Friday, July 9, 2010

the many faces of creativity

It struck me, about halfway through my day at work today, that I had no idea what we were having for dinner tonight.  On the off chance Mister wasn't feeling up to going out, I knew it would be wise to have some kind of recipe in mind, however vague or defined its form.  I thought about just throwing a bunch of random things in a pot and seeing what happened, but I thought a "back-up plan" probably wouldn't hurt.

I'm kind of like a boy scout (or a mother) in that over-prepared characteristic.  You should see me pack for a trip...'cause you never know when it might snow in Arizona.

Anyway, there are some things you can almost always count on...and if you're wrong, life just got a little better.  One of those things in my life is this: for two years, I have had to battle for parking upon returning home from work on Friday evenings.  It doesn't matter what time I get home, I'm going to make several loops of my neighborhood before I bully someone out of their parking spot.  Depending on the traffic on southbound I-95 (on a Friday, when the Phillies are playing) and the parking situation (on a temperate and shiny evening, very close to a social hub in the city), I am in varying states of being able to think and/or cook when I get home.

So, just in case Mister didn't want to take me out for dinner, and just in case I sat in traffic for over an hour, barely cresting 15 mph, I wanted to have a specific Plan C that required very little thought and even less effort.  Vegetarian Times to the rescue!

Tonight's dinner, which required a short trip to Superfresh for a few things I didn't just have sitting around, was Indian Salsa Stew from the September 2007 issue of VT.  There were two things that drew me to this particular recipe out of the thousands in their recipe database: it has five ingredients and promised to be done in 15 minutes; I have a mostly unused jar of salsa in my fridge just waiting to enhance a dish - this one!

The first ingredient in the list is a one pound bag of frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot mix.  I really prefer to use fresh vegetables unless it's February and they're all gross and overpriced, so one of the three things I picked up at Superfresh was one of those conveniently pre-cut packages of broccoli and cauliflower.  When I went into my crisper to grab a carrot to add in, I noticed the shriveling half-bunch of asparagus begging to be cooked or thrown away, so I added that to the mix as well.

It came together quickly and was very flavorful and tasty - Mister was very happy, but he always is when I make curry.  He was actually ready for dinner ten minutes before I put it on the table; it's amazing what the aroma of curry will do to that man.

As long as I was poking around the very comprehensive database of vegan recipes on, I figured I would see how much of the new week's menu I could gather there.  The answer?  All of it and I didn't even get halfway through the search results!  Without further ado, then, and in no particular order...

1. Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing from VT, September 2009

2. Rice Salad Primavera from VT, July 2009

3. Smoky Black Bean Tostadas with Garlicky Greens from VT, March 2009

4. Mixed Vegetable Masala from VT, November 2008

5. Savory Tofu and Vegetables over Tomato Couscous from VT, September 2007 (apparently that was a pretty good issue!)

6. Bulgur with Leeks and Swiss Chard from VT, October 2006

Okay, without intending to, apparently I did put them in reverse chronological order.  Anyway, I'm really looking forward to this menu and I will link to each recipe as I make it.  I'm still going to try for a date at some point, so one of these guys might carry over to the next menu, but we'll see.

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