Monday, October 17, 2011

Vegetarian Dinner

  OK, I wish I had a picture of the meal I am about to describe to you. (Don't you just love food blogs? It's like their contributors all live in lofts with huge windows, where it is perpetually sunny, or they all happen to be trained professional photographers with all the equipment needed to create the right lighting on the spot... and then after taking the time to prepare the food beautifully, set up the lighting, arrange it all, take a photo shoot, etc., we are supposed to believe that they were just making it "for dinner for their family" and that all the hungry hordes were just standing around patiently waiting for all the camera equipment to be done with its job and hauled away from their kitchen table before they began their meal. Hah!) At any rate, when I was finished preparing my meal, it was dark, really dark, and actually my house is always pretty much dark; I'd have to do my food photography outdoors! And I actually AM a professionally trained photographer--ssshhh, don't tell anyone--but sadly without any professional cameras or equipment. Until this moment, I have considered them to be not very useful to my current career! What was I thinking!

     At any rate, the point is, I threw together a delicious meal that was too good not to share in writing, and IT WAS VEGETARIAN. I only know 2 vegetarians, so probably none of the 11 people who will eventually read this even care, but I thought that that factor was quite significant, as the meal was satisfying and filling and tasty, and some carnivores find that hard to achieve without the meat element. The vegetarian's secret? BUTTER. AND CHEESE. Now I don't pretend to know what vegans do. Cause vegan cheese is stinky and gross and made out of questionable components. And vegan butter is more like margarine/plastic. And also made out of questionable components. And a life without butter and cheese is like a life without Christmas and birthdays. But we'll leave the vegans to their own ways and move on.

     The meal: Rice pasta fusilli with butternut squash and garlic-butter brussels sprouts. (Notice that that is a double BS meal!) I did not have this meal all planned out. In fact, I have found that it is more expensive to plan a specific menu with nice meals and try to purchase all necessary ingredients at the store that week, than to have a good sense of basic pantry and fridge staples, a well-stocked spice cupboard, and assortment of that week's affordable fruits and vegetables. And a little creativity, of course. We can go into kitchen staples another time. At any rate, this is how the meal of last night was born.

The pasta: Cooked as normal, tossed with olive oil, set out to be eaten with brussels sprouts, squash, and the following choices: garlic-butter-n-olive-oil, smoked sea salt, cracked pepper, grated cheese (parmesan is always a winner. I didn't have any and used raw cheddar, grated finely), lemon, etc. use your imagination!

The butternut squash (BS): Cut in half and spread with a little butter, roasted cut-side down in a 375-deg. oven for about an hour. Serve in chunks in the pasta, or on the side with either butter and maple syrup, or lemon, salt, and pepper.

The brussels sprouts (BS): About 17 sprouts cleaned and outer leaves removed, stems trimmed, then an X cut into the bottom of each stem. Steamed about 15-20 mins. THEN... cut in half and browned for a few minutes cut side down in a lovely garlic butter (about 3 cloves of garlic, crushed/chopped, cooked on low in about 3 T. butter. I also added some olive oil to the mix because I love the flavor.) Served with the pasta and the remaining garlic butter drizzled over.

     I am telling you: It was so! Good! Even Sparrow devoured her brussels sprouts! Here's to all y'all vegetarians out there who know that the secret of your good cookin' is the same as the famed chefs of France: butter, butter, and more butter. Enjoy!

Ps--This served two adults and two little children. Adjust amounts accordingly.

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