Triple Green Pasta

Twice this week, I realized half way through the day that all I had that day was sugar and caffeine. Not good. Why is it that we glorify being busy again? So when I came up for air, I decided what my body needed was good carbs (as in whole grains) and vegetables, preferably green. I remembered a recipe from a book and tried to recreate it: Whole wheat pasta with three kinds of greens. Delicious and perfect for fueling.  Side note: if you love pasta and eat is as often as I do, go whole wheat. I remember my mum making it and I HATED it but in the meantime, I love it so much that eating white pasta grosses me out. True story!

For 2 people:

photo(1)Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat pasta (I make app. 100g/person or 0.5lbs)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 green onions, washed and roughly chopped
  • a good handful of snow peas, washed and cut in half if too big
  • a good handful of fresh organic spinach, washed
  • 1 cup/250ml Broth
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook pasta according to packages. Once water boils, scoop one cup of water out and dissolve broth powder, if you are using instant broth (which I was because I’m out of my home made broth).

In the meantime, wash and chop your vegetables. Heat oil and add green onions, then snow peas. Turn down heat, add broth and let it simmer until snow peas are soft. Turn heat off. Add pasta and spinach, mix well. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Stir fry – My mum’s Chinese dish

This is a variation of one of my favourite childhood meals my mum used to make – her “Chinese”. After going to a Chinese wedding a few years back, I realized our idea of Chinese food has very little to do with the real thing. 10 courses later, I left the wedding hungry and disillusioned – obviously what Chinese restaurants serve in the Western world is not Chinese food, but what Westerners think Chinese food is. Same here – so don’t expect what I didn’t eat at the wedding (Jellyfish, Shark Fin soup (I would NEVER!), tentacles from some unidentified seamonster, insects and 6 other courses that sometimes make their way into my nightmares). I don’t mean to offend anyone who likes the “real” Chinese food, but here a toned down version. Sorry also if I just ruined your appetite.

For 4 people:

Stir fry

  • 1lb (300 g meat (I use either  chicken breast or beef and slice them, you could do Tofu as well)
  • Soy sauce
  • Ginger, piece the size of your thumb, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 cup/250ml Sherry or Broth or a combination of the two
  • Vegetables : carrots, bok choy, peppers, mungo sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach or whatever else your heart desires or your fridge has in it.
  • Rice (perfume, jasmine, or brown) or Asian noodles

Directions:

Marinate the meat or tofu 1 h in soy sauce, sesame seed oil, ginger and garlic. See image for how the meat should be sliced.

If you are going with rice, cook according to package (usually 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water). Turn off heat about half way through, put a lid on pot, and let it sit. With the right ratio of water and rice, it should turn out perfect and be ready when your stir fry is. Plus you save some electricity. Win-win. If you have a rice cooker, just let it do its thing.

Wash and chop vegetables. Carrots into small sticks (image). No matter what vegetables you use, you should have about 2-3 cups (500-750 g) vegetables in total.

If you use noodles instead of rice, bring 1l of water to a boil and cook noodles according to package now.

Heat peanut oil in Wok or large frying pan. Add vegetables according to length it takes to cook them: carrots first, then broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, bok choy… Sprouts and spinach last.

Stir cornstarch into sherry or broth in a glass, set aside.

Fry meat in separate pan – shortly, but all the way through. Set aside.

Add more ginger and garlic to the vegetable mix, add soy sauce and if you like, the meat marinade. Stir well, add sherry or broth and meat as well as the noodles if you chose this option. Heat up, taste. Add water if too salty or more soy sauce if not enough. Serve with rice if you didn’t add noodles. What’s your favourite combination?

Älplermagronen or Swiss Mac & Cheese

This recipe would fall into the “food around the world” category and is one of the things I took with me when I emigrated Switzerland (luckily it was in my head and needed no space in my heavily oversized, overweight suitcase or it might not have made the cut). It’s a traditional Swiss dish, after the Italians were nice enough to bring pasta with them when they moved north and made friends with the, probably rather strange, inhabitants of the Alps. Here’s my version:

Serves 4

20121223-120348.jpgIngredients:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped into slices
  • 4 small potatoes, cubed (with skin)
  • ca. 1.5 cups (400g) pasta (I use whatever I have, Penne, macaroni or similar)
  • 6 stripes of bacon or 4 slices of ham, chopped – optional
  • 1 cup (250ml) cream
  • 1 cup (250g) cheese, grated (again, use what you like. I recommend a Swiss Cheese (Gruyere, Sbrinz, Emmental…) or Parmesan)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Applesauce

Directions:

Bring 4 cups of water (1 l) of water to a boil, add salt and cook pasta according to package. We Europeans think you Canadians overcook your pasta but do whatever you like, it’s your meal…Steam cubed potatoes or add to pasta and cook until soft. Drain. Meanwhile:

In a frying pan, melt butter. Add onions and fry until soft, add ham. If you use bacon instead, leave away butter and start by frying bacon, then add onions. Drain some of the fat. Or leave meat out altogether. Add cream and heat up. Do not bring to a complete boil though, as dairy can separate. Add cheese, salt, pepper, and pasta. Mix well. Add potatoes and mix in very gently to avoid breaking the potato cubes.

Serve with apple sauce. That probably sounds strange, but TRUST me on this one. Depending on what Canton (the Swiss “states”) you would eat this, the recipe would differ. Some are with ham, some with bacon, some vegetarian. Some use potatoes, others leave it out. Some might be strict on what type of pasta or cheese to use, I say the heck with it, use what you love and make it your own. I hope you enjoy this!