pine nuts

Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe and Goat Cheese

by Anne Maxfield on June 18, 2015

Accidental Locavore Broccoli RabeHappily, for the Accidental Locavore, my CSA has started and this year there’s been plenty of broccoli rabe. Orcchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe has always been one of my favorites, so when I saw this on Saveur’s website, I started chopping! Serves 2 hungry people and comes together quickly:

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (about ¾ pound), roughly chopped
  • 13cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • crushed red chile flakes, to taste
  • ½ box orecchiette
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 ounces of goat cheese, softened
  • Salt

Accidental Locavore Broccoli Rabe and SausageBring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil for the pasta. Cook the orecchiette until just al dente.

Steam the broccoli rabe until crisp-tender. I used a covered dish in the microwave for 2 minutes.

When the broccoli is cooked, add the olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli rabe, toss in the oil and reduce the heat to low.

Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water, and add to the pan, along with the lemon zest. Increase the heat to high and slowly add the pasta water, stirring until it’s absorbed. Taste and add salt and red pepper flakes as needed. Serve, topped with dollops of the goat cheese and enjoy

Accidental Locavore Pasta With Broccoli RabeMy verdict: Yummy! Between adding the pasta water to make a sauce and the goat cheese, it’s a wonderful, creamy pasta. I’ve made it twice, the second time adding a large piece of Italian sausage that I crumbled up and cooked before adding the garlic etc. Frank loved it, which is a sign that’s it’s a good dish, as he’s not terribly fond of broccoli rabe. Funnily, both times I’ve made it, I’ve wanted to toss some toasted pine nuts into it, but both times was too lazy to go toast them. Some chopped olives, or sautéed mushrooms might be nice too.

Accidental Locavore Fasta PastaSpeaking of lazy, one of the chores we both hate is washing the pasta pot. That’s changed since we discovered Fasta Pasta. It’s a microwave pasta cooker (if you’re Italian and/or fussy about cooking pasta, just skip this) and it works like crazy! It’s a box that you fill with pasta and water and pop in the microwave. When it’s done, add the lid and it drains the pasta. There’s a chart that gives you amounts and times. What it doesn’t tell you, is that like most pasta, it’s much better when you add a healthy dose of salt to the water. If you’re cooking for a crowd, you’re probably better off with the traditional pot, but for a couple of people it’s just genius! It’s dishwasher safe and takes up much less space than the pasta pot (that we store it in).



Biscotti With Dried Cherries

by Anne Maxfield on December 18, 2014

Accidental Locavore Finished BiscottiIt’s a holiday tradition for the Accidental Locavore and her friend Laura to get together and make edible gifts. We always try something new and alternate between savory and sweet. Just as traditionally, every year Laura’s father asks us why we’re not making biscotti again. This year, with some of our leftover ingredients, I made him a batch based on a Martha Stewart recipe. They’re pretty simple and just need some time to bake and cool. This made about 30 cookies:


  • 1 3/4 cups dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur), plus more if needed
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Accidental Locavore Forming BiscottiHeat cherries and liqueur in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until cherries have softened, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. If you need more add enough liqueur to make 2 tablespoons.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the 3 eggs, one at a time. Add reserved cherry liquid and the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and gradually mix in flour mixture. Stir in cherries and pine nuts.

On a lightly- floured surface, divide the dough in two. Shape each half into a 12 1/2 by 2 ½” log. Flatten logs to 1/2“ thick. Transfer to the baking sheet.

Bake 35 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks to cool, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Cut each log on the diagonal into 1/2″ slices. Transfer pieces to racks, laying them on their sides. Set racks on baking sheets. Bake 8 minutes; flip them and bake 8 minutes more. Let cool until crisp.

Accidental Locavore BiscottiOptional chocolate: melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (30 second intervals). Paint a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom of the biscotti, or just dunk them in and coat one side. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I’m not a dunker of things into coffee or tea–something about crumbs at the bottom of the cup never appealed to me, so there are a lot of cookies I prefer to biscotti. These came out fine and Frank, the biscotti lover in the family, thought they tasted great (and would I please make another batch). We’ll have to wait till after the holidays to see what Laura’s father thought of them. I substituted pine nuts for the almonds Martha called for, but did soak the cherries in Amaretto. Dried cranberries would also work instead of the cherries.






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Zucchini With Mint and Pine Nuts

by Anne Maxfield on August 7, 2014

Accidental Locavore Sauteed ZucchiniYou know what it’s like in the summer — friends and neighbors looking to unload whatever bumper crops they have (and why is it never tomatoes?). One of the Accidental Locavore’s neighbors dropped off a bunch of cucumbers and a nice looking zucchini the other day and I thought it was time to pull out Deborah Madison’s beautiful Vegetable Literacy  and put it to use. This comes together quickly and is adapted from her book:

  • 1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2″ coins
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 10 mint leaves, chopped
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mint and basil leaves, slivered for garnish

Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the zucchini and sauté, flipping it, until both sides are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Mix the chopped garlic, mint, basil and capers together. Toast the pine nuts and set aside.

When the zucchini is cooked, remove from the heat, add the herb-garlic mix and the red wine vinegar and toss until everything is well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Finish with the pine nuts and slivered herbs, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: With garlic, mint, pine nuts and capers, what’s not to like? This was easy and delicious. The only problem? It doesn’t use enough zucchini! You could probably add some coarsely chopped black olives and/or sprinkle a little feta cheese on top. Melting a couple of anchovies in the oil before you add the zucchini could also give it that Mediterranean punch, and if your zucchini “coins” weren’t too large, tossing the whole thing into some linguini would give you a great meatless dinner!




Snow Pea Salad With Feta and Pine Nuts

by Anne Maxfield on August 29, 2013

Accidental Locavore Snow PeasMy friend Denise gave the Accidental Locavore a mess of snow peas last week (along with a ton of stuff from her garden) and since it was the only thing we hadn’t gotten around to eating, I decided to make an easy salad with the peas and brought it to her house for dinner the other night. This generously served 4 and came together in about 20 minutes.

  • 1 pound snow peas, washed and trimmed
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons good olive oil
  • Maldon salt to taste
  • ¼ cup Greek feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely sliced

Accidental Locavore Snow Pea SaladIn a microwave safe container, steam the snow peas with a tablespoon or two of water, covered, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Shock to stop cooking by rinsing in cold water and ice. Drain and pat dry. Cut in half the long way and put in a medium bowl.

While the peas are cooking, toast the pine nuts in a small frying pan over medium heat for 3 minutes, until just fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pine nuts, feta and salt to the peas. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle on the mint, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: A good, easy salad to play around with. I tried using goat cheese instead of the feta and it was ok, but a little less assertive than the feta. Basil might easily take the place of mint, or even try substituting lime juice and cilantro for the lemon juice and mint. Green beans, especially haricots vert, would mix well with or replace the snow peas. Let me know what you think.