Monday, May 26, 2014


Happy Accidents really do happen.
After nearly a week off from work, I wanted to use up the leftover roasted chicken I made for munching during that week, and the chicken stock I had on hand after making that roasted chicken.  I roasted it with lots of herbs, lemons and salt and pepper.  It was really good in the Chicken Pasta Salad I ate all week, full of diced pears, dried cherries and lots of seasonings.    But there was still some chicken left, and that chicken  stock. 

So I pulled it all together in a soup pot and started raiding the vegetable drawer and the freezer.  A packet of frozen mashed cauliflower (it thickened my soup beautifully) a packet of frozen spaghetti squash, a few fresh carrots sliced up, a small zucchini diced up into smallish pieces, two spring onions from the garden, and 4 spears of asparagus picked this afternoon diced into small pieces.   Use up everything!

After I got it all into the pot and started stirring everything, I couldn't see the pieces of spaghetti squash.  ???  Where are they?  A minute or two of wondering what happened, I realized I had used a packet of coconut rice pudding I made about two or three months ago - not spaghetti squash!!  Well, the rice was certainly okay in the soup, but coconut and vanilla!!!  Ugh!  They were the same color and so sure of myself, I didn't label the packet they were in.  (Needless to say I was WRONG and I was NOT going to throw the whole thing out!

Coconut rice pudding in Chicken Soup! What a blunder!  But wait!  I know that Thai food uses a lot of coconut in its cuisine.  So I went in that direction.  I started adding lots of other ingredients.  Sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and I had some sheets of Nori - that stuff you use to wrap sushi rolls, and cut them up into small pieces and tossed into the pot as well.  Corn.  I found a packet of  corn cut from the cob that I froze last summer, so that went into the pot as well.  Sweet and savory!

So the whole point of today's blog is creativity!!  All I can say is that if you aren't afraid to experiment, disastrous mistakes can turn into very Happy Accidents~ ~

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Herb Pesto Pasta

After a long day in the garden and yard, I still felt like messin' up my kitchen when I came inside to find something to eat.   And while I write, I listen to "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison.  A song that has haunted me now for several days.  One of those tunes you just can't get out of your head and maybe some of the best lyrics and music ever written.

Anyway, after cleaning up all the piles of yard waste I created, I was famished!!!! Ravenous!  I trimmed three big maple trees, several small trees and pulled tons of weeds!!  I was so busy I didn't think about eating, so when I came inside, all I could think about was eating!!!   A few final clean up chores outside took me to the herb garden and I decided then and there I would make an herbal pesto.  I had already picked several herbs that were in the fridge and didn't have any walnuts to make a traditional pesto of walnuts and basil.  So I used the herbs I had in the refrigerator and since I had no walnuts, I used some cashews I had on hand and some pumpkins seeds.  I toasted about a half cup of those while I washed and chopped herbs for the blender to make the pesto.   In the meantime, I cooked some penne pasta.
So here's what I did.  I combined all the herbs you see here: chives, oregano, basil and parsley, 4 cloves of garlic, a small chunk of parmesan, and a 1/2 c. of grated parmesan in the food processor.  When the nuts were toasted I put them in the blender too and blended everything until it made a beautiful paste with olive oil (about 1/2 c) a little lemon juice (maybe 1 or 2 T), salt and pepper. When the pasta was aldente, I drained it and put a serving into a bowl and mixed  about 3 T of the pesto into the bowl of pasta.     It was delicious with a small glass of white wine!    I can honestly say I may have preferred it to traditional basil pesto!
Pesto doesn't have to be just basil and walnuts!  Use whatever herbs you have on hand and whatever nuts you have on hand. Don't let traditional ingredients in a recipe stifle your imagination!   It's sure to turn out delish!

The leftovers were made into a pasta salad.  I poached two small turkey cutlets, cut them into slices and mixed them with the leftover pasta and some more pesto!