Monthly Archives: May 2012

Polenta and grilled veggies

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Look at that picture? Is your mouth watering? It should be. If it’s not, you might have dry mouth, which could be a result of numerous things. Are you taking any new medications. Have you recently partaken in MJ, do you have candida? Anyway, your mouth SHOULD be watering over this picture because it’s delicious. And you want to make it. Now. Not now, if it’s like 4 in the morning, but now as in ,your next meal that you grocery shop for. I told you guys last time about my love of pasta and some sort of sauce. Well, this is pretty similar. And amazing. Have I told you guys yet that this is delicious and you should make it? Well, here is the recipe to do just that.

Polenta and grilled veggies.

1 pkg quick polenta
3 yellow squash, quartered and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 bell peppers, any color, sliced and deseeded. I used yellow and orange.
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Some type of sauce. I used my leftover roasted red pepper sauce from my last post, but just regular tomato would be great, or pesto, or whatever, just a sauce.

1. Cook polenta according to directions on package.
2. Combine vegetables, garlic, spices, vinegar and olive oil in a 9X12 pan to coat and marinate.
3. Place veggies on a grill to cook until tender. If you don’t have a grill, you can roast in the oven at 400 degrees for this step.
4. While veggies are cooking and after polenta is cooked on stove top according to package, drain some of the veggie marinade, leaving dish coated in veggie oil and minced garlic. evenly spread cooked polenta and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or until firm. Remove from oven.
5. Remove veggies from grill. Cut polenta into small squares. Assemble dinner by placing polenta on plate with a tablespoon or more of desired sauce and lots of veggies.

Enjoy. It’s so good.

On another note, I thought I would discuss things I go through rather quickly, and you should too. 1st. Olive oil. It’s perfect. It’s delicious. It’s wonderful to roast, grill, or saute vegetables. It’s also a phenomenal dipping sauce. Find a good extra virgin olive oil and stock up. I go through it so fast I should own stock. 2nd. Garlic. If you aren’t already peeling and chopping your own garlic, you should be. Anecdotal story. I used to previously buy pre-minced garlic. After I read Kitchen Confidential, and Anthony Bourdain told me if I wasn’t peeling and chopping my own garlic, I didn’t deserve it, I started buying it by the bulbs. I loved chopping my own garlic, but I hated peeling it. It was such a pain. I knew I had to be doing something wrong, and sure enough I was. I had mentioned to my friend, the one who dared me to go vegan, that I hated peeling garlic and she asked if I was crushing it first, and I said no. She said it’s much easier to peel once you hit it with something hard, so I tried it, and she was not a liar. And I haven’t looked back since. I use on average 3-4 cloves of garlic a day and what I smack it with always changes. It could be my metal or glass measuring cups, it could be the heel of my hand against my big knife, it could even be my wine or olive oil bottle. It doesn’t matter. But smacking the hell out of garlic and then chopping it into fine submission is incredibly satisfying. Almost as good as de glazing a pan, or very close to it.

Also, this dinner makes amazing leftovers. I threw a piece of polenta on the grill with a few slices of tomato and it was so, so good.

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Howdy y’all!

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This may come as quite a shock, but I am still alive. It’s been a tumultuous past two months, and I moved to Texas. Texas! What? How can one be vegan in Texas? In the interest of full disclosure, I am sure many can be vegan in Texas, but I haven’t been. I have been vegetarian. I went back on the cheese, and am having a hard time giving it up again. I told you this would be a haphazard journey. Anyway, Texas is interesting, and muggy, and buggy. I have been cooking up a storm, but to keep the integrity of my blog’s title, I will only post the vegan recipes I make. Last nights was Roasted Red Pepper Marinara with Penne. And it was good. I love pasta with a tomato sauce. It’s one of my comfort foods. It was always the dinner I requested as a kid for my birthday. I make it a lot, and love when I can try something different. This is really tasty, and has a really good flavor compared to other marinaras. My camera was doing weird stuff last night, so I couldn’t get a picture before all the delicious liquid started oozing on my plate, so it’s not as pretty as it could have been, but it was tasty.

Roasted Red Pepper Marinara Sauce with Penne

2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups coarsely chopped roasted red peppers (you can be lazy and buy bottled, or you can be amazing, and roast your own. I’ll tell you how)
1 tbsp dried basil
3/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
6 cups hot cooked penne (about 3 cups uncooked)

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in large sauce pan or dutch oven, over medium/high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until tender. Add bell peppers and the remaining ingredients, omitting the penne and last tbsp olive oil. Bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add last tbsp olive oil. Now here is where you can decide if you want this really chunky, or saucy. I wanted saucy, so I put about 3/4s of the sauce in a blender and then combined it all. You can leave it whole, mashed it up, or blend the whole thing. Your choice. Serve over penne and enjoy.

How to roast red peppers

2 red peppers, stems removed, and washed.

You can either do this in the oven, or onĀ  your grill. I do it on the grill because I live in freaking Texas and it’s hot as hell here, and I don’t want to heat up my house anymore than necessary. So turn on your grill, or oven, to around 425 degrees. Place peppers directly on grate. Turn occasionally until the outside is all black and charred looking. Place peppers in a paper bag and allow to cool. Then peel all the burnt skin off of the peppers and discard the skin. What you have left is delicious roasted red peppers. Mmmm.