Wednesday, September 30, 2009


We are returning to our vegan status once again. We have strayed into lacto-ovo territory for quite a while now, and we have even dipped our toes in a bit of bacon and sausage in the last year. But the truth is, we both feel a whole lot better when we stick to eating plants.

When we turned vegan, we did it cold turkey (or should I say cold tofurkey? Ha ha. I slay me.) We went from full carnivore to vegan, not in stages. That may sound dreadful to some of you, but we enjoyed it and saw it as a culinary challenge. We expanded our repertoire dramatically and really grew and developed as cooks.

I also recall feeling better almost immediately. My guts suddenly worked perfectly with no heartburn or indigestion, and my allergy symptoms were 90% gone within about 2 weeks. So plan on seeing some new stuff on this blog as I rededicate myself to plants!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yum. Yum. Darling.

We had a couple friends over for brunch today and I made these cute little muffins. I found the recipe in a gorgeous cookbook by Rose Elliot called Veggie Chic. They're mini feta and sundried tomato muffins, and they were the perfect little compliment to the spinach frittata and fruit salad that we made!

2 T olive oil
1 egg
2 T sundried tomato pesto
2 T water
1 cup all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
8 oz. feta cheese, tiny diced
8 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and finely chopped
4 T chopped fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick spray and set aside. Whisk together the olive oil, egg, tomato pesto and water. Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and mix in the feta, sundried tomatoes, basil, and some salt and pepper. Make a well in the center of that and tip the egg/oil mixture into it. Stir this until it is just combined--don't over mix it. Spoon into the muffin tins and fill them well. I seemed to have extra batter and ended up baking 18 muffins. The recipe said to bake them for 10 minutes, but I ended up baking them for more like 20 minutes. They smell incredible when they're baking! Great little nibbles to serve with your brekkie or to take to a party!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pasta a la Carbonara

Pasta a la carbonara is a sumptuous, sinful dish, and it is pretty easy to make. You can knock it together in 15 or 20 minutes, it will impress your friends and probably will fill their arteries with gunk! And oddly, they will love you for it. I recommend not skimping on the ingredients. Cheap parmesan and less-than-heavy cream and Fakin' Bacon do not cut it in this dish! Use really good quality parmesan that's fresh, and grate it yourself. The same goes for the pork--a nice quality pancetta or good center cut bacon.

Man, I sound like such a Bossy-Boots!

This dish is especially quick and yummy with fresh pasta, but dried pasta works very nicely too. Here are the ingredients for enough to serve 4 people:

16 ounces of fettucini or linguini
8 slices of bacon or pancetta
1 cup of heavy cream
6 ounces of very finely shredded parmesan
2 egg yolks
fresh ground pepper
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup of peas (optional)

First, get the pasta water boiling. Then, in a big frying pan with tallish sides, cut up the slices of pork into about 1/2" squares and toss them in the pan to cook. I used a center cut bacon last time and it rendered a surprisingly low amount of fat. But fear not, there will be no shortage of fat in the dish! Once the pork has gotten well cooked (but not dry and crumbly!) remove all but about a tablespoon of the rendered fat. Turn the heat off--the pan is still going to remain pretty hot. Stir in about a cup of heavy cream, then the shredded parmesan and keep this mixture warm, but not sizzling hot.

Time to put the pasta in to cook. If it's fresh it won't take more than a couple of minutes. If you are adding peas, toss those in with the pasta to blanch. I don't think this dish has peas traditionally, but if you live with Andy Cleveland you put peas in just about everything.

When your pasta is practically done, whisk 2 egg yolks into the bacon-cream-parm mixture. Make sure it's warm, not boiling hot, and keep it moving so the egg yolks get incorporated. Drain and toss the hot pasta into the sauce, tossing to thoroughly coat it. The hot pasta also finishes cooking the egg yolk. What you end up with is a fairly thick sauce that really sticks to the noodles.

Transfer the pasta onto plates and garnish generously with fresh cracked pepper and chopped fresh parsley. Stop and notice how pretty it looks.

Your guests will get really quiet when they take the first bite. Then you will see eyes rolling back into sockets and you will hear groaning. Lots of groaning. Don't worry! This is all good. It just means the carbonara tastes so divine that there are no words.

If you decide to round out the meal with a salad, keep it really simple and light. Same goes for dessert--something light and fruity. Otherwise you'll have to remove your dinner guests with a crane.