Archive for Food and Wine
My husband and I don’t exactly need incentives to eat kale (one of the world’s healthiest foods). We eat it at least once a week, often more. But I do need incentives to cook, and as you know, my husband has gotten me interested in The New York Times Dining & Wine and Fitness & Nutrition recipes. So yesterday, when he texted that he had to work late, but still hoped to work-out, and hinted that we should eat “pasta & kale,” I knew he was referring to the Times recipe that he had pointed out to me last week.
I wanted my photo to look more like the above newspaper photo, but my husband commandeered the spoon and stirred it up (thus melting all the little cheese cubes) before I could grab my camera. But anyway, here is our version of the Buckwheat Pasta With Kale from The New York Times Recipes for Health. It is simple – whole wheat pasta with kale, leeks, fresh sage, and gruyere – and it was really, really good.
The actual Italian buckwheat pasta is really hard to find, so I chose this imported, organic, wheat pasta:
The recipe suggested substituting soba noodles or whole wheat fettuccine noodles, but I decided that this Italian whole wheat linguine would be less mushy and wheaty. Ooh, it was a good choice. I found them at our favorite grocery, Sunflower Farmer’s Market.
Finally, here is the recipe from The New York Times:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or omit butter and use 2 tablespoons olive oil)
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced and cleaned
4 fresh sage leaves, cut in thin slivers
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
3/4 pound kale, stemmed, washed thoroughly, and cut crosswise in strips
Freshly ground pepper
2 ounces Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup)
2 ounces fontina or Gruyère cheese, cut in 1/4 inch dice
3/4 pound buckwheat pasta (pizzoccheri or soba) or whole wheat fettuccine
1. Begin heating a large pot of water. Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and sage, and cook, stirring often, until the leeks begin to soften, about three minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and continue to cook, stirring often, until the leeks are tender, about five minutes. Remove from the heat.
2. When the water comes to a boil, add a generous spoonful of salt and the kale. Boil for four minutes, until tender but still bright. Using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, transfer to the pan with the leeks and stir together. Keep warm over low heat.
3. Bring the water back to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook al dente (soba will cook quickly, usually in under five minutes, while pizzoccheri and whole wheat fettuccine will take longer). When the pasta is al dente, add 1/2 cup of the cooking water to the pan with the kale and leeks, then drain the pasta and toss in the pan or in a warm pasta bowl with the leeks, kale and the cheeses. Serve at once.
Yield: Serves four to six
Advance preparation: You can make the dish through step 2 several hours ahead. Remove from the heat, then reheat when you cook the pasta.
Still not sure what kale is all about? Our favorite variety of Kale is Lacinato, or Dinosaur, Kale. You can read more about it at these sites:
Tim brilliantly reminded me about the pea greens that we had left over from our last Chinese take-out and this was my lunch today. Delicious! Oh, for those of you who are curious, but don’t want to watch the video, to make this comfort food (I like it best as a late-night snack), add sesame oil, soy sauce, and sliced green onions to cooked wheat berries. It’s brilliant!
My husband recently turned me on to a particular food writer at the New York Times, Mark Bittman, who has a collumn called The Minimalist. In it he creates simple dishes in a few minutes accompanied by four minute videos to prove it. He also has a blog called Bitten. You, my devoted readers, know I’m having a hard time feeling motivated to cook, and his foods are delicious and easy, with just a few ingredients. Score!
Below is the link to the recent article and video about potatoes with dandelion greens, which stayed on my husbands mind for days.
The photos are of dinner a couple of nights ago, just in time for St. Patty’s Day. Tim made the potatoes with dandelion greens, which have a mild, almost sweet flavor – it’s hard to believe there was actually a green out there we had never tried before! I ate them with veggie sausage patties (which Tim slightly overcooked, but what’re’ya gonna do – at least he cooks when I clearly don’t want to!) and Tim ate them with some kind of German sausage.
I had a wonderful New Year’s Eve in California with some of my best girlfriends, whom I only get to see once a year. We decided to cook dinner before going out. I mentioned the Deconstructed Pesto, since it’s easy and one of the few dishes for which I can think of the ingredients off the top of my head. We also had on hand cans of olives, hearts of palm (a unique and delicious food that I had never eaten before), and artichoke hearts, as well as avocados and tomatoes. My friend, Misty, arranged the beautiful salad you see above based on a salad that her Argentinian father makes, which is composed of just hearts of palm, tomatoes, and olives. Drizzle some good olive oil on top, pepper, and serve.
A couple of suggestions to make the best tasting salad (these things I know because my husband and I tried to recreate the salad on the night of the oysters, and made several mistakes):
- Use grape or cherry tomatoes and keep them whole, the hearts of palm are already tangy and the extra acidity from sliced tomatoes throws of the whole salad.
- Use good quality whole hearts of palm, not the “salad” or “sliced” style.
- Add olive oil and pepper, but leave off the salt and vinegar for people to add themselves on their own plate, again, the salad is already salty and tangy, a dash of salt and vinegar tastes good, but the salad should not be left to marinate in them.
- Finally, for a special night, add artichoke hearts and avocado, as we did on New Year’s Eve. The smoothness of the avocado creates a lovely balance for this tangy salad.
Below is proof that we were indeed cooking:
We were proud that we mangaged all this food preparation despite the fact that this was the amount of wine and port we had for three young women:
My mother was given these bottles after a wine tasting the day before, so we had a fun night of tasting $10-25 bottles of wine, mostly Pinot Noir, and $30 Tawny Ports. We hardly made a dent in the bottles and gave them back to my mom the next day.
And finally, a view of our picnic spread: