is necessary since ground lamb typically also has a quite high fat content). Once the pancetta had browned, add the ground lamb and break up with a spoon. Once the ground lamb is no longer raw (but not necessarily brown), add the onions, salt and pepper and simmer the mix until the onions are translucent (the original recipe calls for caramelized onions, but I had none in a jar and was too lazy otherwise to make some. This works, too). Once the onions are translucent and the lamb slightly browned, add first the garlic and mix through. Then add the can of tomatoes, the marsala, and the water. Mix well, and simmer on low for 20-25 min. Add more water if the ragu gets too dry. Serve with penne. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Strawberry Cucumber Summer Salad

This is a beautiful summery combination: strawberries, english cucumber, fresh basil leaves and a vinaigrette made with white balsamic vinegar, honey and a dash of hazelnut oil. Her is the recipe:

1 cup of fresh strawberries, cut in bite-sized pieces
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and cubed
about 10 basil leaves, stacked, rolled and cut into thin slices

4 TB white balsamic vinegar
1/2 TB honey
1 TB hazelnut oil
some fresh ground pepper

Cut the salad and mix gently. Pour all the ingredients into a jar with a lid, and shake well to mix. Pour over salad, and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Serve!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The simple way of making tomato soup

The summer with its abundance of fresh vegetables and a relaxed pace makes me want to simplify cooking. So, here is a really simple, one-pot way of making a light fresh tomato soup with plenty of vegetables and some small pasta. Tasty!

1 small can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup of water
handful of fresh or frozen corn
1/2 zucchini, cubed
handful fresh spinach
4-5 green olives, sliced
1/2 ts Rapunzel vegetable broth in a jar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ts agave nectar
1/2 TB creme fraiche
fresh oregano, thyme and basil, chopped
1-2 oz small-shaped pasta

In a soup pot, pour in the tomatoes. Add all the other ingredients, stir, bring to a boil and then simmer on low-medium heat for 8 min until pasta is al dente.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Spicy Moroccan Vegetarian Panini

Summer reminds me of grilled cheese sandwiches in Italy. Fortunately, good panini gadgets are abundant these days, and it is easy to make them at home. Here is today's variation:

2 slices of bread (I used homemade sourdough bread with rosemary), thinly sliced
1 TB olive oil
1 Tomato mozzarella veggie burger (like Boca burger)
1 roma tomato, sliced
1/2 TB harissa (spicy Moroccan condiment)
1-2 TB of crumbled feta cheese
1 few leaves of arugula

Preheat the panini maker, and grill the veggie burger. Meanwhile, brush the outer sides of the bread slices with olive oil (it helps to brown them nicely). Distribute the harissa on the slice of bread that is the bottom of the panini. Add the grilled veggie burger and the tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the feta cheese. Top with arugula salad, and place the top bread on the panini. Transfer to hot panini maker and grill about 5 min.