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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Squash and Pasta with Lemon Basil Butter Sauce

Because sometimes you just want to make something fancy!!! (And super duper fattening.)

I bought a bottle of the most amazing Chardonnay ever a couple of weeks ago at a farmer's market.  [Yes, I bought wine at a farmer's market.  Yes, that was my only purchase that day.  Because I'm a classy lady like that.]  I've been saving it to share with my roomie because, well, we have to say good-bye soon.  We're both moving away from Kalamazoo and we've been trying to plan one last roomie dinner before we go.  I wanted to make something fancy to go with the wine, but haven't had much time to cook lately.  As it is, tonight's dinner was served at 11:00 pm.  Because that's how I roll.

Anyhow, I was gifted with some beautiful summer squash last weekend, and  I decided to throw together several summer flavors, just to see what would happen.  The sauce is positively heavenly.  But it's a little heavy, and paired with the pasta, it may be a bit much for some folks.  Now, that didn't stop me from having 3 (small-ish) servings, but the sauce could go on anything: portobello mushrooms, grilled veggies, tofu/tempeh/seitan cutlets, you name it.  Also, I had way more pasta than sauce, so plan accordingly.  Perhaps halve the amount of pasta?  Or double the sauce?  Or throw caution to the wind, I'm not judging.

The Chardonnay paired perfectly with these flavors, by the way.  And the roomie loved it, so I've got that going for me.  Hopefully this isn't our last last dinner together, but if I keep this up, we're definitely going out with a bang!

1 lb fettuccine (Too much pasta!!!)
2 large summer squash, shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp non-dairy butter (I used Earth Balance)
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2/3 cup white wine (I used pinot grigio)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I got this from 1 1/2 lemons)
1/2 Tbsp agave nectar
.75 oz fresh basil, chopped (OK, so that's what the package said.  I don't know how to translate that measurement into normal recipe jargon.)
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to directions.  Add the squash ribbons for the last 3 minutes.
In a large skillet pan, melt butter over medium-low heat.  Once butter is melted, add shallots and cook for 3 min.  Pour in the wine and lemon juice and stir well.  Let simmer for 5 min, then stir in the basil.  Continue to simmer for another 4-5 min, adding salt and pepper to taste.
When pasta is done, drain and return to pot.  Arrange pasta on plate and drizzle with butter sauce.  Enjoy with a friend... and a glass of Chardonnay. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Rice 'n Beans and Mustard Greens

Because it's OK to repeat yourself.
Because it's OK to repeat yourself.

I know, I know, I already blogged about beans and greens once before, but that was a long time ago and frankly, I don't give a yam.  I got this idea in my head that I really needed to try making something with mustard greens, and this was exactly what I wanted.  I was going for a southern-inspired dish: rice and beans, greens, gravy generously poured all over everything.  Mmmmmm.  But I'm going to be completely honest with you- I was really flippin' lazy about it.  I'm not ashamed, it's whatever.

*While this is a super easy meal, I did dirty a lot of dishes.  So, just a heads up.

This really isn't much of a recipe, I'm afraid.  Since I used boxed rice, I didn't have to season the rice or beans.  I could have marinated and pan-fried tempeh, but I cheated and bought Gardein frozen chick'n patties instead.  And the country gravy, making a cameo appearance, is originally from this recipe.  But, put all the things together, and I had one sweet little southern dinner, which I delightfully shared with my darling sister, who had come to visit for the evening.  Love!

1 box (6.2 oz) quick cooking rice (I used Uncle Ben's long grain and wild rice)
15 oz can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chile powder
1 bunch mustard greens, stems removed and leaves torn or chopped into small pieces
Salt and pepper
1 package Gardein chick'n, optional

2 Tbsp non-dairy butter
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 cups non-dairy milk
Salt and pepper

In a medium-sized saucepan, cook the rice according to the directions on the package.  When the rice is done, stir in the beans and heat on low while everything else is going.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 5 min, until the onions are soft.  Stir in the tomatoes, cumin, and chile powder and cook for about 4 min.  Add the greens and stir to cover with the tomatoes, allowing the leaves to wilt.  Cook for 8-10 min, stirring frequently.  Season with salt and pepper.
In a large saute pan, get the chick'n going, if using.  Follow the directions on the package.
Finally, in yet another saucepan (this one can be small), melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the flour, paprika, and garlic powder until well combined.  Whisk in the milk, starting with one cup and adding more, one tablespoon at a time until reaching desired consistency.  Bring the gravy to a bubble, stirring constantly, allowing the sauce to thicken.  Decrease heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
And finally, load up your plate with the rice and beans, mustard green goodness, and chick'n, and smother all of that with gravy.  Savor the awesomeness.