Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Greek Pasta for One

My husband was out for dinner tonight, so I was on my own. I whipped this up on spec, using ingredients I had around for another meal. Don't get too caught up with measurements; everything should be to your taste. The flavours are strong, so tinker with this at will.

as much pasta as you want, whatever shape you want
6 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
about 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 generous tbsp oil packed sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
olive oil & pepper
crumbled feta cheese

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain it and return it to the pot. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, just to lightly coat it so it doesn't stick together. Add the olives, parsley, sundried tomatoes and garlic. Grind pepper over the top, to taste. Toss all this together, add more olive oil if necessary, and any of the other ingredients you think you want more of. Crumbe the feta cheese over the top and serve.

Notes to the readership

- you can use other fresh herbs; chives might be nice, as would a little fresh basil. Chop well with a sharp knife.
- you could use vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, red onions, and mushrooms as well. If using spinach, keep back a few tablespoons of the cooking water from the pasta in the pot and then add the spinach; toss until wilted. If using broccoli, cut it into bitesized pieces add it to the pasta pot in the last minute or two of boiling; you just want it to be bright green so don't cook it too long. Then just pour it out with the pasta into the colander.
- roasted garlic (see a few posts down) would be awesome in this, too.


Isabella di Pesto said...

What a great site! And what a great resource! I'll be coming here often to learn about and enjoy your creative recipes!

I tried to link to both of your sites, but Blogger is giving me trouble on my template. I wrote to them and asked for help. They're pretty good about that, even if it takes a week to get back.

Ottawa is a magnificent city. I've never been to western Canada, but hope to soon, I have a relative in Seattle, and he and his wife promise to take me to Vancouver when I visit. And all of my favorite relatives are Canadian.

I wish Canada could come rescue us bewildered and beleagured Blue Staters. I have no idea what's happened to this country. But it isn't pretty.

I try not to think about it, so I cook. And cook. And cook.

Nice to meet you. We should support and encourage each other to pursue our dreams.



Wandering Coyote said...

Thanks for stopping by and for your feedback. Both my sites are works in progress. I don't know why you'd have problems linking to me, especially since you have links to other blogs on your site already. Hmm.

Ottawa "magnificent"? Not in my opinion, especially after coming from the west coast. I have been here 7 years after moving here from Victoria, BC, and have never liked it. The west is very different from the east, and I cannot wait to go home.

And I agree: cooking (and baking) is excellent therapy! And I need all the support and encouragement I can get, and will endeavour to reciprocate!

greatwhitebear said...

Just out of curiousity, how did you end up in Ottawa from Vancouver? Do you miss it?

Wandering Coyote said...

GWB: My husband and I both are from BC and met at University of Victoria. We moved out here because he got a really good job. It was supposed to be "temporary" but we're still here. He's gotten an even better job since. Do I miss the west coast? Oh yeah! And after just being back there for 6 months over the winter, I miss it more than ever. Hopefully we'll be back by the summer of 2006.

Isabella di Pesto said...

I'm sorry to say I don't have a recipe for cannoli. In our family, we always bought them at the wonderful Italian bakeries in our neighborhood. I've read recipes for them, and they are labor intensive. Easier to buy them.

The women in my family were not great dessert makers, as I've said, they would more likely buy Italian dolce at a good pastry shop, and invest their time in making homemade pastas, sauces, etc.

We had desserts only on special occasions, Xmas, Easter, etc. Our big family meal was on Sunday afternoons and most likely we had fruit and nuts for our "dessert."

Recently, I made a pignole pie that was an embarrassment of calories and richness. Oh my, oh my! Let me know if you're interested, and I'll send it along to you.

Still awaiting help from Blogger so I can link to this site and to the Wandering Coyote sit.

My problem is when I type in the html code into the Template page of Blogger, it will not show up on my Blog site where my other Links are listed. I have no idea why.

greatwhitebear said...

Tomato in aspic? I am afraid i am hopelessly midwestern. Where I grew up, if you didn't eat tomatoes right off the vine, you ate them in ketchup, or spaghetti sauce (pasta ALWAYS cooked or baked in the sauce).

Wandering Coyote said...

Tomato aspic is a tomato jello, spiced and moulded, as in this recipe:

4 cups tomato juice
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
3 envelops unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup water
1 cup diced celery
In a large saucepan, heat tomato juice and chicken stock until hot. Stir in lemon rind, Worcestershire sauce and salt.
In a small bowl, combine gelatin with water. Set for 5 minutes. Stir in hot tomato mixture. Add celery.
Pour into ring mold or individual decorative molds.
Refrigerate to set. Dip mold in hot water for a few seconds. Unmold on platter or plates.

You can add other veggies aside from celery. Apparently this is great diet food, but quite frankly the whole thing sounds gross. United Church ladies love it, though!

I dare you to make this and let me know what it's like! ;) I'm sure you can get a nice mould somewhere cheap, like Value Village or the Sally Ann!

Wandering Coyote said...

Isabella: Google tells me pignole pie is a chicken pot pie. True? That is all I know. I would love the recipe, if you're willing to share it - thanks so much.

Oooh, I love communicating with people who love food!

Isabella di Pesto said...

hahahahha! Chicken pot pie?!!!!

Oh dear, let me catch my breath!

Maybe I should have written pinenut.

The beauty of sharing this recipe with you is that you are a pastry chef and I don't need to tell you about crusts!!!! In fact, please tell me.

I call this crust a short crust or pate brisee? Am I correct?

This is such a rich, rich, tart, a small sliver goes a long, long way.

I made this and brought a piece to a little spice and herb shop in the Italian section of Boston (where I had bought the pinenuts). The guys went crazy, and said I should open my own pastry shop. I'm too lazy for that. But I'm glad they enjoyed it. Here it is:


1/1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
8 tablespoons chilled butter, cut up
1 egg yolk

(prepare crust and put in a 10 inch springform tart shell, and chill 30 minutes)

Tart ingredients:

8 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups ground almonds
1 cup pine nuts (pignole)
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
confectioners sugar

Cream butter, sugar. Beat in egg and egg yolks, alternating with ground almonds. Stir in pine nuts.

Spread raspberry jam over shell, spoon in filling. Bake 30-40 minutes or until set in center.

Dust with confectioners sugar.

This should be made in a springform tart pan. I didn't have one when I made it so I had to use a 9 inch glass pie plate. I had to cook it a bit longer to get it to set, but it came out just fine.

Let me know how it comes out for you and if you make any changes.

This is truly a tart fit for a queen. Very, very rich.

Good luck and let me know.


Isabella di Pesto

Wandering Coyote said...

Well, I am just super embarassed now! Really - I put pignole pie into Google and got chicken pot pie recipes! Funny I didn't question this, since I was pretty sure pignole isn't the Italian word for chicken.

The pastry recipe looks a little too sweet to be a shortcrust, yet not enough to be a sweet dough. We didn't make shortcrust in the pastry kitchen, the culinary students made it in theirs, since it's used for more savoury items generally. I do have a recipe for shortcrust, but it only involves a pinch of sugar. In my program, we primarily made sweet dough, or pate sucre.

A couple of questions. When you say confectioner's sugar, you are referring to icing sugar or powdered sugar, right? Also, a springform tart pan... I have a springform cake pan, and also a fluted tart pan with a bottom and sides that come apart from each other. Is this what you mean? Do you chop up the pine nuts at all or just put them in whole?

When I try this, I'll definitely let you know how it goes. Thanks for sharing it.

Isabella di Pesto said...

Confectioners' sugar is powdered sugar. And I did mean a fluted tart pan.

And this is a sweet, rich pastry crust.

I did not chop the pine nuts, nor did I roast them. Next time I make this I will roast them, since I believe roasting intensifies the flavor of nuts.

Is this generally correct?

The combination of raspberry jam, ground almonds, and pinenuts is glorious. This is definitely a dessert for a very special occasion.



Isabella di Pesto said...

And I baked this in a 325 degree oven until it set in the middle.

Mind you, I was using a glass, 9-inch pie plate at the time, so it took a bit longer to set.

Wandering Coyote said...

Yes, roasting nuts before using them in baking is always preferable. You can also gently toast them in a frying pan on your stove if you're just using a few.

We used a lot of raspberry jam in school paired with almond cream - so I know this recipe is going to be really tasty and rich. When I make, when?...I'll take a picture and post it for you.

Isabella di Pesto said...

Here I am again. I looked at your recipes and will be happy to use them in my kitchen. I especially enjoyed the post on the chowder. That looks great! I'm a real chowder nut.

A couple summers ago I got a book out of the local library by Jasper White on the history of chowders and recipes for 35 variations on chowders. White is a rather famous chef here in Boston. He was a chef-owner of a couple restaurants, and is currently running a lobster-in-the-rough clam shack "Summer Shack Restaurant" in Cambridge, Mass. I learned that the original clam chowder came from France.

There's a great restaurant in the Italian district of Boston (The North End) that serves its chowder over mashed potatoes.

Anyway, here's one of my own recipes for a hearty winter chowder. I'll give you the essentials, and you can improvise and make it your own:

1 lb. sea scallops
1 cup frozen corn niblets (because I can't get good quality fresh corn in the winter here.)
2 to 3 veal bratwurst sausages, cut on the bias
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Italian pancetta (bacon)
1 medium onion, chopped
milk and cream
fresh grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
chopped green onions (garnish)

I saute the pancetta and onions in the butter, add the corn and cook a minute. Add the bratwurst (they're precooked). Then add the milk and cream (about 2 to 2 1/2 cups total).

I add the scallops (sometimes cut them in half, depending on their size).

Heat the scallops through 'til cooked, but never boil.

Add the grated fresh nutmeg, s&p.

Serve with chopped green onions (scallions).

And also common crackers or crusty bread and a chilled white wine (chenin blanc or chardonnay).

It's hearty and a surprising combination.

For summer, I sometimes substitute lobster meat for the bratwurst and of course use fresh corn.

I also love making banana bread, and experiment with using a variety of toasted nuts (pecans, pinenuts, walnuts, almonds, etc.) as well as the zest and juice of lemons, limes or organes.

Nothing competes with the aroma of home baked banana bread in the kitchen.

When fresh blueberries are available in the summer, I add those to the bread along with the citrus flavors. It is heavenly.

I also bake garlic bulbs, as you do, an serve that instead of butter when I have dinner parties.

This is great. Love sharing food ideas and knowledge.

Your recipes sound scrumptious. And I will be eager to try them all.

Best wishes,


greatwhitebear said...

okay, just wo you know, the little joke about bad church supper food is about to become a blog. My sister, Mrs. Rev. Tim Patch and I are going to start the Chuch Pot Luck weblog. This will be strictly real working person Great Lakes states and province food. No wimpy stuff. Just the typical hihg fat food you would find at a church supper in Michigan, Minnesota, of Ontario. And I am going to publish your tomato aspic recipe in hopes somebody has the courage t try it and tell me about it (I agree with you, sounds gross).

Wandering Coyote said...

Isabella: I am a huge chowder freak myself, and your recipe looks very interesting. I would never have thought of using sausage. I make a lot of soup, actually, so I'll probably be posting many recipes. My mom taught me how to make healthy, homemade soups, and I really get a lot of satisfaction out of it.

GWB: Make sure you let me know the blog address for this site. What about old Anglican Church Women (ACW) recipes from British Columbia? A bit of a British flavour, but still church fare with lots of fat and calories. Or is this too high class for you?

This is too much fun, you guys...

greatwhitebear said...

As soon as we get the blog up and running, we will certainly welcome Anglican church recipes! it will remind us of our Grandmother Clarke and the Queen Mary Guild luncheons!

By the you have a good recipe for Yorkshire Pudding?

Wandering Coyote said...

I personally do not, but my mother (an ACW woman herself) made it all the time back home, so I'll get the recipe off her. She made a great Yorkshire pudding; I used to like it much better than her roast beef, which was always overcooked and barely chewable.

greatwhitebear said...

The promised blog is now a reality!

Do you have a good recipe for the crust of buttertarts? I seem to have lost mine.


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