February 16, 2014
Red Beet Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce and Walnuts The Bored Vegetarian

Vegan January has come and gone and though I have one more vegan post to make, I thought this beet gnocchi was a bit more fitting for the Valentine’s Day holiday (although a couple of days late!) I’m still perfecting my gnocchi-making technique, but I love the gorgeous color and hint of earthiness the beets bring to this recipe. You’ll likely have a bit of leftover beet puree with this, so I encourage you to make a Chocolate Beet Cake with the remainder.

Ingredients

(adapted from Food & Wine)
2 pounds medium-sized Beets, scrubbed, tops and bottoms cut off
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Fresh Pepper
1 cup Ricotta
1 large Egg, beaten lightly
pinch of Nutmeg
3/4 cup Romano Cheese, shredded
3 cups Flour, plus extra
1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped and toasted
1 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup fresh Sage, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Fresh Lemon juice
Fresh Sage leaves (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a baking pan drizzle beets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for about 1 hour or until beets are soft. Remove and allow to cool. Once you’re able to handle them, use your hands to peel away the skins. Use a vegetable peeler if needed. Cut beets into cubes and puree in a food processor. In a standing mixer (which I don’t own – I used my Cuisinart with a plastic paddle and pulsed to control the speed), combine 1 1/2 cups of the beet puree with ricotta, romano, egg, nutmeg and 1 Tablespoon of salt on low/medium speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl and slowly sprinkle in the flour with the mixer on low/medium speed until it just comes together. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and a little sticky. Don’t over-knead – you want the dough to feel light. Cover the dough and let it sit at room temp for about a half hour.

While the dough is sitting, melt the butter over low/medium heat. Bring melted butter to a golden brown color and remove from heat. Strain through cheese cloth to remove the solids. Set aside. In a saute pan, fry the whole sage leaves in a bit of olive oil until they crisp up. Remove and allow to cool on a paper towel. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Prepare an ice bath and keep nearby. Divide the dough into 8-10 pieces and roll each one into 1/2 inch thick ropes. Cut each rope into 1/2 inch pieces. Boil in batches, letting the gnocchi simmer about 1 minute past when they float. Remove with a slotted spoon and put into ice bath to chill while you cook the remaining.

Once you’ve finished with the gnocchi, saute the garlic in a bit of olive oil over low heat until fragrant. Add the brown butter and chopped fresh sage and stir for a minute or so. Stir in fresh lemon juice. Add gnocchi and combine until the gnocchi turns a rich red. Season well with salt and pepper. Toss in walnuts. Serve hot garnished with crispy sage leaves.


January 8, 2014
vegan cashew cream basil lemon pasta

I learned how to make a rich Alfredo sauce from a chef named Rose while in college at WWU. I was working at Sadighi’s, an outdated “fine dining” restaurant ran by Mr. Sadighi and his 70 year-old chef Rose. If you’ve lived Bellingham, you know which place I’m talking about. I was the hostess/busser/official napkin folder, but we never had more than six tables (total) on a Friday or Saturday night. Evenings were spent in the kitchen with just the three of us, and if I was lucky, Rose would make me dinner. She made the sauce from scratch with just a pan, spatula, fresh cream, garlic and a touch of dijon. The result was heavy, coma-inducing and delicious. When I took the first bite of this vegan version, it immediately took me back to that small kitchen and those weekend nights spent with Rose and Mr. Sadighi. It’s that kind of rich.

Ingredients

– 1 cup Raw Whole Cashews
– Water
– 8 ounces Dry Pasta (I used Bucatini)
– 1 Shallot, minced
– 2 cloves Garlic, minced
– 1 handful Basil, washed and chopped
– 1/2 handful Italian Parsley, washed and chopped
– Juice from 1/2 Lemon
– Salt & Pepper to taste
– Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

In a bowl, cover cashews with cold water, cover and place in the fridge to soak over night. Drain and rinse the cashews once softened. In a Cuisinart or Vitamix, add cashews and cover with fresh water, about an inch above the cashews. Blend until very smooth. Set aside.

In a large pot, boil pasta in salted water until just al dente. Set aside 2 cups of pasta water and drain. In a large saute pan, saute shallot in olive oil over low/medium heat until tender. Add garlic and continue to saute. Add 1 cup of pasta water and stir. Add pasta and add an additional cup of pasta water. Add cashew cream (I used about 1/2 cup and an extra 1 Tbsp, but add more/less based on your taste). Stir the pasta with the cashew cream until coated. Salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh basil and parsley, continuing to stir over low/medium heat. Feel free to add more pasta water if the sauce seems too thick for your liking. Once the pasta is well incorporated with the sauce, season again to taste and squeeze lemon juice over the top of the dish. Don’t be too heavy handed – you can always add more lemon to taste. Serve immediately.

You’ll have leftover cashew cream. Explore the different ways you can use it!

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July 12, 2013

Do you keep running to-do lists? I have ones for karaoke, restaurants, NYC, books, wine, art & photography. Any time I check something off a list, I feel a bit more productive. My Things to Learn to Make list is growing slowly and I thought I’d cross one off tonight. At my work I’m constantly asking the chefs how they’re cooking something, why they’re doing something a certain way etc. and it blows my mind that they can remember so many different techniques without constantly messing up like I do. There are so many basics and classics I feel like I should know.. so I hope to explore some here. It’s like classical music – ones you have the melody down, you can create all sorts of variations on the theme, right? 

Ingredients

– 1 lb Pasta (I used Bucatini)
– 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– 1 small Onion, chopped
– 1 clove Garlic, minced
– 2/3 cup dry White Wine
– 2 Eggs
– 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese (brands like BelGioioso have rennet/enzyme free versions)
– 3/4 cup Peas, cooked 
– 1/4 fresh Parsley, chopped
– Salt to taste
– Fresh Cracked Pepper

Directions

In a sauce pan, heat up olive oil. Add chopped onion and minced garlic. Season with salt and saute until soft. Add white wine and simmer until it thickens slightly. Set aside. In a bowl, whisk together egg and cheese. Set aside. In a large pot, bring salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente (about 7-9 minutes). Reserve about 1/4 cup of pasta liquid and then drain pasta. Add pasta to a clean bowl and toss with onion and garlic mixture. While the pasta is still hot, add egg mixture slowly, stirring into the pasta constantly. The heat from the pasta will cook the egg mixture. Add in peas and parsley and toss together until incorporated. Salt to taste and add a generous amount of fresh cracked pepper. Serve immediately with more grated cheese on top. 

I must admit this didn’t go as smoothly for me as I hoped. When I’m researching a dish like this, I’ll usually read a bunch of different versions and then pull ideas for each one. I should have picked one and stuck with it! I will need to give this another run in the future. In the words of Aaliyah, if at first you don’t succeed, then dust yourself off and try again. 

I’m headed to WA next week (with Chris!) to see my family and meet my new nephew Killian. After these last uhhh 5 months of crazy amounts of work (btw check out these INCREDIBLE pics that Seattle-based photographer shot for a wedding I planned last month), I’m excited to have a long break and regroup. A redesign is coming soon as are hopefully more things.. Special shout out to Joan Y for your patience – sorry it’s taken so long for a new post!


July 28, 2012

As I mentioned in my last post, my friends Patrice and Brittnee persuaded me to do a dinner/manicure trade this week.

Pasta Shells (for 3-4 people who are gluttons)

Ingredients

– 15 large Pasta Shells
– 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
– Salt

Directions

Bring water to boil in a pot with olive oil and a couple pinches of salt. Add pasta and boil until al dente. Set aside a cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Set pasta aside.

Garlic Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

– 6 Roma Tomatoes, stem end/core removed 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
– 1 yellow Onion, Chopped
– 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
– 3/4 cup Red Wine
– 1 cup Water from boiled pasta
– Salt to taste

Directions

Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add tomatoes and cook until the skins split. Run under cold water until cook enough to handle. Remove skins (should come off easily). Add tomatoes to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add olive oil to a saute pan and saute onions and garlic until soft. Add tomatoes, pasta water and begin to simmer. As the sauce begins to reduce, add wine and continue to cook down. Season with salt. Remove from heat once you have a nice consistency.

Spinach, Squash, Ricotta & Basil Filling

Ingredients

– 2 cups Spinach, stems removed, ripped into manageable pieces
– 1/2 cup Yellow Squash, chopped small
– 1/2 cup Green Squash, chopped small
– 2 cups Ricotta
– Handful of Fresh Basil, stems removed, chopped
– 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
– Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions

In a saute pan, lightly saute squash & zucchini for a couple of minutes. In a bowl mix ricotta, squash, spinach and basil. Salt and pepper to taste.

Assembly

– 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a square baking dish, layer the bottom with half of the tomato sauce. Spoon ricotta mixture into each shell and add to the pan, forming one layer. Top with remaining tomato sauce, covering the shells. Spread parmesan cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese on top has melted. Everything should be hot and bubbly. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving.
It’s been a strange week, topped off with one of my best friends moving to Boston today. Sort of just feel like staring at a wall for the rest of the weekend…or at this bodega kitty (follow me on Instagram: boredvegetarian).


June 14, 2012


Whole Wheat Pasta with Toasted Garlic and Ricotta Salata in a Cinnamon Brown Butter Sauce
This was inspired by a dish I had in 2008 at Lula Cafe a seasonal restaurant in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.
2 servings Whole Wheat Pasta (I used rigatoni)2 1/2 Tbsp Salted Butter3 cloves Garlic, slivered1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon2 Tsp Sugar1/8 cup Ricotta Salata, crumbled 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil Salt 
Bring water to a boil in a large pot with a bit of olive oil and a couple pinches of salt. Add pasta and cook until al dente, drain and set aside. In a pan, heat a bit of olive oil and brown slivered garlic slightly, being careful not to burn. Remove from heat and set aside. In a medium-sized saute pan, melt butter with 1 Tbsp of olive oil over low heat. Stir the mixture until it begins to brown. Remove from heat. Add cooked pasta and garlic and toss to coat well. In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle slowly over pasta and toss until coated. Transfer to dishes and top with crumble ricotta salata. Serve hot.
Speaking of that trip to Chicago, I snapped this picture in the park, still love it.


June 7, 2012


Whole Wheat Spaghetti in a Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette with Spring Peas, Asparagus, Ricotta & Mint2 servings dry Whole Wheat Spaghetti1 1/2 cup Spring Peas in pods1/4 pound fresh Asparagus1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese1/4 cup of fresh Mint, chopped2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus more for pasta)1 Lemon1 clove Garlic Salt & Pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil with a tablespoon of olive oil and a couple pinches of salt. Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil. Prepare an ice bath (ice in a bowl of water). Chop asparagus and spring peas. Once large pot of water is boiling, add pasta. Cook until al dente and drain. In the medium sized pot, add asparagus and peas. Cook for about 1 minute, then drain and add to ice bath to cool. Add to a bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup olive oil and the juice and zest of one lemon with garlic. Salt to taste. In a saute pan, toss pasta with lemon vinaigrette and vegetables to coat. Salt and pepper to taste and bring to warm temperature. Remove from heat and plate in bowls. Top with a few spoonfuls of ricotta, a generous amount of mint and fresh pepper. Toss together as you eat.
This past weekend, I attended one of my best friend’s bachelorette party in Greenport, Long Island. We stayed at the amazing Silver Sands Motel (I can’t express how I adore their bright yellow outdated kitchen, 70’s carpet, buckets of snacks), then went to a few wineries around the area the next morning. It was a beautiful day and we tried so many delicious wines (and some so-so ones). If you’re ever looking for a little jaunt in the New York area, it can’t be beat. I recommend a sober, patient driver who does not care if everyone in the car sings loudly to 90’s music the entire afternoon (thanks Mads!) 






June 14, 2010

Every once in a while, when dining at a restaurant, I’ll pull out a pen and paper (oh fine, I pull out my iPhone) and jot down the ingredients of whatever delicious thing I’m eating so that I can recreate it at home.  I’ve done this twice in the last couple of weeks – once at Rick Bayless’(!) Frontera Grill in Chicago, and then again at Back Forty in the East Village.  My homemade version is usually not exact, but I like getting inspired by other people’s food.
I hadn’t had a Sunday night dinner in a while, so I invited over Kasey, Noel, Mads and Bjorn tonight to help me test these recipes out.  Then we watched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and tried not to fall into a food coma.  Success!

Jicama Salad (inspired by Frontera Grill)Jicama is insanely difficult to find in New York.  I looked at three grocery stores before giving up and going to the Whole Foods.  Bjorn was able to find one at C-town, so now I have enough Jicama to last me through the summer.  Or at least the next two weeks.
1 Jicama rootJuice of 2-3 limes (I used a lemon too, cause my limes weren’t being as juicy as I wanted.)chopped cilantrosalt to taste
Peel the Jicama and julienne.  Toss with lime juice, cilanto and salt.

Homemade Foccacia CroutonsFoccacia bread, cubed (I bought a small chunk from Whole Foods for less than $2)2 tbls buttergarlic salt
Melt butter in a saute pan and add bread, tossing to coat.  Let bread begin to brown and crisp, and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Chilled Pea Soup (inspired by Back Forty)The soup I had at Back Forty was mind-blowingly good and I must accept the fact that I will never be able to recreate it.
2 bags of frozen peas4 cups of vegetable stock2 1/2 cups of plain yogurt1/2 cup scallions, choppedolive oilsalt and pepper to tastewhite truffle oil (just a drizzle!)In a large saute pan, combine peas and stock and heat on medium.  In a small pan, saute scallions in olive oil until soft.  Transfer peas, stock and scallions to a food processor, add yogurt and blend until smooth.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I garnished with the croutons and mache lettuce, which I bought on a whim today.

Spaghetti with Artichokes, Lemon and Ricotta (via Paris and Back)
1 lemon, halved 1 can or jar of artichoke hearts 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, chopped salt and pepper to taste 1/2 pound of spaghetti (I used whole wheat) 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley1 cup ricotta cheese (homemade perhaps?) 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Bring pasta to a boil
Place the oil and garlic in a large skillet.  Drain artichokes and pat dry.  Add to pan.  Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the artichokes begin to crisp and lightly brown.  About half way through, add the juice from both lemon halves over the browning artichokes. Before draining your cooked pasta, reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water in case you need a little moisture later.  Drain the pasta when it reaches al dente, but do not rinse. Once the artichokes are browned, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the pasta with the artichokes and parsley, adding the reserved pasta water as needed.  Serve immediately with a heaping spoonful of the ricotta on top or other grated cheese as you like.
(I only loosely followed this recipe.)
Kasey made a watermelon and feta salad that was super delicious, which I failed to photograph.  So refreshing!