Friday, January 7, 2011

40-clove pasta dinner

So, I was madly in love with our 40-clove Chickpeas and Broccoli dinner.  I loved everything about it, aside from what a pain in the butt it is to prep that many cloves of garlic (even though there aren't really 40).  I saved the Pasta Con Broccoli for tonight because I wanted to space out the broccoli dishes and because I couldn't imagine myself wanting to peel and "thinly slice" enough garlic to fill a quarter-cup on a weeknight when I get home after 8:30.

Fortunately, by 8:30 tonight, I was nearly finished the cooking part of dinner and approaching the eating part.  Why the incredible fortune, you ask?  Apparently, today was a lucky day (although there was a little bit of bad "luck" in the beginning) because I left work at 4:45 this afternoon and walked into my home at about 6 pm on the dot.  Mister pulled on his shoes, coat, and hat and we headed down the street two blocks to investigate our potential future home!

Other strokes of "luck" include:
- waking up to a beautiful blanket of white snow outside (and since I woke up early enough to get to work early and leave early, it was relatively undisturbed).  The weather guessers had predicted that might happen, but it was still quite surprising.

- the snow slowed public transit down just enough that there was a cluster of three buses more or less waiting to take me to the train station (which is fortunate, because it was still snowing and I can think of better ways to wake up than a snowflake up my nose).

- I made it all the way home from the train without slipping on ice and breaking my leg in time for my upcoming birthday.

- The apartment, though still small, is a marked improvement over our current home.  Hopefully, we'll get it and I'll give you a virtual tour of my new home soon.

Maybe there is something to that whole black-eyed peas and greens thing...

Anyway, dinner was fabulous and it didn't actually take me as long as I thought it would to slice that much garlic.  I hold my efficient new Calphalon paring knife completely responsible.  I must admit that despite that I used an entire head of garlic, I didn't have very high hopes for the sauce.  It just wasn't as aromatic as I had imagined it would be.

Fortunately, I was quite wrong.  Mister and I were pleasantly surprised by the subtle yet undeniable flavors in the light sauce.  There were not many ingredients and it's a very simple dish...Isa even pokes fun at her sister, who likes "boring food," in the introduction.  This is calm but certainly not boring.

It might have been slightly more exciting if I had remembered to add the balsamic vinegar at the end, but that's what next time is for.

This actually had nothing to do with my absent-minded neglect of the balsamic, but it seems like a good enough segue.  I've heard and read about The Organic Wine Works and their organic, vegan wine, produced with non-GMO yeast and without sulfites, so I wanted to taste it for myself.  I didn't really have anything specific on my mind when I ventured to the wine store and I found myself uninterested in my current favorites, so when the bottle caught my eye (I can't imagine how...), I figured I'd give it a try. 

It smelled a to me at first.  Letting it sit didn't really improve the scent.  The flavor, however, is light and drinkable.  I've had sulfite-free wine before and there is definitely a different texture that takes a bit of getting used to.  Flavor-wise, it reminds me a great deal of the Ariel wines Mister and I used to drink together before Whole Foods stopped stocking them (and they're impossible to get elsewhere); we served these wines and the champagne at our wedding and now the reception site stocks them year-round!

One last thing before I go... the new menu (which may be accompanied by a flashback the future):

1. Corn Chowder from Vegan With A Vengeance

2. Chickpea and Spinach Curry, also from VwaV
3. Chickpea Rice Soup with Cabbage, stolen from a recent post on

4. Tropic of Tempeh Tofu from Vegan on the Cheap

5. Bulgur and Red Lentil Pilaf with Kale and Olives from The Complete Vegan Cookbook
6. Classic Black Bean and Veggie Chili from Appetite for Reduction (you didn't think I was through yet, did you??)

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