I spent all day yesterday working on it and when I finally decided that I needed to pry myself away from the computer all I felt like doing was cooking.
So I did.
I decided to pull out one of my new cookbooks! It’s called The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook: 350 Essential Recipes for Inspired Everyday Eating by Jack Bishop. Alan bought me this for Christmas and I am in love with it! Not only is it an Italian cookbook (Italian food being my favourite type of food) but it’s one of the few all-vegetarian cookbooks that doesn’t rely on excessive amounts of tofu and soy-based products (like tempeh or seitan). This book only relies on good, clean, natural ingredients and none of them require a lot of ingredients. Another great feature of this book is that the author has actually scaled back on the fat and calories without advertising it and suggests recipe pairings for each recipe in the book. And the recipes are so mouthwatering that I set out to bookmark some potentials and ended up just tossing my sticky notes because I wanted to make everything!
Last week I made the spinach and gorgonzola ziti which was hearty and delicious but seeing as Alan and I are both in need of a holiday detox I decided to go for lighter fare last night. I decided on the Spring Stew with Fennel, Asparagus and Peas and to pair it, I made the Mashed Potatoes with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes. Finally, for some protein, I tried out Angela’s Ultimate Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf !
Yup. I was ambitious!
First I had to dehydrate the tomatoes. The books suggests the oven but seeing as I have this awesome birthday gift in the basement, I couldn’t pass up a chance to use my dehydrator! I sliced and popped the tomatoes in around noon for a late dinner.
I must be learning because this was one of the first times that I managed to time everything perfectly and all three dishes were ready/cooled and ready at the same time!
First thing, the bad news: the mashed potatoes weren’t all that great. We followed directions but they just didn’t taste very flavourful, just tomatoey.
But good news trumps the bad! The soup turned out really nice! I had to substitute a few things however. The grocery store didn’t have any fennel so I used bok choy (I know, totally different than fennel) and grape tomatoes instead of plum tomatoes but everything else was the same and it tastes nice and fresh and just what we needed after a month of indulgences.
The second good news is that Angela’s Lentil Walnut Loaf was really lovely! I’m not really a meatloafy type of person but I wanted something with a lot of protein and I had just about all the ingredients she used. The only real difference was that I didn’t have any apple butter for the glaze so I substituted it for a mix of vegan margarine and about 1tsp of pomegranate jelly and it turned into a really nice glaze! Alan thought it was amazing!
And no, I don’t think there’s a great way to photograph a “loaf” whether it be meat or otherwise. Poor brown, you lost when it comes to pretty colours…
There will most likely be no more cooking until this weekend! It’s easy pasta, take out or whatever Alan decides to make ’cause this girl’s got some school work to finish!