White Bean and Garlic Pasta

Fall is always a busy time in our house and I often rely on classic dishes that I know by heart when things are hectic. Recently my oldest son asked me if I could make something new for dinner. Here is what I devised:

White Bean and Garlic Pasta

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

2-3 cloves garlic (I used one enormous one from the Garlic Festival!), pressed or minced

2 Tbs butter

1 Tbs olive oil


salt and pepper

1/2 cup cream

1 lb pasta

grated Parmesan

After rinsing the beans, puree them in a mini processor or blender, adding water as needed to get a smooth texture (I probably added 1/3 cup of water).

In a skillet, heat butter and olive oil (you can use all olive oil to make it vegan). Saute garlic until fragrant, add beans and cook while stirring. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add parsley (I used dried as my fresh was looking really ugly, but fresh would be best, use about 2 tsp dried or 1/4 fresh). Remove from heat.

Boil water for pasta and cook according to package. I like penne, but any shape will work. When pasta is almost done, put bean sauce back on heat and add cream to thin it out (if you are going vegan use some of the pasta water). Add the drained pasta and toss well to combine. Serve with grated Parmesan (or not).

Roasted Butternut Squash and Carmelized Onion Soup

The harvest holiday of Sukkot starts tonight and for the next 8 nights we will eat in our Sukkah (a temporary hut like structure, ours is on our porch). This holiday is by far my favorite of all on the Jewish calendar. I love to eat outside on chilly nights and my children (and I) get such a kick out of decorating the sukkah.

My other favorite park of Sukkot is making fall foods that will warm those dining in the sukkah! Soup is always on the menu. Tonight we will eat the Butternut Squash soup below. Tomorrow night I will make a Lentil and Roasted Garlic soup! Yum!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

3 medium onions, sliced

1 tbs butter (can omit to make this vegan)

olive oil


salt and pepper

5 cups bouillon or vegetable broth (I used Rapunzel Sea Salt and Herbs)

Preheat oven to 450F. Toss the squash with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of thyme. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the edges are browning.

Meanwhile in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven heat butter (or substitute olive oil) and caramelize the onions. See instructions and pictures here.

When the squash is cooked, add it and the broth/bouillon to the pot of onions. Stir and simmer for 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Fresh Ripe Tomato Sauce

My tomato plants have done very well this year, maybe from the heat, maybe from extra care, who knows! So they are very prolific right now and I have more than I can eat raw. So time to make sauce! This is a simple riff on the lovely recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Fresh Ripe Tomato Sauce

about 4 lbs ripe tomatoes

2 Tbs olive oil

two small onions

3 cloves garlic

2 ribs celery

1 small carrot

basil, cut very thinly

salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil. Score the ends of the tomatoes in an X. Dunk in the boiling water and then slip off the skins. Chop roughly and put through a food mill. If you do not have a mill you can quarter the tomatoes, squeeze out the seeds and then chop into smaller pieces- you will get a chunkier sauce this way unless you puree it.

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan (I use a Le Cruset). Put onions, garlic, celery and carrot in food processor and chop until very fine (you can do this by hand too). Add to hot olive oil and saute a few minutes. Add a dash of salt and saute a bit more. Add pureed tomatoes and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 1-2 hours or until deep red and thicker. Add some pepper. Add basil right before serving.

I served ours with breaded eggplant cutlets, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese! Yum!

Summer Rolls

These are a great entree for the hot weather. It is delicious at room temperature and can hold well if you want to make ahead. They are very flexible too, if you want to add other veggies or use another protein source (cooked chicken, shrimp, etc). I was lucky enough to get some fresh, homegrown Thai Basil from my mother this weekend!

Summer Rolls (to make 8)

For Sauce:

1/2 onion, finely minced

1 large clove garlic, minced

sirracha, to taste (I only add about 8 drops as my little ones are heat sensitive!)

1 tsp vegetable oil

6 Tbs water

2 Tbs creamy peanut butter

1 Tbs Hoisin sauce

2 tsp tomato paste

1 Tbs soy sauce

1/2 tsp sugar

For Rolls:

2 oz bean thread noodles (vermicelli)

1 Tbs rice vinegar

12oz extra-firm silken tofu

Potato starch

1/4 cup peanut oil

8 rice paper rounds

bibb or iceberg lettuce (ribs cut out)

approx. 1/4 cup  chopped cilantro

approx 1/4 cup Thai basil, cut in strips

shredded carrot

Cook onion and garlic in vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat until golden. Whisk in remaining ingredients and cook 1 minutes. remove from heat.

Cover noodles with boiling hot water and let soak 15 minutes. Drain well and pat dry between paper towels, then toss with vinegar in a bowl.

Slice tofu into 8 planks and dredge with potato starch and a sprinkle of salt. Fry until golden in the peanut oil over medium high heat. Remove from pan onto a plate with paper towels.

Place a dampened paper towel on your work surface and have everything ready to fill the rice papers. Soak the rice paper in water for about 1 minute or until pliable. Be careful when you pick it up not to rip it.

Place the wrapper on the paper towel and put a piece of lettuce on the bottom third. Spread with some of the peanut sauce. Add a plank of tofu, basil and cilantro and some of the noodles. Fold the wrapper up and over the filling. Fold in the sides then put some carrot along the crease and fold the rest of the way (see the pictures in my previous post). Transfer finished roll to a plate covered in paper towels. Be careful that they do not touch each other or they will stick together.

Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve with peanut sauce for dipping.

Indianish Broccoli and Spinach Soup

I opened the fridge today to make dinner with no clear inspiration. The veggie drawer was full of this and that and so I turned to my old standby, soup! I seasoned this one with Indian flavors and I think it came out great.

Indian-ish Broccoli and Spinach Soup

I large onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced

1 Tbs olive oil

6 cups broth (or water with bullion)

1 head broccoli (mine was a medium size)

1/2 bag of baby spinach

salt, pepper

1/2 tsp ground corriander

1/2 tsp cumin

In a large pot (I like using my Dutch Oven) heat olive oil. Saute onions and celery until softened adding garlic and ginger after a few minutes. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Add broth then broccoli. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes then add the spinach as well as pepper and the spices. Simmer an additional 10-15 minutes.

Puree if desired or leave chunky. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Tofu with Tomatoes and Peas

This is a riff on a recipe from Madhur Jaffery’s World Vegetarian cookbook. I love to serve it with green beans and rice.

Tofu with Tomatoes and Peas

1 block firm tofu, drained and pressed

vegetable or peanut oil

1 Tbs mined garlic

one inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced

6 scallions, sliced

1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes (drain off extra juice)

2 Tbs soy sauce

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

(optional) hot chili sauce (1/4 tsp to 1 tsp by taste)

After pressing the tofu, cut into small cubes. Heat about 3-4 Tbs oil in a large pan and fry the tofu until crisp and golden. Remove from pan. Into remaining oil, add garlic, ginger and scallion. Stir until fragrant then add tomatoes, soy sauce, salt and sugar. Stir well then add peas and tofu along with optional hot chili sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Serve with rice! Yum.

Recipe for Potatoes and Green Beans

I don’t really understand what happened today with my blog, but for some reason the text is not posting. So here we go again on the recipe for the Potatoes and Green Beans posted below.

Amazing Potatoes and Green Beans

3 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1.5 cups)

1.5 cups of green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1-2inch peices

1.5 Tbs chopped garlic

2 tbs olive oil

about 2 tsp Harvest Season (from Boxed Goodes)

Heat oil in a large fry pan. Add potatoes and fry until golden brown, stirring several times. Add garlic and green beans and cook until beans start to brown. Add seasoning to taste.

My kids loved this, my 9 year old even had thirds!

Aloo Tikki

My kids love the flavors of Indian foods. I am thrilled that they do as there are so many wonderful vegetable preparations that I can do in an Indian style. Here is my oldest son’s favorite version of potatoes.

Aloo Tikki

2-3 med potatoes (about 1lb 4 oz total), peeled and cut into chunks

1 Tbs vegetable oil

1 small onion

2 cm ginger, grated

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground corriander

1 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

2 Tbs besan (chick pea flour)

1 Tbs lemon juice (optional)

oil for frying (I prefer peanut oil)

Put potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and boil until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain and let cool, then put in a large bowl and mash.

In a small sauce pan heat the oil. Add the onions and ginger and stir once. Add the spices (but not the salt) and stir until fragrant. Add to mashed potatoes along with salt, besan and peas. Stir well then shape into golf ball sized balls and flatten.

Heat oil in a large pan and fry patties until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Serve with an Indian bean/lentil dish (like dal!).

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