Pasta Primavera

28 03 2012

I have become a gym rat. Not an over-committed, beefed-up zoomba nutzo, but I frequent the gym 3-4 times a week, in my first real attempt to get in shape. I have finally realized that you cannot eat your way to good health. You actually have to move sometimes. Ugghhhhhh.

So with some encouragement from my boyfriend, who just ran his first 5k this weekend, I went for a run. I’ve used an elliptical and a treadmill, but I have never put foot to pavement and gone for a real run. It started off…weird. Am I running towards something? Is someone chasing me? I became extremely self-conscious that every car that drove by knew I was an out-of-shape ass going on her first jog. Hands over mouths, stifling laughter, pointing, confident in their perfect physique.

I ran on. A mile and a half. Felt great afterwards. Alive, even. Day after, dead. I feel like I’m in the initial stages of Lou Gehrigs disease. Like literally, I cannot lift my legs.

UPDATE: Day after running and not being able to move legs, I wake up in the middle of the night with a 100 degree fever and an awesome case of night terrors/violent shivers.

Conclusion: Running is either terrible for the body or it purged some sort of demon inside of me. If I feel great tomorrow, then the latter is true. If I don’t feel better, then I give up and it’s donuts for breakfast because apparently exercise is pure evil.

I suppose I should talk about food now. This cookbook was a Christmas present from my parents during my first year of vegetarianism. Though it’s all pretty simple stuff, it’s still one of my favorites, mainly for the pictures. I love this primavera because it is packed full of veggies and doesn’t make you feel too guilty about eating a bowl full of pasta with cream sauce.

Pasta Primavera
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies

1 tb. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed & cut into 3-in. pieces
1 medium zucchini, sliced and halved
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup lowfat milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
3 tbs. fresh basil, chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. hot cooked fettuccine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.

Add the asparagus, zucchini, and mushrooms, cover and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, or until the asparagus is bright green and tender.

Add the milk, broth, and basil and cook over high heat until the liquid boils. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add the peas and scallions. Simmer for 1 minute.

Add the salt and pepper, and then add the pasta and cheese, tossing until the ingredients are well mixed. Serve immediately topped with a little more Parmesan.





Stuffed Artichokes

23 03 2011

These artichokes were the last thing I was able to eat before my body wildy descended into being ravaged by The Flu. And that is where I sit now. Couch-ridden. Finally able to sit up enough to wield a laptop. I’m one who rarely gets sick. I know a lot of people say that, but it’s true! I never get sick. I get hungover, I have asthma sometimes, but I never get sick enough to wake up in the middle of the night, shaking, not sure whether my nightmares are real or not. But here we are.

Thankfully, I was able to stay conscious through dinner and enjoy a giant stuffed artichoke with potato and onion gratin on the side. They’re an effort to get through, but worth every bite. Every creamy, lemon-laced bite. It’s like eating a huge blooming flower. Stuffed with ricotta! How the hell could I have gotten sick after such a satisfying dinner?? Oh well, I’ll retreat back into my blankets now.

Here’s Che during his heroin binge.

Stuffed Artichokes
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

1/4 cup sliced almonds
Juice of 1 lemon
4 artichokes
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbs. flat-leaf parsley, minced
1 tb. olive oil
1 1/2 oz. butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350. And bake the almonds on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn!

2. Remove any tought outer leaves from the artichokes. Cut across the artichoke, about 1 1/4 inches from the top, then trim the stalks, leaving about 1/4 in. attached.

3. Combine the almonds, ricotta, garlic, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, Parmesan and parsley in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Gently separate the artichoke leaves and push the filling in between them.

4. Place the artichokes in a steamer and drizzle with the olive oil. Steam for 25-30 minutes, or until tender. Remove and cook under a broiler for about 5 minutes to brown the filling.

5. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Arrange the artichokes on a serving platter, drizzle with the lemon butter, season well and serve.





Linguine with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Artichokes

13 01 2011

 

 

We’ve moved in to the new house! It came with a giant cat and a giant kitchen. I love it and will upload some pictures shortly.

So one of my ways of balancing meals while living with an omnivore is to let him pick a recipe that sounds good for both of us out of one of my cookbooks. He chose this one and I damn near died. Cilantro. I want to go on a cilantro murder spree. Uprooting plants, digging my heels into the dirt, laughing maniacally. Hate it hate it hate it. But I didn’t want to spend forever scrounging through more recipes, so I settled. Bought cilantro. And on the verge of puking, made a pesto out of it.

Then I got the biggest shock of my life. I liked it. I fucking looooved it. It’s not overly cilantro-ish. It’s creamy and fresh-tasting. And mixed with the sweet onions and salty artichokes, this recipe is absolutely crave-able. So fuck you cilantro. You mess with my head.

Linguine with Basil-Cilantro Pesto & Artichokes
Adapted from Veganomicon

1/2 lb. linguine (I used spinach linguine)
2 tbs. olive oil
1 red onion, cut into thin half-moons
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbs. water
1/2 tsp. salt
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe Basil-Cilantro Pesto (see below)
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and cut into quarters (don’t use the kind that comes in oil. Just the plain tin cans in brine work fine)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta. Once you’ve added the pasta to the water, proceed with the recipe.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion in the olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more. Add the water, salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two. Lower the heat. At this point, the pasta should be done. Don’t drain it. Use a set of tongs to transfer it to the pan in batches. This works better because you can use the pasta water to thin out the pesto. When you add a batch of pasta, add a bit of pesto too, and stir to coat, adding splashes of pasta water if neccesary.

Add the artichoke hearts and toss to coat. Cook over low heat for about 3 minutes, or until the artichokes are heated through. Serve!

Basil-Cilantro Pesto

2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/3 cup slivered almonds or walnut pieces
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup olive oil

Place the basil, cilantro, nuts, garlic, lemon, and salt in a food processor or blender and blend until pasty, scraping down the sides as you go. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend until smooth.