Baigan Bharta Lasagna

So, we decided to experiment a little with dinner tonight.  We had some lasagna noodles that we wanted to use, and were thinking we could figure out some sort of undiscovered lasagna dish that would revolutionize tiered pasta.  This did not happen.

We decided to go for a baigan bharta lasagna, cooking the eggplant first in veggie broth, some tomato paste, garlic, ginger, coriander, and cumin.  Once it was soft, we layered it with the pasta and shredded cheese we got at the produce market (labeled simply “Trinidad Cheese”) and baked it covered for 20 minutes and then uncovered for about 40.  It came out looking pretty good.

Unfortunately, the eggplant released a lot of water, so beneath the crusty top it lacked the structural integrity you want in a lasagna.  Also, the Indian spices weren’t really bold enough to overcome the pasta, tomato, and cheese combination.  In the end it was tasty, but if you didn’t know what was in it, you would have just thought it was slightly-different, slightly-wet lasagna.

I still think the Indian lasagna idea has legs though – maybe with aloo matar gobi instead.


Pasta with Broccoli and Roasted Squash

This dish involved a couple different elements that were cooked separately and then combined at the end. First, I roasted a cubed butternut squash with olive oil and fresh thyme (plus S&P). Meanwhile, I heated water for pasta (we used egg linguine). When the squash was getting towards done, I sauteed broccoli, also in olive oil, with some lemon juice, chopped parsley, and a bit of parmesan, tossing some chick peas into the pan after a couple of minutes.

Once the squash nice and tender, the broccoli lightly cooked but still crisp, and the chickpeas slightly browned, they all got piled on the pasta with some more fresh parsley, and extra pinch of parmesan, and some sunflower kernels.


Peanut Noodles with Garlic Scapes

Things in the garden plot are really starting to shoot up. Pretty soon we’ll have a whole mess of kale, chard, beets, and purple pole beans. For the time being, however, the garlic cloves we planted last fall have just produced big, beautiful scapes. I harvested a few of them last night and we threw them in (fine chopped) into some peanut noodles.

The peanut sauce was homemade, and mostly leftover from a dinner last week – we had to add some extra water and vinegar to loosen it up. After mixing the sauce into some whole wheat noodles, we just dumped in the scapes along with some chopped up veggie chic patties (not that frugal) and black sesame seeds.


Easy Bow Tie Pasta Salad

bow tie pasta salad

With the temperature rising comes BBQ’s, picnics and easy to prep, cool food.  This bow-tie pasta salad is simply the pasta cooked until al dente and tossed with a few tablespoons lemon juice, a big drizzle of olive oil, generous pinches of salt and pepper, chopped up sugar snap peas, thinly sliced red onion and a whole lotta dill – yum!  It actually tastes really good the next day as lunch leftovers, which means it will definitely stand up to any traveling if you bring it with you to a picnic.


Spaghetti Frittata

spaghetti frittata

We made spaghetti and veggie “meatballs” for dinner on Tuesday night and I decided to make a Spaghetti Frittata with the leftovers to have for breakfast tomorrow morning.  I followed the same recipe we’ve used before, but added in a sauteed red onion.  It might not look great, but it is a fabulous and different way to use up leftover pasta.


Pasta and Collards

Trying to cook our way into spring with some light, fresh veggies. What we have here is spaghetti with some barely-sauteed collard greens. I julienned the greens while some diced onion and garlic cooked in butter, I added the greens and used tongs to flip them around and keep them from getting too floppy. When they were lightly cooked but still firm, I transferred them into a bowl and put them in a warm oven while i used the same pan to cook a couple of eggs over easy. The greens and egg both went on top of spaghetti with some fresh grated parmesan.


Buttery Egg Noodles w/Parsley and Veggie Sausage

The sausage goes in a spending update (soon to come)!  Since we had a bunch of egg noodles leftover from making soup, I thought to use them a bit differently.  This dish is very easy, quick and tasty – all good things for a weeknight meal.

Buttery Egg Noodles w/Parsley & Veggie Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried egg noodles
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter (depends on how much butter you feel like)
  • 2 veggie sausages, sliced

To Do:

  1. Liberally salt and pour olive oil into a large pot full of water and set it to boil.  Add egg noodles.
  2. While noodles are cooking, heat some olive oil in a small pan over medium heat and saute the garlic for two minutes.  Add sausage slices and cook until evenly browned.
  3. Egg noodles should be done in about 7-8 minutes (al dente).  Drain and reserve a bit of the cooking liquid.  Put pasta back in the pot and add butter, parsley, the garlic and sausage and mix well.  Add a bit of the pasta water if it looks too dry or add more butter!
  4. If you’ve got some breadcrumbs or Parmesan or Pecorino, liberally sprinkle on top.  A spritz of lemon juice isn’t a bad idea either.  Serve!

Orzo with Mushrooms, Hazelnuts, Parsley, and Tofu

This was a recipe that I wanted to make on Friday with white beans, but after coming home a bit late from work, I decided my original Thursday night recipe (including brown rice) would take too long. Adaptation! I decided to toast the orzo a bit and then cook it in loads of water and it added a nice nutty flavor to the orzo.

Orzo with Mushrooms, Hazlenuts, Parsley, and Tofu

Cooking Soundtrack: Bjork – Live Box

Ingredients

Tofu Marinade (Phil’s creation, not sure about portions, but a lil bit of this and that)

Rice Vinegar
Sesame Oil
Soy Sauce (just a small dash)
Agave Nectar
Crushed Red Pepper
White Pepper
Garlic

The Rest of the Stuff

1 block of extra-firm tofu

1 cup orzo

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp fennel seeds

8 white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1.5 cups chopped parsley

handful of chopped toasted hazelnuts with skins rubbed off

squeeze of lemon

salt & pepper

To Do:

First, squeeze out as much water as you can from the tofu. Cut into thirds lengthwise and then into triangles. Heat a nonstick pan and put the tofu in the pan (no oil, nothing). This will help dry out the tofu and enable it to absorb the marinade better. Cook on both sides and press down with a spatula until the tofu looks toasted and dry. While it’s cooking whip up the marinade. Put all marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork. Place dried-out tofu in a pan and cover with marinade. The longer you soak the tofu, the more flavorful it will be (I only did it for about 20 minutes though).

While the tofu is marinating, heat up the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Sautee the garlic and fennel seeds over medium heat and then add the orzo. Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until orzo is toasty. Add a whole lot of water and some salt. Cook until al dente (about 7-8 minutes). Drain (reserve some liquid in a cup) and cover to keep it warm.

Finish up with the mushrooms while the orzo is cooking. Heat up a tiny bit of olive oil (I have an olive oil spray bottle and just used a quick spray) – you don’t need much because mushrooms contain a lot of moisture. Sautee the mushrooms until they’re a lovely brown color and squeeze a bit of lemon juice if they appear to stick to the pan. Add some salt and pepper to the mix. If the orzo is still cooking, steal a bit of the pasta water and add it to the mushrooms. If you already drained the orzo, use some of the pasta water you saved. The mushrooms should be browned and reduced in size.

Toss the orzo, parsley, mushrooms and hazlenuts (toast them in oven or toaster oven and use dishtowel to rub off skins) together. Add more lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Top with slices of the tofu. Eat!


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