Tag Archives: whole wheat

Homemade Butternut Squash-filled Ravioli with Creamy Basil Sauce

30 Aug

Today felt like a Monday. It just had the miserable undertones of the start of a week. I blame this on my staunch efforts at being on class on time at 8am…and after sitting on a crowded, hot light rail, I walk to the classroom and see the “class canceled” sign. GRRRRRRR. Ah well.

I’m quite fortunate to have a loving spouse (N) who is so supportive of my strange fascination with photographing food and gladly assists me with my cooking when he can! While I was at work, perusing foodgawker and answering the occasional reference question, I remembered we had a butternut squash sitting on the counter. N cut it up and threw it in the oven to roast while on my way home. I’ve been wanting to try making ravioli since I got the pasta roller and finally, I succeeded!

For the pasta, I followed the recipe I used for homemade spinach pasta, except of course, I didn’t use spinach. And didn’t have WW pastry flour. Or semolina. Or vegetable stock. Here’s what I DID use:

Flat Noodles for Ravioli (or lasagna, perhaps?)

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup liquid (water or stock)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • (optional) 1 tsp of your favorite sweetener, i.e. honey, agave, maple syrup, etc
  • Garlic powder, onion powder
  • Dash of salt/pepper
Mix all dry ingredients together. Slowly work the liquids in until dough begins pulling away from sides of bowl (you may have to add more water–I added a few tbsps more). Dough should be firm, just barely tacky and not overly sticky or soft. Divide into even amounts (I just grabbed two globs at a time and made them feel even in my hands). Roll through a pasta roller, but do not roll too thin, otherwise the ravioli won’t be able to handle your filling and might fall apart. And that would be devastating! Set the sheets on a well-floured surface. Spoon your desired filling by the teaspoonful onto a sheet. I was able to spoon about 6 blobs onto each pasta sheet. Take the second pasta sheet and gently lay on top of the blob-filled pasta sheet. GENTLY press the top sheet down around the blobs and seal. I didn’t use any water, but I hear this is a good way to make a solid seal. I have a handy pasta cutting tool that made the fun crinkles around the edges of the ravioli, but it isn’t necessary. Use a sharp knife to cut the ravioli and if you’re feeling fancy, use fork tines to make pretty edges. Let the ravioli sit for a few minutes and bring a pot of salted water to boil. The pasta only needs a couple of minutes to cook, so make sure your sauce is ready!


Now, the filling. My filling was not a huge hit. I wasn’t a fan. I think my butternut squash was a bit old and just tasted…funky. Everything else in this dish was great…except for the filling. So sad! But, live and learn. I will improve next time! So, the only advice I have for you: be creative! Fill the ravioli with whatever your heart desires! Be indulgent and controversial! Savory & sweet! Yum.

The creamy basil sauce was super easy and quick to whip up. I am truly in love with using raw cashewsfor cream sauces! So easy, way healthier than heavy cream and full of healthy fats! It went really well with the sharp flavor of fresh tomatoes. The cream sauce came together as such:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours
  • A few handfuls of fresh basil
  • Your favorite alternative milk (I used almond milk)
  • Olive oil
  • Heaping tablespoons of minced garlic
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the minced garlic. Toss in the basil, stir and wilt. In a blender, throw in the raw cashews, add salt+pepper and the ingredients that were in the saucepan. Blend on high, slowly adding milk until you get the desired consistency for the sauce. Pour everything back into the saucepan and heat. DONE! Easy. You can do this. It turns out to be a lovely puke green color that I enjoy incorporating into as many food dishes as possible.

This is definitely a meal that you start making when you’re not hungry. I, unfortunately, was hungry during this entire process, so I may have rushed some things and the ravioli turned out to look a little mutant and lopsided. BUT IT HAS GREAT PERSONALITY. WHICH IS ALL THAT MATTERS. RIGHT. RIGHT?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Creamy Tomato Soup in a Homemade Bread Bowl!

26 Aug


I am definitely a Fall and Winter person. I love feeling all snuggly in a hoodie and throwing on lots of cozy layers. So even though it hit 95 here in Denver today, I couldn’t get my mind off of making some soup in a bread bowl! My garden has been overflowing with ripe Roma tomatoes, so a creamy tomato soup just seemed right.

For the bread bowl, I just used this recipe from my previous French Bread post, except this time around I used 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose. Still quite nice and fluffy. I let the dough rise twice–once right after it was mixed and then after I shaped them into boules. I recommend re-shaping them once again after they have risen because they tend to widen a bit as they rise. You want all the seams in the dough to be on the bottom (kind of like when you turn the ugly side of the Christmas tree toward the wall where no one will see it).

The tomato soup is a staple for me, especially when I’m looking for something quick that I can whip together in a few minutes. For a super fast and painless meal, use canned, diced tomatoes (though, of course, the flavor isn’t the same!) I soaked about 1/2 cup of raw cashews in water for about an hour to make the cream for the soup. In a large stock pot, I sauteed some olive oil, lots of minced garlic and chopped onion for a few minutes until the onion became translucent. I added chopped, fresh roma and beefsteak tomatoes and let simmer until the flavors mix and everything starts getting soupy. This soup has to be really thick otherwise when you pour it into the bread bowl, it will immediately just soak in and everything will get mushy. No good. To thicken the soup up, I added some cashew cream that was quickly made by processing the soaked raw cashews with a bit of water until you get a thick consistency. Since I like my soups thick and creamy, I threw everything back into the blender and whirred it all up until very smooth. I may have added a bit too much cashew cream, hence the reason why my soup is more orange than red! Still very savory. Fresh basil paired well with this.

When you make this, be sure to bring your appetite! Or just make your boules smaller ๐Ÿ™‚ Since my beloved is spending the week in Michigan, I have an abundance of food and no one to eat it. I might try freezing the leftover boule and then thawing/re-heating when I’m ready to use it as a bread bowl again. We shall see how that goes.

My Friday night was spent whipping this together, watching American Pickers and falling asleep with a book in hand. When did I get so old? My energy was completely absent today and I am blaming this on forgetting to make some coffee. Terrible how I’ve become so dependent on it and I’m only a week into Fall semester…! Tomorrow is this month’s garden work day at the community garden…got to get to sleep so I can be a weed-pulling fiend! Goodnight all! Happy weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Quick, Easy Zucchini, Spinach & Tomato Pasta

16 Aug

I was in no mood for a laborious, time-consuming dinner tonight. I found the solution sitting on my kitchen counter. I’ve been making an effort to buy much of the produce we love locally. There’s a small farm stand across the street from the library that I frequent and they have amazing heirloom beefsteak tomatoes. We also go to the farmer’s market at City Park on Sundays ($.25 jalapenos? awesome.), where we also get to pick up our share of the ELA Family Farms fruit CSA that we are a part of. ELA Family Farms is located in Hotchkiss, CO (about 240 miles away from Denver) and grow a variety of organic fruits and vegetables. We picked up our first share this past Sunday consisting of a bag of heirloom tomatoes, a bag of peaches and applesauce made from their own apples! As the season progresses, we will be expecting different varieties of tomatoes, peaches, plums, pears, apples and CIDER! For the entire month of October, we will receive a half gallon of cider every week. I love fall and cider and pumpkins and apples and orchards! If there’s one thing I miss about Michigan, it’s the sunny, brisk Fall days spent apple picking and devouring freshly made donuts at a cider mill.

With little inspiration or motivation toward making a grand meal tonight, I whipped up an easy, flavorful vegetable pasta dish that took about 20 minutes. The dry sherry used really helped bring the dish together and mellow the balsamic vinegar. This can be thrown together using pretty much any vegetables you have on hand, though I highly recommend some fresh, juicy beefsteak tomatoes as the main ingredient.

Quick, Easy Zucchini, Spinach & Tomato Pasta

  • 3 Fresh beefsteak tomatoes (also threw in a couple of romas we had on hand)
  • Half a zucchini squash, sliced and then cut in half
  • Fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • About 1/4 cup of dry sherry
  • a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 servings of whole wheat pasta

pretty pyrex ๐Ÿ™‚

Boil water! Cook pasta! Meanwhile…in a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and minced garlic (since I didn’t have any on hand, I just threw in some garlic powder later on). Wilt the spinach leaves by covering the pan for a few minutes. Add zucchini and beefsteak tomatoes, stir and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add spices to taste (basil would be a great addition). Add sherry and balsamic vinegar and simmer for about 5 more minutes until the sherry flavor has mellowed a bit. Taste and make sure it is savory and everything you hoped and dreamed for. Throw on top of the cooked pasta and, if you have any, garnish with fresh basil leaves.

 

I was super excited to see the tea towels I ordered from Etsy seller Zen Threads waiting for me in the mail today. I love functional, vintage-looking tea towels and these are super high quality. Look out for them in upcoming food pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m loving these cool summer nights…Autumn is in the air! My favorite season. Can’t wait for the Aspens to start changing colors because you know what that means…WINTER IS COMING! I’m already itching to slap my skis on and tear down the mountains. But it’s still August. And it’s still in the 90s during the day. Reality check.

Aloo Gobi & Sada Paratha

15 Aug

Indian food truly is a vegetarian’s best friend. It has distinctive, flavorful dishes, many of which are already veggie-friendly or are easily made so! If you’ve never experienced any sort of Indian food, this dish is a great way to get your feet wet and see what you think. ย Aloo Gobi, or Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes, is one of my favorites and I had to try and remake my Indian restaurantย staple. The recipe comes out of the great cookbook “Entice with Spice – Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People” by Shubhra Ramineni. I highly recommend this cookbook because it explains a lot about Indian cuisine and the methods behind their preparation. The author brings in personal experience from growing up surrounded by the food and breaks down a seemingly complex dish into feasible steps. I’ve always been somewhat intimidated by preparing Indian food, but with the right spices, it’s pretty simple! I grabbed this book off the shelf at the library ๐Ÿ™‚

As a side to this dish, I quickly made some Flaky Wheat Breads (or, Sada Paratha). So easy! Basically, they’re just pan-fried flatbreads that are great to balance the spiciness of Indian food. Though, naan is far superior, but I don’t have a wood oven to make them in…yet…

Since I can’t post the recipe from the book I used, I recommend this Aloo Gobi recipe from Food.com. Pretty similar to the one I followed, but I did add whole garlic cloves, used FRESH heirloom beefsteak tomatoes (amazing) and ginger powder. To cut down on cooking time, I recommend boiling the potatoes a bit before throwing them in the skillet with everything else. It takes much longer for them to cook in the skillet. Also, fresh coriander = CILANTRO! Yum.

My next move into Indian cuisine will be Chana Saag! I had some at the Blues & Brews Festival this weekend and oh, it was soooo goooooood. A mixture of spicy, creamy spinach and garbanzo beans! Might have to make some chapati too…I’m hungry again.

Creamy Mushroom Stroganoff with Whole Wheat Noodles

9 Aug


I’ve been meaning to make this dish for about a week now, ever since I bought the mushrooms…last week. These were just on the brink of being too far gone (let’s face it, they probably were past their prime, but we should all take a risk in the name of food every now and then, right?) and I had a hankering for something savory! If you ever make stroganoff or any variation of it, TWO ingredients are truly vital and make this recipe deelish: dry sherry and worcestershire sauce (took way too many tries to spell that right). I was able to whip this dish up in under an hour, which is pretty surprising considering I also made the noodles and cashew cream homemade! I guess it helped that I had another pair of hands helping out ๐Ÿ™‚

This is not a hard recipe, just something that got thrown into a pan, so the measurements aren’t exact! Taste as you go ๐Ÿ™‚

Creamy Mushroom Stroganoff

  • 2 tbsp Canola Oil
  • 2 cups Chopped Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • Whole cloves of garlic (I used about 5, but I adore garlic!)
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Onions (omit if you detest)
  • 2 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • 1.5-2 cups of Vegetable Stock (depending on how thick/thin you want your sauce)
  • At least 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (again, taste and repeat)
  • ~1/4 cup Dry Sherry (I just kept dumping more in. Love it.)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of Cashew Cream (recipe below)
  • Parsley for garnish

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add garlic cloves (chopped, pressed, whole, whatever you prefer). Add onions and let cook until translucent. Stir in mushrooms, lower the heat and let cook until they’ve softened and smell wonderful. Stir in the all-purpose flour, add vegetable stock and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and let simmer so all the flavors can begin blending. Add worcestershire sauce and dry sherry. Keep simmering! At this time, I would recommend getting your noodles all boiled and ready! The longer the sauce simmers, the better it tastes and the thicker it will be. Feel free to add other spices of your choosing in, such as onion powder, garlic powder, rosemary, etc. Slowly stir in cashew cream. Taste again, as I decided to add more worcestershire sauce and sherry to the mix after this. Heat thoroughly and pour over pasta noodles! Enjoy!

Cashew Cream

This really isn’t cream, it’s just a thicker version of cashew milk. Soak your raw cashews for a couple hours before making this! You will have some leftover.

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • ~3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp your favorite sweetener (maple syrup, agave, honey, etc)
  • Dash of salt

Place all ingredients into a high quality blender. Start with a little water only, working your way to the desired thickness of the cream that you want. Blend on high for a couple of minutes until very smooth. Cashew cream! Easy.

Notes:

delightful homemade noodles!

  • I think I should try making this with Seitan cutlets or meatballs…or somehow turned this into a baked dish. Intriguing.
  • Seriously. Sherry is a wonderful thing. Once you start cooking with it, you will find ways to work it into other dishes…cooking with (any) wine really adds depth!
  • Any noodle works for this recipe. I just whipped up some half whole wheat/half semolina noodles that I cut into thick strips. Not quite the egg noodle you would typically find with this sort of dish, but still good.

I think I’ve scoped out some very appealing Estate Sales to go to on Friday morning…one of which has vintage Pyrex! Eek! Need to control myself and not start throwing money at people. I love sifting through what other people may see as junk and see what can be found. Treasure is everywhere. It doesn’t help that I just watched a few episodes of “American Pickers”. Those guys find the most bizarre and interesting stuff!ย  I, too, hope to one day be an eccentric old woman, waving a broomstick, and yelling at people to “get offa mah property” which is covered with antiques. I’m aiming high, that’s for sure. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Taco Pizza

7 Aug

deelish.

I saw Pioneer Woman’s post on Taco Pizza back in May and was intrigued. A combination of two things I adore: taco + pizza.ย  PW made the recipe very easy to follow and rather a quick meal to throw together, as long as you have the ingredients. I tweaked it a bit for my own tastes (and made it vegan!)

Taco Pizza, originally by the Pioneer Woman!

I only changed a few things, but followed her recipe pretty closely. Instead of black beans, I used vegetarian refried beans as the base (or sauce, I guess) of the pizza. I also used Mexican-style veggie crumbles, heated in a pan with cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder + some water. I smooshed the pizza onto my Silpat, making it thinner than I normally would. I assembled it as such: refried beans generously spread around, veggie crumbles, & vegan cheese (I grated some Follow Your Heart cheddar…not as good as Daiya, but it got the job done.) This was baked for about 20 minutes. Once done, I spread some homemade salsa on top with chopped fresh baby spinach.

My favorite part of this dish was the sour cream mixture drizzled on top. I made this using raw cashews (soaked for one hour), lemon juice and salt. Processed until smooth, then added one avocado. Along the way, just to help with texture and thinness, I added some water. Lastly, Cholula hot sauce was folded in and voila! A very flavorful, but dairy-free sour cream substitute. It was very rich-tasting and creamy, thanks to one of my favorite things in the world: the avocado. This had a sort of refreshing, cooling effect to the spiciness of the fresh salsa and pizza. YUM. Happiness.

Vegan Macaroni & Cheese (Made with Homemade Cashew Milk!)

5 Aug

oh, it was so good.

I’ve been so curious about making cashew milk. Such an intriguing idea, soaking cashews for a few hours, blending, and voila! Cashew milk! It just seems too easy! How would it taste? Is it good to cook with? Is the texture funky? My first try at using cashew milk worked wonderfully! I used my mom’s recipe for Mac & Cheese that uses a bechamel sauce and breadcrumbs. She even made this for my birthday one year and put candles in it because I LOVE MAC&CHEESE that much. Making this with cashew milk was a breeze and was much richer and creamier than using other alternative milks.

Cashew Milk

  • 1 cup RAW cashews
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups water

Place cashews in a bowl with enough water to cover. Let soak for at least a couple hours (overnight is best!) Place cashews in high-quality blender and slowly add water. For a thicker, creamier substance, add less water. I used about 2 cups water for the sauce, but for regular cashew milk, add 3 or 4 cups. I didn’t add any sweetener, but if using for drinking or sweet dishes, add a couple tablespoons of maple syrup, honey or agave nectar.

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

White Sauce (Bechamel)

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance!)
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cashew milk, heated
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • A few dashes of garlic powder ๐Ÿ™‚
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (used Daiya here)

i'm always looking for a reason to show off my pyrex ๐Ÿ™‚

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add flour.ย  With a whisk, stir flour until well mixed. Let cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly, but be careful not to let burn. Slowly add the hot cashew milk and continue stirring. Bring to a boil and keep stirring as the sauce thickens. Add spices. Lower the heat and let cook a couple minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese. Set aside.

Macaroni & Cheese

  • 9 oz dry whole wheat noodles (sure, you can use macaroni, but other noodles work just as well!)
  • 2 cups cheese sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly made breadcrumbs

Boil noodles until al dente per your instructions. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pour boiled noodles into a 1 1/2 qt casserole dish and pour the cheese sauce over. Gently mix until well incorporated and spread cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs over the top.ย  Bake uncovered for about 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly! EAT.

Notes:

  • Homemade mac and cheese is just so far superior to boxed. Reading through this recipe, you will see how it really isn’t hard at all to make a great homemade version that you can pronounce all the ingredients of! Slightly more time consuming, but completely worth it instead of using powdered cheese crap in a box ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Need more cheesy-ness? Add a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the sauce. It will give it a nice yellow color and that “cheesy” nooch flavor!
  • In the mood for something spicy? Add a bit of cayenne pepper to the bechamel and throw in some chopped jalapenos.
  • Pair with a side of lightly steamed broccoli and some Pinot Grigio!

Cashew milk? I LOVE IT. I have grand plans for this delightful homemade milk! Fettucine Alfredo would be GREAT with this! So many possibilities. I’m inspired!

At the advice of a couple of my co-workers and my piqued interest, I’ve been reading up on CANNING! We are going to have a ton of heirloom tomatoes once they all ripen and I don’t want them to go to waste. We also joined a local Fruit CSA and will have tons of apples and peaches soon! Canning has always made me a bit nervous because it seems like so many things can go wrong! And now, at higher altitude, EVEN MORE CAN GO WRONG. BUT! I will prevail. Working at a library is wonderful because I have so many great resources right in front of me. I literally have about 3/4 of our collection of cookbooks checked out…I’ll return them eventually…If anyone has general advice/words of wisdom on canning, please share! ๐Ÿ™‚