Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pantry Staples and Sulking Appliances: Fettuccine with Artichokes, White Beans and Kale

Artichoke, kale, and white bean fettucine (with breadcrumb topping)

Our refrigerator has been a bit of a jerk these last three weeks. Like it's going through some teenage, contrarian appliance phase where it doesn't actually pack its bags and leave, but instead gradually stops doing what is expected of it. Mostly it sulks in the corner listening to Smiths records and thinking about how unfair it is that it has to keep our food cold all the time. Every minute! Of every day! Such a travesty.

Despite the aforementioned Smith's reference, I have actually been referring to it as "Disco Fridge" since the problem seems rooted in the exterior controls which have been flashing on and off. It would be delightfully funky if I wasn't distracted by the fact that my soymilk turns to yuck rapidly because of the fridge's lukewarm internal temperature. Luckily, the whole thing is still under warranty. Unluckily, the replacement part took a while to come in and so I've been soymilk-less for over a week now, not wanting to buy food that will go off before I can even get through a litre of it.

Artichoke, kale, and white bean fettucine

As a result of all this, we've been eating a bit more restaurant food than normal, and when I've been cooking it's been mostly with non-perishables and tough-ass vegetables that don't mind a bit of fluctuating temperature in the crisper. Hence this dish, based loosely on this recipe from Real Simple which is actually vegan without any alterations, but didn't contain enough vegetables for me. I also amped up the breadcrumb topping by adding ground almonds which, along with the white beans, makes for two of those protein sources that omnivores are always asking us about.

While I'm being a boring healthy person (why has no one made t-shirts that say "Vegan Killjoy"? I would totally buy one.) I wanted to say I don't normally use white pasta when whole wheat is available. I just happened to have a bunch of white fettuccine in my pantry, so waste not want not and all that.

Oh, and look what my parents got me for my birthday this year! Isn't it pretty? Don't you just want to make out with it?

hello, lover

Where was I? Right, the recipe. Here it is.

Fettuccine with Artichokes, White Beans, and Kale

3/4 pound fettuccine
1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts (not the kind that are packed in oil)
1 1/2 cups cooked white kidney beans
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup kale, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste

for the topping:

1 piece of bread (I actually used a ciabatta hotdog roll because it was lonely and needed to be eaten)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp olive oil

In a food processor, combine bread and almonds. Process until mixture is small crumbs. Then add herbs and oil and pulse to combine. Set aside.

De-stem and chop kale and then place it in a large colander in your sink.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted water until it is tender, then pour the water and pasta into the colander with the kale. This will quickly cook the kale so you don't have to worry about over-cooking your beans and artichokes.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.

Add garlic to the pan and saute for one minute, then add artichoke hearts (I halved mine to make them more manageable) and white beans. Cook until heated through, then reduce heat to medium low.

Add the kale and pasta to the pan and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with topping sprinkled over top. Eat twice as much as your husband does (optional).

Serves six.


As you can see from this photo, there was plenty leftover for lunches, which I love. And with the fridge repair guy coming on Tuesday (fingers crossed) to give our refrigerator its much-needed attitude adjustment, we just might have a place to keep leftovers cold again.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Tomatoes That Taste Like Tomatoes, Imagine That.

roasted tomato soup and grilled Daiya cheese sandwiches

Every week our CSA delivery from Roots and Shoots Farm gets more exciting. This week we had some lovely onions and garlic, chard, potatoes, purple carrots, and a few tomatoes. I'd already purchased a bunch of local tomatoes from the market and so I combined our CS tomatoes with those ones to make big pot of roasted tomato soup.

I don't often think of tomato soup, but I was watching Masterchef USA (any cooking show out there, I'll watch it!) and they had a challenge that involved making a "gourmet" tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich. Of course a whole bunch of them had to throw foie gras in with their sandwiches (gross!) but there's lots of plant-based options for grilled sandwiches that you can go for instead. Gordon Ramsey wouldn't be into it, but whatever.

3 pounds

Unrelated to soup, but related to awesomeness: do you need a "summer read" kind of book to entertain yourself? I just read this novel called Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon and if you're looking for something light-but-not-drecky to read you may want to check it out, too. Most of it takes place at a rural dog rescue and the author manages to work the dogs into the story without being cutesy or ridiculous about it. Highly recommended. You can read it while you eat your soup.

onions and garlic

Roasted Tomato Garlic Soup

3 pounds tomatoes
2 small heads of garlic
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable soup stock
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Quarter tomatoes and place them on a cookie sheet or in a large glass baking pan.

Cut the tops off the garlic heads so the cloves are visible, drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Roast tomatoes and garlic in oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until garlic is very soft and tomatoes are mushy.

Coursely chop tomatoes and squeeze garlic out from its husks (It should pop right out. Really fresh garlic will squeeze out like toothpaste.)

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.

Add onions and saute until they are tender.

Add tomatoes, garlic, soup stock, basil, paprika, maple syrup. Cover and bring to a boil.

Let simmer for fifteen minutes or so, then use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. (If you don't have an immersion blender you can use a regular blender or a food processor and work in batches.)

Add soymilk, stir well to combine.

Add lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Serves four (or so, depending on hunger).

Serve with some excellent grilled Daiya cheese sandwiches.

roasted tomato soup and grilled Daiya cheese sandwiches


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

He Blinded Me With Science

This time last year I was a very happy girl. I had a sixties style updo, an amazing dress, bright blue shoes, and I was about to marry my favourite guy. At the altar of Elvis. In Las Vegas. After driving down The Strip in a 1969 Cadillac convertible.

For new readers, the full story can be found here. Or, if you aren't into clicking, here's the short version: The Man of Science planned our entire wedding, IN SECRET, making sure it included everything I liked and wanted, and then proposed to me and whisked me away to Las Vegas with one day's notice. And then we got married.

Our favourite wedding photo

It was just the kind of crazy, romantic, retro, hilarious, fun fun fun experience that I wanted. No pouffy white dresses, no bridesmaids (except in doll form), no figuring out a seating plan, no embarrassing speeches (or my Dad showing the video of me at age eight riding a sheep in New Zealand on a family holiday) and no stress. I loved everything about it.

ready to go!

I have also loved, incidentally, this first year of being married to the MoS. He is dependable and hilarious and smart, not to mention an excellent person to share a home and some pets with. This is going to sound ridiculous, but my go-to assessment for whether or not a marriage is successful is something I got from the first Sex and the City movie. All the characters are whinging about how unhappy they are in their relationships and Samantha asks Charlotte, "How often do you feel happy in your relationship?" After a pause Charlotte says, "Every day. Not all day every day, but every day." Amen to that. It's not always a walk in the park, but I am happy every day. Happy anniversary, Husband of Science.