Sunday, December 15, 2013

Favorite things, pasta with greens and Wondee's

The perfect forkful of handmade egg tagliatelle from Italy with Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto, both from Costco Wholesale. I used two generous tablespoons of the refrigerated pesto for 4 ounces of the noodles, which cook in just 4 minutes.


One of my favorite things is a bowl of handmade egg tagliatelle dressed in Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto.

Just 4 ounces of the imported noodles yield a dozen or more perfect forkfuls dressed in one of the best pasta sauces on earth.

For an advocate of eating lower-carb, whole-wheat pasta as part of a no-bread, no-pizza diet, these Filotea-brand pasta ribbons are a guilty pleasure that show up now and again at my Costco Wholesale in Hackensack.

The basil in the Kirkland Signature pesto is imported from Italy.

A Super Spice Mixture -- a combination of every spice in my cupboard and refrigerator -- is perfect for breading chicken, pork, beef and fish fillets, such as wild haddock from Costco Wholesale, above. The mixture, which I refrigerate between uses, starts out with several packages of Wick Fowler's 2-Alarm Chili Kit (omit the masa flour), available in supermarkets.

Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto and Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon are two of my favorite items from Costco Wholesale. Here, I used them in a frittata with egg whites and whole organic eggs, also from Costco, served with leftover Chinese takeout shrimp and vegetables, and brown rice.

Addictive kimbap -- Korean seaweed, vegetable, fish and rice rolls -- from Jinga, a food company in Queens, are half-price after 4 p.m. at the H Mart, 25 Lafayette Ave., in Englewood. Last week, I paid $3.24 for a 1-pound tray of kimbap with Korean pickles and wickedly hot sliced jalapenos instead of $6.49.

Two other favorites from H Mart are stewed wild-caught Alaskan pollock ($6.99), front, and stewed tofu ($3.99), served here with mustard greens and a baked sweet potato. The pollock and tofu, which can be eaten hot or cold, are prepared with soy, red-pepper powder, garlic, scallion and other ingredients.

Under the category of fish and greens, we often prepare wild sea bass from H Mart stuffed with okra and callaloo, a canned, spinach-like green from Jamaica, and showered with fresh lime juice.

The pesto-smoked salmon frittata is made with reduced-fat sliced Jarslberg Lite Swiss Cheese from Costco that melts beautifully, above.
Organic whole-wheat spaghetti from Whole Foods Market in Trader Joe's canned Marinara Sauce with sardines, anchovies and fresh dandelion leaves.

Pasta with greens

I prepared organic whole wheat pasta with greens again, but couldn't find the baby kale I used the last time.

Instead, I bought 1.8 pounds of dandelion, a foot-long leafy green the Greeks call "horta," for 89 cents a pound at the International Food Warehouse in Lodi.

At home, I washed them and chopped them into 3-inch sections, adding them to the hot water in which the pasta was boiling in the last minute of cooking time.

I then drained pasta and greens, and transferred them to anther pan containing the bubbling sauce, which included three cans of sardines and a can of anchovies (drained of oil and rinsed).

The last time, I folded the baby kale into the sauce along with whole wheat shells.

I didn't find any difference in color retention when I added the greens to the pasta water, but next time, I'll chop the leaves smaller to avoid clumping.

For breakfast, a fried organic egg with a pinch of Aleppo pepper makes a nice topping for leftover whole wheat spaghetti.

A three-tomato, three-cheese frittata gets added flavor from leftover marinara sauce and Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto. It also includes fresh and sun-dried tomatoes; shredded Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, Jarlsberg Lite Swiss Cheese and Pecorino Romano Cheese in the pesto, all from Costco. 

Flavors of Wondee's

The snow was falling and the wind blowing, but we got a warm welcome during a late Saturday afternoon visit to Wondee's at 296 Main St. in Hackensack.

As I ate spicy shrimp soup, salad with crispy tofu and fruit, and jumbo shrimp in wine sauce, I marveled at all the wonderful Thai flavors that give this food such vibrancy.

Lemongrass, wilted leaves of fresh basil, chili paste, lemon juice, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, ginger and other accents are matched by an abundance of vegetables in nearly every dish.

At Wondees Fine Thai Food & Noodles in Hackensack, Talay Thai Shrimp ($17), front; Lamb with Panang Curry ($14) and Pad Kraprow Fried Rice with Pork ($10.50).

From the Vegetarian Menu at Wondees, Yum Rod Pedt, a salad of crispy tofu tossed with oranges, carrots and onion, and dressed with lime juice and chili paste ($10). Fresh cilantro and romaine lettuce that can be used for wrapping also are used.

Thome Yum Koong is shrimp soup with lemon juice, mushrooms, chili paste, lemongrass and other ingredients ($4 for small). Wondee's is closed on Mondays.


  1. Wow. Four ounces of pasta is considered two servings. And you recommend that for a lower-carb diet?

    Horta can refer to any green, not just dandelion greens.

    1. Two servings for birds. I didn't recommend it; I said it was a guilty pleasure.


Please try to stay on topic.