Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More Throwbacks from the Kitchen

I had a few more pics kicking around of stuff I've made, key lime cake, pasta fazool, tabbouleh, and Italian bean salad.

Now this first one goes WAAAAY back, as in 2007. One of my mom's co-workers LOVES key lime, so she asked me to make a key lime cake for him. I also fell in love with these little acid bombs when I learned about the difference between "real" key lime pie and the one where they use the same method as lemon meringue but instead use lime goo, ew.

Nope, I'm talking about the real deal, with condensed milk, eggs, and itty bitty super tart limes (legend has it that these little limes are so tart, you don't even have to cook the pie! I prefer to err on the side of caution with this one). Unfortunately I don't see a recipe that I've used. What I do recall is you usually need a whole bag of key limes (I never used the regular ones, maybe I'll give it a go), and before you juice, get all the zest off the limes, and throw that in too. Mmmmmm.

Anyway, enough about pie, we're talking about key lime cake. This recipe I found, and I'm embarrassed to say this is the one I used. On the other hand, I'm not really good at baking, and ultimately, my mom's co-worker loved it, so that's all that matters.

Next is my attempt at pasta fazool, also known more accurately as pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans). What better veg-friendly soup in the cold gloomy winter (you can make it meaty if you want, again it's to your taste).

Unfortunately, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. As is two HUGE containers, and a gallon Ziploc bag of the stuff. Maybe I'll have my recipe next time. Of toss in the freezer, which I also like to do, in manageable portions. Defrosting a gallon of liquid is not easy, trust me on this. One place I found a good recipe for pasta fazool that I will have to try is from Annalena's Kitchen.

Next are my "healthy" lunch ideas for warmer weather. First is my favorite (before eating it for a week and a half straight) is tabbouleh. And this is actually "my" recipe, in the sense of I know what goes in it, and I tweak it each time, because I'm cool like that. Here's what I do:


  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1  cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I used way less)
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1- 2 bunches chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint ( I forgot this, but it is good)
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cucumber - peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste


Combine bulgur, boiling water and lemon juice in a large bowl. Cover, and set aside to soak for 1 hour (adding the lemon to the water for the bulgar gives it an extra punch to the bulgar, so good!)

Add oil, parsley, mint, tomatoes, peppers and cucumber; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  

According to my sister, when it's hot, I live on this, kefir (a Turkish/Russian yogurt drink, I swear it helps you live forever!), and hummus. I'll admit, she's not too far off...

Then we have my adventures in "bean salads." Not the gross one you're thinking of, something a bit different, and pretty good (the first 2-3 times). I really should make half a batch, but I'm lazy and kind of like the simplicity of having the same thing made, ready to grab and go. 

This first one is my "Italian bean salad". It has cannellini beans (any white bean is fine, I bet chickpeas would be fabulous too!). I tend to prefer dried to canned, but that's your call. Either half a pound bag dried, soaked (preferably overnight), and cooked usually for an hour or so. You can drain the soaking water and put clean water, or use the soaking water to cook with. I prefer to keep the soaking liquid because it also has the nutrients that make have leaked out. It also supposedly has the properties that make you gassy. If you eat beans/legumes regularly, your system adjusts. Plus all the benefits of bean eating is far greater than dealing with gas. I don't have a major problem, but it's your dish, make it how you like. 

So while the beans are cooking you can work on the dressing. I use a vinaigrette (seriously, try making your own dressing rather than buy it). Now I keep reading that the ratio for a vinaigrette is 3:1, oil to vinegar. That seems a bit off to me, but I also like more tang. Make it 3:1, maybe 3/4 c oil to 1/4 cup vinegar, but TASTE IT, and adjust as needed. Three parts olive oil, one part red wine vinegar (I hesitated with balsamic because it would darken the beans), a tablespoon of Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, parsley blend, usually), salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of mustard. Blend it up, or shake vigorously.  

Next chop vegetables, I chopped six roma tomatoes, two green peppers, a cucumber. Again, this is what I like. Once the beans are cooked, drain, and toss with the dressing and the veggies while the beans are still hot. Let sit to let everything combine. 

And that wraps up another Throwback!

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