Posted by: Hil | March 28, 2009

Back in the Kitchen


As I mentioned in my last post, I took a few days off from cooking to give my neck and back a rest.  The Lemonator made me some delicious, healthy dinners over the past few days, but I’m very happy to be back to cooking again.  My neck is a lot better–I even made it through a session of yoga today, taking it easy on myself, of course.  I’m still trying to be nice to it, but I can definitely handle cooking at the point.  I have two ideas to share today: open-faced cheddar and apple melts and kasha varnishkes.  The idea for the melts came to me when I ran out of peanut butter and was looking for an alternate breakfast.  They are very simple to make.  Take an English muffin (or bread), top it with thinly sliced apple, and then layer on some sharp cheddar cheese.  If you want, you can garnish with an extra apple slice.  Then put it in the oven or toaster oven at around 350 until the cheese melts.  You can pre-toast the English muffin halves if you want a nice crunch to your bread…otherwise it comes out warm and soft.  This works equally well for breakfast or lunch.

I owe my idea for last night’s dinner to a reader.  During the Quaker Giveaway, I asked all of you what your favorite quick dinners were.  You all had great ideas, and I’m excited to try them.  Leslie M. provided a recipe for Kasha with Bowties, also known as Kasha Varnishkes.  I’ve been wanting to try this dish for months ever since I read about it in a Mollie Katzen cookbook, so I decided to give it a go.  Kasha, in case you aren’t familiar with it, is buckwheat groats.  Many people don’t like buckwheat, as it has a rather strong flavor, but I love it.  Kasha also has more protein and fat than most grains, and it is highly filling and nutritious.  I usually cook my kasha in broth and finish it with some sesame oil, but I’ve been looking for a new way to use it. 


I followed Leslie’s recipe with a few minor modifications.  When I first tasted the dish, I liked it, but thought it was a little bland.  I added lots of fresh ground pepper and a pat of butter to the skillet and that helped considerably.  I also found that I liked it better and better as I ate it.  The dish is very simple and unassuming, but there is something very comforting and tasty about it.  It was also very filling.  The Lemonator and I both concluded that this was a definite “make again” dish.  I’m still waiting to see how well the leftovers keep, but this may very well end up in rotation with lentil soup as one of our go-to poor student meals, especially during the fall and winter months.  Healthy, cheap comfort food is always a great find!

You can check out Leslie’s original recipe in the comments section of this post. The recipe below reflects what I did.

Kasha Varnishkes


  • 8 oz. bowtie (farfalle) noodles
  • olive oil, for sautéing
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups kasha
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 cups broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pat of butter (optional)


1. Cook bowtie noodles according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.
2. In a heavy frying pan with a cover, heat olive oil. Saute the onions (for approximately 5 minutes). Set aside.
3. In a bowl, stir the kasha into the beaten egg so that it the kasha is evenly coated.
4. Pour the egg-covered kasha into the frying pan. Fry over high heat, stirring, until the egg has dried and kernels are separate (for approximately 3 minutes).
5. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, or microwave bring 4 cups of broth to a boil.
6. Pour the hot liquid over the kasha. Add the onion and seasonings. Cover and simmer on low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed (for 25 minutes).
7. While the kasha is still warm, stir in the bowtie noodles. If you want, you can also add a pat of butter.  A little goes a long way and I think the butter really adds a lot.



  1. Classic melt and pasta dish!!

  2. that breakfast idea is fantastic! I’ll have to try it soon 🙂

  3. Oh wow, that is such a great idea passed on to you!

  4. hahahahah… so funny!! I came here and said, THAT is my KASHA I would know it anywhere!!! I love it with a TON of pepper!!!! and a pinch ‘o salt!!! I am so happy you made it!!!!

    Thanks for trying it, and it is an old Jewish Favorite that my dad used to love!!! You are soo right about the name!!!! Now.. wanna Give Mandelbrot a Try???

    Love your Blog!!!!

  5. What a great dish, thanks for sharing the recipe!

  6. Mandelbrot? The fractal-generating mathematical set?

    *looks online*

    Oh! Brot as in bread. That makes much more sense. 🙂

  7. Cheese and apple melt is such a great idea!

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