Tag Archives: Parsley

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Parsley and Walnut Pesto, featuring roasted garlic

So…I haven’t posted anything in a while, do you forgive me? I was a little busy this summer with my internship, but I will try to never again leave you waiting for so long.

Although I will leave you waiting for the recipe due to my usual rambling, so here’s a preview of the actual purpose of this post.

I haven’t been able to check on the garden at my parent’s house very often this summer, but I do know it wasn’t quite as prosperous as last year. There was probably too much rain for some of the vegetables. We still got a lot of tomatoes and green beans, but practically no squash or cucumbers. It was a little sad. We attempted beets and carrots this year too, and it looks like we may have planted them too close together, but it’s ok because we still got some delicious product from it!

Check out these lovely beet greens, and the carrot greens behind them

Tomatoes! You might see these a couple times in this post as a garnish

We did manage to get a ton of herbs, which we smartly planted right outside the kitchen door. I came home from NYC on August 26th, so my mom and I made sure to cut as much of the herbs as we could to save them from Hurricane Irene. It started raining while we gathered, but the hurricane didn’t really get going until much later.

Basil!

We decided to freeze most of the basil. So we cut, picked the leaves, washed them, let dry, then put into freezer storage bags and hoped the hurricane wouldn’t knock out our power (it didn’t). I saved some unpicked bundles in a container of water to use during the week.

I love me some parsley

We did pretty much the same thing with the parsley, except I kept a lot more unfrozen to make a parsley pesto for dinner.

I know many people make basil pesto. I had a ton of basil, why did I make the pesto predominantly with parsley? Well, because I felt like it. Were you expecting a real reason? And why walnuts instead of the traditional pine nuts? Because we had walnuts in the house, and because they are way cheaper than pine nuts and still delicious.

One more explanation before I present you with the recipe: why did I roast the garlic? That’s an easy one. My parents don’t like raw garlic. Even in a delicious pesto they find the flavor to be too overwhelming. So, I roasted it. A head of garlic might sound like a garlic festival to those who aren’t fond of the tasty morsels, but when you roast it the flavor becomes much more subtle and bearable. Just cut the top off of the head leaving the cloves exposed. Don’t worry, there’s a picture coming later.

Continue reading

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn Soup

I decided I wanted to make soup today. After spending 9 days, 6 hours a day, in a Stocks, Sauces and Soups class and then suddenly not making soup for several days after that I had a craving to simmer, season, and strain. There are a lot of soups on the JWU recipe website, so I thought it would be fun to try one I didn’t get to make in class. I was caught between Puree of Celery Soup and the Roasted Sweet Potato Corn Chowder. Ultimately I decided on the chowder, planning on buying celery for it anyway and making the celery soup later on.

The thing with the JWU recipe, however, is that it doesn’t seem to be a chowder. When I think of “chowder” I think of a soup that has milk or cream in it. This one has none. And so I changed the name. I also didn’t feel like buying some of the ingredients. I already have yellow onions, so why bother buying a red onion and shallots? And since I have dried herbs I stuck with those instead of buying fresh. What can I say, I’m cheap! I also went with chicken broth instead of veggie stock plus veggie broth because I wanted to buy those delicious chicken broth packets from Trader Joe’s. I love that stuff!

It’s blurry, but you get the idea

The JWU recipe also had a lot of steps that I’m simply too lazy for. They probably make sense if making a huge batch of soup, but I only made like a quart and a half worth so it was unnecessary. I planned on blending the whole thing at the end with my immersion blender, so I skipped steps such as pureeing the corn before adding it in.

I also thought this would be a good Fall recipe, despite the crazy heat that’s going on. Sweet Potatoes are a pleasant, homey type of potato, and Fall is all about homey comfort. Not to mention they are freakin tasty. The soup itself turned out so deliciously that I bypassed the spoon, picked up the bowl and drank it. How barbaric of me!  :)

Continue reading

fritelle 1

Zucchini Frittelle

I like to think of these as zucchini pancakes. They are slightly cake-like and a little eggish and very zucchini flavored. I got this recipe initially over a year ago from my mom’s friend, and this year when her friends were over and looking in the garden they reminded me of this recipe and how it would be a good way to use some of the zucchini. I tried it out, not really remembering how I made it before, and they came out pretty well. I think they are a little darker than they should be, but I still enjoyed them and my family quickly devoured them.

I tweaked some bits of the recipe a little to fit the ingredients I had on hand and wanted to use, or didn’t have on hand as the case was. The recipe called for 2 small zucchini, I only had 1 large one, so I decided it was acceptable.  The recipe also called for just basil leaves, but as I was in a charitable mood I allowed parsley to join the party as well. It’s an easy recipe to play with. My only problem was the recipe only vaguely said ‘heat some oil’ and I wasn’t sure how much that meant. Should I pan fry? Deep fry? I went with the cheaper and healthier option and just used a little oil and pan fried it, like so.

There isn’t much to say about this recipe. It’s very simple and doesn’t have all that many ingredients, and there aren’t any intricate preparation instructions. I did enjoy using one of the shredding blades on my food processor to finely grate the zucchini with no effort at all on my part. It totally beat the days when I used a box grater like a chump. Then just mix, fry, eat! Although I will warn you, it is a little oily so I recommend laying them on a paper towel covered plate while they cool!

mmmmmmm…cheesy and green, a good combination

Continue reading

Gardening Fun

Gardening is fun, especially if you have someone else do it for you, and then reap the benefits. That’s how I roll. Earlier this year, my dad and brother (with my assistance, of course!) felt the need to make a huge garden structure thing, in order to keep the deer and critters out as well as to make us look fancy. I must admit, it does look nice. I mostly helped by halfheartedly digging a hole with a post digger. Turns out that I don’t enjoy manual labor. At least I tried!

We planted some seeds, planted some already started plants, and I re-potted my herbs so they could have room to stretch. And holy crap did they stretch! The sage went insane! Especially in the past couple of days. I mean, it was doing alright outside, then when I looked at it yesterday they were giants! I definitely need to use them soon. And the basil has been growing well, but it seems some bugs might like it too since the leaves have little holes in them. Oh well, I still used some today in my grandma’s sauce.
The parsley and dill had all but died before I re-potted them. Now they’re coming back strong! It’s quite exciting. And I also cheated and bought rosemary and mint since I couldn’t find mint seeds, and the rosemary smelled too good to not buy. The mint is the only one not in the garden, I put it in it’s own pot right under my window. No real reason for that, it’s just where the pot already was.
Lots of stuff is growing, and I’m kinda looking forward to all the fresh and free vegetables that will be coming later in the summer. Oh, and the strawberries! I have learned that strawberries fresh off the vine are ridiculously fantastic.
Now you can all look forward to summer recipes with home grown ingredients besides just the herbs (which are finally usable and can fulfill the purpose of this blog!). I’m gonna make zucchini bread, butternut squash risotto, grilled vegetable sauces, green bean casserole, soups, desserts, drinks, anything and everything I can!
Now I’m freaking hungry.
Watch out, it’s pic heavy below the cut. Click them to see them bigger

Continue reading

Chicken and Corn Risotto

I love making risotto. It’s become one of my go-to meals. I  first learned about it in college, when Sarah taught me how to make it a couple times. Then, on a vacation in New Hampshire I had this really awesome mushroom risotto, but when I told my mom about it she had no idea what I was talking about. What kind of Italian doesn’t know about risotto (ignore the fact that I had only recently learned about it as well)? So I planned on making some. We had butternut squash growing in our garden, so I made a butternut squash risotto. It was fantastic! (Recipe will be up when it grows again this summer!) Realizing it was my mom’s new favorite, I made it again on different occasions, such as her birthday or a random Tuesday. Sometimes it’s mushroom and beef, sometimes it’s chicken and corn. Today was the random Tuesday chicken and corn version. It was pretty spectacular.

Usually I make it with those boxes of tasty broth, but we didn’t have any and it’s gross out so we didn’t feel like going to the store. So it turns out that risotto works well with bouillon cubes! Lucky us! Plus we had leftover corn on the cob since I bought some yesterday to make a black bean, corn and mango salsa (which will also be posted eventually) as well as some parsley for that same recipe.

And don’t forget, making risotto is always a good excuse to open a new bottle of wine! Both for the recipe, and for you to enjoy while endlessly stirring the rice. Comfort food and wine on a rainy day, it doesn’t get much better than that!

FYI: Arborio is the best kind of rice to use for risotto, in fact the bags or containers usually say “risotto’ on them. But if you don’t  feel like buying fantastic risotto rice, you can always use medium grain instead, it just won’t be as glamorous.

Tips! Keeping parsley and researching recipes

I decided to be charitable today and share my genius with you all. Or, to be more honest, I was kind of bored and thought this is as good a time as any to share some of my little tips with the world.

#1
One such tip is the importance of researching recipes. I always always always go through cookbooks and websites to see what’s out there and tasty looking. And I try many of the recipes I see. The first time I make a recipe I follow it exactly. From that I can usually play around with it the next time and turn it into something of my own. But it’s important to see what other people are making in order to come up with your own ideas and use them to greatly impress everyone who knows you. When you want to do things and learn how food works, I suggest you research, cook the recipe exactly, and then experiment the next time you make it. When you get used to recipes through this method then you should do what I do whenever I want to try something different: research, pick parts of recipes you like, and make your own dish.

My research today for appetizers and snacks:

I’ll give you an example. One day I decided that I absolutely had to make corn chowder. The only problem was, I had no idea how to do that. So I went online and found several of my trustworthy go-to cooking websites and looked over many different chowder recipes. Some were overly complicated, some had ingredients that I despise, and some were too simple. But the important thing was that they all had certain similar aspects to them. Many had a roux to start off with. A few had creamed corn, and some had just frozen kernels. And so on and so forth. So I took the common aspects and applied them to my own recipe, and then took the bits and pieces that sounded good and used those too, like using creamed corn and corn kernels and adding bacon fat (it isn’t the healthiest of recipes!). I’ve learned by experimenting like this that you can just find a bunch of recipes for the same food and just take from them what you want to. Chances are that it’ll come out spectacular and you will feel like a Culinary God.

Don’t worry, I’ll eventually post that recipe! It’s just a little hard to do because I make it slightly different each time :)

#2
The next bit of advice is more directly linked to herbs. My herbs still aren’t useful yet so I rely on grocery stores. The problem is that buying those little plastic containers of herbs tends to be a huge rip-off. So I buy the bundles that are dripping wet and always 5x more than what you actually need. But won’t all that go to waste?!? Um…no. Chill out. I told you there was some advice here, didn’t I?

The best example I can give you is with parsley, since that’s what I always like to have on hand. That stuff lasts forever! It’s awesome like that. I can buy a huge bundle, use what I want, and then I take the rest and put it in a cup full of cold water and put it in the fridge. Every once in a while I check the water and add more, or dispose of stalks that become unappealing. The parsley can last quite a few weeks like this and having it around will help you figure out how to use it. Here’s a pic of my parsley after I’ve had it for about 3 weeks:

 Yea, it’s a little sad looking, but it’s still good and remember, it has been sitting in my fridge for 3 weeks! I find this system to be much cheaper and way more convenient than buying just a little bunch for an outrageous price whenever I need a tablespoon of parsley in a recipe. And I know there are tube containers you can also buy to keep it more compact in the fridge to save space, but i haven’t gotten around to that yet, so this works just fine.

The herbs are ok

I know it’s been a while since I posted new info about my herbs. And no, it’s not because I forgot or anything lame like that, it’s because they honestly hadn’t changed much since my last update. There was a few days when I thought they were going to die, and that wasn’t cool, but since it got warmer they’ve been doing much better and have actually grown a little! I’m going to start watering them with a fertilizer water thing that my dad made for our garden and I hope it will make the herbs grow to the point where I can actually use them. I did NOT expect it to take quite this long!

The basil has finely grown some new basil like leaves. After remaining unchanged for 2 months I was concerned that I had duds, but now I see actual progress. See how cute? It actually resembles basil now! I just want to gobble it up!

Now, the parsley I was really really worried about. It was not doing well at all. It was losing the green color and being all long and floppy and terrible and kind of shriveled  up. Thankfully it looks like an actual plant again! I rescued it! I probably wasn’t watering it enough because of my fear of over-watering my herbs. But now the parsley is quickly on its’ way to a full and healthy recovery, all for the purpose of being eaten! Mmmmmmm tasty….

The sage has always been pretty and healthy looking. The only real change is the leaves are bigger and cooler looking, and there is more of them. Enough said, check out the pic.

My dill is being kind of strange. It’s growing well, but with a purple tint to it. Is this normal? I guess I just have to wait and see. It is steadily growing, so it’s still doing well, right? Oh well, at least it’s looks neat!

We’ve also started growing plants for the garden in the back yard. My dad and brother (with my help of course!) built this huge wooden structure for our garden, so we’re pretty excited about it. They had to build such a big garden so the deer won’t be able to just eat everything. I’ll put up pics of it when we’ve planted some of the plants outside. Right now the peppers and tomatoes and eggplant are growing inside, and are doing quite well if I do say so myself! Here are some of the tomato plants! They’re huge (compared to the herbs at least)!

So many growing things! Only problem now is how to get rid of all the stupid little flies. I’m going to blame my brother’s orange tree for them. No way can my cute little herbs be at fault!

Grandma’s Carciofo (Stuffed Artichokes)

My grandma always spoiled us rotten with scrumptious Italian meals, one of which is Carciofo (we pronounce it ka-chof). She used to always make it for my family once a year, usually during Lent, even though it is kind of expensive to buy enough artichokes to feed my family. It’s a meal my brothers and I would always request and she would always make it no matter how much she really didn’t feel like it because we are just so cute! It is a traditional meal for us that is very important and we wanted to make sure we never lost it.

My grandma passed away last year, and so we were extra diligent to keep the tradition going and were determined to have Carciofo for Good Friday even though we had no idea what we were doing. My mom and I used a scribbled and barely legible hand-written recipe of my grandma’s along with the recipe off the box of Sclafani Bread Crumbs, which she apparently always used. The bread crumbs can sometimes be found at regular supermarkets, like Stop ‘n Shop, in the pasta/International aisle. You might have to go to an Italian market for it though, or you can just use regular Italian seasoned bread crumbs. We just use this brand because it has the recipe on the carton and it’s what we like.

For those of you not in the know, Carciofo is whole artichokes with the leaves stuffed with an Italian bread crumb mixture and then baked. Then you pull off each individual leaf and eat the bread crumbs along with the meaty part of the leaf that was attached to the base. When you get to the bottom, you spoon out the weird prickly stuff and toss it out, and eat the heart. It’s messy, and takes some time, and you need many bowls to discard leaves into, but it is so very fun and perfect. It can also be prepared a few days ahead of time, which is kind of neat.

There is no way I can fully express how much I love this dish, and always have. Even when I was a kid I loved it, and kids are suppose to hate things like artichokes. A teacher in elementary school once asked me what my favorite food was and I could not remember the English name for it, I may have actually never learned it, and confused her greatly when I said “carciofo” and could in no way explain what it is. I ended up telling her to just trust me that it is really good.

Making it this year was confusing, and stressful, but in the end it was tasty and nostalgic and that made it all worth it. So while this recipe is not exactly my grandma’s, it is our best try to replicate our memories with the vague directions left behind.

Also I have no idea why the measurement for cheese is 10 tbsp., but that’s what my grandma wrote so that’s how we did it!

Continue reading

Drunken Herbal Chicken Marinade

My mom and I were discussing what to have for dinner tonight, and we decided on chicken, whipped carrots with dried cranberries (it’s seriously awesome), and a salad. So, what to do with the chicken? I felt the need to make a marinade, and in my fridge I found some fresh parsley, fresh basil, and white wine that nobody wanted to drink since it isn’t all that good. Plus I had a lime that needed to be used soon. And so a marinade was started. I added in some more flavors, and let it sit for a while. Then my brother used his indoor electric grill (it’s rainy and nasty so no one wanted to grill outside) and we had a tasty and easy Monday night feast.

Couscous Peperoncino

This is an Italian recipe that I learned about while I was in Japan. Most of their versions of Italian food I found to be incredibly hilarious, such as pasta with a ketchup ragu sauce topped with a raw egg. But this one was actually pleasant. I used to buy packets of the sauce mix while I was living there, but when I moved back I found them to be overly expensive. So I went to the store, found a packet, read the ingredients, and made my own version. Being cheap and poor has had the positive side-effect of forcing me to be a good cook.

This recipe is both spicy and fresh tasting. It would go well as a side dish with meat or fish, or is good as a lunch. The garlic is very subtle. You taste more of the spicy hotness from the peppers, which is slightly tamed by the parsley.

When I make this I used dried chili peppers from Asian markets, and I usually buy them pre-chopped into little rounds. You can always buy whole dried chili peppers and chop them yourself. Those are probably at regular stores, but I never really checked.

I also prefer whole wheat couscous because it’s got an extra bit of flavor that is slightly nutty. This recipe can be made with pretty much any type of grain., I just like couscous the best for this.

This recipe also only takes about a total of 10 minutes to prepare and cook. It’s kind of awesome like that.

Continue reading