I have been wanting to learn to make my own pasta for years, so I was super jealous when my friend Melissa (you know her by now) got a pasta roller for Christmas. I had been thinking about getting the Kitchen Aid attachment (versus the hand crank kind) but it is very expensive and I had read reviews about them breaking and being hard to clean. Melissa said that her manual roller was very easy to use, and invited me over to try it out / teach me how to use it.
Our first experiment was Spinach Ravioli with a Creamy Tomato and Veggie Sauce - yum!
The first step is to make the filling. Saute diced onion in butter, then add in frozen spinach (thawed and drained) to cook out any liquid.
Add in ricotta, Parmesan, and an egg yolk.
I have been going to Maple Avenue Restaurant (located on, you guessed it, Maple Ave) for lunch pretty regularly the past couple of months. I am so sad that I didn't discover this place sooner, because it is awesome! It is super tiny (like 20 seats max) and not much to look at, but the food is super fresh and seasonal and local and just great all around. I don't know much about the chef, I haven't been to one of their "meet the farmers" events, and I haven't even been for dinner, but I just love this place. They have a super awesome lunch deal of 2 courses for $20 which, considering a main is like $22 usually, is a pretty good bargain. The menu changes all the time, so it's likely that dishes I post about here won't be on the menu any more, but they can give you an idea of what you can expect.
The baked mac and cheese - this is one of their most popular small plates, and for good reason! Really good pasta, cooked to the perfect al dente, with gruyere and cheddar, topped with an herbed panko crust.
Here's a fun and easy salmon dish for when you are pressed for time - Crispy Salmon with Creamy Basil Pasta.
Brush salmon with coconut oil, season with salt and pepper, and broil for 5 min per side on a rack. Serve on top of whole wheat spaghetti with a creamy basil sauce.
For a lighter side (I paired it with my Panko Salmon), make "noodles" out of zucchini in a yogurt sauce.
To make the zucchini noodles, use a julienne peeler or mandoline to make thin strips. Toss with salt and allow the water to drain out.
Then toss with a creamy lemon-chive dressing made with Greek yogurt.
A few weeks ago I posted about doing a roasted tomato pasta, but forgot to take a picture of the finished product! So when I saw these gorgeous local tomatoes at the market, I wanted to make it again.
So - toss with salt, pepper, olive oil and roast at 400 for 20 minutes or until they are bursting and caramelizing. I roasted mine ahead of time and stored them in the fridge until I needed them.
Then you just toss the hot tomatoes (I reheated mine when I was ready for them) with hot pasta and they will turn into a chunky sauce. Top with fresh basil and adjust for salt and pepper. That's it! Gorgeous, fresh, fast, and easy.
So I went and bought the vegetables I wanted to use - carrots, celery, beets, fennel, and asparagus.
Then I sliced them up using the slicing blade on my food processor (a mandoline would also work) and tossed them with high quality olive oil, lime juice, and sea salt.
I actually stored the vegetables like that in the fridge and throughout the week or so that they lasted I would take out what I needed and add it to raw kale massaged with olive oil (which takes some of the bitterness out) along with watercress, grapes, pepitas, and fresh mozzarella for a delicious summer salad.
It is so healthy and fresh and keeping the vegetables raw means that you are getting the full nutritional value from them, plus they keep you super full. But this seriously tastes so good that you will not even be thinking about how healthy it is.
I don't normally cook a lot of seafood other than my usual seared salmon, but in the summer I do get cravings for it. The reason is unknown - maybe because it is light and refreshing, maybe because I wish I was at the beach. Either way, I have a couple of light and healthy Summer seafood recipes to share with you.
These shrimp tacos are filled out with a slaw of cabbage, corn, fresh squeezed orange and lime juice, and a dab of sour cream. A great balance between warm tortillas, hot shrimp fresh out of the pan, and cool, crunchy slaw - they are healthy, filling, and super tasty.
This next recipe combines two superfoods into one awesome meal for Salmon Burgers with Tangy Avocado Sauce.
The last time I posted a recipe for you was over a month ago! Oh my goodness! You have my deepest apologies, dear readers, and to make it up to you I will post not 1, not 2, but 3 delicious summer recipes for you!
Let's start with this gorgeous zucchini tart from Closet Cooking (which is a blog that I highly recommend). Puff pastry is topped with a mixture of ricotta, feta, lemon, fresh herbs, and an egg along with thinly sliced zucchini and baked to puffy, golden perfection. Served on its own or with a side salad, this is the perfect summer lunch.
Next up, take advantage of those juicy summer tomatoes in a slightly different take on a fresh tomato pasta with a Roasted Tomato Sauce.
Fresh ripe strawberries, sugar, cream, and a little lemon juice - that is all you need to make this creamy summer treat. And in this recipe there is no cooking involved, so the flavor of the fresh strawberries comes through really well.
No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream
adapted from Gourmet
1 lb strawberries, trimmed, halved if large
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups heavy cream
Coarsely mash strawberries with sugar, lemon juice, and salt using a potato masher in a large bowl. Let stand, stirring and mashing occasionally, 10 minutes.
Transfer half of strawberry mixture to a blender and purée with cream until smooth. Return strawberry cream to bowl with remaining strawberries and chill, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 3 to 6 hours.
Freeze mixture in ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up.
Ice cream keeps 1 week.
In my ever-continuing quest for salmon recipes, I came across this one for salmon topped with goat cheese and baked inside phyllo dough - yum! Who wouldn't want to eat that? I wanted something pretty light to balance out the dish, so I decided on a fresh pea, feta, and prosciutto salad that was great as a side, but also good enough to eat on its own.
I was looking for a light (but filling) Spring side dish and stumbled upon this recipe for a Zucchini and Orzo Salad with Feta - perfect! It was so delicious and refreshing that I ended up eating it by itself for lunch instead of pairing it with salmon like I had intended.
But I did still need a side for the salmon, and I had extra orzo and some Mascarpone that I needed to use up. So I made this Creamy Mascarpone Pasta with Peas and Chives - yum!