Monday, August 6, 2012

Playing in the Kitchen

This weekend has been extremely relaxed at our house, and what a blessing that has been. I have had some time to engage in pursuits that I find enjoyable, including cooking. Saturday morning we took off as we usually do if we are in town to the Dane County Farmers Market, and picked up some fresh vegetables. As soon as we were home from the market, I started making a batch of pesto. I was so excited about it, that I went looking for a recipe to use it in, and in searching through my Moosewood Cookbook I came across a recipe for "Trenette al Pesto". It was out of the norm for the type of dish I gravitate toward cooking, so I felt challenged to make it. Here's what it looked like:

Trenette al Pesto
 I actually used the recipe as more of a guide. I included all of the ingredients listed, but changed the quantities to suit my preferences. I also cooked the potatoes and green beans a bit longer than the recipe stated. If you want to try it, here's my recipe:

Trenette al Pesto

1 1/2 lbs potatoes ( I used small new potatoes that I cut in half)
1/2 lb fresh green beans
1/2 lb spaghetti noodles, broken into short segments
1/2 C pesto (use your favorite recipe)

Boil the potatoes in enough water to cover. Add 1/4 t. salt to the water.  After 10 minutes, add the green beans.  Ten minutes later, add the pasta. Cook for 10 more minutes (for a total of 30 minutes). Remove the potatoes, green beans, and pasta from the cooking water. Reserve the cooking water. Add about one cup of the cooking water to the pesto. Add the pesto/cooking water combination to the potatoes, green beans, and pasta and stir to coat. The combination of pesto and cooking water is supposed to thoroughly moisten the potatoes, green beans, and pasta, but not make it soupy. If needed, add more of the cooking water to achieve desired result. The combination of potatoes and pasta was unusual to me, but the end result was delicious! The recipe said it made six servings, but it qualified as pig-out food at my house!

One thing I enjoy about Sunday mornings in August is that we don't have Sunday School at our church. While I love Sunday School, and especially teaching my class of 3rd through 6th graders, it is also nice to have one month of more leisurely Sunday mornings. This particular Sunday I took advantage of the opportunity to experiment with an idea I had for a frittata. Here is the end result, along with the recipe if you would like to try it.

Summer Vegetable Frittata

Summer Vegetable Frittata

2 T Olive Oil
1/4 C chopped onion
1/2 large tomato, diced
8 zucchini rounds from a medium-sized zucchini
Salt, pepper, dried basil, and granulated garlic to taste
7 eggs
3 drops worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/2 C grated chedder cheese

Preheat oven to 400°. Using a 10 1/2 inch cast iron frying pan or any non-stick frying pan that can go from the stove top to the oven, begin sauteing onion. Add diced tomatoes and seasonings. Add zucchini rounds, evenly spacing them over tomato and onions. Season lightly a second time, but do NOT stir. Cover and simmer while whisking the eggs, water, salt and pepper and worcestershire sauce. When zucchini begins to turn translucent, pour egg mixture over vegetables. Tilt pan slightly to distribute eggs but - and this is VERY important - DO NOT STIR! Cover and cook for about 2 minutes to set the eggs on the bottom. Remove cover, top with grated cheese, and move pan to preheated oven. Bake for 5 - 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and eggs are no longer glossy. Cut into pie-shaped wedges and serve. Entire cooking time is about 30 minutes. Serves 6. Enjoy!