Recipe Included


Well, that’s NOT what Pepin calls it but that is exactly what this quick dish is. We were challenged this week at IHCC to come up with a dish that was fast – 30 minutes or less. Simple and ready for the table is perfect for this time of the year so when I came across this recipe for Coquillettes au Gruyere(aka Pasta Shells with Swiss Cheese) I figured it would be perfect.

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And it was! Creamy. And different than our every day mac and cheese.

    8 cups water
    10 ounces medium-size pasta shells, preferably imported
    3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh
    1 cup (loosely packed) freshly grated swiss cheese (3 ounces), preferable Gruyere

Cook pasta until tender (about 15 minutes)
Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking liquid, and set aside.
Drain the pasta in a colander.
Put the cooking water into a stainless steel bowl large enough to mix the pasta and the rest of the ingredients in. Add the oil, salt, and pepper and mix well.
Add in the pasta and chives tossing to mix well and then add in the cheese.
Serve immediately.

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I loved the mix of the Gruyere and the chives in this simple and quick side. It came together in 26 minutes. FAST!! Just as requested!

The original recipe came from Jacques Pepin’s Table page 338.

How fast were the other’s dishes? Check them out at I Heart Cooking Clubs

Here in the Deep South the Figs are ripe. And there are plenty of them with all the rain we have had these last couple of months. I usually pick them and give them to my neighbor but I found this easy recipe for a Fig Cake so decided to give it a try before I gave them away. I have to admit I am NOT a fig lover. I just don’t care for them. I did try one again this year but still not my thing. Different thing, though to put them in a cake – with pecans.

I was just about to make muffins instead of cupcakes and then I remembered this month’s Bundt Bakers’ Theme – Fruits and Nuts. Let’s see. Figs. Pecans. Yep – that qualifies. So back in the pantry went the cupcake pan and out came the bundt pan. Close shave!!

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For the Cake:

    2 cups AP flour
    1 1/2 cups sugar {I used 1/2 cup sugar. 1 cup Stevia in the Raw and 1 large Dash plain stevia}
    1 cup buttermilk
    3 eggs
    1 cup oil
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1 cup chopped figs
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325.
Sift the flour, salt, soda, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add oil and beat until well blended. Add the eggs, figs, nuts, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix well
Grease and SUGAR your bundt pan. {I used a small one and made 4 muffins as well.} and pour in batter.
Bake for 45 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.
For the Glaze:

    1 cup sugar
    1 stick butter
    1 Tbl corn syrup
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/2 cup buttermilk. 1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil 3 minutes
Pour over cake while still warm.

What a great, sweet cake. The figs basically melted into the cake and the pecans added just the right amount of crunch. I used the glaze but I also sprinkled powdered sugar over the cake.

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This one is definitely in the cake rotation. Hope the fig tree lives a long, long time.

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#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

BundtBakers

The Mystery Box this month for IHCC was challenging. Very Challenging. I mean:

    Chicken
    Seaweed Interesting!
    Sesame Seeds
    Parsley
    Mozzarella Cheese
    Pasta
    Mango
    Brown Sugar
    Zucchini
    Mint

One could go with an Asian Flair.

    A Sweet Treat.
      Or a Pasta.

I took the easy way out – PASTA! But easy wasn’t really EASY!! Because then I had to actually find a recipe with at least THREE of the ingredients which is what the CHALLENGE is all about. At least three ingredients in a recipe from one of our past or present chef.

    Jacques Pepin
    Nigella Lawson
    Mark Bittman
    Giada de Laurentiis
    Jamie Oliver
    Tessa Kiros
    Rick Bayless
    Madjur Jaffrey
    Yotam Ottolenghi
    Donna Hay
    Nigel Slater
    Diana Henry

I was thinking Italian so I was thinking Giada de Laurentiis and after about an hour of cookbook and internet research found this recipe. Four Ingredients!!

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    Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

I knew it would be good!!

    1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta) {I used a Whole Wheat Penne}
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
    1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
    1 cup shredded mozzarella
    1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup bread crumbs {I found some whole Wheat Panko – worked greatt.}
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan
    1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl.

Put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the chicken is completely cooked and the onions are tender.
Mix the chicken in with the pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, parsley, salt and pepper.Stir to combine.
Pour the pasta/chicken mix in a greased 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. Mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it on to the pasta mixture.
Dot the top with small bits of butter.
Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.{Original Recipe}

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Okay. This was good. But not great. It needed to be more…well, more Italian. I would have liked it more if there had been more seasonings. Maybe some oregano. Even some Italian seasoning. I would also add more cheese to the dish and a little more liquid. It wasn’t real dry but it was borderline. We liked it enough to make it again but with more seasoning.

Ready for more Mystery. Check out the I Heart Cooking Clubs website and see the rest of the Challenge dishes.

I am an Air Force Brat! And proud of it! From the time I was 3 ’til I was 18 we never lived in one place longer than 6 – 10 months at a time. We did stay in one house for two years and it felt very odd. Wonderful, but odd!

During all that time we lived most of my childhood somewhere in Germany or England. And during that time we traveled everywhere we could: Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Scotland. And everywhere we went we tried new foods. Many of them completely new to us. The bread and Sausages of German. Bangers and Mash. Treacle Tart. I even remember trying tongue (once ONLY!!) and my Dad had Steak Tartar. We’ve had eels, seaweed, squid in it’s own juice (BLACK!), lamb, goat. Nothing escaped us! I was just a child for most of it but I do recall numerous delicious, and not so delicious, dishes. It wasn’t until I was grown, married, retired (and learning to actually cook) that I thought back to those days and wanted to replicate some of those meals. Usually Indian. Because I remember visiting Veraswami’s in London several times. I know they have changed since the 1950s but many of their menu items are still the same. Like

    ROGAN JOSH

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    2 1 inch cubes fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    8 cloves garlic, peeled
    1 1/2 cups) water
    10 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 lb lamb cut into 1 inch cubes
    10 cardamom pods
    2 bay leaves
    6 cloves
    10 peppercorns
    1 cinnamon stick
    2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    4 teaspoons bright red paprika mixed with 1/4-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    6 tablespoons plain yogurt
    1/4 teaspoon garam masala
    Freshly ground black pepper

Put the ginger, garlic, and 4 tablespoons water into the container of an electric blender. Blend well until you have a smooth paste.
Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat cubes in several batches and set to one side. Put the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon into the same hot oil. Stir once and wait until the cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on color This just takes a few
seconds.
Add in the onions then stir and fry for about 5 minutes or until the onions turn a medium-brown color. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika-cayenne mix, and salt. Stir and fry for another 30 seconds. Add the fried meat cubes and juices. Stir for 30 seconds.
Add 1 tablespoon of the yogurt. Stir and fry for about 30 seconds or until the yogurt is well blended. Add the remaining yogurt a tablespoon at a time as before. Stir and fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add 275 ml (1’/4 cups) water if you are cooking lamb and 425 ml (2 cups) water if you are cooking beef. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, scraping in all browned spices on the sides and bottom of the pot. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour for lamb and 2 hours for beef, or until the meat is
tender. (It could be baked, covered, in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for the
same length of time or until tender.)
Every 10 minutes or so, give the meat a good stir. When the meat is tender, take off the lid, turn the heat up to medium, and boil away some of the liquid. You should end up with tender meat in a thick, reddish brown sauce.
Spoon off the fat.
Sprinkle garam masala and black pepper over the meat before you serve and mix them in.

I served this over Basmati rice.

I am sure it isn’t as good as Veraswamy’s but as far as memories go, it brought back quite a few. I had a chance to go back in 2000 but you know what they say about best laid plans. One day. Until then I will dream of the little bowls of delicate licorice tidbits, the fragile crystal glasses (one of which I broke), the colorful regalia worn by the doorman and the wait staff.

I am pretty sure this recipe is from Madjur Jaffrey, but I’m not sure.


Let’s Lunch is a Twitter Based group. Please check out other Let’s Lunchers’ dishes from their travels below. And if you’d like to join Let’s Lunch, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #Letslunch

Betty-Ann‘s Watermelon-Cucumber Cooler Cocktail at Asian in America

Linda‘s Hawaiian Island Panzanella (Bread Salad) with Sea Asparagus at Spicebox Travels

Lisa‘s Moroccan B’Stillas at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Cheryl’s Sardinian Seadas at Cheryl Lu Lien Tan

Annabelle’s Creamy Jalapeno Dip at Glass of Fancy

Several years ago my M-I-L gave me a book. It was a book filled with recipes, financial tips, and hilarity. If you don’t have this book and you need a good giggle now and then, order it today.

swwt queen

Jill Conner Browne’s book is full of financial tips

    If you have been in therapy for the last fifteen ears over your failure to live up to THE image of womanhood….you can save the cost of the therapist and whatever drugs you’ve been put on by just buying your own copy of Betty Crocker and burning it….your own personal do-it-yourself therapeutic exorcism.


Works for me!!

There are also lots of anecdotal stories attached to each recipe and there are LOTS of recipes.

    Grilled Bologna Po-Boy
    Fatten-you-right-up rolls
    It’s a Miracle Pie
    Pig Candy
    Gorilla Casserole
    Yam Yomp
    Death Chicken

and the one I made for Mother’s Day…

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Mobile Home Marvel!

    “…so easy you can make it in the back of a moving vehicle; so simple, all you need is the briefest run through the smallest grocery store…”

Here’s what you need:

    12 – 18 Ice Cream Sandwiches {a 9″ x 13″ needs about 13 and preferably BLUE BELL}
    Caramel Sauce
    Cool Whip {Small or large depending on how deep you want it.
    Broken Heath Bars {but you could also use Butterfingers}
    Chocolate Sauce {I added this – cause you can NEVER have too much Chocolate}

Unwrap and layer the sandwiches on the bottom of the pan. Spread Cool Whip all over the top. Drizzle caramel sauce all over. Then drizzle the chocolate sauce. Cover the whole thing in broken candy bars. Then just to make sure you have enough – drizzle some more caramel and chocolate sauce. Place in the freezer until ready to eat.

Mind you, this is not a diet dessert – but I guess you figured that out! But it is delicious and will really get your Sweet Tooth in high gear.

If I crave anything it is usually Pizza. I don’t know why. Maybe because I don’t get to have it very often. But I do love it. Usually it is full of sauce and cheese and lots and lots of calories. But then Bittman gets into the act and suddenly I can have a nice healthy pizza anytime I want.

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What we have here is a No-Work Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Chewy! Lots of healthy toppings. Chewy! I love a chewy crust and I really don’t care for lots of tomato sauce so I simply left it off. Call it the “artisan” in me but you get so much more flavor when there is no sauce.

    2 cups whole wheat flour
    1 cup AP or Bread Flour
    1/2 tsp instant yeast
    1 tsp salt
    2 or 3 tsp Italian seasoning
    2 Tbl olive oil, plus more for greasing.

Mix together the flours, yeast, Italian seasoning, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in l 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups water.
You will have a relatively sticky and wet dough, like biscuit batter. If it’s two dry you can add a little more water {which is why I put a range of water}.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover, and put it in a warm spot for at least 6 hours but up to 12 hours. {More hours = more complex flavor.}
Heat the oven to 500C. Generously oil a baking sheet or large ovenproof skillet. Dust your hands with a little white flour and lightly fold the dough over in the bowl a few times. It will be sticky, but resist the urge to use too much flour; dust your hands again only when absolutely necessary. You can make one large pizza or divide the dough into 1/2 or quarters for smaller ones. Gently, you don’t want to tear the dough, Press the dough into an oven proof skillet or baking sheet;.
Brush or drizzle the top of the pizza or pizzas with 2 tablespoons oil, cover, and let sit while you get the toppings together, but no more than 60 minutes or so. Toppings can be just about anything you want.
Mine:

    mushrooms
    roasted red pepper
    spinach
    black olives
    Mozzarella Cheese

So Colorful!!

The addition of the Italian seasoning added more flavor to the pizza since there was no sauce where the seasoning usually is. (Does that make sense?) The amount of the fillings are up to your tastes. You caould also add goat cheese or ricotta. Anchovies or Sardines. Broccoli or cauliflower. It’s your choice.

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The recipe is from Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook on page 533.

For more Potluck dishes visit I Heart Cooking Club

If you need a VERY quick and VERY simple side this is the one. Provided you like fresh asparagus with lots of flavor.

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I didn’t really like asparagus until a couple of years ago. Mom had always used the canned stuff and the ‘fragrance’ was enough to send me screaming from the house. But then, one day, I tried fresh and now I look for new ways to cook it. And this was my pick for this weeks Wednesdays with Donna Hay. How simple is it, you ask. Melt butter. Add some balsamic vinegar. Throw in a bunch of asparagus and cook until it is tender. Top with Parmasean cheese. How can you say to no to THAT??? Definitely a keeper.

Check with the rest of the cooks on our website – Wednesdays with Donna Hay

The recipe is on page 134 of Donna’s New Food Fast.

And if you would like to join us – just look at our choices for the next few weeks (on he right) then cook/bake, blog and leave us a comment below. Love to have you!

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