Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

• 4-6 tomatoes
• a carrot,  a handful of mushrooms, slice of yellow onion
• 1 cup vegetable stock
• 1T olive oil, 2T butter
• 1/4c (unsweetened almond) milk
• lots of black pepper and thyme
• a couple pinches salt, garlic powder, and basil

1. Remove core from tomatoes, heat in large pot, mashing occasionally
2. Purée carrot, mushrooms, and onion with vegetable stock, olive oil, milk, and butter*
3. Add to pot, mix and continue to heat. Add a very generous amount of black pepper and thyme (seriously, lots of both) along with garlic powder, salt, and a touch of basil
4. Pour into blender/processor and purée entire mixture. Return to pot and continue to heat, seasoning as needed. Serve with grilled cheese :)

*I didn’t plan to add butter, but even with spices my soup tasted like raw tomatoes. Butter made it taste more like conventional soup.

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Basic Pasta

pasta

According to Ruhlman’s awesome book Ratio, which measures by weight, pasta is 3 parts flour, 2 parts egg.

1. Pour 1 1/2c flour (whole wheat is pictured, but white or any other kind works) onto the counter, make a well in the top and crack three eggs into it.
2. Knead with your hands until appropriately doughy (5-10m) and form into disc.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least a half hour.
4. Cut into 4 pieces and roll, cut, shape, and either cook or let dry overnight then store.

I’ve also used this recipe for cheese ravioli–it’s totally delicious, but the scraps from cutting the ravioli squares are hard to work with. This is probably why the resting period after kneading is included, but I found that adding a small bit of water (approx 1/2-1tsp, less with less dough) to the remaining pieces made it gel together better. It still didn’t happily reconstitute like cookie dough, and was much more difficult to knead, but it still made yummy ravioli. If you want to make something that will produce scraps like that, I’d suggest doing a maximum of 2 or 3 re-rolls or planning the day’s workout around your pasta making.
(full recipe: bit.ly/jkjXTp )

Zucchini & Tomato Tart

zucchini tomato tart

• 2 tomatoes
• 2 zucchini
• 1/3 onion
• handful each: mushrooms, spinach
• 2 eggs
• 1/3c (almond) milk
• handful cheese (Parmesan, mozzarella)
• fresh oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and garlic
• herbes de Provence, s&p, olive oil

1. Roast sliced zucchini at 450. Flip once, browning slightly on both sides.
2. In casserole dish, layer chopped onion, zucchini, spinach, mushroom, and tomato. Pour over half mixture of beaten egg, milk, s&p. Add herbs and cheese (in this case, parm & mozz but goat or gruyere would be awesome).
3. Continue layering, finishing with egg mixture then full zucchini layer. Cover with sliced tomato, sprigs of thyme, & olive oil. Bake at 350 for 45m (or more, if needed).

(*inspired by this eggplant tart, which includes crust http://nyti.ms/18DwDUF)

Bread

Bread

Basic Bread
• 4c flour
• 1 1/2c water
• 2tsp salt
• 1tsp instant yeast

1. Sprinkle yeast over surface of warm water. Pour over flour and salt. Mix, then knead until dough is smooth & elastic.
2. Continue kneading until it can be stretched without breaking. If you are making a flavored bread, you would add spices (garlic, rosemary, thyme, etc) or ingredients (olives, walnuts, etc) at this point.
3. Place in bowl covered with plastic wrap until it expands to twice its size (4-8h). It is ready when it won’t immediately spring back if you poke it.
4. Knead dough for a moment, then cover with towel and allow to rest 10-15m.
5. Shape dough and cover again with towel. Allow to rise/proof for an hour (or refrigerate overnight then allow to rise at room temperature for an hour and a half– I had to do this and it’s still delicious)
6. Preheat oven 450 degrees, then bake for 10 minutes before reducing temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 40-50m. If baking on a pan instead of within a Dutch oven, include a ramekin with 1c water in the oven for steaming, which produces a hard crust.

The above recipe is from Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio, which includes a lot of variations for different flavors. The core ratio is 5 parts flour : 3 parts water + yeast & salt. It’s basically the same as the no-knead bread posted below, but the kneading makes you feel like you are a professional Boulanger :)

No Knead Bread

No-Knead Bread

• 4c flour
• 2c warm water
• 1 1/2t salt
• 1/4t yeast

1. In large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add yeast and warm water. Mix.
2. Cover with foil and let sit for 18 hours
3. Shape dough (it’s quite sticky/difficult to work with so nothing too exciting)
4. Cover with towel and let sit for 2 hours 5. Bake at 425 for 35-45 minutes.

This multigrain boule above was made in an uncovered ceramic dish (w/a small ramekin of water to steam). It was really difficult to remove, so I prefer the ciabatta recipe from Food Wishes (http://bit.ly/YhsYYT) to the messier NYT recipe (http://nyti.ms/SuMYHv).  It is slightly easier to remove if you use a covered dish rather than an open one, but I usually have to cut it out rather than taking out a pretty loaf.  Ciabatta, where you pour dough onto a pan coated with cornmeal, is much easier, pretty, and has a more satisfying rustic feel.

Pesto Risotto

risotto

• 4c stock 1 1/2c rice
• 1c white wine
• 1 yellow onion
• 1T olive oil handful mushrooms
• 2T pesto
• 1T butter
• 1/2tsp pepper, a bit of salt

1. Heat vegetable stock (homemade or water + bouillon or water + celery, carrot, onion, garlic, s&p) on low. Over medium heat, add diced onion with oil to cast iron skillet. After 5 min, add rice (I used wild) then wine.
2. When wine is mostly absorbed, start adding some stock. I poured at 10 minute intervals, and added chopped mushrooms, salt, and pepper about halfway through.
3. Leave on medium heat and cover. If you use cast iron you don’t have to stir that often, but anything else will have to be monitored. All in all, it will take about a half hour for the rice to be al dente/edible.
4. When it’s almost done, add pesto along with butter. Allow flavors to coalesce a bit, then serve with roasted tomato.

The creamy texture of risotto comes from the starch produced by immersing rice in water. As it slowly cooks, the starch is pulled into the water, which eventually thickens to a delicious consistency. This is enhanced by herbs, and can be further embellished with liquid stuff, like pesto, butter, milk products, or even soup.

Recently, I made mushroom soup and used the leftover to make a quick risotto with prepared rice. If standing over an oven maintaining a risotto is not your scene, you can easily make a delicious dish using the soup + cooked rice method. You can use microwave rice, or just make a plain batch in a rice cooker every week or few days, keeping it in the fridge for different dishes.

Vegetarian Tacos

Tacos

• quinoa
• black beans & onion
• avocado
• plain Greek yogurt
• lettuce
• Sazon Goya, lemon, salt & pepper, garlic powder, Adobo seasoning
• tortillas

1. Boil 1c water, add about 2/3c rinsed quinoa, simmer covered for 15 minutes. Add dash Sazon Goya and squeeze of lemon, cover and simmer for like 5 minutes stirring occasionally
2. Cook 1 can (or 1 cup soaked &) rinsed black beans and 1/2 onion on stovetop over medium heat. Spice with rest/most of Sazon Goya packet, Adobo seasoning, juice from about 1/2 a lemon, s&p, and garlic powder
3. Mix about 1/4c (or whatever) yogurt with remaining juice from lemon 4. Assemble on tiny soft taco shells with a few slices avocado and lots of iceberg lettuce

Simple Pesto

basil pesto

•6 loosely packed cups fresh basil (daddy long legs from garden that decides to creep around while you’re cutting the garlic not included)
•2-3 cloves garlic
•around 1/3c olive oil
•1/2c pine nuts
•1/3-1/2c Parmesan and Romano cheese (or pecorino if you’re not cheap like me!)

Blend! Makes a little under a jar of pesto (depends how much olive oil is used) which is supposed to last about a week. I served it on multigrain toast with roasted red pepper, spinach, cheese, and mushrooms. Also excellent as a cream sauce base.