Guest Post: Pasta and Vegetables Soup Recipe

The final guest post in the “Help Lynn Move” series is from Radhika of Just Home Made. Radhika’s blog is beautiful, with amazing photography and wonderful recipes. What I love about it is the uniquness of the recipes, like these Saffron and Cardamom flavored Sweet Semolina Balls . I was very excited to see what she would come up with for the guest post, and I was not disapointed. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did, and please take the time to check out her site!

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You know how casual random acts can lead to nice things? For instance, casual browsing onFoodgawker brought me to pause at  these Egyptian Date Crescents that I instantly fell in love with for, I hardly find eggless pastry based desserts that easily. This blog hopping then led to twitter connection.

In the words of Penny de Los Santos whose workshop I recently attended and have been catching myself quoting only her quotes ever since, “Facebook is for those you already know and twitter is for those who you want to know“. Well said.

What are tweets meant for? And that is how I got to know Lynn (@LynnLawandi on twitter) was looking out for someone to guest post while she is moving in and out of condos. Happy to help I was and so was Lynn and that is how this special post has come alive. Lynn has quite a few egg-less desserts like Good old-fashioned Apple Pie, Pear Caramel Ice cream, Plum TarteTatin to name a few.

Over the years, reasons might have changed, but Summer has remained very dear to me. During the pre-teen years, summer was all about a precious vacation with my parents, the only solid three-month long time I would get to spend with them during the entire year. Summers those days were carefree, irrespective of how scorching the sun decided to be. Strolling through mango and guava orchards occasionally helping myself to a few, in a small village in a remote corner of the Karnataka map then seemed like the best way to spend the afternoons. Those were the good old days.

Golden memories are seldom remade. But we sure can create new ones so they turn golden as the years roll. Amidst such teeny whims and fancies this year among all others, summer is special to me for reasons green. My interest in gardening peaked out of the blue off late and the balcony container garden that I expanded during early spring of this year has started showing prolific results. I’m excited more than I can word(ex)press about growing my own herbs – parsley flat and curled, chives, thyme or mint. A realization however late it might seem is yet so true – there’s no greater satisfaction than growing your own silly garden.

The best produce is one that we harvest from our own gardens tended with our very own hands. No supermarket produce stands tall in front of it.

So, now when I want some of the herbs that I normally don’t frequently use but still need occasionally, all I have to do is step out of the door wide open to the balcony and feel the joy abound.

Similar is the joy of cooking with farmer’s market fresh vegetables.

Given the fresh vegetables and herbs, I couldn’t miss thinking about making a hearty pasta and vegetable soup. Since the day I accidentally made this once, I must’ve made it umpteen times and yet never really came to think of sharing with you.

So, it felt like the right time to introduce this recipe to you through this guest post for Lynn.

Of the first few times I made this soup without any pasta, we were left wanting for something more to it. Adding pasta, especially a tricolored one makes the soup filling on one hand and complements the vibrant colors of the vegetables on the other. Conchas (pasta shells) are one of my favorites and the tiny floral variant is loved by my little one.

This soup is as simple as can be. Few simple ingredients and straightforward procedure. There’s not much required of you, all that needs to be done, the hot stove will do for you.

Just as it looks, the soup is light and healthy yet hearty brimming with the fresh flavor of vegetables, garlic and parsley.

Now tell me, what is your favorite soup?

Pasta and Vegetables Soup Recipe

Printable Recipe

Things you’ll need:

  • 1/2 -3/4 cup pasta of your choice (i used tricolor shells and flower shaped macaroni pasta)
  • 2 slender zucchini, sliced to 1/4″ rounds
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ rounds (I used rainbow variety)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2-3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried or few sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt
  • ground pepper
  • water

How it’s done:

Chop the carrots into oblong slices. If the celery stalk is broader towards the end, slit it by running your knife through the center and then chop.

Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough or begins to shimmer, add minced garlic and sauté for a bit, followed by dried parsley if using, chopped onion and celery and sauté until onion and celery appear translucent. Add the remaining chopped vegetables, salt and ground pepper and give it a good stir. Add enough and more water to cover vegetables well and bring to a boil.

Now add the pasta and simmer covered for 10-12 mins until vegetables and pasta are cooked al-denté. Adjust the seasoning for taste and garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if using.

Serve hot with whole wheat crackers or toast on the side.

Note: The tiny floral pasta is usually available in the international foods section of any grocery store

Guest Post: Strawberry Radish Tartare for Two

At the moment I’m surrounded by boxes, trying to figure out what goes where. Moving can be incredibly overwhelming, but thankfully another kind blogger has offered to help me out. 

Kristel of Kristel’s Kitchen has graciously written a great guest post for me. I actually had the pleasure of meeting her last night in real life at a Montreal Dishcrawl. My first impressions of Kristel are that she’s kind, fun, and passionate about food. I hope you enjoy her guest post and her blog as much as I do!



 

For those of you who don’t know me (or haven’t read my blog), I recently did a raw⁄living food cleanse. Though I am and always will be a true omnivore, there are certain aspects of the rawfoodism that I have decided to keep as part of my lifestyle, in an overall attempt to achieve balance and just feel better overall. In a nutshell, my objective is to be 60% rawfoodist and 40% omnivore. But you know, sometimes foie gras can taste just as good as a hot dog.

I chose this recipe because it is a simple, elegant, fresh and raw appetizer that fits perfectly with warm summer evenings that each day are getting closer and closer. I called it a tartare, because we are in Montreal and that is how we like to call things when they are served raw.

Strawberry Radish Tartare for Two

§    2 tbsp red onion, diced

§  1⁄2 cup strawberries, diced

§  1⁄2 cup radishes, julienned

§  1⁄2 cup cucumber, diced

§  1⁄2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

§  1 tbsp grape seed oil (because it is a bit more neutral in flavour but olive oil is fine)

§  Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Begin by dicing the red onion, strawberries and cucumbers. You want to take the time to cut these ingredients into a small dice. To julienne the radishes, simply slice the radishes and slice again into a small matchstick. You can also dice the radish but I like playing with different types of cut. It adds a sense of whimsy to the dish. Combine the diced strawberries and vegetables in a mixing bowl with the sea salt, the balsamic vinegar, the oil and some freshly ground pepper to taste. You can prep the ingredients ahead of time but wait until no more than 30 minutes prior to serving to combine the salt, pepper, balsamic and oil. If the mixture macerates for too long, the salt and vinegar will extract too much water from the strawberries and the vegetables.

Now, moving on to plating! You do not need any special tools to achieve the shape you see in the picture. Just rummage through your cupboards and look for a ramekin, cookie cutter, small cup, jar or dish that you can use to shape the tartare for serving. You can always just skip this step and using a spoon simply pile-up the tartare in the center of the plate. If using a mould, make sure you firmly pack the mixture and avoid spooning in too many juices. Unmould the tartare onto a plate, garnish with a mint leaves and stare at your creation like the pro that you are!

Pop-open a bottle of rosé wine and get ready to enjoy the long summer evenings ahead!

A toast goes out to Lynn from I’ll have what she’s having for inviting me to share a recipe of my own on her wonderful blog. Thank you!

Guest Post: Beef Stroganoff

Once again, a very kind blogger has come to my rescue with a great guest post. Sawsan, AKA The Food Doctor, from Chef in Disguise has written a great guest post. Chef in Disguise is full of wonderful recipes from around the world, and most come with stories of family and friendship. It’s a pleasure to read, and I’m so glad Sawsan has taken the time to share this post here!

Beef Stroganoff

The Food Doctor

Beef stroganoff  to me is more than tender strips of beef and mushroom cooked in a cream sauce. It  comes with a set of memories. It is one of the first dishes that “converted” my husband to a mushroom lover (though he still wouldn’t admit it). You see, my husband had a long list of things he wouldn’t even try, mushrooms were on the top of the list followed by okra, eggplant and red beans to name a few.

I personally loved mushrooms and was not ready to omit it from my menu without a fight.

I started making dishes with ingredients my husband loved and sneaking in the mushrooms, it didn’t work at first but slowly and I mean SLOWLY things began to change. Straganoff was actually the first dish (that contains mushrooms) that huzz asked me to make.

You can make this with cooking cream instead of my version with stock and heavy cream but I find mine slightly lighter. I love the addition of oregano, I think it does beautifully with both mushroom and beef. If you have never tried the oregano mushroom before, I urge you to  give it a try but if you have something against oregano please feel free to omit it. It is entirely optional.

I usually serve stroganoff with rice or pasta (fettucini is my favorite) but I know people who love it with noodles, fries or a good slice of bread. It is entirely up to your taste .

Beef stroganoff

250 gm Beef cut into strips

2-3 tablespoons vinegar

Salt

Pepper

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 can of mushrooms (you can use fresh)

1 onion chopped

1 tablespoons flour

3 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon mustard

1 tablespoon soya sauce

125 gm heavy cream

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Add the vinegar to the beef, toss to coat and set aside (This will tenderize the meat and add a hint of sourness)

Melt the butter and then add the olive oil to the pan.

Drain the beef strips season with salt and pepper,add them to the pan and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.

Push the meat to one side of the pan, add the onions to the empty space.

Stir the onions occasionally for 2 minutes then add the mushrooms, saute for 5 minutes

Add the flour and stir till it begins to change color to slight golden, add the chicken stock , allow to come to  gentle boil .

Add the mustard, soya sauce  and oregano then lower the heat stirring occasionally.

When the mix starts to thicken,add the heavy cream and stir to combine, cook for 5-7 minutes.

Guest Post: For The Love of Cookies!

In my last post I mentioned that I’m looking for people to guest post, as I’ve been incredibly busy lately. I didn’t really think anyone would volunteer, but I underestimated the kindness of food bloggers. Almost immediately Marnely of Cooking With Books sent me a message offering to help.

Marnely is a blogger I discovered through the magic of Twitter (follow her @nella22). I’ve only just recently “met” her, but can already tell that she is a kind, generous and fun person. You can see from her blog and her choice of career that she is also very passionate about food and has lots to share. I hope you enjoy her guest post as much as I did!

For the Love of Cookies!

Marnely of Cooking with Books

 I’d love to say I have great memories of my Cookies, Tarts and Mignardises class at the CIA. Baking cookies all day and taking boxes to share with roommates, what was not to love? I’ll tell you what: the homework! We were sent every day with a tray of labeled cookies to taste test. About 20 cookies a day, for the first week of the class, that’s 100 cookies in a week. You might be thinking, oh I wish I had that homework! No darling readers, you don’t. It gets old, FAST.

Day One, you were excited, “Oh cookies! Yum!” and wouldn’t even share with your roommate.
Day Two was, “Oh…cookies. Ok, let’s get this over with!”
Day Three, “Hey Roommate, you want to taste these cookies and tell me your thoughts?”
Day 3 and 4, the roommate (a cook, not a baker) would eat your cookies and help.
Day 5, you did the unthinkable. Remember wine tasting and spit buckets? Yeah, I’ll spare you the details.
That my friends, is the life of a baking and pastry student in culinary school. On Pie day in Baking Techniques, we took home 8 pies each. Good thing the CIA is visited by more than a million tourists a year, so as I walked out of class I handed them pies, cakes, cookie boxes, chocolates and candies. We feared the Freshman 15, which turned out to be more like the Freshman 22 for me.
Well, back to this post for Lynn. I wanted to share a simple but great tea cake recipe. Financiers are commonly confused with pastries but they are actually French cakes typically made in rectangular molds. Their flavor is based on both almond flour and the browned butter in it. Since berry season is approaching, this is a great way to showcase your berries! Serve with whipped cream on the side and enjoy with your afternoon tea or coffee.
Financier

Photo Credit: The Culinary Institute of America
8.2 oz Almond flour
6 oz Sugar
1.5 oz Cornstarch
Pinch Salt
6 oz. Egg whites
2 oz. Honey
5 oz Brown Butter
Raspberries or blueberries, frozen
1.      Melt butter in small sauce pan and continue to heat until the butter reaches a light brown color. Cool.
2.      Combine the almond flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl.
3.      Whisk egg whites gently, only until frothy. Add to dry ingredients and then stir in the honey.
4.      Stream in the brown butter and incorporate.
5.      Pipe into silicone molds and garnish with a berry before baking.
6.      Bake at 375 F, until edges are golden brown.