Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Martha & Me - January
Last fall, I began a subscription to Martha Stewart Living magazine. I received my first two issues, November and December/January, just before Christmas. I've been a closet reader of this magazine for years, thumbing through it every month in the store. I found a good subscription price and decided to treat myself. This magazine is so inspiring. I love the recipes and project ideas and I decided to set a challenge for myself now that I have it coming right to my home every month. I'm going to try at least one new thing - a recipe or a project - from each issue and blog about my experience. I'm calling my series "Martha & Me" and I'll post at the end of each month, sharing what I tried - whether a success or a failure. Please join me! You don't have to use this magazine and you don't have to sign up or get on a schedule or use my series' name, just share your adventure at the end of the month.
I opted to try a recipe from the December/January issue of the magazine. November's recipes and projects, and most of December/January's, were focused on holiday recipes and projects. I sort of dreaded the idea of a retrograde holiday-related project in January, to be honest. It seemed depressing. The pickings were relatively slim for non-holiday ideas, but I settled on a recipe that looked interesting and tasty, Spaghetti with Collard Greens and Lemon. This recipe is on Martha's website and is also found in her new book on clean eating, Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide. The above photo is from the magazine. The food styling in this magazine is incredible, by the way. I think it's my favorite thing about it so far.
I liked this recipe as soon as I saw it because it seemed easy and inexpensive, and it's healthy and meat-free. We're not vegetarians but we do limit the meat in our diet. We're staunch observers of Meatless Monday. This means I'm often on the lookout for new meatless recipes and tend to rely on pastas and soups when I get in a cooking rut. This recipe uses pasta but it's fresh and different and we like all the flavors, so I was excited to give it a whirl. I followed the recipe as written, except for one substitution: I used kaleidoscope chard instead of collard greens. To be frank, I don't like collard greens. Also, the chard is readily available in my preferred store, Trader Joe's. And it's so pretty. The colors are gorgeous and they stay when you cook the chard.
The rest of the ingredients are everyday staples in my kitchen: pasta (I used regular Barilla thin spaghetti), fresh lemon, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.
Isn't it amazing to see how much greens shrink when you cook them? I always think of Rachael Ray, when she would say "Frozen spinach is the best value in the store!" She's right, of course. They pack a lot of spinach in those little boxes. The chard cooked right down too. Next time, I would probably chop the chard into smaller pieces, especially the stems.
I'm no food stylist but this was my plate. It was really delicious. There is a lot of lemon and garlic and plenty of sauce after the addition of pasta cooking water. It soaked nicely into the cooked pasta and became sort of silky. It was mildly spicy and the chard had a slightly sour flavor. I always enjoy pine nuts in any dish and they were a nice addition. It felt a little fancy to have them in there. We all added grated Parmesan at the table, which enhanced the flavors and the consistency of the sauce. Everyone liked it, even the kids. They aren't exactly fanatics for leafy greens but there's so much flavor from the other ingredients that the chard went down just fine. This recipe was fast and tasty and I would definitely make it again - I've added it to the Meatless Monday hall of fame.
Join me next month for something new - I've already chosen a project and a recipe to try in February!