Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Pasta with Lemon and Garlic

print recipe card posted in Main Dishes, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

One of my favorite ways to serve pasta is with olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic and lemons — and, of course, fresh parsley — which I put on just about everything!

You should always have a few boxes of pasta in the cupboard. It keeps for a long time, and is always good for an emergency meal when you can’t think of anything else to make!

Stock up on pasta when it goes on sale and buy all different shapes and sizes. Be sure to always have some olive oil on hand as well.

For this recipe you really need to use fresh garlic and fresh lemons and fresh parsley. Garlic powder, dried parsley and lemon juice from a jar just won’t cut it in this recipe.

Start cooking your pasta according to the directions on the package.

While the pasta is cooking you need to do 5 things:

Peel and mince 2 cloves of garlic.

Grate about 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese.

Wash 2 lemons. Before juicing the lemons, we need to remove tiny shreds off the peel of the lemon. This is known as lemon zest. You can use a grater or a knife and just cut the zest into really tiny bits.

Be sure to only use the yellow part of the lemon peel. The white part tastes bitter.

Now juice the lemon. We actually need 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice.

Then chop about 1/2 cup of fresh parsley.

Once the pasta is cooked, remove one cup of the cooking water.

Then drain the pasta.

(After we add the other ingredients, the pasta may be too dry. You can add some of the cooking water to help moisten it.)

Using the pot you cooked the pasta in, heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil.

Add the garlic to the oil and fry it, until you can smell it cooking, about 15 seconds.

Turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and zest to the pot.

Then add the pasta to the garlic and oil.

Add the chopped parsley.

With a pair of tongs or two spoons toss everything together. If it seems too dry, pour on some of the reserved pasta water.

Serve with lots of parmesan cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper. And of course, garnish with fresh chopped parsley!

Enjoy!

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Avocado Soup

print recipe card posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

Cold soups are perfect to serve on hot summer nights. This one requires no cooking at all! Everything just gets put into a blender and mixed together really well, until it is smooth.

I saw this recipe in Gourmet magazine, and thought it would be a perfect startcooking recipe. All you need to make this soup is:

Start by dicing 1/3 of the cucumber and chopping into chunks the remaining 2/3 of the cucumber.

The chunks are going to be put in the blender and the diced cucumber is for the garnish.

The remaining ingredients just need to be chopped up a bit before they get added to the blender.

If you are unsure how to cut avocados check out my blog on Avocados.

Measure 1/2 cup of buttermilk (or yogurt) and 1 1/2 cups of cold water.

Add the water and buttermilk to the blender.

Start by blending everything on a low speed at first, then increase it just a bit. Everything needs to get totally chopped up and then made really smooth. This will take about 2 minutes of blending.

You can chill this soup for up to 3 hours before serving, and then garnish it with the diced cucumbers just before serving.

This soup is a beautiful color and the cucumbers add a wonderful crunch!

* Note:

I discovered one BIG problem with this recipe after I made it. What the heck do I tell a novice cook to do with the leftover buttermilk? In retrospect I should have suggested using yogurt or sour cream instead. Either would work beautifully for this recipe, and there are a lot of things you could do with leftover sour cream/yogurt.

If you are going to use buttermilk, you could always drink the leftovers??? (Has anyone seen “White Christmas”? Isn’t that what they were drinking before singing “Count Your Blessings”?)
Anyhow, I’m asking all my experienced cooks to toss in some EASY suggestions on what to make with leftover buttermilk!

Thanks and I hope you enjoy the soup!
Kathy

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Quesadillas with Tomatoes and Olives

print recipe card posted in Lunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

A quesadilla is a flour tortilla, filled with savory ingredients. You can fill a tortilla with lots of different fillings the same way you would choose lots of different fillings for a sandwich.

Cheese is very often one of the main ingredients. I’m using leftover Monterey Jack shredded cheese with scallions, black olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

Buy the 8 inch flour tortillas. The 12 inch are just too big to handle.

Lay one flour tortilla in a non-stick pan and top with 1/3 cup of cheese.

Wash one scallion (green onion). Cut off the hairy bit on the end. Cut the scallion into quarter-inch slices and sprinkle on the tortilla.

Chop the black olives and sprinkle on top of the scallions

Dice three sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkle them on top of the scallions.

Now sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 cup of cheese

And top with the second tortilla.

Set the pan on the stove top and turn the heat onto medium. (A brush of butter or oil on the tortilla does give it a nicely browned and crispy finish but, on very rare occasions, I do like to try and save a calorie or two!)

After about 1.5 minutes the tortilla should be lightly browned and the cheese is starting to melt. Flip the quesadilla over with a spatula.

Cook for about another minute on the flip side. Peek inside the quesadilla to make sure the cheese is all melted before removing it from the pan. You may need another minute or so. Slide the quesadilla out of the pan and onto a cutting board.

With a large kitchen knife cut the quesadilla into six slices.

Serve this quesadilla with some salad and you’ve got yourself a perfect lunch or light supper!

Enjoy!

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