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Showing posts with label pasta recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pasta recipe. Show all posts

Friday, September 24, 2021

Tatsoi and How to Use It

If you're like me, you dream about the food that they cook in animes. We've all seen the gorgeous footage of the food in the Ghibli films, where they seem to take your softest and most beautiful dreams and turn them into reality. Beautiful pillows of cake, gooey eggs and sausages, grilled fish...but what are those greens that they often chop and boil or put into stews? I'm going to make a very educated guess and call it here: it's tatsoi, my friends!

Important note: While this is sometimes known as: "Water spinach", it is not "water spinach!" Tagalog-speaking folks know water spinach it as 'kangkong,' and it's delicious in adobo. I do know that kangkong is not exactly the same thing as tatsoi, but I personally use the stuff interchangeably so I don't see the harm in you doing it as well. The flavor profile is practically identical. 

Actually, it's a green you can stick almost anywhere.

This will not have a recipe, per se, but a compilation of recipes as well as a brief profile of the item. Honestly, I could no sooner choose a star in the heavens to profile than I could talk about a single kangkong/tatsoi recipe. I thought it'd be much more fun to talk about all of the things you can do with it instead. But first, let's talk - briefly - about how to grow it!

I partner with an incredible place called KC Farm School at Gibbs Road. It's a gorgeous teaching farm that's less than 15 minutes away from my home in the heart of Wyandotte county and I love working with them, along with other local farms and farmers. Their mission is to empower individuals through hands-on experiences on the farm and to educate everyone on where food comes from.

Cute, huh?

In their CSA program, they grow all sorts of delicious goodies for everyone to take home and experiment with. Honestly, I could never cover every single thing they do, but I am always excited to put on my thinking cap and see what can be made from each week's surprise produce box. Tatsoi has been growing beautifully at the farm and I'm thrilled to talk about it. It's been going out for a couple of weeks now and I'm just now getting to it...last week we talked about soup! The fact of the matter is, though, that this green - which is tender like spinach but is more closely related to bok choi - is incredibly easy to grow and tolerant to a wide variety of climates, and can even grow in the shade. This is an excellent green to plant in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler and milder.

This week for recipes, I'm finally getting around to tatsoi and all the lovely things you can do with it. Shall we begin?

Photo credit to Kawaling Pinoy

How I know kangkong the best is through adobo. Of course, my mom braises hers in a lovely adobo manok at baboy with potatoes and serves it over coconut rice. I like to chop it up and put it in any adobo I'm making, but did you know that you can make a totally vegetarian adobo out of just this stuff as the star? Kawaling Pinoy has an excellent recipe that you can start with! Please note that you don't have to add the bacon or pork belly. Many a great adobo can be used with seitan or jackfruit for extra yumminess. 

Oh, you want my recipes for this, too? Why, sure!

There's absolutely no limit to what you can add to a mac & cheese

My usual go-to for just throwing something together is adding any green vegetable I like to a casserole-style dish. A beautiful lasagna would be great with this in the ragout. You can cream it with coconut milk and lots and lots of garlic. Statistically, however, when it would come to the amount of things I would make if I had this in my fridge and just wanted to incorporate it, I would use it in my vegan macaroni & cheese recipe. Chop it up and mix it in before you bake!

Oh, did the lasagna sound great? No problem!

Instead of cutting the pasta, leave it in sheets to dry for lasagna!

Of course, all you would do is chop it up and add it to your ragout at the end before baking. However, if you want to have something fun, you can use the greens themselves to make the pasta. What you do for this application is take my turnip greens pasta recipe and substitute it in equal parts - by weight, if you please - tatsoi for greens. The result will be a gorgeous green color that you'll be in love with. It's also a fun surprise if you have fussy kids that will freak the freak out if they know they're eating vegetables. 

Too "involved"? I get it - sometimes I want it quick and easy, especially after a long day's work!

This is just an example of what you can put in any egg fried rice!

If you're looking for a much quicker thing to do with tatsoi, try chopping it up and adding it to a protein-rich egg fried rice recipe? You don't have to use duck eggs every time, but I recommend it if you get your hands on it. This, of course, can be a quick lunch or a dinner!

Looking for breakfast? Let's do it then!

The quiche is the perfect vessel for breakfast that you can make ahead the night before or simply assemble the morning of and have it baking. Take my quiche base and add fresh chopped tatsoi to it along with any breakfast meats, cheeses, whatever you like. I recommend putting the cheeses or greens on the bottom before any other fillings so that they won't float up to the top. This will also help prevent the greens from floating to the top and burning. If you want something even quicker, go for an omelette, or a smoothie.

I don't have smoothie recipes. I just throw stuff in a blender, usually with almond milk and a banana as the base. My quickest smoothie recipe ever would just be two large handfuls of spinach(or tatsoi), about a cup of almond milk, and maybe some nuts for extra fats, vitamins, and for mouthfeel. I don't always have frozen fruit on hand so I can't say that I use that a lot. If you need a little inspiration, though, feel free to use this chart.

Thanks, Maria Zamarripa, for this! Check out their site here

I hope this photodump has inspired you to get in the kitchen and use up the gorgeous tatsoi you might have lying around, or to see about picking some up for yourself. You can find it at most Asian markets or plant some now to grow all autumn long. Like spinach, you can keep pinching more off and it'll grow back! If you have things you normally do with tatsoi, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. Thank you so much for spending a piece of your day or evening with me.

Happy cooking and happy eating. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Turnip Green Pasta

If you must blink, do it now:

Yes, you saw that: bright green pasta. No, there were no dyes in this recipe, only the natural color of the turnip greens. What sorcery is this? Before I get INTO this recipe, allow me a brief introduction of my dear friends and our sponsors of this post, KC Farm School at Gibbs Road

This is one of my favorite places in the city. This humble farm is the epicenter of education, permaculture, and diversity in the middle of Wyandotte County, my Home Sweet Home. I've been working with this organization for years, and it's always a pleasure. Some of my absolute favorite programs to participate in are CSA programs, and "Let's Grow, Wyandotte!" which is a gardening initiative in which participants get free plants to start a garden, all in an attempt to help reconnect citizens to their food, their land, and our connection with the earth. Are you ready to hear what all of this has to do with turnip greens? 

The items for this week's CSA box from KC Farm School at Gibbs Road consist of broccoli rabe, fresh herbs, and - you guessed it - turnip greens! These are incredibly high in calcium, iron, and - shockingly - folic acid! This is great because I currently need a good amount of that, but that's another blog post. Could I simply take these greens and braise them with chopped bacon, onions, jalapenos, and chicken stock? Absolutely. Could I chop them up and bake them in a big casserole of macaroni and cheese? Of course! But why would I do that when I know for a fact that so many more people have become that much more adventurous with cooking since the Quarantine last year? Don't you remember how everyone was baking homemade bread? Compared to that, homemade pasta is an absolute breeze! So let's get right to it.

Turnip Green Pasta

  • 10 oz all-purpose flour (or 2 cups)
  • 7.5 oz semolina (or an over-full cup)
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 5 oz turnip greens, washed and chopped(that's about 2 cups)
  • 1/3 c water
Combine the flour and semolina in the bowl of a standing mixer, or on a clean countertop. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and get ready for the liquid stuff. Combine the greens, water, eggs, and yolk in the pitcher of a blender and turn it on. Make sure you use the plunger that usually comes with the blender, or stop it a few times here and there to scrape down the sides. Begin at a low speed, and slowly increase speed. You're ultimately going to want to blend all of this until it's entirely liquid, which will end with your blender in the highest speed it can possibly go to, being on for at least 30 seconds during this stage. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that you want to make sure that this is as smooth a liquid as possible, and that it will take at least 2 minutes with the blender on for this to happen. When it's all done, it'll be bright green and ready for you to pour into the middle of your well. 

Fit your mixer with a dough hook and stir all of this together until it is just combined. If you are doing this by hand, simply take a fork and slowly mix it all together, from the inside out, until it's all just combined. Either way, cover your dough and let it rest for 10 minutes at room temperature. When that time has passed, turn on your mixer to low and let it knead for 20 minutes. Yes, you read that right - I want you to let this knead for a solid 20 minutes straight. Set a timer and come back when it's all done, wrap it and let it rest for another 20 minutes before continuing. Are you mixing it by hand? Don't fret! Here's what you do:

Flour your hands lightly, take the dough and fold it in half over itself. Do that again. Then, do it again. The kneading process for this is honesty best if you simply knead by folding it over and over and over and over again, and you'll do that for five minutes. Then, you'll wrap it and let it rest for five minutes. Then, you'll knead it by way of folding for another five minutes, then let it rest for another five. You're going to do this knead-rest-knead process about four times. Think of it as the day you can skip the gym. Once you've kneaded it four times, you can let it rest for the full 20 minutes and go give yourself a break.

After you, and your dough, have rested, the fun part is going to now begin. If you have a pasta maker, this is where you're going to run the dough through. If you're doing this by hand, you'll feel all the more satisfied by doing it...and I'll tell you how! First thing's first, however: set up your drying rack. The apparatus you choose to dry your pasta can be anything. For example, you can use a lovely beech wood rack you've acquired, or something as simple as few clean coat hangers to hang in your kitchen. No, really! When I was in culinary school, before I had a standing mixer, a pasta machine, or even a real rolling pin, I used an empty wine bottle to roll out my noodles and hung them to dry on coat hangers. As proof of this absolutely ridiculous story, I will now provide you a horribly over-exposed phone photo taken over ten years ago on my Samsung Galaxy at 10:45 at night. 

Hashtag Cursed Image.png

To put this dough into manageable sizes, I cut this into eight portions and floured each one generously before running it through the pasta maker. Generally, I'll fold over the sheets I'm rolling out two or three times to ensure a homogenous texture and roll them through again. I usually repeat this process a few times, just until I feel like I have a texture I'm really happy with. The dough should feel quite firm in your hands, yet still just slightly pliable. No matter what, don't be afraid to use flour. I MEAN that! Your sheets of pasta should be practically floating on a sheet of flour that separates each one. You don't want this dough to stick!

I've got eight sheets of pasta here, all separated with a ridiculous amount of flour between.

I rolled these to the 4 thickness setting on my pasta machine because that is my preference. You can roll it as thick or as thin as you would like it to be because ultimately you'll be the one eating it. I used the fettuccine attachment cutter to make these strips, but you can just as easily roll this to your desired thickness with a rolling pin and cut it with a knife to whatever shapes you desire. No matter what, you'll want it to dry out. 

I realize this makes quite a bit of pasta, so you'll definitely have enough for tonight and a few nights down the road, as this - once dried - stays good for up to 6 months in an airtight container. When cooking it the same day you made it, all you have to do is boil it for 90 seconds before tossing it in the sauce of your choice. While you're cleaning up, let's contemplate flavors!

Turnip greens are, as you can guess, the leafy greens of the turnip root, which is a member of the rose family. Turnips themselves have a very floral quality in taste, so the greens are naturally a hair bitter and astringent while being fragrant in their own right. It is easy for one to conclude that this means that the flavors will translate into the pasta noodle itself, and therefore should be paired appropriately. Bitter is counteracted by sweet and by sour. You can also counteract it with a little bit of fat. So what to do about your dinner tonight? Let's see...

I happen to have some sun-dried tomatoes from last summer, packed in oil. All I've got to do now is sear some chicken thighs in a hot pan, remove and set them aside, then add equal parts of fresh cherry tomatoes and sundried tomatoes in the fond of the pan and cook until the liquid comes out. 

Add in fresh onions, a little garlic, some fresh herbs of your choice, and the chicken back to the pan. Cover and let cook on low heat for 15 minutes while your pasta water reaches a boil. All that's left to do now is to cook your fresh pasta for a whole 90 seconds (or 6 minutes, if it's made it to the dried stage) and quickly toss in the pan sauce. Finish with a little bit of the tomato oil from the jar and you're all ready to eat. 

I hope you've enjoyed this recipe! Remember that my suggested serving of this pasta is only that, a suggestion. It is my true and sincere hope that you take this pasta dough from this green that would otherwise be either used as an afterthought or simply discarded and make something incredible out of it. Cooking nose-to-tail isn't just for animals, you know! If a part of a plant is edible, you owe it to yourself to try eating it. Waste not, want not...right?

Thank you so much for hanging with me for the time it took you to read this. Happy cooking and happy eating!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Spicy Garden Pesto Pasta

I love pasta. I am safely pro-pasta. In fact, if I were to run for President of the United States of America, I'd say "Hello, I am WannaBGourmande, I am pro-pasta, and I am running for president." I'd clearly get elected because there are literally zero qualifications at this point to run the arguably most-powerful country in the world. (I hope I get to look back on this post and laugh.)

I'm an avid gardener, and wannabe homesteader. I sometimes think about changing my name to Wanna B. Homesteader, but that doesn't quite have the fun ring to it as 'gourmande' does. Plus, if my initials ended with "H", I couldn't call myself "Notorious WBG." Ultimately, I don't feel truly right calling myself a homesteader if I'm still living on the grid, but I try every day to live a better, more wholesome life through my food, through the ways I consume products, and the ways I live. I've sort of decided to call myself a lifestyle blogger, without the excessive posts on pinterest and falling into the trope of 'rich girl pinterest'. You know, chia seed smoothies in mason jars with organically-grown kale from the co-op? I want to write about cooking and being a chef and eating well on a tight-ass budget, because that's the truth that I know and have lived. Anyway, on to the eating.

Easy Homemade Pasta

  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • Cool water, as needed

Making your own pasta is rewarding in both the culinary sense and the emotional sense. When making pasta, you can use the dough as a sort of worry stone. You'll have to knead the dough to be quite glutinous(no gluten-free pasta here; sorry, guys) and chewy, so you can use this moment to have your own version of tactile therapy. Go ahead; take the opportunity to imagine strangling your annoying coworker as you work the dough into the counter...because yes, Janet, I'm sure in your day you did just 'deal with it' even though the reality of anxiety and depression is that nobody ever got diagnosed properly, but sure, my generation totally invented mental illness.  But, seriously, there's no Netflix in prison, so just take your frustrations out on the dough and it'll be ready in no time.

You can combine this dough in the bowl of a standing mixer or do it the old-fashioned way, which is what I prefer. Simply pile your flour in the middle of your impeccably clean counter and make a well in the middle. Dump your eggs and oil in the center of the well, and use a fork to sort of break it up and beat it together. Using a dough scraper and your hands, fold the flour over and over each other to mix, then knead. Knead this for a solid five minutes, and remember that it's totally okay that you skipped arm day at the gym because of this.

Wrap your dough and let it rest for about ten minutes. If you have a pasta machine, take the time to set it up now. If you don't, you can easily just use a rolling pin to create long sheets of pasta and cut tagliatelle strips with a knife that you've rubbed with flour. Otherwise, once your resting time is up, roll and use your pasta machine as needed. Don't have these neat beechwood pasta racks? You can use plastic coat hangers(no seriously) or just pile them in 4 oz nests like these for easy portioning. If you don't intend to use them that evening, simply allow them to dry overnight, pop them in plastic bags (with a silica gel pack if you're feeling fancy), and then store them for up to 6 months in your pantry.

Green Garden Pesto
(rough estimates; use what you have!)
  • 2/3 fresh basil
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup nasturtium leaves
  • 8 sprigs parsley
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 9 small hot chile peppers, pan-roasted and seeded
  • 1/3 cup raw pistachio nuts, shelled
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
So here's the only bit of cooking that you have to do for this recipe: blister the peppers. I have so many tiny cayenetta peppers from my hanging basket planter, it's not even funny. You can wait until they turn red or use them green(which I like to do for this recipe), but be advised that they are spicy, so use with discretion if you're sensitive to that! I like lots of peppery bite, so I used plenty. This is easy: just take a saute pan, heat it up - without any fat in it, mind you - and blister the skin of the peppers. Just cook them until they're soft inside, and then remove the seeds by popping off the tops and just squeezing the insides out, like you might for a tube of toothpaste. 

This is the easiest pesto ever - just pop everything in a blender and blitz until smooth. You can add more mint, more basil, more parsley, whatever! I like lots of spinach in this because it gives such a nice sweetness and a bright green color to it. The nasturtium is used because I have lots of it, and it has a nice peppery bite to it. I've got more mint than I have basil, so I used that, as well, but not too much as to prevent it from overpowering anything. You can substitute the nasturtium for tarragon, chives, or olive oil instead of coconut/grapeseed. Use what you have; this recipe is meant to be easy!

For this recipe:
  1. Cook your pasta in boiling water. (90 seconds for fresh, 7 minutes for dried)
  2. Drain your pasta.
  3. Toss your pasta in a spoonful of pesto sauce and a dab of butter.
  4. Serve.
Thats. It. 

I served mine tonight with a center-cut pork chop, and some braised swiss chard with corn and leeks. It was a simple meal, and the only thing I really had to buy was the pork chops, which were from a BOGO(buy one, get one free) sale at the Hen House down the street. You don't even need the extra stuff; just a few shaves of parmesan or even a poached egg will do for a light dinner.  This, obviously, can be very easily made vegetarian, and even the most-discerning guests will appreciate something that you grew and made by hand!

A post shared by Kolika of Pistachio Bakehouse (@wannabgourmande) on

In reality, I spent about $5.49 for a nice meal for two people, considering everything else was already available in my home and garden. I know you won't be able to buy a house with that kind of savings, but you can certainly splurge on one more avocado toast at brunch when you're only spending roughly $2.25/per person, per meal, in your own home. The only real investment here made was time, which took - roughly - 40 minutes from start to finish. It might take the average home cook a hair longer, but it's still a simple meal that's economic, has a teeny-tiny carbon footprint in comparison to going out to a restaurant, and is very tasty. 

Oh, and you don't have to have a big garden to grow the herbs in this recipe; a sunny window box with mint, basil, nasturtium, etc., in it will do just fine. You can garden. I believe in you. You can empower yourself and homestead in a tiny apartment, in your own quiet way. Happy cooking and happy eating!