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Carrot Simmer Sauce Recipe

fusili in carrot sauce | annelies zijderveld

Who do I thank for the extra hour of sleep this morning? We have officially turned the corner into fall even in our still sunny landscape. The leaves got the memo and have begun turning red and burgundy across the street, letting a plume of wind set them in flight. I have pulled out my warmer pajamas, which isn’t saying much since we are still in California. But as the weather begins dipping into chillier degrees, I join the rest of root vegetable lovers the land over in praise of the roast and braise. In the spirit of embracing the seasons as they change, I decided to take that as a challenge for pasta sauce and developed a comforting carrot simmer sauce that decidedly clings to each curlicue. This is a recipe perfect for the long nights ahead. Garnish a bowl of it with savory Carrot Top Pesto.

I am thrilled to be a new contributor to The Weiser Kitchen and will be writing about married life and sharing recipes in a column called Eat Takes Two. Sometimes my love of wordplay and cheeky banter find their own marital bliss. Head over there for the Carrot Simmer Sauce recipe.

Fusili in Carrot Sauce with Carrot Top Pesto | Annelies Zijderveld

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Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar with Avocado, Lime and Shell Pasta (aka Guacamole Mac and Cheese)

Beecher's Cheddar Mac and Cheese | Melt Cookbook

Some people take a server at her word when she chirrups, “save room for dessert!” My husband is not one of those people. His lack of a sweet tooth when paired with my overly enthusiastic one sets us up for an end of meal conundrum that more often than not entails a response of “check, please.” That is, unless we visit a restaurant that equates end of meal indulgence with a cheese plate. Then all bets are off.  I tend to coo over the pairings that come with the cheese- the membrillo or fig cake, the scattering of nuts or wedge of honeycomb all thoughtfully curated to combine in a perfect bite that silences us as we arrive in a state of blissed out cheesy Xanadu.
Cheddar Avocado Mac and Cheese | Melt Cookbook

BEECHER’S FLAGSHIP CHEDDAR WITH AVOCADO, LIME AND SHELL PASTA 

Reprinted with permission from “Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese” by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord

A few substitutions were made in cooking this recipe. We swapped in gluten-free rotini instead of the shell pasta and used all 12 oz. of the pasta in the Bio-Natur bag, though Jovial noodles are usually the box of pasta you might find in our pantry. And if you’ve never eaten gluten-free noodles before, be advised they are not really palatable as leftovers, so plan ahead and invite some friends to partake of a freshly made pot of this mac and cheese. For the flour, I used King Arthur Gluten-Free AP flour to build the sauce. Also, and just because a bit ago I picked up some finger limes at IFBC, we cut them in half and squeezed out the lime arils, garnishing the pasta with that final pert burst of citrusy flavor instead of the lime juice called for in the recipe. The finger limes give an intriguing pop of flavor and texture to a dish already complex and completely decadent.

SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 green onions, green parts only, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 ripe avocados, pits and skin removed, divided
  • 10 ounces concighlie or other medium shell pasta
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 ounces Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar, shredded
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Remove the stem from the jalapeno and cut the jalapeno in half. Remove the ribs and seeds- or keep them, depending on how much heat you like. Toss the jalapeno into the bowl of a food processor with the lime zest and lime juice. Add green onions, garlic and flesh of 2 of the avocados. Blitz together into a very smooth paste.
  2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander and set aside.
  3. To prepare the mornay sauce, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the milk starts to steam and tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan, turn off the heat. Place the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium flame. Add the flour and stir with a flat-edge wooden paddle just until the roux begins to take on a light brown color, scraping the bottom to prevent burning, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk and stir constantly until the sauce thickens enough to evenly coat the back of a spoon- a finger drawn along the back of the spoon should leave a clear swath, Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper. Add cheese to sauce, stirring until completely melted. Add the avocado-onion paste and whisk together until uniform and creamy. The key word here, if you haven’t guessed is smooth. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the pasta and cilantro to the sauce and stir together. Dice the last avocado and toss together with the mac and cheese. Serve immediately with a splash of lime juice.

Finger Limes_IMG_6593

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Recipes

Mee Goreng

Who says the street food craze can’t be brought home? This recipe while it may look daunting requires time for prepping the ingredients and is easy to make for a weeknight alternative to take-out. I give you the insanely good Mee Goreng recipe. Yotam Ottolenghi has really outdone himself with this recipe. I made it three times in the span of just as many weeks which could either mean I’m someone on a mission or someone who needs to plan a trip to Malaysia where this street food is regarded with fondness. We recently discovered Mee Goreng on the menu of our favorite Thai take-out restaurant. Their version used thicker wheat noodles shellacked in a spicy sauce but missed the  stir-fried vegetables and garnishes that make Ottolenghi’s recipe shine.

VEGETARIAN RECIPES- Mee-Goreng

 

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MEE GORENG
Recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi from his cookbook “Plenty.” Reprinted with permission. Published by Chronicle Books.

The original recipe in “Plenty” uses egg noodles (as pictured above) but I wanted to try a gluten free variation of this dish and after having tried it with egg noodles and then with rice noodles, found I preferred the rice noodles. I also substituted scrambled eggs instead of tofu and found that worked well texturally and flavor-wise. The original recipe also calls for 2 tablespoons of thick soy sauce and 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce. We opted to use the Liquid Aminos as that is a mainstay in our kitchen. Feel free to go the route that works for you. Lastly, I added sliced radishes as a garnish finding the crunch and slight zip of spice it lends to this already assertive dish one that is in good company. If you live in San Francisco and are looking to purchase sambal oelek, head over to New May Wah on Clement Street. Otherwise, purchase it online.

YIELD: 2 servings

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1/2 onion, diced

4 eggs, scrambled hard

4 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut in half at an angle

4 ounces bok choy, cut into large chunks (both leaves and stalks)

11 ounces rice sticks (rice noodles)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons sambal oelek ( or another savory chili paste), plus extra to serve

3 teaspoons Braggs liquid aminos

1 tablespoon water

2 ounces Mung bean sprouts

handful of shredded iceberg lettuce

2 tablespoons of thinly sliced radishes

1 tablespoon crisp-fried shallots

lemon wedges to serve

1. Set a wok or large pan on high heat. Once hot, add the oil and then the onion, and cook for about 1 minute to soften a bit. Add the sliced green beans and scrambled egg and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir gently so as not to break up the eggs into pieces that are too small.

2.In a large pot of hot water, place the rice noodles to soak. Drain after 5 minutes and then set aside.

3. Next, add the bok choy. When it wilts, add the noodles and carefully spread them in the wok using tongs. You want the noodles to get a lot of heat, almost to fry. Mix gently, cooking the noodles for about 2 minutes. Then add the spices, sambal oelek, liquid aminos, water, bean sprouts and toss carefully. Cook for about a minute or until the noodles are semisoft.

4. When ready, top with lettuce, transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle crisp shallots and radish slices on top. On the side, serve lemon wedges and a small bowl of extra sambal oelek.

 

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Try this with a chilled glass of Riesling.

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Recipes

Creamy Mint Pesto Quinoa Noodles

It’s a weekend night. It has been a doozy of a week and I crash through the door with the intention of dinner in an hour. The catch is there is not a bone in my body really rendering its services for the task. Do we head out in what is the second storm to move through San Francisco in a week in search of hot food and a quick turn-around? Do we hail the almighty delivery person with their promise of pizza in under an hour that might leave us feeling not so great? I would like to say we never respond with either of the preceding responses, but let’s just admit that’s not the case. On this particular night, I got a hankering and as I am wont to do went in search of a way to scratch the itch. Pesto in the winter- it sounds now like a movie Nathan introduced “The Lion in Winter.” In this case, the lion was our stomachs and the winter was the rain lashing gashes into our windows. I scrounged. I coddled. I conquered.

Ah, pantry and refrigerator, how you spoil me with your conquests!

The key to making easy last minute ridiculously good food that gets you a smile, hug and a kiss is a properly stocked fridge and pantry. They are your allies when the going gets tough. If you’re interested, I can go through a pretty rudimentary list of our must-have’s, just leave me a comment and I will be sure to plan on covering the fun topic of the LBD in our fridge and pantry.

Tonight’s secret weapon: quinoa linguine. To go out of the ordinary from regular semolina linguine, you’ll find this gluten free pasta a winner with its combination of organic corn flour and organic quinoa flour. It’s a bit of a departure, but looks familiar.

Now for the Pesto in Winter (see how that rolls right off the tongue)? Pesto is comprised of several key ingredients: basil leaves, garlic, pignola, freshly grated parmesan, and olive oil. In the spirit of my kitchen, we work with what we have which this evening did not include the pine nuts, basil and I decided to forego the olive oil in place of grape seed oil. Instead, I began salivating over the idea of mint and pistachios, which are already salad mates, as picking up the ingredient slack. Then there was the addition of kefir. Let me just tell you, you might be seeing a lot of kefir in coming weeks so we will plan a more formal introduction later. The resulting creamy sauce clung to the al dente noodles. With freshly grated parmesan dusting the top of the dish, I found this too good to keep to myself.

Consider it my St. Paddy’s Day gift to you: a dinner that takes less than 30 minutes on a night where you need a bit of a boost.

VEGETARIAN RECIPES- Creamy Mint Pesto Quinoa Noodles

 

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CREAMY MINT PESTO QUINOA NOODLES 

YIELD: 4 servings

1/2 cup plain organic kefir

1 cup mint leaves

1/4  cup unsalted pistachio meat

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 garlic clove

1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese plus more as desired for garnish

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

kosher salt, to taste

 

1.  Remove mint leaves from stalk and rinse.

2. Add mint leaves, pistachios, oil, salt, pepper, Parmesan Reggiano, garlic and 1/4 cup kefir. Puree until smooth. Taste and add the other 1/4 cup kefir plus a bit more salt if you want. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

3. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Then add the quinoa linguine noodles, broken in half and added by dropping them into the pot. Cook for 6-9 minutes uncovered and make sure to stir frequently, as you do not want them to clump. I tend to stir with tongs to make sure the noodles are circulated enough. You want them cooked al dente, so around the 8-9 minute mark, you should be good to go.

4. Drain pasta and reserve 1-2 tablespoons of pasta water. Set aside.

5. You will combine the noodles and pesto in three batches, to ensure coverage. Start by adding 1/3 of the hot noodles to a large pan with 1/3 of the Mint Pesto sauce. Add in 1 tablespoon of pasta water and drag them around in the pesto until covered. Add in the next round of noodles and pesto and drag to combine. Do it one last time and add in the other tablespoon of pasta water if it feels too thick.

6. Serve with freshly grated parmesan Reggiano on top to taste.

 

SERVING SUGGESTION: This would actually go very well with a side salad, and perhaps a nice piece of poached salmon.

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Asparagus Artichoke Basil Rosettes

VEGETARIAN RECIPES- Asparagus Artichoke Basil Rosettes

 

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Asparagus Artichoke Basil Rosettes

YIELD: 7 servings (2 per person based on 14 rosettes)

When it comes to food for celebrations, we want to pull out all the stops. Initially, thinking about making these rosettes had me sweating bullets, but I conquered my fear and these were worth it! The variations and ideas for sauces is pretty limitless. For the filling, I used artichoke bottoms from a can because that’s what I had on-hand, but feel free to try these with steamed artichoke hearts instead.

ASPARAGUS SAUCE
1 pound asparagus

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped

¼ teaspoon olive oil

2 small cloves garlic, crushed

¼ cup whole milk

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

Dash of freshly cracked black pepper

 

LASAGNA
1 package curly edged lasagna noodles

 

ARTICHOKE FILLING
½ cup (5) Cento brand artichoke bottoms

½ cup fresh homemade ricotta

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Dash of freshly cracked black pepper

 

1. Set water to boil in a large soup pot. While it’s heating up, chop off the ends of asparagus near bottom of green part and before the pale ends (which can be hard to chew and stringy). Place asparagus in steamer basket in boiling water for about 3-4 minutes until asparagus turns bright green.

2. Meanwhile, drizzle olive oil into small sauté pan and add chopped basil leaves. Simmer until toasted. Remove from heat.

3. Drain asparagus and move spears to food processor receptacle. Add in crushed garlic cloves, basil leaves (and oil from pan), egg, salt, pepper and pour in milk. Puree until almost smooth (a little bit of chunkiness lends something rustic to this dish).

4. Wash out soup pot and then fill with 4-6 quarts of water. Set over high heat and cover until boiling. Add in lasagna noodles and turn heat down to medium. Let lasagna noodle sheets cook until al dente about 8-9 minutes based on package instructions. Stir occasionally and gently, taking care not to break noodle sheets.

5. While noodles are cooking, pour your asparagus sauce into a small serving bowl and then clean out the food processor receptacle. Once clean, transfer the artichoke bottoms and fresh homemade ricotta to the food processor receptacle along with cracked black pepper and kosher salt to taste. Puree until smooth.

6. Transfer artichoke ricotta filling to a small serving bowl.

7. Drain the lasagna sheets in a colander, taking care to rinse them with cold water, to help prevent sticking and also to make them easier to handle.

how to make lasagna rosettes

8. Take 1 lasagna sheet and set on a clean countertop. Take a tablespoon from your cutlery drawer and fill with artichoke ricotta (about 1 T filling per lasagna sheet). Set the tip of your spoon down in the middle of the lasagna noodle and drag it in a straight line, taking care to ensure even distribution. Then pinch the two corners together, like you would folding a sheet or blanket and begin to roll inward like a pinwheel.

rolling asparagus artichoke basil rosettes

making lasagna rosettes

You want to make sure they are tight both as you roll them and tight in the casserole dish. (I used a measuring cup to keep the rosettes from moving in the casserole dish and to keep them tight until enough of them were in the dish.)

tips on making lasagna rosettes

tightly packed in casserole dish

9. Keep rolling until you’ve used up your supplies. (In my case, I found a few of the lasagna sheets were mangled or falling apart so I only used the ones that were perfect which resulted in 14 rosettes. With this recipe, you can easily make 18, but that again is contingent on the shape of the noodles).

10. Once the casserole dish is full, carefully pour the asparagus basil sauce over the rosettes evenly so as to ensure even distribution over all rosettes. Refrigerate overnight.

11. On the evening you’re planning to serve the rosettes, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once the oven is heated up, cook for 15 minutes.

 

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