Tag Archives: one ingredient three ways

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Just Beet It!

Gentle Readers, sometimes one has to pump iron. That is both literal and figurative. I’m a big fan of a few curls between conference calls, but also of the humble yet sweet beet. How many vegetables are that nutritious and that pretty at the same time?

Sweet Roasted Beets

Sweet Roasted Beets

Admittedly, I grew up a beet fan, surrounded by scads of home-canned pickled ones. I am spoiled that way. I have featured beets on more than on occasion on these very pages. And, in the land of vegetarians, the multi-colored vegetables are king. That’s an old proverb. That I just made up.

Squeaky Clean Beets

Squeaky Clean Beets

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Beets

1. Raw and shredded: This is my new favorite salad topping at the Whole Foods salad bar. I admit that I have a WF salad bar problem, as the infinite combinations and pretty colors lure me. Raw shredded beets are gorgeous, flavorful, and add a nice peppery crunch. Give them a try, just wear an apron if you grate them by hand.

Take it from the pros like Whole Foods, Salad Bars work.

Take it from the pros like Whole Foods, Salad Bars work.

2. Pickled on a salad: Cubes of pickled beet with herb salad mix (my personal fave), walnuts, and a salty grated cheese is the bomb. Goat is a natural match, but don’t overlook Romano or the Sartori Balsamic Bellavitano. Simply dressed, the crunch and the sweet are an amazing combo.

Pickled Beets, Walnuts, Sartori Cheese and Herb Salad Mix. Divine.

Pickled Beets, Walnuts, Sartori Cheese and Herb Salad Mix. Divine.

3. Sliced on a burger: Be it beef, buffalo, veggie, or portabello, beets on burgers are awesome. They are awesome AS burgers (Goaty McBeet Burger FTW). Why not layer iron on iron? Add some sauteed onions and goat cheese and you have a party on your hands.

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

If you’ve not given beets a chance lately, try them and let me know. Post a comment below. I’m listening. With my superhuman beet-powered ears.

Send your questions, kudos, and confessions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up next, Sunday Menus: I’m Eating Your Dinner Edition.

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Parmesan Rinds Spotted, Or, I Told You So

Gentle Readers, though it is immodest to think that The Practical Cook is behind this, she is not above a “I Told You So.” Parmesan rinds are hip and happening. Or Whole Foods has discovered a way to make money out of what previous went to the compost pile.

Parmesan rinds for the rindless! Spotted in the wild at Whole Foods.

Parmesan rinds for the rindless! Spotted in the wild at Whole Foods.

What’s the going rate?

Parmesan rinds are cheap if you don't have any at hand.

Parmesan rinds are cheap if you don't have any at hand.

So here’s 3 ways to use Parmesan rinds, how would you use them? Post a comment below!

Send your photos of food sightings, or other such stuff to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today to stay current on all of The Practical Cook news!)

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Up next, Dining in London, Reviews from the Road (if I’m awake, otherwise, something else).

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One Ingredient, Three Ways: Tomato Paste Edition

Gentle Readers, there is no greater satisfaction than sharing a tip with a fellow cook. For me this week, that came in the form of tomato paste in a tube. Yes, it’s not a great choice for brushing teeth, but it’s ideal for ramping up flavor or serving as a thickening agent. Use a little, use a lot, up to you. I’m never without a tube of this in my fridge.

Why use toothpaste when you can use tomato paste?

Why use toothpaste when you can use tomato paste?

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Tomato Paste

1. Spaghetti Sauce. If you need to Punt! with commercial jarred sauce (and I’m not proud, I do need to oftentimes), I strongly recommend adding a flavor of some sort. I often use pesto cubes, a splash of balsamic, or, wait for it, a dash of tomato paste. That way you can rinse the jar with water, which dilutes the flavor, and replace with some tomato paste, bringing you back above the level mark.

Twist and Fill Spaghetti Bird's Nests

Twist and Fill Spaghetti Bird's Nests

2. Tomato Soup. This was a key element in driving the flavor meter up. Also, learned the trick of browning it slightly to further intensify the taste. Yum.

Homemade Tomato Soup with Toasted Pimento Cheese

Homemade Tomato Soup with Toasted Pimento Cheese

3. Tacos. Perhaps you noted that the other night I had an epic measuring fail when making tacos from a seasoning packet. Really, how sad is that? Undeterred, I reduced and reduced, but grew impatient at the end. I added a couple of teaspoons of tomato paste, stirred, and bam, thickened taco meat. And, bonus, it was way better than usual. That Punt! just became a permanent installation in the Taco Night! pantheon.

Are you a tomato paste fan? How do you you use it? Post a comment below!

Questions, queries, marzipan pigs can be sent to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, Chicken Bowl Recipe!

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One Ingredient, Three Ways: Pasta

Whoa, apparently The Practical Cook is not the only one who is a fan of dumplings. Which is a nice transition to today’s topic, the dumpling of a different stripe, tortellini. Though the Trader Joe’s cheese tortellini of which I am so fond is not the only featured pasta. For this Sunday dinner, I needed back-up. With only two packages of cheese tortellini, and a pack of wild vegetarians descending fast, what to do?

One Ingredient, Three Ways:

1. Plain Cheese Tortellini. Let’s face it, they are out there. Though The Practical Cooks Junior are adventurous (they ate the majority of the 4 orders of dumplings from yesterday’s Chirba Chirba review), they are a rare breed in their age group. Good Parmesan and a toss of olive oil, and I sigh and avert my eyes.

Plain Cheese Tortellini from Trader Joe's (Sigh)

Plain Cheese Tortellini from Trader Joe's (Sigh)

2. Red Sauce on Cheese Tortellini. In this case, we tried a jarred puttanesca (dirty). It was a big hit with the adults, the two Junior tasters felt it was a bit spicy, though they liked it okay.

Bubble Bubble Pasta Pot, Cheese Tortellini with Puttanesca Sauce

Bubble Bubble Pasta Pot, Cheese Tortellini with Puttanesca Sauce

3. Pesto on Wagon Wheels with Diced Tomatoes. This was a surprise hit, based on the homemade pesto I featured before. When you’re pressed for time, nothing is better than opening the freezer, dropping  a few pesto cubes into hot, drained pasta, grating some fresh Parmesan on it, topping with tomatoes, and serving.

Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes

Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes

We led with a salad, so actual vegetables were consumed in this meal. Everyone was permitted to get up and serve themselves whatever they liked, without comment, until that flavor ran out. People like options, it makes the everyday more interesting. This is an effortless meal, perfect for a crowd, and satisfying for people of all ages and persuasions. Mix it up with roasted garlicky broccoli to toss in, or Italian sausage for the meat lovers. Point being, with some planning, it’s easy to serve meals within a meal.

The Joy of Self-Service: Pasta Bar

The Joy of Self-Service: Pasta Bar

Best compliment of the night was my friend and budding foodie telling me what she liked and didn’t like about each one. This is huge. She was the queen of the plain buttered pasta before. Surprisingly, she liked the pesto pasta the best.

Are you feeding a plain pasta crowd? How do you manage it without being a short-order cook? Post your comments and ideas here, or Tweet.

Queries, blog ideas, or pictures? Email practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Stay tuned for Beef: It’s What’s in the Freezer.

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