Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Recipe Review: Peperoni Ripieni con Tonno

Source: Lidia Bastianich on Cookstr

I have an abundance of sweet Italian peppers on hand. I've made plenty of pasta meals, scrambles, and stir-fries. I wanted to do something a little different with these once-a-year treats. 

I came across this recipe from Lidia Bastianich and made half the recipe since it was just for myself. The ingredients are very simple and pantry-friendly:
  • peppers
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • tuna
  • capers
  • vinegar
  • mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • fresh herbs

I made a few adjustments to suit what I had in my pantry. Instead of capers, I added green olives. I used to hate green olives; I still don't care for them on their own but green olives really do add a special briny touch. I had a few leaves of basil left so I used those, instead. These little rolls would make tasty appetizers but I had a plateful for dinner. Given them a try and enjoy!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Almost Migas

 Migas, especially migas of Tex-Mex origin, features eggs scrambled with onions, peppers, tomatoes or salsa, and...corn tortillas. Migas can be a great way to use up corn tortillas. In my case, I had a brand new package of corn tortillas, so I layered some scrambled eggs I made with onion, sweet Italian pepper, greens, and some basil. Delicious! Migas is a much better name than scrambled egg taco, don't you think?

 My Almost Migas were so good that I had to have them again. This time I topped them with a bit of leftover Cuban red sauce. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Leftover Power: Harira-Style Stew

My obsession is back! I have soup on the brain. The temperatures drop slightly, we have a serious rain storm, and look what happens. Three soup posts in a row! Let me try to explain. This blog documents new recipes I come up with (or try creating, in some cases), as well as provide a place for me to share whatever I'm cooking lately.

Z. made his delicious chana masala and even after enjoying some the next day, we still had some chana masala left but no rice. What to do? my case, I create soup.
Z.'s chana masala provided the perfect foundation for this soup, providing a flavorful tomato and onion base. What I love about harira (here's my version) is the combination of chickpeas with lentils and the spices. I include ginger, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, cinnamon, a hint of nutmeg, and harissa paste.

I transformed my leftovers adding as many of the same vegetables from the original recipe as I had on hand and the same spices, just scaled down. Delicious!

I began by heating a few teaspoons of oil in large sauce pan and sauteed garlic, carrots, and zucchini, until tender. Then I toasted two tablespoons of all-purpose flour for about 1 minute before toasting the spices. I added 3 cups broth, 1 generous cup leftover chana masala, 1/2 cup cooked brown lentils. I brought this to a boil, reduced the heat, let simmer for 15 minutes, and tasted. I added a dash more salt and a generous dollop of harissa paste.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Recipe Review: Here's Some Recipes I'm Interested in Trying

I have been browsing recipes and I'm feeling inspired! I thought I would share some of the recipes I would like to try.

Cuban cabbage salad 
Vegan acorn squash pie
Stovetop Tuna Noodle Casserole
  •  I only discovered homemade ravioli last fall. I would love to learn to make more. And I found this sauce that would be great with my pumpkin ravioli. 
Pasta with Bechamel Sauce
Cabbage Rolls
I am definitely interested in trying some new recipes! Do you have any favorites or suggestions???

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Work in Progress: Beet Soup

I love, love, love beets. One of my other loves is the soup served at Les Caves in Corvallis, my favorites being their beet soup and anything that includes parsnip. And, the chicken paprikash...and... Ok, let me get back to my soup.

I had some lovely beets and thought I would use Les Caves as inspiration. I made a roasted beet soup with parsnips, onions. garlic, and spiced with garam masala and fresh ginger.

Note: The beets on the left are golden beets, while the other beets are traditional red.

Something isn't quite right in my combination. I added a trio of strong flavors: parsnip, ginger, and garam masala. Three is too many, I need to cut one out; I have a feeling the ginger doesn't belong. I would like to try this soup again with just the parsnip and garam masala, or perhaps a different type of curry that isn't so cardamom-heavy. 

Do you have a favorite beet soup recipe I should try? Or any ideas of how to make this recipe work???

Monday, September 2, 2013

Leftover Power: Cuban Minestrone

A good tomato sauce provides the basis of many meals in the Cheap not Frugal Eats household. I was trying to think of the reasons why:
  • canned tomatoes and tomato products are a great deal (when on sale, of course) for how much flavor and substance they provide
  • I love tomato based sauces. With a little attention and time, I can create something special.
  • Most importantly, I travel the globe through tomato sauce.
Z.'s red sauce takes me to Italy. A few peppers and some heat takes me to Louisiana while some turmeric, garam masala, and chickpeas brings the Punjab region to mind. Who knew that I could go on an adventure to western Africa by including a bit of peanut butter and yams?

With a few additions to Z.'s red sauce, I can visit Cuba in my mind. For my Cuban adventures I add peppers, such as bell peppers or mild, flavorful chile peppers. This time of year, I am able to get a variety of chile peppers from my local farmer's market, like pimento but use what you enjoy and what is available. I add plenty of oregano and a generous handful of chopped pimento-stuffed olives. If you are feeling extra adventurous, try including 1/4 cup raisins. 

I have enjoyed this delicious sauce two different ways. The most simple meal Z. and I had was pasta with this Cuban tomato sauce. The olives provide a mildly bright yet briny counterpoint to the slow-simmered tomatoes and onions.

Then, I used about 1 cup of leftover sauce as the base of what I'm calling Cuban minestrone. Since my Cuban tomato sauce is so hearty, I only added a few additional ingredients:
  • zucchini
  • dark greens (in my case, beet greens)
  • black beans
  • small pasta
  • water or broth
  • sherry vinegar, to garnish
I just heated up some olive oil in a soup pot, and sauteed the zucchini and greens. Then I added the tomato sauce, about 4 cups of water (I was only making a meal for myself), and 1/2 can of black beans. Meanwhile, I cooked the amount of pasta I wanted separately. After letting the soup simmer for about 15 minutes, I combined the soup and pasta. I garnished the bowl with a few splashes of a good-quality sherry vinegar.

What other ways do you use tomato sauce? I would love to know!