Friday, August 21, 2009

two days, two dinners

Last night was a bit of a busy one - dinner came out slightly better than expected, but between cleaning up and then doing some housecleaning in order to take full advantage of trash night, I ran out of time to share my cooking adventures. So tonight you get a double dose of delightful dinners!

Last night I made Farro pasta with Sunshine Sauce. I enhanced our fun little meal with Isa's Tomato Rosemary Scones (from Vegan Brunch). They were soooooo good. Mister had three with dinner! They were super simple to make, too, as scones go. I have to admit - mine ended up being more in the likeness of drop biscuits because I don't have enough counter space to knead dough, so I just stirred it up really well (but not too much) in the bowl, and then put 12 scoops of the dough on baking sheets and tried to form them into something more interesting than blobs of orange dough.
The farro pasta was one of the gifts from my father-in-law and that (seemingly) long ago visit to DiBruno Bros. I've seen recipes for farro (the whole grain) but I've stayed away from it, primarily due to my impatience for slow-cooking grains. I believe I read that farro is the longest cooking grain and there were even recommendations of soaking it overnight. However, the package of farro-flour pasta said it only needed to cook for 6-8 minutes. I cooked it for 8 minutes and it was most definitely "al dente" if ever a pasta was! Anyway, I had been trying to think of a fun way to use this pasta since we got it and the package recommended a light sauce to let the farro's flavor shine through. I may have failed at the "light" part due to the overpowering amount of garlic I included (I amended the recipe below), but at least I was able to appreciate the texture of the pasta, if not the actual taste. The focal point of this recipe is the sauce, but I will give you the whole of our dinner (sorry for the crappy picture - we were too hungry to take pictures before dinner, so I just got a shot of the leftovers).
Farro Pasta with Sunshine Sauce
about 6 servings
8 oz Farro pasta (spaghetti)
16 oz roasted yellow peppers
30 oz cannellini beans (two 15 oz cans), rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp garlic powder (originally 1 tsp, but that was really too much)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable broth

2 Tbsp olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic, pressed/minced
large head of broccoli, cut into florets

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Heat oil on medium heat in a large saute pan, add garlic and saute 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broccoli and cook 3-5 minutes, until broccoli is a vibrant green and still crisp, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, combine cannellini beans, roasted yellow peppers, salt, and garlic powder in a food processor/blender; pour in vegetable broth in a steady stream while the food processor is running. Drain pasta and return to pot, stir in cooked broccoli. When sauce is completely combined and smooth, pour over pasta and broccoli and stir well to coat.

Chapter (dinner) two
Tonight I made Black Bottom Pineapple Tofu with Coconut Cashew Rice from Vegetarian Times Fast & Easy. This is a family favorite (well, Mister and me anyway, not so much Angst) and while it was cooking I had a few compliments on the delightful scent wafting into our living room. Okay, I'm really making our home sound better than it is - the only separation between our kitchen and living room is that the tile floor stops and the carpeting starts. We have had conversations from one end of the apartment to the other without raising our voices.

Anyway, enough about my itty bitty home - it has four walls (with no more holes) and the a/c works. I can't remember when I got the aforementioned cookbook, but this recipe was one of the first ones I tried and has endured to become a regular in whatever rotation we may have. I don't really have any stories - it's one of those recipes I've made so many times I'm only about one or two more times away from not needing the book. However, I will say this, and it is actually related to my mini-vent about our tight quarters.

When you don't have much space, you can't have big things. You also don't really want to accumulate more things, because you (we) barely have room for what you (we) already have. That being said, one of the very first things I am going to do when we DO have more room is get a huge saute pan. The one I have now is great, but it's not very big, so there isn't much room for the food to spread out. I have come to the conclusion that until I have a huge (hopefully All-Clad) stainless steel or copper saute pan, I will never have tofu with a black bottom. There just isn't enough space to allow the syrup to form...what ends up happening is more like brown-braised tofu. It tastes great, but I really feel like we're missing something by not having the black bottom...nevertheless, here is our tasty tofu dinner:
Coconut Cashew Rice (so good)
"black bottom" tofu with pineapple chunks, red bell pepper, and carrots
such a pretty dinner!

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