Garden Pasta

This is an on-the-fly post and a quick snapshot before devoured as I was at my sister’s house visiting her and her newborn and had brought lunch ingredients.

The night before I quickly made a garlic scape pesto which was highly improvised with just garlic scapes, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and some salt. I had it with some sourdough bread and it was super spicy!

This dish has:

Spaghetti noodles: found in bulk at WinCo

Peas: picked from my garden

Garlic scape pesto: from the garden + bulk ingredients

Mint: garden

To make pasta:

Boil water and salt and cook spaghetti, adding in peas (shelled peas or snap peas with shell) in the last minute.

Reserve a couple cups of pasta water.

Drain.

Add in 3/4 cup of pesto into pasta water and stir to combine.

Put pasta back into pot, pan, or bowl then top with the pesto sauce.

Top this off with about 1/4 cup or fresh mint leaves.

Enjoy!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Food Waste: cherry tomatoes + 2 recipes

Another school snack saved from the dumpster.

This picture is my idealistic view on how tomatoes should come. Freshly washed, ready for eating, sweet from the sun that turned them their true colors. Unfortunately, the next picture shows the true view on how they came to my classroom: plastic shells. Fortunately, the plastic is #2 which can be recycled here.

I dig fresh heirloom tomatoes raw, but these were…not tasty. They tasted like something was forced in the process of getting them to the market. My students ate more than I expected them to, but they were so pretty, I knew I couldn’t just sacrifice these to the compost goddesses. These would need special treatment by way of oils, spices, salt, and plenty of heat.

The first thing I did with a couple pints was oven roast them.

I cut the tomatoes in half, then added some sugar, a bit of salt, and a couple Tablespoons of olive oil.

They laid out face-up on the baking sheet, and they roasted for nearly an hour at 350F.

They melted and poured their juices out and became way more flavorful in the process.

Be sure to scrape any of the tastiness from the baking sheet to store with the tomatoes in a glass jar. I’ll store these in the fridge to add to dishes throughout the week.

In the above picture, you can see I still had plenty of tomatoes to work with.

Next up was tomato sauce to go with the spaghetti I had bought in my own bag at WinCo!

It all started with a bunch of nice cloves of garlic. Mince them!

Prepare tomatoes by cutting them in half. This will make quick work of the tomato sauce.

Heat up some olive oil, then add in all the delicious minced garlic and let it permeate throughout the house. Mmm!

Add in the halved tomatoes and turn the heat up to get it all started.

Turn the heat to medium, and when the tomatoes have let out some of their juices, add in herb(s) of choice. Obviously basil is a good choice, but so is oregano, or what I’m using which is marjoram because I have a giant bush of marjoram out front that is always begging me to use in every Italian dish.

Sprinkle in some sea salt while this simmers away.

It starts to break down and get thicker. This is after about 10 minutes. Stir every few minutes, but it doesn’t need close watching.

Here it is after 30 minutes, and I could have stopped it here and had a wonderful tomato sauce, but I let it go even further because I felt like the tomatoes needed extra caramelizing since they were mostly flavorless to begin with.

And it’s done now! It’s thick, and smells amazing. I didn’t bother with blending it at all, but did pick out the little sticks of marjoram that were left.

Cook up something delicious for a base! Of course, I cooked spaghetti, added in some white beans, fresh parsley, red pepper flakes, and more salt. Out of this world good, and truly not too long of a dinner especially considering it is fresh tomato sauce!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Simple Vegetable Stock

When I first read about saving vegetable pieces to make a stock, I thought it was a great idea and decided to try it out. I started by keeping a ziplock bag in my freezer with a few vegetable ends or peels. Then I forgot about it for many, many months. That bag haunted me when I would find it in the freezer after doing some deep digging. I finally did fill up the bag and made my first vegetable stock from scratch. It was so easy and cool! However, it wasn’t easy to remember to start a new pile in the freezer. Flash forward a few years into being a home cook, and I’m much much better about remembering to save any aromatics for a future stock. There is usually a glass jar keeping the odds and ends contained, and it doesn’t take too long to fill up considering I eat most of my food at home. Currently I am using a plate to pile items onto and am not too worried about keeping it covered. I was having issues with my glass jars filling up too fast or not accommodating the odd leek top very well.

There is probably an official formula for this, but I will never follow that. There are some general guidelines about which vegetables are the best to use, and those are the ones I choose to keep for future stocks. Onions, celery, carrots, cilantro and parsley stems, herb stems, and mushroom stems are all my favorites. I often use my onion ends for flavoring a pot of beans, so it can take a while to have enough onions to make stock. I used approximately 4 cups of very loosely packed vegetables for this version.

I use my largest pot (aka stock pot) and just fill it up with water and all my frozen vegetable ends. I leave some room for simmering and bubbles. Then I just turn the heat up all the way until it reaches a boil, then turn it down to simmer for about 40 minutes. during the simmering, I add a fair amount of salt, about 2 Tablespoons.

Here I used sea salt from the bulk bins at WinCo and stored in a vintage Ball jar.

You can see the stock is turning a rich brown color and the vegetables really lose any vibrancy they once had.

I use a slotted spoon to scoop as much as I can into a colander, and compost those veggies. I let it drain for maybe an hour while the stock cools as well.

Here is the stock, looking rich, and smelling delicious.

It perfectly filled 3 quart size jars, which I am careful to not fill all the way up so they can be placed in the freezer for future use. They really did not break in the freezer, I promise.

It’s honestly one of the easiest things to make, barely requiring a stir. I will use this with soup, risotto, and maybe rice. Now if I can find package free rice noodles, I will write up how I make vegan phò chay.

Peace and love,

Kristan