Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Romantic Italian Dinner for One

Wow. I feel like I'm kind of taking over the blog right now. Sorry about that, everyone. I guess I'm just on a roll. Or just really lame.

So, I love to cook (duh). I really love to cook FOR people. I am at heart, really, a bit of a romantic. I therefore love to cook romantic-esque meals. I don't have anyone to cook them for, so I sometimes make them for myself. I had such a night two days ago. This was the result:

I totally take after my dad in that my favorite variety of food is Italian. So much love for tomato sauce. When I come home late from work in Ann Arbor, I don't want to go through some big production (I've been known to go to great lengths to feed myself). So, like the pizza, this is very simple. I made enough vegetables for two meals, but everything else was single serving. I keep a bag of whole wheat pasta on hand (check the ingredients, pasta is sadly not often vegan), and I just scoop out 3/4 cup whenever I need some. I wish I could tell you the brand I bought, but I don't have the original packaging anymore. Alas. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and pour it in.

In the meantime, veggies.

3 tsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3-4 mushrooms (your choice of variety), sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 leaves of rainbow chard, washed, chopped (discard the stems)
1 roasted red pepper (I get my fancy jar from Trader Joe's)
Salt and pepper to taste

**Kay, let's discuss seasoning here. I didn't season my veggies very heavily because the sauce I used was rather spicy. I didn't want to go and over-do that shit. I used Tuscan Sunset, a delightful mix of flavors brought to me by Penzey's Spices. Man, I love that place. Should you not have a generic Italian seasoning mix, no worries. Standard parts to such mixes include: basil, oregano, garlic, pepper, onion, marjoram...etc. You can easily whip up a little mix at home with what you have from this list in your pantry.

So, warm up your olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the chopped onions. Cook until translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms. After maybe 2 minutes, throw in that chard and red pepper, and start seasoning to your preference. Don't towel off your chard after you rinse it. The water on the leaves helps them to cook down nicely. I cooked mine for maybe another three or four minutes at this point. While this was going on, I poured a little pasta sauce into a glass bowl to heat up in the 'ol microwave. I have my own tomato sauce that I made and canned working on the farm last summer, but I don't know where it is. This was okay, as I was interested in trying some sauce I'd seen at the grocery store: Elenas. I am pleased to report that it was quite tasty, and worth the extra cash-the jar was about 6 bucks-for this meal (I wouldn't spend that much on sauce on a regular basis, but dammit this was my romantic meal and I was going to TREAT MYSELF!).

Putting it all together now. I drained the pasta, and put that down on my smiley plate first (my stance on meals is always to stay classy only to a point, hence smiley plate). Then I poured the sauce over, and finally, the veggies. To give yourself some nutritional UMPH, you might want to sprinkle some nutritional yeast over the top at this point. The day before I had purchased a miniature whole wheat baguette, so I had a few pieces of that along with. To drink, I picked up a bottle of JK Scrumpy's. This is the best hard cider around, and it comes from Flushing, MI. Admittedly, this was a poor choice to have WITH the meal, as it has a very strong (and delicious) flavor. Like pie. Alcoholic pie. When my mom came home, she took a whiff and said it smelled like vinegar and was probably gross. I'm glad I had a glass while I could, because she and my dad finished off the bottle over the course of the evening. Livin' with the parents. Drinkin' your booze.

"You can't just eat good food. You've got to talk about it too. And you've got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food." -Kurt Vonnegut

1 comment:

  1. This meal looks very tasty. Sorry I was not there to try it out.