Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kate's Pasta Salad

This recipe is from my high school friend, Kate. It was a staple at her house and recently she made the salad for a mutual friend's bridal shower. I was reminded how great it was and made it twice this month already.
Lately we've been exploring Philly and my hometown with Rexie. We take him to lots of dog parks and restaurants. Yesterday we went to yappy hour with him at Loews hotel downtown. There were about 30+ dogs there and lots of good food for them. They had rice, peas, carrots, and ground beef made special for them. We had doggie themed cocktails. Rex decided to eat about three bowls and then go back for more. He's definitely as into food as we are!

1 lb penne pasta
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup packed fresh basil, thinly sliced
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1/3 cup herbed goat cheese, crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and drizzle with olive oil. Let cool. Toss with all the ingredients together in a large bowl and drizzle with more olive oil and just a touch of balsamic vinegar. It doesn't get any easier than that.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Couscous with Eggplant

Linda got a nice new cookbook called Jerusalem, and one of the recipes got me craving some couscous. Of course, I did not follow that recipe because didn't have the main ingredient and because I'm not good at following recipes. Instead, I made this dish, which was way better than I was expecting and definitely my favorite thing I've made in a while.

Linda, Dan and I moved to a new apartment in Squirrel Hill last month, so I have a new Pittsburgh kitchen now! I was able to move most of my plants over, and there's a spot I can turn into a raised bed in the backyard. I've been eating outside as much as possible!

Tomato & Onion Couscous with Eggplant

1 medium eggplant, chopped
olive oil, salt, smoked paprika
1 lemon, thinly sliced & seeded
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp sugar
salt & pepper
1 cup couscous
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp turmeric 

Monday, August 4, 2014


Nothing says summer to me like a bowl of cold gazpacho. Right now, the tomatoes are all coming in from the garden! Finally! I feel like I've been waiting for tomato season all year. Anyways, all the ingredients are available right now. I went to the farmer's market with my sister and Rex and we loaded up on so many fruits and vegetables. We made a vegan stone fruit cobbler for dessert which I sadly forgot to photograph! For a lot of people, this gazpacho is hit or miss. It's pretty acidic but I love it as is! You can cut the acidity by using canned tomatoes but you would miss the point of gazpacho entirely. Just saying.

3 large ripe heirloom tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1½ green peppers, seeded
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Diced green peppers for garnish
Throw everything in the blender for as long as you like. I like my soup super smooth. Then place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to chill. Taste and season it according to your tastes. Garnish with fresh globe basil and lemon thyme. Serve with warm bread.

Frittata with Pasta and Cherry Tomatoes

I haven't made this dish since undergrad but it's a quick and easy one. Mainly, it's perfect for summer. I wanted to make a quiche but didn't have butter to make a crust. Anyways, it was a hit with my family (mostly Kelly and Nick) because of the large amounts of cheese I used to make it.

We just spent the past weekend with my cousin Kara and her family (twins + two year old + doggie!). We celebrated my uncle's birthday and helped watch the babies. Mostly we had snuggles with babies and watched Thomas the train engine. It was a blast! Rex was mostly terrified of their dog, Gaia. Probably because she's so refined and he is completely nuts.

3 1/2 cups cooked pasta (rotini or macaroni)
5 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
herbed goat cheese, for topping
1 tsp dried italian herbs
salt and pepper

Grease a 9 inch round pie pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the swiss chard finely and cook in a saucepan over medium heat until wilted. Drain excess water.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the italian herbs. Then add in the pasta and cooked swiss chard. Stir to incorporate. Then mix in the mozzarella and season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Top with cherry tomatoes, cut side up. Then sprinkle parmesan and goat cheeses all over the surface. The frittata is done when it is almost firm in the center and the top is golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. If the cheese is browning too quickly, just cover with aluminum foil.
We ate this with fresh gazpacho on the side! Yay summer!


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