Monday, August 23, 2010

a sweater in august?

It is presently 66 degrees in Philadelphia.  That is a mere three degrees short of tomorrow's anticipated high.  Now, this happens every year - the minute the temperature falls below 70, everyone I freak out and put on a sweater.  Then I laugh at myself because the minute it hits the mid-60s in the spring, everyone is peeling off their clothes.  It's amazing how the context can change our perceptions of heat and cold.  After weeks and weeks of 90-degree days, the 60s are an unexpected and not entirely welcome change.  After all, it is August still.

Along those same lines, last night I started to make Cousin Natasha's Bean and Rice Salad from How It All Vegan.  As I gathered everything together, I realized that I just couldn't tolerate the idea of a cold dinner, so I converted it to "Cousin" Natalie's Bean and Rice Skillet.

It was fun, if not a little vinegary, though that probably works much better in the cooler context.  My avocado was pretty angry with me by the time I diced him, considering he was already ripe when I got him and in order to firm up the flesh, I put him in the fridge for a couple of days, and then the freezer for a few minutes before I cut him up.

I don't think I've composed that good of a run-on sentence since high school.

Anyway, it's a fun mixture of peppers, beans, avocado, and rice.  If I made it again as a skillet dinner, I would change the "vinaigrette" into a more savory simmer.

It was a heck of a Monday and the rain didn't help anyone's mood.  There's something in the artistry of slicing cabbage that will almost always center and soothe me, so I made Braised Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Kidney Beans from Vegan ItalianoI also made it because it was the only thing left to make.

It's very pretty in a bizarre, beet-like way, don't you think?  Despite the vivid coloring of the dish, it was disappointingly unremarkable when it came to taste.  It had the crunch of cabbage, but despite being braised in a mixture of savory broth and a sugared vinegar, it tasted like I had braised all the flavor out of it.  I thought this was a weird entree, so I wanted to try it to see what would happen...but I won't be trying to tweak it.  Once was enough for me.

When I was picking up my fruit at Whole Foods, I saw this little carton of adorable yellow pear tomatoes and picked up a pack.  I've never had them before, so I wanted to bring them home and make them into something.  That something involved halving them lengthwise, then arranging them cut-side-up in a pie plate.  I then sprayed them with olive oil and sprinkled liberally with salt, pepper, and basil, before spraying them again.  I roasted them for about 7 minutes at 400, which might have been either too long or too hot.  They were good, but barely held together.

I don't know what will happen for tomorrow's dinner... stay tuned!


  1. A shame about the cabbage, it does look pretty! Also good to know, I have Vegan Italiano and that recipe had always intrigued me. But I might give other things a try instead!

  2. there are a lot of great recipes in that book, especially if you like tapas/mezze and putting together meals from lots of little plates. Even if you don't, there are some amazing entrees - if you click on the Vegan Italiano tag on the post, you can read about some of my more favorable experiences. Thanks for your comment!