August 12, 2014

Garlicky Kale Pasta Salad

This is really the most delicious pasta salad I have ever had.  We ate it all week and I didn't even complain.  

The magic of this simple sounding recipe is in the garlic-infused olive oil.  It just flavors everything so perfectly.  The little creases in the bowtie pasta catch all the little bits of garlic/pepper/pine nuts/cheese and it is so so good. We ate this all week with various things on the side (salmon being a standout) but even just tossing in some tuna, smoked salmon, shredded chicken, or even garbanzo beans would be a great way to fill out this dish.  One night I added in some chopped fresh basil and it was a nice way to add some freshness. 

This is a great, fulfilling pasta dish full of greens and super comforting, perfect for a summer night and so easily adaptable, mostly made from pantry items! You could really use any other greens you have on hand instead of kale--spinach, Swiss Chard, or arugula would go great.  When I tasted the pasta after tossing it with the garlic/oil/salt/pepper mix before adding any of the other stuff it was pretty dang good just like that. So use your imagination!

Garlicky Kale Pasta Salad
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 pound Bowtie Pasta (Farfalle)
  • 3 Tablespoons Pine Nuts (chopped if you want)
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 6 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper, more to taste
  • 2 smallish bunches Kale, finely sliced (I had about 6 cups once it was sliced up)
  • 6.5 oz can of sliced Black Olives, or fancier olives if you prefer
  • 4 ounces weight Parmesan Cheese, shaved
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    Cook pasta according to package directions including a healthy dose of salt. Drain, rinse with cold water, and add to a large bowl. Set aside. 

    While the pasta cooks, add pine nuts to a small skillet over low heat. Toast slowly over the course of 8-10 minutes, tossing regularly. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

    In a large skillet, heat olive oil and garlic over low heat so that the garlic slowly infuses the oil. When the oil starts to cause the garlic to sizzle, stir around so the garlic doesn't get too brown. When garlic starts to turn golden, add salt and pepper, stir, and set aside for 5 minutes. 

    After 5 minutes, pour the oil mixture (scraping the salt, pepper, and garlic) all over the bowtie pasta. Toss to combine and set aside.

    Set the same skillet (without cleaning it) over medium-high heat. Add the kale and cook for 5 minutes, or until partly wilted. 

    Add kale, olives, pine nuts, and lemon juice to the pasta and toss it all together. Check to make sure it's no longer warm, then add Parmesan shavings and toss. Taste for seasonings and add more salt, pepper, and lemon if needed. 

    Chill for at least 1 hours before serving. 

August 6, 2014

Stuffed Eggplant with Pork

This is not exactly a summer meal but it turned out so good I decided to post it anyhow.  My mom and I have a standing Saturday date at the farmer's market and this time of year in the PacNW it's a bounty that is all for the taking.  Every single stand looks like a picture out of a cookbook.  I had a hard time restraining myself.  One of the things I did end up with in my basket was some beautiful small eggplants. I always feel good buying these because they are DP's favorite vegetable.  To which I had two people exclaim to me on that same day, "Who's favorite vegetable is eggplant?!?"  He's an odd bird that one.  Fortunately, I like eggplant too so I was on my way to something good for dinner.

In the summertime I feel you can't go wrong with veggies and protein so I thought a meat stuffed eggplant sounded great.  I ended up finding a recipe out of the beautiful cookbook Jerusalem.  This one was for lamb stuffed eggplant and I'm not such a huge lamb fan, unlike Michelle.  So I substituted ground pork in its place.  I made a few other small adjustments.  Next time I think this would be even lovelier with a nice yogurt sauce spooned on top.  Come fall I'll be giving it another go around. Here is the recipe as I made it.

Stuffed Eggplant with Pork
adapted from Jerusalem cookbook
  • 3 small eggplants, halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  •  1/2 ground pork or any other ground meat you prefer
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425.  Place the halved eggplants in a roasting pan with sides and brush with 2 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let roast for 20 minutes, until golden brown and then allow to cool slightly.

While the eggplants roast start making the filling.  Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Mix together the cumin, paprika and cinnamon and add half of this mixture to the pan, along with the onions.  Cover over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes. stirring often.  Add the ground meat, pine nuts, parsley, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of the sugar and salt and pepper.  Continue to cook and stir for another 8 minutes or until meat is cooked through.

Place the remaining spice mix in a bowl and add the water, lemon juice, tamarind paste, cinnamon sticks, a sprinkle of salt and the remaining sugar.  Stir well.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375.  Pour the spice mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Spoon the meat mixture into each eggplant, heaping.  Cover tightly with foil and return to the oven for 1 1/2 hours.  Twice during cooking baste the eggplants with the sauce and add more water if it starts to dry out.  The eggplants should be completely soft at the end.  Serve warm or even at room temperature.

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I totally failed at taking a final picture - whoops.