I have a confession to make. I’m a recovering beet-hater.
It’s true. Until 2010, I was convinced that beets tasted like dirt. Then I spent a semester in Denmark and ate my weight in pickled beets (and dried fruit & nuts; but that’s another story for another time).
When I returned to the states I was hooked. Pickled beets — or at least good pickled beets — aren’t as readily available here, so I started roasting ’em. And I fell in love.
Roasting beets takes forever. And your hands get all stained, but the time and effort is totally worth it for a truly delicious melt-in-your-mouth roasted beet. But what I love about this recipe is that there is no roasting required for delicious, earthy beet taste and none of the au de dirt!
I think I’ve talked before about my roommate’s dad and what an AMAZING cook he is and the ADORABLE cookbook he made for her when she graduated from college. This recipe is one of his. I adapted it ever so slightly to make it vegetarian. And all I can say is YUM. Thanks for the gift of beet pasta, Mr. B! I can certainly see this becoming a winter staple in Apartment 20.
- 5 medium-sized beets
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 lb pasta (I used gluten-free penne)
Peel beets and cut into 1 inch pieces. Combine beets, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until the beets are chopped very fine. Transfer the beet mixture to a skillet, and sautee over medium heat for 5 minutes. Reduce heat, add wine and broth, and simmer for 35-40 minutes.
Meanwhile cook pasta until al dente. Drain and combine with the cooked beet mixture. Stir in parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
These are the pancakes I wanted to make you last year on Mountain Day. But it took me by surprise! This year, though, this year I’m a bit psychic. I came THIS CLOSE to posting this recipe yesterday, but a little voice inside of my said, “No. Wait.”
And low and behold, today is Mountain Day!
For those of you not in the know, Mountain Day is a magical wonderful surprise that comes once a year to students at Smith College (and select other New England colleges). The president surprises us at 7am on a random fall day by ringing the college bells and cancelling ALL CLASSES.
Yeah. It’s amazing. Smithies celebrate by sleeping in and going apple picking with their friends. Then they spend the afternoon baking apple pies and cooking apple sauce. They gorge themselves on apples until they feel slightly ill (or was that just me?)
Sadly, there is not mountain day in the real world. This morning, I’m headed off to work. Though I will probably eat farmer’s market apples for lunch and whip up a batch of these tasty cornmeal apple pancakes for dinner.
Happy Mountain Day, Smithies! And happy apple-cornmeal pancake day to the rest of you!
- 1 1/2 cups (gluten-free) flour
- 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons canola oil or melted butter
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups+ diced apple (I used honey crisp)
In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a small bowl, combine wet ingredients and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix well to break up any lumps of flour.
Pour batter by quarter cups into a hot, oiled skillet or griddle. Top each pancake with apples, and flip when bubbles form in the batter. Remove from the skillet, top with butter and copious amounts of maple syrup. Serve immediately. Indulge.
Sometimes I think food is too beautiful to eat. I felt that way a lot in Paris. Particularly in chocolate shops and bakeries.
Sometimes food is art. And I just feel weird about eating art. You know?
But then I do it anyway. Food is art. Delicious, delicious, art.
I really worried that I’d have a food/art quandary when it came to this ratatouille.
But then I put it in the oven for the better part of a Sunday evening and it smelled so good that I dug in immediately and burned the roof of my mouth.
It was worth it. Don’t worry.
Single Skillet Ratatouille
recipe slightly adapted from Eat This Poem
Red Pepper Sauce
- 1/2 yellow pepper, diced
- 1/2 orange pepper, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1 14.5-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
- Salt and peper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large or 2 small Italian eggplants
- 1 large zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 large yellow squash, sliced into thin rounds
- 4 to 5 roma tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Line a baking sheet with foil, and preheat the oven to 450 F. Place peppers cut-side down on the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool. Pinch skins to remove, and chop.
Reduce the oven temperature to 275 F.
Add olive oil to a large (10 inch) cast iron skillet and warm over low heat. Saute onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Add undrained tomatoes, chopped pepper, thyme, and bay leaf to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper, then simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Then puree in a blender until completely smooth. Pour into the skillet, but reserve 1/4 cup of sauce.
Beginning on the outside edge, arrange eggplant, zucchini, and Roma tomatoes neatly in the skillet, let them overlap so that 1/4 inch of each slice remains exposed. When the skillet is full, drizzle the entire dish with olive oil and sprinkle with additional thyme.
Cover pan with foil and bake for 2 hours. Uncover and cook for 30 additional minutes.
Whisk 1 tablespoon of oil with balsamic vinegar and reserved sauce to form a vinaigrette. Drizzle overtop of ratatouille before serving.
Let’s talk about salad. Not lettuce-y salad. Because, come on. Who has the time or refrigerator space to store a bunch of rinsed, lettuce? I’m talking about salads that aren’t strictly salad-y. Fake salads. Faux salads. Falads? No. No, let’s not go there.
My favorite kind of salad is the kind that I can eat now or later. The kind of salad I can make a big batch of when I’m feeling feisty and then not have to eat it all at once. The kind of salad that gets better after a night or two in the fridge (leftovers are a girl’s best friend. Never let anyone tell you otherwise).
I’m talking about lemony grain salad with crisp veggies.
Salads are not made of lettuce alone, friends. That’s a life lesson from me to you.
Friends, it is hot out. It’s so hot that I haven’t worn pants in days and proper shoes (as opposed to sandals) feel like torture. There are three AC units in my tiny apartment, but even they are not meeting our cooling needs. If I could camp out in the freezer I totally would.
Turning on the oven? Yeah. That’s not happening anytime soon. Our gas stove and I are in a fight and won’t kiss and make up until this heatwave breaks. So, what’s a hungry gal to do for dinner?
Black bean & corn salad, friends. Say it with me! It’s sweet and tangy, filling, and suitable for eating on it’s own or spooned over salad. You could aslo serve it with rice BUT PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD USE A RICE COOKER SO THAT YOU DON’T HEAT UP YOUR APARTMENT.
Sorry, this weather is making me a little crazy. I’ll just be over here eating salad in front of the open freezer. Don’t mind me.
Black Bean & Corn Salad
makes 2-4 servings
- 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz can yellow corn, rinsed and drained
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 small red onion. thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon white rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons mustard powder
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mustard poder. Add beans, corn, onion and bell pepper. Mix to combine. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, allowing flavors to fully combine. Serve cold.
Do you follow @RealCarrotFacts on Twitter? It is, perhaps, one of the oddest and amusing joke accounts out here. Here are a few gems:
“Sometime if someone talks to you but you dont want to talk to him you can close your eyes and pretend to be a carrot”
“Life is a carrot then you die”
Quality, quality stuff.
I think the folks behind @RealCarrotFacts would dig this recipe. It’s carrot-based. And also quite delicious.
I love a good salad recipe in the summer, or any time of year, really. But a super simple salad that’s easily adaptable? Yeah, that’s the stuff of summer dreams.
I tempered cumin and paprika in hot oil and stirred in a dash of garlic and, later, parsley. But you could easily take it in a sweeter direction with cinnamon and raisins. Or stir in a creamy mixture or lemon and tahini. Delicious.
(Adapted from multiple sources)
Makes 4-6 servings
- 2 lbs carrots, peeled into ribbons
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add minced garlic, cumin, and paprika. Stir and add the carrot ribbons. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the ribbons are soft. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and parsley.
Serve warm or chilled.
Basil is…not my favorite herb. To me, there is nothing worse than taking a bite of what I thought was a benign spinach salad, only to chomp down on an unexpected basil leaf. I can take or leave a basil-infused herbal cocktail, but a dessert is not a dessert if it contains even the subtle suggestion of herbs (I’m looking at you, artisan ice cream makers).
Maybe my palate is underdeveloped or unsophisticated, but I firmly believe there is a time and a place for basil: pasta, pizza, and, of course, pesto.
But even pesto can go basil-free if it wants. Okay, if I want). Spinach and kale are common substitutes, but Roommate H told me that her dad sometimes uses blanched asparagus. What?! Vegetable enthusiast that I am, I knew I had to try it.
I was not disappointed (to say the least).
This pesto tastes green. Green like springtime, picnics, farmer’s markets, and the promise of summer. I couldn’t resist folding it into a seasonally inspired pasta salad: sweet peas, tangy sun-dried tomatoes, and tart lemon.
I hope spring has sprung in your corner of the world. It’s finally here in New York (I think).
Here’s hoping I didn’t just jinx it.
Asparagus Pesto Pasta Salad
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side
For the pesto:
- 1 pound asparagus, cut into two-inch pieces (ends trimmed)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons raw pine nuts
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
For the pasta salad:
- 8 oz pasta (I used gluten-free fusilli)
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Strain, set in a large bowl or pot, and allow to cool completely.
Blanch asparagus in boiling water for one minute, drain, and set aside. Combine asparagus, garlic, pine nuts, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Drizzle olive oil into the processor with the motor running. Blend until smooth.
Add peas and sun-dried tomatoes to the pasta. Spoon pesto over top and mix to combine. Drizzle with lemon juice and either chill or serve at room temperature.