pear & pecorino pasta

so it’s been awhile.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

how’ve you been?

when i wrote my last post, i truly had no idea that it would be almost six months before i posted another one. and wouldn’t you know it – my last recipe was for veggie pasta, and this one is for fresh pasta with fruit.

a lot has happened in the last six months. i took a trip to wine country with my husband, and had more wine and cheese in a week than ever before – and that’s really saying something.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

i photographed some really beautiful restaurants for eater

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

central wharf company

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

row 34

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

steel & rye

ward 8

ward 8

…and also got the chance to take some chef portraits.

steve peljovich

steve peljovich

garrett harker, skip bennett, & jeremy sewall

garrett harker, skip bennett, & jeremy sewall

steve "nookie" postal

steve “nookie” postal

i spent thanksgiving up in maine, and enjoyed a leisurely christmas at home for the first time.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

the cookbook that i styled is finally getting shipped.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

lobster mac & cheese bites from “stuffed” by dan whalen

and i landed a very exciting new position with oyster.com, taking photographs and writing reviews of hotels all around new england. i should start traveling for them in a few weeks.

and in the in-betweens, i really have been cooking. and taking photographs. and writing. i participated in national novel writing month for the first time in ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pastanovember,and successfully wrote 50,000 words of a new, original novel in 30 days. and maybe eventually, i’ll even finish it and try to get the thing published.

but i’ve also been a bit low. trying to find paid, full-time work in a creative field is exhausting, and discouraging, and draining. you put so much into your work, and it’s so easy to get taken advantage of. people want you to work for free, to give your photographs or writing or editing away like it’s not worth anything. they can’t do it themselves, but they don’t think it’s valuable enough to pay you to do it.

i’m not crazy. i know that most people aren’t 100% happy with their jobs, that most aren’t following their dreams or doing something they love every day. but i’ve worked the random jobs, the unappreciated jobs, the minimum wage jobs. i’ve bussed tables and made coffee and worked at malls on black friday and christmas eve. i’ve been an intern. i’ve worked for nothing – sometimes i’ve even ended up losing money after my jobs. i went to college and when that didn’t get me what i wanted, i went to graduate school. and when that didn’t get me what i wanted, i started taking photography classes. and it was tough. and it seemed like the job i wanted might not really exist. but somehow i have continued to dream that i could do something wonderful, something that sparked my passion, something that let me express myself and make beautiful things and inspire people.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

i don’t know if i’m ever truly going to do that. i’m not even sure that i know what that looks like, for me. but in a few weeks i’ll be getting paid to not only take photographs of beautiful restaurants and talented chefs, but also photograph new hotels and landscapes. and for the first time, i’ll get paid to write. and i think that that’s pretty wonderful.

but food is also wonderful. and this blog has always reminded me, even when i don’t write as regularly as i’d like, that a well-crafted, addictive, can’t-wait-to-cook-that recipe can soothe and calm and lift spirits. and while the posts might not go up every day (or even every month), i don’t want to stop blogging. i don’t want to stop cooking. i don’t want to stop loving food for the delicious pleasure that it can bring.

and in my opinion, this recipe does that.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

i received a pasta machine for my birthday, and after i swallowed my pride and gave it a shot, i realized that it really isn’t at all hard to make homemade, hand-crafted pasta. i haven’t made it into the big leagues and tried making tortellini or anything too fancy yet, but there’s something about making fresh pasta at home that’s really inspiring. ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pastathere’s so much you can do with it, and it gives you such a sense of pride, of accomplishment. it’s pretty cool to serve handmade pasta, with handmade sauce, and know that your effort went into everything on the plate.

if you want to take the plunge, you don’t need a machine to do it – but it definitely makes the process less intimidating (especially if, like me, you don’t have an experienced italian grandmother to teach you how to do it). i love the book making artisan pasta for recipes and techniques, and this recipe for basic egg pasta is a no-brainer.

but if you don’t feel like making fresh pasta (it does make a bit of a mess, and don’t wear black like i did or you will walk around with flour on your tummy until someone points it out to you), just use whatever you like. i won’t tell.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

this recipe was inspired by the pears that kept showing up in my winter fruit share, week after week, from the fantastic crew at SomethingGud. i like the flavor of pears but rarely enjoy eating them raw, and i wanted a savory dish that would bring out their sweety, spicy flavor.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

pear & pecorino pasta

2 ripe pears ( i used bosc, use what you love)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
a pinch each of salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ounce pecorino romano cheese, in a single piece, plus shavings for garnish
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 cup arugula, roughly chopped
enough pasta for two people (i refuse to tell you how much pasta to eat. that’s your journey and i won’t interfere…but i made about two cups of fresh pasta for two people.)

preheat your oven to 425 degrees. quarter and core your pears, and place on a baking ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pastasheet or ovensafe dish. in an small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and rosemary. brush over the pears, and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft and golden brown. allow to cool.

in a saucepan, combine wine, butter, salt and pepper. bring to a simmer and allow to reduce, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. add cheese, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, continuing to stir until cheese is melting and sauce is beginning to thicken. if the cheese has melted completely you can leave it in – otherwise, remove it and discard.

once the pears are cool enough to touch, carefully remove the peels. dice the pears and add them to your sauce. (if you’d prefer a smooth sauce, you can puree the pears before adding them.) turn heat to low, cooking for five more minutes. at this point, taste and adjust accordingly with salt and pepper. you can add more wine (or your favorite stock) if you find the sauce too thick, or more butter if you’d like it to be thicker.

cook your pasta according to recipe or package instructions. fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook – i cook mine for about 2 minutes – so don’t start the pasta until you’re ready to eat. strain the pasta and toss with the sauce, adding the arugula. separate into serving dishes or individual bowls and garnish with shaved pecorino.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

summer orzo salad

it’s june.

flowers

did you just do a happy dance? because i did.

drink stand

church window

i’ve spent most of my life living in new england, but i can’t help it – i really am a california girl, through and through. i’ve been to some amazingly beautiful places, but my favorites always have the same things: sunshine, salt water, and palm trees.

hancock?

but living in boston really makes you appreciate these warm summer months. they slip by so quickly, you have to take advantage of every warm, sunny day – because before you know it, we’ll be buried under twenty feet of snow and will be digging your car out, chipping ice off the windows, and longing for those hot, humid days of august.

gate

hat

alley

and boston is really gorgeous this time of year. greenery everywhere, happy dogs, bright flowers, cold beer, farmer’s markets, and all the best food festivals. fresh fruits and veggies, refreshing cocktails, and mouth-watering seafood. what could be better?

salad plate

i’d like to submit an often-overlooked lovely thing about summer. it’s easy, fresh, energizing, and completely delicious – yes, i’m talking about cold summer salads. i feel like dishes like potato salads, pasta salads, and grain salads sometimes get a bad rap – people think they’re so simple that they aren’t worth eating. they’re a grocery store cop-out. they’re generic and boring. but i think good salads can be absolutely fantastic. perfect as a side dish for a grilled dinner, easy to add protein to for a complete meal in a bowl, and fun to bring to a picnic or barbecue -what more do you need? i’ve already written about my favorite lentil salad, as well as a delicious pasta salad with tofu, but i want to submit a new one for the collection: mediterranean orzo salad.

orzo

this salad, like most others, is about as simple and easy to customize as can be. take orzo, add a bunch of stuff you like, stir it up, and eat it. i have a tendency to go a little overboard with fresh veggies and other goodies, so my recipe includes red onion, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, basil, and garlic, along with feta cheese, olives, and capers. you don’t have to use that much stuff if you don’t want – use what’s in your house, or what you find at the farmer’s market. use what makes you happy. 

garlic

 

clearly, garlic makes me happy.

salad closeup

mediterranean orzo salad

12 ounces orzo, cooked according to package directions
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed or diced
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 large handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped
10 olives, roughly chopped (i used a mix of stuffed green and kalamata)
5 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 small red onion, finely sliced
2 tsp capers
salt and pepper to taste

in a large sauce pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. add garlic and allow to saute for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. add cooked orzo and stir, coating in garlic oil. put everything into a large bowl, and top with lemon juice and zest. add spinach, olives, feta cheese, tomato, pepper, onion, and capers. get liberal with your salting and peppering, and stir well. top with extra olive oil or lemon juice if you like.

this dish is great warm, and is also really yummy to make the day before and serve chilled. or you can do what i do and have some right after you make it, then put it in the refrigerator and eat some more later.

salad bowl

 

happy june! and get excited – i have another amazing giveaway coming up in the next few weeks!

the last week

our european adventure is almost over.

i have a lot of mixed feelings about leaving. on the one hand, this was the experience of a lifetime. what american-born foodie doesn’t dream of living in europe and traveling as much as (financially) possible? i’ve had so many incredible opportunities, made some awesome new friends, seen beautiful cities, and eaten delicious new cuisines. my world has expanded.

but it’s not an easy thing to leave all your friends and family behind for a few months. i’m not very good at keeping in touch with people, and i miss my friendships. i miss my dog like crazy. i miss being able to ask for things in english and not struggling to understand simple words and phrases. i miss my big, beautiful kitchen. i miss knowing where to shop when i need a new pair of flats or fresh herbs. and i miss having a purpose. being unemployed is fun for a little bit, since i’m here for my husband and there’s no guilt associated with it (yet!) – but things are coming to an end, and job searching is stressful and disheartening. i want to find something that sparks my creativity, that lets me feel useful and appreciated, and that involves food, travel, photography, and writing. surely my dream job is out there, waiting for me.

but until i return to america and pick up a six-pack of guinness (which i can’t find in budapest) and whip up some fish tacos (i miss mexican food like crazy), i’m determined to enjoy my last two weeks in europe. week one is in budapest, and week two will be spent road tripping to france with my husband. unless we get hopelessly lost, expect to see photos (and perhaps some video) from prague, paris, lyon, nice, and venice.

i can’t think of a better send-off…except perhaps for this yummy hungarian
potato stew called paprikás krumpli. i wanted to feature a vegetarian version of one of the most famous and ubiquitous hungarian dishes, goulash, but this dish features meat so prominently in both texture and flavor that replacing it seems to be more trouble than it’s worth. perhaps when i’m back in the states and can more easily read labels for things like spices, i’ll attempt to make my own version, but until then – enjoy this hearty, filling, and inexpensive dish, filled with classic hungarian flavors.

hungarian paprika potato stew (paprikás krumpli)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, diced

5 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 paprikas or bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 15 oz can chopped tomatoes
4 cups stock, vegetable or chicken
2 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cream 

in a large stockpot, heat olive oil and saute onion for about 5 minutes. add diced potatoes, pepper, tomatoes, stock, paprikas, celery seed, and parsley. add salt and pepper to taste. cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring as little as possible so that potatoes don’t break up. stir in cream and allow to simmer for another 10-15 minutes. serve with warm bread.

stuffed paprikas

hungarian cuisine is starting to take over our lives.

we’ve now visited several different old-style hungarian restaurants, as well as some more modern ones. i’ve had chicken paprikas (naturally, i had to try one that wasn’t my own!), goulash (recipe coming soon), venison, veal, and a lot of duck. i just love eating duck. plus, i even made my chicken paprikas for some of my husband’s coworkers, and they seemed to enjoy it along with the fresh spaetzle, in spite of the fact that i trashed a friend’s kitchen in the process. spaetzle is delicious, but not the neatest, most elegant thing to make when you have people watching you.

but one of my favorite recipes to date, the one my husband can’t ever stop talking about, is a delicious, not-too-complicated, soul-soothing dish: stuffed paprikas.

in case you’re not aware – i’m not afraid to admit that i wasn’t until i got here – the word paprika is used in english to refer to the bright red spice, created by grinding dried peppers. but in many european languages, including hungarian, paprika refers to a fresh pepper. muddling the waters further, the dish called stuffed paprikas refers to a stuffed bell pepper (or paprikas pepper, as they’re labeled in the markets) that contains paprika (the spice) in the stuffing mixture. confusing, if you’re an ignorant american like myself, but you figure it out pretty quickly when a native hungarian tells you that you absolutely must make stuffed paprikas and you try to figure out how you could possibly stuff something into a ground spice.

insomnia is rough. it makes me easily confused.

anyway, the following recipe is from a native hungarian, who kindly emailed me instructions after taking me to the biggest market in the city to help me shop for ingredients. köszönöm, jutka!

hungarian stuffed paprikas

1 lb ground pork
1/2 cup rice, partially cooked
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp hungarian paprika, either sweet or hot
4-6 bell peppers, with tops and cores removed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
15 ounces tomato sauce or puree
1 cup boiling water (optional)
2 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste 

in a large mixing bowl, combine ground pork, rice, egg, and paprika, adding a bit of salt and pepper. using your fingers, gently stuff the cored peppers with the meat mixture. if you have any remaining, add a bit of flour and create meatballs. place peppers and meatballs side by side in a large saucepan or stock pot.

in a saucepan, saute chopped onion in olive oil until lightly browned. add tomato sauce and, if it’s very thick, boiling water, and allow to come to a simmer. carefully pour tomato mixture over peppers and meatballs, then put over medium heat. top with chopped parsley, salt, and pepper, and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until peppers are just soft.

this dish is traditionally served over potatoes, either roasted with oil and seasonings or mashed. for a healthier alternative, try with sauteed winter greens or brown rice. for a hungarian touch, top the whole thing with (you guessed it!) sour cream.

and for all of you who keep complaining about the lack of dorky vacation-type photos, here’s a quick shot of us on our way out the door for our valentine’s day dinner:

i promise to put some shots of us up in my next post, once we get back from our next weekend trip – to rome!

minestrone & the alps

even on a cloudy day, there’s nothing quite like the alps.

i spent this past weekend following my husband and his coworkers around for a corporate training in a little village in germany, and then we all headed to another little village in austria to do some skiing. while waiting for the consultants to finish their training wasn’t particularly exciting, the little ski lodge nestled in the beautiful mountains more than made up for it.

i don’t ski. however, it’s impossible to resist riding up the lifts, simply to see the views that many of these people seem to take for granted – and, of course, to join the freezing skiers for the après-ski on the mountain after they finished the day. especially after being in new england for so many years, i wanted to spend as much time as possible near the mountains, in spite of how cold it was.

it got pretty cloudy by the time my fingers thawed enough to get my camera out, but i’m grateful that i got at least a few photos to remember the alps by.

also? four days eating nothing but deep fried meat, french fries, chicken cordon bleu, and beer really makes you grateful for winter vegetables. i plan on eating nothing but soup for the next week, and this is a delicious place to start.

my minestrone is thick and hearty, rich, and very filling. topping it with crunchy croutons and serving with crusty bread only makes it better. as always, feel free to play around with ingredients and amounts to get the proportions and flavors you like (for example, this really should have celery, but i’m at the mercy of the little market near our flat). and you may have noticed that basically every soup recipe i post contains bacon – i shouldn’t need to justify this, but i feel that any soup or stew benefits from this salty, fatty, delicious treat. don’t pretend you don’t agree.

winter minestrone

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3-4 slices bacon, chopped, or 100g unsmoked lardons
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large potato, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
1 15 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 5 oz can tomato paste
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup red wine
1 cup water
1 cup chopped kale, spinach, or your favorite winter green
1 15 oz can cannelloni or kidney beans, drained
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 cup shell or pipe rigate pasta, cooked
salt and pepper to taste 

in a large, heavy stockpot, warm olive oil over medium heat and add onions and bacon, cooking for about 5 minutes until onions are starting to brown. add carrots, potato, zucchini, and garlic, and allow to cook for 2-3 more minutes.

add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, and wine. if vegetables are not covered, add water. allow to come to a boil, increasing heat if necessary. reduce heat, partly cover with a lid, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. add kale, drained beans, oregano, basil, salt and pepper, and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes.

when ready to serve, spoon several tablespoons of pasta into bowls and add soup. top with grated cheese and, if you like, crusty croutons – rip or cut several slices of bread into small chunks, and place in a bowl with salt, pepper, and several tablespoons of olive oil. use your hands to coat bread, then spread onto a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

for best results, make this a day or two in advance. if you don’t have enough time to do this (or are like me and don’t plan meals out very far ahead), at least try to make this in the morning so that it can hang out all day. the longer it sits, the better it will taste – trust me.


super fresh ceviche

one of the coolest things that we get to do in our culinary classes is having guest lecturers in to talk about various world cuisines. helen chen, daughter of joyce chen, came in to talk about chinese food, and we cooked everything you can think of in a completely delicious whirlwind – stir fried vermicelli with chicken and veggies, steamed salmon with black beans, cucumber salad, pork fried wontons, yang-zhou slippery shrimp…amazing. we’ve got italian with lisa falso, japanese with sam huang, and indian with robyn deluca coming up…but my favorite was (and probably will remain) cooking mexican food with leo romero of casa romero in the back bay.

i love mexican food. my mother grew up just a few miles from the mexican border in arizona, and i was born in southern california – i grew up eating delicious mexican food, and i can’t seem to ever get enough. if you’ve never been to casa romero, get over there as soon as you can. i’ve been lucky enough to eat there once before, and i plan to take my parents the next time they’re down here, because i know they’ll love it.

my husband and i have taken to spending saturday mornings at the farmer’s market in union square, where pick up fresh produce seafood to cook that night. after my awesome mexican cooking class, i knew i had to recreate one of the better dishes of the evening – ceviche, acapulco style. i also made mussels a la mariniere, which were (of course) delicious.

ceviche is a refreshing, light, addictive combination of fresh seafood, marinated in citrus juices until it’s “cooked.” it’s super easy to make, but never fails to impress, and makes for a delightful summer meal. it makes a great appetizer, but also works really well as a main course. this is the original recipe provided by leo romero, though i substituted haddock for pollock – this recipe will work with any firm, inexpensive white fish.

ceviche of pollock, acapulco style – from leo romero

1 pound fresh pollock filets, cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and stem removed, finely chopped
2 lemons and 2 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 avocado, peeled and sliced into wedges

place the fish and onions into a non-metallic bowl. add citrus juice, salt and pepper, toss well, cover and allow to marinate in refrigerator for two or three hours. when ready to serve, strain the fish and onions through a sieve and discard liquid. combine with tomato, jalapenos, olive oil, cilantro, and additional salt and pepper if necessary. serve in individual bowls and top with avocado wedges as garnish.

serves 4 to 6. pair with your favorite mexican beer or a crisp white wine.

the tuna melt

i’ve met plenty of people through the years that can’t stand seafood. maybe they had a bad experience as a child, maybe they can’t handle the “fishy” smell that many associate with seafood…i love it with a passion, so i can’t really understand it. i love salmon, oysters, clams, octopus, cod, lobster, mussels, swordfish…bring it on, if i haven’t tried it i’m game, and if i have i’ll steal it off your plate. but i still have a soft spot for canned tuna – it just feels like growing up to me, my mom mixing it up with mayo and spices in a bowl to make me a simple tuna sandwich. gotta love it.

i just feel bad for those that don’t like seafood. not only because i love grilled salmon,marinated shrimp, calamari, or a big bowl of oysters…but because one of my favorite meals in the whole world is a hot, cheesy, ridiculously-bad-for-you open faced tuna melt.

it probably helps that i love all of the components – good crusty bread, melting cheese, fresh tomatoes, briny capers or olives…i’ve already had this one today, and just typing this makes me want to put together another one.

i’m sure it sounds like sacrilege to bake a tuna melt instead of heating it up on a frying pan, drowning in melted butter – and i agree, it kind of is. but i’ve been trying to lose weight and i’ve lost 10 pounds, with 20 more to go – it’s probably not really healthier for you, but i’ve convinced myself otherwise. i’m not sure why i bother, since it’s not like sandwiches are really diet food anyway, but i’m a big fan. sandwiches rule.

i’m not going to write this like a real recipe, since it really isn’t – it’s just my version of an awesome sandwich. but if you’re drooling over these pictures and want to know what i used, here it is.

preheat your oven to 400 degrees. lightly toaste some good, chewy bread (i used my no-knead loaf from yesterday) and lay it down on a small baking stone or cookie sheet. in a small bowl, combine a can of tuna, about a tablespoon of mayonnaise, a few teaspoons of parmesan cheese, a dash of oregano, and a bit of salt and pepper. stir well, and spread evenly over both slices of bread. top with sliced tomato, cheese, and capers. bake until all ingredients are warm and the cheese is melted, 8-10 minutes.

in other news, my food anthropology course is ending in just a week and a half, and then…i begin culinary courses. mondays and tuesday are cooking, and wednesdays andthursdays are baking. i’m excited, anxious, and proud all at once – emotions i couldn’t figure out until my chef coat arrived in the mail yesterday, and i hung it on my pot rack and realized that the next 6 weeks are going to be intense, exhausting, and (hopefully) pivotal in my development as a food stylist and photographer.

keep your fingers crossed that i don’t humiliate myself…at least, not on the first day.

gotta love fish tacos

have you ever had fish tacos?

they’re perfect. crispy, flaky fish, crunchy cabbage, the zip of fresh lime juice and a drizzle of smooth sour cream sauce combine to make an irresistibly simple dish. quick to create and easy to personalize, this southwestern street food has swarms of devoted followers that swear by the humble ingredients, all wrapped up in a simple corn tortilla. i was lucky enough to live in san diego for 8 months when i was in college, and i fell in love with the tangy, crunchy snack.

last night we had our friend oliver over for dinner, who thankfully has tried the real thing in california before – my husband was experiencing the fish taco for the first time. since its creation in the 1960s, the fish taco’s basic recipe has remained unchanged. white fish is lightly battered and deep fried, then enveloped in a corn tortilla with shredded cabbage, a mexican sour cream-type sauce called crema, a bit of salsa, and a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice. this combination of flavors and textures is undeniably delicious – tangy, crunchy, sweet, salty, and highly addictive. from this modest base, hundreds of variations have evolved, toying with everything from the fish’s preparation to the fish itself (lobster, crab, tuna, and shrimp are popular alternatives) and adding extra toppings like pico de gallo, avocado, jalepenos, cucumbers, beans, or fresh fruits. newcomers may be overwhelmed by the possibilities, but connoisseurs tend to stick with the classic recipe, turning up their nose at the more complex imitations.

i like mine relatively simple, adapting a recipe from average betty. the beer batter is crunchy and gives the fish a delicious bite, the white sauce is tangy and creamy, and the avocado relish gives the perfect zip. i served this with chips, guacamole, mango salsa, and sauteed black beans and corn.

Continue reading

tofu and veggie pasta salad

so far (3 days in), the whole vegetarian thing hasn’t been so bad. sure, i went out with some friends last night and was about to order a burger before i remembered that i wasn’t eating red meat, but i ended up getting a veggie quesadilla instead and didn’t feel too deprived.

however, the pathetic tofu mash in my refrigerator really had me down today. in my excitement yesterday over crafting my first tofu burger, i mashed up the entire block of tofu, following the recipe and then ultimately hating it. i’ve been irritated all morning – what am i supposed to do with all of this tofu? i’ve been browsing vegetarian recipes and blogs, scouring cookbooks, but nothing jumped out at me. and googling “tofu mash” isn’t particularly helpful.

finally, i decided to do what i do best – just start cooking and see what happens. the result was a lovely sauteed tofu and fresh veggie pasta salad, which was refreshing, light, and delicious on this gorgeous summer day. sauteing the tofu gave it a much better texture, and combining it with the crisp veggies and cold pasta made for a really satisfying meal.

Continue reading

apologizing with pork chops

so it has been quite awhile since my last post (in october!), and for that i’m truly sorry. as final papers crept up on me and the holiday season began, my work caught up with me and i developed bronchitis. there wasn’t a lot of cooking, and i didn’t have much time, hence the complete lack of posts. some friends offered serious complaints, so i put together a little dinner in your honor – pork chops stuffed with blue cheese and crisp bread. i served mine with sauteed collard greens and grilled corn and peppers, but this dish would go well with a number of items.

this dish is incredibly easy, and full of rich flavor and lots of texture. Continue reading