Linguini with Caramelized Fennel

There are two things that I love: fennel and anything caramelized.

Don’t act surprised. Fennel has a licoricey flavor. Caramelizing involves cooking something in butter for an extended period of time. What NOT to love?

You may have noticed that it’s been a while since I’ve featured a pasta dish on the blog. I love me some pasta but I ate a great deal of quinoa while marathon training and I still am eating a great deal of it. However, the other day I came home from school and was just craving a big bowl of pasta. I blame the cooler weather and the impending rain. It makes me want to carb load. But then again, everything makes me want to carb load.

It’s been a while since I’ve cooked something truly blog worthy. I blame law school. I’m taking some really interesting classes but I have 4 exams and a 35 page paper all staring me down in December. What was I thinking!? Finals prep normally lasts for about a month and my fear of how much work I have to do have motivated me to start earlier than usual.

Finals are starting to get to me. Like today. I did laundry. I washed, dried and folded it before I realized that I neglected to add detergent. Seriously people. Sometimes I wonder about myself.

In any case! My meals have been roasted veggies and quinoa -> boring. Hopefully I can make some bloggable meals in the next few weeks. I promise to try!

Linguini with Caramelized Fennel

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 servings of brown linguini (portion determined per package directions)

2 tbs unsalted butter

1 blub of fennel, sliced length wise

1 can diced, unsalted tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup red wine

1 head of broccoli

Goat Cheese

Oregano

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

Cook pasta in salted pasta water. When the pasta is halfway done cooking add the broccoli to the boiling water. Drain and set aside once al dente.

Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Add the sliced fennel. Stir gradually at a low heat until the fennel softens.

It might take a while. Add a pinch of salt and pepper while stirring.

Once the fennel has softened add the garlic until fragrant. It should only take minute.

Then add the can of diced tomatoes and red wine. Turn the heat up.

Let the sauce cook until it has reduced a little. Add more salt and pepper. Add the oregano. Stir frequently.

Add the pasta and the broccoli to the mix and combine well with the pasta. Serve in a bowl with a big dollop of goat cheese on top.

The fennel really serves as a substitute for onion and I really like it. The sauce isn’t anything too different than usual but I loved mixing it up with fennel. I really like a simple diced tomato and red wine sauce. I added the goat cheese on a whim at the last moment but it the perfect way to top the pasta. The noodles were warm and melted the goat cheese. Melted goat cheese on pasta? Yes! All day everyday!

How was your weekend? Considering finals, mine still managed to be pretty fun.

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Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo

Seeing as I started the summer with a delicious orzo salad, roasted shrimp orzo, I figured I should end the summer with one. I broke open a cookbook I got for my birthday from my Mom.

So far, this cookbook is great! I love the recipes (there are a ton) and the saucy commentary with the recipes. This one was pretty simple. I subbed the mozzarella for feta because it’s what I had on tap. This recipe took literally no thought to put together and was great cold the next day. We had a mini heat wave last week with temps in the 90’s. Having no AC, a cold lunch was necessary. I couldn’t bear to turn on the oven.

Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo Salad

Ingredients

3 servings of orzo

1/8 cup chopped basil

1/8 cup EVO

1 tablespoon EVO

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (I used orange and yellow ones from the FM)

1 small minced clove of garlic

1 cup crumbled feta

Sprinkling of pepper and sea salt

Instructions

Combine the halved tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, feta, and 1/8 cut EVO in a bowl. Stir and let sit for 1 hour. This was great because it allowed me to get a post run shower in. Wahoo!

After an hour, cook the orzo. Combine the cooked orzo with the other ingredients and the additional tablespoon of EVO. Salt and pepper to taste.

Seriously, can a meal get any easier? I don’t think so. The tomatoes were so fresh and amazing, because they’re in season now. The feta melted just slightly onto the orzo and the basil. Be still my heart it was so good! Is there a better flavor combination than tomatoes and basil? Nope.

This makes three servings. With my marathon appetite I housed a serving and a half and chilled the other portion for lunch the next say. As I mentioned above, it was so hot that the chilled portion came in extra handy. I don’t think I would have heated it up if I could have; it was great cold like all orzo salads. This is something I can see myself making in mass for several days worth of lunches.

One Year Ago: I set my 10k PR in the Santa Monica 5000. It was also the race that introduced me to Kaitlin! Isn’t running wonderful?

Let me Tempeh you

I’m sorry this title is terrible but I just couldn’t help myself.

Last week I got back to being adventurous in the kitchen by cooking tempah for the first time. You might be asking yourself, “What is tempeh?” Well, let me inform you!

Tempeh is a soy based product originally from Indonesia. It is much firmer than tofu which I like because the consistency of tofu has always kept me from truly loving it. I’ve had tempeh numerous times at Real Food Daily and I see it frequently in Trader Joe’s so I decided it was time to give it a try.

For my first recipe I adapted something I found in a new to me cookbook:

I received the other Heidi Swanson cookbook for Christmas last year from a friend and I love it so when I received an amazon gift card in August I immediately knew I wanted to get her other cookbook.

And no, I do not have pomegranate glaze on hand in my apartment. Luckily Heidi provides with substitutions. I also subbed in purple potatoes for butternut squash. I also halved the recipe.

Ingredients:

1/2 package of tempeh

3 small eggplants (or 1/2 a long Asian eggplant)

3 purple potatoes, diced

1/2 a lemon worth of zest

1 clove of garlic

Sprinkling of red pepper flakes

1/8 cup maple syrup

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

To start, I diced the potatoes, eggplant, and tempeh making sure that they were around the same size.

As you can tell, I had a purple dinner. Maybe because College Football Season is starting? Yes. Showing my Northwestern pride.

Chop it up and stack it onto a baking sheet with a rim. Add lemon zest on top.

Then I combined the maple syrup, olive oil, and red pepper flakes together. Then mash the garlic into a paste with your knife and add that to the sauce.

Whisk it together and put it on top of the potato, tempeh and eggplant.

Spread into a single layer.

Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 mins. At the 25 min mark, take the pan out of the oven and move the food around. Stick it back into the oven and monitor it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Yum! Throw in a bowl and top with feta!

Holy carp this was good! The tempeh was delicious and sweet and SO filling. This is the perfect dinner for marathon training because tempeh is protein packed. I’ve been in a constant state of hunger the past month with marathon training and tempeh is great for me because I am too lazy to eat meat. I can’t wait til winter squash is in season so I can make this with butternut!

I hope you all had a great week. It’s been hot in LA (90 degrees today) so I tabled my long run until tomorrow. I’m feeling super run down tonight. I’m very hungry, I have a tension headache and I’m too tired to focus on my work. I think I’m going to head to bed early!

Have you tried tempeh before?