The Kale Bandwagon – Mushroom and Kale Pasta

So I am trying to get on the kale bandwagon. While I still can’t do raw kale, I am enjoying it more and more cooked in dishes. I saw a recipe for a mushroom and kale pasta that looked amazing and knew I had to try. Of course while in the store I did a quick scan of the recipe and grabbed the ingredients I thought I needed. I guess I was in too much of a hurry (story of my life) that I either missed half of the ingredients or I thought I had them at home, only to realize in the middle of cooking that I did not. So this is what I call my pantry pasta. (I promise there is more kale in the pasta then the picture shows haha)

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I am still learning how to not freak out when not following a recipe and this really put me to the test. I had no idea how it was going to turn out, but thought “worst case its a learning experience and we order take out when its all said and done!” To my surprise it actually turned out to be pretty good. Not my best dinner and definitely would make improvements to it next time but a solid first attempt! The original recipe called for dried mushrooms and mushroom cooking liquid which of course I did not have.  Instead, I used portobello and just substituted the pasta water for the cooking liquid (next time I would prolly skip this step, maybe add a little chicken broth).  Also while tasting before serving, I determined it needed a little something else to bring the dish together so I added goat cheese and that did the trick! Next time I would also let the sauce sit for a little longer to get thicker but we were too impatient and hungry to wait 🙂 .

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Mushroom and Kale Pasta:

Ingredients: 

  1. 8 ounces whole-wheat pasta, boiled and drained according to pasta directions
  2. 1 cup reserved pasta water
  3. 10 oz portobella mushrooms sliced
  4. 1 tablespoon butter
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 1 medium onion chopped
  7. 1 cup white wine
  8. 2 cups kale chopped
  9. 3/4 heavy cream
  10. 2 oz goat cheese
  11. Salt and pepper to taste
  12. Red pepper flakes to taste

Directions: 

1. In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook till the onions are translucent.

2. Pour in the white wine, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil. Cook the wine until it almost boils off. Add the 1 cup of reserved pasta water and cook until reduced by half.

3. Turn the heat back to medium and add the heavy cream, goat cheese, kale, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the pan. Cook until the sauce thickens. Fold in the noodles and serve!

Pork Banh Mi

Anyone that knows me knows that my favorite food is Chinese, but what people may not know is that I have a lot of  second favorites. One of those would be Vietnamese food. I have many favorite restaurants in Charleston (I mean how could you not, there are so many good places to eat), but one of those many is CO, a local Vietnamese restaurant. Some good friends of ours introduced us to this place and ever since I seriously cannot get enough! Me and the husband visited not to long ago and he got the banh mi sandwich. It did not disappoint, as usual. So good in fact I wanted to recreate this dish at home.

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After some major foodqawker stalking (which if you have not been to foodqawker.com and you enjoy cooking, stop what you are doing and go right now), I came across a recipe that I thought would capture the essence of the banh mi I was looking for. Not only was this a quick meal to put together, it was delicious!! The saltiness from the pickled carrots and cucumber, combined with the spiciness of the mayo, and the freshness of the cilantro, was a mouth watering combination. This was my first time pickling vegetables. The recipe I went off of said you could wait up to 5 days or they used theirs after an hour in the jar. Mine were pickling for 4 hours and I thought it was perfect!

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Now I can get my cravings at home anytime I want! However, I will say it will not stop me from visiting CO, now I can just order different things on the menu! 🙂

Pork Banh Mi Sandwich

Adapted from Use Real Butter

Ingredients: 

1. 4 thinly sliced pork chops

2. 4 tablespoons soy sauce

3. 2 tablespoons fish sauce

4. 2 teaspoons brown sugar

5. 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste

6. 3 cloves garlic, smashed

7. 1 large shallot sliced

8. 1 tablespoon olive oil

9. 1 whole wheat baguette

10. Spicy mayo (I just mixed Sriracha and mayo together)

11. Fresh cilantro (this is key, dont skip this ingredient!)

12. 1 medium cucumber, julienned

13. 1 carrot, peeled and julienned

14. 1/2 cup rice vinegar

15. 1/2 cup sugar

16. 1/2 water

17. Salt

Directions: 

To make pickled vegetables

1. Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water in a jar and shake until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cucumber and carrots and store them sealed until ready to use

Pork banh mi

1. Combine soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, chili paste, garlic, and shallots in a ziploc bag. Add the pork and marinate for 1-4 hours.

2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook on each side until done, about 3 mins per side.

3. To assemble: Slice the baguette into the size sandwich you want and then slice lengthwise. Toast the bread. Once toasted add the cooked pork, pickled vegetables, cilantro and spicy mayo. See how easy that is?!

Sauteed butternut squash salad

I don’t know if I am getting more adventurous in the kitchen or just coming into my own, but I have once again not followed a recipe AND with something I have never cooked before! Yes, I am ashamed to admit, I have never had butternut squash up until I made this dish and omg I have been missing out! This salad not only makes me want to eat more salads, but makes me crave them! I had read a couple recipes with pan sauteed butternut squash and the pictures looked so pretty that I thought, why not give it a try?!

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Ok first off, does anyone have any tricks/tips on cutting butternut squash?? That was an interesting task and pretty sure I wasted a lot of butternut squash, but once completed the rest of the dish was put together in no time!! The caramelization on the butternut squash gave the salad a nice sweetness which was paired nicely with the tartness of the goat cheese.  It was a very comforting and satisfying weeknight meal!  This was also a much needed healthy dinner after all the not so healthy things we consumed over the holidays 😉 .

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Sauteed butternut squash salad:

Ingredients: 

  1. 1 box of fresh Arugula
  2. 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
  3. 1 medium butternut squashed chopped
  4. 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. Goat cheese crumbles (as much as you prefer)
  7. Balsamic vinegar dressing*
  8. Pecans (as much as you prefer)

Directions: 

  1. Heat a the olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add the butternut squash and brown sugar. Saute until there is a nice brown color on the squash. Reduce heat and cover until the squash is cooked through, about 15-20 mins.
  2. Mix arugula, red onion, goat cheese, pecans and balsamic dressing in a bowl. Place cooked butternut squash on top and serve.

See how easy that was?!

*I always make my own balsamic vinaigrette dressing: mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, shallots, salt and pepper and shake in a salad dressing shaker! So easy and way cheaper then buying it at the store. (I actually never measure any of this just go by taste and adjust)

Seafood Risotto with a Beurre Blanc Sauce

For the past 7 years me and the husband have forgone Christmas gifts and decided to do a nice meal together instead. When we were dating it took the pressure off of figuring out what to get the other person, and now that we are married  it gives us the quality time we need during the chaos of the Christmas season. This year I made a seafood risotto with a beurre blanc sauce out of a cookbook I borrowed from my aunt. Now let me just say, I wasnt even really sure what a beurre blanc sauce was so dont think I am all fancy. It was actually surprisingly easy to follow the recipe 😉 .

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Oh my this was delicious! The original recipe called for lobster, but like I mentioned before I wanted to spend quality time with my husband and who really has time to boil lobster then shell it for just a tiny piece of meat. I went the easy route and used crab instead, which honestly I dont think I could taste the difference. It called for a truffle risotto but I opted to just use my go to Parmesan risotto recipe instead. Also I was really excited when my sauce did not break and kinda shocked at how easy it was to make, not to mention how delicious! Seriously if you need a meal to impress this is the one you should use! It came together fairly quick and the recipe was really easy to follow.

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Hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years like we did!

Seafood Risotto with a Beurre Blanc Sauce

Adopted from Alexander’s

Ingredients: 

  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 6 scallops
  3. 6 shrimp peeled and deveined
  4. 1 teaspoon minced shallots
  5. 1/4 cup white wine
  6. 3/4 crab meat
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  8. 1/2 parmesan cheese
  9. 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  10. beurre blanc sauce (recipe below)
  11. Parmesan risotto (recipe below)

Directions: 

  1. Prepare the beurre blanc sauce and keep warm
  2. Prepare the risotto just before serving
  3. In a sauce pan heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the scallops and brown on one side, turn the scallops over. Add the shrimp and cook until pink. Add the shallots, white wine, and crab meat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chopped chives. Remove from heat and keep warm with foil.

Beurre Blanc sauce

Ingredients: 

  1. 1/2 cup white wine
  2. 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  4. 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  5. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  6. 1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into cubes
  7. salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Over medium heat combine the wine, vinegar, lemon juice, and shallots. Bring to a boil. Reduce until the liquid becomes syrupy. Add the cream. Reduce by half
  2. Turn the heat to low and gradually add the butter while stirring with a wooden spoon. Do not boil the sauce or it will separate. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.

*The original recipe called for straining the sauce through a sieve, 1. I dont own a sieve and 2. I was just being lazy so I did not complete this step but honestly the way its served I dont think it made a difference!

Risotto

Ingredients:

  1. 3 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  2. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  6. 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc
  7. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  9. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer and keep warm over low heat.
  2. In a separate medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion qand garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until it is well coated with the butter and starts to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer gently until all the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Ladle 1/2 cup of the warm broth into the rice mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is absorbed. Repeat, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time, until the rice is cooked through but still firm, 20 to 25 minutes total.
  4. Add the remaining butter and the salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Stir to incorporate. Adjust seasoning with more salt to taste. Serve immediately, topping with additional Parmesan.

To serve assemble the risotto on a plate then add the sauce and top with the seafood mixture, you will not be disappointed!! 🙂