Category Archives: Vegetables

Polenta Gnocchi with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Polenta Gnocchi with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I got a little manic about cooking yesterday. Maybe I’m always a little manic in the kitchen. I started browsing the Sundays at Moosewood chapter on Italy and ran across a yummy-sounding recipe for roasted mushrooms. Then the cookbook suggested I pair them with polenta. With a red pepper sauce on top. And suddenly I was making three dishes at once in my tiny kitchen with only an hour and a half to cook and eat before I had to be out the door (note: rushed photos so I could eat and run).

It can be done, my friends. If the polenta is cooked and cooled ahead of time, you can whip together a spectacular Italian meal for that someone special (in my case, it’s my roommate Meredith) in an hour. You might go a little crazy and smell like a red pepper for the rest of the night, but you can do it! Or you could relax in the kitchen with a glass of red wine and cook leisurely, if you have the time.

Polenta Gnocchi with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
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Oven Fries: 3 Ways

I started off this weekend knowing I was going to write an article about French fries for NU Intel, a snazzy little online publication I write and photograph for at Northwestern. I was thinking, like, yeah French fries will be easy. Just put some potatoes in the oven and roast them, right? But that would be oven-roasted potatoes, not French fries. So how do you take a strip of raw potato and turn it into a glorious, crisp potato worthy of a deep-fryer, but… from an oven. Well, I’ve figured it out.

I’m about to let you in on the secret to perfect French fries. The secret that will take you from drab oven potatoes to crisp, god-like potatoes. The behind-the-scenes trick that all of your favorite potato-servin’ restaurants are doing. Ready for it?

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Sweet Potato Burritos with Avocado Salsa Verde

When I get sick, I have the strangest appetite. I can remember being sick with an awful flu for over a week when I was in 5th grade. I hardly ate anything but saltines, but when my health was on the uptick towards the end of it, the only thing I wanted was chocolate cupcakes. Nothing but chocolate cupcakes. Not vanilla cupcakes, not even regular chocolate cake. Nothing else sounded good! My mom made a special trip to the grocery store and bought me a 12-pack of cupcakes because she was happy I was feeling up to eating anything at all.

Last week I came down with the flu again. The only thing I wanted to eat? Thai food. I ordered my favorite pad ke mao and basil fried rice, and rode out the illness with the comfort of my leftovers. The doctor asked what I’d been eating, and she looked at me like I was crazy, but commended that I was getting the salt that my body needed. When you’re sick, you’ve just got to give the body what it wants.

When you’re healthy, you still should give your body what it wants. And trust me, it wants these sweet potato burritos covered in a tangy, slightly spicy avocado salsa verde.

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Black Bean, Tomatillo and Poblano Soup

Black Bean, Tomatillo and Poblano Soup

Some people pair food with wine. Others pair it with a perfectly complementary table setting. I pair food with music. I’m constantly seeking out new flavors in food, and I’m on a parallel journey to discover new sounds in music.

I’ve decided to share music pairings with each recipe. A song whose spirit captures the spirit of the dish. This song by Cayucas is sunny, etherial, bright, and poppy. It feels like lazy days in the beachy sunshine, eating tacos from a street vendor. This hearty Mexican soup is like a winter remedy for missing that moment of summertime.

Black Bean, Tomatillo and Poblano Soup

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Pasta with Caramelized Carrot Sauce

Pasta with Caramelized Carrot Sauce

I think I’m getting boring. I think I’m in a food rut. The only issue is this rut is so delicious. Pasta, vegetables, cheese. Simple, yet thorough. Hearty, yet not overbearing. Easy, yet complex. Less than two weeks ago I was going on and on about pasta and roasted root vegetables. I’ll be the first to admit that this recipe isn’t too terribly different, but it sticks with carrots and lets them linger in the pot until they get caramelized and delicious. Pureeing the mixture combines the pasta and the veggies with a creamy sauce, that when topped with stringy cheese, is wholeheartedly irresistible.

Pasta with Caramelized Carrot Sauce Pasta with Caramelized Carrot Sauce

So, sometimes curious friends ask me how I have so much time to cook. Well, I’m in college. Despite what anyone tells you, we have a lot of free time. It’s just how we spend it that differs. I spend mine celebrating the little moments in the kitchen, like when I don’t cry while dicing an onion. Or when I flip a grilled cheese perfectly. I unwind through food. I celebrate myself and others through food. I begin a good day with food. I salvage a bad day with food. The steady motions of prepping and chopping vegetables bring me back down to earth. The sweet aromas that slowly rise out of a simmering pot inspire grumbles in my stomach. Adding heat to something is like adding a little miracle. Cooking relaxes me, melts the stress of the day away, and re-centers me. I always feel better after cooking, and even better than better after eating. So that’s that.

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