Farfalle with Beets, Beet Greens, and Pine Nuts

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We may be in the middle of a heat wave, but I’ve been cooking like crazy. In a desperate attempt to keep up with my weekly CSA pick-up, I’ve been baking frittatas, roasting veggies, concocting soups, stir-frying, and making pasta. Lots and lots of pasta. Perhaps too much pasta, but Mr. Yummy Brooklyn has yet to complain.

This week I revisited a Bon Appetit recipe for Farfalle with Beets, Beet Greens, and Pine Nuts, a dish I made a couple of years ago after moving to Brooklyn and buying beets for the first time at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. The recipe exemplifies “root to shoot” cooking as both the earthy beet roots and their leafy green tops are used. It also encourages water conservation in the kitchen by using the same pot of water to boil the beets and the pasta.

Because of the latter, Bon Appetit’s warns that “you can use red beets if golden beets are unavailable, but your pasta will be pink.” As if that’s a bad thing. When I discovered we were getting red beets from Common Hands Farm, I couldn’t wait to make this bold pasta dish again.

Farfalle with Beets, Beet Greens, and Pine Nuts
Author: 
Serves: 4-6
 

Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, quartered lengthwise through root end, sliced crosswise (about 4 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bunches 2-inch-diameter beets with greens; beets peeled, each cut into 8 wedges, greens cut into 1-inch-wide strips
  • 12 ounces farfalle (I used whole wheat – try white for even pinker pasta!)
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese plus additional for serving

Instructions
  1. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and stir until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons oil and onions to same skillet and sauté until beginning to soften and turn golden, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to sauté until onions are tender and browned.
  3. Add garlic and stir 2 minutes. Scatter beet greens over onions. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons oil over; cover and cook until beet greens are tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook beets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beets to medium bowl. Return water to boil. Add pasta to beet cooking liquid and cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.
  5. Stir onion-greens mixture and beets into pasta. Add pasta cooking liquid by ¼ cupfuls to moisten. Season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Stir in ⅓ cup cheese.
  6. Serve sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and more cheese. Devour.

 

Rainbow Chard Frittata

Common Hands CSA

My first CSA experience is officially underway! Last Tuesday evening I headed to Brooklyn Boulders for the first pick-up of the season, excited to take home my farm fresh veggies from Common Hands Farm.  The first week brought an abundance of leafy green goodness, and so did not disappoint. In fact, I was smitten.

Common Hands CSA

That night I spent hours browsing the web for recipe ideas, storage tips, and the like. This was an important part of the process for me as I didn’t want to waste a single piece of produce. I’ve had greenmarket veggies go bad in the fridge before, and it’s a sad affair. So, I took to Google and handy blogs like Ecocentric (their Real Food Right Now series highlights seasonal ingredients and tells you what to do with them). I also went on a bit of a Pinterest frenzy, the evidence of which you can view here. The following day I woke up inspired and eager to get reacquainted with my kitchen.

Common Hands CSA

I was very excited about this gorgeous rainbow chard and so it starred in my first CSA meal. I decided on a Rainbow Chard Frittata inspired by a recipe from Jennifer Grayson of The Red, White, and Green. The chard was easy to work with: I cleaned it thoroughly, separated the stems, chopped them into a colorful pile, and tore the leaves into large pieces. The stems were then sauteed with onion, filling the apartment with a wonderful aroma. Next the leaves were added and quickly cooked down before the entire mixture was combined with eggs, milk, and cheese and poured into a greased pan. While that was baking, I prepared a side salad of  speckled trout lettuce (also from the CSA) with berries and a simple citrus vinaigrette.

Common Hands CSA

Mr. Yummy Brooklyn and I enjoyed the frittata so much we ate the leftovers the next morning for breakfast. It was delicious both times, with the earthy flavor of the chard taking center stage against a backdrop of eggs, milk, and hints of Pecorino Romano. Thanks to Common Hands CSA for inspiring a meal that gives new meaning to phrase “taste the rainbow” and proves that yummy brooklyn is something that can, and should, happen at home, too.

Common Hands CSA

Rainbow Chard Frittata
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • Butter or cooking spray
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 eggs
  • 1¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup pecorino, grated

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a pie plate or pan with a little butter or cooking spray.
  2. Thoroughly wash the chard, taking care to rinse off the dirt and grit that can become embedded in the folds of the leaves. Cut off stems and chop into small pieces. Tear each leaf into large pieces.
  3. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add sliced onion and chopped stems to the skillet and cook 4-7 minutes, or until stems are soft and onions are translucent. Add the chard leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes more, or until leaves are just wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. While veggies are cooking on the stove, crack the eggs into large bowl. Stir in the milk and grated pecorino.
  5. When chard is wilted, remove from veggies from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Quickly add chard mixture to the eggs and scrape into the prepared pie plate with rubber spatula.
  6. Cook frittata at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve room temperature or refrigerate and eat cold.

Are you participating in a CSA this summer? What’s cooking in your yummy Brooklyn kitchen? 

Yummy Brooklyn Cookies

yummy brooklyn cookiesyummy brooklyn cookies

I wanted my National Cookie Week contribution to be Brooklyn themed, so picked two of my very favorite made-in-Brooklyn treats to bake with.

I decided my cookies would feature the amazing chocolatey goodness that is Fine & Raw.  I fell in love with Fine & Raw after tasting their chocolate at Brooklyn Flea last fall. The sea salt chocolate bar won my heart back then, so I chose to use it in this cookie recipe.  In retrospect I suppose baking the chocolate into cookies at 375 degrees negated some of the “raw” benefits, but I can assure you it still tasted pretty fine!

My other secret Brooklyn based ingredient was Early Bird Granola.  This granola is the perfect blend of sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy.  I like to eat it by the handful.  For my cookies, I picked up a bag of the Jubilee Blend which contains cherry and pistachio.

Here’s the recipe I used, adapted from Granola Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gourmet 2005.  For me the recipe yielded 15 large, crisp cookies (think Tate’s Cookies). I was very happy with the end result, relieved that I could indeed call them Yummy Brooklyn Cookies.

yummy brooklyn cookies

Yummy Brooklyn Cookies

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • yummy brooklyn cookies1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup Early Bird Granola *
  • 1 Fine & Raw sea salt chocolate bar*, chopped

*Feel free to replace with your favorite local goodies!


yummy brooklyn cookies

  1. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat together butter, sugars, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then beat in egg until combined well. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in granola and chocolate.
  3. Drop mounds (about 2 level tablespoons per mound) of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 ungreased large baking sheets, then pat each mound into a 2 1/2-inch round.
  4. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until pale golden, about 13 minutes. Cool on sheets 1 minute, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
  5. EAT COOKIES AND BE HAPPY

I loved seeing the star ingredients peek out from the bottom of the cookie… :D  the rest of the photos here!

yummy brooklyn cookies



National Cookie Week

This post is part of National Cookie Week, brought to you by The Gay Gourmet & Schmackary’s! Take part in the National Cookie Week by visiting the facebook page or by searching #NationalCookieWeek on twitter. You’ll find lots of yummy cookie recipes posted all week long.

[Image by Gerard Conte.]

Cacio e Pepe

Mixing up the Cacio e pepe

When I was little, my mom would sometimes make me “Buttered Spaghetti,” which was exactly what is sounds like.  It was such a Plain Jane meal, probably only made when there was no food in the house, but I loved it.  The woman didn’t call me Noodle for nothing!

Now, 26 years old and still a pasta lover, I’m happy to report that there is a grown up version of the dish called Cacio e Pepe.  The fancy Italian name literally means cheese and pepper, which are the two additional ingredients.  Take my childhood favorite and mix in some Pecorino Romano and freshly ground black pepper, and there you have it.

Interestingly, it took enjoying Cacio e Pepe at two different restaurants and then some for me to make that connection.  The first time I had it was at  Franny’s, my favorite restaurant in Brooklyn.  Our waiter billed it as a grown up mac and cheese and I was delighted by how simple but delicious the dish was.  More recently, I ordered Cacio e Pepe at Eataly‘s pasta restaurant.  I marveled at the perfect al dente spaghetti and the subtle kick that came from the coarse black pepper.   But it wasn’t until I was faced with an empty fridge and pantry one night, that I thought to whip up the dish myself.  And as I mixed up the ingredients, the heavenly aroma of butter and pasta reminded me of my mom in the kitchen, preparing buttered spaghetti for an excited little girl.

Here is the recipe I used, adapted from Chow.com:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb dried spaghetti
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (freshly grated is ideal, but I made use of the of ground stuff I had in the fridge, from Bklyn Larder)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving some of the cooking water.
  2. Return pasta and cooking water to the pot and place over low heat. Add remaining ingredients and stir until cheese and butter have melted and formed a creamy sauce, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, and serve with additional cheese.

Butternut Squash Sauce

In late October I made a big batch of Butternut Squash Bisque, but otherwise I have been dreadfully neglecting this favorite fall ingredient of mine.  Last weekend I finally picked up another one at the Greenmarket and decided it would go in some pasta this week.  Usually, I roast the cubed squash and toss with pasta, garlic, and olive oil for a quick but delicious fall dinner.  But as is the often the case these days, I felt like trying something different.  A quick Google session led me to this recipe on MarthaStewart.com, for Butternut Squash Sauce:

I had most of the ingredients on hand:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage I used fresh rosemary here, and more of it!
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, peel on
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Pasta (such as cheese ravioli or any short pasta), for serving – I used whole wheat spaghetti.
  • Toppings, such as grated parmesan cheese, chopped toasted walnuts, finely chopped fresh sage

I followed the steps on MarthaStewart.com.  As with any butternut squash dish I’ve ever made, most of the time and effort went into peeling, scooping, and cutting the squash itself.  The rest was a breeze and well worth the end result –  a thick, creamy orange sauce full of butternut squash, garlic, and rosemary flavor.  It went well with the whole wheat spaghetti, topped with a sprinkling (or two) of romano cheese from Bklyn Larder.  I’d like to make this sauce again sometime and serve over fresh pasta, maybe trying it with sage as the original recipe calls for.

Now, I’ve also been neglecting another necessary November ingredient – the pumpkin.  So tomorrow I plan on making a pie with the “long pie pumpkin” I scored at the Greenmarket last weekend.  If all goes well, I will be bringing it to a sort of “Friendsgiving” dinner in Harlem.  Fingers crossed – I’ve only used the canned stuff before.

Butternut Squash on FoodistaButternut Squash

Layered Cappuccino

Some say that today, November 8th,  is National Cappuccino Day.  Since I am still getting acquainted with my new espresso maker, it seemed appropriate that I participate.  After making some messy lattes on Saturday, it was evident that I was a bit rusty when it came to espresso machines.  So why not pay homage to the cappuccino, one of my favorite espresso based drinks, while honing my Cuisinart skills?

With utter disregard for the time of night*, I pulled my espresso shots, steamed some milk, and set out to create a layered cappuccino.  This was a trick I learned during one of my summer jobs preparing desserts and coffee at a Long Island restaurant.  It makes for a nice presentation if you have clear coffee mugs or cappuccino glasses on hand.

The trick is simple.  Pour your steamed milk and foam into the glass and let it settle.  Then place a spoon in the glass and pour the espresso in very slowly down the backside of the spoon.  If you do it slowly, it’ll create a beautiful layer of espresso in between the milk and the foam.  If you do it too quickly, the espresso will mix in with the milk.  It’ll taste fine of course, but you won’t get as many oohs and ahhs.  And those are nice.

*It was nearing 11pm.  However, as pointed out in the recent Village Voice blog entitled 50 reasons to be pretty damn Euphoric You Live In New York City, “Drinking coffee four times a day, every day, isn’t the exception, it’s the rule.”