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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Where does the thyme go?

 

I feel I have been in a writer’s block because I thought all I could write about were my culinary attempts with my CSA. I think I have more stories to tell …. This last summer was the most magical but also a whirlwind.  My daughter did some research over the summer taking us to New Hampshire for a few days. Enjoyed the nature hikes and King Arthur Flour Bakery. Everything baked at the bakery, I kid you not, was buttery scrumptiousness.

After a few days in NH, we made our way across the USA to Houston, Texas. After all of that, our trip of a lifetime was going to commence. We were returning the MOTHERLAND, India, after 8 long years.

NY –> INDIA–> DUBAI–> NY(Aug 2017)

3 weeks of food, family and adventure. Really a trip to remember – people and places to feel nostalgia over and food to savor, over and over again.  This trip to India is in typical Monsoon season. We heard from everyone, how difficult it was going to be on us. We heard that we were moving in the direction of the monsoon rains as we would be going North, 10 days after our arrival.

Some divine energy (God) looked over us. We had some rain, but most of the torrential downpours were overnight. Every food we ate was mouthwatering and painstakingly prepared with love. Every person we met treated us as we were their own. The Taj Mahal is more magnificent than we ever expected.  I have so much to share about the food and our experiences but here’s a taste… The kheer and gulab jamun were desserts we had at Bukhara Hotel in New Delhi was one of the best dessert combos we ever had, maybe one of the best foods, we ever ate.

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden green chicken pasta

It’s a warm summer day, and my nephew has come over to hang out. He is definitely a picky eater. Doesn’t eat alot and is distracted by childhood play.  He loved sushi when he was young. He would always talk about pumpkin sushi. I never tried it but he would rave about it, even at the young age of 3. But despite all this talking about food, he never really ate much or enjoyed eating. Now, he is definitely growing a more refined sophisticated palate but talks about food in a way that makes me think he would try something new and different.

So our task for today is to make a healthy, quick, tasty dish that can satisfy my nephew’s palate and also ours. At home, we prepare meals based on what we have available. We definitely buy items based on what we want to cook. But if I want to make a pasta dish that includes maybe spinach and parmesan but  I only have kale, I’ll substitute. Say I have no parmesan cheese at home but I have Asiago, then that’ll do.  Waste not want not. Ingredients do make the dish and any herbs and spices you add can transform a dish to your liking.

So, using what we had from our weekly Hilltop Hanover Farm share and items in our fridge and pantry… Green garden pesto emerged. We were running low on time and within 20 minutes, lunch was on the table. And by the looks of the bowls, we all LOVED it. Easy, simple,resourceful, yummy!

Ingredients:

  1. Box of whole wheat penne pasta(or any shape you like).
  2. One large garlic scape and one long shallot flower including green stem(sub with two cloves garlic and one shallot).
  3. 4-5 sun dried tomatoes
  4. 5-6 lacinato kale leaves (use any green leaf- spinach is great here)
  5. 1 lb of boneless chicken thighs chopped into 1 inch pieces.
  6. 1/4- 1/2 cup of heavy cream/half half or whole milk
  7. paprika
  8. 1 cup of Asiago cheese( you can sub for parmesan cheese)
  9. fresh oregano( optional)
  10. salt and pepper to taste
  11. olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Boil pasta according to box directions.
  2. Chop sun dried tomatoes into thin strips.
  3. Finely chop garlic scapes and shallot flowers.
  4. Peel the kale leaves off the rib
  5. Roll the leaves together and finely chop the leaves to get a ribbon like appearance.
  6. On a separate cutting board ( you may use the same one if you are done with all the vegetable prepping). cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.
  7. Pour 2-3 tbsp of oil in to pan. Place pan on medium heat on stove. Add shallot flowers and garlic scape to pan and stir to saute.  Add a few pinches of salt.
  8. Add sun dried tomatoes and stir to saute.Add 2 dashes of paprika. This is more for color and a smoky flavor(perfectly optional)
  9. After this is softened, add the chicken to pan.
  10. Saute chicken until is white on the outside and it is more seared . Note: If the pan is not hot enough, the chicken will boil/steam rather than sear.  this should take 5-7 minutes to cook completely.
  11. Add chopped kale, stir for 30 seconds.
  12. Add fresh oregano( optional). You may chop the leaves or just pull some off from stem and throw into dish.
  13. Add 3/4 cup of Asiago cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Add milk( If you add cream, you get a thicker sauce). I had milk and so used that.
  15. Add pasta. Stir completely.  Close with lid, place on low-medium heat for another 10 minutes. When done. stir one last time.
  16. Serve pasta dish in bowl and sprinkle some Asiago cheese on top.  Enjoy!