I have a very bad habit of “collecting” food items. For instance, I was given some spinach and semolina noodles in the shape of rabbits, eggs, and carrots last April. I really loved it. Because I loved it, I didn’t eat it. I was afraid that I would never find Easter noodles again.* I use this logic with several food items, particularly gourmet stuff that costs a lot. It is not logical, and I acknowledge that. So I am trying to be proactive in my “collecting” and enjoying things instead of letting them sit there and not using them. This has become particularly difficult with my wine collection. Anyway, J being as eloquent as always, wondered why in the world we still had Easter noodles it being January. He surmised that it must be years old, but in fact it was less than a year because I received it last April. He convinced me there was no need to save it if I was not going to use it. So guess what was cooked that day.
I wanted to try out a wacky recipe I had for a Spinach or Arugula Pesto. Sounds strange, but I was intrigued. Plus the tomatoes are really not good enough for pasta sauce, which was discovered with the Basil Tomato Soup I made. I also went even more crazy and made a Creamy Zucchini Soup. Both soups are in the freezer now, along with half of the pesto. Sadly, there are no pictures, because I have gotten a tad bit lazy with my picture taking. Sorry but you will just have to deal and imagine what it looks like. I never liked the statement “you eat with your eyes first.” Some of the best foods I have enjoyed would not have passed that test.
Speaking of testing, in other exciting food-related news, I am recipe testing for Carla who is writing Vegan Bakesale – a cookbook about items you could bring to a bake sale, but veganized of course. I am really excited, and while I cannot post the recipes, I will certainly be bringing you pictures to document this historical occasion. Hopefully this will lead to further testing down the road; because honestly who can pass up the excuse opportunity to bake and cook more as well as receive a cookbook for doing so.
And finally, I determined that weather people around the world are no different. On Friday, we were supposed to begin the “storm of the century” with 16 inches of snow expected that day. Things began closing early, and luckily I didn’t have a need to go to the supermarket, but I am sure that was a panic stricken building as well. Ironically, it didn’t even start snowing until that evening and while it has been snowing off and on since then, it is nothing of blizzard proportions. I find that my experience with weather people is that they either over-alarm or under-alarm. There really is no grey area.
*I have learned a lot of interesting things while in Germany, but one thing is the “noodles vs. pasta” debate. I guess it is similar to the “champagne vs. sparkling wine” debate because people in Germany think that pasta should be called noodles unless you are in Italy.
Spinach or Arugula Pesto (vegan)
1 1/2 c. spinach or arugula
1/2 c. oil
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 c. Kalamata olives, pitted
2 tsp. pine nuts or walnuts or cashews
Place all ingredients except oil in food processor and blend. Drizzle in the oil until well combined.
Notes! This was really fantastic. I had low expectations because I love fresh basil, but it certainly delivered and I think it was the olives that won me over. I used olive oil, only one clove of garlic and cashews as my nut of choice. I cooked the Easter pasta and after draining it threw on some of the pesto. I also added some sauteed onions with a few green onions for spunk. It was really good. I added some olive oil to coat the top and the pesto is currently residing in my freezer. I am interested to see how the arugula would stand up, since it has a much sharper flavor than the spinach.
Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup (vegan)
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 tsp salt
3 c. veggie broth
1/3 c. fresh basil
3 tbsp cashews
Set aside one zucchini and chop the rest. Saute onions until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic cloves and cook one more minute. Stir in zucchini and salt, cooking 5 minutes. Add broth and simmer until zucchini is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Blend with an immersion blender with remaining ingredients. Shred remaining zucchini and place on top of soup as a garnish.
Notes! Honestly, I didn’t really eat any of the soup. I tried it and it tasted well enough. I wasn’t necessarily blown away, but that is just my aversion to zucchini I think. I will definitely be eating it (its in the freezer too), but for now I am “underwhelmed.” I really can’t put my finger on the reasoning either, its just really pretty vanilla.
Basil Tomato Soup (vegan)
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 1/2 tsp Earth Balance
4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c. fresh basil
1 c. veggie broth
Saute onion and carrot in Earth Balance until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, sugar, salt and broth. Boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Blend with basil until smooth. Return to pan and heat through.
Notes! First off, I did not peel and seed the tomatoes. I typically will skip that step with tomatoes just because I am lazy about it and I don’t really mind the texture all that much. I thought this was better than the zucchini soup, but the tomatoes are really not at their peak and that sort of shines through. I think if I make this in the supper and treat it as more of a gazpacho type soup it would be refreshingly yummy.