Shell Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile

Earlier this summer, I was begifted Jerusalem written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi by my friend Sheila.  The cookbook is so beautiful to look at, the pictures are stellar and the duo gives insight about traditional cuisine of the city.  The first recipe I tried of the book was this pasta dish and although my family did not seem to like the flavor combinations I thought it was delicious.  By warned, the chile flake pine nut garnish is spicy so make sure your guests like heat!

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Shell Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile (makes lb)

2 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

2/3 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 lb fresh or frozen peas thawed

1 lb shell pasta

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 tsp. chile flakes

1 2/3 cup torn basil leaves

8 oz. feta cheese

salt and ground pepper

Put the yogurt, 6 tablespoons of the oil, garlic, and 2/3 cup of the peas in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  Pour into a large bowl.

Cook the pasta according to instructions.  With two minutes left for the pasta to cook, pour the remaining peas into the pasta water to heat.  Drain both together.

As the pasta is cooking, heat the rest of the olive oil, pine nuts, and chile flakes at medium heat for 4 minutes.

When the pasta and peas are drained SLOWLY add them to the sauce so the yogurt does not split.  Then mix in the basil, feta, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  When plating spoon over pine nuts and drizzle some of the oil on top.

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Nectarine Spinach Salad

I know I tend to go through phases with my posts, so I will try and make this the last salad you see for at least a little while.  I liked the pairing of salty feta to contrast the sweet nectarine, but I think the dish needed something with a more robust flavor like blue cheese which I will try out next time!

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Nectarine Spinach Salad

nectarine sliced thin

spinach

sunflower seeds

feta

balsamic vinegar

Place the spinach down on a platter.  Lay the nectarine slices on top.  Crumbled the cheese and sprinkle the seeds on top.  Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar.  Enjoy!

Romaine Greek Salad

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Romaine Greek Salad

romaine salad

chickpeas, washed and drained from a can

feta cheese

fresh tomatoes

cucumber

kalamata olives

sunflower seeds

lemon juice

olive oil

Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together to make the dressing.  I went 1/4 parts lemon juice 3/4 parts olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chop the tomatoes and add salt to help counteract their juiciness.  Let them dry a little on a towel.  Chop the cucumber.  Chop and pit the olives.

Place the romaine in a large salad bowl.  Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, and olives.  Crumble the feta cheese on top.  Sprinkle on the sunflower seeds.

Drizzle on the dressing and toss the salad.

 

Summer Spinach Salad

This dish was a take on my favorite spinach salad with cranberries, feta, and walnuts, but I added some leftover grilled corn that I had from the night before.  I made it quickly for a family dinner so I did not record the exact proportions, but I don’t think you can mess it up!

SALAD

Summer Spinach Salad

spinach

grilled corn

cranberries

chopped walnuts

salted sunflower seeds (shelled)

feta

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Cut the grilled corn off of the cob using a sharp knife.

Place the spinach in a large salad bowl.  Sprinkle on the grilled corn.  Crumble the feta on top.  Add the walnuts, cranberries, and sunflower seeds.

For the dressing mix 1/3 part balsamic vinegar and 2/3 part olive oil.

Pour over the dressing and toss the salad.

Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies

I recently made these cookies for a family cookout and they were a big hit.  Soft and chewy, they have a very strong chocolate flavor and the peanut butter is more of an undertone.  They flattened out more than on the original blog so I think next time I will either refrigerate the dough for longer than two hours, or put it in the freezer instead.

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Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies (makes two dozen)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups Nutella

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Using a handheld mixer, combine the eggs, Nutella, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla until they are creamed.  Then add the flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips.  The dough will be very oily and slick, but do not worry!

Make two tablespoon sized mounds of dough and place on a plate so you can chill them in the refrigerator.   I chilled mine for two hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your baking pans.  Place 8 cookies on a pan at a time and bake for 10 minutes.  Let the cookies cool for several minutes before you try and remove them from the pan because they are very delicate when warm.  Enjoy!

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Berry Crumble Muffins

In honor of the fourth, and summer in general, I made blueberry and strawberry crumble muffins!  I had to substitute skim milk with lemon for the buttermilk in the original recipe, but the end result was still great.  I think the key element is the lemon juice and lemon zest because it enhances the berries’ flavor and freshness.

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Berry Crumble Muffins (makes 12)

Crumble:

3/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon / pinch of salt

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

4 tablespoons salted melted butter

Combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl with a fork until a crumb forms.

Muffins:

2 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon/ pinch of salt

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 cup skim milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup salted melted butter

1- 1 1/4 cup strawberries and blueberries (the strawberries should be hulled and quartered)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a muffin tin.

Combine milk and lemon juice, let stand for at least 5 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium sized bowl.

Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Add the milk and lemon mixture.  Add in the sugars and mix until combined.  Add vanilla and lemon zest.  Mix in the butter.

Slowly add the dry ingredients.  Stir in the berries.

Scoop batter into muffin tin.  Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.