I made some (to be super humble) kickass homemade ravioli the other night. Noodles from scratch, slow simmerer sauce with tomatoes that were being neglected on the counter, and an asparagus and ricotta filling. While they took 2 hours to make, and maybe 3 minutes to eat, they were totally worth it.
There were some leftover bits from this whole production and being the thrifty hipster I am, worked up something equally as delish for a second meal….
We all have that box of lasagna noodles that sits in the cupboard only 1/3 full, right? Because just like that stupid hot dog to hot dog bun ratio (it’s a conspiracy!) you just don’t need that many noodles for a batch of lasagna. So. This is what I did.
Slap everything together after you’ve boiled your noodles and bake in those little loaf pans.
Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or so and boom. Badass leftover mini lasagnas.
Ok. So maybe it’s a casserole, but that word brings to mind so many icky things. Like, root canal. Community dinner theater. Or time-share pitch.
With that said, I actually grew up digging tuna noodle casserole – the old school version, with canned cream of mushroom soup. So, whoa. But in my old and whizz-ened years, I no longer voluntarily eat canned cream-of-anything, and my dude isn’t as into the baked tuna aspect, but this basic recipe is a total Leftovers Into Something New badass. It’s cheap. It’s super easy. And it’s totally flexible for whatever you happen to have on hand.
Chop and sautée one whole small onion. Throw a whole, diced and seeded (unless you really like all the ends to sing) jalepeño in the pan as well to soften up.
Add 2 handfuls (this is scientific stuff here, people) of frozen peas into a large bowl.
Drain and dump a can of corn in the bowl as well. And by now your onions and peño should be done. Dump those in too.
Boil and drain egg noodles (or macaroni if that’s what you have, however the egg noodles keep it a little lighter and I always have those on hand. Not so much the macaroni.). I don’t measure stuff – just dump the noodles from the storage canister – but I know someone will ask, so, let’s call it 4 large handfuls.
Add the noodles to the bowl.
In a medium sauce pan start a roux (knob of butter with 2 or so TB of flour and cook out).
After you have cooked your flour, add 2 cups of hot water with a generous dollop of Better Than Bouillon while whisking in the flour. Salt, pepper and generously cayenne and remove from the heat when thick. Finish off with a spoonful of sour cream and whisk once more.
Add the sauce to the bowl.
Chop up the leftover potroast in the fridge. Or polish sausage, drained tuna, chicken chunks. Honestly whatever you have works great. Add your substitute mystery meat to the bowl and mix it all up.
Salt. Pepper. Add more cayenne.
Dump the bowl mixture into a lasagna pan (13 X 9? Sure.), sprinkle with panko and cover with foil.
Bake covered for 20 minutes at 375°, uncover and bake for another 10.
It might not be pretty, but it is damn delicious. Almost everything is substitutable and super forgiving.
Now, add it to a bowl with a piece of (leftover) garlic bread, and you’re good to go! Cheap. Easy. Delish.
There are certain rules of order that stand true 99% of the time: Meat of any kind on a stick is delicious. Children under the age of 6 will always have sticky hands. Anything in dumpling form is amazeballs.
I have been craving some gyoza style dumplings for a bit now. And we as live in this quarantine situation, I thought there was no better time than the present to make these bad boys happen.
Add 1 pound ground meat (pork is preferred, but I had turkey. No biggie. Still delish. Though I would stay away from ground beef as it tends to be too wet and oily for sealed packets of love.) to a bowl with a handful of chopped shrimp.
Squirt a generous portion of sriracha into the bowl and throw in a handful of green onions.
Add 1 cup or so of chopped and sauteéd cabbage to the bowl (cooking it down a bit before hand is needed as otherwise it doesn’t have time to soften up inside the dumpling) with a full chopped jalapeño.
Salt, pepper, etc. If you are like us, add some cayenne. Because spicy.
Mix up your mess and set aside. You can totally make your own wrappers, but I had some in the freezer, so clearly I went that route this time. Fill your wrappers with a spoonful in the middle, wet the edge of your wrapper and seal. Do this a million more times.
Heat a TB of so of oil in a pan and brown the bottom and each side. Just as everything is browned and looking good, add a bit of chicken stock to the pan and cover. (2-3 TB…?) Leave to steam for 3-4 minutes, uncover until the rest of the liquid evaporates.
Move to plate. Avoid maxiofacial burns by waiting a minute or two to eat, then shove in face. Repeat.
The dude was a big fan of dipping in sweet chili sauce. I whipped up some half-assed gyoza sauce with random bits in the cupboard and it turned out great. Soy sauce, mirin, a dash of Japanese vinegar, splash of sesame oil and a generous squirt of sriracha. (Yeah. I do actually have all of that stuff in the cupboard)
So, I adopted some dogs. Stray dogs. From another country. Because that is totally normal, right? It’s like this. The man and I were on a vacation in Turks and Caicos, and my friend Sara was fostering 3 4 week old puppies on Pine Cay. It took me approximately 12 seconds to immediately fall head over heels and claim the black one for my own (then Bernie). My dude had a better handle on his emotions and waited an additional .2 seconds to claim the little brown one (then Josie), as his eyes glazed over with stupid puppy love. Each day of our vacation we played these guys and their brother Bruiser (now Harley). Come to find out, the puppies weren’t travel-able until they were 8 or so weeks old….So I had to bite the bullet and go back. To a beautiful island country to claim some puppies. Life is really hard, guys.
I mean. How could you not plotz over these cuties?!
Rizzo (the little brown girl) and Gizmo (fluffy black boy) made their cross continental journey from TCI to Alaska (on an adventure neither Sara or I will forget. Cab rides in NYC, pizza, peeing literally everywhere) and we just celebrated their 1st Gotcha Day on March 1st. No one told me having puppies was basically like adopting toddlers, and it was a little touch and go there for a bit. We lost a whole lot of teeth (where do they come from?!) and the house is officially rug free (So.Much.Pee.). I was also quite sure my life was going to become a very Charles Dickens-esque as I was no longer able to work, lost the house and we would be begging for more gruel on the street. But we all got our collective shit together, and the Idiot Twins learned how to shake last week.
So, what the hell is a potcake anyway? “The potcake dog is a mixed-breed dog type found on several Caribbean islands. Its name comes from the congealed peas and rice mixture that local residents traditionally eat, as the overcooked rice that cakes to the bottom of the pot would be fed to the dogs. Although appearance varies, potcakes generally have smooth coats, cocked ears, and long faces. A group of potcakes is known as a parliament.” Basically, they are really expensive stray dogs. But they were worth every penny and are basically the little loves of our lives. Even if I do refer to them as Adorable Assholes and have threatened to sell them to strangers in Eastern Europe.
There is a fantastic rescue operation in Turks called Potcake Place K-9 Rescue. You may have seen them mentioned in any number of articles about walking puppies in paradise on your vacation. And it’s true. Visitors are able to walk and chill with puppies while in Provo, which helps socialize and exercise these little cuties. They are always looking for donations and sadly the puppies never stop coming. There is a super easy donate button on their page. I just donated a portion of the proceeds of my Potcake Mom necklace sales to Potcake Place. These folks absolutely love these dogs and it shows.
Of course no one is surprised to hear that the cakes have their own Instagram page. Because, c’mon. Duh. Head over and give them a follow. I know I’m totally biased, but they are pretty adorable.
So. We’re all stuck safe at home. What better time to send a letter or a note to reach out and responsibly touch someone? (Because who actually uses their phone for that talky talk function..? Weird.)
I have been sending notes every few days to my grandmother in her nursing home that is under lockdown in NY. I have also been taking the opportunity to tackle my reply pile and it feels pretty damn good. With the addition of 2 puppies (which one of you forgot to tell me that puppies are like toddlers!!?!) and a total hustler show and work schedule, my beloved snail mail penpals went a little neglected. However! No more!!!
It has been such a lovely treat to sit at my writing desk and let my peeps know all the new happenings in my life. Divorce. Dogs. Engagement. Travel.
You should totally send some mail, too. Right? Don’t have stamps and can’t shouldn’t go to the post office? Hit up usps.com. They ship right to your door. It’s pretty awesome. Now, go forth and snail the mail!
Ok. I know it’s not quarantining – it’s social distancing that we are doing these days – but the alliteration is just too good.
So. Yeah. These times, ammiright? I have watched by regular income evaporate, and have actually welcomed the chance to be a little more creative. As we adjust to these crazy new times, I have challanged myself to make a new pair of earrings a day. Without the need for constant production (which is a very complex mathematical equation of materials vs time to the 3rd power, taking into account the barometric pressure, etc), I have been able to sit, joyfully, at the bench and play. It has been so fun! And I plan to continue this project for the forseeable future. The pieces are uploaded immediately to the Etsy shop as well as my business Facebook page. Here are a few of my favorites so far. Have an idea or suggestion? I would love to hear it!
I have never been a fan of radishes – they have always just been too “bitey” for me. Yet, I grow them. Why? Who knows. But for years I just gave them away. But last year when I discovered roasted radishes, that free radish gravy train for my friends stopped running (sorry guys).
Tonight I added a new recipe to the repertoire, and this one uses those yummy greens. And guys. It’s super good.
Clean your radishes and remove the greens, setting aside. Remove the ends and quarter the bulbs and add to a pan with some rough chopped onion, a bit of butter and some of that awesome bacon grease you’ve been keeping in your freezer (Oh? You don’t save it? Why the hell not?!).
Sauté over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until radishes and onions are softened. Add your clean and rough chopped greens, wilting for 2-3 minutes. Salt, pepper, cayenne, whatever to taste and serve.
Guys. It’s so good. And super minimal waste heading into the composter. Now go. Go do it! Sauté radishes and greens!
I always have a candle on the stove, especially when I am cooking for someone else (it’s an earthy kitchen witch thing). However, somehow today I was out of my regular jarred candles. What?! This just cannot be. Of course standard tapers were on hand, but definitely not a standard taper holder.
Solution? Simple. Raid the pantry for jars and dry goods and ta-da! Let’s get cooking.
What the hell is onion jam? Think of carmelized onions in a concentrated and ready to go form. Spread it on burgers, fancy sandwiches, plop it on an over the top boujie pizza. You name it, you should eat it. And you know what? It’s super easy to make.
Rough cut 9-10 large onions. Feel free to use whatever you have around or mix and match red, yellow, white, etc. And if you have some shallots or garlic kicking around? Chop those up as well.
Put your cut onions in a large pot or dutch oven with a large half cup of brown sugar.
Cook these down until they are browing and you start to get those yummy fronds on the bottom of the pot. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the water content in your onions. Stir as needed.
When your onions have cooked down, add 2 cups red wine (straight outta the box, yo!) and 6 TB of balsamic vinegar. Add 3/4 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper. A little bit of thyme would probably be a great idea because thyme is amazeballs.
Cook this down until it reaches a nice thick consistency and add to sterlized jars. Water bath for 10 minutes.
Allow to then sit for 24 hours before storing, gifting, or stuffing face.
It is the end of the season and thus the rhubarb has been culled.
After all the bits and ends were trimmed, I ended up with about 20 pounds from 3 plants. Crazy, right? And after passing off a few stalks to a friend, it was time to make some sauce.
Trim the icky bits and wash the “nature”‘off of your stalks, then cut into 1 1/2 – 2 inch chunks and drop into a pot.
Add 3/4 – 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water.
If you over estimated your strawberry consumption and have some dying in the fridge, add those to the pot as well….
Bring to a simmer and stir every few minutes until the sauce reaches the consistency you like (probably about half an hour).
After your sauce is finished you can freeze or can….personally I don’t like rhubarb that has been frozen – I find it gets kinda woody and string-like even after being cooked. However, I also don’t like pulp in my lemonade or nuts in bread….so maybe you don’t notice…
This stuff is great just like applesauce. My favorite? Warm a bit in the microwave and add a spoonful of ice cream….just like amazeballs pie ala mode. Yum!!