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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wingin' It

Either I'm a fool or I'm getting cocky...(don't answer that) but these days I'm starting to make stuff up when it comes to cooking. And I'm pleased to report: So far, so good. That might mean I'm not taking enough risks as I experiment, but work with me here. I'm still learning how to cook...

I don't have fancy shmancy, haute cuisine names for this stuff. But I must say, both of these meals were quite tasty.

WINTER VEGETABLE "What do I do with all of these greens" SOUP
3-5 leaves swiss chard, diced (my nominee for Prettiest Winter Vegetable)
3-5 leaves kale, diced
2 long stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 sprigs cilantro, diced fine
1 onion (optional), diced
4 cups broth -- vegetable or chicken
3 large potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1/2 cup arborio rice
1/2 tsp each: cumin, turmeric, salt
1-2 tb olive oil

1. Saute celery, garlic and onion in 1 tb olive oil over med/low heat, 2-3 minutes.

2. Throw in rest of greens (cilantro, chard, kale) and saute 2 minutes.

3. Pour in broth, add potatoes and spices. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover tightly (I made this in a large stainless steel pot -- I'm sure it would work in a crock pot too) and simmer for at least two hours.

4. In last hour, add arborio rice.

This was my favorite part. The rice kernels slowly swelled with flavor the longer they cooked. And honestly, it tasted even better the next day, when the rice kernels were simply bursting from having absorbed the broth. It became more like a stew at that point.

Serve with corn tortillas (for gluten-free me) or corn muffins. Deeeeelightful.


1 large spaghetti squash (don't be a hater. They are amazing!)
3 tb olive oil
3-6 leaves swiss chard
3-6 leaves kale
1/4 c walnuts
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 c parmesan
1 tsp kosher salt
pine nuts

1. Bake the spaghetti squash in the oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees by slicing the squash in half (be careful, this is harder than it looks) and laying each half face down in a rimmed roasting pan with at least an inch of water.

2. With 15 minutes left, steam the kale and chard in a pan of water for about 10 minutes to soften them up.

3. Put the oil, walnuts, garlic in a food processor (I use a Cuisinart Smart Stick, my favorite cooking toy). Add the steamed greens, first pressing them against a wooden cutting board to squeeze out excess water and then roughly cutting them up. Add the parmesan and run processor until pesto becomes a thick paste. You may need to scrape the sides, add a bit more oil. Add salt and spin again.

4. Pull out the spaghetti squash and shred it out of the shells with a fork. I scrape it down to the skin. Put the squash in a saucepan, put in a tablespoon of butter or olive oil and stir it up with some salt. (see photo)

5. Add pesto and mix it all in. Top with pine nuts and a bit more parmesan. FOOD COMA.


  1. stop making me want a kitchen. You are taunting me.

  2. Should I mention I'm using the leftover pesto with polenta and scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow?