Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cooking every night? Just crazy enough to work.

I've been making an effort to cook healthy, especially things from my new favorite cookbook, "Appetite for Reduction". So far, everything I've made out of there has been a winner. This is saying something! I'm one of those people who writes in my cookbooks, so I can remember what I thought of a recipe or adjustments I think would improve it. I forgot that I did this until I lent out my copy of "Deceptively Delicous" (that one Jerry Seinfeld's wife wrote where you puree fruits and vegetables and sneak them into everything under the sun) where I'd written "NOT GOOD. Tastes like wet bread. Not enough marshmallows in the world to save this." on her coffeecake recipe. This was before I was vegan. Anyway, my lucky friend Jessica knew not to try that recipe, for sure.

Now I've traded in this

for this

I bought a huge amount of "great northern white beans" (aka those white beans that are bigger than navy beans) from the bulk section of my grocery store the other day, and cooked up a gigantic pot of them. I usually make hummus out of them, since they puree up easier than chickpeas and I like them that way. I got a really easy recipe for that online, and I go by it, basically, adding or subtracting whatever I feel like. Here it is, if you're interested:

Take about 3 cups white beans, 1 tsp salt, a pinch of pepper, a few shakes of thyme, 3 TB olive oil and 2 TB lemon juice, and 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced. Puree that in your blender or food processor, adding warm water as you need it to make it smoother. Usually 1/4-1/2 cups of it.

pretty easy!

Anyway, I've been coming up with ways to use all these cooked beans, now, and there's a great recipe for Pasta e Fagoli in Appetite for Reduction. I tried it out and took some pictures.

It starts with a pretty basic tomato sauce (I even found some old sherry cooking wine in my cupboard, so I did it like a big girl instead of with vegetable broth like usual - score!).

I picked tricolor shells from (natch) the bulk section for my pasta.

Added the beans to the sauce ...

and when everything was cooked, mixed it all together with a bunch of spinach while the sauce was still hot enough to wilt the greens. Hooray!

Very good, and it's got everything all in one bowl, which is awesome. Less packing for me in the morning. I'm one of those dorks that literally packs a lunchbox for work. And it's a pink one, too. I usually bring some leftovers from the night before and some fruit. I might be one of the only people in the world that works in a nursing home and actually still likes and eats applesauce. I even pack it in my lunches sometimes. Even now that I sometimes give people meds crushed into it.

Me and my applesauce are freaky like that. And me and my kitchen are BFF these days.

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