Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Baked Eggplant Cheese Pasta

Simple, delicious, and relatively healthy dinner. Everyone enjoyed it!

Baked Eggplant Cheese Pasta
from Bite my cake

16 oz. pasta (rigatone or any other short pasta)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large eggplant, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 cups canned tomatoes
80 ml. white wine
100 g. cheese, grated (I used farmer's cheddar)
1 Tbs. parsley, chopped
5 Tbs. Parmesan, grated
salt and pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 390F.
2. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add eggplant, garlic, salt and pepper. Once the olive oil has been absorbed by the eggplant, add canned tomatoes and white wine, and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.
4. Combine pasta, eggplant mixture, and cheese. Salt and pepper to taste, and spread evenly in a 3 qt. pan. Sprinkle over Parmesan cheese and parsley.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Chickpea Pumpkin Ginger Patties with Curry Coconut Sauce and Balsamic Caramelized Onions

Complicated but delicious sandwich. This has many complex flavors, but is relatively simple to make. The curry sauce goes really well with sweet potato fries (accidental discovery), and is one of the few I've seen that doesn't involve pastes, just simple curry powder.

Chickpea Pumpkin Ginger Patties with Curry Coconut Sauce and Balsamic Caramelized Onions
from Sandwitcherie
makes 8+ large patties

250 g. pumpkin puree (instructions here)
200 g. chickpeas (a little more than 1 can)
1 Tbs. chopped parsley
1.5 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. ground ginger
1/2 Tbs. chili powder

1. Combine all ingredients in food processor, and process to combine.
2. Refridgerate for 2-3 hours.
3. In a small, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat 1 tsp. olive oil over medium heat. Form a flat patty in your hands (about the size of your hands, including fingers), plop in the oil and fry on one side for 5 minutes or so, until the patty slides easily around the pan when you shake it. Slide the patty off the pan gently onto a large spatula, add more oil to the pan (if needed), and the gently flip it into the oil and fry for another 5 minutes until the patty is relatively firm and golden-brown.
4. Server with curry sauce and balsamic onions (recipes below) on bread.

Coconut Curry Sauce:
1 tsp. olive oil 
1/2 cup coconut milk (or cream)
1 clove garlic
1 Tbs. curry powder
1/2 Tbs. soy sauce

1. In a small sauce pan,  heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic until fragrant (~30 seconds).
2. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Balsamic Carmalized Onions
1 Tbs. butter
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1.5 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1. In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter.
2. Add onions, sugar, and salt to the pan and cook until onions are translucent.
3. Add balsamic vinegar, and cook for another 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally and scrapping the bottom until onions are caramelized.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rosemary Balsamic Pumpkin Seeds

Since this Saturday was the last official day of the farmer's market this year, I stocked up on pumpkins. I've been making a ton of things with pumpkin, with more to come (including some pumpkin-chickpea patties), and instead of throwing out the seeds like I always have, I tried my  hand out at making roasted pumpkin seeds. These guys take a lot of tending, because you have to stir every 5 minutes but I think it's worth it. They work great as a salad topping! I suggest leaving out the salt if you use the balsamic vinegar, and adding in afterwards to taste.

Rosemary Balsamic Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds or pepitas, raw
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme, minced
1 tsp. rosemary, minced
1 tsp. salt

1. Pre-heat oven to 300F. Line baking sheet with parchement paper.
2. Combine all ingredients, and spread out as a single layer on the pan.
3. Bake for 10 - 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until seeds are golden brown. Try one each time to figure out your perfect seed-doneness.
4. Store dry for up to 3 weeks.

Coconut Quiona and Kale with Cilantro Pesto

Delicious detox food, exactly what I needed after Halloween weekend (part 1). My friends and I went to the haunted corn maze *insert maize pun here* Saturday night, then came back here for home-made hot chocolate spiked with baileys and played cards. Well, after the hot chocolate ran out, then there was....
It's basically just rum that comes in a cool bottle and has pictures of the kraken on it, but it's pretty sweet stuff : )

This is my first experience with both kale and quiona, and I'm quite pleased with both. My friend Sam, who dines with me (and helps split grocery costs : D) I didn't happen to have red onion, so I omitted that, and I had shredded coconut on hand (not flakes) so I used that instead, but I think I would have slightly preferred the flakes for their crunchy texture. If anyone else tries this, let me know what you think!

Coconut Quiona and Kale with Cilantro Pesto
adapted from Cookie and Katie

1 cup quiona, well rinsed
1 cup coconut milk
1 small bunch kale, stems removed and finely chopped (~4 cups)
1/2 small/medium red onion, chopped (optional)
1/3 cup coconut flakes, un-sweetened

Cilantro Cashew Pesto
2 cups cilantro, packed
1/2 cup cashews, toasted/roasted (salted or unsalted)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 lime, juiced
pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium sauce pan, combine coconut milk and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and simmer for 15-17 mins (until the water is absorbed). Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover and set aside.
2. Add cilantro, cashews, garlic, lime juice, and red pepper flakes to a food processor and process together, slowly drizzling in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine quinoa, kale, onion, and pesto. Mix well to combine, and add more salt and pepper to taste.
4. In a small skillet over medium-heat, toast coconut until golden brown, stirring often. Top salad with toasted coconut and serve warm.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Roasted Apple and Carrot Soup

Great fall-time soup. I never would have though of roasting apples, but I really liked it! Also the browned butter with paprika is genius. Adds such a complex flavor with so little effort.

Roasted Apple and Carrot Soup
from An Edible Mosaic

1 lb. carrots, scrubbed, ends trimmed, and chopped into 1" long pieces
1 medium-large onion, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 medium-large apple, cored and quartered
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt + more (to taste)
1/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
2 Tbs. butter, divided
2 (large) cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. ginger, grated
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. paprika
 Optional: sour cream or chives to garnish

1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
2. Line a cookie sheet (if desired). Toss carrots, onion, apple, olive oil, salt, and half the black pepper together and place on baking sheet in an even layer. Roast veggies in the oven until tender and partially golden (~30 mins), stirring half way through.
3. Melt 1 Tbs. butter in a medium-sized soup pot over medium-heat. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other half of black pepper and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add stock and roasted veggies and turn off heat.
4. Puree soup with an immersion blender, or a regular blender. Transfer back to pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Salt to taste.
5. In a butter-melting pan, add remaining 1 Tbs. butter and paprika, and whisk until butter is browned (until it smells nutty and brown bits appear).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Butternut Squash Chili

As sad as I am to see the beautiful good weather go, that means the cold-weather cooking begins! I've been waiting for a week to make this chilli, but the weather kept being... nice. I did get to take a wonder afternoon picnic yesterday, with hummus and olive tapenade from the Chicago Diner cookbook, one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants, and soon becoming one of my favorite cook books. Unfortunately, the copyright declares re-posting (without written permission) of their recipes to be banned, so I'm not doing that. But if you're looking for a solid vegetarian cookbook with all sorts of time-tested restaurant recipes that require very few ingredients, this is the book for you. I'm even thinking of doing a food-blog challenge for all of you readers out there, with a series of 4-5 recipes and the first one to make and post about their experiences gets a mandolin and a copy of this book. : D More to come on that...

Back to food.... I loved this chili, truly one of the best I've ever had. It's so fresh while being so healthily-heavy and satisfying.

Butternut Squash Chili
adapted from Cookie and Katie
serves 4

2 Tbs. oil
1 onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 small (< 1.5 lbs) butternut squash, peeled, 1/2" cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin, ground
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. cinnamon, ground
14-oz. canned diced tomatoes, including liquid
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
(optional) garnish: avocado, cheddar, tortilla, cilantro, sour cream, etc.

1. Add oil to stock pot over medium heat. Then add onion, peppers, squash, and garlic and sautee until onions are translucent (~5 minutes).
2. Turn heat to medium-low, and add chili powder, cumin, jalapeno, bay leaf, cinnamon, tomatoes, beans, and broth. Stir to combine, then cover and cook for 1 hour.
3. The butternut squash should be tender and the liquid should be reduced. Ladle into bowls, garnish, and serve. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Fettuccine

Perfect fall flavorings, and with those pumpkins being so cheap at the farmer's market?? Definitely worth a try : ) You could probably substitute milk, perhaps make a roux and slowly add milk, or add corn starch to thicken.

Pumpkin Cream Fettuccine
from Heather Christo

1 lb. Fettuccini
1 cup pumpkin purée (instructions here)
1 cup cream
1 cup Parmesan + more for sprinkling, shredded
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
roasted pumpkin seeds (to garnish)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
2. Pour cream into a small sauce pan, and bring to a simmer with the nutmeg and thicken (~3 mins).
3. Whisk in the pumpkin until combined. Then whisk in the Parmesan, and whisk lightly until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer pasta into a mixing bowl, add sauce, and stir gently to combine. If too thick, add pasta water 1 Tbs. at a time to thin. Garnish generously with Parmesan cheese.

Apple Onion Cheese Gratin

This pairs well with a hearty salad and a glass of white wine. The apples I used were from my family's trees at home, so the brown sugar wasn't necessary. It ended up being quite sweet naturally. Thank you fall for your bounteous goods!

Apple Onion Cheese Gratin
from Erza Pound Cake (originally from Moosewood New Restaurant Classics)

1 cup milk
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
4 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups cheddar (or Gruyère), grated
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 Tbs. brown sugar (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Lightly oil a 11" x 7" (3 qt.) baking dish.
2. In a small pot, scald milk over medium heat, just before boiling but not after.
3. In another small pot, melt butter over medium heat. Then whisk in flour until fully combined.
4. Slowly whisk in the scalded milk. Add nutmeg, salt, and cloves, and whisk continuously until the sauce starts to thicken.
5. Spread apples and onions evenly in prepared dish. Sprinkle the grated cheese over, and then pour the sauce on top.
6. Sprinkle over the pecans, bread crumbs, and sugar (if using). Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden and crisp.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dark Choclate Avocado Cremeux

Unfortunately this perfect blogging glass was broken in transportation from my friend's house (where I made this creation last night) to mine (where we dined this evening). Alas! Hopefully I can scrounge through the various second-hand stores in kirksville to find a similar one.

This desert is super rich, but divine and so much healthier than a cream-based version. But a little bit goes a long way. These servings were way too much, so we saved half for another day.

Dark Choclate Avocado Cremeux
from My Freestyle Ktichen
serves 4

2 avocados
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa
100 mL honey
1 tsp. vanilla
shaved dark chocolate, for garnish

1. Blend together all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
2. Spoon into 4 small glasses, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 4 hours, or until set.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Rice

Hardy go-to broccoli cheddar soup with on-hand ingredients. My family loved it!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Rice
from dksCooks

1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 Tbs. butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
2 cups cream (or milk)
3 cups chick'n (or vegetable) broth
1/2 lb. broccoli florrets
1/4 ts. all-spice
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
2 cups prepared brown rice

1. Heat 1 Tbs. butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and saute until golden-brown.
2. In a medium pot, whisk remaining butter and flour over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Slowly whisk in cream and broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add broccoli and onion-garlic mix and continue to simmer until broccoli is tender (~6 mins). Add all-spice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Stir in cheese until incorporated. Put a scoop of brown rice into individual bowls, ladle in soup, and serve.

Zucchini Cheese Quiche

My favorite thing about this quiche was how healthy it tasted. The thick zucchini pieces and whole wheat crust balance out the rich cheese custard in between, far better than the majority of the tarts/quiches that I make. Feel free to substitute different cheeses. The original used goat cheese.

Zucchini Cheese Quiche
adapted from ArtKulinaria

1 whole wheat crust (recipe below)
3 - 4 skinny zucchini, enough to fill tart pan when cut to tart pan height
3 eggs
50 ml. cream or milk
90 g. Irish cheese + more for sprinkling
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
2. Bring water to a simmer in a steamer. Cut the zucchini into equal pieces, the height of the tart pan. Steam zucchini for 3 minutes.
3. Brush olive oil over crust, and evenly sprinkle garlic. Then nestle in zucchini into the tart standing on their ends.
4. Whisk together eggs, cream, cheese, and pepper. Pour between the zucchini in the tart, then sprinkle top of tart with cheese.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, and let set 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Whole Wheat Crust
from ArtKulinaria

250 g. wheat flour
125 g. butter
5 g. salt
50 mL water

1. Combine flour and salt in a food processor, and pulse a few times to combine. Then add butter, and pulse until butter is incorporated.
2. Slowly drizzle water until dough starts to come together. Pour dough out, shape into a flat disk, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Roll out dough into shape of a deep-tart pan, and fit dough into the pan.
4. Line dough with foil, add pie weights, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Then remove weights and foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Let crust cool before using.

Wasabi Dipping Sauce

This dip is great with tempura vegetables and raw carrot sticks. I'm considering having it on hand as a go-to snack.

Note: if using yogurt, you'll need significantly less wasabi than if using sour cream

Wasabi Dipping Sauce
from Diva Eats World

4 oz. sour cream or yogurt
wasabi, to taste
1/8 tsp. white ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Combine all ingredients.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jalapeño Poppers

One of the many things that happened on fry-day. These were by the far the best jalapeño poppers I've ever had, and I think a large part of that had to do with the fresh jalapeños being used. We froze some of these for later, and they weren't nearly as good after being frozen. I would make just as many as you're going to eat, and try to find local jalapeños. They were 18 for 1$ at the Kirksville farmer's market, so you can probably find them pretty cheaply in your area!

Jalapeño Poppers
from Whisk the Pantry

8 jalapeños
3 Tbs. cheddar cheese, shredded
3 Tbs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 cup panko (or fresh) breadcrumbs
1/3 cup flour
oil for deep frying (I used peanut oil)

1. Fill deep-fryer to indicated level with high-smoke point oil, and let come to temperature (365F).
2. To prepare the jalapeños, cut a line length-wise on the jalapeños. Then cut a line half way-across the top, just down from the stem. The jalapeños should now open up like a coin purse when you press the ends together. Gently scoop out the seeds.
3. In a small bowl, mix the cheddar and cream cheese.
4. Spoon the mixture into the jalapenos. Dip the stuffed jalapeno first into milk, then flour. Do this with all of them, letting them dry before dipping in milk, and then bread crumbs.
5. After having dipped them all in the breadcrumbs, do a second coat of milk and then breadcrumbs.
6. Once oil is at heat, pop the jalapenos in (I suggest holding by the stem and sliding them into the oil to avoid getting splattered) and cook until outter coating is golden-brown.
7. Take out finished poppers with a slotted spoon and set on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot.

Carmel Apple Pop Cocktail

This is the prefect fall drink! Garnish glass with an apple slice coated in lemon juice if desired. For a standard-sized scotch glass, 1 - 1oz. shot = 1 part

Carmel Apple Pop Cocktail

1 part sour apple pucker
1 part butterscotch schnapps
1.5 part sprite

1. Combine pucker, schnapps, and sprite. Server over ice.

Vareniki (Cheese Dumplings)

This is my second recipe in my Russian collection. Serve with a side of borscht (recipe here) and hot tea!

Note: pan-frying is recommended, but optional. After dumplings have been boiled, pre-he a a large skillet on medium-high heat with half of butter (2 Tbs) and lightly fry each side of the dumplings.

Vareniki (Cheese Dumplings)
from SheSimmers

1/2 lb. ricotta (farmers' cheese) (ricotta recipe here)
1 egg
2 Tbs. sugar (omit for savory dumplings)
1/4 tsp. salt
1.5 cups flour
4 Tbs. butter
sour cream, to serve with
veggie bacon bits, caramelized shallot, sauerkraut, to serve (optional)

1.  Set a large pot on the stove filled half-way with water to boil.
2. Whisk egg, cheese, sugar, and salt together in a mixing bowl until well combined.
3. Stir in flour, and mix until combined enough to turn over onto the counter and kneed. Flour counter if necessary and kneed just until a ball is formed.
4. Divide dough into 4 pieces, and roll each piece into a 1/2" thick rope, and cut into 2" pieces, then flatten a bit in the middle if intending to pan-fry.
5.  Drop the vareniki into the pot of water. When they float to the top, remove them from the water and combine with butter in a medium-bowl.
6. Serve with add-ins.


My good friend up at Truman State went to study abroad in Russia last semester and made me promise to make Russian foods for her. Now that it's finally winter-vegetable time, I was able to make this borscht from almost exclusively farmers market ingredients. I felt very eastern European making this dish, scrubbing and grating root vegetables in the kitchen, and then throwing them into a large pot that looked like a bubbling, purple witch's cauldron. Definitely made me miss my Ukranian and Slovokian roommates from France!! This was exactly how they cooked, so I'm dedicating this one to them : )

Note: let soup sit overnight for best flavor.

from Moderate Oven

1 pound beets, shredded
1 bay leaf
pinch of caraway seeds
3 cups vegetable broth
1 lb. cabbage, shredded (I used purple, but the original recipe calls for green)
1 lb. potatoes, chopped into 3/4" pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, shredded
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained (I used 2 medium fresh tomatoes, crushed slightly and drained)
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. brown sugar + more, to taste
1 Tbs. salt + more, to taste
pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped + more, for garnish
sour cream, to garnish

1. In a large stock pot, add half of the shredded beets, 4 cups of cold water, the bay leaf, and the caraway seeds. Bring to a gentle but steady boil and cook for 10 minutes to extract color and flavor from beets.
2. Add the vegetable broth, cabbage, and potatoes to the pot. Return to a boil and simmer for 10 more minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet and sauté onions and celery until soft. Add carrots, the rest of the beets, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and garlic. Ladle a few spoonfuls of broth from the stock pot into the skillet, and let this mixture cook at a low simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add skillet vegetables to the stock pot along with the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Thin soup at this point with more water, if desired. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more, or until potatoes are fork-soft.
5. Remove from heat, add the dill, and season to taste. Serve with lots of sour cream and extra fresh dill.

Ricotta Tomato Kalamata Tart with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

This is a delicious and complexly-flavored tart. It takes a little bit of time with the dough, oven-roasted tomatos, and then the custard it's self, but great for a classy Sunday brunch. If you don't have the ingredients for the sun-dried tomato pesto, stone-ground mustard or basil pesto could be substituted, though I recommend the sun-dried tomato pesto to be cohesive with the roasted cherry tomatoes.

Ricotta Tomato Kalamata Tart with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
from Princess Tofu

1 recipe Pate Brisse  (I used this recipe)
pinch of saffron
20 cherry tomatoes
1 cup ricotta (recipe here)
4 eggs
1/3 cup cream (I substituted whole milk)
2/3 cup Parmesan, grated
10 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

for sun-dried tomato pesto:
4 sun-dried tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Pre-heat oven to 375F and blind-bake the chilled pate brisse for 20 minutes, lined with foil (or parchment paper) and filled with pie-weights. Take out weights and off the foil, and bake for another 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2.  Place cherry tomatoes cut side up in an oven-safe dish, toss with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 30 minutes, then set aside. Turn oven down to 350F.
3. Make the sun-dried tomato pesto by combining all ingredients in a food processor, scraping down the sides until a paste is formed. Set aside.
4. Whisk together ricotta, eggs, cream, and Parmesan until smooth.
5. Assemble the tart: spread the sun-dried tomato pesto on the bottom, then pour in the egg-ricotta mixture, then dot around the kalamata olives and roasted tomatoes.
6. Bake tart for 30-40 minutes, or until custard is set. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cilantro Almond Pesto

Great Indian take on pesto. Super fresh tasting, and way cheaper to make than basil-pine nut pesto.

Cilantro Almond Pesto
from Sharmis Passions
serves 2

1.5 cups dry pasta (fusilli)
1/2 cup packed cilantro (~1 bunch)
15 almonds
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
salt, to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Place almonds in a small bowl, and cover with some of the boiling water. Add pasta to water and cook as per directions, and let almonds soak for 5 minutes.
2. Peel skins off almonds, and toss in food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until a paste is formed, adding oil until a good consistency is formed.
3. Salt to taste, mix the pasta in with the pesto, and serve.

Cheesy Spinach Soup

A simple, quick soup that's packed full of spinach and lightly flavored with cheese. I used cheddar, but you can use anything you want really (the original recipe suggested gruyere)

Cheesy Spinach Soup
from Annies Eats

2 Tbs. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 oz. potato, peeled and cubed
3 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. spinach
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until just tender (~3-4 mins). Stir in garlic and potato, and cook until just fragrant (~1 min).
2. Add vegetable broth to pot and bring to a boil. Seas on with salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat to a simmer and cover, letting cook about 15 minutes, or until potatos are fork-tender.
3. Stir in spinach leaves and cover pot once more. Let cook just until the leaves have wilted (~1-2 mins). Pour into a blender and puree to a smooth consistency.
4. Pour back into pot and stir in cheese until completely melted. Serve warm.

Sweet Potato Schupfnudeln with Brown Butter and Thyme

 These delicious little things are basically sweet potato gnocchi, rolled long and pan-fried. Definitely worth the work. You could probably serve these with simple olive oil and grated Parmesan.

Sweet Potato Schupfnudeln with Brown Butter and Thyme
from 1 big bite

1 lb. sweet potato
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
5 Tbs. flour + more (I used quite a bit more)
2 tsp. ghee (or oil) + more as needed

for browned butter:
5.3 Tbs. butter
5 sprigs thyme

1. Pre-heat oven to 450F. Pierce sweet potato all over with a fork, and bake on a lined baking sheet (or I used my bread pan) and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a fork slides easily through the flesh.
2. After sweet potato has cooled for a bit, mash with a fork and add yolk, salt, nutmeg, and flour. Once thoroughly combined, add just enough flour to get a dough that comes together nicely (may be a little sticky)
3. Dust hands and cutting board with flour. Form a log, and cut into ieces until each piece is finger-length and thick.
4. Heat pan to medium-high heat, and melt ghee. Cook schupfnudeln until golden brown, rotating so at least 3 sides of each are browned.
5. Garnish with browned butter and leaves of 2 thyme sprigs.

for browned butter:
1. Add butter and leaves of 3 springs of thyme to sauce pan over medium heat. Once butter has melted, stir until little brown specks form at the bottom. Take off heat, and drizzle over schupfnudeln.


This north African dish is super delicious, and pretty flexible. My friend who ate it with me said it was her favorite dish while on her middle east trips, and that this dish served it justice. Note: pictured above is a half-batch, since I was only cooking for 2.

from Indulge & Devour 
serves 4

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into half rings
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped finely
2 yellow peppers, seeded and chopped finely
2 Tbs. fresh thyme
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped + extra for garnish
6 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
4 large eggs
salt and ground pepper to taste

1. In a large pan or skillet, dry roast the cumin seeds on medium-low heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Increase heat to medium, and add olive oil, garlic, and onions and saute until soft.
2. Add peppers, thyme, and parsley and cook on medium heat until softened (~10 mins).  Lower heat to medium-low, and add tomatoes, turmeric, paprika, and season to taste. 
3. Cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the liquids from the tomatoes and peppers have reduced to a chunky, thick sauce.
4. Make 4 spaces within the sauce, and crack egg into each one. Use a fork to spread the white around a bit, and season with salt and pepper.
5. Cover pan with a lid (or foil), and cook for another 5 minutes, until the egg whites have just set. Serve immediately.

Butternut Squash Soup with Fried Sage

If you make this soup, it will turn out way more bright and beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn't think to decrease the vegetable broth content, since I used some of my left over butternut squash puree, so mine is quite dark, but this is a great soup and I'm definitely going to make it again and update the pic!

Butternut Squash Soup with Fried Sage
from Divine Cuisine

1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 medium carrot, peeled and cubbed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup cream (I substituted whole milk)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

for fried sage:
7 - 10 fresh sage leaves
1.5 Tbs. self rising flour
2 Tbs. white wine
pinch of salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying

1.  Pre-heat the 2 Tbs. olive oil in a medium sauce pan and sauté onion, carrot, squash, and ginger 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned.
2. Pour in just enough vegetable stock to cover vegetables, and reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer for 30-40 mins or until all vegetables are tender.
3. Transfer soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in cream and remining stock to desired consistency.

for fried sage:
1. Pre-heat oil in a small sauce pan.
2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, wine, and salt. Cover each leaf in batter and fry until JUST golden. Transfer to a paper towel.
Caution: These little guys cook really fast, so be very careful!