The Dinner Dance

Tonight my little friend engaged in the “dinner dance”. The dinner dance happens between the hours of 7 pm and 9 pm, at which time she is actually fed. Literally, if I readjust on couch, yawn, turn a page or make any movement of any kind Izzy goes running to the kitchen making all kinds of noise. She leaps from precarious positions just to get a bite of food.

Exhibit A: Notice the open mouth, indicating loud complaining.

Exhibit B: trying to guilt me into giving her food.

I did manage to make a nice dinner despite the little distraction nipping at my heels. I wanted comfort pasta so I constructed a red sauce with roasted tomatoes, EVO, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes.I cooked the onion and garlic and mashed the tomato.

And the final product:

Yum. It hit the spot. I used the leftover Tagliarelle. I generally eat brown pasta (unless I make it myself) so having white for a change was nice. I love putting red pepper flakes in pasta sauce. It gives it that little extra spice.

I also had roasted Brussels sprouts, broccoli and the last of my leftover butternut squash.

No dinner in my apartment is complete without some roasted veggies!

Hope you had a good Monday! Mine was kinda blah but I used my universal cure to raise my spirits:

I’m still a believer. A manicure can cure anything. Don’t you agree?

Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli

Since tonight is my first weekend night off in forever I decided to make something new and fantastic for dinner! Confession time: Butternut squash is my new obsession. It is so fall like. This girl might not be able to get a cider doughnut but at least I can have butternut squash.

I started by peeling and cutting up the rest of the remaining butternut squash. I roasted the whole thing and saved some for later.

I roasted the butternut squash with olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. I cannot get enough of this honey! I used less honey than last time and it gave the squash a light, sweet flavor that complimented the taste nicely.

Mix it up and roast at 425. Keep an eye on it. I think I left it in for about 35 mins.Once you remove it from the oven set aside a half cup or so of the squash and refrigerate the rest.

Time to get cracking on the dough! I used Jenna’s recipe because it only had three ingredients and was simple. Since it’s my first time making my own pasta I didn’t want to be too crazy.

Use a 3/4 cup of flour and a pinch of salt, make a volcano with the flour and put the egg inside.

Start to gently work the dough with your fingers and work it until it is in a ball.

Put in a bowl, cover with a damp towel and set aside for 45 mins.

Take a break, put on some music, check on your squash.

The squash should come out before the dough. I also sauteed garlic and onions. I added it to the butternut squash and mashed it up.

Set this aside and dig into your dough! Flour the counter and your rolling pin and roll it out really thin.

Cut the dough into strips and put butternut squash on the dough.

Take the squares and put their tops on, use a fork and compress on all sides.

Boil water and cook until the pasta rises.

While the pasta was cooking I made a simple butter sauce. I took 2 tsp. of butter and browned it with pine nuts. Put the ravioli on the plate and pour the butter on top of the pasta. Grate Parmesan cheese on top and enjoy!

I was worried that this wasn’t going to be a big enough serving but it wound up being quite the hearty portion. I love the browned butter sauce with parm. It is so easy to make especially since you’re already making a multi-step dinner with homemade pasta. The pasta itself was pretty good considering it was so simple. I am left wondering how hard it would be to make other kinds of pasta. I may have to try that soon! And the butternut squash? There are no words. I am in love and my new boyfriends name is ‘butternut’.

Butternut squash is a beautiful thing.

Fall Favorites

Today was chilly in Los Angeles. It was only 65 degrees. Ha. Since that’s about as cold as its going to get until January I should enjoy it while it lasts. I shouldn’t complain, but this Chicago and Boston girl misses this….

Source

I want a cider doughnut like you wouldn’t believe! If any Angelinos can help a sister out with a cider doughnut recommendation it would be greatly appreciated.

Today I settled for butternut squash ravioli in a browned butter sauce with pine nuts. I got the ravioli from Cookbook in Echo Park. I boiled the pasta for about three mins while I melted and browned the butter. After I put the butter into the sauce pan I put pine nuts in to toast slightly. Then I combined the pasta and the butter.

The squash was so good! The only minus of this dish was that the pasta part got mushy before I started cooking it. I’m not sure why the pasta was so mushy and it broke apart the instant I put the pasta in the water but it was still good and totally satisfied one of my fall cravings.

For lunch today I had another seasonal favorite, beet salad with lentils and goat cheese.

I did not make this. I had dinner at Clementine last night, spied this in the case and simply couldn’t resist it.

Could you? I love the bright colors!

Three cheers for seasonal foods!

Linguine with Eggplant Puree

Since it is vacation week I have been trying to really step up my cooking. Tonight I adapted a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, a beautiful food blog! I’ve never made a recipe from Smitten Kitchen but I often salivate while reading her posts. Def check it out if you haven’t already. I love eggplant so this recipe was an easy choice.

First things first, you have to roast cherry tomato, egg plant and garlic. Chop up the eggplant and tomato and add S&P, red pepper flakes, and EVO. 400 degrees for 54 mins…

While doing that put a generous handful of pine nuts in a dish and put on the bottom rack of the oven for 5 mins.

I present before:

and now for after:

I highly recommend NOT skipping this step. Toasting the pine nuts really makes all the difference.

While all of this is going on, cook the pasta in salted water. It’s all about the multitasking people. Tonight I found a bag of linguine I didn’t now that I had so I used that. Side note: not a huge fan of trader joe’s linguine. It gets very mushy very fast. It was still ok but mushy pasta isn’t my favorite.

When the eggplant and tomato and garlic is done roasted combine it in the food processor. Smitten Kitchen warmed of the sauce not getting “saucey” enough. Probably due to the amount of tomatoes I roasted. Well mine was pretty saucey so I only pulsed the processor a few times.

Then transfer to the pot you used for boiling the pasta and add a small amount of balsamic vinegar and some pasta water. Add the pine nuts.

Then add Parmesan cheese. Heat and mix, then add the pasta.

Now I will admit that roasted eggplant isn’t exactly the prettiest thing on earth, but I love eggplant and thus I highly enjoyed this dish.

Final product:

I have to say, if you like eggplant, you will like this. The red pepper flakes add a little zing and the toasted pine nuts really stand out in this dish. I loved it, and a very easy sauce to make!

I will make this again but I will likely use a different pasta. Stay tuned for another EPIC dinner tomorrow night!

Classic Pesto

Today while walking through the farmer’s market I was drawn to something that I couldn’t resist.

Who can say no to a bundle of pesto? Not me! I decided it would be nice to makes some classic pesto. Pesto is a great sauce/spread and it’s super easy to make. You can “wing” pesto which I like because I am not a super precise cook.

First I got together my ingredients.

Pine nuts

Minced garlic from 2 cloves

EVO

Parm. Make sure that it is from a block people. There is a difference between pre-grated and from a block. From a block is much better plus it’s an arm workout.

Put the parm to the side and combine all the other ingredients with S&P in the food processor. I like to start with less than more especially when it comes to the garlic. Unless, of course, you want it super garlickey.

Mix it up! The more you mix the better. Do a taste test, add more garlic or pine nuts or EVO if you want to. Once you like the flavor then you can add the parm.

Mix it up until the parm is combine. While mixing it pour yourself a nice glass of this…

While I was making the pesto I made pasta and roasted some eggplant to add with the pesto.

Yum! It’s been a while since I had fresh pesto and this was such a treat! I made two portions so I can have an easy lunch tomorrow after my run. Tonight I am going out for birthday drinks at Varnish, a speakeasy-ish bar in Downtown LA that I have been dying to go to for months! Love birthdays, you can go for drinks where ever you want!

Buitoni Riserva Ravioli

Tonight I had a treat…

Before I blog, full disclosure: I got this ravioli for free, but my opinions are completely my own and are in no way swayed by the fact that it was free.

With that being said, I do love Buitoni. Whenever we had pasta growing up it was Buitoni, so I have fond memories of eating raw pasta while my mother cooked. I also love how easy and quick Buitoni is to make.

The I decided to make a sauce. I didn’t really have a concrete plan. I just kinda went for it.

Whoops, blurry shot! This has tomato, zuke, garlic, s&p, oregano, red onion and scallions. Let cook over medium heat and watch to tomato reduce.

Then I added in the pasta and of course decided to top it off with cheese.

The sauce turned out shockingly well considering I winged it. I would probably make this sauce again. The oregano was a really nice flavor and fresh tomato is really nice in contrast with the tomato paste I typically add to pasta sauce.

As for the pasta? Delicious. I generally don’t love packaged cheese ravioli. I have a thing against ricotta. Its the one cheese I just don’t love. This pasta was totally different though. I could barely taste the ricotta and the texture was not ricotta esque which made me a very happy camper.

Man do I love pasta.

Assembly Required

Today’s lunch required some assembly…

Don’t you just love leftovers? It makes lunch so much easier. I just had to slice some tomato this morning and I was all ready for work. I noticed that I had gotten into buying my lunch far too often. This way I can save money and have something delicious to eat.

Ezekiel bread, goat cheese, tomato, and leftover salmon cakes. The salmon cakes made for a delightful and very hearty sandwich.

Much better than the typical wheat sandwich that I’ve been getting weekly with stale bread.

After work I ran 5 miles! I haven’t started 1/2 marathon training yet, but I’m feeling pretty confident about it. All a 1/2 marathon really is is the loop that I typically run about three times. I can’t do it right now, but if I work on upping my mileage and taking it slow I should be able to do it.

For dinner I had whole wheat pasta with broccoli, red onion and goat cheese. The recipe calls for ricotta but I really don’t like ricotta (its the only cheese I don’t love). Goat cheese was a wonderful substitute.

Yep, it was a hungry girl portion…

I deserve it after the long run. Tomorrow’s dinner will be a major treat! I am finally checking out Taste which I have heard is amazing. Can’t wait!

My Fridge Runneth Over

My fridge is packed ya’ll! Tons of farmers market finds, some awesome fruit salad (thank you Danielle) and I have things from Catie’s house from over the weekend. I started to dent it tonight with…

Butternut squash in balsamic vinegar sauce (gently brown butter with pine nuts or walnuts, once the butter is brown add balsamic and cheese). This is a single serving.

Hummus and 1/2 a red pepper…

Purple potato cheese crisps. I nicked this recipe from Tina but switched it up with goat cheese and purple potatoes. I these were pretty good but I would love to try them with sweet potatoes in the future. BTW- these are baked, and oh so delicious. See we don’t have to fry things for them to be tasty.

Tonight I caught “Losing it with Jillian” and killed a run. It was an awesome run! Def made up for a lazy run on Saturday. Can’t wait for the race on Sunday!

Barefoot Mac and Cheese

As a first day of work present to myself I prepared mac and cheese. I have a well documented love of cheese and pasta! The both together is always amazing. I used a recipe from Barefoot Contessa but I altered it. I used her Lobster Mac and Cheese recipe as a base, but at the end when you add lobster I added veggies instead. I also used some Barefoot tips and tricks with varying degrees of success. Obviously I started by boiling brown pasta. I utilized Barefoot Tip #1: add olive oil to the pasta water so the pasta doesn’t stick.

This was a successful experiment! None of my pasta stuck which means that this is a success. While the pasta was boiling I took gruyere and cheddar and cut them up. Instead of the arm workout of grating cheese I attempted to use Barfoot tip #2: putting the cheese in the food processor to cut it. Ummm, not so successful:

the picture of fail

I think it was because of the consistency of the cheese. Maybe it was too mushy? Well, moving on. I heated a 1/4 pint of milk in a sauce pan while I melted a 1/4 cup of butter in another pan with a little bit of flour.

butter mixture

the milk pan

and then we combine! This, according to Ina, is a traditional white sauce. I kept the heat on low and added nutmeg (which I ground with my Microplane, a product I love), pepper, salt, and the cheese. Then I mix and let melt.

This is where we separate from Ina and add our favorite things. I added tomato, broccoli, and leeks. Note: tonight I made this again and instead I used sundried tomato, leeks, arugula, and thyme!

Mix it up and put it in an oven safe container, cook at 350 for 30-35 mins. Barefoot suggests adding a breadcrumb crumble but I bypassed this.

Yum! I only ate about 1/2 of the pasta and saved the rest for a later time. What can I say, I was full!

This recipe is for sure a keeper. Barefoot never does me wrong.

I finally meet a cookie I don’t like


So there is this awesome farmer’s market near my work where there is a mix of made to order food AND veggies and fruits. Plus, its next to the Coffee Bean. Score! I got a ton or arugula for 95 cents and a thing of raspberries. I cannot wait to make oatmeal tomorrow. So anyways, I hit Coffee Bean and got some veggies and then I bought these cookies for $1. Um, not my favorite. I actually only had one of these thin cookies. They were pretty flavorless and also very chewy, but chewy like a store bought cookie. Well, we can’t win them all. There were some great roasted nuts. Next time I will get those for sure!

After work I had happy hour and then went on a run. I made sure I stretched my hip out before starting my run. I did pigeon, butterfly and a few other yoga poses. I stopped my run a little early because I could feel my hip. After I stretched again. I feel ok now but we will see tomorrow. Yoga will be a must do this weekend. I also made this delicious pasta. Basic homemade tomato sauce with roasted broccoli and eggplant. I also added some of the arugula. Yum.

and crap. I’m hungry again. Why am I such a beast today? Night!