Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lemon Pepper Pasta with Capers

To make up for the gravy fries from the last post, let me point you in the direction of a lovely pasta in a light lemony cream sauce: Lemon Pepper Pasta with Capers from The Kitchn. And yes, I mean that. Each serving has a grand total of 1 tablespoon of cream in it, and you can easily nudge that already-pretty-low number down, or even use half-and-half instead.

Lemon Pepper Pasta with Capers

We have Trader Joe's here, so I made sure to pick up a package of the Lemon Pepper Pappardelle the last time I was there. The girl who rang up my purchases told me she'd tried it with tomato sauce and that it just hadn't worked, but she didn't know what sauce to use instead.

This one is a nice simple option. Turns out you don't need a lot of cream for a convincing cream sauce; this one calls for 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) total, and I used even less than that. I added between 2 and 3 tablespoons of cream to mine and it was plenty. I also cut back on the capers and added what looked like a "good amount".

There's a lot of room to play around here. Toss in some veggies, add some chicken (or shrimp or shellfish, if you're someone who can do that without breaking into hives... which I'm not), use regular pasta and add the juice from the lemon to the sauce, etc.

Lemon Pepper Pasta with Capers


Recipe: Lemon Pepper Pasta with Capers from The Kitchn at Apartment Therapy

Space needed: Minimal
Two pans (one for pasta, one for sauce), and enough counter space to chop up the garlic.

Cost: Under $5 per serving
Actually, under $2 per serving. $1.79 to be exact, $7.15 for the full 4-serving recipe, going by what I paid for the ingredients here in Maryland.

Recipe amounts: Pasta - $2.00; Garlic - $0.10; Lemon - $0.50; Butter - $0.10; Olive oil - $0.15; Chicken broth - $0.40; Cream - $0.40; Capers - $3.50) = $7.15

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gravy Cheese Oven Fries with Roasted Garlic

Today was a yucky, rainy, gray day here in MD.

I wanted warm, carb-filled, unhealthy comfort food. The PERFECT excuse to make the Gravy Cheese Oven Fries with Roasted Garlic that Serious Eats posted a few weeks ago.

Gravy Cheese Oven Fries with Roasted Garlic

Oh, mama.

I feel bad even posting this, but it was so ridiculously easy and SO GOOD. A nice time-saver and space-saver is to use frozen steak fries. That's what I did, so I omitted the olive oil used on the potatoes. I ignored the cooking instruction on the package and followed the recipe: 40 minutes at 400 degrees, turning once. The fries and garlic were done at the same time, ready for the super-simple gravy. Cook flour and butter together for a quick roux, add beef broth, stir like crazy for a minute to get rid of the lumps, then let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.

The roasted garlic is such a great addition to this. The sweet, slightly caramelized flavor sets off all those savory ingredients very nicely.

I am ready for a happy carb nap now. :)


Recipe: Eat for Eight Bucks: Gravy Cheese Oven Fries with Roasted Garlic from Serious Eats

Space needed: Minimal
Space to cut up the fries and slice the top off of the garlic, a saucepan for the gravy, and a baking sheet for the fries and garlic. If you use frozen fries, you barely need any counter space at all.

Cost: Under $5 per serving
This depends heavily on the cost of the cheese. Serious Eats used a Gruyère that was $15.80 per pound, and even theirs came in at $8.02 for 2 servings. I used some Trader Joe's shredded Mexican four-cheese blend that I had on hand, which was something like $4 per pound.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Scottish Baps

Slashfood posted a recipe a couple of weeks ago for Scottish Baps, a flour-dusted yeast roll. It probably won't surprise anyone to hear that I bookmarked the page.

I made these today for a snow day project. The recipe is easy to follow and very accessible. Nothing fussy; I would recommend these to someone as a "first yeast baking project" in a heartbeat. The only possible headscratcher is "caster sugar" in the ingredients. If you don't have caster sugar (a.k.a. superfine sugar), you can substitute regular table sugar.

This dough came together nicely... so nicely that I didn't even have to knead it on a flat surface. I kneaded this in the same bowl that I mixed it in. After about 5 minutes of kneading, I left it to rise for an hour. Then some shaping, and the rolls started to take form:

Baps before baking

A sprinkling of flour gives them a nice dusty look when they're done.

Baps - done!

The finished rolls are light and soft and airy... apparently, one traditional use is to make a sandwich with fried bacon, butter, and a brown sauce. Curse you, my sadly baconless refrigerator!

Scottish Bap

Space needed: Minimal
For mine, I used one mixing bowl, one cookie sheet, and a measuring cup. I heated the milk and proofed the yeast in the measuring cup, then melted the butter in it as well.

Cost: Under $5
Total cost for the recipe is about $2.50 for 12 rolls.

Recipe: Simply Wonderful Scottish Baps from