ROASTED PORTOBELLO SALADI don't know of a single person who will admit to liking Portobello mushrooms. Is it something to be ashamed of or are they really just that... strange tasting? Maybe strange isn't the correct word. The texture. I think it's the texture. It amazes me how much texture can turn people off. Anyway, I hate Portobello mushrooms as well. (Ok. I don't hate them. I just don't like them. Much.) Maybe for me it's just that I want to fit in. I don't want people to look at me like that. This night didn't matter. This roasted Portobello salad was amazing and I am proud to say I smiled after each bite. I seriously smiled after each and every bite. Let me mention as a side note in a whisper (I was the only one who ate the mushrooms out of the salad). Scott said he wasn't in the right mood for mushrooms. He has to psych himself into eating them and that just wasn't going to happen now. Robert already ate. Robert has always already eaten. I wasn't offended though. More for me, right? Let me mention as another side note - probably will not be roasting any Portobellos for awhile. I think I was just in the right mood that night. (Having a dressing drizzled on top with red wine vinegar and MUSTARD didn't hurt when it came to sealing the deal)
I don't even know what bisque means. I didn't know what bisque meant when I made it, anyway. It sounds fancy, eh? "What are you having for dinner tonight?" 'Oh I don't know... probably just throwing together a little bisque.' Oh la la. I just thought mixing together roasted yellow bell peppers, corn, and squash seemed quite tasty.
The recipe called for coconut milk to help thicken it. Coconut milk must be healthier than straight up cream. Eating a meal that's good for you, tastes good, and looks good... doesn't get much better than that.
I just love food. Did I mention that yet? I just love food. I eat to live but I live to eat as well. I love to eat bisques.
LEMON PEA RISOTTO
We tried making this recipe last year without the Arborio rice. Stop laughing! We figured that the type of rice didn't matter that much in making the dish so creamy. It must be the ingredients, right? Chef Ramsey would've thrown a fit! (I don't think I could ever be on Hell's Kitchen. I would be crying like it was going out of style. I cried in second grade because I was nervous about learning how to write in cursive. I cried in fifth grade because I just didn't understand latitude and longitude. I haven't changed much. Of course I would start crying because I wasn't stirring the risotto enough.)
This time around I got the right rice. I used lemon zest. I used fresh parsley. My kitchen was in disarray due to a slight, let's call it remodel, but I was finally making risotto the correct way and I was content in doing so. Everything about the dish was perfect. The roasted red bell pepper brought a smoky tang that complimented the lemon nicely. I momentarily forgot that I had halved the recipe and put double the lemon juice and zest in but it was still fine. Perfectly fine. Sometimes you just need to taste a lot of lemon, you know? (or maybe sometimes you need to think up excuses for mistakes made while cooking. Maybe I need to get better at that...) (Mmm. I make this delicious lemon cake with whole wheat or buckwheat flour. I haven't made that since my brother's birthday last year. Thinking about lemon makes me miss this not-quite-so-bad-for-you cake. I think I haven't made it lately because I'm trying to perfect a lemon coconut frosting that doesn't call for a stick of butter. That might be awhile...)
Greens, dressing, anchovies. Yum? I was flipping through Veganomicon and came across this seemingly simple salad (mind you- simple doesn't always equal speedy) with homemade garlic croutons. I have never been particularly fond of this type of salad but for some reason it stuck out. I needed to make it. My mom was in town and suggested getting something quick from Trader Joe's... a salad is quick. A vegan Caesar salad isn't quick... but it's a salad. We compromised since Scott and I were doing the food preparation anyway. The dressing had a base of silken tofu (of course) that was spiced just enough. It was similar to the mayonnaise we made... but different. The difference was - it was good! We lightly chopped some raw almonds and mixed those in with the dressing. As it chilled in the fridge, the almonds soaked up some liquid and developed the most wonderful texture. It was similar to the freshly grated parmesan you might find on a fancy Caesar salad. The difference was - it was better! I almost burnt the croutons... keyword: almost. Scott walked into the kitchen and opened the oven at the perfect time. In fact, everything about that night was perfect. I had good food and good company and good t.v. What exactly is good t.v.? Good t.v. tells you what not to wear and lets you know what Sandra Bullock is eating for dinner. My mom turned and noticed my face during a commercial of all things. My eyes were glazed and my mouth was ajar. I really didn't think I missed t.v. until I was able to watch the Oscars from the preshow to the acceptance speech for best movie. Aye! It's back to the real world where I can stay in the kitchen as long as I want, cooking for people who actually eat.
CHICKPEA PILAF/SAUTEED SPINACH AND TOMATOES
Leftovers. The idea makes me sick. My mom was on a plane headed East. Scott was a couple blocks away working. I had stuff to work with in the fridge but it was all going to somehow involve leftovers. I looked in the cookbook's index under each individual vegetable I had left and could come up with nothing. I turned and saw a can of chickpeas on the shelf. How many times have I had chickpeas in the past week? I don't think we really need to discuss that (it might fill up 1 hand... yikes!) I shrugged my shoulders and grabbed the last, lonely can and flipped to the pilaf recipe. It was simple... too simple to excite me but at least it was something to keep me busy and in the kitchen.
Word on the street is eating quinoa at least once a week makes you level 7 vegan. (that's what Veganomicon tells me anyway) After trying it for the first time, we used to eat this godly grain religiously... until I found millet. I fell in love with millet. So anyway, the pilaf tonight called for quinoa and it was a nice change. The dish was so incredibly straightforward that I wasn't expecting much but my taste buds were pleasantly surprised. I couldn't stop eating it! I suppose the plate I used to pile it on wasn't too big to begin with so maybe that's why my appetite couldn't be quenched. I finally put it in a pyrex container in the fridge but even that wouldn't work. At least Scott polished it off when he got home. (oh and the spinach and tomatoes that I sauteed were good as well just nothing noteworthy. I needed to have some veggies on the side and they worked)
BLACK BEAN AND VEGETABLE SOUP
We went to Henry's and went craaaazy. I love shopping days. I love how they play ELO in the background. I love how everyone has a bounce to their step as they whisper the lyrics just loud enough for you to hear if you reach over to grab a few carrots. My mom can attest - Henry's Marketplace is most excellent. I cannot even fathom shopping anywhere else. Vons? Albertsons? Ralphs? *cough*ripoff*cough* The produce is usually so fresh. (sidenote: don't go shopping at 10pm) The prices can't be beat. (sidenote: go shopping on Wednesday for double ad day!) The atmosphere is just fine. Grocery shopping is my single most favorite activity. There's something about it that just relaxes me from my head down to each toe.
I intended to make that eggplant muffaletta but by that time we got home it was just too late and I was just too hungry. We decided on the black bean and vegetable soup. I let it simmer approximately one hour (the recipe called for 30 minutes) and only one or two cups worth of liquid were left. That was fine by me because I don't necessarily like soup for its... how should I say... soupy nature. Hah! I love soup. Love love love it. I hate how soupy it is though. I usually blend half anyway to make it creamier. So a dinner for six was simmered down to a dinner for two... with leftovers for one. We put a dollop of guacamole on top of each serving and enjoyed. I even cried a little during the course of dinner... (I think that was the jalapeno, though)