Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pasta with Goat Cheese, Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas

This pasta is a tribute to a crostini appetizer I learned to make when I was in Avignon. I stumbled upon a cooking demonstration at the Les Halles Indoor Market there during my visit to France in 2007. Ever since then, any party requiring appetizers will be debuting this crostini. I still have the recipe printout from the chef, neatly stored behind plastic. The other recipe he gave was a creme de petit pois, a cold thin pea puree with mint and creme fraiche--also delightful, but that's another post.

After making the crostini a week ago for a party, I was left with all the makings for the crostini, except the baguette. And thus the baguette toastee pasta au chevre frai et legumes croquants was born.

Something about fresh basil and goat cheese is magical. Dare I say moreso than basil and fresh mozzarella? I threw in a few yellow pear tomatoes from my garden since the plant is ripening tomatoes at lightning speed with the sun we've been having. 

Pasta with Goat Cheese, Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas
3-4 servings
1/2 pound pasta 
1 big bunch of asparagus, sliced thin at an angle
1-2 big handful of sugar snap peas, sliced thin
1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
1-2 big spoonfuls of tomato paste or 1/3 to 1/2 cup of a good tomato sauce
About 1/3 cup Goat cheese
1 sprig of fresh thyme, chopped (optional)
A few radishes, thinly sliced (optional)
Halved cherry or pear tomatoes (optional)
Olive oil
Salt, to taste

Boil the pasta according to the direction. In the last minute of boiling, toss in the asparagus and snap peas. Drain the pasta when the minute is up. Whilst hot, stir in the basil, tomato paste or sauce. You may need to thin the paste a bit to get it to stir in nicely. Add the thyme if you are using it, crumble in the goat cheese and stir so that is can dissolve a bit in the hot pasta. Stir in the radishes and tomatoes, if  you are using them, and a tiny drizzle of olive oil. 

For Crostini
Toast slices of baguette until crisp. When cooled a bit, spread with goat cheese. In a bowl, toss together the sliced radish (definitely not optional here-it's too delicious to skip), sliced asparagus, sliced snap peas, tomato paste or sauce, chopped basil and thyme, a little salt and olive oil. Arrange a little bit of the vegetable mixture over each crostini.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Anie's Salmon


While spending a much needed weekend away, I procured this amazing salmon marinade recipe from an old high school friend. Anie was, and still is, a meticulous person, whose food choices reflect careful consideration to health and solitude. Even in high school, Anie would tell me about her brown rice and kimchi breakfasts, the time she spent meditating before school, and the special teas her mother would give her when she was sick.

I have since, somewhat caught up to her, as far as taking my health more seriously, this coming from a girl who skipped breakfast and lunch throughout all four years of high school, and ate candy bars before running cross country (What was I thinking?). However, Anie has moved on to much more exciting and complex activities, such as driving Navy ships about the Pacific, and maneuvering the coastal highways of San Diego.

Here is her simple, simple recipe for broiled salmon with a marinade. Be sure to try to find Wild Alaskan Salmon, not farm raised. Your brain and heart will thank you.

Anie's Salmon

Salmon fillets
Soy sauce
Garlic cloves, several, crushed or chopped
Brown sugar, a few spoons
Lemon juice, from one lemon

(No measurements! You won't mess it up, I promise.) Place all the ingredients in a ziplock bag with enough soy sauce for the salmon to sit in it, but not so much that it's swimming. (Tee hee hee-swimming.)
Place the salmon in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.

Place the salmon, skin side down, on a baking sheet, and preheat the broiler. Broil the salmon, depending on the thickness, for 7 to 10 minutes. (Don't burn stuff under the broiler, like me. Put a timer on!) Check to be sure the fish is done in the middle, is opaque and flakes easily. 

If you like you can flip them and crisp up the skin. I eat the skin (don't say ew!) because, first of all, it's tasty, and second, there is a lot of good-for-you omega-3 fat in there. But I only eat the skin from the wild Alaskan Salmon, because of the chemical pollutant possibility from other types.