Friday, April 20, 2012

Emory's Easy Cashew Lemon Pasta

So, I just made up this super easy, cashew-lemon cream sauce and my kid friekin' adores it, ate bowl after bowl of it two days in a row.  Hubby also loves it.  It's pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.

Emory's Cashew Lemon Pasta

For one pound of pasta:

1 ½  cups raw cashews
2 T Nutritional yeast
Zest of one organic lemon
About 1 c. of pasta water 
(Put aside at least 2 cups so you have enough to thin it out later)
A few grinds of fresh black pepper
Salt to taste--after you blend it up 
(Taste it first as the NT is salty, I find it doesn’t need more than a few grinds of sea salt or at most ¼ tsp salt)

While your pasta of choice is boiling (we used conchiglie rigate, my kiddo seems to love his shells! Farfalle, gemelli, penne, etc. would also be great) at about 5 or 6 minutes into the pasta boiling, go ahead and dip in your Pyrex measuring cup or even a coffee cup and grab about 2 cups of the pasta water and set it aside.

Put all the ingredients in a high speed blender (like a VitaMix, can you tell I love my new VitaMix?!?) or a food processor .  Blend or process on high speed about 30 seconds to 1 minute until the sauce is creamy and delish.  Taste for salt and add a bit if you feel it's necessary.  That's it! Your sauce will be ready before your pasta is even done boiling.

Drain your pasta and add sauce.  Add extra pasta water a little at a time to thin it out to desired consistency.  

That’s it! 


Emory planting Scarlet Runner Beans.  He feels about this happy eating the Cashew Lemon Pasta, too :-)

P.S. You can add anything you want to this sauce, just throw it in the food processor or blender with the other ingredients.  For example: cooked asparagus, raw tomatoes or leftover tomato sauce, raw greens (spinach, arugula, etc.), some olive oil, hot sauce, spices, curry, etc. whatever you feel like.

Here it is served over a bed of fresh, organic CSA Swiss chard & Beet Greens.  Highly recommend! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Champagne Salsa and The Hell Strip!

It's time!

 Cat-bombed Champagne Mangoes!

 These beauties are only available for a few weeks a year, and if you get a case of them, they are reasonable in price.  Get over to your local Whole Foods to get some!  They are also called "Ataulfo" mangoes, and my WF had a huge banner hanging out front to announce their arrival (which is totally appropriate for how delicious they are).  Do the rest of your shopping at Wegmans or TJ's or wherever you go first, though, so you aren't tempted to buy your regular items at WF.  (Wo)Man, is that store jacked up or what??  So not right.  But, they are one of the only places that carries cases of these mangoes for $13.  

 But, what do you do with a case of Champagne Mangoes??

 Slice them like so, scrape the fruit out of the peel kinda like you would an avocado, and enjoy!

I slice mine like this for eating, just scrape the fruit off with your teeth.
I also store the cubed & peeled fruit in my freezer for use in smoothies all year round, which is one reason why I need a whole case of them when they reappear in the spring.  Just finished the last of the frozen CM from last year, and it tasted as good as ever a full year out.  Freeze in individual portions in little zipper bags in your freezer, or even use little Chinese take-out containers, which is what I do.

Before you freeze it, use some of the fresh mango to make a super easy salsa:
Champagne Mango Salsa

Fruit from one champagne mango
1/4 onion, finely minced
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
about 1/2 cup of fresh tomatoes, halved (I used grape tomatoes since the big ones aren't in season yet)
1 Tablespoon of olive oil (I used Jalapeno Oil for kick) or use plain oil + 1 tsp fresh jalapeno, chopped
Squeeze of fresh lime juice if you have it! I didn't, unfortunately!
Salt + Pepper to taste

Combine everything in a bowl and serve. 

Oh, and mango is great in curries, the sweetness really tempers the spices and heat of a curry, so give it a try there as well.

And, if you are wondering about my gardening, I planted the Hell Strip on Sunday 4/15/12:
The Hell Strip is the area between the sidewalk and the curb and is known for it's highly exposed nature.  Hence, the adorable fencing around it to keep the seed stomping feet of persons and animals out :-)

If all goes as planned, we are going to have quite a show when the Hell Strip is in full swing.  

Here's to hoping!

How are you guys doing with your gardening and cooking?  What's brewing in your kitchens and soil??

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Garden Fazool, April 2012

And so it begins...

Scarlet Runner Bean (seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds).

And these ladies have taken up residence in what was last year's Tomato Garden.  I planted the rest of this garden yesterday (4/13/12) with the Scarlet Runners pictured above (back row, they will climb up the fence), and in the front row is Swiss Chard (planted on Thurs, 4/12/12).

Does anyone know what the ladies are?  I didn't start them from seed, I bought cheater plants.  

Here's a closer look at my cheaters!

That's cilantro behind, wanted to get some in the ground while it is still cool and I hadn't started any from seed.  Cilantro doesn't like it hot!

This is my other "garden" which needs significant amending in terms of soil (there are still asphalt chunks in it from an old driveway that used to be there!) gets the herbs since not much else really worked there last year.  So, this year it's The Herb Garden. Cheater cilantro is in place.

However, the little bit of Swiss Chard that did grow, the Lemon Thyme, Oregano and Parsley ALL overwintered!  You can't tell because it's been so dry here, but we did turn this garden over and added some of our compost, I know it doesn't look like it! 

Rainbow Chard from last year.


Rosemary blooming.

 Side beds.

Back yard.

And, in a notebook by my bed, lie the answers.

The new ladies are...artichokes!  And they look very happy so far.

So, The Artichoke Garden & The Herb Garden are planted.

I also have a bunch of things I am going to start from seed (planting tomorrow, hopefully), and stuff I am planting in-ground around the house, including the front yard and the "hell strip!"  I have to dig a new garden for my zucchini, too.

What new things are you guys growing this year? 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Devil Himself

 "Jamaica Hot Pepper." Just. Don't.

 And the spawn of Satan erupted from his womb, born again.

Do. NOT.

I just touched this hot pepper to my tounge to taste-test it. I usually just pop some in my mouth and chew.  THANK GOODNESS I DIDN’T DO THAT.

The gods must have been on my side tonight.

THIS IS THE HOTTEST HOT PEPPER I HAVE EVER TASTED.  It welted my lip (literally, my lip started to welt) where my tounge touched my lip, and is still burning my tounge, and it got on my hands (I didn’t wear gloves while cutting it, I usually don’t, even with jalapenos, because they never seem that hot to me) so that I keep burning myself even though I have washed my hands like six times.  No gloves, no glory.

My local Asian market is to blame.  I got about 24 of these devil peppers for $2.42. Coincidence? I think not.  I wouldn’t wish these on my worst enemy.

Any locals want to take 23 of the hottest hot peppers on the earth off my hands? The 24th one went into the trash. Yes, the trash and not the compost.  It was so hot I thought it might kill the microbes and any life in my compost.  Seriously.  And you guys probably know I love hot peppers, hot sauce, etc.  But not this devil.