I love summer rolls. The cold chewy texture of rice paper wrapped around a little package of refreshing flavors is so fun to eat and pleasing to the palate. There are endless combinations and the fun is in creating rolls that match your tastes. I was inspired to make these vegetable rolls after I enjoyed my friend Meghan's version. They make such an impressive presentation when using vibrantly colored vegetables. I used the vegetables that I had in my refrigerator and I also took the liberty of adding some tempeh that I sauteed in olive oil. The process for making these is very straight forward – once all of the ingredients are prepped it's just a matter of assembly. One tip that Meghan shared with me is wrapping each roll twice with the rice paper. This makes for a chewier roll that stays wrapped more readily. The dipping sauce that I used was my all-purpose peanut sauce but you can use whatever dipping sauce that you like. Feel free to experiment with your favorite fillers too!
Rice paper wraps
Rice vermicelli noodles
1) Begin by cutting the tempeh into small cubes. Heat a sautee pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. When the pan is hot (I sometimes just flick a little water on the pan and when I hear a sizzle I know it's hot) add the tempeh and stir regularly to lightly brown all the sides. Once the cubes of tempeh are lightly golden set aside on a plate to cool to room temperature.
2) For the vermicelli rice noodles just follow the instructions on the box – typically you just soak them in hot/warm water until they transform into delicate limp strands. Set aside.
3) Meanwhile – prepare all of the vegetables that you'd like to include in your summer roll. I used: purple cabbage (added great color), carrots, and cucumber. For the cabbage just remove the outer most leaves and cut the head in half – then when its rested firmly on a flat surface cut thin slices to produce the shredded cabbage effect – use a quarter of a head of cabbage (chop some more if needed). For the carrots and cucumber I just cut them into long thin strips. I washed the cilantro and left a bunch of it along with the prepped veggies. Once everything has been prepped it's time to assemble the rolls.
4) Prepare a shallow baking dish with warm/hot water for dipping the dry rice paper sheets. The rice paper, as you'll discover, comes packaged in dry and brittle sheets and you'll need to dip it into very warm water for a few seconds to allow it to soften and become malleable. You'll do this dipping step only when you're ready to assemble the rolls and you'll want to do each one individually. Take a piece of rice paper, dip it in the warm water until it's softened enough to work with, place it on a clean flat surface, place a few leaves of cilantro along the bottom, add some cabbage on top then the carrots, cucumber, and tempeh – all in a narrow row along the bottom part of the rice paper. Finally add the vermicelli rice noodles. Now for the rolling part, you basically want to wrap it as you would a burrito. There is more than one way to do this but to help guide you I found a great site that explains this very well. This part can be a little tricky but after a roll or two you'll get the hang of it. As you get used to rolling you'll also find out the best way to layer ingredients so that they look nice through the translucent rice paper (which is why I recommended starting with the cilantro but you may find a preferable arrangement once you try a few rolls). Now that you have your little roll – take another sheet of rice paper – soften it in the warm water and then re-roll your original roll so that it's double-wrapped. This extra step really helps the rolls stay together and also adds more of that great chewy texture I find so enjoyable in summer rolls. When all of your rolls are done I either leave them in the fridge or on the counter well wrapped for about 20 minutes before serving – this gives them time to slightly firm up and they'll hold together better when you cut them.
For the peanut dipping sauce:
4-6 Tablespoon water (this is to thin out the sauce, I use 6 for a very runny sauce but if you prefer it a little thicker use less)
1/4 Cup Peanut butter (My favorite kind of peanut butter is the all natural kind so that's what I used here – there's no sugar added. If you use the kind of peanut butter that already has sugar added then go light on the brown sugar that I add later or maybe omit that ingredient all together – you'll have to go by taste…)
2 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoon Tamari soy sauce, low sodium (use whatever kind of soy sauce that you have on hand)
2 Tablespoon Rice vinegar
1 Teaspoon freshly grated or finely chopped ginger (I got a microplane for Christmas and I LOVE to use it for grating ginger – you'll find that the ginger blends into the sauce very easily when grated)
1 Teaspoon sesame oil
1 Clove garlic finely chopped
1) Mix all the ingredients together except for the water – I recommend adding the water slowly at the end so that you can control for how viscous you'd like your sauce to be – (because this sauce is so flavorful you can add quite a bit without compromising taste). As you'll see, the peanut butter "melts" when you start stirring it with the soy sauce and other ingredients. Stir very well until everything is combined.
I've been reading a lot of food lit lately, I wonder if there's a term for that genre yet?
My current read is Ruth Reichl's 'Tender at the Bone.' I'm only on page 84 but can reliably say I'll be reading her next two books as well. I find myself laughing out loud and reading passages to my boyfriend almost every other page. I love Reichl's writing style as she recounts humorous tales of her childhood experiences mostly revolving around food. Most certainly a woman with whom I'd have lots to talk about.
One memory that she recounts is that of her grandmother's housekeeper, Alice and the delicious apple dumplings that she used to make. And as invariably happens when I hear about a familiar sounding recipe I am reminded of my own food associated memories.
Many summers ago my brother, sister, mother, and I stumbled upon a secret patch of blackberries along a path down the street from where we lived. Every day while they were in season we'd go down to the sprawling bramble with tupperware containers and pick as many of these beautiful berries as we could fit into our little plastic boxes. We managed to eat plenty too as we were busy at work which left us with purple tongues and belly aches. Since we had more berries than we knew what to do with my mom got creative and after she'd made enough jars of jam and compote she made turnovers. I watched her make them and they seemed simple enough so it was with those turnovers in mind that I tried my hand at making these. One thing that's so great about this turnover recipe is that it's incredibly easy, especially when enlisting some help from Pepperidge Farm and you can substitute any fruit that you like. I made mine with pippen apples because those seemed appropriate for the season and I'd been inspired by Reichl's story as well as Ivonne's recently posted entry on delicious apple turnovers .
Your house will smell amazing as these bake in the oven. This is one of those super simple recipes where the end result far outweighs the effort! I was excited to have house guests Will and Bea at the ready to try these turnovers. Plus, maybe if I lure them with yummy food they'll come and visit again soon?
Quick and Easy Apple Turnovers
1 package puff pastry, I used Pepperidge Farm
4 large apples, sliced, cored and cut into small pieces
Juice of one lemon
3-4 Tablespoons of brown sugar (depends on the sweetness of the type of apples you use, if tart then go with 4 tbsp.)
Pinch of salt (to offset the sweetness)
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon flour
1-2 Tablespoons butter
Raw sugar (turbinado)
1) Lay out the puff pastry to defrost – package says for about 40 minutes at room temperature. Preheat oven to 400F.
2) Meanwhile, in a bowl add the peeled, chopped apple, the lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, vanilla extract, flour and stir together. You can let this stand while the pastry finishes thawing.
3) When the pastry has thawed open it up gently to prevent the dough from breaking (puff pastry comes with 2 folded sheets) but if it does break don't worry, you can easily use your fingers to press it back together. Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface like a clean kitchen counter or table and lay the dough on it – using a rolling pin or clean wine bottle if you don't have a rolling pin – gently roll it out just to even it and meld the creases together – we aren't trying to thin out the dough too much here so be gentle.
4) Cut the square of dough into four equal pieces and add a spoonful or two of the apple mixture in the middle of each square. Put a small dab of butter on top of each pile of apples – about a quarter of a tablespoon. Run your fingers under the tap or put some water into a small bowl and using your fingers or a pastry brush put just a little water along two adjoining edges of the square – this will act as the glue to hold your little turnover package together. Then picking up the opposite corner from the one you just added the water to pull the dough over the apple to meet the other side and pinch the edges together. Do this for all of the turnovers.
5) Beat the egg in a small bowl and with your pastry brush (if you don't have a pastry brush you can use a folded up paper towel and use it like a brush – I try to be resourceful) gently paint the tops of all of the turnovers – this will give them a lovely shine. Sprinkle on some of the raw sugar – the egg will act like a glue here and you'll have a lovely sweet crust. Using a fork poke some holes in each of the turnovers to allow them to vent as they cook. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
The Swiss version of homemade pasta is spaetzle (pronounced SHPATES-luh or in Swiss German SHPATES-Li) – these are little dumpling-like noodles that are a delicious departure from the usual potato, pasta, or rice side dish. Spaetzle are so versatile pairing easily with just about anything and there are a few different ways to present them. One way is to serve them after being boiled in water – much the same way that pasta is prepared. Another method involves sauteeing them in a pan with either a little bit of butter or olive oil (or combination of both) after they've been boiled in the water. This extra step adds another dimension to the texture of these little dumplings – in addition to being soft and slightly chewy they have a nice caramelized crust that is delicious. In Switzerland spaetzle are often served with caramelized onions on top but there is really no limit to the possibilities for how to serve them. Another idea is to add fresh herbs to the batter to create herbed spaetzle which I've yet to try but that will be my next experiment!
My usual M.O. in the kitchen is to prepare things that are simple and straight forward. While I love to spend hours experimenting in the kitchen I reserve that activity for a weekend afternoon not an evening during the week when I'm tired and hungry. This recipe is one of those weekend afternoon activities. While it's simple in theory it proved to be a little more demanding in execution. The batter is a breeze to pull together but where I ran into a little more difficulty was in the making of the actual spaetzle. The idea is to run the batter through a colander with wide holes – there are actually special colanders that are designed precisely for the making of spaetzle and all you have to do is run the batter through the colander so that the batter drips into a pot of boiling hot water and voila, spaetzle. Well, I didn't have one of those aforementioned colanders so I employed another method that my Grandmother used to use whereby you "simply" tilt your bowl of batter over the side of your pot of boiling water and using a knife slice off strips of batter so that they drip into the hot water to form the dumplings. You can dip your knife into the boiling water occasionally to clean it. I found this to be easier said than done but the delicious finished product was reward enough to make me want to try these again soon!
2 1/2 C flour
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup water
1 Onion, sliced thinly
Butter or olive oil for sauteeing the onions and then the spaetzle if desired
1) Sift the flour and salt and set aside in a bowl. Mix the eggs with the water and beat together. Make a well in the middle of the sifted flour and add the egg – stir together gradually mixing together until it forms a smooth batter. Let it stand for 30 minutes.
2) Slice the onions into thin half-moon pieces. Heat a pan over medium and add either a pat of butter or a tablespoon or so of olive oil just enough so that the onions won't stick to the pan. Add the onions and allow them to sautee over medium to low heat until they are caramelized and look golden brown. This will take awhile – be sure to keep an eye on them and lower the temperature as needed – you want them to cook slowly so that the onion turns sweet and if the temperature is too hot they will burn before they have a chance to caramelize.
3) Boil water in a large pot – when water is boiling season it with salt. Then take the bowl of batter and tilt it over the pot of boiling water – using a knife only allow strips of the batter to drip into the water. You can do this by cutting the batter as it drips into the water or taking strips of the dough dipping the knife into the water to release it from the knife. Allow the spaetzle to cook for about 5-7 minutes once they float to the surface. You'll want to do a few batches so that you don't crowd the pot and to account for more even cooking time. When they are done cooking using a slotted spoon drain and then set aside on a plate or covered casserole dish to keep warm.
Note: Don't be afraid to sacrifice a few spaetzle initially to practice this method – it takes a few trial runs to get the technique down.
4) Season with salt to taste and serve with the sauteed onions.
Have you ever had that incredible experience of learning that your prejudgement or assumption about something is incorrect? Well meat loaf is one such realization for me (I'm talking about the food not the singer). I never really ate it growing up and I'd never been inspired to try a recipe for it because I always thought it sounded unappealing in a way.
Well, a few years ago after making meatballs I had the idea of using some of these ingredients in a new way. I took some liberties substituting the ground beef for lighter and leaner ground turkey breast. But I incorporated some of the same themes from the meatballs such as bread crumbs, chopped onion, and parmesan cheese along with some spices, herbs, and an egg for binding everything together. The resulting meat loaf was moist and delicious – not to mention easy and incredibly versatile. I've since made many variations of this meat loaf and I'll share my most recent one with you here. Some of the staple ingredients that I use in all of my versions include: ground turkey breast, bread crumbs, chopped onion (this is what keeps the meat loaf incredibly moist and delicious), one egg, salt, a pinch or two of red pepper flakes for a little kick. I also usually add some cumin too as this flavor works so well with the turkey. The rest of the seasonings are inspired by what I have around – if I have fresh herbs I'll use them. Parmesan cheese is yummy too as are any spices that speak to you from your cabinet. The meat loaf that I made yesterday is a tribute to what I had in my refrigerator – the ingredients can easily be substituted to match your tastes. For the sake of making this meat loaf sound a little more jazzed up I'll call it: Ground Turkey with Cilantro and Spices.
Note: Most meat loaf recipes call for ketchup on top of the meat while it bakes in the oven. Here I omit that because I like the crisp golden crust that forms on top while the inside remains moist as a result of the flavorful chopped onions. I serve the ketchup tableside.
Ground Turkey with Cilantro and Spices
1 lb. Ground turkey breast
1/2 C bread crumbs (I used plain but you can use seasoned – just add a little less salt)
1/4 -1/2 chopped yellow onion
1/2 Teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
Small handful of cilantro or parsley, chopped
1/2 – 1 Teaspoon sea salt
1/2 Teaspoon cumin
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1) Preheat oven to 400F.
2) Place all ingredients in a bowl. With clean hands mix together until all ingredients are evenly combined but do not over-work the meat with your hands as you don't want it to be tough.
3) Place meat mixture on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet (you can also add a little oil or non-stick spray to the middle of the lined baking sheet where you will place the mixture to ensure that it won't stick). Using your hands form the mound into a neat rectangle that is approximately 2 inches high. You can actually make this into any shape that you like just make sure it's uniform height so that it cooks evenly. The thinner it is the faster it will cook.
4) Place in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes. Serve with ketchup.
A few months ago Kareem and I joined our friends Dan and Alicia for brunch in their neighborhood. Since Kareem and I had never really explored that 'hood Dan, a fellow foodie, gave me a tip on a good gourmet market in the area. On our way back from brunch we stopped in and spent some time meandering the aisles and checking out all of the goodies. One of my purchases was Spanish smoked sweet paprika. I have played with it a little here and there but I must admit that I have really not given it a fair try. Little did I know that it would be by accident that I would discover the powerful flavor potential of this beautiful red spice.
In an attempt to de-clutter my refrigerator I decided to make some hummus with the bowl of chickpeas that were left over from a salad I had made the day before. I poured them into my blender, added a clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, a drizzle of olive oil, a few squeezes of lemon juice, and then out of no where came the idea to add a 1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika. A few whizzes and whirls of the blender later I gave the hummus a taste. Yum! The cool chickpeas were the perfect host to the sweet yet spicy paprika and the hint of smoky flavor in the background rounded out the flavors perfectly. Enjoy this with your favorite crackers, toasted pita bread, or crostini.
I should also note that I usually add tahini (sesame paste) to my hummus but didn’t add any this time and I actually preferred the taste – I find that the tahini easily overpowers the chickpeas. Omitting the tahini also makes this a much lighter dip.
Hummus That Makes You Go Hmmm…
1 15 oz. can chick peas – rinsed and drained
Juice of half a lemon
2-3 Tablespoons water (I used 2 Tablespoons but you can add another if you want a smoother consistency)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic
1/2 Teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
1 Teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1) Add all of the ingredients into a blender/food processor and blend. I add just 2 tablespoons of water but to get an even smoother consistency you can add more. Once blended taste it to adjust the flavors of salt, lemon juice, etc.
2) Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika atop the hummus and serve!
It's been so long since my last post that I must admit I feel a great sense of pressure to write a really exciting one. With travel and computer issues behind me I’m just going to dive in right where I left off.
I promised to share some of my culinary findings from my trip to Copenhagen and Switzerland and I will not disappoint. But I must let the suspense linger just a little bit longer as I’ve yet to practice or test the inspirations I want to recreate. I do have a Swiss recipe to share though – one that I’ve been meaning to try for over 5 years. It must have been about 5 years ago, perhaps even longer, when I visited Switzerland and spent a delightful afternoon with my Aunt Irene. She is a very talented artist and her bright airy apartment adorned with her many canvases always fills me with inspiration. On the particular afternoon that I am remembering she prepared the most delicate flavorful mid-day meal of fish and vegetables spiked with the essence of Vermouth, hints of spicy curry, and a few dashes of dill. She gave me the recipe printed in German and I stashed it into my travel journal which then sat on my bookshelf waiting to be rediscovered until now.
After my Mom helped translate the instructions and ingredients I set out to recreate this memorable meal. I was intrigued for several reasons: one was that I finally had a reason to buy celery root – a vegetable I’ve walked by a hundred times wondering to myself what one does with it, and second I was so excited to experiment with the flavors of Vermouth.
I’m so pleased with how this dish turned out and I’m so glad to have dusted this recipe off – it will now be added to my repertoire. My first experience with celery root has left me wanting more! As one might expect it does have a similar flavor to celery but the root is mellower and when cooked gets a little bit sweet.
The Vermouth added fantastically sweet notes throughout this dish and when blended with the curry it created the most fantastic light sauce. The curry imparted its sprightly yellow hues that were punctuated by little green dashes of dill. This is a unique blend of flavors that makes for a delicious dinner any night of the week.
Vermouth Spiked Cod with Celery Root
(These portions will serve 2-4)
1/3 lb. Fresh cod fillets (if serving for 4 people I’d make it 2/3) – cut fish into 2 inch pieces
2 Yukon gold potatoes – chopped into small cubes approx. 1 or 1/2 cm so that they will cook faster
1 Red pepper – chopped
1 Celery root – peel and cut into small cubes approx. 1 or 1/2 cm so that they will cook faster
1 cup Vermouth (Bianco)
3/4 Teaspoons Aromat (you can find this in some super markets now or specialty gourmet food markets – it has a salty/bouillon type flavor – if you don’t have this you could substitute a little bouillon or salt to taste)
Dill – a few dashes (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 Teaspoon Curry powder
1 Tablespoon butter
1) Preheat oven to 400F.
2) Begin by chopping all of the veggies (potato, celery root, red pepper, onion). The celery root just needs to be peeled of its gnarly rough exterior and the inner white part should be cut into small cubes – about 1/2 cm thick. The smaller the cube the faster it will cook.
3) Over medium heat place a large sauce pan on the stove and heat half a tablespoon of butter and 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot add the onions and sautee until they soften and start to brown.
4) Cut the cod into 2 inch pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper – add to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes and then add 1/3 cup of the Vermouth and continue to cook for about 3 more minutes. Sprinkle with dill (about 1/2 Teaspoon) and remove from heat. Add the fish and sauces to a buttered casserole or gratin dish and set aside.
5) Place sauce pan back on the flame and add the other 1/2 tablespoon of butter and another 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat it up and then add the onions – allow them to soften and add the rest of the chopped veggies: celery root, red pepper, potato. Sautee for about 12 minutes stirring occasionally. Cook until veggies are soft.
6) Add 2/3 cup of Vermouth to the veggies along with the curry and Aromat. Cook for another 3 minutes.
7) Add the veggies and sauce to the gratin form with the fish – mix together. Add another splash of Vermouth (about a shot glass worth) and then place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Prior to leaving for my trip to Europe my friend Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice invited me to share five of my favorite foods as part of a meme originated by Melissa of The Traveler's Lunchbox. Fortunately I had a good excuse to postpone writing this as I was traveling so I had ample time to refine my list. Despite all the time to mull over my decisions I still had some last minute changes. I'm sure once I post this I'll think of more additions that I should have considered!
1. Gruyere cheese – my all-time favorite cheese. This cheese is amazing in fondue, melted over crusty bread, or simply eaten as is. Yum!
2. Caprese salad – so simple and so full of flavor. Tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella are the essence of late summer dressed simply with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. I especially love this salad with the heirloom tomatoes that are in abundance right now.
3. Bircher Muesli is one of my favorite foods – it is a sweet medley full of fruits, nuts, yogurt, and oats – it makes for a delicious breakfast or light supper served with some hearty bread and cheeses.
4. Fresh Maine lobster – best eaten wearing a bib with a little dish of melted butter near by for dunking the succulent pieces of lobster meat.
5. My mom's warm apple pie served with vanilla ice cream. Growing up we used to go apple picking around this time of year and when we'd return home we'd all anxiously await the apple pie that my mom would make.
I'm off to Europe for a few weeks to enjoy a much anticipated vacation. I'll be in Copenhagen and the Swiss Alps. I will absorb as much culinary inspiration as possible and share it with you here upon my return!
I usually reserve making crisps for the fall as it's the perfect way to use up the abundance of apples that I end up lugging home with me after a day of apple picking. The idea of making a crisp somehow popped into my head recently and I decided to experiment with my basic crisp recipe swapping in some summer fruits for the usual macintosh or macoun apples that I would typically use. I also made a few twists so that the crisp would be more suited to the summer fruits that I was using.
This recipe is ideal for using up fruit that may be over-ripe or slightly bruised. I used peaches, plums, and a mixture of frozen berries that I had in the freezer (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) although if you have fresh berries those would be fantastic. I also used some lemon zest and freshly grated ginger which added a refreshing zing to the fruit. This dessert is so good served bubbling hot out of the oven with some vanilla ice cream on top.
Summer Fruit Crisp
3 ripe peaches, sliced into about 1/2-1 inch pieces (it's fine if they are over-ripe or slightly bruised – just cut off the bruised areas)
3 plums, cut into about 1/2-1 inch pieces
1 cup of mixed berries (you can use either frozen berries or whatever fresh kind you have available)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup oatmeal (quick cooking)
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Note: You can easily swap in other fruit that you like or that you happen to have on hand.
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Begin by cutting the fruit and adding it all into a 9X9 baking dish, add the berries too. Grate the ginger over the fruit and also add the lemon zest. Give it a little stir to that the lemon and ginger are evenly distributed among the fruit.
2) In a pot melt the butter and once melted add the brown sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon, and almonds. Stir until it's a crumbly mixture and pour it evenly over the fruit in the baking dish. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is soft. Serve with vanilla ice cream!
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When I was younger I recall pasta salads being a staple item come summer time. They were ubiquitous at summer barbecues and beach parties. I haven't encountered a pasta salad in the longest time and I don't know if this is because people are still steering clear on account of the low-carb craze or what but I miss these salads and I'm bringing one back!
I first made this salad a year ago when I came across the recipe in a Martha Stewart cookbook. I remember why I tried it in the first place – the idea of a minestrone salad sounded so good to me. I love minestrone soup so I figured it wasn't much of a stretch to assume I'd like this salad. This salad brings together a symphony of summer vegetables and it still amazes me that with such simple seasonings this salad packs so much flavor! It's the perfect dish to bring along to a summer pot-luck or simply to enjoy with any summer meal. This is also a very easy recipe to double so you can accomodate any size crowd!
Minestrone Salad from Martha Stewart Living Annual Recipes 2002
1 Teaspoon coarse salt (I use sea salt)
8 oz. Gemelli or other pasta (I used farfalle)
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice (I also added a summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice)
4 oz. green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups corn kernels, cut from 1 ear, or defrosted (I used defrosted)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons baslamic vinegar
1 15 oz. can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound of tomatoes, coarsely chopped – use whatever variety is fresh – I used grape tomatoes
1 handful chopped fresh basil
1) Boil water for the pasta, once it comes to a boil add a big pinch of salt and then add the pasta. Depending on the type of pasta you've chosen the exact cooking time may vary – check the box and then test the pasta a few minutes before the instructions on the box. That way you can make sure to get the pasta al dente without over cooking. Because the pasta will continue cooking a little while after being drained and it will absorb the dressing you want the pasta to be very al dente. Drain and rinse pasta and set aside.
2) Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until it begins to soften – about 2 minutes. Then add the carrot – cook for 4 minutes. Next add teh zucchini, green beans, and corn. Cook until all of the veggies are tender about 10-15 minutes – stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the veggies to a bowl, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, cannellini beans, tomatoes, and the pasta. I also added freshly chopped basil. Taste the salad and adjust the flavors – add more salt/pepper if necessary. Serve chilled or at room temperature.