Delicious Experiments

Sooooo I have a habit of trying to combine two or more recipes that I like.  Sometimes it works out and sometimes I create a sort of Frankenstein’s monster but I guess that’s what you have to do, right?  Luckily, I have two success stories to share with you – mmmm tasty success.  Muahahahaha!

OK, anyway the first is a pasta salad I’ve been playing around with and I finally think I got it right this time.  This is my Garden Vegetable & Feta Pasta Salad.  It’s great as a side dish or vegetarian main course.

Garden Vegetable & Feta Pasta Salad

Serves 8-10 (as a main course)


1 lb piccolini pasta

1 bunch asparagus, cut into fourths

1 red onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 small zucchini squash, sliced lengthwise into quarters then diced

2 small yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into quarters then diced

1 pint small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp cumin

1/2 c tomato paste

12 oz feta cheese

olive oil

kosher salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spread the asparagus on the pan.  Sprinkle with about 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 7-10 minutes until the asparagus is slightly limp but still crunchy.

Boil a large pot of water.  Salt the water liberally, add a splash of oil to keep the pasta from clumping and add the pasta.  Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the red onion and garlic, salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes until softened.  Add the zucchini and yellow squash, oregano, thyme, cumin and cook for 8 more minutes until softened.  Be sure to season with salt and pepper as well – it’s important to flavor each layer.

When the asparagus is done, pull it out of the oven and add it to the saute pan along with the cherry tomatoes and cook for one more minute just to soften the tomatoes a bit.  Drain the pasta.  Add the tomato paste to the pasta and mix well, making sure the paste coats the pasta evenly.  Add the vegetable mixture and feta cheese, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

The other recipe I have for you today is on the sweeter side.  I call these Cocoa Peanut Butter Biscuits because, although they are kind of cookies, I think when you call something a cookie people assume it’s really sweet and soft.  But these are crispy, slightly soft in the middle and not overly sweet.  The are reeeeeally delicious with a cup of spiced chai and a good book on a rainy day.  Just sayin’.

Cocoa Peanut Butter Biscuits

Yields 27, 3 ½ inch biscuits


1 c all purpose flour

1 c whole-wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

4 tbsp cocoa powder

½ tsp salt

½ (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp

1 c (1/4 c) banana, mashed

1 c peanut butter

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 c brown sugar

1 c white sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, banana, egg and peanut butter.  Add the vanilla and sugars and cream until just incorporated.  Slowly add the dry ingredients until just incorporated.  The batter will be dense but soft.

Loosely roll into balls of about 2 or 3 tbsp of batter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Make sure there is at least an inch between each cookie because they will spread as they bake.  Gently squish cookies down slightly.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes.  The cookies will still be a bit soft but they will set up as they cool.  Sprinkle with sugar and cool on a wire rack.

This entry was published on May 20, 2010 at 11:44 pm. It’s filed under Cookies/Biscuits, Culinary School, Culinary Student, Pasta, Roasting, Salad and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Delicious Experiments

  1. Beth Nackley on said:

    Hey Sam,

    I left a comment under a previous posting by mistake!! Never responded to a blog before. Sorry!

    I work at your Dad’s office and he said it would be ok for me to join and respond to your blog. Really enjoying it.

    Look forward to more,


    • Hi Beth!

      Thank you so much for the encouragement! It means a lot! I am very excited about moving to the city – nervous, too but mostly excited. Thanks for reading and I hope to meet you soon!


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