Tag Archives: basil

Seared Scallops and Penne in a Marsala Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Thank goodness it’s back to the blog for me! I finally found the inspiration to get back to the kitchen (complete with a busted oven–>my mom found that out the hard way when she was trying to bake cookies and coffee cake) and continue informing you all about “greener” and a lot of the time healthier (not so much today) ways to cook.

Seared Scallops and Penne in a Marsala Sun-Dried TomatoCream Sauce

Serves 2

  • 1/2 box Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
  • 3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 10 large Scallops
  • 1/2 Shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup Marsala
  • Pinch of Saffron Threads
  • 5 Sun-dried Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Basil, sliced, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Parmiggiano-Reggiano, grated, to taste

For the sauce: Melt 1 tbsp. of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until translucent. Add the Marsala and cook until reduced by half. Add the saffron, sun-dried tomatoes, and cream and lower to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile: cook the penne in a pot of boiling salted water. Melt the rest of the butter (2 tbsp.) in a pan and saute the scallops until lightly browned. Top pasta with sauce and scallops. Then add the basil and Parmiggiano-Reggiano (if used).

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Scallops come in many varieties and are an acceptable fish to eat, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch List.
  2. Using organic heavy whipping cream means that the cow the cream came from is eating an organic diet: no pesticides are entering the water or permeating the ground since they are not used in organic farming!
  3. Basil is easily grown at home or found locally. Less food miles means less gas is being used to get the product to your table! Hooray for reducing your carbon footprint!
  4. Whole wheat pasta is better for you and the earth! It does not need as much refining as it’s bleached white alternative. Plus there are less chemicals used and sent into the environment.
  5. Check out the packaging you’re getting your pasta in as well. Many pastas now come in recyclable cardboard packaging.
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Veggie Enchiladas

As an ode to the fact that at this moment I’m in Bahia de Los Angeles in Baja, Mexico, here’s a recipe for enchiladas! And make extra! I ate my two and wanted more. They were so delicious!

Vegetable Enchiladas

For sauce

  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small Yellow Onion, chopped (as small as possible)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • A couple shakes each: dried oregano, dried basil leaves, cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin
  • 1/4 cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Salsa
  • 3 tbsp. Water

For enchilada:

  • 2 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • Organic Mexican Cheese
  • Veggies, chopped (I used bell pepper and onion but that’s all I had)

Cook the sauce first by sauteing the garlic and onion until the onion is just starting to brown. Add the tomato sauce, salsa, and water and turn heat to a simmer. Add all of the spices and let simmer for at least 5 minutes (the longer the better). Meanwhile, saute the vegetables you will be using in your enchilada. Place them in the tortillas and roll up. Place them into a pan (fold side down). Top with the sauce and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes (or until heated through). Top with cheese and bake until it melts (about 2 minutes).

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Using vegetables allows you to cut back on the amount of cheese you need to get a great flavor (same with all of the spices). Plus you can get spices and vegetables organic.
  2. Because this doesn’t call for specific vegetables, you can pick those that you can find local and in season.
  3. The sauce gives the same heartiness to the enchilada that you get with meat enchiladas without the meat! I recommend making it with extra chili powder if you can handle it! And topping it with organic local avocado can help cut back on the heat from the chili powder if you can’t.
  4. Whole wheat tortillas take less processing than their refined flour counterparts.

Gnocchi with Tomato Basil Sauce and Bruschetta

Step one in becoming a good cook: TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS! I know this… I follow this… and yet I didn’t listen to my gut today. I thought that the gnocchi recipe I was basing mine off of seemed to have too much flour but I had never made gnocchi before so I went with it… And boy oh boy was the gnocchi too floury. So, in this post I’m gonna guesstimate the correct amount of flour (and I’m gonna add more spinach) so that you won’t have the same problem. Because when gnocchi is cooked correctly it can be DELICIOUS.

As an appetizer:

Bruschetta

  • 1 Baguette (whole wheat preferably, but I had white on hand), cut
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • Fresh Basil, to taste, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, 1 chopped, the other whole
  • 3 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • Optional, add Mozzarella before toasting

Rub the whole garlic clove onto each piece of bread (one side only). Place into a preheated oven (to 350) for 5-10 minutes (or until browned). Meanwhile, mix the tomato, basil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. When bread is done, top with the mix. It’s so easy and SOOO yummy!

Spinach Gnocchi with Tomato Basil Sauce

  • 1 lb. Red Potatoes (keep skin on)
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups Spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp. Vegan Margarine
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 can Chopped Tomato
  • 3 tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Red Wine (plus extra for drinking)
  • 2 tsp. Sugar

Cook the potatoes in their skins in a pot of boiling salted water until tender all the way through (took mine 35 minutes). Drain and press through a strainer (remove the skins as they come off). Cook the spinach in the hot water for 5 minutes (or until wilted). Chop the spinach and add to the potatoes. Add the margarine, egg, and half of the flour to the mixture. Mix well. On a floured counter, knead the rest of the flour into the dough. Roll the dough into thin ropes and cut 3/4 inch pieces. Press the center of each to curl the sides of the gnocchi. Let chill in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, saute the chopped shallot in the olive oil until a little browned. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, basil, red wine, and sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil and add the gnocchi. Cook until the gnocchi rise to the top of the water. Drain and top with the sauce.

ECO-BENEFITS:

  1. Homemade pasta does not have the transportation and packaging that are involved in pre-made pasta.
  2. Organic, local spinach, basil, tomatoes, and garlic are eco-friendified!
  3. Vegan butter cuts back on the amount of animal byproduct and therefore helps fight global warming!
  4. Whole wheat flour and bread uses less energy because it is not refined.
  5. A benefit just for you: Because this recipe calls for wine it basically tells you to enjoy a glass while you cook!