Friday, April 30, 2010

Pasta with Tomato and Blue Cheese Sauce

If you've never heard of Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, I encourage you to check her out! Many people enjoy her blog because she posts step-by-step pictures. Her cookbook is on my wishlist, and she usually posts at least one recipe a week that I drool over. This week, that recipe is her Pasta with Tomato-Blue Cheese Sauce. My biggest alteration was that I used crushed tomatoes in place of diced tomatoes to create more of a homogeneous creamy sauce.

  • 1 lb thin spaghetti
  • olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • sugar, salt, and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 to 4 oz. blue cheese
  • 1 giant handful, about 3-4 cups baby spinach
  1. Cook thin spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. Heat large frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil.
  3. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Season with a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Lower heat to low, then add up to 3/4 cup heavy cream. Stir well.
  6. Crumble blue cheese with fingers and sprinkle all around the pan. Stir well. Turn off heat.
  7. Right before serving, add a giant handful of baby spinach and stir into sauce.
  8. Pour sauce onto pasta and stir to mix. Spinach will wilt from the heat. Serve and enjoy!

The blue cheese in this dish is very fragrant but not overwhelming in flavor. As Dan the Man pointed out, the spinach is what holds much of the flavor, so it's important not to skimp on this ingredient. The dish was very rich but delicious!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Strawberry Crisp

After days of frozen pizza, ramen noodles, and boxed macaroni and cheese (which is something I may or may not have experienced recently), there comes a time when one needs to create something beautiful. Something from real ingredients. Something involving strawberries. So I tried out this recipe from Razzle Dazzle Recipes.

This strawberry crisp is incredibly easy, as the bottom crust and top crust are from the same mixture. 

P.S. I bought two pounds of strawberries but after, ahem, "testing" a few, might have ended up with only a pound and a half to actually bake with. Purchase at your own risk.

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup butter (equal to 1 stick), room temperature
  • 1/3 cup diced nuts (optional) (I used walnuts; almonds or pecans might be good too)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8x8 pan.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together strawberries and (regular) sugar.
  4. In a larger bowl, mix together oats, flour and brown sugar. Using a fork, cut butter into flour mixture until it is even throughout. 
  5. Add nuts if desired.
  6. Pour about half the flour mixture into 8x8 pan and press evenly to bottom. Add entire strawberry mixture, then spread rest of flour mixture on top and spread around.
  7. Bake for about 50 minutes, until mixture has turned golden brown on top.

I enjoyed the dessert best warmed. If it hadn't disappeared so quickly I would have also liked to try it as a breakfast with a little bit of milk poured over top. If you wanted to make a strawberry rhubarb crisp you could alter this recipe by using only 1 lb. of fresh strawberries and adding 2 stalks of rhubarb, sliced up, and keep the amount of sugar the same.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tahini Dressing

I tried this recipe for one simple reason: after making garlic hummus, I had a tub of tahini left over in my fridge and needed a recipe that used more than a tablespoon of the ingredient. My friend gave me an amazing vegetarian cookbook called Claire's Corner Copia and I found this recipe in it.

It's quick, simple, vegan, and full of protein (which you rarely get from a salad dressing).

  • 1 c. tahini (sesame butter)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped (I used curly parsley)
  • up to 1 c. water (see comments)

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Alternately, if using immersion blender instead, put ingredients in deep bowl (at least 3 inches deep) before blending.

I like that you can control the texture simply by altering the amount of water you put in. By using the whole cup of water, your dressing will be thin enough to pour over a salad. If you use a little less, it could easily be served as a thicker dip for vegetables.