Monday, March 26, 2012

Strozzapreti Pasta with Vegan Apple-Sage Sausage - dinner for one

My wife went to a concert and had dinner, so I had a simple but tasty dinner on my own. I made strozzapreti pasta (as I described back in 2008, there is an interesting history to this pasta and how it got its name) with marinara sauce and roasted artichokes. A salad with a little bit of salad dressing (I usually like my salads with lime or lemon juice and black pepper with a touch of salt, but my wife picked up a nice organic herb vinaigrette dressing that I've recently been occasionally enjoying with my salads) and a grilled Field Roast Grain Meat Company smoked apple-sage artisanal vegan sausage completed the meal.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Steamed Globe Artichoke with Green Garlic Sauce, Fingerlings with Green Garlic and Fresno Pepper

Yesterday at Whole Foods Market, we found large globe artichokes at a decent price, and bought two. It's been a long time since I've prepared steamed artichokes - it's easy and tasty. I simply cut off the bottom of the stem and the top fifth or so then steam, face-down, for about 45m. I prepare a dipping sauce with melted Earth Balance margarine, fresh lemon or lime juice, fresh herbs, a little salt, and perhaps a little shallot. Today, I used the very nice green garlic that we got last week - for each serving, I used maybe a tablespoon of the margarine, another tablespoon of juice, about 1/4 teaspoon of chopped rosemary, and about 1/8 teaspoon of lemon sage, along with a few pinches of salt and maybe three-quarters an inch of the green of the garlic, chopped thinly (maybe 1/4").

It turned out great - we loved the taste of the artichoke. It's a fun process, too - the very outer leaves are slated for composting then the remaining leaves are dipped one-at-a-time into the sauce and the white flesh at the base is enjoyed. When one meets the "hairy" center before the heart, the "hair" is removed by hand or with a teaspoon, then the heart enjoyed. Yum - and the garlic was great.

The garlic also made special the other dish that I made. Along with the artichokes, I steamed a dozen and a half or so fingerling potatoes. While they were steaming, I chopped another few inches the garlic stem into 1/4" pieces, as well as 1/3 of a mild red Fresno pepper into slightly smaller pieces than the garlic. I cut the larger potatoes into halves and mixed them with the pepper and garlic, as well as a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some alder-smoked salt (maybe 1/8 teaspoon). It was very tasty!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bachelor College Days Seeded Ciabatta Pizza

I am lucky to have great friends; one of them spent much of the late afternoon until after 9p helping me (err... I was helping him!) with a project to get my speaker wire to my stereo hooked up after he had earlier routed wires under the house. My wife and daughter had eaten and I had to come up with something easy for myself.

The best bread that we get is from Weaver Street Market - and we try to get bread only from here. I picked up a loaf of seeded ciabatta today and made a simple pizza out of about a third of the loaf, spreading marinara, bell pepper, onion, and Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese.

A simple salad completed the meal. Tonight was reminiscent of simple meals back from college!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Spinach Florentine Ravioli with Cabernet Marinara Sauce and Cilantro Pesto Tofu

My wife had eaten on her own, so I made dinner just for my daughter and myself tonight. My wife never eats tofu as it upsets her stomach; my stomach also sometimes gets upset, so I avoid tofu (we both love tempeh, instead), but Whole Foods sells a few prepared tofus that I do like, and I occasionally purchase them. Today, I had picked up a cilantro pesto tofu, and used it with dinner, since my wife wasn't eating.

Rising Moon Organics makes easy to prepare ravioli, including several vegan varieties. I had some spinach florentine ravioli and prepared it (I brought a large pan of water to a boil, turned the heat off, added the ravioli, and then turned the heat back on at low for a few minutes, then turned it off again and let the ravioli cook for a total of 8 minutes).

I gently heated some organic marinara sauce with cabernet wine, along with 1/8 shallot and about the same volume of red bell pepper, both chopped to 1/4" cubes, as well as 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano and a teaspoon of nutritional yeast. I simmered it on low then served it atop the ravioli, along with the tofu and a salad of mixed greens, tomato, and five mixed olives.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Whole Fingerling Potatoes w Green Elephant Garlic and Zucchini, served with Thin Rice Noodles

My wife and daughter came back today and had a great time in Washington, D.C.! We received green elephant garlic in our online farmer's market delivery today and I thought I'd cook with it tonight for their first meal back.

I put about a dozen Russian Banana fingerling potatoes into a saute pan over medium-high heat and cooked, stirring occasionally. When the potatoes showed signs of getting cooked (I gently pressed a knife in, waiting till I could get it easily about a third of the way in, about 10 minutes), I put in a third of a package of tempeh, cut into 1/2" cubes. I cooked another 5 minutes or so till the tempeh started browning.

Then, I added one stalk of the garlic. The garlic was like a thin leek and, like the leek, needed to first be cleaned thoroughly to remove any grit or dirt stuck between the leaves. I washed carefully, removing the very bottom root and perhaps the top fifth (any hardened green area). I then cut the whole garlic, green and white, into slices about 1/2" thick. I put the slices in a bowl of water and cleaned again, rinsing with water several times.

Once the garlic was in, I gave it two minutes or so to cook, then added a zucchini cut into 1/2" slices. A minute later, I added a third of a red bell pepper, cut into maybe 1/4" x 3/4" slices. I cooked another two minutes, added a small number (dozen?) of pine nuts, and cooked just another minute or so, minding that the nuts didn't get any more cooked then a slight hint of brown.

I added several splashes of a mild vinegar-based hot sauce and a little bit of coconut aminos, as well as a few pinches of lemon pepper and oregano, and served. I had put a little bit of thin rice noodles in hot water; I drained and served, with a little bit of jerk seasoning and toasted hemp seeds. Avocado and mixed salad greens completed the meal - it was good, with the main course coming out better than I had hoped for!

We typically visit the Sticky Fingers Bakery, a great all-vegan place that makes the most awesome sticky cinnamon buns, on our trips to Washington, DC. Thankfully, my wife and daughter stopped today and brought a variety of treats, including the buns. We shared tonight a peanut butter concoction with some chocolate on the top and bottom - it was good, but I can't wait to dig into the first bun tomorrow!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Brown Rice Capellini with Marinara Sauce and Vegan Smoked Apple Sage Sausage

Since Saturday until tomorrow, I've been enjoying an annual professional photography convention. Though I'm missing them, my wife and daughter are using this time to get away for two nights and are visiting Washington, D.C. I can't wait to see them again tomorrow!
Last night, I went straight from my conference to Weaver Street Market coop to get something to eat before teaching my advanced photography class. Tonight, I made a simple pasta dish with Rao's marinara sauce, and served it with a grilled vegan Field Roast smoked apple sage sausage.