Roasted Butternut Squash and Udon Noodles

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Alphabakes has reached the end of the alphabet. This makes me sad. This has been a fun activity to participate in. *Hint Hint* People should suggest other round-ups like Alphabakes to me! I participate frequently in We Should Cocoa, Random Recipes, and some others as well. What other ones should I do?

I obviously have not been updating frequently. I’ve been cooking, but nothing exciting. Work has been overwhelming me. And on top of work (which really just means my volunteer attorney position that involves a $0 paycheck,) I’ve been applying for jobs and trying to find an office that will actually pay me. I’ve been feeling bitter and have been having a hard time emotionally with this, which is making my updating pretty abysmal. But I did decide to participate in the last Alphabakes – this month’s letter is U.

This was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. The squash, the garlic, the noodles – this was such a good dish. The longest part of the whole thing is waiting for the squash to roast. Once roasted though, it comes together easily.

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Udon Noodles
(inspiration)

Ingredients
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
9 oz udon noodles
3 cloves garlic
1-inch piece ginger, peeled
1/4 cup parsley
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
1 tsp sesame seeds

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the squash and olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, until tender.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the udon noodles and cook to the package specifications. Drain and set aside.

3. In a food process, add the garlic and ginger. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the parsley and pulse until the parsley is finely chopped. Add the soy sauce, lime juice, honey, and sesame seeds. Pulse some more.

4. Toss the squash, udon, and sauce together.

* serves 2
* besides Alphabakes, this recipe is being shared with Weekend Cooking

Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce

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This month’s Pasta Please theme is GARLIC hosted over at The Spicy Pear. I love garlic. When a recipe calls for garlic, I most always double the amount of it I actually use in my dish because I love it. It helps that Matt loves it too, because that would make me sad.

To make a garlic pasta dish? YES PLEASE! I feel like garlic gives any dish (or okay, most dishes) a nice element. Please don’t put it in my chocolate cake though.

Anyway – I’ve been busy lately and haven’t been cooking too much due to interviews and work. This dish was easy to make after a Friday at work and tasted delicious. The sun-dried tomatoes definitely helped with that too.

pasta please

Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce
(source)

Ingredients
12 oz noodles in any shape you want
6 slices bacon
1 lb chicken breasts, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp garlic powder

Directions

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta. Once al dente, drain and set aside.

2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet. Once crispy remove to a plate covered in paper towels. Add the chicken to the bacon grease and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink. Saute artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes with the chicken for 4 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add garlic and then saute for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour on top and cook for 1 minute, whisking until smooth.  Slowly poor in the milk and chicken broth, whisking to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir, cooking for 10 minutes, allowing the sauce to become bubbly and thick. Add the garlic powder and stir.

4. Cut the bacon into small pieces. Combine the pasta, bacon, chicken mixture, and sauce. Toss to combine.

* serves 6
* besides Pasta Please, this recipe is being shared with  Weekend Cooking

Spicy Fish Stew

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Before I start talking about food, I have a huge announcement to make. On Friday I found out I passed the California bar exam. :D :D :D

My life has been pretty excellent this last year. It’s been stressful, no doubt, but I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Anyway, this year I also started the Pantry Party. Pantry Party is a monthly round-up, where dishes are made from the ingredients in our pantries. Every month I give a theme. This month’s theme has been perfect for this crazy month (or really, this crazy year) I’ve been having. The theme? A recipe that can be made in 30 minutes or less!

The month is almost over – I hope more people join.

This was an easy dish. It was flavorful. And for a cold evening, it was great! PS – it was the first dish I made as a lawyer. This dish took me about 20 minutes to prepare.

pantry

Spicy Fish Stew

Ingredients
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb swai, cut into pieces
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp a spice mix from Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack (I got this from a past Foodie Pen Pals)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can garbanzo beans

Directions

1. In a deep pot, heat the olive oil. Add the spice mix and the oregano and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onions, garbanzo beans, and garlic. Cover and cook over low-medium heat for 10 minutes.

2. Add 1/2 cup of water. Arrange the swai between the vegetables. Cover and cook for 7 minutes.

* serves 2
* this dish is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Spaghetti Bolognese

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This month’s Food ‘n Flix film was hosted over at This Mama Cooks! We watched a movie called Toast. Toast is the story of Nigel Slater. The movie shows us Nigel’s version of his life, based on his memoir.

The movie depicts Nigel and his family. It shows his venture into the land of culinary arts. Having grown up with a mother who only cooked from cans, Nigel always wanted something more than . . . toast. At one point Nigel has a conversation with his mother:

Nigel: Can I have Spaghetti Bolognese?
Nigel’s Mom: I don’t know how to cook such a thing.
Nigel: I’ll show you.

Nigel made a beautiful bolognese. And his mom didn’t eat it. She ate toast. She was so intimidated by that big plate of noodles with meat sauce that she just couldn’t do it and resorted to the one thing she was sure of. Young Nigel tried so hard to get his mom to love food and love to cook, but unfortunately that was a joy she never shared.

The story continues to explain more of the culinary creations that Nigel creates and explains how he became the chef and the man he is today.

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For this meal I loosely followed Nigel’s own bolognese recipe. I made adjustments, as always, to suit my pantry, refrigerator, and life on whole. I mean, I really didn’t have 2 hours to let the sauce simmer for after having worked all day long. Now – don’t get me wrong . . . I know pasta sauce is lovely when cooked for hours and gets this dynamic that is hard to replicate on a quick cook, but I just didn’t have the time. I turned the heat up and cooked the sauce way quicker than Nigel would have approved of.

But I was left with a delicious pasta sauce that was easy to make. With some garlic bread, delicious!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 pieces bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
7 oz ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Stir in the bacon and ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and mushrooms, stirring well. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, allowing the vegetables to get tender.

2. Pour in the milk. Then pour in the tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for about a half hour, or until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

3. Cook the pasta per the package directions while the sauce is cooking. Drain. Toss with the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, I’m sharing this dish with Cast Party Wednesday

 

Faux Tom Yum Soup

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This month at Cooking Around the World we’re heading to Thailand. My google-fu suggested I make Tom Yum Soup. I agreed.

Now . . . I live in a very Asian area. I very easily could have gotten all the ingredients I needed to make this authentic. But I just don’t have money to be spending on ingredients I don’t use frequently. So I subbed and I skipped and I made a soup with too many noodles (oops!) But you know, it doesn’t matter. It still tasted delicious.

If you want the authentic recipe go to the source. If you want mine . . . well, it’s below.

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Faux Tom Yum Soup
(source)

Ingredients
1 package soba noodles
2 1/2 cups water
1 stalk lemongrass
1 tomato, chopped
12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
3 tbsp lime juice

Directions

1. Cook the noodles to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a pot bring the water to a boil. Add the lemongrass, tomato, shrimp, mushrooms, and chili garlic sauce. Boil until the shrimp is cooked all the way through. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Stir together.

3. Pour the broth over the noodles. Toss the noodles into the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Cooking Around The World, this is shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

 

Portuguese Style Rice + White Wine and Paprika Chicken

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I announced it already, but to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the rubble, Pantry Party still exists but July and August themes will be combined. What I mean to say in more concise language is that I’m extending the RICE Pantry Party round-up to occur end of August. You now have until August 28th to get your rice recipes in. The rice doesn’t need to be the star of the dish, but it does need to be used.

I’m sure I’ll make more rice before August 28th, because I eat rice a lot. I usually eat it just plain with curry on top of it, but for my theme entry I decided to make something different.

The flavors in the rice and the chicken melded together so well. I was very happy with how this dish turned out. I didn’t really do what I had intended with the rice – instead I took the lazy man route and dumped everything in the rice cooker. While I use the rice cooker frequently, I’ve never used it like this. I was skeptical and was convinced we’d be going to get hamburgers after the rice failed, but it actually came out perfect. I guess lazy works sometimes.

Portuguese Style Rice
(source)

Ingredients
3 slices bacon
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp crushed rosemary
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups basmati rice
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Directions

1. Cook the bacon until crispy. Set on paper towels to drain. In the bacon drippings stir the onion, garlic powder, rosemary, and pepper together. Cook until the onion is tender.

2. Pour everything (including the bacon and the cooked onions) into a rice cooker. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.

* serves 6

White Wine and Paprika Chicken
(source)

Ingredients
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tbsp apple juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup onion, diced

Directions

1. Combine the garlic, white wine, 1 tbsp olive oil, vinegar, apple juice, and salt together in a small dish. Pour over the chicken. Cover the chicken and marinate for at least a half hour.

2.  Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Remove the chicken from the marinade using a slotted spoon. Discard the remaining marinade. Place in the hot oil in a single layer.  Cook for 3 minutes, until browned on one side. Then stir fry for 3 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken from the pan.

3. Add the onion to the pan on medium-high. Cook for 2 minutes, until the onion begins to brown. Spoon the onions over the chicken.

* serves 2

* Besides Pantry Party, this recipe is being shared with Cast Party Wednesday

Mediterranean Burgers

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Nine days. This is the absolute worst countdown ever. But it’s coming closer and closer and before you know it I won’t know what to do with myself. I’ve been so intertwined studying I haven’t had time for much else. I have done some secret shopping and I’ve done a little cooking, but getting my cooked recipes up on here just hasn’t been happening. But 9 days. And then 3 days until it’s over.

All I’ve been able to think about all day is how I want to go camping, to go canoeing, to go on a picnic, to be outside. All I can keep telling myself is, soon enough.

Also, for an update on Pantry Party. Due to my unavailability this month, this month’s Pantry Party will be extended until the end of August.

Anyway, this recipe was made because of one of my favorite blog round ups: Random Recipes at Belleau’s Kitchen. This month Dom challenged us bloggers to pick the 30th cookbook on our shelves and turn to page 30. Luckily there was a recipe on page 30 in my book.

The 30th book on my shelf was The Mixer Bible, a book I got when I first got my KitchenAid stand mixer. I haven’t used this book nearly as much as I should. I like that it teaches techniques with the mixer. Page 30 had two recipes: Hummus and Roasted Garlic Hummus. I decided to go with the Roasted Garlic variety. It was good, but I think it actually needed more garlic. I spread it on the bun of this burger and YUM!

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Roasted Garlic Hummus

Ingredients
1 head garlic
1 tsp olive oil
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

1. Cut 1/2 inch off the top of the garlic head. Place it in a large square of foil and drizzle with the 1 tsp of olive oil. Enclose in foil and place in an oven preheated to 350 for 45 minutes. When the garlic is done and cool to touch squeeze the cloves into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Set aside.

2. Place the chickpeas in the mixer bowl. Attach the flat beater. Set to speed 2 and mix until the chickpeas begin to break up. Increase to speed 4 and add the garlic, the remaining olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, 1 tbsp of water, and salt. Mix for 2 minutes until slightly lumpy, but creamy, add 1 tbsp more of water if necessary.

* makes 3 cups

Mediterranean Burgers
(source)

Ingredients
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup mint, minced
1 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cumin
juice from 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
handful cherry tomatoes, sliced
handful arugula
6 hamburger buns, toasted
1/2 cup hummus

Directions

1. In a medium bowl combine the ground beef, spices, lemon juice, and egg. Mix together with your hands. Form the meat into 6 patties.

2. In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the patties and cook for 3-4 minutes per side.

3. Spread the bottom layer of each hamburger bun with hummus. Place a patty on top. Divide the cherry tomatoes and arugula between the burgers.

* serves 6
* Besides Random Recipes, this recipe is being shared with Kahakai Kitchen‘s Souper Sundays & Weekend Cooking

Tempura Sushi Salad

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This month the movie at Food ‘n Flix was very different than the one I hosted last month. Instead of a French dystopian movie, this month’s movie is a documentary about a Japanese sushi chef. Camilla is our host this month, having picked this documentary with its beautiful shots of sushi.

If anyone knows sushi, it’s Jiro. But frankly, this movie didn’t inspire me to make sushi – it terrified me. I’ve never done it before, so I knew any attempt from me would be laughable. I can just see it. It’s embarrassing even in my head. Maybe one day I’ll try sushi, but then not document my failure, because who wants everyone to see that? Being that Jiro is a huge perfectionist, I think he would have appreciated my refrain from trying to participate in his art.

In the film, Yamamoto tells us that there are five attributes of a great chef:

1. Take your work seriously
2. Aspire to improve
3. Maintain cleanliness
4. Be a better leader than a collaborator
5. Be passionate about your work

I am not a cook. I am an amateur that cooks for myself and my boyfriend. I enjoy food, but I am no cook. But I find these attributes so important to employ in all fields of work, to be a good lawyer I’ll need many of those traits as well. The only that might not quite apply is 4, because I think leaders also need to collaborate, but those five attributes can be applied to more than just cooks.

Be passionate.

Anyway, because I did not feel inspired to make sushi, I took it and ran with it a bit. I decided I’d use all the things I love in sushi and make a salad. Though I actually really love raw tuna in my sushi (along with other raw fish,) I’m not sure of where I could get fish fresh enough to eat raw and I didn’t want to chance severe sickness. I instead made tempura with shrimp and green beans. Considering my favorite sushi roll is the spider roll (with fried soft shell crab, yumm!) making tempura for my sushi salad seemed appropriate.

FoodnFlix

Join us at Food ‘n Flix, get inspired, be passionate.

Tempura Sushi Salad

Ingredients
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp salt, divided
8 shrimp, peeled and deveined
a handful of green beans with the ends snapped off
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup ice water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup shortening, divided
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cooked rice
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 sheet nori, cut into strips
1 avocado, diced

Directions

1. Marinate the shrimp in the white wine and 1/4 tsp of salt for 20 minutes.

2. Mix together flour, ice water, cornstarch, egg yolk, sugar, 1 tsp of the shortening, baking powder, and 1/4 tsp of salt. Once well mixed, coat the shrimp and the green beans with the batter.

3. Heat the shortening in a cast iron skillet or a wok. Once hot add the shrimp and the green beans, in batches, a few at a time. Cook the shrimp about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Flip and cook for about 3 more minutes on the other side. Continue until all the shrimp and green beans are fried. Let drain on a paper towel.

4. Put your salad together in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup of rice in each bowl. Surround with the cucumber and carrot pieces. Top with half of the tempura per bowl. Top with avocado and nori.

(serve with soy sauce if you want some!)

* serves 2
* besides Food ‘n Flix, this dish is shared with #FoodieFriday & Foodie Friday

Sriacha Mac and Cheese

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If you may or may not know, this month’s Pantry Party theme is cheese. The goal for this month is to open that pantry of yours, see what needs to be used in there, and make something cheesy! And I realize cheese doesn’t fit a vegan diet, so I’m also including dishes using vegan cheese.

When I started thinking cheese this month my brain automatically went to mac and cheese. Rather than trying to be horribly creative, I went the mac and cheese route. I decided to use something more than just pasta from my pantry and found a bottle of sriacha. After googling around I found the perfect recipe: Sriacha Mac and Cheese.

This is probably the easiest mac and cheese I’ve ever made. It doesn’t use a roux, like many do. Rather, you kind of just mix everything in there and let it bake. The flavor of the sriacha and the cheese was a great combination. Loved it.

This pantry party really used my pantry. I used:

Noodles
Sriacha
Breadcrumbs
Red chili flakes

I may make another recipe this month for the party . . . We’ll see! I do love my cheese.

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Sriacha Mac and Cheese

Ingredients
1/2 lb dry pasta
2 cup breadcrumbs
3 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
2 tbsp sriacha, divided
4 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

1. Boil a large pot of water. Cook the pasta to package directions until al dente. Set aside and let drain.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Melt 3 tbsp of the butter.

3. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, 1/2 the cheese, 1/2 the sriacha, and the melted butter. Add half of this mixture to the bottom of a baking dish.

4. With your cooked pasta, stir in the remaining cheese, sriacha, butter, and red chili flakes. The cheese will strt to melt around the pasta, stir until everything is well coated. Next pour in the beaten egg and the cream. Stir to combine. Pour into the baking dish over the breadcrumbs. Top the pasta with the remaining breadcrumbs. Spray the top with a cooking spray.

5. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

* serves 4
* Besides Pantry Party, this dish is shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Curried Lentil Squash Stew

IMG_9025This month I hosted Food ‘n Flix, showing the French  film Delicatessen. As I mentioned in my announcement postDelicatessen is a dark movie. The movie focuses mainly on Louison, an unemployed clown, who answers an ad in a newspaper for work. This ad however actually designed to lure unknown victims to the building, so that he can butcher them for meat.

Let me say, this isn’t a movie based in the world as we know it. Rather, Delicatessen is a post-apocalyptic film in a time where people use food as currency.

In the beginning of the movie, when Louison arrives at the butcher’s in a taxi, he pays the cab driver in lentils (and his shoes.) I love lentils, and such, I ran with that thread in making this dinner of lentils and squash. I wonder how much all of the components of this dish would be worth in Louison’s world.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you enter your post-apocalyptic or French or wherever you decide to take it dish before May 29th to be included in our round-up. Please no cannibalism! ;)

Curried Lentil Squash Stew
(source)

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger powder
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried lentils
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 summer squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 red potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
5 oz baby spinach

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and carrots, for about 8 minutes or until soft.

2. Add the garlic, ginger, curry, and salt. Cook, stirring until fragrant.

3. Stir in the lentils, broth, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

4. Add the squash and potatoes. Cover and simmer for an hour.

5. Remove the lid and stir in the spinach until wilted.

* serves 2
* besides Food ‘n Flix, this dish is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo