9/29/2015

pasta with caramelized onions, peas and parsley

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Quick confession: this recipe (and probably some of the next few, and definitely the one previous) were made when I was still a resident of New Jersey. After we made the decision to move and we got deep into packing mode, I doubled up on planning and recipes and photos because everyone knows the hardest room to pack is the kitchen. And technically we should have started there, but I clung to my pots and pans, deeming each weird tool necessary and crucial until the last week, when we finally gave in to paper plates and takeout. Moving is weird like that. And if cooking is your calming method and you don't get to do it, particularly during a very stressful time of your life (yep, right between death and divorce), you can imagine just what I was like the closer we got to moving day. Something like this.


So the cure for stress in most forms is comfort food, so I hear. I don't really think vegetarians tend to partake in this kind of stuff, but I could be wrong. Unless you eat dairy and could go with the mac and cheese standby, which is just the ticket every time. But in general, I think meat and potatoes people tend to win out when it comes to food wrapping you up in a giant, warm hug. Me, I like my food to give me a nice, affirming pat on the back and nothing more. Kind of like, "Good job, this is definitely going to sustain you later for your run/read/nap/whatever." I like my food to have a clear purpose.


But sometimes, yes sometimes, you can have it both ways. Yes, you can have a healthy dinner and a bowl of comfort-y love all at once. Enter: caramelized onions. So sure, you have to be an onion person to feel comforted by them. And you have to have a lot of patience to get them to that gooey-sweet point. But if neither of those things deter you, then say hello to your go-to dinner. Good for a weekend or when you have a little more time on a weeknight, I dare you to feel any sort of stress while this is sitting in front of you.


For this recipe, you will need:

5-7 medium onions, any color, thinly sliced**
1/2 pound whole wheat linguine (or another hearty shape)
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh (or frozen) green peas
2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegan butter)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt

**Does this seem like a lot? Okay, maybe. But if you're going to go through the time and trouble of caramelizing onions, you might as well make some extra to add to tomorrow night's meal or the next days crusty bread or on top of some homemade hummus. You will thank me later.

Start by heating a large cast iron skillet over low-medium heat. Think low and slow when it comes to caramelizing. If you get the onions hot too fast, they'll only burn, and nobody wants that. Once the pan is hot, add your olive oil or vegan butter and spread evenly over the surface. Next, drop your onions into the pan and stir them gently to get them evenly coated. Now? Time to wait. Check on your onions every five to ten minutes, but you don't want to constantly stir. You'll see a noticeable breakdown happening, but try to be patient and not move them around too much.

When they're about halfway through (or after about 15 minutes), you can get your pasta water boiling. It's tough to time it exactly right, but you want to have your pasta cooked just about when the onions are ready. When your onions are dark and smelling a-m-a-z-i-n-g, or at about this point:


You can now add your vinegar and a few generous pinches of salt. This will help to deglaze all that sugar on the pan. Scrape your onions together, rounding up on all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When the pasta is ready, toss together with a generous heaping of caramelized onions, fresh parsley and gently cooked peas. Top with another pinch of salt (or cheese) and fresh pepper. It's a bowl of sweet, fresh and savory, all at once.

Want something else to keep you warm?


9/22/2015

some scones and some news

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Well, it's official. This is green girl eats, Colorado-edition! 

In case you missed my subtle hint from a few weeks ago, here is is: I moved! Or rather, we moved. And fine, maybe it wasn't that subtle. Cute Colin and I tucked Seymour into a crate meant for a 75-pound dog, loaded all of our stuff into a 16-foot moving van (which is amazing for two reasons, 1. that everything we own fits in a 16-foot moving van and 2. that we also have enough stuff to fill a 16-foot moving van. I guess living will do that to you) and hit the road. 


For 34 hours, to be exact. Sure, we spent a few of them sleeping fitfully in parking lots, but most of this time we were behind the wheel, trucking along through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and, finally, Colorado. Part of me just wanted to quit at the border. That was the point, right? Just to make it there? We have to keep going? 

We kept going. We made it here sometime Monday evening on the 14th (I started to lose track of time by then) and we're here to stay. 


I keep referring to New Jersey as "back home" which I probably will for awhile and I've been trying to write something about this whole process since we decided to go for it in the first place, but I guess you can't force these things. What you can do, however, through writer's block and big change and adapting to a new kitchen, is bake. Here's a pretty slammin' scone recipe I put together back before we traversed the midwest. I had a few blueberries frozen from an overzealous picking trip, but fresh will work, too.


For this recipe, you'll need:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat graham flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup coconut oil, solid
¾ cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium bananas)
¼ cup almond milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together your flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt until evenly combined, about 10 pulses. Add your coconut oil and pulse another 10 times until you've achieved a coarse dough and there are no visible lumps. Transfer your mixture to a wide bowl. Fold in your blueberries and then form a well in the center of your ingredients.


In a smaller bowl, whisk together your mashed banana, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Pour your liquid into the well in your dry ingredients and quickly fold in until your dough comes together. Transfer your dough onto a well-floured surface and quickly shape into a flattened round about 1 to 1 1/12 inches thick.

Using a pastry cutter, cut into triangles and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes (rotating halfway through) or until lightly browned at the top and on the edges.


The best way I can think to describe these guys is hearty. They're warm and textured and will probably make a perfect breakfast once the mornings start turning cold here. Any excuse to turn the oven on, right?

More food and CO unfolding-as-home news soon! In the meantime, more recipes: