Avocado pasta

IMG_20180403_144205.jpgAdapted from Damn Delicious

Ingredients:
350 g spaghetti
2 ripe avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:
In a large pot of boiling water, season with salt and cook pasta according to package instructions; reserve a little pasta water. We had fusilli, which took 9 minutes to cook al dente.
To make the avocado sauce, combine avocados, basil (didn’t have — next time!), garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor (I minced and mashed by hand with a rice paddle); season with salt and pepper, to taste. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, avocado sauce, cherry tomatoes and corn (vegetables next time).
Serve immediately.

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Fettucine con sugo di Mafalda

IMG_20171014_200636.jpg

Adapted from Lidia’s Italy

Ingredients:
Kosher salt
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 lb. pasta (I had farfalle)
10 basil leaves, freshly shredded (I had parsley)
1/2 cup Grana Padano, grated

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for pasta. Meanwhile… Saute 1/2 chopped red onion, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 minced carrot, 1/2 chopped gray zucchini in the saucepan. Bring the tomatoes to a simmer. Stir in the heavy cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Slip the pasta into boiling water. When the pasta is al dente (15 minutes) and sauce is ready, drop the pasta directly into the sauce. If some pasta water gets in there, all the better!
Add the shredded basil (parsley), then toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Remove from heat, stir in the grated cheese, and serve immediately.

I never knew this sauce had a name, but I have added cream to tomato sauce many a time for a variant on plain ol’ marinara. Not for the lactose-intolerant, of course, but adds some extra fat to a tasty vegetarian meal!

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 6

Ingredients
GOYA black bean soup $1.50
Dried rosemary $6.29
1 carrot $0.23
1 zucchini $0.94
4 tomatoes on the vine $1.33
10 oz white button mushrooms $1.79
Total: $12.08

Directions
Chop fine 1 red onion, 3 cloves of garlic. Saute in olive oil in a medium pot. Season with salt, cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes, crushed rosemary. Chop 1/2 carrot, 1/3 zucchini, 1 tomato, 5-6 mushrooms. Saute vegetables over medium heat. Add the can of black bean soup, plus another cup of water rinsing the can. Season with turmeric, thyme, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Raise heat and cook until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer. Here I added 1/4 box of penne rigate and enough water to cover it, cooking it al dente for 5 minutes. Serves 3-4.

I recently acquired some cheese from Trader Joe’s, so feel free to slice / grate some on top for a Tex-Mex feel. It’s rather hard to shop plastic-free at TJ’s I realize now — not great for #plasticfreeJuly then.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 4

Ingredients:
32 oz. tomato sauce $1.50
Paprika $2.19
Ronzoni penne rigate $1.89
1 carrot $0.25
1 green zucchini $0.82
4 brown portobello mushrooms $0.77
4 red onions $0.98
1 yellow squash $0.40
Total: $8.80

Directions
Chop 1 red onion, 1/2 yellow squash, 1/2 zucchini, the mushrooms, 1/2 carrot. Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Saute the onion, garlic until fragrant. Add the carrot, then the two squash. Add the mushrooms. Cook together a few minutes, stirring. Add the can of tomato sauce. Season with paprika, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.
Boil salted water. Add half the box of penne. Cook 5 minutes until al dente. Add pasta to sauce. Serves 3-4.

Just to make it fancy (and I didn’t have Parmigiano because it’s wrapped in plastic and expensive unless I buy it at Trader Joe’s), I added a drop of my truffle olive oil, which I brought back from France, before serving. Just for the aroma, which I really really like.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 1

Ingredients
737 g Iodized salt $1.59
425 g black bean soup $1.59
3 small red potatoes $0.76
1 carrot $0.26
Ginger $0.54
1 head of garlic $0.42
3 red onions $0.67
2 plum tomatoes $0.46
1 bunch of scallions $0.67
Total: $6.96

Directions
Chop finely 2 potatoes, 1/2 the carrot, 1 red onion, the tomatoes. Mince a thumb of peeled ginger, 1 clove of garlic. Saute onions, then ginger, then garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Saute carrot, then potatoes for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, thyme, and oregano. Add the tomatoes and can of GOYA black bean soup (Frijoles negros – preparados con aceite de oliva, pimiento, y cebolla). Stir frequently, cook a little longer and serve. Top with sliced scallions. Serves 3 (on a diet).

I recently moved off my friend Amber’s couch and got my own place. Rent is $1100/month, including all utilities. My training stipend of a “modest” $2500 is to cover four months of NYC living. The GRE exam costs $205.00, the Educating All Students (EAS) exam is $92.00, the Content Speciality Test costs $134.00 (I’m taking the Biology CST, of course), Fingerprinting is $99.00. This means budgeting. A lot.

At least the GOYA black bean soup is the bomb-diggity! (Even though it has MSG and added sugar.)

~Jessica

Garlic herb pizza dough

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Like that shape? Trademarked.

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:
pizza dough
1/3 cup tomato puree
2-3 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/3 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
basil to garnish
spinach
1/3 cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated

Directions:
Let the refrigerated dough sit for 25 minutes at room temperature, longer if possible. Meanwhile, place the pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 425-450°F for 30-60 minutes (depending on topping prep time.) Slice or grate your vegetable and cheese toppings. Do not load up each pizza with too many toppings as the crust will end up not crisp that way! About a third a cup each of tomato sauce and cheese would be sufficient for one pizza. One to two mushrooms thinly sliced will cover a pizza.

Take the ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Let the dough relax 5 minutes. Stretch dough into a thin 12-inch round — I did this classical way, tossing the round on my knuckles in the air. Be careful! Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent soggy dough from the toppings). Use your fingertips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling? Let rest another 5 minutes.

Here I removed the pizza stone from the warming oven. It’s very hot. If you have it, sprinkle the pizza stone with cornmeal (I didn’t), and place the dough on top. Spoon on the tomato sauce (I added some dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper here), sprinkle the cheese, and place your desired toppings on the pizza. Slide the baking stone into the oven. Bake until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 10-15 minutes. Then drizzle with olive oil.

Ok, so this post title is a lie. I used garlic herb pizza dough from Trader Joe’s, which only recommended a (too short) baking time of 6-8 minutes. But I followed all the other steps. Wish I had had 250 g diced fresh mozzarella, and torn basil! Made a baby spinach side salad rather than wilt it in the oven as a topping.

~Jessica

P.S. Pizza attempt #1Pizza attempt #2Pizza attempt #3

Disney’s ratatouille

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Doesn’t look like much. I know.

Adapted from Dishes by Disney

Ingredients:
1 zucchini, cut into large cubes
1 eggplant, cut into large cubes (I subbed with a green bell pepper for lack)
1 yellow squash, cut into large cubes
1 sweet red pepper, cut into large slices
1 red onion, cut into large cubes
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 sprigs thyme
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
4 eggs

Directions:
Saute the red onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add the rest of the vegetables. Add the salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the can of crushed tomatoes. Crack the eggs and poach them in wells in the pot, like shakshuka. Spoon sauce over and let heat cook them a few minutes. Serve hot.

I had half a box of white mushrooms, so I tossed them in last, chopped same size as all the other veggies. Apparently the modern ratatouille included marjoram, fennel and basil, or bay leaf and thyme, or a mix of green herbs like herbes de Provence, so I threw in a few bay leaves while our little potted basil re-grows its leaves from the last Continental recipe.

~Jessica