On steamy days like these, I absolutely hate slaving over a hot stove — an outdoor grill is fine, but my kitchen stove? No thank you. Lately I’ve been cooking much of our dinners in the mornings when the temperature is still cool, then refrigerating everything and assembling the meal right before we eat. This “cook & cool” method (I just made up that term, do you like it?) works really well for pastas, rice, and other hearty grains because they store well, and taste great chilled. For this Cold Asian Noodle Salad, the pasta only takes a few minutes to simmer, so it’s easy to do right before you leave for work. Just drain the noodles, then cover and refrigerate (and if you’re feeling extra ambitious, chop the veggies and store separately in the fridge). Then when you get home, all you have to do is whip up the dressing, then toss everything together. Voilà! Done! And this easy summer salad can be served alongside grilled chicken, or dished up as a vegetarian entrée. Either way, you’ll thank me tonight when you’re enjoying a cool meal on the patio rather than sweating in the kitchen. Continue reading
Stuff My Kid Eats
What kid doesn’t love pasta? For that matter, what adult doesn’t love pasta? Much like soup, pasta has become a staple in our home. It’s simple, it’s delicious, and it’s the energy-booster my toddler needs to continue terrorizing our cat* on a daily basis. With as much pasta as we eat, I’m always searching for new recipes to liven up the routine. I found this one in Martha Stewart Living a while back, and regularly change up the ingredients depending on what I have in my fridge. See VARIATIONS at the end of this post for ideas on how you can alter this dish and make it your own. (Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living)
I have to admit, as much as I trust Martha Stewart and her very accomplished staff (not that I’m biased or anything), I was a bit skeptical when this recipe called for throwing all the ingredients into a pan and cooking them together, rather than separately. Pasta in one pot, sauce in the other, that’s how I was raised — but WOW! this is so much better. And at the end of the meal, you only have one pan to clean. Brilliant!
- 12 oz. linguine
- 12 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
- ½ onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- ½ tsp. red-pepper flakes
- 2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for serving
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 4½ cups water
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with oil and Parmesan.
Sidekick: The simplicity of this pasta pairs well with a Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc.
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. water
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup cooked bacon, chopped
Beat egg yolks with water until smooth. After pasta has finished cooking, remove from heat, add egg mixture, butter, and bacon and stir until creamy. Season with salt and pepper and serve with grated Parmesan.
1 bunch of asparagus, tender part only, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup spring peas, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp. Italian parsley, finely chopped
Add asparagus at the beginning with dry pasta. Meanwhile, juice and zest lemon. Once pasta has cooked for about 7 minutes, add lemon juice and peas. Stir and continue to cook for 2 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Season with salt and pepper. Divide into 4 bowls and garnish with parsley and lemon zest.
Italian Chicken and Peppers
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 precooked chicken breasts, diced
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
Add bell peppers at the beginning with dry pasta. Once pasta has finished cooking, add diced chicken and oregano. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve with Parmesan.
* Photo: The Toddler Terrorizing The Cat.