Sunday, March 14, 2010

Karina plays with filo dough and ear pasta....

Visiting my insanely busy sister and brother-in-law in Los Angeles this past week, I saw how desperately in need they were of a good, home cooked meal. I raided their refrigerator and cabinets for ingredients, ran to the store for a little fresh produce, and blindly jumped in to see what would come out.

I found some filo dough in the freezer and realized as much as I love eating it, I have never cooked with it. As is almost always the case, I was thrilled to find how easy it was! I set one folded filo dough sheet at room temp for 30 minutes until it was thawed, and mixed an egg with a bit of water in a small bowl. I spread the dough over a flour-dusted cookie sheet and brushed it with my egg mix.

I boiled some yams she had sitting around until soft, and put them in the blender with a cup of found almonds that I had been soaking, garlic, onions, rosemary, agave, 1 small tangerine, a few scoops of organic white beans from a can, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and paprika. I blended the mix until it reached a thick paste and still hand some crunchy texture. I spread the mix over the dough and laid out sliced onions, apples and rosemary.

I dabbed flour on my hands and started to roll the dough up, starting at one of the shorter ends (almost like I would do with sushi). I formed it along the way to keep it as even a girth as possible the whole way through. Then I took a clean sharp knife and cut them unto 1- 1 1/2 inch circles and spread them out on the greased cookie sheet. I stuck them in the oven at 400* to bake about 20-25 minutes or until they were golden brown, cooked-through and flakey. While they were doing their magic in the oven, I moved onto the next project..

I starting a sauce for the pasta I found. I sliced an onion, two or three tomatoes, and more rosemary and began sauteing them in a large sauce pot with olive oil.

When everything started to get really soft, I took my sister's fancy new hand immersion blender and began pureeing everything together.

I added avocado, artichoke hearts, almonds and garlic. I spiced with cayenne, salt, pepper, citrus (orange and lemon), agave, champagne vinegar, a splash of black truffle oil, a splash of walnut oil, & almond milk. (I may be forgetting a few things because I sprinkled and splashed all through the spice rack for a good 30-45 minutes while the sauce was maturing!)

I found some Japanese dried shitake mushrooms and had been soaking them in my warm yam water until they were soft and expanded. I then threw them in the mix.

I had bought some fresh dark greens and decided to stem them with my left over yam-mushroom broth that was forming. To be honest I thought this was kale, and my brother in law thought it was swiss chard. I've been looking at photos all morning on line, and the closest thing I can find is Red-Russian Kale, but I could be totally mistaken! (Please let me know if you have any thoughts..) Anyway, clearly I bought them on looks and potential taste and not the name...

I threw some red bell pepper into the pot with the "greens" and steamed until they were soft and tender, but not mushy. I tossed them with some balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and lemon and put them aside for the meal.

When raiding the pantry, I discovered the pasta that I had bought for them for Christmas that they had not yet had the chance to use. It was Orechiette Pasta, which I believe means "ear pasta" (due to their striking resemblance to ears). I found them in the San Francisco Ferry Building down on Embarcadero. I was stoked when they gave me the go ahead to use it.

I mixed in my sauce and topped it with some fresh organic arugula.
I checked the oven and it was time for my yam-apple rolls to come out! They were perfect (and in my opinion the best part of the meal!)

We set the table, opened up a delicious red from Bonny Doon Vineyards and had a feast!

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