Monday, October 22, 2007

Penne with Garlicky Butternut Squash

I usually make soup or lasagna with butternut squash, but I didn't feel like dirtying up the food processor tonight. I tried this penne recipe - skipped the parsley, used ground sage, and only used half the amount of penne that it called for as that was all I had. I probably used 3/4 cups of water too. This was good - not great like some of other ways I have tried butternut, but good. If I made this with a whole pound of penne, I would double the amount of squash to eight cups for sure.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup with Sesame and Green Onions

This was the last week that we got a CSA basket. This week there was a Chinese cabbage in it, which I have never cooked with before. Generally now when I get a new vegetable in the CSA basket, I look it up in The Joy of Cooking first to figure out what it taste like and how to use it. Sometimes I look on the Cook's Thesaurus website to get more background info too. Then I look for a recipe. I found this one for Chinese chicken noodle soup, and had most of the ingredients on hand. I had to substitute white wine for Sherry, and substituted Thai rice noodles for the yakisoba noodles. I was almost out of tahini so I probably used less than half of what the recipe called for.

This soup was pretty good. It was a good mix of flavors, with just a little bit of kick from the chili-garlic sauce. My husband gave it three out of four stars a la Epicurous's rating system. I've come to the conclusion that it is just hard to make Chinese food that knocks your socks off. Foods that knock my socks off tend to have a lot of butter, sugar, or cream, and unfortunately Chinese food doesn't use much of those ingredients. (That's probably why most Chinese people are skinny, and most Americans are fat.) I would try to get the actual yakisoba noodles if I make this again, because the long rice noodles were difficult to eat in a soup.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pesto and Shrimp Pizza

Made this one up last night. I made the crust using frozen bread dough like I described in this post. I made the pesto recipe in the Joy of Cooking, which is delicious. I've never made pesto before but it's really easy - just put fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor and blend the heck out of it. I spread that onto my pizza crust, then topped it with cooked shrimp, red onion, a sprinkling of dried red pepper flakes, and mozzarella cheese. It was pretty good for something that I made up.

Cranberry-Orange Scones

I still have a bunch of fresh cranberries in my fridge, so I decided to make these scones again today. I forgot to buy sour cream so I substituted whole milk yogurt instead - a previous reviewer on Epicurious said that they made them with yogurt and they couldn't tell a difference. I definitely disagree - the yogurt changes the texture quite a bit. That melt-in-your-mouth quality of these scones is from the sour cream. Lesson learned. Since this recipe calls for dried cranberries, I just used 3/4 cup fresh instead and chopped them up in my food processor. I did add about 1/4 cup more sugar to compensate.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Potato, Carrot, and Parsnip Soup

I've never cooked with parsnips before, but we got some in our CSA basket this past week, and I am almost always willing to try something once. I was a little wary, because I have never even eaten a parsnip, and "parsnip" just sounds too similar to "turnip", which I have already discovered to be a really, really nasty vegetable.

Good thing I'm a food risk-taker. I found this soup recipe and had most of the ingredients on hand, so I made this last night. I skipped the parsley, subbed a pinch of dried thyme for fresh, yellow potatoes for red, and white wine for sherry. This is a great fall soup - hearty from all the chunks of vegetables, yet with a smooth rich flavor. I was pleasantly surprised by the parsnips. If I ever get parsnips again I know what I'm going to make.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Cranberry-Orange Sorbet

It's fresh cranberry season. What better way to celebrate than to make cranberry sorbet? This is another Perfect Scoop recipe. I didn't have quite enough orange juice, so I added a little water in place of it. This was delicious - tangy and refreshing. I would have liked it a little sweeter (using the full amount of orange juice) but everyone else said it was perfect and they wouldn't want it any sweeter. I still have more cranberries in the fridge, and will probably make this again this week.