Well Dined

26May/162

Rye Spaetzle with Spring Vegetables and Gruyere

Well Dined | Rye Spaetzle with Spring Vegetables and Gruyere

I love Spring. I love the flowers, and the weather (sometimes), and the resurgence of vegetables.  Spring vegetables are here and gone so quickly (if you are buying seasonally, that is), so take advantage of them while you can!  Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) and I decided to make this Spring vegetable dish because it uses spaetzle, which is a bit more fun than your standard pasta, and gruyere, which pairs so well with these veggies.

Well Dined | Spaetzle with Mushrooms, Herbs, and Duck Egg

Spaetzle is a chewy German egg noodle.  Melissa is familiar with it because she studied German.  I've eaten it in restaurants many times, but only made it once before this past fall.  And by made it, I mean that my friend made it with her Grandmother's (I think) recipe and her spaetzle press.  Meanwhile, I made a vegetarian ragu with mushrooms, butter, onion, thyme, and oregano and poached some duck eggs (thank you, gorgeous Portland farmer's market).

26Mar/160

Easter Recipe Round-up

Happy Easter, my lovelies, and enjoy these Spring recipes!

Egg Dishes

Well Dined | Easter Egg Dishes

Caprese Baked Egg Cups
Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups
Baked Eggs in Avocado

Egg/Chicken Salads

Well Dined | Easter Salads

Avocado Egg Salad (plus how to "boil" eggs in the oven)
Green Goddess Egg Salad
Creamy Lemon Basil Chicken Salad

3Jun/151

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Well Dined | Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Have you ever had squash blossoms?  It's kind of weird to eat flowers, right?  But these delicate blooms (stuffed with ricotta cheese and herbs, battered, and fried) are so, so delicious.  They are also extremely perishable and only last a few hours at home.  So it is best to cook them right away.

Well Dined | Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I've only ever had squash blossoms in restaurants before, but as soon as I saw them at the farmers market, I knew that I had to try making them myself.  I really wanted to go with a stuffed and fried recipe, which is what I'm used to eating.  But I found a bunch of other cool recipes I'd like to try if they still have them at the market next week - soup, quesadilla, fritatta.

12May/150

Green Goddess Egg Salad

Well Dined | Green Goddess Egg Salad

Now that I am settling into my new place, and Melissa has welcomed her baby daughter to the world, we are getting back into our lunch schedule.  We started with this gorgeous Spring inspired egg salad.  This is really customizeable, and you can add whatever you find fresh in your area.

Well Dined | Green Goddess Egg Salad

We started by finely dicing some celery, scallions, chives, parsley, and dill while we boiled some eggs.  You can use whatever combination of herbs you prefer.  We also separated the greens from a bunch of radishes.

Well Dined | Green Goddess Egg Salad

To that, we added chopped eggs and avocado, caper, garlic, lemon zest, mayonnaise, and dijon mustard.

11Jun/143

Farmer’s Market Pastas

I'm really trying to be better at waking up early enough to get to the Farmer's Market.  I love the scene with all the booths and crowds of people, all the adorable puppies and babies.  The Mosaic Market even has live music and food trucks.  But I am not very good at cooking by the seat of my pants, so after I pick out some yummy looking veg, it usually ends up getting tossed into a pasta.  Even more so when the market offers amazing artisan pasta from Pappardelle's Pasta.  C'est la vie!

Well Dined | Farmer's Market Pasta with Asparagus, Tomato, Leek, Lemon, and White Wine

My first batch of veggies (asparagus, tomato, and leek) went into a white wine, lemon, and butter sauce with the garlic chive artisan pappardelle.  I cooked the leek down in butter and olive oil, then added some white wine, lemon juice, and pasta water along with chopped tomatoes.  When that had cooked to a good sauce consistency, I tossed in blanched asparagus and the cooked pasta (1 minute shy of al dente).  I finished it off with lemon zest, Parmesan, and black pepper and served it with salmon.

Well Dined | Farmer's Market Pasta with Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, and Basil

 

I still had tomatoes and a random eggplant that I picked up for no reason, so I decided to do a riff on this pasta.  I really should have used a whole wheat pasta, but I just love gemelli and I can't find it in whole wheat anywhere.  It's the perfect short shape because it has good structural integrity (meaning it cooks evenly and doesn't get mushy edges).

Anyway, I roasted the eggplant while I caramelized an onion (I really wish I had a red onion, but I didn't).  After adding garlic, a splash of sherry, and a splash of balsamic vinegar, I added some chopped tomato and a pat of butter (trying to get the essence of the Marcella Hazan sauce without cooking it for 45 minutes).  Then I added in the eggplant, cooked pasta (1 minute shy of al dente), and a splash of pasta water and let it come together.  Then I topped it with fresh basil and black pepper and served it with some hanger steak from the market (one of the few places where I can find it - there's only 1 per cow and they sell fast).

4Jun/142

Spring Fruit Jam – 3 Ways

Well Dined - Spring Fruit Jam 3 Ways

Now that we are nearing the end of Spring (that never really felt like Spring, dangit) - it's time to preserve some of that delicate seasonal fruit.  I'm talking strawberries and rhubarb, people.  I tried out three different jam recipes in the same day, because I am a crazy person (and because I bought way too many local strawberries at the farmers market).

First up is my mother-in-law's fresh strawberry syrup recipe (pictured in front and in the bowl on the right) - if only I had access to Oregon berries like her!  Jasper loves this recipe, so I make a TON and freeze it to use all year (if it lasts that long).  He loves to put it on sourdough pancakes and vanilla ice cream, I like it swirled into plain Greek yogurt.  This is a raw fruit jam recipe (with more berries and less sugar to make it more of a syrup than a jam), so the taste of the fresh berries really comes through.

Next is a Raspberry and Rhubarb Jam with Cardamom (pictured in the middle and in the jar on the left) that was supposed to use apple juice, but I had cranberry on hand so I subbed that and it added a lot of cranberry flavor.  It tastes very fall like to me because of the cranberry and spices.  This is the only jam that I canned, so I will probably save it for the fall.  If you want more of the rhubarb flavor to come through, use the apple juice instead.

And last is a Rhubarb, Raspberry, and Strawberry Jam thickened with Chia Seeds (pictured in the back and in the jar on the right).  This is touted as a healthy recipe because the fruit is raw and it uses raw honey as sweetener.  Because you use chia seeds to thicken it, instead of pectin, you can use much less sugar than you could for a traditional jam.  This one came out pretty tart for me, but Jasper really likes it.  The concept works really well, so I will probably be trying out different fruits.  This recipe actually said to just puree the raw rhubarb, but I was pretty skeptical about that, so I simmered it in a little bit of cranberry juice first (since I was already doing that for the other jam).

Well Dined | Spring Fruit Jam 3 Ways

Let's get jammin!  I really crack myself up...

14May/140

Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie

Well Dined | Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie

As promised in my last post, today we are talking about Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie.  Oh yeah, baby.  I have a bonafide obsession with fruit and sour cream pies.  That tang to balance out sweetness, and the creaminess - yum.

Well Dined | Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie

Just a few ingredients are all that is required - flour, sugar, sour cream, and an egg for the custard; and chopped rhubarb.

Well Dined | Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie

We already talked about crust this week, so you know that is going to be good.  I like the idea of a crumble topping with this, especially to add sweetness since rhubarb is so tart.

7May/140

2941 as of 4/25

Seasonal restaurants like 2941 change their menu all the time as new products become available (for example, here is a post from last Summer), so I like to try to keep stopping in and see what is new.  Here is a look at the menu as it was at the end of April.

Well Dined | 2941 Restaurant

Beef Tartare with baby kale, cornichon, Dijon mustard, fried potatoes.  Those potatoes were pretty killer.

Well Dined | 2941 Restaurant

Tart with mangalica ham, creme fraiche, and onion.  Good, but not great - I probably wouldn't order it again.

Well Dined | 2941 Restaurant

"Lobster Roll" with tomato gelee and avocado.  Very light and refreshing.

5May/142

Pea and Ricotta Tart

Well Dined | Pea and Ricotta Tart

 

Hello, Spring!  I am so glad that you have finally come to stay!  I'd like to welcome you with this lovely little tart made with fresh peas, creamy homemade ricotta, scallions, herbs, and lemon.  Please stick around for a bit.

Well Dined | Pea and Ricotta Tart

Well, Spring, I know that fresh English peas are kind of your thing, so I used them two ways just for you!  I pureed some peas and ricotta together with lemon juice, mint, and basil to make a creamy spread.  Then I mixed some whole peas with scallions, more mint and basil, and lemon zest.

Well Dined | Pea and Ricotta Tart

I baked some puff pastry until golden, puffed, and crispy; then I spread the creamy ricotta mixture over the top; and sprinkled the whole pea mixture over that.  Look at all that green!

20Apr/140

Spring Vegetable and Tortellini Salad

Well Dined | Spring Vegetable and Tortellini Salad

Happy Easter!  It has been a long, crazy winter.  We had just a hint of spring before a cold snap hit again, but it looks like we are on our way back and hopefully it will last this time!

herbs

I took advantage of the nice weather to plant my container herb garden.  I've got chives, French thyme, English thyme, lemon thyme, and oregano thyme in one pot.  The big one has common sage, purple sage, rosemary, spearmint, tarragon, Greek and Italian oregano, and dill.  And the last one has sweet basil, thai basil, amethyst basil, lemon basil, and parsley.

bunnies

I also cleared out and cleaned up my tiny backyard, and while I was removing dead leaves, I accidentally uncovered a nest full of baby rabbits!  I was totally shocked and didn't know what to do.  I yelled for my husband to bring me a box to put them in while I hit the internet for advice.  Leave them alone and put them back was the unanimous decision.  Mama rabbits only visit the babies 2 times a day to feed very quickly (1-2 minutes) so that predators won't know where they are.  So baby rabbits have not been abandoned and they don't need to be rescued (unless injured by lawnmower, dog, cat, etc...).  In fact, trying to take care of them yourself will likely kill them!