Herbed summer squash pasta bake

IMG_2707Adapted from smitten kitchen

Ingredients:
250 g De Cecco pasta
olive oil
3 summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
Juice of half a lemon
45 g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large or 5 skinny scallions, sliced thin, white and green parts separate
Pinches of red pepper flakes, to taste
25 g (3 tbsp) all-purpose flour
350 mL (1 1/2 cups) broth
thyme, oregano, salt and more pepper to taste
finely grated parmesan cheese
smoked Gouda, cubed small
chopped basil

Directions:
Cook the pasta to al dente in salted water. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high, season with salt and pepper, and fry the zucchini for 10 minutes without burning, browning both sides. Remove, and sprinkle the squash with some lemon juice. Melt butter in the pan on medium heat and fry the scallion whites and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the flour until absorbed by the butter. Slowly add the (milk) broth, incorporating each time you mix it together. Season with lemon, salt, and pepper. Simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and mix in all herbs. Season to taste. Add the gravy sauce to your baking dish. Add the pasta, squash, and cheeses. Stir to combine. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown. Serve hot, topped with chopped basil.

I subbed broth for the whole milk and smoked Gouda for the mozzarella. It made the sauce a quite nice gravy, surprisingly. I also had two tomatoes and some reserved puree that needed to go somewhere so… Mystery pasta bake. Yum! In hindsight, however, this would have been super delicious without the addition of tomatoes, although Amber really didn’t mind them.

~Jessica

Home Fries

IMG_2704Adapted from The Kitchn and Serious Eats

Ingredients:
vegetable oil
2 red potatoes
1 red bell pepper
1/2 large red onion
3 garlic cloves
Seasonings: smoked paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, scallions (optional)

Directions:
Chop the potatoes. Cover them with cold water in a pot and a pinch of salt. Heat until water boils for a couple of minutes then turn off the heat. Drain, coat in a little oil, and set aside. Chop the rest of the vegetables. Fry the onions in some vegetable oil/butter over medium-high heat, then the garlic, until fragrant. Fry the bell pepper. Set aside. Fry the potatoes until they sear, without crowding, then add back the rest of the ingredients. Season to taste. Top with scallions or parsley (chives could do as well).

I do love garlic butter roasted mushrooms, so I was inspired to incorporate this form of protein in the morning brunch (also because we had run out of yogurt. Ack). So of course I needed to know the best method How to saute mushrooms. Cut thick, cook hot, don’t overcrowd. Done. Accompanied by some freshly grated Parmesan, a dash of salt and pepper and olive oil, and a wedge of smoked gouda. The omelette included scallions, salt, pepper, and just before I folded it in half, several strips of the same smoked gouda (melts wonderfully when reheating leftovers).IMG_2706

~Jessica

Chinese scallion pancakes, part II

IMG_2701.JPGAdapted from Sichuan Food, repeat of part I

Ingredients:
300g all-purpose flour
150g hot water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 bunch of scallions thinly chopped
½ teaspoon salt
sesame oil

Directions:
Melt the salt in the hot water. Make the dough with this water, set it aside for around 10-25 minutes. Roll out the dough into a large round cylinder. Brush some sesame oil on the surface of the circle. Sprinkle the chopped scallions evenly on the surface. Roll the dough round into a cylinder. Make sure that the chopped scallions are inside the cylinder! Wrap the cylinder around into the shape of a snail shell. Roll out and flatten the snail into another big circle. Brush some cooking oil on a pan and then fry the pancakes until each side is lightly browned.

Amber had brought back three bunches of green scallions from Flushing, on her weekly visit to her parents’. So time to use that up! Delicious fresh dough.

~Jessica

Yakisoba

IMG-20170312-WA0005Adapted from My Korean Kitchen and Just One Cookbook and No Recipes

2 8-oz packages (400 g) fresh udon noodles
vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced into thin sticks
4-5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (I forgot to buy!)
5-6 leaves of bok choy, shredded
1/2 green bell pepper (I used up some spinach instead)
dark soy sauce, sugar, rice wine (mirin), sesame oil, salt and pepper
yakisoba sauce
2-3 scallions, chopped

Heat a wok on high, then add the oil, then the seasonings with some water and swirl (to prevent burning). Cook the onion, then carrots, then bell pepper, then bok choy, and any other vegetables. Boil udon noodles according to package (about 1 minute for pre-cooked ones). Add the udon to the wok and stir fry and mix. Cook for about 4 minutes more, until noodles are still soft but with a slight crunchy exterior (some noodles will be a light brown color). Add yakisoba sauce, turn off the heat and coat well. Transfer to a plate, top with scallions. Serve.

~Jessica

Quesadillas

Adapted from smitten kitchen‘s taco torte recipe

vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeno/habanero/serrano pepper, chopped small (optional)
ground cumin, chili powder to taste
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained, with 1/3 cup juice reserved
2 cans black, red and/or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can corn, drained
rough-chopped spinach leaves
6 flour tortillas (I like the corn ones, cause you can’t find them in Germany)
shredded cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice (only had lemon juice)
Chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or salsa for garnish (optional)
2 radishes, sliced thin (didn’t have)
1 avocado, sliced (not ripe)

Saute onion, garlic, poblano pepper (and I threw in celery) in pan over medium heat until fragrant. Add the spices. Add the tomatoes and drained beans. Season with salt and pepper. Add the corn. I could have added mushrooms, but decided against it after having had mushroom risotto last night.

How to decide between authentic Mexican street foods (antojitos)? There are burritos, gringas, enchiladas, nachos, panuchos, salbutes, tacos, taquitos/flautas, tlayudas — all original Mexican dishes made with tortillas. Flour tortillas are often used for burritos and quesadillas, while corn tortillas are used for the rest. Lesson learned: Fajitas are Tex-Mex!

~Jessica

Stir-fried cabbage, Chinese style

imag0899Adapted from The Woks of Life

vegetable oil
a bit of pork belly (optional)
5 cloves garlic, smashed and cut in half
5 dried red chilies, deseeded and very roughly chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, sliced for slaw
Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, sugar, water, Chinese black vinegar (didn’t have this one)
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths

Heat oil and sear meat, if including. Add garlic and chilies, cook until fragrant. Add the cabbage and sauce ingredients. Cook until softened and cabbage edges are searing. Stir in the scallions and a pinch of salt.

~Jessica

Colcannon

imag0898Adapted from Simply Recipes

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
Salt
30 g unsalted butter (with more butter for serving)
180 g of chopped cabbage (or kale or other leafy green)
3 green onions, minced
120 mL milk or cream

Boil potatoes 15-20 minutes in salted water. Saute cabbage in butter until browning a bit. Add scallions and cook for a minute. Pour in the milk/cream, mix well, add potatoes and mash together. Add salt and butter to taste. Serve.

~Jessica