Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Slightly Spicy (Vegan) Peanut Ramen Soup with Mushrooms and Veggies for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

The weekend after a long and crazy work week started off great, but Saturday afternoon had me running my cat, Max, to the emergency vet and spend a good part of the afternoon there as they worked to get his blood sugar stabilized. In the over six years he has been diabetic, he has never had dangerously low blood sugar and it was a scary and exhausting day for both of us. He is home today with a temporary monitoring system made for humans and I am monitoring him by the hour but thankfully it is done with a scanner and he is doing well. Anyway, I wasn't sure I was in the mood to make soup, but I had purchased the mushrooms and veggies and it's another quick and easy recipe--perfect for when you don't want to spend time in the kitchen.


The inspiration and the bones of this recipe came from this Vegan Spicy Thai Peanut Ramen from Rabbit and Wolves that I pinned a while back. I adapted the prep and ingredients a bit to suit my preferences and swapped out the green curry for red, the Thai chilies for Sriracha, and used three kinds of mushrooms, baby bok choy, red pepper and snow peas for the veggies. It was delicious.


Slightly Spicy (Vegan) Peanut Ramen Soup with Mushrooms and Veggies
Slightly Adapted from Rabbit and Wolves
(Serves About 4)

1 Tbsp coconut oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ginger, grated/crushed
1 Tbsp red curry paste
4 cups non-chicken low sodium veggie broth
1 red bell pepper, sliced
4 baby bok choy, coarsely chopped and stems and leaves divided
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1 can coconut milk
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbsp agave syrup or sweetener of choice
1 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha, or to taste
juice of 2 limes
3 cups mushrooms (I used a mix of cremini and oyster), sliced
1 1/2 cups snow peas, sliced into thirds
12 oz fresh or dried ramen noodles

To garnish: smoked or roasted peanuts, chopped if desired, enoki mushrooms, extra lime wedges

Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium high. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for about 2 minutes, then stir in the curry paste and cook an additional minute, reducing the heat slightly if needed. 

Add the broth, red bell pepper and stems of the baby bok choy and bring to a boil. Place the peanut butter into a small boil and add a ladle of the hot broth, stirring until smoothly combined. Add to the soup pot along with the coconut milk, tamari, agave, and Sriracha and bring to a simmer, cooking about 10 minutes until flavors meld and veggies are softened. Add lime juice, mushrooms, snow peas and noodles and simmer for 1 to 3 minutes--depending on whether you use dried or fresh noodles.

Taste and add additional seasoning or spice as needed. Ladle into bowls and top soup with peanut and enoki mushrooms. Serve with additional lime slices is desired. Enjoy!
   

Notes/Results: Like a bowl of good peanut noodles, this is a tasty and satisfying soup. I love the lime and peanutty broth with just enough spice. The veggies retain their texture well with the bok choy stems crisp and the mushrooms slightly chewy. This soup made me happy, it's quick and easy to make and tastes great. I would definitely make it again.


 Now let's have a look in the into the Souper Sundays kitchen.


Debra of Eliot's Eats shared Cold Udon Salad with Bok Choy and Cucumbers and said, "I was recently reading the benefits of bok choy in the June edition of EatingWell. The article was aptly named “You Rock, Bok.” Bok choy is listed second on the CDC’s list of forty-one super fruits and veggies. Bok is chockful of antioxidents that protect cells, improve immune function and block cancer forming cells. It’s also high in vitamin C. I love it raw but will start incorporating it in stir fries, too.


Thanks to Debra for joining me this week!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...


To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easy Miso Potsticker Soup with Crispy Snap Peas & Radish for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I was thinking about a carrot soup, or spring peas, or lettuce this week to celebrate Easter but I wanted something easy and I had pinned this very easy Miso Potsticker Soup with Crispy Snap Peas from Real Simple Magazine, so we can just pretend the veggie potstickers are bunny ears. ;-)


I kept the recipe mostly the same, except that I used some no-sodium non-chicken bouillon cubes in place of the water and cooked by broth before stirring in the miso so as not to boil out the nutrients.


Miso Potsticker Soup with Crispy Snap Peas
Slightly Adapted from Charlyne Mattox via  Real Simple.com
(Serves 4 to 6)

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced, white & green parts separated
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup white miso paste
1 lb potstickers of choice (I used veggie)
6 oz snap peas, thinly sliced
3 radishes, thinly sliced
chili oil for serving, optional

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the scallion whites, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the miso and ½ cup water. Whisk until the miso is dissolved. Add 7 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil.
 
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potstickers and cook until brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Add to the soup and cook until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve the soup topped with the snap peas, radishes, and scallion greens and drizzled with the chili oil, if desired.


Notes/Results: This simple soup really hit the spot today. The miso broth (I do recommend using a light chicken or veggie stock rather than water for maximum flavor and then stir your miso broth--whisked into a cup of the hot liquid--at the end) is lightly spiked with ginger and the potstickers take the place of noodles and their softer consistency pairs well with the crisp peas and radishes. Pretty quick and easy to put together, and light enough for a warm and sunny spring day, I will happily make it again.


My pal Tina is hanging out with me in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week, let's take a look.

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor brought a tasty Shrimp Curry and says, "I am bringing a shrimp curry with loads of coconut milk for this Easter Souper Sunday. Nope, it’s not a traditional meal but we aren’t traditional folks. It’s been excellent weather the last few days so we’ve been able to enjoy this meal outside on the patio. This curry was helped along by Trader Joe’s red curry sauce and some coconut milk. Lots of veggies and over a pound of large shrimp. Since Doug can’t have wheat we didn’t have naan to sop up the juices but he can have wine....so that was the accompaniment."

 
Thanks to Tina for joining in!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

 
To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter
Happy Easter and have a happy, healthy week!
 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Mark Bittman's Simple Miso Soup with Tofu, Mushroom, & Noodles for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

I pretty much always have miso paste in my fridge--usually more than one kind and love to stir up some easy miso soup when my body and soul is craving it. Sometimes I make a dashi stock, other times I use broth or water. Toppings and add-ins are whatever I have on hand. When Mark Bittman's email newsletter featured an article on miso and its many uses last week, he had me craving a simple Miso Soup.


Mark Bittman says, "With all due respect to packaged ramen, this is probably the best “instant” soup there is. At its simplest (which it is here), miso soup is basically tea: miso whisked with water. Add on if you like. Tofu and scallions are traditional, but do what you want: carrots, peas, beans, greens, sea greens, and so on, or soaked Asian noodles, chopped leftover cooked meat or seafood, or a couple cooked scrambled eggs stirred in right before serving.


I made a few small changes--adding a light non-chicken bouillon paste for flavor and whirring my miso paste and hot water into the blender instead of whisking, and adding fresh yaki soba noodles and mushrooms to the tofu to make it more of a meal  

Miso Soup
Slightly Adapted from How to Cook Everything: The Basics, via MarkBittman.com
(Serves 4)

1/3 cup any miso (I used mellow white miso)
1/2 lb any tofu, cut into small cubes
4 scallions, chopped
I added 1 Tbsp low-sodium non-chicken bouillon paste, fresh yaki-soba noodles and sauteed Bunashimeji (Beech Mushrooms) mushrooms

Put 6 cups water in a large pot over medium heat. When steam rises from the surface of the liquid and small bubbles appear along the edges of the pot, ladle 1 ⁄ 2 cup of the water into a small bowl with the miso and whisk until smooth.

Lower the heat under the pot to medium-low and add the miso slurry; stir once or twice, then add the tofu if you’re using it. Do not let the mixture boil; let it sit for a minute or two to heat the tofu through. Stir in the scallions and serve.
 

Notes/Results: Nourishing, delicious, satisfying--it's comforting chicken soup for the non-chicken eater. It's even better with a light drizzle of toasted sesame oil. I'll be eating it thins week, changing in the add-ins and toppings with egg, rice, and other veggies--really anything goes. Quick and easy, I'll definitely keep making miso soup.


Linking up at I Heart Cooking Clubs where it's March Potluck! --our chance to cook any recipe from any of our 19 featured chefs. Speaking of featured chefs, we finish cooking with Ruth Reichl at the end of the month and rather than picking a new chef to cook with for six months, we will be cooking with all nineteen chefs to celebrate our ten year anniversary. Hope you join in the fun! 

 
 Let's take a look into the Souper Sunday kitchen...


A big Souper Sundays welcome to Angela of Mean Green Chef who joins us for the first time with a classic, Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup. She says, "Our authentic Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup is a favorite in our kitchen. It’s easy, bright and totally satisfying! ... Use any of your favorite Mexican toppings, the only component that is an absolute must are the crispy tortilla strips. Trust me, they’re so much better than store-bought chips, really making this Mexican Soup pop with flavor and originality! They come with one caveat though, they’re extremely addicting! We use a blend of white and yellow corn tortillas, fry them up till golden and then hit them with a pop of Pink Himalayan sea salt."

 
Tina of Squirrel Head Manor has me craving a fish sammie with her Panko Baked Cod Sandwiches. She says, "Flipping through my notebook of saved recipes I came across this Panko baked fish. It's easy and we like it for a filling no fuss meal. This of course inspired me to make it again. There were a few pieces leftover....but not enough for a dinner.  Simple solution and zero waste; have fish sandwiches for a hot healthy lunch. ...
Pop that fillet on a bun with sliced tomato and lettuce and you have yourself a filling lunch. We baked a sweet potato too."  


Thanks to Tina and Angela for joining me this week!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

 
To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).



 Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "California Girls" by Susan Mallery, Served with a Recipe for Easy Weeknight Veggie Lo Mein

It's Wednesday and with a busy week already, I am in the mood for a little break to get me over the hump and into the weekend. A Susan Mallery novel, like her newest, California Girls, works beautifully as a little escape and I'm happy to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour. Accompanying my review is a quick and simple Veggie Lo Mein recipe, perfect for a weeknight dinner. 


Publisher's Blurb:

The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…

Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (February 26, 2019)

My Review:

Susan Mallery is an author I turn to when I want a good book to escape with. Her books are easy reads, pages fly by as I immerse myself into the different storylines she weaves together. In California Girls, the story follows three very different sisters, Finola, Zennie, and Ali. They might be different in looks, personality, and lifestyle, but they share a similar problem when they are all dumped by the men in their lives. Finola and Ali tie for the worst dumping with Finola's husband blurting out that he's leaving right before she goes on air with her morning talk show, and her first guest is the young country-pop star he is sleeping with. In Ali's case, her fiance doesn't bother telling her he doesn't want to marry her, so his more responsible brother has to do it. By comparison, Zennie's breakup seems anticlimactic as it is a guy she has had a few dates with, but she isn't interested in being coupled up. There is plenty of drama as each sister tries to navigate her life and find happiness. I found myself liking Ali the most--my heart went out to her first, but Zennie and eventually Finola grew on me too. 

There are no big surprises in the story, but I enjoyed the journey. Mallery's novels are easy to enjoy--from the characters she writes to the food she peppers her stories with. If you like women's fiction, stories about sisters and families, romance and friendships, and you'll enjoy this one.
 
-----

Author Notes: #1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives-family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. 

Visit her at SusanMallery.com, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


-----

Food Inspiration: 

Susan Mallery never has a shortage of food in her books and in fact there is even a recipe for California Girls Stuffed Scones in the back of this one. Food mentions included bacon, potato salad-five ways, espresso, protein-packed smoothies, salad and rotisserie chicken instead of tortilla chips and macaroni salad, all-meat pizza and garlic bread, Cherry Garcia ice cream, chocolate bundt cake, red wine, tequila, a hangover cure smoothie with coconut water, red ginseng, prickly pear and ginger, mushrooms, eggs, cucumbers, hotdogs, peanuts and bear at a baseball game, Chinese takeouts of lo mein, kung pao chicken, Mongolian beef and honey shrimp, fried rice, crab wontons, BBQ spare ribs and crispy green beans, Cheetos, potato chips with ranch dip, instant mashed potatoes, brownies, wedding cake, greens, a pastrami sandwich, kale and other green vegetables, chocolate-covered graham crackers, grilled ahi with salad and a side of broccoli, seafood dinner for two, pickles and chocolate chip ice cream, curried chicken sandwiches and a salad with basil ranch dressing, CPK's avocado egg rolls, sushi, pulled pork tacos with homemade tortillas, extra avocado and salsa, beer, quiche, sandwiches, Brie, a hot fudge sundae, donuts, chicken marsala, mashed potatoes and fresh green beans, frosted cookies, and an In-N-Out burger and a chocolate milkshake.


There were two mentions of Chinese takeout dinners and both included the noodle dish lo mein. The Chinese food was comfort food to Ali after her fiance dumps her and later to Zennie, in the midst of the pregnancy blues. The lo mein caught my eye as I have been craving noodles and it seemed like an easy weeknight dinner. 


These noodles are not all that authentic, but by making them at home which only takes about 20 minutes, you can control the sodium and oil and have fresh tasting noodles. If you have leftovers, they taste great reheated (because lo mein doesn't dry out like fried rice), as Ali declares in the book.

Weeknight Veggie Lo Mein
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2-3)

1 package lo mein noodles or other thin noodle
1 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil (I use a mix of sesame and canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced, green and white parts separated
1 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced
5-6 mini bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups snow peas, trimmed and sliced into thirds
Lo Mein Sauce, recipe below
toasted sesame seeds
 
Lo Mein Sauce:
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp brown sugar or maple syrup  
2 tsp rice wine vinegar

Cook lo mein noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside. 

While spaghetti is cooking, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat oil in a large wok or skillet and add whites of green onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, snow peas and carrots and saute 5 to 6 minutes--until veggies are just tender. Add noodles and sauce and warm through. Serve garnished with green onion tops and sesame seeds and enjoy!


Notes/Results: What's not to like here? Noodles, tasty sauce and lots of fresh veggies. The only effort is the chopping and you have a delicious dinner ready in about 20 minutes. You can use whatever veggies you like in this--cabbage or Chinese greens would be nice. I may add some roasted peanuts to the leftovers for crunch and protein. I would happily make this again.


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "California Girls" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
 
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "I Invited Her In" by Adele Parks, Served with a Recipe for Baked Tortellini with Kale Pesto

It's Wednesday and I am working my way over the hump and into the weekend by taking an all-day leadership class on coaching behavioral issues. I can't help thinking that some of the characters in the new novel, I Invited Her In by Adele Parks, could benefit from some coaching--although I did more yelling at them in my head than thinking about trying to change their behaviors. ;-) Instead, I'll just review the book and throw in a recipe for a pasta dish, Baked Tortellini with Kale Pesto, inspired by my reading.


Publisher's Blurb:

Imagine the worst thing a friend could ever do.
 
This is worse.
 
When Mel receives an unexpected email from her oldest friend Abi, it brings back memories she thought she had buried forever. Their friendship belonged in the past. To those carefree days at university.
 
But Abi is in trouble and needs Mel’s help, and she wants a place to stay. Just for a few days, while she sorts things out. It’s the least Mel can do.
 
After all, friends look out for each other, don’t they?
 
I Invited Her In is a blistering tale of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.

Hardcover: 432 Pages
Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (February 5, 2019)


My Review: 


This is my first book by Adele Parks which seems odd as she has 15 novels out and all have been best sellers in the U.K, but I took the tour because I love twisty, dark thrillers that keep me guessing. Unfortunately I didn't quite get that with I Invited Her In. Be it the back cover blurb, the subtitle on the front cover (and she took everything...), the foreshadowing throughout the story, or a combination of all three, I ended up figuring almost all of the twists and turns out and so the suspense and tension just wasn't there. From the beginning it's pretty clear that Abi is downright evil and Mel got on my nerves too with her actions and her reactions to the things Abi. I spent much of the book yelling at Mel and her (more likable but equally clueless) husband Ben in my head. It's not a bad book, Parks did keep me turning the pages to see how badly the friendship between Abi and Mel derailed. For me it read a bit like a slightly over-the-top Lifetime movie and I found it more of a drama of full of dark secrets and a youthful friendship gone bad, than the psychological thriller I was expecting.


-----


Author Notes: Adele Parks one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women’s fiction writers in the UK. She has sold over 3 million books and her work has been translated into 25 different languages. She has published 15 novels in the past 15 years, all of which have been London Times Top Ten Bestsellers. Adele was born in the North East of England, in 1969. She enjoyed a traditional 1970’s childhood, watching too much TV and eating convenience food because nobody minded if kids did that in those days. Since graduating from university, where she studied English Language and Literature, she worked in advertising and as a management consultant. In 2010 Adele was proud to be awarded an honorary doctorate of Letters from Teesside University.

Connect with Adele on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

-----

Food Inspiration:

There was food (an alcohol) to be found in I Invited Her In, lots of family meals and British comfort food including toast and jam, tea and Hobnobs, coffee, beer and French red wine, fish fingers and baked beans on toast, a cheese and pickle sandwich, champagne, birthday cakes, gin-and-tonics, herbal teas, hot chocolate and chocolate brownies, scrambled eggs, bolognese sauce with fried mince, tomato and basil, handmade chocolates, organic grapefruit tonic in a bottle, cream tea with salmon sandwiches and little chocolate cakes, Thai food, whiskey, brandy, carrots, olives and wine, pizza delivery, meat and multiple vegetables like peas and roast potatoes, pasta and tomato sauce, pesto pasta, shepherd's pie, ice cream, lasagna, tomato and lettuce salad, tinned soup, eggs, bacon, and toast, meatballs, takeaway fish and chips, soup and crackers, jam sandwiches, strawberry milkshake, chocolate, margaritas, tacos, tostadas, and a "potato something," roast chicken, sweet potato chips and broccoli, humus, soya milk, ginger nut biscuits, cereal, chocolate milk and Nutella, Weetabixes, kebabs, red ice lollies, soft cheeses, pate, raw eggs, a C'est la Vie (a cocktail made of lime juice shaken with Ciroc vodka and French pear brandy), rainbow chard, cornmeal porridge, sea bream, duck salad and dessert.


Pasta with bolognese, lasagna, spaghetti, fish fingers, and shepherd's pie seemed to be the most common fair at Melanie's house, none of which called to me as a weeknight dinner I wanted to eat. When a recipe for Baked Tortellini with Kale Pesto popped up in my Food Network feed, I was intrigued. It had  the same feel as easy pasta comfort food but the kale added a different edge so I decided to try it for my book-inspired dish. Both the pasta and the ease of making it tie it to the book. I made up the pan on Monday night, covered it and put it in the fridge, then pulled it out, topped and baked it last night. Seemed like something working mum, Mel would do.


Baked Tortellini with Kale Pesto
(Yields 4 to 6 Servings)

kosher salt
1 12-to-14-oz package spinach and cheese tortellini
7 cups baby kale (about 8 oz) (I used regular kale)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic (I used 2 cloves)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream (I used coconut milk)
1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3 oz) (I used chunks of fresh mozzarella)
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp pine nuts, roughly chopped (I forgot to buy these, so omitted)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook as the label directs. Reserve ¼ cup cooking water, then drain. Reserve the pot.

Meanwhile, puree 4 cups kale, the olive oil and garlic in a blender or food processor until almost smooth. Add ¼ cup parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth, adding up to 1/4 cup tap water if needed.

Transfer the pesto to the reserved pot along with the heavy cream; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium low; stir in the tortellini, sun-dried tomatoes and the remaining 3 cups kale, adding the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and sprinkle with the mozzarella.

Combine the panko, pine nuts, parsley and the remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the tortellini and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.


Notes/Results: I liked this bake, but would make a few changes. You have to enjoy kale for this one, which luckily, I do. If you aren't a fan, I would use spinach as it would bypass the slight bitterness that kale has. The recipe also calls for baby kale, which was missing at my local grocery store, so I use regular kale. Next time, I would saute the kale first with the garlic, to mellow it and to soften the kale left in the casserole. I also forgot I was out of pine nuts which would have added a nice crunch to the texture. Still, about 20 minutes in the toaster oven (I cooked it longer as I had it in the fridge overnight) and I had this hot casserole ready to go and enjoyed my plate feeling a bit more virtuous about the cheese and pasta, having worked my greens in. ;-) I would make it again and will try it with spinach or other greens too.


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "I Invited Her In" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
 
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.