Thursday, August 25, 2005

poor timing for cooking projects

Aw, what was I thinking? I just spent half an hour washing a sinkfull of dishes, and what did I think when the kitchen was clean? "Hooray! Room to cook something!" That feeling, coupled with a lack of something interesting to take for lunch tomorrow, prompted a quick pasta salad throw-together of available ingredients. With very happy results. Here goes:

1. Cook some small shaped whole grain pasta in salted water until tender. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Shake it about for a bit to remove most of the excess water.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl (if you have one with a lid, even better -- no transport needed to a plastic container when you're through mixing up the salad!) make a simple vinaigrette: few good shakes of red wine vinegar, juice of one lemon, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, fresh garlic if you have it (which I didn't -- crisis! -- I used garlic powder instead,) and extra virgin olive oil. Whisk well to combine.
3. Add the pasta with half a large cucumber, sliced and quartered, a 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes (well drained,) a can of quartered artichoke hearts (again, well drained,) about a cup of cooked white beans, and 3 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled roughly with your fingers. Use a spatula to toss it all together -- and a magic thing happens! The goat cheese just sort of falls apart (I don't quite know why,) and creates this delicious, creamy sauce. I tasted a small bite . . . heaven!

I love it when food magic happens. Off to do the dishes (again!)

P.S. I made pancakes and a fantabulous blueberry sauce to go over them last night! Sauce was VERY easy: plop 1 small bag of frozen blueberries into a saucepot. Add a couple good sized squirts of honey, a shake of cinnamon, and the juice of half a lemon. Bring to a high simmer. Spoon out some of the blueberry liquid (maybe a half cup?) into a small dish and cool slightly. Combine this liquid with about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, then stir the cornstarch mixture back into the pot. Bring the blueberries to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens up. Dump a big spoonful over pancakes (even better when you put a layer of peanut butter in-between them!) and dig in! (This might also make a nice dessert/ice cream sauce -- angel food cake, pound cake, shortcakes, it would even be great mixed in with some vanilla yogurt and granola!)

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