Tag Archives: warm

Food Matters Project #35: Provencal Pasta Sauce

It’s another Monday installment of the Food Matters Project!  Last week we hosted the Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce, a perfect recipe for the upcoming grilling season.  This week’s host is Nancy, of Funkytown Foodies.  She’s one of three friends that have a food blog together- they all document delicious, healthy and local recipes.

Nancy chose the Provencal Vegetables with Chicken in Packets recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out Nancy’s recipe- she made a few changes to the original.  Also, all other ideas from FMP participants can be found here.

Thanks to the weather, I took a completely different take on this recipe.  It’s the second Monday in a row that DC has been gloomy and rainy.  Why Monday?  It’s such a hard way to start the week.  Since it’s cold and blah out, I wanted something comforting and saucy.  And due to poor planning, I forgot to defrost the chicken…had various vegetables that needed to be eaten in our fridge.

So I began chopping up the vegetables, hoping an idea would just pop into my head.  It did, once all of the vegetables were chopped up and mixed together- why not make a sauce to put over some pasta?  Comforting, warm, and full of flavor…making me wish for spring even more!  We didn’t have any parsley in our fridge, but it might be a good garnish on top.  This really reminded me of Sam’s Summer Sauce, and now I can’t wait for farmers market tomatoes!

Provencal Pasta Sauce

Provencal Pasta Sauce
Inspired by: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 464)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 large red onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup black olives, halved
3/4 cup green olives, halved
1 zucchini, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups of water
1/2 lb pasta (we used whole wheat spaghetti)
Parmesan or feta cheese (optional)

Pour the olive oil into a large pot, heat it up.  Once it’s hot add all of the chopped vegetables, the herbs, salt, pepper and water.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, bring down the temperature to low, simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.

If you prefer chunkier sauce, then leave the sauce as is.  If you’d prefer a smoother sauce, then puree all of it.  If you’re like us, and you want it somewhere it the middle, puree about half of it in a blender or food processor.

Cook pasta per package instructions.  Drain, and divide between the plates.  Then spoon out the provencal sauce, sprinkle with parsley.  If you prefer, top it all off with some Parmesan or feta.

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Spring Salsa

I think it’s official that spring has arrived in DC (or is it summer?).  The cherry blossoms are in full bloom, along with every possible flower.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this!  Although I think everyone is worried that this will be a horribly hot and humid summer.

Yesterday was the first day of the Penn Quarter Farmers Market.  We’ll have many more vendors to choose from this year, which I’m very excited about.  I picked up a jar of Thai Basil Jalapeños from Gordy’s Pickle Jar, they’re the spiciest they have.  I also got some Bison Sticks from Gunpowder Bison Trading Company, one sweet and one hot.  I’m holding on to some purchases until Sam comes back from India, he’ll have something yummy to come home to!

I’ve also bought herbs and potting soil so I can start our little balcony garden.  Can’t wait for fresh basil or cilantro!  Between the colors and warm weather, I’ve been craving some fresh vegetables- especially in the form of salsa.

My friend Carolyn is coming over tonight, both of us love Mexican food, and I thought chips and salsa would be a great way to start off the evening!  I’m definitely ready to start seeing some vibrant colors on my plate.  And this is so quick and easy, you can’t say no to it!

Spring Salsa
This salsa can vary every single time I make it, depends what I have in our kitchen.  Feel free to play around with the ingredients, more or less of some, to your liking.  Possible additions/alternatives: avocado, green/orange bell peppers, habañeros, scallions, or black beans.

1 lb frozen corn, defrosted & drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped finely
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
4 tomatoes, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped finely (for less spice, remove the seeds)
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped finely
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  Stick a chip in, and enjoy it!