Pea Pancakes

pea pancakes

So, I know what you’re thinking. Peas in pancakes? Gross. Or maybe you’re not thinking that. But that is what my co-worker said when I told her about this recipe. Whatever you’re thinking, please know that these pancakes are are good. Like, really good. I mean, you pour melted butter over them instead of syrup. How can anything doused in melted butter be bad? (I once had a sushi roll that involved dipping shrimp tempura in butter instead of soy sauce. So wrong. Yet so so right.)

Bon Appetit did a feature on peas in their spring issue, which included this recipe for pea pancakes. (Don’t be surprised if you see more recipes on here involving peas. In case you haven’t noticed, I get on a kick with one food/recipe/ingredient and then [b]eat it to death until I just can’t take it anymore. Or at least until I’ve moved on to my next food obsession.) Annnnyway, I had really been wanting to host a champagne brunch but no one in my family ever has time to get together on the weekends. So we had brunch for dinner last week to celebrate my mom’s birthday, and it was the perfect opportunity for me to try this recipe from Bon Appetit.

My uncle told me I was brave for trying a new recipe for guests, but I told him, “Eh, I like to throw caution to the wind, take risks. You know.” I am such a liar. I am a huge scaredy cat and overly cautious type-A person. Of course, as he said this, I was struggling to flip these pancakes without them falling apart, peas were flying everywhere, and I was having a mini anxiety that the recipe I brought to the brunch dinner that I insisted suggested we have, was not going to work. They were not looking quite as pretty as the ones in the magazine. But you know what, we can’t all have a food stylist. And despite my brief state of panic and a few unevenly cooked pancakes, I got it down and these came out really well. People even asked me to make a second batch!

So next time you’re hosting a champagne brunch, give these a try. You can keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve. I think they would go well with salmon. And of course, an extra spicy bloody mary as well.

PEA PANCAKES

brunch for dinner

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of frozen peas, thawed (I used about a bag and a half of frozen peas)
  • 2 tsps of kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups of fat free cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2-4 tbsps of vegetable oil
  • a bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted

Combine cottage cheese, eggs, flour, and salt in a blender. Blend until well blended. Ha. Seriously though, turn the blender on until the eggs are beaten and everything is well mixed. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add peas and most of the scallions and mix together. The batter should be thick but pourable.

Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat. Add a little oil or butter to the pan. Ladle or pour pancakes in 1/4 cupfuls, spreading out to 3-4 inch rounds with a spoon. Cook until bubbles begin to form. Flip and cook until the pancakes are browned on the bottom and cooked through.

If you need to keep them warm until serving, put the pancakes in a casserole dish or baking dish and store in the oven on 250 degrees until ready.

Drizzle with melted butter and remaining scallions and serve!

Notes: I doubled the recipe from Bon Appetit, since theirs was only for four people. Their single serving recipe says 2 tbs of vegetable oil. I didn’t have vegetable oil, so I used canola. And I honestly did not think I put in 4 whole tablespoons. But maybe I did. Math is not my strong suit. 

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit magazine.

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Brussel Sprout and Artichoke Mac ‘N Cheese

brussel sprout mac n cheese 2Maybe it’s because it rained yesterday. Or maybe it’s because I over indulged this weekend and am still feeling guilty ab it. Or perhaps it’s the fact that my apartment isn’t as pristine as I like to keep it and I haven’t had time to do anything about it. Or could it be that the weather keeps teasing us? Whatever it is,  I’ve got a serious case of the winter blues.

I’m craving farmer’s markets, bright greens, light and refreshing dishes, open windows, a good run outside, longer days and plenty of sunshine. Oh and a tan. Thank heavens it’s almost March, when spray tanning starts to become socially acceptable again.

In the meantime, here’s some comfort food to push you through these last days of winter.

I made a healthier version of mac and cheese the other night by using whole wheat pasta, Greek yogurt, skim milk, fresh mozzarella, brussel sprouts, artichokes and Smart Balance butter. It was pretty time consuming and at points along the way I wondered if I had really messed things up (see note below) but it came out tasting delicious. I’m having a small portion of it for lunch today, accompanied by a colorful salad.

BRUSSEL SPROUT AND ARTICHOKE MAC ‘N CHEESEbrussel sprout mac n cheese

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 of a box of whole wheat rigatoni (or whatever short pasta you fancy)
  • 2 cups of brussel sprouts, stems removed, cut in half length wise
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, quartered, drained
  • 1/4 of a white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup of low fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of skim milk
  • 4 oz of fresh mozzarella, drained and cut into small chunks
  • 3-4 cups of a variety of shredded cheeses (I used some store-shredded mozzarella, some parmesan reggiano, and fontina)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (I used Smart Balance)
  • 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss the brussel sprouts and olive oil in a bowl with a bit of salt and pepper. Lay the brussel sprouts in a single layer on a sil-pat lined baking dish. Roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are soft and starting to brown on the edges. Keep oven on after removing.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In the same pot that you used to cook the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the milk, Greek yogurt, pasta, brussels sprouts, artichokes, fresh mozzarella, and most of your other cheeses. (Reserve some of your shredded cheese for the next step.) Stir to combine. (See note below)

Transfer all to a greased, 9×13 baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheeses (I used mostly parmesan reggiano for this step) and panko bread crumbs.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 375, or until all cheeses are melted and bubbling, most liquid is absorbed, and the top is browning a bit.

Note: When I added all of my ingredients to the pot, they did not mix well. It seemed very liquidy and my cheese was super gooey… and not in a good way. I thought the dish was ruined and that I had just wasted a ton of food. But I kept going anyway. And once it was all baked, it was fine. It really came out quite delicious! So don’t be fooled by rubbery, gooey cheese and ingredients that aren’t combining well in the pot. If making this again, I would replace the store-shredded mozzarella with cheddar. And I might not even use the fresh mozzarella. I just find that mozzarella never melts quite the way I want it to in dishes like this. So experiment with your cheeses. And to save time, you could roast your brussel sprouts and cook your pasta the day before. 

PASTA WITH SPINACH, CHICKPEAS, SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND FETA

pasta with spinach chickpeas feta and sun dried tomatoesGood morning, friends! As promised, here is the rest of my post from yesterday. I think the key to making this pasta delicious was cooking it in vegetable broth instead of water. It just gave it more flavor and kept it moist (I hate that word. I’m cringing.) until it was time to serve it. I made the pasta a little bit in advance of my guests’s arrival, put a lid on the pot, and kept giving it a good stir every now and then so it didn’t get dry or stick together in places.  Like I mentioned yesterday, when I ate the leftovers, I preferred them cold. I tried them both ways, but cold was definitely better for some reason. So you could serve this warm, at room temp, or a bit colder. The fresh basil was my favorite ingredient here. Yummmmm!

PASTA WITH SPINACH, CHICKPEAS, SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND FETA

pasta with spinach chickpeas feta and sun dried tomatoes 2

Ingredients:

For the pasta:

  • 1 box of whole wheat angel hair or thin spaghetti
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • A bit of crushed red pepper
  • A bit of salt and pepper

For the vegetables:

  • a bit of olive oil
  • 7-8 ounces of fresh baby spinach, washed
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped, plus some of the oil
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:

In a large saucepan or heavy pot, heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once your broth is boiling, add the pasta. Cook for roughly 8-10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionaly. I noticed that the broth was disappearing after a while, but my pasta wasn’t finished cooking. So I added 2 cups of water and continued to cook. When it was done, the pasta was al dente and most of the liquid was gone. To keep warm until ready to serve, cover with a lid and stir occasionally.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil and the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and saute for a few minutes, until the spinach begins to wilt. You don’t want it to become too wilted though. Add the chick peas, a dash of salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until the chickpeas and tomatoes are warm and the spinach is cooked down and wilted.

Combine spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes and pasta in a large bowl. Right before serving, add the basil, parsley, and feta. (and more salt and pepper if you want. I added a lot of fresh cracked black pepper.) Mix well and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from MY BRAIN!

RAMEN UPGRADE

Ramen UpgradeSo, it’s that time of year. And no, I’m not talking about the holidays. I’m talking about the time of year when evvvverrryone and their mother is sick. You know what I mean. The lines at the pharmacy are suddenly longer than the lines at FAO Schwartz. Friends are canceling plans with you because they are “sick.” Your head hurts so badly you want to cry. People in your office are following you around with a can of Lysol. You’re meeting with your boss and have such a violent coughing fit that your eyes tear up and she hands you a cough drop and begs you to asks you if you need to leave to get a drink. Your desperate late night texts turn from pathetic attempts at flirting into requests for someone to please please puhlease bring you NyQuil. I mean, this is what happens to everyone. Right?

Needless to say, I’ve been feeling under the weather this week. So I haven’t had much of an appetite. And there’s really only so much Lipton’s Soup Secrets (extra noodle) that one person can eat. Last night, I had a fleeting thought that I was feeling better and wanted to eat something solid. But right now my cupboard looks like I’m on a serious pantry diet. For those of you who don’t know, the pantry diet is when you are either so broke or so fat that you refuse to go grocery shopping and limit yourself to only eating what’s left in your pantry. I don’t think this really works if you are trying to lose weight because normally all I have in my pantry is carbs. Unless of course your pantry is empty and you eat nothing. Then I’m sure you’re guaranteed to drop a few pounds. All while saving a few pennies.

Annnyway, in my moment of hunger, I remembered a simple and delicious Ramen upgrade that a friend and I made when we were “rained in” during Hurricane Sandy. All it requires is soy sauce, Siracha (or something similar), peanut butter, and wait for it… Ramen noodles. Shocking ingredient, I know. Fortunately, I had all of those things in my pantry last night. Plus some frozen shrimp, celery, and carrots. When my friend and I made this, we included green onions and cilantro, and he added chicken to his. So clearly, you can experiment with your add-ons as long as you have the 4 main ingredients mentioned above.

RAMEN UPGRADE

ramen upgrade 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Ramen noodles (I used shrimp flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons of peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
  • 1 teaspoon of Siracha (or however much you want)
  • optional ingredients:
  • 1 small carrot, shaved thin
  • 1 celery stalk, cut in thin slices
  • dash of ginger and garlic
  • 5 frozen shrimp tails, cooked according to package directions

Directions:

Cook Ramen according to package instructions. However, add the seasoning packet at the same time that you add the noodles (rather than waiting until after they are done boiling for 3 minutes).

At the last 30 seconds of cooking, add carrots and celery.

Once the noodles are done, drain most of the liquid. It’s better to leave a little more liquid than you think you will need. You can always dump a bit more out if it’s too watery.

Add peanut butter, Siracha, soy sauce, and ginger and garlic (if using) and mix well, until the peanut butter is completely melted and you have a nice creamy coating of sauce on your noodles.

Add the cooked shrimp tails and enjoy!