Saturday, September 12, 2009

cardboard cask...classy

Due to several factors, I was actually off from work today. The first part of the day (after the coffee and strawberry/yogurt oatmeal part) was quite full of angst and Angst. It involved him hiding from me and me banging on things to try to get him to stop hiding - probably not the most effective strategy in hindsight. Anyway, after I gave up on trying to "unhide" the cat, I went on my food shopping adventures.

And so, faithful readers, in this post we will:
1. see this week's menu
2. see tonight's dinner
3. babble about wine (2 glasses in)
4. discuss neighborly behavior

Starting from the bottom up (no pun intended), I will now tell you the previously alluded to story of what it means to be a good neighbor. When I had my hair done last week, it took three hours to put two colors in and cut it. That's a lot of time to talk to the person slopping your head up with colored goo. In our conversation, Candi related a tale of not-so-neighborly conduct by some girls who work at a salon across the street, located in a gym, strangely enough. We shared our ridiculously out-of-fashion ideas of how new neighbors were greeted to the neighborhood "back in the day." I can remember being a child and accompanying my mother with a plate of brownies or chocolate chip cookies to the still-disheveled home of a new neighbor just moving in. Anyway, today I made 2 dozen ginger-coconut-carrot muffins and packed half of them up in a shiny gold shoebox, then marched them across the street to "welcome" Candi to the neighborhood. So, I'm feeling like a good neighbor right about now.

I bought wine today. I'm very amused that I can't say "I bought a bottle of wine" and the reason is that I bought a cask of wine. Or at least, that's what the manufacturers decided to call the cardboard box that houses the bag that holds my wine. Either way, it's 3 liters of delicious Pinot Noir - as summer ends, so does my affair with Riesling. I have had this wine before - it marks a brilliant crossroads between dry and fruity and the fruitiness is primarily a darker variety - cherry and blackberry - so it fits well with the drier qualities. Nevertheless, the whole reason I ever tried this wine was its name: Pinot Evil (see no evil, ha ha ha). It even has the three monkeys.
According to the of wine, those 3 liters represent 4 bottles of wine, so hopefully it will last me a while!

Tonight I made Polenta & Vegetable Bake for dinner.
It was wonderful - good enough for Mister to have thirds. It was perfectly hearty and very rich without being overly so. It was also extraordinarily easy to make and came together much more quickly than I thought it would. Mister doesn't like eggplant, so I just diced two zucchini. I also added two cloves of garlic because I just felt like it needed it. It was a little watery and was difficult to transport from the baking dish to our eating dishes, but it tasted amazing. I will definitely make this again. As a side note (hearkening back to that wretched Cavit Pinot Noir), my pretty glass of Pinot Evil was the perfect match to dinner's flavors.
Now for this week's menu (my refrigerator and cupboards are full of fun ingredients!):
1. Stewed Lentils with Soy Sausage; with Fingerling Fries (both from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas - I just can't get away from this book!)
2. Pasta Jambalaya (also from Vegan Express)
3. Pasta with Beans and Chard (also from Vegan Express)
4. Double Pea Soup with Roasted Red Peppers (from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)
5. Roasted Yellow Pepper and Corn Bisque (also from Veganomicon)
6. French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme (also from Veganomicon)
7. Tuscan Vegetable Ragout (from Vegetarian Times Fast & Easy) This is another one of those old favorites you can lean on when you want something savory and simple. The whole book is great, but a little tofu-heavy. I like tofu now, but when I first got the book, I really wasn't a fan.

You'll notice I've cited sources for all recipes on this week's menu, which means they aren't mine. Now that the weather is cooling down (to my ineffable delight), I want to make soups and baked dishes. The same way that I learned to create skillet suppers and sautes over the summer, I will learn to create savory baked dishes and soul-warming soups: by recreating other people's for a few weeks. I figure I'll spend September, maybe the first part of October "researching," and then I'll get another creative streak like I did in early August and pump out a bunch of casserole and soup recipes. So, for now, I will make what has been made before and I will focus every last tastebud on the purpose of discerning what makes this dish or that dish taste so good. And then I'll let you know!

One last thing: I have added a poll on the right side of this page because I want your opinion. If you think the name I've quasi-settled on is stupid, please leave me a comment and either tell me why you think it's stupid and/or what better name you would suggest. Thank you!!!

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