Pasta e ceci

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Pina Bresciani GIC

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, diced (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (from one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces or 55 grams) uncooked ditalini pasta (or another small shape)
  • 2 cups (475 ml) boiling water (update: actually I just use tap, not boiled, water)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (estimate 1 per serving)
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • Salt and red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. In a medium-large heavy-bottomed pot or deep saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until it shimmers. Add 2 smashed cloves of garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring until it becomes lightly, barely browned but very fragrant (5-8 min.)
  2. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, and pepper and cook them with the garlic for 30 seconds or so.
  3. Add the chickpeas, pasta, and boiling water. Stir to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, lower the heat, and simmer until the pasta is cooked and a lot of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning and ladle into bowls.
  5. Make finishing oil: Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauce- or frying pan over medium-low heat with remaining clove of garlic, rosemary, a pinch or two of salt and pepper flakes, until sizzling; pull it off the heat as soon as the garlic is going to start taking on color. Drizzle this over bowls of pasta e ceci and eat it right away.

I would have liked to have time on a school night to make the finishing oil, but, alas, lesson plans await. We’re in the middle of remote learning right now, but the high school students feel burned out every day. Some definitely have easier access to technology than others though. As I used bigger pasta (2 cut ziti) a roommate left behind, I should have thrown in more than a half cup, since the smaller pieces swell up more.

I found out a freshman student’s father succumbed to COVID-19. Stay home, everyone, be safe.

~Jessica

Wizard School Scarf in Diggle DK

In the time of COVID-19, I was invited to a Virtual Knit & Crochet Time this afternoon, so I started up on this knit project again. Knit Therapy time.

I’m transcribing from Woolyknit Diggle DK that I bought online (which you can buy too to get the right skeins!) because my pattern postcard is becoming too damaged over the years. And I’m afraid of losing the pattern.

You will need:

  • Main (M) shade = 3 x 50g balls
  • Contrast (C) shade = 1 x 50g ball
  • 1 pair of 4mm (UK 8 / US 6) knitting needles

Colour combination: Denim Nepp (M) & Aran Nepp (C) for Ravenclaw!

Measurements: Scarf will measure approximately 14 cm (5.5 in) wide.

Abbrev.
cont = continue
DK = double knitting
k = knit
p = purl
rep = repeat
rs = right side
st(s) = stitches

Using 4mm needles, thumb method and M, cast on 42 stitches.

  1. Row * K2, p2, rep from * to last 2 st, k2
  2. Row P2, *k2, p2, rep from * to end.

These 2 rows will now be referred to as 2×2 rib.
Work 24 rows more.

Working in 2×2 rib (throughout), proceed as follows:
**Using C, work 4 rows.
Using M, work 4 rows.
Using C, work 4 rows.
Using M, work 26 rows.
Rep from ** 11 times more.
Cast off in rib.

To make up
Make a fringe along cast on and cast off edges as follows:
*cut 4 lengths of yarn each 22cm (8 3/4 in) long, fold in half and draw loop through first st at one corner of scarf, draw ends of strands through loop and tighten, thus forming one tassel, as shown in diagram. Rep from * making 11 tassels for each end of scarf. Trim ends of tassels. Pin out scarf to the measurement given. Cover with dam cloths and leave until dry. See ball band for washing and further care instructions.

Starbucks cheese & fruit protein box

Adapted from Damn Delicious. Prepares 4 meals

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. sharp two-year aged Cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 4 oz. of Brie wedge
  • 4 oz. of Gouda
  • 2 Braeburn apples, washed and halved (I cut carrot wedges)
  • 2 cups of grapes, washed (I used 20 grape tomatoes)
  • 4 Ozery Bakery Morning Round Pita Breads, or 20 nine-grain crackers
  • 1 cup Hummus, divided (saved for next time, I need little cups!)
  • fresh lemon juice, optional for apple slices (I had hard-boiled eggs)

Directions:

  1. Place fruit, carrot, celery, apple, peanut butter, cheese and pita bread into meal prep containers.

The only fruit I’m fond of are berries, and since they’re not in season, I subbed with vegetables. Grape tomatoes instead of grapes. Carrots instead of apples. I added elements of my other favorite protein boxes, like the PB&J and the hard-boiled egg (although I want to see if I can get good enough to make soft-boiled eggs!) Instead of Brie and gouda, I used Havarti (on sale at WF) and Queso Oaxaca cheese and Dubliner Cheese wedges and leftover Longhorn (Colby) Cheddar.

365 Multigrain Bread $3.39
Roth Original Havarti cheese $2.99
365 Grape Tomatoes 1 pint $2.49
2 Organic Loose Carrots $0.62
Total $9.49

~Jessica

Scrambled eggs with prosciutto and mozzarella

Adapted from Cook Like Your Grandmother and Eating European

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup of mozzarella, diced small
  • 1 slice of prosciutto, torn
  • 1 small onion, minced (I didn’t have, but used ½ a green bell pepper instead)
  • a pat of butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a non stick frying pan.
  2. Add vegetables and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add prosciutto and cook until a little bit crispy, another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Pour egg mixture over everything and cook until almost set.
  5. At the end add mozzarella cheese and cook it until the cheese melts.
  6. Serve immediately with a piece of fresh bread on a side.

I picked up some Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) which I love, especially slightly heated up. Using more eggs would have made a better base to hold everything together, but cooking for one! The Italian translation would be “Uova strapazzate con prosciutto crudo” — check out this video I found! Parsley would look good on this. I’ve been picking up $2 potted flowers ever since my aunt got me the holiday Poinsettia (which suffered from extreme cold migrating during winter break and lost 75% of its leaves and petals).

~Jessica

Starbucks-copy PB&J protein box

Adapted from Platings and Pairings. Prepares 4 meals.

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp (32 g) Peanut butter (I find almond butter less tasty)
  • 4 tbsp (16 g) Bonne Maman mixed berry preserves
  • 4 Whole-wheat whole Grain Bread slices / 1 Whole Wheat Pita halved
  • 4 string Cheeses (or 4 oz. of mixed cheeses, like I did!)
  • 40 mixed Nuts (optional)
  • 4 Mandarin oranges
  • 20 Grape Tomatoes
  • 20 Baby Carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch sticks
  • 2 Bell Peppers, cut into 1/2-inch sticks (optional)
  • 24 Cucumber slices (optional)

Directions:

  1. PB&J the sandwich thins, then slice in half. Cut the carrots / celery to bite size. Add the rest of the ingredients.

Please ignore the actual Starbucks fruit & nut packs in the photos, I just saved them since forever and wanted to use them up. ^_^ I tried the cucumber slices previously but they would retain so much moisture and get everything soggy. Same problem with hummus without having a cupcake paper or something to hold its viscous mass.

Costs:
3 lbs. Mandarins $5.99
Oaxaca cheese $4.99
Queso de Papa $1.99
Arnold Sandwich Thins $4.29
Grape Tomatoes $2.50
Carrots and Celery, sliced $2.21

$21.97 plus leftovers

~Jessica

Cacio e pepe, take 2

Adapted from Cook Around and Bon Appetit (updated link)

Ingredients:

  • 500 g bavette or linguini fine (I used Rotelle no. 54, not a long pasta at all)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 110 g butter
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Cacio di Roma (did not have)
  • freshly grated Pecorino Romano (used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 2 pinches of Kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan on low.
  2. Cook the pasta al dente. Drain but reserve the pasta water.
  3. Add the pasta to the pan. Add the butter and toss. Add cheeses and pepper. Serve immediately.

This time I stuck with the traditional (although I only possessed one kind of cheese). It was savory.

~Jessica

Starbucks-copy strawberry overnight grains

Adapted from Kitchen Treaty and Life Made Sweeter

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup red quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup + more to taste if desired
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds*
  • 1/4 cup coconut chips

Directions:

  1. Combine uncooked rolled / old-fashioned oats, milk / Greek yogurt and sweetener and spices if using.
  2. Scoop some of the oats into a bowl, mason jar or a resealable container.
  3. Slice or chop up some strawberries and layer over the oats.
  4. Spoon in the rest of the oats on top. Alternatively, you can just mix in the strawberries with the oats and just add everything into the jar or container all at once.
  5. Seal up the container and park it in the fridge overnight.
  6. The next morning, you can heat the glass jar up in the microwave for a hot breakfast or enjoy your overnight oats cold straight from the fridge. You can add more milk and any fun toppings of your choice.
  7. It should keep for 4-5 days.

To cook the quinoa or steel-cut oats:

  1. Add water to a large saucepan set over medium-low heat. Stir in the oats, quinoa, and salt. Cook on medium-low, uncovered, until the grains are just tender and the water has evaporated, 15-20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in the coconut milk, chia seeds, honey or maple syrup, and vanilla. Taste and add additional sweetener if desired. Allow to cool, then pour into eight separate containers (about 1 cup per container). I like to use mason jars because they have lids + they’re sturdy and portable.

I didn’t have quinoa or steel-cut oats this time, but I loved the texture in the Starbucks version (shaved coconut might be harder to acquire, or pricy). I didn’t have almonds or fresh fruit either, maybe when it’s in season… I used some cow’s whole milk, but will try coconut milk next, if I cook the oats and quinoa together.

~Jessica