Facebook, not just for fake farms and stupid quizzes…
I went to grade school, junior high and then high school with someone who now works at NASA. I know, neat! We recently got back in touch via facebook and now I am contributing to a cookbook review he’s working on. Not just any cookbook, but The Astronaut’s Cookbook: Tales, Recipes, and More. I must admit that when he first asked me if I wanted to help review the book and cook a few of the recipes I was a little worried. My only previous experience with space food was the novelty packages of freeze dried Astronaut Ice Cream you could get at the Bay area Frys. (Edited to add: I kind of miss the San Jose Ancient Egypt-themed Frys).
But, it was okay as the cookbook was filled with pretty normal looking recipes. In fact, it seems that astronauts eat meals from the likes of Rachael Ray — Swedish Meatballs and Emeril — Kicked Up Bacon Cheese Mashed Potatoes. Hey! Astronauts are JUST LIKE US!
After perusing the book I decided on the Swedish Meatballs, Kidney Bean Burgers and special future brownies. Not all in the same meal.
Those . . . → Read More: Rachael Ray (and More) in Space: Part I
We have been trying to reinstate “Vegetarian Saturdays” since the new year began and because we ate a lot of food last year over the holidays. But then, I’ve also made Flank Steak Roll-Ups Pinwheels and Braised Short Ribs, so we’re not all that vegetarian-y lately. Anyway, this was a recent no-meat Saturday meal. I made it without the pancetta listed below and with vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Next time, I will use maybe half the pancetta called for and probably the chicken broth (just because it’s what I normally have on hand).
That said, this was a good pasta dish! And I love it whenever you can use the pasta water to help make the sauce. I did want a little more fennel, though, so I adapted the recipe below to use three fennel bulbs instead of the original two. I also caramelized the fennel first to give it even more flavor. I can’t imagine how good it would have been if I did that in the pancetta fat.
Anyway, use meat, don’t use meat, this is still a good, satisfying pasta meal. Below, I listed the recipe with the pancetta and chicken broth but just omit/sub . . . → Read More: Spicy Spaghetti with Fennel and Herbs
This is a very quick, seasonal meal and I get to proclaim that orecchiette is my favorite pasta type ever. Some say ‘little ears’ but I think they look like little UFOs! We used a combination of two tomatoes from the garden and one heirloom local tomato procured elsewhere. I like using orecchiette here, as it is about the same size and shape as all the chopped vegetables.
The sauce is super quick, just tomatoes, veggies, olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. You can marinate your own mozzarella balls or just buy the already-marinated ones. They will melt into the sauce and you will like it.
Summer Pasta with Veggies and Marinated Mozzarella
12 oz Orecchiette Pasta
2 tbsp + more olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow, orange or red bell peppers
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3-4 tomatoes (heirloom or garden fresh are great!)
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp basil, chopped
10 small marinated, fresh mozzarella balls (Boccini), halved
salt & pepper to taste
Start your pasta water (get it boiling). Cut the bell peppers in half and remove the cores and seeds. Push down flat on a foil covered baking sheet and stick under the broiler to roast. Let the skins get . . . → Read More: Summer Pasta with Veggies and Marinated Mozzarella
I love asparagus season. And speaking of, this is a great recipe for the end of April/beginning of May. The goat cheese makes an amazingly tasty sauce, no cream needed. Instead of fresh, chopped tomato, you can also use sundried tomatoes, just rinse them first if they are packed in oil or rehydrate if they are dried.
Linguine Primavera with Goat Cheese and Mint
Recipe adapted from Whole Foods Market
2 tbsp olive oil
1 orange, yellow or red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces thin asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces whole wheat or spinach linguine
3/4 cup fresh or frozen shelled peas
4-5 ounces herb-and-garlic flavored goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves, divided
Heat oil in a large skillet and saute onion and bell pepper until soft. Add garlic and asparagus and cook about 5 more minutes. Turn off heat.
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While water is heating, place peas in a colander in the sink. Cook pasta to desired tenderness; before draining, reserve one cup of cooking water, set aside.
Pour remaining cooking water and pasta over . . . → Read More: Linguine Primavera with Goat Cheese and Mint
Went back to Uwajimaya again and got more wonderful things — like tons of Thai basil and coconut milk (2 cans for $1.50!), assorted frozen dumplings and some white miso paste. Soon we will steam all the dumplings in one sitting and have Janet Reno’s Dance Dumpling Dumpling Dance Party. But for now, there are Spicy Sesame Noodles with tons o’ Thai Basil.
Oh! Also I am entering this contest and I have (I think) perfected my recipe. jwa thinks I should make another test batch though…I think he just wants more chocolate!
Spicy Sesame Noodles with Thai Basil
Adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine
1 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp Asian sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
11/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp hot chili oil
1 tsp salt
12 oz dried noodles (any Asian noodle is fine or even a linguine or spaghetti-type noodle will work)
8 green onions (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, sliced into small strips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh Thai basil leaves
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Heat peanut oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. . . . → Read More: Spicy Sesame Noodles with Thai Basil