Tag Archives: yogurt

Review: Pappardelle’s Pasta

Our posts contain Amazon.com links. Click one, and we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you on your next purchase there. Read our disclosure policy for details.

Here’s today’s central question: should the words “fruit-flavored” and “pasta” ever go together?

This is not a question I would have pondered without a concrete basis in real life, but I got to find out the answer anyway. A few weeks ago, Chris came home from work and presented me with two paper bags from the Pappardelle’s Pasta stall at Pike Place market. One contained lemon parsley mafaldine, which were wide, frilly noodles with flecks of bright green. Okay, sounds good, right? But the second bag I wasn’t so sure about. A fanciful fruit pasta blend sounded like just another weird food Chris was trying simply because it was a weird food.

He also brought home a recipe for a fruit salad using the noodles from the stall with him, and he was very keen to try both the pasta and the recipe. Every night he mentioned wanting to make it, so finally I rounded up all the ingredients for him one day and had them waiting when he got home.

Fruit-Flavored Noodles

The noodles were…surprising. I was shocked that I didn’t hate them. That’s not to say that they weren’t weird, but as far as fruit-flavored pasta goes, I’d imagine this wouldn’t rank half-badly. I was impressed that the colors stayed so vibrant after being cooked, proudly declaring whether they were lemon, lime, tangerine or raspberry flavored. The texture was good and robust, and I was charmed by the shape, which I thought looked like two separate noodles twisting into a close embrace. I kept coming back to try them again and again while Chris chopped up the fruit for the salad.

Fruit-Flavored Noodles

My expectations rose. Really, they weren’t half bad. I could see them working in a light fruit salad, and they certainly were striking. Chris added the celery (the recipe calls for way too little celery) and the fruit–apple, mandarin orange slices, and halved red and green grapes–and tossed it with the pasta, and it really looked quite pretty. Maybe I was actually going to like this stuff.

Fruit Salad with Fruit-Flavored Noodles

Unfortunately, it didn’t look quite so appetizing once the yogurt-based dressing showed up at the party. But it would still taste good…maybe?

Not so much. The flavor of the noodles seemed quite strident when we were eating them on their own, but it was completely masked by the fruit and the dressing. To make matters worse, the mandarin orange slices and the orange juice concentrate mixed in with the yogurt made the whole thing taste candy-sweet, artificial and harshly acidic. Chris and I both got through our portions for dinner that night, trying not to waste food, but the one and only bite I took from the bowl I served myself the next day brought the word “inedible” to mind. The best we could figure is that the company was trying to appeal to the church picnic crowd, not foodies, and came up with a recipe that would echo the fruit salads of yore.

Lemon-Parsley Noodles with Asparagus

We still had the lemon parsley noodles to try. I had much higher hopes for them. Chris blanched some gorgeous asparagus and made a sweet onion sauce to go on top. This time I was even more disappointed. The dish certainly wasn’t inedible–the asparagus and the sauce were both spot-on, so that helped–but there was something off about the lemon flavor in the pasta. Chris finally put a name to it when he pointed out that they were using lemon oil to flavor the pasta, which made it taste like lemon oil rather than fresh lemon, and that tone of lemon flavor actually worked much better with the fruit-flavored pasta.

In the end, I wouldn’t buy the lemon parsley stuff again, but I might give the fruit-flavored pasta another chance. Only this time with my own recipe. Fresh orange slices rather than canned mandarins would help, as would a much less overpowering dressing. The walnuts and light, crisp apples could make a repeat appearance, and I think we decided that the right goat cheese would counter the fruit flavors nicely. However, if I find myself wanting bright, flashy pasta, I think I’ll try out this wicked pasta dish Greg posted at Sippity Sup yesterday, where the beets in the dish turn the fusilli bright neon red.

Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Cardamom Yogurt

Our posts contain Amazon.com links. Click one, and we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you on your next purchase there. Read our disclosure policy for details.

Soon after I graduated from pastry school, I got a job at the wonderful 11th Avenue Inn on Capitol Hill in Seattle. It was a dream job, especially coming from being a bottom-of-the-totem-pole pastry cook at a large restaurant. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be able to see the faces of the people I cooked for every morning, to talk to them and see they were enjoying my food. Not only that, but I got to plan the menus, do the shopping and order equipment. You know, like an actual, real-live chef.

My favorite of that second sort of task was the opportunity to come up with new dishes, which leads us to today’s recipe. (You’ll notice that it’s still on their list of sample breakfasts, although I have to say that I never put papaya on it, mostly because I have yet to meet a papaya I’ve got on with well.) This oatmeal was my star contribution to the breakfast lineup, the only one that really stuck, the only one that it was imperative to leave the recipe behind when I had to leave long before I ever wanted to.

Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Mango, Toasted Coconut Flakes and Cardamom Yogurt

At the Inn, there were several discussions about what to call the oatmeal. I have to admit, it was a hard sell every morning I made it. When you say “oatmeal”, most people think of the instant kind that you hide under lots of milk, brown sugar and raisins (if you fall on the pro-raisin side of things). Even qualifying it with “steel-cut” didn’t do much good. This was a few years ago, and steel-cut oatmeal wasn’t on the average American’s radar yet. It needed a good name to recommend it to the uninitiated.

Continue reading

Cardamom Yogurt

Our posts contain Amazon.com links. Click one, and we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you on your next purchase there. Read our disclosure policy for details.

Based on a recipe for Mango with Yogurt in Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant.

This yogurt is wonderful over fruit–mangoes, yes, but just about any other fruit as well–and particularly good over steel-cut oatmeal.

1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, to taste Continue reading