Rice Noodles with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Mint

Finding a recipe that both Ian and I can eat right now is nearly impossible, since we are both dealing with very restrictive medically prescribed diets. Add my vegetarian diet, his gluten free diet, plus both of our lactose intolerance, and there’s nearly nothing we can both eat. I was intrigued by this dish since it uses rice noodles instead of flour noodles, but incorporates Italian flavors rather than the usual Asian flavors I associate with rice noodles.

I’ve made it twice now. The first time I did quite a bit of tweaking based on what we had in the house and Ian’s restrictions. The second time I stuck to the recipe. I liked my first version much better. Both Ian and I really loved it and had multiple additional helpings. I think the original recipe is too low on veggies and I like a basil/mint mixture better than mint alone. I’ve also found it’s much better with cherry tomatoes than with large tomatoes or canned. Whatever version you make, this is a simple, quick, weeknight dish. I made simple pan fried tofu for a protein on the side and Ian ate it with chicken. Here’s my adjusted version:

  • 2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2garlic cloves (to taste), minced (optional)
  • 1.5 pound zucchini, cut in ΒΌ-inch dice
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt to taste (I use about 1.5 tsp)
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 7 to 8ounces thin rice sticks
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, torn

I follow the instructions from the original recipe. If I leave out the garlic for Ian, I just skip that step. I honestly didn’t notice a big flavor difference between having the garlic and not having it. I think the key to the flavor of this recipe is really high quality ingredients, since it’s so simple. Great olive oil and sweet cherry tomatoes really make the dish. I also like spaghetti style rice noodles better than the fettuccine ones for this dish because they have more bite.

Summer Squash Capponata

Now that I’m a gardener, every summer I find myself scouring the internet for novel things to do with zucchini and summer squash. This recipe from the New York Times looked interesting. I love olives and capers, and since I’m avoiding beans at the moment, I liked that it included eggs as a protein source.

The recipe was simple enough to make. It does use quite a few dishes and pots, but isn’t super time consuming. I left out the red pepper flakes since I’m avoiding spice. And I used white wine vinegar instead of red wine vinegar since that’s what I had. And finally, I used maple syrup instead of sugar so that Ian would eat it (turns out he’s off maple syrup now too so that was a bust). Since the recipe give no guidance on salt, that required quite a bit of trial and error to get right. And the step where you pre-soak the capers seemed pointless to me since I ended up adding a lot of salt after.

In general I object to recipes that don’t offer at least a salt range. But otherwise, I really enjoyed this recipe. It was definitely better after it had marinated at least a day. I recommend turning it occasionally to ensure it marinates throughout. Without the red pepper flakes, it was just the tiniest bit on the bland side (maybe I’d try paprika next time?). But overall, this was a hit. I happily ate it all week without complaint. And Ian’s mom Sally ate Ian’s portion and said she liked it a lot. I’ll make this one again for sure, maybe with just a bit of tweaking on the flavors.

Tempeh Giardino

Since my only bean intake right now is fermented soy, I’ve been eating a lot of tofu and tempeh. I’ve also had a late summer glut of tomatoes and summer squash and have been pretty low energy as well. So this super simple recipe for tempeh sauteed and cooked with tomatoes and summer squash from Isa Does It, seemed like a perfect choice.

I left out the red pepper flakes since I’m avoiding spicy foods at the moment. Beware, only at the end of the recipe does it tell you to serve over mashed potatoes or polenta. I wasn’t prepared for this and had to rustle up some mashed potatoes at the last minute.

Overall, this was a bit of disappointment. The veggies tasted great. Simple and refreshing. Ian stated them and asked me to make a version without onions or tempeh for him. But frying the tempeh was bland and overpowering. I don’t think I’d make this again, but if I do I’ll experiment with adding a rub or some other seasoning for the tempeh.

Tempeh Bolognese

I was in the mood for tempeh, but didn’t want to spent a long time cooking. I found this tempeh bolognese recipe and was intrigued. I’d never tried making a vegetarian bolognese recipe, but I liked the idea of a filling sauce that didn’t require anything extra to be a full meal. I made it with dried shitake mushrooms and fresh wild stump puffballs I picked from my backyard.

I served the sauce over spaghetti squash and was surprised by how much I enjoyed the dish. The tempeh flavor was definitely present, but I didn’t mind it. The texture was very good and the dish was flavorful and filling, while only requiring 1 pot and 30 minutes to make.

I ended up needing to add extra tomatoes to make the dish saucy enough. It calls for 28 ounces of canned tomatoes, but I used a combination of fresh and canned tomatoes, which might have been why I needed extra. Also, I ran out of sauce before I finished the whole spaghetti squash. Next time I’d 1.5x the recipe.

In my book this was a winner. I’m going to keep it in my repertoire for nights when I need to make something filling and satisfying without much time or work.

Fettuccine al Limone with Asparagus

I was looking for a very decadent pasta recipe to break Passover with. Bonus points if I could use my asparagus from the garden. This recipe ticked both boxes. I love a lemony pasta, so this sounded really good. I used a fancy fettuccine instead of spaghetti because I don’t really like spaghetti.

So…when you say you want something decedent…be careful what you wish for. This recipe calls for 2/3 cup (2/3 cup!!!!???) of olive oil. I cut the olive oil down to 1/2 cup, but it was still an absurd amount of olive oil. I think 1/3 cup would have been fine. That said, the recipe was very yummy and a great indulgent way to use garden asparagus and bask in post-Passover carbs. Still, I don’t think it’s likely I’ll make it again. Just can’t stand to use that much olive oil.

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/spaghetti-al-limone-with-asparagus

Ciambotta

Like many of the cookbooks in my house, I acquired Nonna’s Italian Kitchen from the discard shelf of one of my family members. I brought it home to try out the vegan cheese recipes, but hadn’t gotten it together to make them. I was looking for a novel recipe to use up some late summer veggies, and found this recipe for southern Italian vegetable stew. I liked that it sounded kind of like ratatouille but with potatoes. The result was good not great. The flavors of the mixed veggies was very very good. I was really surprised by how flavorful it was considering it was basically just basil, tomatoes, and salt. But the recipe did need some tinkering. I think the potato chunks were too big. The size prevented them from really absorbing the flavor of the stew. Next time I’d cut them smaller and cook them for less time. The zucchini was undercooked. I think next time I’d add them 12 minutes in instead of 15. The peppers were perfectly crunchy though, so I’d still add those at minute 15. Finally, I thought the recipe would really benefit from some kalamata olives. I tried adding a few and indeed I really liked the result. I’m on the fence about whether I’ll make this again. It was super easy to make. But I finished it in a couple days. Not up to my standards of week-long meals. If I make it again I need to 1.5 the recipe.