Friday, July 27, 2012

pasta with basil cream poached tilapia

I really wanted corn salad for dinner. Freshly shaved off the cob, sauteed in butter, mixed with some red onion and cherry tomatoes, corn salad.

I didn't have tomatoes. Strike 1

The corn had recently expired. Strike 2

The onions were already in the pan. Well damnit.

Chopped up some zucchini (still playing catch up with CSA zucchini, and probably will be until the end of time. Good thing I love zucchini), tossed it in the pan, had an epiphany. Basil! That heavy cream I didn't use in the ice cream! White wine! At this point, I was totally ok with the fact that I didn't have corn or tomatoes.

The great thing about this dish, is that you can impress people by making them think it's super complicated, when it's really a one-pan meal (ok two, if you count the pasta pot. But I never count the pasta pot), that comes together in about 20 minutes!

Pasta with Basil Cream Poached Tilapia (serves 2)

8 ounces tilapia fillets
1 small zuchini, diced
a few slices of red onion, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup olive oil
4 ounces (dry) spaghetti
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic
1 cup (loose) basil

Cook pasta according to box directions. While it's cooking, heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and zucchini for a few minutes. Meanwhile, blend basil, garlic, and the remaining olive oil in a food processor. Once the veggies have softened, add cream, wine and pesto to the pan and stir in. Place tilapia in the pan, and cook, covered, for 10 minutes (for thin fillets). Remove the fish from the pan and stir in cooked pasta to give the sauce a chance to stick to the noodles. Plate the pasta, top with a fillet, and dust with parmesan if desired.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

roasted tomato sauce

CSA deliveries don't stop for nuthin'.

When I was sick for a week, eating pretty much only crackers and pasta, we still picked up our CSA share.

When that massive storm hit the DC area, having the audacity to knock out our power AND not bring enough rain to cool down the area, making me want to lay in a bath of ice all day and go nowhere near the stove or oven, we still picked up our CSA share.

When I finally decided I couldn't keep throwing out expired produce felt like cooking, I took stock of what vegetables I had leftover before doing anything else. A million scallions, a couple zucchini, and a few plum tomatoes, and a couple eggplants I picked up from the Farm a few days ago were staring at me from the kitchen counter. Since flipping through the Williams-Sonoma catalog at my parents' house and seeing jars for canning filled with homemade tomato sauce, I've been thinking about making a batch almost non-stop. It only seemed appropriate!

Bonus points for having a basil plant (that I've been growing from a seed! I'm so proud of myself) that has lots of leaves ready for picking!


Since I'm lazy I had raw tomatoes that needed to be cooked anyway, and wanted more flavor in my sauce, I decided that roasting all the components of the sauce would be a good, simple way to go.

You certainly don't have to use the same ingredients I did, these just happened to be the vegetables I had in the fridge. All vegetables are good vegetables, dudes!


Roasted Tomato Sauce (makes about 5-6 cups)

6-8 roma tomatoes
1 head garlic, top chopped off
6-8 large scallion bulbs, or one medium onion
1 medium eggplant, halved lengthwise
1 larger zucchini or two regular zucchinis, halved lengthwise
4 tablespoons olive oil
up to 1/4 cup fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425*. Arrange veggies on a baking sheet large enough to fit them all in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Most of the olive oil should be concentrated over the garlic, to help it roast properly (and yes, you're supposed to leave the papery skin on it!). Don't be too shy with the garlic! Roasting it will make it a much sweeter component to the sauce. Roast the veggies for 45min-1hr, until they're all very tender and mashable. Transfer veggies to a blender and blend until smooth. In the very last seconds of blending, add basil. If this is too thick for you when finished, You could always transfer it to a pot, add a little water, and cook it in. I love my sauces on the thicker side so you can scoop up every last bit with a fork they really stick to the pasta. Enjoy over your favorite pasta!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

happy peach season!

After a hell of a storm hit the DC area, knocking out power for about 1.5 million people, all I could think about was whether the Farm would be open for peach picking. This past weekend was the first weekend for picking, and I had been looking forward to it for roughly a year, so when we lost power Friday night I about cried.

When we tried to drive out on Sunday, through neighborhoods with no traffic lights and trees everywhere, and our efforts were thwarted by a tree and power lines across the road leading to the farm, I about cried again. I may have used a few choice words, as well. I just wanted my peaches!

After finding another route to the farm today, I am happy to report a successful trip. I mean, 20lbs of peaches can be considered successful, right?

Stay tuned for delicious peach recipes! And be super jealous of all my farm fresh peaches!