Spinach and Sundried Tomato Spaghetti Cake with Kale Caesar Salad

Since it is New Year I am starting with something I found at the beginning of 2011 when I started my ban on take out. Of course it is a Jamie Oliver recipe because he was my starting point for finding new recipes. Prior I was only cooking from my head and looked at cooking blogs as inspiration, but to follow a recipe – I thought that it meant that I couldn`t cook. Yeah, it is stupid. To pair, I am doing a bit fancier than my standard simple salad and making this kale caesar that my friend David made for xmas eve dinner that I thought was pretty great. Luckily he texted me the recipe – a term I am using loosely here – about a half hour before I was about to start.

We also have a 1993 reserve Veuve Cliquot to drink that we have been holding and it is time. I was too sick to drink it on xmas, and last night we stuck with reserve cava as we were going out drinking at the bar with a friend so it seemed wrong to open at 8:30 and slug prior to going out. Our pre-night out meal was cheese plate, spanish almonds and the cava which we shared with my friend Delphine who we spent the holiday festivities with us.

I admit to making an almost total error in making this tonight, but luckily quickly caught it and was able to correct. Also, I modified it to lighten the calorie load by using skim milk. I also swapped 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg, but that was only because I had used 2 yolks in the dressing and didn`t want to trash them.

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Caesar Dressing – my text recipe was: 2 anchovy fillets, 2 raw egg yolks, 2 cloves garlic – pasted, salt, lemon juice, evo. It is an emulsification.

What I used:

2 egg yolks, I saved the whites to use in the spaghetti cake.

4 anchovy fillets – mine were white anchovies and not as strong as the regular ones so I had to add 2 more after tasting.

3 garlic cloves, again, I added the additional after tasting.

Juice of 2 meyer lemons – would probably only use 1 lemon if I was using a regular lemon.

Good quality Olive Oil – I used a ratio of 1 and a half the amount of lemon juice, approx. (See picture – the olive oil is on top of the lemon juice layer)

1 5oz package of washed baby kale

Sea salt

Ether grated or shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese

What I did:

Put everything in the cup attachment of the immersion blender. Use whatever blending/food processing appliance you want, or do it by hand if you want. I did not paste the garlic because it seemed redundant and I was lazy. I probably would have only used 2 garlics if I had pasted it first.

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Taste it and correct the seasoning. As I said, I added the additional garlic and anchovy.

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Pour into a container and set aside or refrigerate. This makes a lot, like enough for several salads.

Dress the salad, adding some of the parmesan cheese.

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____

Spaghetti Cake

What 1 used:

1 lb package of spaghetti – I actually used bucatini, the Rustichella brand as usual..

4 whole eggs, though as I said I used 3 whole and 2 whites as they were leftover from the salad.

2.5 cups/600 ml milk. I used skim, it calls for cream.

Sea Salt, Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper

1 5oz package of washed baby spinach – rough chopped, though I have made this before without rough chopping and it was fine.

Approx 7 sundried tomatoes, mine were not packed in oil.

1 clove garlic

about 1/2 cup grated cheese, I used a manchego. A cheddar, gouda, gruyere, or the like would work fine.

about 2.5-3 oz of smelly cheese – I used a blue – valderon, and a boucheron that needed to be used up.

5 sage leaves.

Olive oil or butter. I used olive oil.

What I did:

Put the pot of water for the pasta on to boil and salt it.

Beat the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

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Chop the tomatoes, garlic and spinach if you haven`t.

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Add the grated cheese, spinach, sundried tomatoes, garlic, and just over half the smelly cheese to the eggs and mix it up.

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Water is boiling, cook the pasta 3/4 of the way – I cooked mine for 7 minutes when it normally takes 10. It will finish in the oven.

Oil a 12 inch round ovenproof pan with the butter or oil.

Pasta is done, drain it and pour into the oiled pan.

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Pour the egg mix over the top and realize that something is not right.

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Put it in a 360 degree oven for, go check the amount of time. Realize that you were supposed to mix the pasta in with the egg mixture and then put it in the pan. Pull the pan out of the oven and pour it all out into the pan you used to make the pasta. Mix it together like you were supposed to and then realize that was why it looked wrong. Oh well, cooking fail averted. Pour the mixture into that pan, no, I did not bother to re-oil it. Do what you want. Stick it back into the 360 degree oven for 30 min.

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Timer is up. Press the sage leaves around the top and cover the sage leaves with the remaining cheese. Use a knife to assist in pressing in the sage if you need to. Cook for another 10-15 min until it is set.

Put it out and let sit for 5. It will have some crispy strands.

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Dress your salad if you have not.

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Plate it.

Eat it.

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Happy new year and wishes for good food and drink and travel in 2012

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The Husband concurs.

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