Quick-ish roasted vegetable lasagna

13 September 2011 § 7 Comments

After what seems like the longest vacation ever The Ladies™ started back at preschool today. I offered to make them their favorite dish for dinner. Although their preferences change on a daily basis their request was for lasagna.

Usually I make lasagna with grass-fed beef, but as we had a trip to Fleisher’s meat palace on the weekend we’d had more than our fill of red meat. I never used to eat red meat but Fleisher’s has started me on an expensive new habit. So much to King Marv’s chagrin we had vegetable lasagna. « Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Pasta (Squash and Basil)

10 July 2011 § 1 Comment

Nothing says summer like an abundance of summer squash. It was out in all its greenish golden glory at Kingston Farmers’ Market yesterday.

See my post on What’s for Dinner? on Barista Kids for the recipe for this summer squash with basil pasta. This light summer dish tastes so creamy, you’d swear it has cream in it.

Here’s the recipe.

I got the recipe for the best mac and cheese in the world

27 June 2011 § 6 Comments

We love Mac and Cheese, but is has to be the real stuff made with real butter, cheese, cream and milk, none of that packaged rubbish.

Who would have thought Montclair, NJ’s smokin’ Bar-B-Q  joint, Ruthie’s Bar-B-Q, would make the best Mac and Cheese, EVER. You can find the recipe in my piece on Barista Kids. It is a quick stove-top version so no more slaving away in a hot kitchen.

What is your favorite Mac and Cheese? Do you have a secret ingredient? Evaporated milk? Truffle oil? Beef stock? Are breadcrumbs manna from heaven or an aberration?

Take a break from the mall

15 December 2010 § Leave a comment

The Montclair Farmers’ Market will be there for one more weekend this year, so brave the cold and go shop – squirrel away some fresh produce so you can eat your way through the cold weather.

Last Saturday my favorite vendors were there –  Stefan and Sons (Polish Kielbasy), Vacchiano Farms, Tree-Licious Orchards and Picklelicious were all there. I managed to stock up for the week. I bought a chicken that we roasted on Sunday night with some vegetables and potatoes, and washed down with a few bottles of wine.  There are few things better than the smell of a roast on a cold Sunday evening.

I also made a really simple pasta dish on Saturday evening with roasted butternut squash. No photos, I’m afraid as we ate it all too quickly but here it the recipe.

Pasta with butternut squash, caramelized onions and walnuts



1 whole butternut squash – chopped into 1″ pieces

1 onion – sliced

1 clove of crushed garlic

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons goats cheese

½ cup Parmesan grated

Chop the squash into 1″ pieces, add the onions and garlic, sprinkle with sugar and season with salt and pepper. Toss in olive oil. Cook for about 30 minutes at 350°F. Toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes in the oven – do not forget about them – they will burn! Cook pasta until al dente, drain pasta, reserve a few spoonfuls of the pasta water. Then add roasted vegetables and the nuts to the pasta, add the pasta water and goats cheese and heat through on low heat. Serve with parmesan.

And here are some pictures of the Farmers’ Market to tempt you outside next Saturday, it beats the mall:

Getting lost – Acorn Squash Risotto

14 October 2010 § Leave a comment

King Marv and I took The Ladies™ to the Catskill Corn Maze on Columbus Day.

This maze is ginormous, 16 acres in fact. Entitled “D.C. Money Grab”, the professionally designed maze (who knew there was such a job?) depicts the two major political parties in a tug of war against the Capitol with dollars flying out of it.

Even more impressive was the actual setting for the maze – it was picture postcard bucolic to say the least – sun shining against a backdrop of autumnal trees, with the red farmhouse in the background. At lunch we picnicked until a swarm of dozy autumnal wasps sent us running for the car. After that, we picked pumpkins from their vines – an event which saw the otherwise office-bound King Marv toil with the earth. The only real downside of the day was trying to get The Ladies™ to leave the maze at dusk as the Fall sun set on a wonderful day, but we did leave with some beautiful pastel colored eggs from the farm’s Araucana hens.

Of course, after all the running about in the fresh air and chasing the girls through the maze, we all needed something hearty and filling. So armed with an acorn squash and some local Gouda cheese (both from Pakatakan Farmers Market) – a delightful round barn near Roxbury, I set about making a squash risotto. This recipe is inspired by a squash risotto I saw featured on Baristanet from my favorite Montclair restaurant, Osteria Giotto. I adapted it slightly as I did not have the exact ingredients. Regardless the end result was good, King Marv and I loved it, The Ladies™ were not quite so keen but they still managed to put away a generous helping.

Acorn Squash Risotto


1 onion

1 carrot

1 acorn squash

2 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Freshly grated nutmeg

Handful of chopped basil or parsley

2 cups Arborio rice

5 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)

1 cup of cheese (Parmesan would be best, but I used an aged Gouda made from raw milk from Byebrook farm)

A few small pieces of butter


Sprinkle the chopped squash with salt and the sugar, toss in olive oil then cook in the oven at 385°F until soft – about 30-40 minutes. Fry the onion and carrot in olive oil for about 5 minutes, add the crushed garlic  and fry for another 2 minutes. Add the rice and fry for another minute or so, add nutmeg. Add a ladle of hot stock and when absorbed slowly add another cup. After cooking for about 5 minutes, add the squash (squish with a fork first), then when the stock has been absorbed continue to add more stock (one cup at a time) stirring constantly.  After about 20 or so minutes, and when all the stock is absorbed, the rice should be ready –  soft but not soggy. Season. Then add some grated cheese and some butter. Serve immediately. I also added some basil, but parsley would work well.

Fry the onions, garlic, carrots and squash with the arborio rice.

Ladle in the stock one spoon at a time.

Keep stirring as you add the stock.

Add a good dollop of butter and cheese and serve immediately – risotto does not like hanging about!



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