Comfort Pantry Pasta

I’m 13 years old, and my journey for cooking started since I was little. I’ve always loved baking, and all sorts of comfort food. From when I was in Pre-K to now, just being in the kitchen excited me. Cooking can seem intimidating, but it’s really not. One of the main reasons I got into cooking was the exposure I had to different foods. My mom being a foodie helped. She liked to cook different things and eat different foods. When my parents went out to dinner, they always took us. So, we’ve tried many different kinds of foods for many years. My sister and I stopped eating from the kids menu by the time we were 5 or 6 years old. Who wants chicken fingers  and fries when you can have a grilled ribeye with mushrooms in wine sauce over duck fat roasted potatoes?

So, whenever I feel like cooking, i will whip stuff together. Eating different foods exposes your palate to different tastes which actually helps you with cooking. You kind of know what goes with what. You’re not as afraid of experimenting with flavors or ingredients.

This is a super simple dish but super easy. This recipe can be varied with different ingredients that can be changed to your liking. The recipe shows how you don’t need the most intricate skills, but just a love for food..and maybe some salami, pasta, and peas :)! I just came home from school one day , craving a big bowl of pasta. I got started right away ready to make my creation: Pasta, with peas, Parmesan cheese, truffle oil, and some salami—that was really supposed to be for our school lunch sandwiches(mom won’t mind)! 15 minutes later, I had my bowl of pasta ready.

I hope this makes you want to  try it yourself or have your mom/dad/adult try it with you. Cooking is fun and can be relaxing. It’s a nice way to find your creative side.

Comfort Pantry Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. of spaghetti (or 1 lb. of any other pasta)
  • 1/2 cup of genoa salami sliced
  • 1/2 cup of sopresatta sliced
  • salt to taste
  • 1 1/2-2 cups frozen peas thawed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • small pat of unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp truffle oil
  • Parmesan to garnish(optional)

 

Ingredients:

  1. Fill pasta pot with water and wait until boiled-8 to 10 mins( according to package directins)
  2. Drain pasta( reserve a bit of pasta water) and turn on nonstick pan on med-low heat.
  3. Add olive oil and pat of butter.
  4. Cook salame in oil/butter.
  5. Once salami/soppresata crisps up-about 2 mins, add in frozen peas
  6. As soon as peas heat up,add in cooked spaghetti, or pasta of choice
  7. Stir pasta, and let pasta crisp up if desired-about 3 mins
  8. Drizzle truffle oil on top.
  9. Sprinkle Parmesan and enjoy!

 

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Easy like Sunday morning Frittata

In a household with two working parents and kids who seem busier than the adults, easy Sunday mornings are such a treat.   Usually, my husband and I wake up and catch up over chai. This is super special because my husband makes the chai. Some Sunday mornings, we all congregate in our kitchen.  Our kitchen table was made for a family of 3. So in our family of 4, three  people sit and one stands. Not the best way to have a four person conversation. For the last two weeks, Rachel went away to a 2 week pre-college program. It was the first time for her to be away by herself  for an extended period of time. We had a lot to talk about. Today, we all spent the morning chatting and catching up as a family. We all sat on the sofa over chai. What a great way to start the day!

After our leisurely catch up, it was time for breakfast. We needed something quick , filling and nutritious. A frittata is just that! Frittata  is basically a crustless quiche. What you put in a frittata depends on what it is that you have/want. I make a frittata based on ingredients I have on hand. So the ingredients listed are based on what I have from the CSA or what’s in my fridge. It’s really a nutrition packed meal. It’s so easy and filling too. Always make in a cast iron pan. If it’s seasoned correctly, it’s better than non stick and you don’t take the risk of ingesting those harmful non-stick chemicals. It’s a great way to get kids to eat veggies. you can add different types of vegetables, peppers, spinach, mushrooms. Today’s frittata includes kohlrabi, kale and corn. Kohlrabi is a vegetable that was selectively bred by farmers years ago from wild mustard. Crazy to think that one plant could be selectively bred to produce cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and kohlrabi. The idea of kohlrabi was scary to us. Never ate it , let alone never saw it before our CSA adventures.  According to  Food facts, Kohlrabi is rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as B-vitamins. It also contains copper, manganese, iron, potassium, dietary fiber and calcium, and is rich in antioxidant compounds like phytochemicals and carotenes as well.Simply put, kohlrabi  tastes like a potato that has a hint of sweetness. Erica loves tortilla española, which is  a Spanish frittata made with potatoes. Substituting potatoes with kohlrabi is a sneaky and creative way to get kids to eat cool foods like kohlrabi. It does taste a bit different from potatoes but not much.

Food always brings families together. Usually we are eating and running.  Sunday morning breakfasts always get us to sit together and connect over that meal. Farm fresh frittata, chai, family, fellowship and love- a perfect Sunday morning.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 kohlrabi( peeled and chopped) ( optional or use potatoes instead)
  • 1 cup lacinato kale chopped finely
  • 1 small onion ( or two shallot stems the flowers)
  • 1 garlic scape/2 cloves garlic
  • 3 strips of uncured nitrate-free  bacon(optional)
  • 1/2 cup sweet organic corn
  • 4-5 basic leaves finally chopped/julienned(ribbons)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6 eggs beaten
  • paprika- a few dashes for color(optional)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 365ºF.
  2. In a cast iron pan(there’s no other way to make an amazing frittata) on medium heat on stove. When pan gets hot, place chopped bacon into pan. When fat is rendered,  and bacon is crisp, remove pieces from pan.
  3. You may remove all the bacon fat and cook with EVOO or leave bacon fat to cook the vegetables.{ There are many schools of thought, animal fat should be eliminated. Animal fat consumption should be limited. I am of the second school of thought- limit the consumption. Know how the animals are treated and buy locally.} If you don’t want bacon or its fat, just use EVOO and eliminate bacon altogether.
  4. In the oil/bacon fat, add onions and garlic( shallot flowers and garlic scape). Add two pinches of salt to mixture to accelerate browning.
  5. Next add, chopped kohlrabi and saute( 2-3 minutes).
  6. When browning of kohlrabi has started, add chopped kale. Saute and cook down vegetables.( 3-5 minutes)
  7. Add sweet organic corn, I had in the freezer. I used the corn after defrosting.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Add paprika( optional).
  10. Add eggs into mixture in cast iron pan. Sprinkle basil , mix in. Sprinkle cooked bacon on top. Turn off heat in 5 minutes.
  11. Place pan into oven for 15 minutes until center of frittata is set( doesn’t jiggle).
  12. ENJOY! ( I like a little hot sauce drizzled over it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APP- All Purpose Pesto (Bitter green pesto)

Living in a home where everyone in the household needs or wants to eat something different on a daily basis can be a daunting task. Making sure all meals are healthy(-ish) is just as difficult. Using all the greens that come in your weekly share is tricky… now, really, how many greens can you eat in a day and how many ways can you prepare them?

So, this week’s CSA share included red mustard greens, mizuna, garlic scape and shallot flowers etc. Mizuna is an Asian mustard green that can be used in stir fry or eaten raw in salad.  Mizuna is almost always found in the swap box. People don’t like it or just don’t know to use it.

 

I have learned  to appreciate the art of pesto making  through my weekly share of the many bitter greens.  Pesto can come in many forms, but it’s usually basil  pulsed in a food processor with garlic, nuts, EVOO and Parmesan cheese. I make pesto with whatever greens I have at home and use it in pastas, rice, ground turkey and now….chicken curry. I usually don’t add nuts or cheese because that can’t cause it go rancid quicker. If I want cheese or nuts in pesto, I can always add later. You can make YOUR own rules around food, it’s what works for you and your family. Cooking should not be a task that becomes burdensome. If you have it at home, you can make into something delicious. All you need is a stocked spice box. The right spices can transform any dish.

Bitter Green Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of mizuna
  • 5-6 pieces of red mustard greens
  • garlic scapes (2-3 stalks)
  • salt to taste
  • EVOO
  • chili pepper( jalapeño or other preferred) optional

Instructions:

  1. Chop off the ends of the mizuna bunch, maybe 1-2 inches from root end.
  2. Wash mizuna, red mustard greens( 5-6 pieces) , and garlic scape(2-3) . Vegetables from local organic CSA shares are the healthiest and tastiest but can also be dirtiest. Welcome to the CSA life.. lots of dirt!
  3.  In a food processor, place mizuna, drizzle EVOO as you process the mizuna, then slowly add the mustard greens, garlic scapes, 1 tsp of salt( to taste, you can always add more later), pepper. If you want extra heat( I always do), add a chili pepper, you could add half a jalapeño. Go as mild or as bold as you like…
  4. Pulse in the processor ensuring it has a pesto consistency, drizzling in olive oil as needed( approx. 3/4 cup).

This will yield you maybe a 1.5 cups of pesto. You could add mint or cilantro to this making it even more aromatic and flavorful. I use it if i have it.

 

miz