pasta with mushrooms and carrot puree

September 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ainhoa made pasta with mushrooms (setas) for lunch today. Cook the pasta al dente. Sautee the mushrooms with garlic, olive oil, and herbs (oregano, basil and parsley, for example). Before all the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates, add in the pasta and mix. Sprinkle with salt and parmesan.

I made carrot puree because we had leeks, potatoes, and carrots leftover from the Rosh Hashana dinner. Sautee leeks and carrot with some olive oil. Add garlic, cumin, curry, paprika, salt, and a teeny bit of ginger and cinnamon, followed by water and chopped potatoes. Let it boil until the potatoes and carrots are soft. Turn off the heat and blend to a puree. When it’s not too hot (to avoid curdling), squeeze in a bit of lemon juice, and for a creamy consistency,  stir in half a cup  of soy milk (or cream, yogurt, or cow milk). Top with fresh parsley and goat cheese.


rosh hashana dinner

September 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Happy new year everyone!  In addition to lots of apple and honey, this is what we ate:

Stuffed Mushrooms

I’ve made these stuffed mushrooms many times before, and they’re always “a big hit.” I ended with much more stuffing than mushrooms, so I put it in a casserole dish and surrounded the mushrooms with the extra stuffing. But normally it would look like stuffed mushrooms, not like a casserole. First take the stems out of the mushrooms and bake the mushrooms in the oven for about 20 minutes, and drain the liquid that collects on the sheet and in the mushroom caps. (Perhaps you could save it for vegetable stock.) Meanwhile, toast  pine nuts, and saute finely chopped onion and raisins. Add the nuts, onion, and raisins to a bowl with bread crumbs, finely chopped fresh parsley and mint, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice. Fill the mushrooms with the mixture and top each mushroom with a thin slice of tomato.  Return to oven to bake about 20 more minutes, with the breadcrumbs look golden.

Potato Leek Spinach Keftes

You may be looking at that picture thinking, wait a minute, aren’t those latkes? And isn’t this Rosh Hashana, not Chanukah? Well, it’s a funny story. I was looking up Rosh Hashana recipes and learned about keftes, which a traditional Sephardic dish for Rosh Hashana. A kefte is basically a vegetable croquette or fritter. Apparently keftes de prasa, leek fritters, are especially popular for Rosh Hashana. And then I added potatoes, and they turned into latkes! Then I decided to add spinach and spices. They turned out really freakin’ good, whether you want to call them keftes, latkes, or hashbrowns. The trick to making them crispy and not all soggy is to cook the vegetables beforehand to eliminate some of the water. So, first grate the potato and squeeze out extra water with your hands. Put it in the microwave for about 4 minutes if you’re not afraid of microwaves. Dice the leeks and chop the spinach, and sautee them until the leeks are transparent and the spinach is looks totally reduced/wilted. Put all the vegetables in a bowl and add salt, pepper, cumin, coriander (I toasted mine), and paprika. Throw in an egg or two and some bread crumbs until you are able to form loose patties. They should be able to keep their shape in the palm of your hand more or less but not be a wet blob. Fry them until the potato is very golden and crispy. I sprinkled a bit of lemon juice on top. They’d also be good with a yogurt dipping sauce.

Roasted Potatoes with Garlic

This one’s super easy. Chop up some carrots and mix them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and thyme or your herb of choice. Spread them out on a baking sheet. Put whole garlic cloves on the same sheet in the corner. (Cut the two ends of the cloves so you can easily remove the peel later.) Bake at 450 degrees F for about 40-50 minutes, until soft and golden. Mix in the roasted garlic paste with the carrots and serve.

Simple Honey Cake

I followed  a very simple honey cake recipe because it’s hard for me to find a lot of ingredients here. The regular grocery store down the street doesn’t sell vanilla, for example. I didn’t have orange, so I didn’t add orange zest. I also added a bit of nutmeg and clove. I was very happy with the result. Light and fluffy texture, with a warm, not overwhelmingly sweet flavor. It would be good with ice cream. I think it’s the type of flavor that makes me thirsty.

Rosh Hashana Salad

Not pictured is the mega salad that Elena made. It contained escarole, apple, pomegranate seeds, roasted beet, goat cheese, fried garlic, paprika, salt, and olive oil. Delicious! It may sound like a lot of sweet ingredients, but with the right proportions, the escarole, cheese, and garlic should balance it out. Plus it’s very beautiful. I wish I had taken a picture!

L’shana tova umetuka!

zucchini and artichoke with garlic

September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today’s lunch was very simple. Zucchini and artichoke hearts (from a jar) sauteed with garlic and salt. I ate it with some leftover rice.

The salad contains escarole, fried garlic, carrot, raisins, goat cheese, olive oil, and salt.

garbanzos con espinacas

September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Garbanzos con espinacas (chickpeas with spinach) is a typical dish from Andalucia, Spain. My housemate Elena is from Granada, Andalucia, and today she made garbanzos con espinacas for lunch. There are lots of different versions of the recipe. Here’s hers!

olive oil

onion, one diced

potato,  one diced

garlic, one clove minced

spinach, one bag

garbanzos, about two cups cooked

cumin, a teaspoon or so ground

parsley, about a teaspoon dry

bayleaf, one leaf

white wine, half cup

salt to taste


Fry the onion and potato with a bit of olive oil. When it’s looking golden, add the garlic and let it cook a bit. Then throw in the spinach and let them poach. Add the garbanzos and the remaining ingredients, with just enough water to make it saucy but not soupy. Let it cook for ten minutes on medium heat. Buen provecho!

a simple lunch

September 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

We used to only post when we made something really different or special, like when Cindy made fermented ginger ale. But I think there are so many food blogs with difficult recipes and weird ingredients, and a lot of meat eaters here ask me “but what do you eat?” So that’s why we’ve started posting more often, with more ordinary food. A lot of the dishes are simple and common, perhaps boring, but maybe it can give you some ideas for what to make with what you already have in the kitchen, with limited ingredients or a limited budget. We hope you still enjoy it :-).

salad of spinach, carrot, mushroom, white asparagus, and goat cheese with olive oil and salt

rice with grilled onion, red pepper, and zucchini

We also had lentil pate and bread. Melon and chocolate for dessert, mmm!

eggplant with lemon

September 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

This dish, like everything I make, is super easy and simple. I love to add lemon and lots  garlic, but if you’re not such a fan of raw garlic, it’s not necessary.



olive oil

eggplant/aubergine, cut into thin circular slices

lemon juice

parsley, chopped

garlic, minced

First soak the eggplant slices in salty water. This sucks the water content out of the eggplant so they end up more tender and less bitter. I recommend taking this measure anytime you’re going to cook eggplant–it turns out much tastier. Cook the eggplant in a pan with a bit of olive oil. You want the slices to be very golden on both sides. They may shrink a lot, and that’s okay. While they’re cooking away, make the dressing. It’s just olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and minced garlic. Taste it and decide the proportions for yourself. Like I said, I loveeee lemon and garlic, but you might not. Put all the slices of eggplant on a plate, and when you’re ready to serve, pour the dressing on top and sprinkle with fresh parsley. There you have it, a light and refreshing eggplant dish.

beet potato soup

September 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today I cooked a delicious beet potato soup. It’s quite simple and easy, and I love the color. Let’s get started.

onion, diced

garlic, minced

lots of potatoes and beets, about the same amount of each, diced (peeled, precooked beets)


1 bayleaf

a teaspoon or two of thyme

a single-serve container of plain yogurt

juice of half a lemon (I used lime instead, and it turned out well)

salt and black pepper to taste

Sautee the onion in olive oil. When it’s translucent, add the garlic. When the garlic is sizzling but not burning, toss in the taters and beets, and add enough water so that they float around comfortably–not too much, since you’ll want a nice thick consistency when you puree it. Add the bayleaf and thyme, and bring to a boil. Let the soup boil until the potatoes are soft. Bring down the heat, take out the bayleaf, and start stick-blending away. You should wait for it to cool down a bit before blending so that you don’t burn yourself if it splatters, but I never wait. Once the puree is silky smooth without any giant chunks of tates or beets,  add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the yogurt to taste–you might not end up using the whole container if the soup tastes too sour to you. Just stop adding the yogurt when you’re happy with it. Put down the yogurt! You’re ruining the soup!! Add more salt if you need to. I’m sure you’ll need to add more and more, since potatoes require a whole lot. Top with goat cheese if you’d like. Enjoy!

here's the soup pre-blending

and post-blending

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