Saturday, August 6, 2011

TGIF (PS: I'm lazy)

What a week for writing - I feel like I'm full of words but completely lacking in the energy to tackle the monster posts I want to write.  I'm hoping that at some point this weekend I can just settle in with a nice big cup of Blue Bottle Coffee and type my way to carpel-tunnel.  And as long as we're on the topic of how awesome it would be to post from Pure Fare with a hip cup of pour-over and a vegan pastry at the ready...who wants to buy me a MacBook Air?  Labor Day is coming - that's a gift giving holiday, right?  No?  Okay, fine - Mister's birthday is in a week and a half and when I was little, my parents used to give me a gift to open on my sister's birthday so I wouldn't feel left out.

You wouldn't want me to feel left out, would you?

So, back in RealityLand, it's quite fortunate that I have a bag of Blue Bottle beans in my cupboard and a whole weekend of errands ahead of me.  I'm presently eating my Trader Joe's belgian chocolate and drinking Apothic Red and doing my best to resist a nearly irrepressible urge to construct a To Do list for the weekend.  I'm also managing to avoid constructing my menu, which is kind of key to the To Do list phenomenon.  I will need to tackle that shortly - I've decided to embark on a predictable experiment: I am going to attempt to shop primarily at Trader Joe's for the month of August to see how much money I save.  According to last week's math, 1 bag at Trader Joe's equals 50% of a bag at Whole Foods, price-wise.  I regularly spend $50-$70 at Whole Foods for a week of groceries; I have not yet crested the $30 mark at TJs - it's kind of like living that question from the VeganMoFo survey every week.  The point is, unless I want to participate in a total PublicTransitFail, I need to know what I'm shopping for before I leave for lessons tomorrow, since I'll want to stop at TJs on my way home.

Before I leave you to go poke through my dust-defying cookbook collection and make this week's menu, let's talk briefly about dinner:  Orecchiette Con Broccoli from The Urban Vegan.  I made this at least once before because Mister (and I) like pasta and broccoli is a fun vegetable (my nephews and nieces call florets "little trees").  I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in the outcome.  First things first, though - let's talk about my solution to the Miso Issue.

When I've made this before, I've always done my best to force the miso paste to blend with the hot, garlic-infused oil without the assistance of another liquid (or a rancid one...oops).  I even bought a special flat-whisk from Williams-Sonoma to help, but alas - miso paste has no interest in blending with hot oil.  This time around, I thought I'd be tricky (forgetting about that whole oil-and-water thing) and I blended the miso with hot water until it was pretty much dissolved into a thick liquid, then poured that into the hot oil to blend with my magical whisk.

As you can see, that worked out perfectly.

Nevertheless, it did seem at least a little easier to break up the big undissolved chunks of miso than it did when I didn't dissolve it in water first.

I don't know if I've ever made this 100% correctly, but I am in the habit of sauteing the broccoli in the infused oil and miso, rather than parboiling it before the pasta, then collecting it from boiling water to add to the saute pan while I cook the pasta.  Seems like too many (messy) steps to me and just sauteing it seems to work just fine anyway.  The only thing that troubles me is this: it seems like the broccoli immediately absorbs all the oil and any water I add to moisten the skillet, which is possibly the culprit for the complete and utter lack of flavor tonight's dinner had.

It's a shame - it was really quite beautiful.  The broccoli steam-sauteed to a beautiful shade of green without taking on an iota of the 15-minutes of garlic infusion that occurred just prior to the little trees being added to the pot.  I don't remember if it did that last time, but Mister and I both added salt at table, and that is only a semi-annual occurrence (not bad, since it's already August, actually).

Alright - I need to go plot my menu and grocery list for next week's meals.  Good thing the new issue of Vegetarian Times just arrived!


  1. Natalie, I'm sorry. I'm probably the last to notice. I really like your blog makeover. The side designs are beautiful.

    I usually fry bland pasta--use a crapton of garlic, throw over lemon juice & wine & let it reduce; then fry till crispy.

  2. Ha ha - Jackie, don't worry about it :) I'm glad you like it!
    The thing that drove me nuts about the pasta is that I did saute 10 friggin' cloves of garlic (is that a crapton?) in 6 Tbsp olive oil and it just didn't taste like anything... Mister heated up some of the copious leftovers today and said he quite enjoyed it after adding more olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano...perhaps I will try your trick, though I will need to wait until I get to Superfresh to refill my missing white cooking wine...