Author: singingduck10

Fast Fancy Finals Food: Pesto Pasta Salad

Every year as finals roll around I find that I have to sacrifice delicious food to get my study on! So, I have developed some fast but fancy finals food that takes less time but I still love eating! This pesto pasta salad tastes like summer- which is just the delicious motivation I needed to get through finals.

Ingredients:

  • Pasta
  • Pesto
  • Craisins
  • Goat Cheese, Mozzarella, Parmesan

Directions:

Pick a pasta, and make it as directed. Strain pasta and then put it back in the pot. Mix in pesto (mine defrosted from when I made it last summer- ingredients below), a handful of craisins, crumbled goat cheese, and mozzarella. Stir pasta until cheese is melted, and pour it in the bowl (sprinkle parmesan to taste).

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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Enjoy- And Good luck with finals!!

And in the Morning… “We’re Making Waffles!”

This past week Carmen and I met at my parents’ house in Massachusetts and offered to make brunch for my parents and their neighbor. So we pulled out my mom’s old waffle iron and played with this Belgium Waffle recipe we found at “Taste Of Home.” After figuring out the finesse of the waffle iron, we made some very tasty waffles with a bunch of different toppings (fresh fruit, chocolate chips, homemade raspberry jam whipped cream, and cookie butter). Check out the recipes! (photos by the wonderful Carmen)

Waffle Ingredients (we doubled the recipe):

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs, separated 
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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Directions:

1) In a bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. In another bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Add milk, butter and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.
2) Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions until golden brown. Serve with strawberries or syrup. Yields about 10 waffles (about 4-1/2 inches).

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Homemade raspberry jam whipped cream ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (ish) of raspberry jam (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of confectioners sugar (to taste)

Directions:

Mix sugar and jam into the whipping cream. Once it is thoroughly mixed, whip the cream until it reaches stiff peaks. I got this idea from a friend of mine and it is delicious; the jam makes a great flavor but the whipped cream isn’t too sweet!

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Pasta Al Forno with Pumpkin and Pancetta

CBC’s founder Carmen recently introduced me to this awesome website: Food 52. This resulted in HOURS of time spent browsing all the delicious recipes, and one fateful evening, (with the help of my friend Wei En) I decided to make Food 52’s recipe for “Pasta Al Forno with Pumpkin and Pancetta”

The recipe was cheesy and delicious, and was essentially a very fancy version of my favorite food: Mac and Cheese.

From the delicious aroma of frying pancetta, to the fabulous cheese and cream covered pasta, to the TASTY final product, this recipe was a hit!

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I couldn’t resist making a couple of changes to the recipe, so here is food 52’s version, with my edits.

Ingredients:

  • 13-4 pound cheese pumpkin or butternut squash 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4pound pancetta, diced
  • 1pound conchiglie rigate (shells)
  • 2cups heavy cream
  • 1/4pound shredded fresh mozzarella
  • 1/2cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/2cup fontina, coarsely grated
  • 1/4cup crumbled gorgonzola (I substituted gorgonzola for Goat Cheese) 
  • tablespoons ricotta
  • teaspoons chopped thyme leaves (I used a tablespoon of dried thyme and a tablespoon of dried rosemary)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into 8 equal wedges and arrange on two baking sheets lined with foil. Sprinkle the wedges with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake for about an hour, until the pumpkin is caramelized and tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle the pumpkin without burning yourself. (I skipped this step and used the puree that I had frozen from when I had pumpkins in the fall- [check out my process here] though I see no reason why you couldn’t used canned pumpkin as long as it was unsweetened). 
  2. In the meantime, crisp the pancetta in a medium saucepan over medium heat, about 10 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels, discarding the fat. (It only took me about 6 minutes, keep an eye on the Pancetta as it is easily burned!)
  3. Turn the oven up to 500 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for exactly 5 minutes, drain and run cool water over it for about 10 seconds. Set aside in the colander.
  4. Scoop enough of the cooked pumpkin from the rind to make 2 cups. Combine this with the cream in a blender and puree just until smooth (be careful not to over blend, or you’ll whip the cream). (I mixed by hand and it worked just fine!) Scoop out some more of the pumpkin (you probably won’t need the whole thing) and chop roughly to make about a cup and a half. (I didn’t have enough pumpkin to do this step, and although the texture was a little different it turned out fine) 
  5. Combine the pumpkin and cream, puree with the cheeses, salt, thyme and pancetta in a large bowl and stir gently to combine. Add the pasta and the chopped pumpkin and fold together just until combined.(I also added salt and pepper at this point, as well as some extra seasonings: more thyme, rosemary, garlic, basil etc.)
  6. Spread the pasta evenly in a casserole or baking dish. Bake uncovered for 7 to 10 minutes, until the top is browned and the bottom layer of pasta is just tender.

Winter Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, Leek Soup

As the only CBC member left in Ithaca (congrats to our founder Carmen for her early graduation!), I have to tell you it is FREEZING here (actually well below….)- which means, it is the perfect time for a hearty, healthy, tasty, winter roasted soup! This soup’s recipe is vaguely flexible, feel free to add or subtract vegetables (or liquids) to taste- I always do.

p.s. this would go GREAT with David’s corn muffins from last week! 

pot of soup!

Ingredients:

3lbs of butternut squash

2 apples

3 leeks

1 head of garlic (thats right I said head)

Olive oil

Herbs/seasonings (I used rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper)

Chicken stock (about 2 cups)

White wine ( a generous splash)

Apple cider (to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375

Peel and cube squash and apples (squash can be bought pre-cut), and slice the leeks (only the white parts). Then, peel every clove of garlic on the head (every single one).

Take garlic cloves and the cubed vegetables/fruit and spread on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Toss vegetables lightly in olive oil and season with your herbs and salt/pepper.

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Put the vegetables in the oven, and cook for about 45 minutes (or until the squash can be easily pierced by a fork).

About 10 minutes before the vegetables are done, combine liquids (stock, wine, and apple cider), and bring to a boil. (In total there should be about 2 1/2 cups of liquids in the pot- so whatever proportion of liquids you want to do- go nuts!)

Take the vegetables out of the oven and put them in the pot with the liquids. Let the vegetables and broth simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Finally, take your immersion blender (or pour your pot of soup into a conventional blender), and puree away!

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Enjoy your soup with parsley or chives, and goat cheese for garnish!

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Lazy Weekend Lasagna!

Nothing says  a weekend dish with friends like lasagna on a cold day! Enjoy this semi-lazy lasagna recipe which is actually vaguely healthy.

Prepare Sauce: Use pre-jarred sauce, garlic, onion, ground turkey, spices, pesto, and a generous splash of red wine!  (In the mean time boil the noodles!)

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Cheese layers: Mix ricotta, pesto, and egg. Slice up mozzarella.
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Layer the lasagna: Sauce, Pasta, ricotta (spread with spatula), mozzarella and parmesan, and repeat! Make sure to completely coat both sides of the noodles so they don’t get too crispy.
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…..AND BAKE!
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Ingredients:

Sauce:

  • 2 jars of Classico tomato sauce – You could make your own sauce with tomatoes etc. but this is MUCH easier, and just as tasty.
  • A pound or so of ground turkey
  • Olive Oil
  • Four cloves of minced garlic
  • One diced onion
  • A half cup or so of pesto (I make mine each summer and freeze small amounts to use throughout the winter or you can get some pretty good stuff at the grocery store. If you want to make your own its just basil, garlic, and olive oil!)
  • Generous splash (or two) of red wine (and a glass for you!)
  • Assorted Italian spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, salt peper etc.)

Lasagna noodles:

  • This one is pretty self explanatory, I used a box of the Wegmans brand (I needed to boil them), or you can use pre-cooked sheets

Cheese Layers:

  •  Ricotta spread:
    -1 Container of skim ricotta
    -1 egg
    -1 or 2 spoonfuls of pesto
  • Parmesan (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Thin sliced mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and get water for lasagna noodles boiling. Once water boils, add lasagna noodles and cook for 12 minutes. In the mean time, in a pan heat up olive oil, and stir-fry garlic and onion, add turkey and brown until done. Salt and Pepper the meat. Add the jars of sauce and stir in wine, pesto, and other spices. Let the sauce simmer until noodles are done.

While the sauce is simmering mix together ricotta, pesto, and egg.

Bring all your ingredients together and layer them in the pan. A layer of sauce, then noodles, ricotta mixture, parmesan and mozzarella. Then repeat until the pan is full!

Cook in the oven for 40 minutes! Then enjoy your tasty treat!

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Chocolate Chip PUMPKIN Muffins

Following in the theme of chocolate chip muffins (shout out to last week’s post), I give you a fall themed “Chocolate chip PUMPKIN muffins” recipe, featuring homemade pumpkin puree. I know pumpkin themed baked goods (on the heels of certain spiced lattes) have been getting a lot of flack lately, but I figure when your farm share gives you pumpkins- make pumpkin muffins!

The recipe was adapted from several sources: so here is my version (all abnormal adaptations marked)

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of apple pie seasoning *(comprised of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg)

1/2 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger *(can be substituted with 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger)

1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter

2/3 cup of white sugar

2/3 cup of brown sugar *(two sugars can be combined into 1 1/3 cups of white sugar)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup of pumpkin puree *(could be substituted with canned pumpkin)

1/3 cup of apple cider *(could be water)

Bag of chocolate chunks *(chocolate chips could work… but lets get real)

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Your first step is to start the pumpkin puree. Take your pumpkin (a small one, not one you would use for carving which are overripe for cooking) Cut off the top, and then cut it in quarters, gutting the seeds with a spoon (you can set these aside for making roasted pumpkin seeds!). Don’t stress about getting all the innards out– they are just as tasty in the puree.

Gutting a pumpkin

Put the pumpkin on a baking pan and in the oven for about a half hour (until you can comfortably pierce the flesh with a fork)

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After the pumpkin is roasted you should be able to comfortably peel the pumpkin’s skin with a knife (or your fingers if you really want). Cut the pumpkin up into small pieces and put it in your blender of choice – you may have to add some liquid, water is fine, but I used apple cider for an extra bit of fun.

Skinning pumpkin       pumpkin in blender

In the meantime mix together the dry ingredients and grate in the ginger.

Dry ingredients       ginger

Cream together the butter and sugar. Once creamed add in other wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, eggs – one at a time, and vanilla).

Creaming butter and sugar      batter with pumpkin

Blend in the dry ingredients slowly, a little bit a time, in between bouts of dry ingredients put in a splash of the apple cider.

Mix in the majority of the chocolate chips, fill the muffin tin cups  2/3 of the way up, sprinkling the rest of the chocolate chunks on top. Put muffins in the oven for 20 minutes and enjoy with ice cream, for breakfast, or just a tasty snack.

muffins mid oven        Ice cream

Tasty Autumn Homemade Apple Sauce!

This Apple themed baker’s collective post is brought to you in honor of Ithaca Apple Fest!

There is apple sauce and then there is apple sauce. Apple Sauce of the store bought variety can be tasty to be sure, but there is nothing like a nice hot steaming bowl of textured, delicious, sweet, tangy, tart, smooth, piping hot Homemade apple sauce.

Apple Sauce is incredibly easy to make. All you need are the following ingredients and an hour or two:

Ingredients:

Apples (as many as you want, the apples will cook down a lot, so feel free to get WAY more apples than you think you need – 1 peck of apples makes a quart of apple sauce)

Apple Cider (if you are short on cider, apple juice works fine, and in a pinch so does water)

A couple tablespoons of sugar (to taste)

Some cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice (to taste)

Step 1:

Get Your apples, Dennis of Little Tree Orchards at the Ithaca Farmers Market recommended we get a mixture of apple types. We had a full peck of red deliciouses, honey crisps, Idareds, and Jonagolds.

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Peck of Apples from Little Tree Orchards purchased at the Ithaca Farmers market, but could also be picked at the Orchard itself!

Step 2:

Peel and Chop the Apples! There are some fancy apple core removing devices out there, but if you have the time its just as fun to sit down with a friend and become a peeling chopping duo! (I would do about 3/4 inch sized pieces- but it doesn’t really matter the size- but just so you know, the bigger the piece the longer the sauce takes to boil down)


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At the end of your endeavor you will have a whole pot of chopped apples and a whole bunch of apple peels

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Step 3:

Put your apples on the stove and turn up the heat. Add some apple cider (apple juice, or water works too!), some sugar (it doesn’t need much but if you have a sweet tooth put a couple of table spoons), and your spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice etc).

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Step 4:

Bring your pot to a boil. Once boiling turn it back down to a simmer. Let your sauce sit stirring occasionally, if you notice your pot is running low on liquid just pour some more cider in to make sure that it doesn’t burn. This whole process should take 1-2 hours. Depending on how chunky/textured you want it you can take it off sooner. I usually like some crunch so I only boil it for an hour.

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Bubbling Apples! Yum!

Step 5: 

Enjoy your delicious apple sauce, on its own, hot, cold, in a pie as a filling, or as a delicious topping for some pumpkin ice cream.

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What a tasty treat!

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