Tag Archives: garlic

When is pasta not pasta? When it’s mushroom.

2 Mar

For me, cooking is usually an arts-and-crafts project or a science experiment. I imagine that certain flavors will go together well and then test the theory.

Other times, I challenge myself by trying to recreate an amazing dish I’ve had at a restaurant. Like I did this week.

Recently, I went with friends to John Bentley’s in Redwood City, Calif. Everything on the menu sounded delicious and I thought it was going to be hard to decide what to order, until I got to the end of the menu and found: “Trumpet Mushroom “Pappardelle” with tomato, garlic, basil,Kalamatas, edamame and Pecorino Romano.”

Mushroom Pappardelle

A carbless delicious beauty from John Bentley’s

The waiter said the chef created Pappardelle from mushrooms. The dish had a red sauce, and it was like a pasta dish without the pasta. I was so intrigued I had to order it. And WOW! It was SO delicious!

A week later, I decided to try to recreate the dish with a few embellishments.

For my mushroom pasta, I did not use edamame or fresh basil, although there was basil in the pasta sauce. I used shiitake mushrooms, garlic, Kalamata olives, spinach, onion, tofu and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan on top. I went with the short cut of using Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Maranara sauce.

I started by sautéing garlic and onion in olive oil.

Step one, saute onions and garlic in olive oil.

Onions and garlic sautéed in olive oil.

Then I added the mushrooms, olives, tofu and spinach.

A garden in a skillet

Ingredients. Not pictured: sauce, cheese.

After the vegetables were softened, about 10-15 minutes, I poured in some marinara sauce, sprinkled shredded Parmesan on top and. SOOO good!! (To make it vegan, don’t add the cheese at the end.)

As you can tell with the difference in ingredients and stage presence, it wasn’t exactly the meal I had at John Bentley’s, but it was close enough and very satisfying!

Give it a try!  Add your own twists, and please share your recipe thoughts in the comments.

Bon appetite!

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Happy Summer! Recipe time: “Where Pasta Meets Kale”

21 Jun

Trader Joe’s serves up the ingredients for a healthful, nutritious, filling and yummy meal!

The intersection of fresh kale and hearty pasta

The intersection of fresh kale and hearty pasta

Tortilla soup, your way

8 Nov

I love going off the beaten path. That’s definitely true when it comes to travel, but also when it comes to veering from any norm: Mix-and-match clothing; home design; cooking.

And when it comes to reconstructing what’s for dinner, my favorite tailor-made dish is soup.

Last night, tortilla soup became palatable to a paleo-dieting friend by leaving out the tortillas. Just as delicious as with.

Tortilla soup. Hold the the tortilla.

Tortilla soup. Hold the tortilla.

I loaded it with chicken, but take away the chicken and it becomes a veggie delight. Leave out the tomatoes and add some white beans, and your acid-adverse friends will chow down.

Here’s what I put in the pot. Take note, but don’t be afraid to make it your own. You can’t go wrong.

Tortilla Soup Recipe – without tortillas

  • 3lbs chicken breast (I used TJ’s frozen chicken to keep the cost down.)
  • 3TBs olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock – try veggie stock, plain water, or go a completely different direction with something like TJ’s Butternut Squash soup
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • a whole lot of cumin and chile powder (unmeasured/to taste)
  • A dash of salt
  • Sides: chopped cilantro, chopped onion, sliced avocado, shredded Parmesan cheese, shredded Cheddar cheese, hot sauce

Buon appetito!

Cooking tip: How to squeeze lemons without a fine mesh strainer

13 Oct
Trader Joe's garlic bag saves the day

Garlic bag saves the day and the pain of lemon seeds

I don’t have a fine mesh strainer, and I don’t want to lose a drop of juice to a seed-protective squeezing cloth. I was tired of digging seeds out of the lemon, always missing some and having to search for them in food.

THEN, I always missed some in the food and a mid-meal bite with the promise of being delicious came to a screeching yuck when I bit into the little lemon renegade.

Enter: The garlic bag. I was grateful to discover a good use for an item I was about to toss out.

Do you have a tip using an item in a new way? We’d love to hear about it! Please share your discoveries in the comments.

Recipe for a cool summer night

15 Aug

You have to realize that “cool summer night” is not a term we use often in August in Kansas City. In fact, could this be a first? Probably not, statistically speaking, but for me it is.

However, the stars aligned for my cooking sense this week, preparing me for just this sort of fluke weather.

onion and chicken combine to make soup. Water was an essential ingredient, too.

Hot soup on a cool August night

Recipe for a healthy summer hot soup:

1) Poach three or four frozen chicken thighs.

2) Reserve the water to use as stock.

3) Wait 24-48 hours for a chilly day in August.

4) Transfer chicken stock to pot, add:

  • three chopped onions
  • three minced cloves of garlic
  • a handful of chopped cilantro
  • slices of fresh lemon

5) Ladle into a bowl

6) Add salt, fresh lemon juice and freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste.

Enjoy and stay warm until the 90-degree weather returns in a few days.

This post is part of the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Fit to write

Cutest little taters ever: Recipe

12 Apr

Fact #1 – I don’t eat a lot of carbs (aka starch), so otatoepays are generally ixnayed.

Fact #2 – These teeny tiny potatoes are some of the cutest root veggies I’ve ever seen, and I wanted to eat them.

Small potatoes

Teeny tiny taters

Fact #3 – A friend was coming over. Timing is everything.

And so, a meal was born including tiny, thinly sliced potatoes and other small veggie items.

Trader Joe's mini taters scramble up well with tofu, tomatoes, garlic and mushrooms

Tiny tater small scramble

How to make tiny tater small scramble:

Spread oil olive in a skillet. Season with a clove of chopped garlic.

Add:

  • Thinly sliced tiny potatoes
  • Quartered cherry or grape tomatoes (keep it small)
  • A block of cubed sprouted tofu
  • A cup or two of chopped onions
  • A quarter pint of baby bella sliced mushrooms
  • Sprinkle a little salt
  • Heat until potatoes are softened
  • Enjoy with a friend!

On an uncanny note, this morning the following Harvest Public Radio story aired on my local NPR station: “Potato Industry Banks on Linda.” It’s about the decline in potato consumption and the efforts of the U.S. Potato Board to entice people to bring potatoes back to the table. Timely.

[This post is completely independent of any public radio programming and is not funded by the U.S. Potato Board or Trader Joe’s.]

Thank you, Trader Joe’s!

And thank you for visiting Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

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Like Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Facebook: Trader Joe’s KC Fans

Related links:

Why potatoes are healthy [besthealthmag.ca]

Potatoes healthy food guide [eatingwell.com]

The art of frozen food from Trader Joe’s

13 Feb

Frozen foods are really growing on me, especially the packages from Trader Joe’s freezer aisle.

When I was growing up, I preferred my veggies raw. I still do. Mom used canned vegetables, and those were tasty. But when the side dish was pulled from the freezer, it was going to be a flavorless clump of mush.

I’m happy to report a very different finding lately! In this package …

bag of delicious vegetables from Trader Joe's

Freezer aisle delicacy

not only are the cauliflower and Romanesco solid and delicious, but…I mean, what is Romanesco?! It’s like futuristic delicacy meets edible art!

Trader Joe's offers the coolest food

Edible art: Cool food in the frozen section.

Wikipedia starts its description of Romanesco as follows:

“Romanesco broccoli, or Roman cauliflower, is an edible flower of the species Brassica oleracea, and a variant form of cauliflower. First documented in Italy, it is light green in color and is a natural approximation of a fractal.”

Whatever it is, it’s yummy and pretty. And the garlic butter is just as tasty as it was for the serving of Beans so Green I enjoyed a week or two ago.

Thank you, again, Trader Joe’s!

And thank you for visiting Things I Love at Trader Joe’s! Have you tried/seen Romanesco? Any favorite recipes? What are your thoughts?

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related links:

Romanesco: How to choose, store and prepare (L.A. Times)

Try a new vegetable: Romanesco

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