Farfalle with Pistachio Nuts from The Saturday Evening Post, March/April 2014

Farfalle with Pistachio Nuts | Taking On Magazines | www.takingonmagazines.com | The pistachio nuts add a delicious flavor that pairs beautifully with the pecorino cheese in this Italian pasta dish.

I called it wrong today and I’m kicking myself for doing it.

You see, I met Dudette for lunch today. I stopped at McDonalds on my way to the school and picked up a couple of cheeseburgers (plain) for my little lady. For those who are thinking that my poor choice was in meal selection, um, nope, that’s not it. Healthy types may snub their noses at that kind of fast food, but I’m all about the ear-to-ear grin it brings to my child’s face. At least sometimes.

The choice came after lunch was done and I was ready to leave. I had to decide whether to take Dudette with me or leave her there to finish up the last few hours of learning. You see, it’s sleeting a bit down here. It’s not heavy but it’s definitely little pellets of ice tinkling on the windows.

I asked the ladies in the office if they had heard any rumors of school being cancelled. The answer was ‘no’ across the board. Not wanting to be the one wiener parent who pulls their kid out of classes because the weather looks like it could get nasty, I left alone, having made the decision to let Dudette absorb as much math and history as she could.

So of course, as soon as I walked in the door and took my coat off, the phone rang. Classes in Forsyth County were being cancelled for the rest of the day. Funny, huh?

Now instead of being able to leisurely eat this amazing pasta dish for my lunch as I had planned, I’m going to hurry through it so I can be ready when Dudette walks through the door.

The Process

The March/April issue of The Saturday Evening Post has a fantastic food section this month, highlighting family recipes used to create a real Italian meal. The other dishes will probably get made at some point, but I went with the pasta because of how easy and quick it was as much as for the fact that it had pistachio nuts in it and I adore pistachios.

The process was very, very easy, especially since I used my handy little food chopper to mince the onion and coarsely chop the pistachios.  Once that was finished, all I had to do was boil my pasta, sauté the onion and nuts together, add some hot pepper flakes, the cooked pasta, salt and pepper and a bit of cheese. That was it.

The Verdict

As you’ve probably figured already, I ate this alone, which was ok because I was able to savor every hurried bite I took. I really enjoyed the flavors in this a lot. The sweetness of the onion goes very well with the pistachios and cheese. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the nuts in a pasta dish, but I really did. It’s great comfort food.

I can also tell you that Hubby won’t like this. He’s not a fan of Pecorino cheese (he says it tastes like throw-up) so I’m guessing he won’t even give it a try. Dudette’s opinion is up in the air. It always is. She’ll be thrown by the green in the dish but will probably give it a try because she loves pistachios as well. If there’s anything negative for her, it’ll be the heat from a teaspoon of hot pepper flakes.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I’d add a clove or two of minced garlic or at least sauté some chunks in the oil and then remove them.

Farfalle with Pistachio Nuts from The Saturday Evening Post, March/April 2014
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • ½ cup shelled natural pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes or hot red pepper paste
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 pound farfalle or penne
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅔ cup grated pecorina cheese
  1. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft but not brown. Stir in nuts and cook 1 minute. Turn off heat and stir in red pepper flakes or pepper paste. Add a little more olive oil if mixture seems too dry. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rapid boil in a large pot and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
  3. Drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking water, and transfer pasta to sauté pan. Reheat slowly, stirring in reserved water and combining ingredients well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cheese. Transfer pasta to a shallow platter and serve immediately.
I'd add a clove or two of minced garlic or at least sauté some chunks in the oil and then remove them.


So, what would you have done? I suppose it depends, in part, where you live, doesn’t it. I’m sure my Chicago friends support my decision wholeheartedly and think the school board is crazy for cancelling school for as little ice as there is. But how about my friends down here. What would you have done?

Pasta Salad with Salmon, Peas and Herbs from The Saturday Evening Post, May/June 2013

If you’ve hung around here for a long enough, you know that every once in a while I’ll do a product review. While I wouldn’t ever want this little bit of real estate to become solely review-centric, it is fun to get a package in the mail, use what’s inside and then tell you about it.

But, before any of that happens, there are a few hoops that have to be jumped through.

The first is that I have to know the company and the product. And I have to like it. So if you’re hoping that someday I’ll review a brand of tofu, don’t hold your breath. So not a fan. In fact, if I receive a product, try it and don’t like it, I’ll let the company know that I can’t do a review for them. That’s happened a time or two, unfortunately.

Even if I do like whatever I’m trying, there’s one more hoop remaining before I’ll review it. The company has to be willing to provide another sample for a giveaway. My friends, if you’re willing to sit through a product review, you should have the chance to get something out of it.

Except today. There’s an exception to every rule, and unfortunately, this is one of them.

I forgot. Totally and utterly forgot.

You see, I received the e-mail requesting I review Karoun Dairy products sometime back in April. I’d never heard of them. They’re located in California, on the other side of the country, so there’s no way I’d ever tried their product before.

But, this line in the e-mail sparked my interest.

‘…award-winning, natural and lower-fat Mediterranean line of quality cheeses and yogurts.’

Mediterranean??? I clicked on the link and started exploring Karoun’s website. I started getting an inkling when I saw the string cheeses. I grew up eating string cheese. Yogurt drink? They sell yogurt drink. I grew up drinking yogurt drink. It’s called ‘tan’ (short a sound) in Armenian.

When I read this line, I just about peed my pants.

‘Karoun Dairies Awarded 2011 Business of the Year by the Armenian American Chamber of Commerce’

They’re Armenian. I’m Armenian. I hit ‘reply’ without thinking twice. I begged to be able to review the cheeses and yogurt. I totally forgot to ask about a second set of product goodies for a giveaway.

That’s what happens when I get excited.

The Process

This month, The Saturday Evening Post’s recipe section is provided by Chef Ellie Krieger, a queen of healthy cooking and food. The salads she shares are all amazing and it was very hard for me to choose which to make first.

I went with the pasta salad because it called for Greek-style yogurt and I had a container of Karoun’s Mediterranean Non Fat Yogurt sitting in the fridge.

Preparation was simple. The only cooking required is the pasta, which is done in about ten minutes. Other than that, it’s a easy matter to mix together the dressing ingredients, mince the scallions and skin and bone the salmon.

It took me 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

The Verdict

Hubby and Dudette aren’t pasta salad fans, but I could finish this off in one sitting. Fortunately, it’s healthy enough that the damages wouldn’t be as disastrous as otherwise. Even so, I’ll be taking the salad with me to a picnic dinner tonight so I can share it with everyone.

It’s delicious. The creamy yogurt sauce is phenomenal. It’s tangy, yet smooth and rich. The burst of sweetness from the peas is perfect, as is the dill and scallion flavor. I’m loving this as a summer dish.

As far as the Karoun yogurt, it’s everything I hoped for and more. The flavor reminds me of the yogurt that my mom made when I was young. It makes my heart happy.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I’d use fresh cooked salmon instead of canned. I still can’t get over the grossness of cleaning slimy skin and those nasty vertebrae from something that’s been sitting in a can for who knows how long.

Pasta Salad with Salmon, Peas and Herbs from The Saturday Evening Post, May/June 2013
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • ⅔ cup plain Greek-style nonfat 
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon 
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh dill, or 
2 teaspoons dried
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black 
  • 1 (14-ounce) can wild red salmon, 
drained, skinned and boned, and 
cut into chunks
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen 
peas, defrosted
  • ½ pound bow tie or corkscrew 
pasta, cooked according to package directions and cooled
  • 2 scallions (white and green 
parts), minced (about ¼ cup)
  • 8 cups chopped red-leaf lettuce
  1. Combine yogurt, lemon juice, mayonnaise, lemon zest, dill, salt, and pepper in bowl and whisk to incorporate.
  2. Add salmon, peas, pasta, and scallions and toss to incorporate.
  3. Pasta salad will keep up to 2 days in an airtight container in refrigerator.
  4. To serve, mound 2 cups of lettuce onto each plate or into to-go containers and scoop about 1¾ cups of pasta salad on top.
I'd use fresh cooked salmon instead of canned. I still can't get over the grossness of cleaning off the slimy skin and those nasty vertebrae.


Don’t worry. I am going to go back and ask the company if they’d be willing to provide more Karoun products so I can host a giveaway for you guys. I hope they say yes because I so want you to taste the cheeses and yogurt they make. I’ll let you know.

Disclosure: Karoun products were provided by Karoun Dairies. The opinions expressed herein are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Karoun Dairies.

Midnight Frittata from The Saturday Evening Post, January/February 2013

I am starting an organization. It shall be called PWLOV: People Who Love Odd Vegetables. If you’re willing to admit that you love them, raise your hand and commit to joining me. Not sure if you belong or if the requirements describe you? Let me help.

If you have Brussels sprouts, asparagus or eggplant in your crisper drawer, you belong.

If you save a quarter of a sweet pepper because you can’t bear to waste it, you belong.

If there is always at least one 8-ounce container of fresh mushrooms in your refrigerator, you belong.

If you’re willing to splurge $3.99 on a single artichoke just to feed a craving, you belong.

Does that help?

This frittata may very well become the official dish of PWLOV. Chef Eli Sussman and his brother Max came up with this beauty and shared it with The Saturday Evening Post. The folks there were kind enough to share it with us and include it in their latest issue.

Do you feel the love?

The Process

The glory of this recipe is the freedom of choice it gives. After setting a basic framework with the eggs, milk, bacon and cheese, it opens its arms and says, ‘make it yours.’

1 cup fresh, chopped vegetables in any combination

That’s what it says. I opened my refrigerator and started pulling out little baggies filled with random odds and ends.

A bit of red bell pepper went in. A few pieces of broccoli leftover from a veggie tray were included. Shallot; of course. Mushroom; required. Eggplant? Huh. Why not, it’s there.

It was that easy.

The Verdict

Oh heavens, this is delicious. I am sure that I’ll find myself sneaking bites all day, but I’ll have to resist as much as I can because the guys are headed over to work on the ceiling and I try to keep them fed. They’re going to love this.

The only issue I had was that the bottom of the frittata  got a little over-cooked during those five minutes where it sat on the stove undisturbed. I think I’d go for 3-4 minutes instead, then finish up under the broiler. There’s a good reason the instructions say ‘about 5 minutes.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I need to plan it so I have a little zucchini hanging around my fridge.

Midnight Frittata from The Saturday Evening Post, January/February 2013
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh, chopped vegetables in an combination
  • 4 strips chopped bacon
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (if desired)
  1. Preheat broiler. In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Warm oil in ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Add vegetables and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Scrape vegetables to plate and set aside. Using same pan, cook chopped bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes.
  2. Return vegetables to pan in an even layer and pour egg mixture evenly around the pan. Cook without disturbing until egg mixture sets, about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer pan to oven and broil until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle Parmesan over top, then return to oven and broil about 1 minute longer to melt cheese.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley, if using. Cut into wedges or scoop from pan and serve right away.


Sweet Potato, Corn and Kale Chowder from The Saturday Evening Post, January/February 2013

Go ahead. Tell me that you weren’t a bit surprised to see the source of this recipe. I’ll admit it first, if you like.

After all, I associate The Saturday Evening Post with Norman Rockwell, fiction stories and other editorial writing. As a kid, I saw it on the dentist’s table along with two-year old issues of Highlights Magazine. Didn’t you?

So, when I received the January/February 2013 issue in the mail with a request from the folks at The Saturday Evening Post to check out the collection of celebrity soups within the pages, I was intrigued.

And pleasantly surprised. My friends, the times have changed since those days at the dentist and so has The Post. You’ll need to pick up a copy yourself to see why I say that, but I am going to share some of these soups with you.

The Process

If you’re going to make fun of me, please start now. Yes, I know this is a vegan dish, and yes, I know you know that I have carnivore with a capital C running through my veins. Loving meat doesn’t mean I can’t set it aside once in a while.

As far as ease, this rates about a four. Other than chopping a bunch of vegetables and using an immersion blender, there’s not much to worry about.

The timing for simmering the vegetables was spot on and my soup was ready in about a half hour. My only issue is what to do with the rest of this cashew butter.

The Verdict

Let’s start with Hubby. My man learned that he’s not a fan of kale. He liked the flavor of the soup in general, but didn’t like the way he had to just chew and chew the greenery.

I think this may have been my first time having kale and I’ll admit that I was a bit dubious about using it. But I liked it, quite a bit in fact. I am less of a fan of sweet potatoes simply because I’m not fond of a  lot of sweetness in my savory dishes. Because of that, this was on the edge for me. The potatoes do sweeten it up a lot, especially since corn and carrots are also very sweet. There wasn’t anything to balance that.

Dudette; well, Dudette is Dudette.


What I’d Do Different Next Time

I’d include some hot sauce, both in the chowder during preparation and drizzled on top when serving.

Additionally, since eating vegan just isn’t a deal for us, I’d subsitute regular lowfat milk for the rice milk and butter for the cashew butter.

Sweet Potato, Corn and Kale Chowder from The Saturday Evening Post, January/February 2013
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, 
peeled and diced
  • 3 cups corn, fresh or frozen
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups rice milk, plus more 
if needed
  • 2 tablespoons cashew butter, 
dissolved in ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped into 
small pieces
  • Water or stock as needed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black 
  1. In large pot over medium heat, sauté onion in oil until soft (about 3 minutes).
  2. Add celery, carrots, sweet potatoes, corn, thyme, and stock and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Add enough rice milk to cover vegetables.
  4. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft (about 20 minutes).
  5. Remove from heat, and add dissolved cashew butter. Partially puree using handheld blender.
  6. Add kale, return to heat, thin with water or stock to achieve desired consistency, and cook until kale is tender.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.
<EM>I'd include some hot sauce, both in the chowder during preparation and drizzled on top when serving.</EM>