Wednesday, June 25, 2008

PPN: Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

Like I mentioned in my last blog post, I really am wanting to get interested in these blog events, so when I found out about Presto Pasta Nights, I was excited! Not only do I love love pasta, I'm moving on Saturday/Sunday and probably won't have time to cook until after the move. Since I made a big pot of these delicious noodles I'm thinking they should get me through the rest of the week and the weekend, unless some of my piggy roommates attack the pot (which actually wouldn't be very unlikely).

So these wonderful Presto Pasta Nights of delicious is the baby of Ruth from Once Upon A Feast but this week the event is being hosted by Hillary from Chew On That.

I found this recipe on The Food Network's website. It is one of Ina Garten's delicious dishes, that I can't help but have my mouth water when I even think of them. This was actually my first time cooking one of her dishes (or anything from The Food Network actually). I was impressed with how simple this dish was, but at the same time how much flavor the doctored up pesto sauce has. And the spinach and peas in the dish are good, because I really haven't been eating enough vegetables (oh yay young adult attempting to live on her own and cook for herself!)

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas
3/4 lbs of fuslli pasta
3/4 pound bow tie pasta
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto
1 (10-oz) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed ry
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

NOTES: Since I had a can of canned peas I used those instead of frozen peas. I just drained the water off of them first. And I sadly am grocery store stupid and too vain to ask for help from the sales people, so I have no idea where to get the pine nuts in my local Safeway. So I didn't have those in the dish. But I have to say, delicious!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WHB: Chunky Chicken Cacciatore

Being that I'm still completely new to this world of blogging, I wanted to do something that could get me in touch with some other food bloggers - so I figured I should participate in a round-up! As I was browsing around internet land last week I found the WHB,or the Weekend Herb Blogging. I decided I would pick one recipe this week to fit this challenge. Of course, that required some thinking about what exactly I wanted to make - like I've been saying, since I'm moving I'm really trying my best to avoid buying a lot of new food (especially since one of our friends moved out of his house and left a TON of food in our refrigerator and freezer so he wouldn't have to move it). After some careful consideration I decided I would make chicken cacciatore, from a recipe I found on All I needed to buy were the peppers and onions, with the rest of food waiting to be eaten in my pantry and fridge. And I am quite aware this meal just looks like mush, but it tasted good and while I do think presentation matters, flavor is definately more important to me. And after an hour and a half of cooking, I was just too hungry to care.

Considering the huge issue with the salmonella tainted tomatoes that has caused a huge problem as of late, I decided I would of course make a dish featuring tomatoes. However, I did use canned-stewed tomatoes, as that's what the recipe called for (and hey, I like to play it safe too). But I figured it would make a good post, with the issue on tomatoes and all. Apparently 228 have become ill from tomatoes. For some tips on safety in eating tomatoes, an article in the San Francisco Gate indicates the following:

On the do-not-eat list are raw red plum, red Roma or red round tomatoes, unless they were grown in specific states or countries that the FDA has cleared because they were not harvesting when the outbreak began or were not selling their tomatoes in places where people got sick.

Also safe are grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached. That is not because there is anything biologically safer about those with a vine but because the sick have assured investigators that is not the kind of tomato they ate.

I surely hope that the current tomato problem ends, because not getting tomatoes on my sandwiches at delis is quite upsetting. Though I assume getting food poisoning from a fruit would be the worse alternative.

For more information on WHB check out the rules here. To see other entries for WHB for the week of the 16th-22nd check out Joanna's Food after the weekend and see what other yummies people came up with!

Chunky Chicken Cacciatore (serves 4)


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-1/2 to 2-inch pieces)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans strewed tomatoes
3/4 tbsp light brown sugar


1. In a small bowl comine, flour, oregano, basil, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
2. In a large skilet heat olive oil an cook chicken until sides are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove chicken and set aside; add to skillet onion, peppers, garlic, and 1 tbsp oil. Saute 10-15 minutes, until tender.
4. Sprinkle with flour/spice mix while cooking. Add tomates with the juice and stir until bubbly.
5. Add brown sugar, continue to stir, add chicken to mixture. Cook 10-15 minutes on low heat.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

bakebakebake: Blueberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Despite the fact that I have finals this week and one tomorow morning at 8AM that I haven't completely studied for yet, I find much more joy in making a muffin than I do in studying for a Sociology of Law test, regardless of which may be more important. So since on livejournal's community bakebakebake the current contest for the month is to use berries in a baked good, I decided to make something that I could submit! I also of course wanted to create something my picky housemates would eat, so I had to make sure the baked good I chose wasn't too fruity, because these college students tend to really just enjoy boxed mixes of brownies and cupcakes. So I have to respect that if I want them to eat my yummies or else I'd be really fat. That's the one nice thing about being home with my parents as opposed to being at school.. My parents have a palate for things that aren't necessarily death by chocolate combinations.

Anyway, I found this specific recipe from Sarah at Cupcake Muffin, though she actually got this recipe from Bake or Break. I was pretty sure this was the right thing to bake for my group of friends since it combined a berry with something pretty overwhelmingly chocolatey. And of course, since I am such a nice soul I also threw together a batch of these without the blueberries and with only the chocolate. I will not be at all surprised if they are gone before I wake up tomorrow craving one, because that's how things in this house work.

Blueberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins


1 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup buter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

ADD-INS - your discretion
3/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oen to 375 degrees and grease one muffin tin.
2. Whisk together the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Then combine and stir together until just combined. Stir in the add-ins gently.
3. Divide batter between muffin cups and bake 20-22 minutes.

NOTES: Even though I went to the grocery store this morning to get the blueberries and the chocolate, I was under the impression we had vanilla extract in the house. Of course we didn't and when I was going to mix the wet ingredients together I came to that realization. After a quick sweep of our pantry I found some almond extract, which I replaced for the vanilla. It gave the muffins a mild nutty flavor which is actually quite enjoyable! I really like the almond flavoring and would probably make it with the almond again and not do vanilla.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mongolian Beef

I couldn't start my blog with juts a welcome post. I absolutely had to cook something, to share something. I have to say, I've definitely made food that has looked much prettier than the Mongolian Beef turned out looking, because it pretty much appears to be slop on top of some rice. However, the flavor was really good. I found this recipe from, a website I have found out about just recently, but it's pretty neat how you can search for recipes based on several different ingredients.

Basically, I'm moving out of my current house in less than a month because the lease is up. Since things are still kind of up in the air about where I'll be living I'm trying my best to get rid of the food I do have here. So for the Mongolian Beef, all I had to buy was the broccoli, as I had all the other ingredients laying around my kitchen.

So anyway, expect in the future posts of all kinds of food, dinners, baked goods, I'll do it all. I'm still learning and I know practice makes perfect. For the most part I'll be using other peoples' recipes because I still lack the amazing skills of being totally innovative (though the other day I did make some pretty bomb chicken without a recipe). But I hope this blog becomes a growing experience for me.

Mongolian Beef
1/2 lb round steak
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp Kikoman soy sauce
2 tsp sherry
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cups broccoli
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp sesame oil
garnish with sesame seeds about 1/2 tsp per serving

1. Slice steak thinly and place strips in a bowl. Add next 6 ingredients (through ginger). Stir and allow to stand, covered, while you prepare the rest of the dish.
2. Use a high flame, heat wok, or large frying pan. Add oil to hot pot and heat the oil. Add and stir fry the broccoli, cooking for a few minutes. Add chicken broth, cover, and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occassionally. Uncover, stir, and remove broccoli to another dish. Set aside.
3. Reheat pan; add small amount of oil and heat. Add beef and stir fry. Add broccoli, stir. Mix cornstarch and water, add to meat and broccoli. Cook until gravy thickens. Pour sesame oil over, stir well. Pour onto serving platter, garnish with sesame seeds.

NOTES: I found that the sauce in this recipe made such a small amount, I found myself dumping more sherry, soy sauce, and the rest of the stuff in to make what I felt was a more suitable amount. Also, the amount of time it said to cook the broccoli seemed short to me. After the 5 minutes my broccoli was still rock hard, so I cooked it longer until it was mushier, because I like my broccoli softer than I do harder.


For nearly as long as I can remember I've had some sort of internet journal, but never a blog. I've decided to start a food blog, as I've recently gotten into cooking and baking.


I'm a 21 year old college student.
My name is Elizabeth.
I go to UCSC. I'll be entering my 4th year in the fall.