Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

Let’s talk for a minute about boiling water–because we are full of racy content like that here at Kiwi + Peach.

One of my favorite foods is easily freshly cooked pasta of the whole wheat variety.  I could probably eat it every day.  Unfortunately {or fortunately for my waistline}, before I met the Kiwi, I didn’t really make it much because it took so darn long to boil the water.  Seriously, unless you have one of those Kelly Ripa induction stove tops that boils water in 90 seconds {and if you do, I’m jealous}, it takes at least an hour to bring that big pot of water to a boil.  Okay I’m exaggerating, but it really does take a while and I, for one, do not have the patience for that.  In the past, my solution for this was to cook the whole package of pasta once I got the pot boiling, and I would freeze what I didn’t eat.  This, however, usually led to overeating and to pretty average tasting pasta after it had been thawed.

Kiwi and Peach: Avocado Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

Cut to the first time I cooked pasta for the Kiwi. After I finally find the pot {we were at his house}, I filled it up with water and put it on the stove.  He, lovingly, asked me what the heck I was doing.  To which I replied “I’m making pasta.  What does it look like I’m doing?  Dinner will be ready in an hour because I have to wait for this massive amount of water to boil.”  He then, lovingly, filled up the kettle, or jug as we like to call it, and flipped the switch.  In less than two minutes the water was happily boiling away.  He added it to the pot, which I had emptied, and less than a minute later it was already back to a boil.  So simple.

Of course, I still cooked the whole package of pasta and made him eat pasta for a week, but that is beside the point.  I have since learned how to cook for two, but most importantly, I have learned how to boil water in less than 5 minutes.

What about you? Growing up, did you use a jug to boil water for pasta? My mom is very anti gadgets so its entirely possible its just a weird family quirk that caused me angst all these years.  Or is it more a difference in our American vs Kiwi upbringing?

Kiwi and Peach: Avocado Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

Avocado Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

{adapted for two from Flourishing Foodie}

The Roasted Tomatoes
10 cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt

The Sauce
1 ripe avocado
1 clove of garlic
½ tsp salt
juice from 1/2 a lemon {or about 1 tbsp}

The Pasta
4 ounces {100 grams} whole wheat linguini
about 1 Tbsp salt
about 1 tsp olive oil

Preheat your oven to 300°F {150°C}.

Rinse your tomatoes and then cut them in half lengthwise.  Line a baking sheet with baking paper and scatter the tomatoes on it.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt and, if you’d like, any herbs you have laying about.  Give them a toss and put them in the oven for about an hour.

Your kitchen will smell amazing!  Go be productive for a half hour {or browse Pinterest}, and come on back when your tomatoes have about 20-30 minutes left.

Boil your jug and start heating a large pot on medium high heat.  Pour the water into the pot, add a bit of salt and a bit of oil, and bring back to a boil.  Add your pasta and cook according to the package directions {usually 11-13 minutes}.

While the pasta is cooking, scoop the yummy parts of the avocado into a food processor.  Add a clove of garlic, salt and pepper, and squeeze some lemon juice in there as well.  Turn it on and mix until it has a creamy consistency and is mostly lump free.

When the pasta is finished, drain it and return it to the pot.  Add the avocado sauce and mix well.

Go ahead and plate the pasta.  The tomatoes should be finished by this point, so strategically place them on your pasta {making sure to hide a few extra in yours}.  Garnish with freshly grated parmesan and fresh ground black pepper and enjoy!

Kiwi and Peach: Avocado Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

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Istanbul Salad with Walnut Honey Mustard Dressing

One of my favorite things about traveling is trying local foods at the places the locals eat.  You learn so much about a culture through their food.  The way it is prepared lends insight to the community built around that preparation and consumption.  Sometimes its awkward {like when the waiter has to come over to show you how to eat your meal} and sometimes you just end up randomly pointing to something and taking a chance, but I’ve yet to have a downright terrible experience.

A few months ago, on our trip to Istanbul, we ate at this great modern Turkish restaurant, Lokanta Maya {website is in Turkish}.  They use all local, seasonal ingredients and come up with a new menu of simple, yet delicious dishes daily.  My favorite bit of the meal was our starter–a salad with pears, figs, fresh goat cheese, and nuts.  It was fresh, flavorful, and surprisingly filling {which was good because my chickpea stew was loaded with carrots}.  My first order of business when we got back, after doing the washing, was to recreate that salad.

I changed a few things based on what I had on hand, and I couldn’t recreate the dressing {I don’t know what magical yumminess they had in that thing}.  As a re-creation it wasn’t a complete success. However, the resulting salad was still amazing–delicious in its own right.  Its different from the original but still fresh, flavourful, and very filling.

Istanbul Salad with Walnut Honey Mustard Dressing

The Toppings
1 firm pear
2 figs
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
5-6 walnuts

The Dressing
{adapted from Tupelo Honey Cafe’s Pecan Vinaigrette recipe}
5 walnuts
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp whole grain sweet mustard
2 tsp whole grain spicy mustard
1 clove of garlic
1 Tbsp honey
salt and pepper
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup olive oil

The Salad
mixed field greens
¼ cup blue goat cheese, crumbled

Get started by shelling all of the walnuts and set them aside.

Start heating the frying pan on medium heat while you peel and slice the pear into thin slivers.  When its hot, melt the butter in the pan then add the pears and half of the brown sugar.  Cover the pan and let the pears cook for 10 minutes to get them nice and soft, stirring occasionally.  While the pears soften up, you can go ahead and crank out that dressing.

Using a food processor, grind up half of your walnuts until they are the texture of course meal.  Empty them into a small bowl and set aside.  Add the vinegar, mustards, garlic, and honey to the food processor and blend.  One tablespoon at a time add the oil, blending in between additions, until all the oil is added.  If you have one of the fancy food processors where you can add it as it blends, even better.  Do that! But I don’t, so I do it one tablespoon at a time.  Put the nuts back in the food processor, give it a blend, and you’re finished.  Now back to the toppings.

Thinly slice the figs and add them, along with the remaining walnuts, to the pears. Sprinkle with the rest of the brown sugar and give them a gentle stir {the figs are a little fragile}.  Let them candy up for about 4 minutes and then remove them from the heat.

While your figs are getting yummy, wash your greens if they haven’t been washed yet and divide them between your two bowls.  Add your toppings and dressing, and top the whole thing off with those delicious bits of crumbled blue cheese.

Once Upon a Time

…a Georgia peach {me} moved to Europe for a bit of adventure and met an incredibly handsome guy from New Zealand {the Kiwi}.  We bonded over our love of food, travel, art and music, and we decided we’d know each other for a long time.

Meg's WeddingPhoto Credit: Brian Dean Photography

Cooking together has always been a part of our relationship.  We like talking about food.  We like eating it too.  For me, it is a creative outlet that allows me to draw on my food science and nutrition background to produce meals for the two of us that are healthy as well as delicious.

After cooking for two for a while, I came to realize that there was a need in the recipe market.  Most recipes out there are written for the traditional nuclear family, but what about the rest of us?  Those of us that are just a family of two.  Those of us that are single and don’t want to be eating the same thing all week.  {Which is totally what I did when I was single, but I can’t say that I was happy with it.}  While some recipes are relatively simple to cut in half or quarter, this takes time {and math} and can take a bit of experimentation when it doesn’t divide up nicely.  I thought I’d start writing down the results of reducing some of our favorite recipes that were originally written for families of 4 or 6 and adapting them to our personal food philosophy.

…and that, my friends, is how the idea for Kiwi+Peach was born.

After long months of conceptualising and planning, we are so excited that Kiwi+Peach is finally ready for you to devour.  There will be recipes and stories, but there will also be talk of meal planning and restaurant recommendations from our travels.

Consider it a tool.  Consider it the documentation of one couple’s family dinner.  Consider it a bunch of rambling, but hopefully you will find it helpful, insightful, and entertaining–and of course we hope you find that the food is good, really good.