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    Entries in flowers are food (11)

    Tuesday
    Feb212012

    It's Tuesday?

    So, Taneasha tells me that today is Tuesday and I was supposed to have some kind of post up. Um. Really? Okay.

    Huh.

    Um.

    Well, I've had a houseguest for the last week or so, and it's "Reading Week" (aka midwinter break so university students won't kill themselves) so I've kinda lost track of a few things. Not the least of which is half my socks. Seriously, I've been wearing mismatches for the last few days because I seem to only have singles.

    Fortunately, I have Recipe Guy handy. And he's good for more than just smart assed comments in the comments section.

    Over the past summer Texas had one hell of a drought. Recipe Guy lost nearly his entire garden and had almost completely given up on home grown fresh veggies when he noticed something growing that he hadn't planted.

    Looks kinda like a green bean, doesn't it?

    Well, it kinda is.

    Strophostyles helvola is a wild bean native to the southern US, and actually edible. Apparently these extremely drought tolerant plants were able to find a niche in his garden where everything else had died of sunstroke and heat exhaustion.

    After a whole bunch of research and some test beans (Recipe Guy geeking out on food? who him? never. lol)

    he harvested a bunch of them, parboiled and froze them.

    Oops. Resized an already resized picture.

    I know a few of you freaked out a bit when we harvested wild onions for our bread pudding, but really, there is food everywhere if you know where to look. We've also picked wild berries on the side of the road, culled rose hips from wild rose plants, scoped out wild grapes and chantrelle mushrooms; and when I was on the island I harvested wild chamomile almost daily.

    I don't know about you, but when the zombie apocalypse happens, I'm going to be well fed, and it won't be with freeze dried army rations. 

    The green beans froze quite well. We tossed them into a stir fry with some pea pods and pork.

    Since it was his first harvest, a few of them had made it past their prime and were a bit stringy, but overall, they were just like the green beans you get at the grocery.


    What have you eaten wild?

     

    Tuesday
    Nov292011

    hooker noodles!

    Because if you've only got 20 minutes to make dinner, you are obviously some kind of prostitute.

    If you've seen as many gangster movies as I have you know that "putta" is some kind of insult. Well, that's because it had the same root as puttana, which means bitch, or whore, in Italian. And Pasta Puttanesca, so named as "in the style of the whore" was rumoured to be called such because it could easily be made in the few minutes a woman had between clients. Yeah, well, I've only got a few minutes between work, school, and homework. (I promise I will not go into feminist rants about dichotomous representations of women as either the madonna, who apparently had hours to cook 4 course meals every night, and the whore, who obviously needed something a little faster for dinner).

    Pasta Puttanesca


    What You Need:

    (OR

    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • handfull of green olives
    • garlic
    • onion
    • marinated artichoke hearts)

    And

    • 1-2 c cocktail tomatoes (or 1-2 normal size roma tomatoes)
    • 1/2 c crushed tomatoes (or just more fresh chopped tomatoes)
    • 1 c broth or wine
    • 1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce (or fish sauce, or a couple anchovies)
    • 1 tsp capers
    • handful of kalamata olives
    • sundried tomatoes
    • 1/4 c fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded

    What You Gotta Do:

    Okay, I totally did this in 20 minutes. Even set the timer to prove it. (bloody impossible to see, but it says 19 minutes, honest)

    Get your water on for the pasta. If you cover the pot, it will boil faster.

    In the large shallow pan, (makes for faster sauces because more surface area to cook on and to lose moisture from) over medium high heat, put your olive salad,

    or if you don't have olive salad in the fridge (um, why don't you have olive salad in the fridge??) you're going to have to spend a few minutes chopping the olives and garlic, onion, and artichokes. Dump them all into the pan.

    Dice the tomatoes, and use your thumb to squoosh out the seeds into the sink.

    You can skip the squooshing step if you're okay with tomato seeds in your sauce, but I prefer it without. (If you had to chop artichokes and olives a minute ago, skipping the squooshing will probably make up some time)

    Toss the tomatoes into the pan. Olive oil and other stuff should be just starting to sizzle.

    Add the wine or broth. Somehow, I managed to run out of wine, so I had to use broth. One or the other or any combination of the two would work.

    Now, I'm not a fan of anchovies, but I do have fish sauce handy for making Thai and Vietnamese food... (totally missed them in the ingredient pic)

    I've also got Lea&Perrins. Worchestershire sauce is actually a reasonable flavour substitute for the anchovies.

    If you used all fresh tomatoes, you can skip this step. If all you had handy was half a basket of cocktail tomatoes, add the crushed tomatoes now.

    Okay, so the base of out sauce is in the pan simmering, and the water is boiling. We've got 10 minutes left on the timer (that one's a bit easier to see).

    Get your noodles going. You can use any kind you like, but keep in mind that angel hair and spagettini are going to cook much faster than something like a penne. If you need the extra time, a bigger shape may be in order. I hedged my bets with farfalle, a smaller shape, but with that crimp in the middle that always needs an extra couple minutes to finish.

    Dice the sundried tomatoes (you could leave these out if you need to save dicing time) and black olives, and shred the basil. Dump these into the pan along with the capers.

    Once everything is in and simmering, use a couple minutes to put all the jars away and tidy a bit. Check the consistency of your sauce. If it's too thin, turn the heat up a bit to bubble off some of the liquid. If it's looking too thick, you can add more wine now (just pour a bit in from that glass you've got in your hand), or broth. Or, if you used the last of your broth in the first round, a bit of the liquid from the kalamata olive jar will work.

    How much time is left?

    1 minute! Holy hell I did it. I totally cooked hooker noodles in less than 20 minutes.... Farfalle. Needed the extra minute to get the crimp to doneness so I stirred the sauce a little. (really, this is just a bit of food porn)

    Once the pasta is finished, drain almost all the water off. Dump the pasta and that last bit of water into the sauce. The starch in the pasta water, and on the pasta, will thicken the sauce a bit and take care of that extra water.

    Toss it all together and then pour it onto a plate.

    Top it with some freshly grated parmesan, and if you're feeling the need for something a little more substantial, serve with a bit of sausage. Sausage is the perfect accompaniment for hooker noodles.

    This made enough for dinner for one (poor lonely hooker that I am) and lunch for tomorrow (because I may not have all this time between clients to cook).

    Have you ever timed yourself making dinner? What's your fastest dinner recipe?