Monday, July 29, 2013

Cage Free Pasta Recipe

I have finally caved and ordered an add-on item for my produce box: herb fusili from Bombolini Pasta.  Fortunately another Dominion Harvest customer came up with a recipe for me to remix.  My secret is to take someone else's hard work and add more vegetables I had lying around.

Bootleg Pasta (originally Flippant Flip's Tomato and Zucchini Pasta, linked above)

1 pint sun gold cherry tomatoes from Adlyn Farm
1 zucchini from my last Dominion Harvest box (sorry, Zucchini Farm, I forgot who you are)
1 Marconi pepper from Adlyn Farm
Some broccoli
Mushrooms to taste
Leftover onion
Garlic salt
Olive oil
Feta cheese from Lover's Retreat Dairy
1/2 lb herb fusili from Bombolini Pasta
1 lb ground beef

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice tomatoes in half, cut up the zucchini and mushrooms, them mix them in a rectangular glass baking dish with olive oil, garlic salt, and basil.  Trust your heart on how much seasoning to add.  It is most likely impossible to have too much garlic or basil.  Bake for 20 minutes.

While vegetables are in the oven, cut up the pepper.  Brown the ground beef with your pepper and leftover onion.  Since it is impossible to have too much basil and garlic, you might as well add some to the beef.  And some tarragon--everyone knows that the more seasonings you use, the better you are at cooking.

Once beef is cooked and other vegetables are done, combine and mix in your glass pan.

Part of this culinary adventure involves cooking with pasta that is not part of a 10 for $10 promotion at Kroger.  This is fancy pasta for fancy people as it says on the passive aggressive Post-It note I used to keep anyone from messing with my local, cage-free noodles.  Apparently it has to stay in the refrigerator and only takes 1-2 minutes to cook.

 Have chair stolen by cat while slaving away over a hot stove and contemplating making a Facebook status update about how lucky everyone is that you don't have Instagram.

Top noodles with meat and vegetables or combine before serving.  Top with feta.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

My dear friend Brian turned even more despicably old the day before America did, and I discovered a recipe for cupcakes infused with spirits.  As everyone knows, the Irish only stop drinking in order to get into fist fights or to eat potatoes.  Sadly, my own wretched Irish blood causes me to lust for potatoes, but I was able to stop shoveling them in my inferior gullet long enough to make alcoholic dessert products.

My attempt is the combination of two recipes: one with an argument over the offensive name in the comments and the other posted on the Duncan Hines website.  The cupcake base is taken from the Duncan Hines recipe in the fine O'Simone tradition of tradition of culinary laziness.  As is the filling since that has more whiskey and less butter.  Since I know these people from a graduate English department, the more whiskey the better.  At least one of them would probably have preferred it if I'd just poured whiskey into cupcake wrappers and skipped the cake.

This project was also how I learned that Virginia ABC stores keep a binder with measurement conversions.  Yeah, I did ask for a conversion from airplane bottles to tablespoons, but I want you to know I prefaced it with, "Uhh, I don't know if you can answer this, but..."

Somehow both the ganache recipe and the frosting recipe yielded an unholy amount of ganache and frosting. As usual, I ended up with more cupcakes than the box promised (2 dozen large and small since I switched to the small pans while waiting for my large pan to cool).  This still wasn't enough cake to contain or support all the alcohol extras.

To core the little cupcakes, I used a straw to create small circles in the center of a cupcake and scoop them out.  I used another straw to "spoon" filling into the opening.  Large cupcakes can be cored pretty easily with one of those frosting decorating tips and a small spoon.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Honey Ginger Chicken

I have become a supporter of local agriculture.  Every other week I get a box full of assorted produce from assorted Virginia farms.  In theory this is supposed to help me expand my culinary horizons.  Mostly I add vegetables I've never heard of to things I already know how to make.  This usually means tacos or, since I now get a dozen free range eggs, quiche.

Dominion Harvest sends out recipes.  Usually I look through them, decide I can't think of a main dish to make with the side dish, and give a piece of locally grown, organic lettuce to my pleco.  Last week I decided to modify the Honey Ginger Green beans into an entree.

Honey Ginger Chicken

  • Soy sauce
  • Green beans, trimmed (I assume this means "cut the weird looking ends off.  This is my first experience with green beans that doesn't involve a can.)
  • Sliced water chestnuts
  • Chicken, cut into cubes/small pieces
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Celery, cut up
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (this is from the original recipe.  Having made it once, I will probably scale back on the ginger next time).
  • 1/4 cup honey
Boil water.  Add green beans and cook for ~5 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.

Heat 1/2 cup of soy sauce in a skillet large enough to fit all your meat and vegetables.  Stir in garlic and ginger.  If you're lazy like me, the powder will soak up the soy sauce.  Add a bit more or see what it looks like after you add the honey.  Add chicken, water chestnuts, celery, and green beans.  Stir, cover, and go see what's on TV.

Check in on food.  Add mushrooms at some point.  Stir just enough that it looks like you're working hard and people should appreciate your efforts.  If you've got some greens from your produce box, go ahead and add those too.  I mean, they can't give you anything that's actually toxic, right?

Serve over rice or eat as is.