Dinner, Lunch, Pasta, Quick, Seafood, Shrimp, Walnuts

Shrimp pasta with parmesan and ground walnuts

Shrimp pasta with parmesan and ground walnuts

We’ve been eating more pasta since I discovered egg pasta that tastes more like freshly-made pasta than the kind we can find at our grocery store. Egg pasta is generally yellow, looks more brittle, cooks more quickly and comes, for some mysterious reason, in fragile packaging like bags or boxes with an exposed, shrink-wrapped front. The kind we get is much pricier than the $1 boxes of pasta we used to get, but it’s so much tastier, it’s completely worth it. It also has some sodium from the egg so it tastes good on its own even though we don’t salt the water when we cook it.

This recipe is fairly quick but it does require a little bit of multitasking and figuring out the timing can be a little tricky. We first prepare the shrimp and set it in the fridge to marinate for at least half an hour. We’ve found that marinating it in a carbonated beverage helps make the shrimp taste more tender. We usually marinate it in the cheapest beer we have; pop or soda also works well. We aim to have the pasta and the sauce ready at the same time so we give the pot of water for the pasta a little bit of time to warm up, then start preparing the sauce in a frying pan. We start cooking the pasta after we add the shrimp to the sauce and give it a couple of minutes to cook. The shrimp cooks pretty quickly so the timing will need to be adjusted if you’re using a pasta that takes longer than 4 minutes to cook.

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Berries, Blackberries, Breakfast, Brunch, Fruit, Nuts, Pancakes, Peaches, Pecans, Quick, Raspberries, Vegetarian

Dutch baby with summer fruit, pecans, and Nutella

Dutch baby with summer fruit, pecans, and Nutella

Summer has come and gone and now that our apartment no longer turns into a sauna everyday, I have free rein over the oven again, which means that I can restart my tradition of weekly dutch babies. It has been a little over two years since I posted my first recipe on here and two years later, my dutch baby obsession is still going strong. This one is large enough to share, unlike the first one, which has not served two people since we got our larger cast iron pan.

When we’re feeling fancy, our favorite toppings are summer fruit and Nutella. I sometimes add chopped pecans to the dough, but I’m not always in the mood for them. I have also made a few changes to my technique. I don’t cook the fruit in the oven anymore. Instead, I prepare it while the oven is preheating, put it in little porcelain bowls, and place the bowls on the warm potion of the stovetop until the dutch baby is ready to come out of the oven. This warms the fruit up a little bit. If the fruit is not very ripe, I also sprinkle some powdered sugar on it to sweeten it up a bit. The Nutella goes in a little porcelain bowl as well because my stovetop gets warm enough that it would melt the plastic jar if I tried to heat it up directly. I learned this the hard way, by mutilating our immersion blender.

The dutch baby lessons I’ve learned since my first post is that it’s a pretty failproof recipe as long as I use whole milk, and that it absolutely has to be eaten right away. If you don’t eat it right away, my obsession with this pancake will baffle you, as it baffles me the few times it ends up cooling on me before I can dig in. So if the person you’re sharing it with ends up needing to do their bathroom activities as soon as the dutch baby is ready to come out of the oven — does this happen in other families or just ours? — then turn off the oven and keep the dutch baby in there until they’re back because slightly burnt dutch baby is better than cold dutch baby, trust me.

Also, if you’re feeling lazy and can’t be bothered with the fruit or pecans, it is still delicious served the traditional way, with just the powdered sugar, some drizzles of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and maybe some maple syrup.

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Asparagus, Dinner, Leeks, Legumes, Lentils, Lunch, potatoes, Quick, Salad, Side salad, Vegan, Vegetarian

Warm potato salad with lentils, asparagus, and caramelized leeks

Warm potato salad with lentils, asparagus, and caramelized leeks

Salads make for great meals in the summer, especially ones that don’t require you to heat up your oven, like this one. Fingerling potatoes are still in season, and the colorful ones look great in this filling and accidentally-vegan salad. If you can’t find fingerling potatoes, new potatoes are also nice but really, any kind of potato works; just be sure to mind the cooking time. Some hints about modifications and serving the salad as a side can be found in the Tips section below.

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Breakfast, Brunch, Chickpeas, Dinner, Eggs, Lunch, Quick, Vegetarian

Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta (Shakshuka)

Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta (Shakshuka)

This poached egg, tomato, and feta dish is quick and easy to make, tasty, and hearty enough to be breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even dinner. We usually only poach as many eggs as we eat on the day we make it and save the rest to reheat and serve with fried eggs. This shakshuka is slightly spicy. For a bit more spice, I would use either two jalapeños or increase the chili powder to 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL). Serve with good bread or warmed pita or tortilla.

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Avocado, Beans, Dinner, Legumes, Lunch, Mushrooms, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian

Black bean, mushroom, and avocado tacos

Tacos were actually our first successful home-cooked low-sodium meal two years ago. We licked our fingers clean and rubbed our bellies and patted ourselves on the back and have been making some version of them every one to two weeks since. This version is vegetarian and has our favorite source of vegetarian protein, black beans. It can easily be made vegan if you use vegan cheese or skip the cheese altogether.

We always use corn tortillas; they have much less sodium than flour tortillas. I prefer hard shell tacos and I fry mine in a pan with a little bit of oil. I have yet to perfect my method — I never seem to get the temperature and time ratio right — but they’re still always better and less likely to fall apart than store-bought hard shell tacos, even when I accidentally dry them out. The only constant I’ve noticed is that the fresher they are, the less likely I am to screw them up. My husband toasts his tortillas in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes. Check the tips section for more explicit instructions on how I heat them up.

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Avocado, Beans, Dinner, Lunch, Quick, Soup

Aztec Soup (Spicy Tortilla Soup)

Aztec Soup (Spicy Tortilla Soup) on alickofsalt.com

Here is a recent addition to our repertoire of favorite dishes that are quick to make. But first, a quick digression on my relationship with soup.

Soups are a huge part of my heritage. It’s the first part of every main meal. I didn’t particularly appreciate this custom growing up because, as picky as I am about food in general, I’m even pickier about soup. I was happy to eat it if it was made by my mom or grandma and even then, it couldn’t be just any soup. It basically had to be either strained chicken noodle soup with thin, homemade noodles or fresh bean soup with a tomato base.

And then I had a version of this soup in Nicaragua. It’s a tomato base soup with avocado and cheddar and, the best part, crispy tortilla strips. No, wait, the best part might be how quick it is to make.

It’s slightly tangy, likely from the tomatoes we use, and I’ve made it spicy enough to require some nose-blowing mid-meal. We add fried black beans for some extra protein because we have it as a single dish meal. Make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and make it vegan by skipping the cheese.

Part of what makes eating this soup so fun to eat is that you continually replenish the toppings and can have crispy tortilla strips with every bite. I like letting some of the tortilla strips soak slightly, so parts are crispy and parts are soft. My partner like to eat them before they have a chance to soften.

We generally snack a lot during the day so eat relatively small meals. But serial snackers as we are, this soup that’s supposed to serve at least 5 people is only enough for two meals for the two of us.

A website update: I added a favorite tools section to the website which features some of our favorite kitchen things. The products link to the site where we bought them (or had bought from us from our registries). You’ll notice that currently everything that’s on there is from Amazon. That’s in part because I’m only an affiliate there, but in larger part because I actually do buy almost everything from them. They got me hooked, the tricksters, with a free prime account when I was a student living in a city that had no home goods stores within waking distance and I had no car. If you are a human (i.e. not a spam bot), feel free to suggest your must-haves on that page, and not just from Amazon. I look forward to any recommendations!

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