May 13, 2012

recipe: sundried tomato & parsley pesto

I love cooking with fresh herbs, especially basil and cilantro. I hate how quickly my herbs go bad in the fridge.  When I grow up, I want to have an herb garden - or maybe two. One in my glass-walled reading room (because that will exist), and one outside.  Anyway, I had leftover tortellini from a soup I made last week, as well as some broccoli that was on sale, and some leftover basil. We always have 10% cream hanging around, so I figured I'd do a basil cream sauce. Alas, not to be. By the time I got around to making the pasta, my basil had gone bad. SO, now what?

I asked Facebook, and the winning suggestion was sundried tomato pesto.  I've never heard of this before.  I decided to use up some of my parsley as well, and I added walnuts and sunflower seeds to fill the pine nut role.  However, I forgot a very important lesson from kindergarten: red + green = brown. Especially when you add balsamic vinegar, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.  It's definitely the ugliest pesto I've ever seen.

However, it's really tasty so I'm posting anyway.  The recipe only made enough pesto for 3 meals (whereas the tortellini package serves 4), so keep that in mind.

Sundried Tomato & Parsley Pesto
Ease: 1 very easy
Time: 1 very quick
Ingredients: 2 easy
Source: My facebook friends and some crazy imagination!

  • One package of cheese tortellini
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 Tbsp sundried tomatoes (I used the kind in oil)
  • 1-2 medium cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or less)
  • 1.5 Tbsp sunflower seeds (or less)
  • 1 cup curly leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (note: my pesto was more of a paste, so more oil could be useful)
  • Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook tortellini and broccoli together in same pot. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Meanwhile, make the pesto.  Combine remaining ingredients except Parmesan cheese in a food processor for a few seconds until everything is a bit chopped and pasty.  I didn't want to blend it too much or it would have been a uniform brown paste.  At least this way I can see chunks of green and red. 
  3. Mix pasta/broccoli with pesto and serve!
  4. Top with Parmesan cheese. I only used a tiny sprinkle - it didn't need the extra flavour.

May 9, 2012

recipe: mushroom stroganoff

I make weekly meal plans to avoid throwing food in the garbage (I abhor waste). I knew I wanted to eat "Mexican Night" this week, so I needed something else that would use a lot of sour cream. Stroganoff just seemed logical.  I've never actually eaten homemade stroganoff; I usually just stick with Lipton Sidekicks. Sooo... this was uncharted territory for me!

As usual, I grabbed inspiration from a few different recipes.  I'm very happy with how it turned out. If I needed to make one modification, it would be to reduce the broth for LESS time, since my sauce ended up a bit thick (hah, upon reading my notes more carefully, I accidentally used 1/3 of the amount of water requested so that would be my error.  The recipe below is how it should probably be made). Otherwise, it was very tasty.

The actual type or ratio of mushrooms is up to you.

Mushroom Stroganoff
Ease: 1 very easy
Time: 3 somewhat quick
Ingredients: 2 easy
Source: Primarily All Recipes Portabello Mushroom Stroganoff (and details in comments), although I also looked at the Food Network and Rachael Ray's version.

  • Egg noodles, pasta, or rice 
  • 2-3 Tbsp margarine (or olive oil)
  • 1 large onion (I used 3 smallish onions because that's what I had on hand), chopped
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large portabello, sliced
  • 5 large cremini mushrooms (or equivalent)
  • 8 largeish shitake mushrooms (or equivalent)
  • 1  1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp mushroom soy sauce (or normal soy sauce, but mushroom sauce is very strong and tasty)
  • 3/4 - 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley (or less; I really like parsley)
  • splash white wine (i actually didn't include it, but I wish I had some to try it out)
  • black pepper

  1. Cook your starch (egg noodles, pasta, or rice) while following the rest of the recipe.
  2. Heat margarine/oil in large frying pan on medium heat. Add onions, shallots, and garlic. Sauté until tender. 
  3. Turn heat up to med-high. Add mushrooms and saute until they've released their liquid and are cooked. Transfer mushrooms from pan to plate and set aside.
  4. Add broth and soy sauce (and wine, if using) to same pan and simmer until reduced to 1/3 volume. 
  5. Mix sour cream and flour in measuring cup. Add to frying pan and mix with broth until smooth. 
  6. Add mushrooms and mix well. 
  7. Serve over starch. Top with fresh parsley and ground black pepper.