Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tomato-Pesto Pasta

Okay I admit it; I absolutely love pasta- I don’t quite know what it is (that’s a lie Mags and I spent several months in Italy in the old days and love affair began there). I love that it is so easy and you can throw anything together with it and make it a meal. Part of my difficulty in this blog has not been writing 20 entries just about pasta with vegetables. But some are really better than others. When these winter months come around – I sometimes miss the taste of summer. My husband makes pesto in the summer when basil is all around – (see the lemon pesto chicken entry only I prefer it with heaps more garlic), and then we freeze it in ice cube trays and it lasts like that for months.

This week I spotted some beautiful heirloom cherry tomatoes at the market and couldn’t resist.

I rinsed and cut up the fresh tomatoes into quarters.

Boiled the pasta and mixed in the frozen pesto cubes while it was still warm, added the raw tomatoes and Voila! Taste of summer.

Super easy and quick and you really only have to dirty the pot you make the pasta in, which is the type of thing that really sweeps me off my feet.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lemon Blackberry Coffee Cake- definitely not the healthy part of the diet

Okay so this recipe isn’t exactly diet appropriate but it was delicious and I felt obliged to pass it on. I had some left over sour cream from Hanukkah - which inspired the decision to make this cake.

Cake Recipe:

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

10 tbsp. unsalted butter @ room temperature (about 1¼ sticks)

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 tbsp. lemon zest

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1¼ cup sour cream

2 cups blackberries (but I think 3 cups would add to deliciousness)


3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

9x9 inch pan- plus a little pan in case you have extra batter (very likely)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x9 baking pan.

In a bowl mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt

Use an electric mixer with the attachment to cream butter and sugar until light fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, until blended well.

Add vanilla and lemon zest.

Add flour mixture and sour cream and beat just until combined.

Fold in blackberries and spoon into buttered pan and sprinkle topping over top of cake.

Bake until golden brown and a knife comes out clean about 50-60 minutes.

I have rationalized that I could consider this part of the Farmer's Market diet by eating much more responsible portions that I might have otherwise done. Plus this was super delicious so I really needed a good reason to be able to eat it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Lebanese-ish" Red Lentil Soup

Towards the end of each week I seem to be left with a strange variety of produce in the fridge. I find myself resorting to a dinner made entirely of things from my pantry because I’m not quite sure what to do with my Farmer’s Market Leftovers. I hate throwing any food out because it has gone bad, so I have made it my quest to start putting in the time to finding recipes that contain my random scraps or can be adjusted to what I’ve got around.

This week when I came down to the final produce selection this is what I had:

Several lemons with no rind (I had already used the zest for another meal)

Cilantro- 1 bunch

Brown Onions

Lots of options but not so much substance… I don’t think my hubby would be super satisfied eating pickled onions for dinner and not quite the hearty winter meal I was hoping for.

I ended up making a “Lebenese-ish” Red Lentil Soup that I adapted from allrecipes.com


6 cups stock (you can use chicken or veggie)

2 1/3cups dry red lentils

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic

1tbsp. cumin

½ tsp cayenne pepper (you could also use red chili flake and I think it would be similar)

½ bunch chopped cilantro

¾ cup lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the lentils and stock to a boil and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. In a separate frying pan sauté onions and garlic until clear and then add the onions mixture and cumin and cayenne to the simmering lentils. Simmer until the lentils are tender (~10-15 minutes).

At this stage you can puree the soup – but I prefer the more rustic version.

Stir in lemon juice right before serving and top with a hearty portion of cilantro. I found this really brightens up the flavor. Serve as a soup or make it a meal by adding some brown rice to amp up protein and hearty-ness.