Wednesday, May 26, 2010

boldly going where I haven't gone before

The last two nights, I've made a couple of recipes I had looked at previously but didn't feel courageous/ambitious enough to cook.  My recent feelings of creativity somehow manifested themselves into bravery and allowed me to step out of my "regular" recipes in a couple of books I've had for a while and see the recipes with new and anxious eyes.

Last night, I made Penne with Asparagus and Spring Herbs from the Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook.  You can see that it is fairly attractive, despite the "cream" sauce.  I'm not sure that came across the right way: so that I don't alienate my cream sauce-loving readers, it's not that I don't like cream sauce, but it tends to mute the colors of the dish and has the potential to make it look slimy.  See Exhibit A (above)...

It was tasty, though it had that impression of "needs a little something."  Turns out that something was salt, which we added at table.  Mister also sprinkled his with a very generous helping of Parmesan and shared a tidbit with Angst.  I'm not very good [yet] about tasting and adjusting simmering sauces, but I'm downright negligent about doing so for blender sauces.  Since the recipe advised adding salt and pepper "to taste," I just skipped it and figured we could add it later, which we did.

Here are my happy steamed carrots and asparagus before I drowned them in the herb and poached garlic "cream" sauce (it was made by pureeing silken tofu with the vegetable broth in which I poached the garlic).  You'll notice (my mother and I hope) how perfectly uniform my julienned carrots are.  I did NOT buy one of those very handy bags of "shredded" carrot that come that way - I used my birthday toy for the first time and it was awesome!

Tonight, there were no fancy kitchen gadgets (unless you consider tongs fancy).  I made Chile Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu from Veganomicon accompanied by Garlicky Kale (but no Tahini Sauce) from VwaV

How adorable are the tofus?? I actually almost skipped this one because I didn't feel like dealing with the breading, but I'm so glad I did it - both dishes were so good!  The kale was dressed in just the perfect amount of olive oil and sauteed garlic - it needed absolutely no augmentation.  Mister was completely enthralled with the tofu, which I invariably count as a victory.  When he came to the table, his remark was "Oh, that looks fun!"  As it turns out, my husband loves breaded things - who knew that's all I needed to do?  Granted, the crispy outer layer was exceptional as well as pretty, and the way it perfectly surrounded the little puffy cloud of tofu was pretty darn cool.  There is a part of me that is a glutton for punishment and would love to try this with silken tofu, for the complete smoothness and creaminess of the tofu within the crispy outer coating.  Something tells me the silken tofu wouldn't hold up through the dredging process quite as well, but it might be worth a try.  Stay tuned for more adventures!

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