It's cold here. Many people refer to this type of cold (this chilling, muscle clenching, grind your teeth, can't feel your toes and the coffee in your travel mug is frozen type of cold) as frigid. While I do agree that this particular word fits into a context like this, I really hesitate to use it to describe this type of weather. Because *frigid* makes me think of fridge...and I love my fridge, I really do. Is it anything really special? Does it tell the time and make my grocery lists and digitally monitor the temperature of my food on a regular basis? No. (Though someday..maybe) No, our fridge is just a plain old, run of the mill fridge. But I adore it. It holds the kale and spinach and mushrooms and peppers and celery in a neat little crisper in the bottom. And it holds our large and delish assortment of mustard, our locally made grape jam, and our chocolate covered coffee beans all snug on the door. I will stop divulging the contents of the entire thing now, but you see what I'm getting at? Our fridge holds our FOOD! and we LOVE FOOD! In fact, I talk about food all day at work. You'd think I'd be tired of it when I get home, but secretly I could spend all evening in the kitchen. Oops, not so secret anymore. But I'm willing to bet I'm not entirely alone in that feeling. So, to get back to the reason why I am currently feeling like I'm floating on a cloud...cloud nine if I had to get into the specifics.
I leave work today in a whirlwind of snow. Its -30 degrees (Celsius) and I am HUNGRY. Sure I could come home and whip up a stir fry, I mean after all that's pretty much what I did all last week (thus no blogging, I'm sure you've all seen you share of stir fries). Yup, last week was BUSY, a stir fry and an Ezekiel sprouted grain English muffin...I know, I'm so fancy. This weekend was a write off for anything fancy, I had a best girlfriend down visiting me this weekend. She and I went to University together. So between the wine, the snacks and the gossip, there wasn't much room for anything gourmet, and of course Curtis and I had our usual Sunday night pizza and drinks (oh, and Sopranos DVDs, which is our new current obsession!). Tonight I was determined to come in out of the cold, and whip up some gorgeous, delicious, comfort food. PASTA! There is a good possibility that this decision is based on all the pasta eating we witness in the Sopranos...but I would like to think I'm immune to that sort of subliminal messaging...so we'll just pretend that is so.
I opened up our dear, faithful fridge, and what should I find in her shelf-like arms? PINE NUTS! Well since I was already planning on making pasta, the pine nuts put the idea of pesto into my head, and I knew there was no turning back once I was on the pesto train! And then, I spied the big, juicy portabellos, the balsamic vinegar, and the strands of tagliatelle, begging me to stop my pesto train at its station. So, I did. And the thrown-together-I'm-so-cold-and-freaking-hungry combination of flavours that married in my kitchen tonight, is heavenly! Does this picture do it justice? Not really. But hey, not everyone is photogenic...even pasta has a "fat day" sometimes ;) .
Pesto Tagliatelle with Balsamic Veggies
1/4 Cup Water
1 Tbsp Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
3 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts*
3/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1 Cup Spinach Leaves
1/2 Cup Olive Oil (use your good stuff here)
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 Tsp Sea Salt
Put the first six ingredients in the blender and puree until things are incorporated, slowly adding the olive oil about a Tablespoon at a time. Add the nutritional yeast, and salt afterwards and pulse to combine. Add to a small sauce pan on the stove with 1/2 cup shredded soy cheese of your choice, add a splash of soy milk to give it a little more creaminess. Heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes until everything is warmed and combined. Leave on min while you prep the rest.
7 Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
2 Medium Sized Portabellos, Chopped (to your desired size)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Pre-heat oven to 350*. Heat your cast iron pan over medium heat while you clean and slice the veggies. Toss all ingredients together in a small bowl, toss into your pan, and let them sizzle for about a minute (this helps to seal in the moisture and flavour). Then place in your pre-heated oven while you prep the pasta.
Enough Pasta for however many people you are serving
A handful of spinach for each serving
Boil the pasta according to the directions, at the very last minute, add the spinach, and then pour the whole shebang into the colander to drain.
Put some pasta onto each plate, top with the warm pesto sauce and the baked balsamic veggies. Annndd Enjoy!
I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it really didn't take much time, and for a warm, delicious and decadent meal (I usually use no or little oil in my cooking), its totally worth it. I bet it would be good with some tempeh bacon, too, a little carbonera pesto pasta. But in my need to fill my belly quickly, I was not about to make a batch. That's the type of thing that has to marinade overnight anyhow. So, that was our Soprano's-inspired meal for the evening, complete with garlic bread. And speaking of the mafia...
We love our ink...and we love being vegan. This is Curtis's arm. And his hardcore vegan bunny! A little glamour shot for the day.
I hope that you are all staying much warmer than we are here on the East Coast. And hopefully I will have something more exciting than stir fries and English muffins for the rest of the week for you!