Monday, November 20, 2006

Foodie Blog Urges

So here's what cooled me off after the whole boobs on a plane rage. We went for a walk to the library and discovered the Santa Claus parade. Now for a ba-humbug confession: I don't like the Santa Claus parade. I don't think I did as a kid either. It's so cold, standing there waiting for Santa, and most of the floats are kinda lame. The local organizations and bands are sweet, but really it's not worth the cold, in my opinion.

At this year's parade, I overheard spectators saying this:

"Too many ambulances, too little Santa."


"Where the fuck is Santa? Brrrrr..."

Afterwards as the spectators trudged home on the sore ice-blocks in their boots: "That was a long one, wasn't it?"

But for all my ba-humbugging, this one did make me laugh. I don't know what it had to do with Santa though.

This one too...

Last week on Breakfast TV I discovered another good reason, besides the cold, to dislike the Santa Claus parade. It was sponsored by Eaton's as a great big mile-and-a-half-long marketing ploy. This tradition was well represented at Guelph's Santa Claus parade:

A local radio station

Our local grocery chain (not even trying to be festive)

* * *

I made dinner after we got home and after I posted. And, since I've been having food blog urges, I'm going to tell you all about it. Although we have been ordering takeout with obscene frequency lately, we love home-cooked meals.

The recipe I used to cook tonight's dinner was given to me by a woman I work with after her friend made it for her. I figured I'd better see if I could find a source online, so as to avoid copyright infringement. Plus, it would be nice not to have to type out all the measurements and stuff. And lo and behold, there it is. Apparently it's an Emeril recipe. I never like watching him 'cause he uses too much meat and the bam bam stuff just annoys me. Oh, and the oohing and aahing audience. That's annoying too.

But this is actually a great vegetarian recipe, IMHO. Just in case you don't feel like clicking over, here it is, with my own notes:

1 pound fusilli or penne (I use farfelle, the bowties)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped red bell peppers (I just use two peppers, and I slice them lengthwise, 'cause I think it looks purty)
1 cup chopped yellow onions (I just use one medium)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional... I just shake some in 'til it looks right)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 cups vegetable stock, or canned vegetable broth (I've also just used water when I don't have stock and it was fine)
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
8 ounces fresh baby spinach, rinsed well and stems removed (I just use a bunch of big spinach)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I don't do this part)
2 tablespoons heavy cream (sometimes I just use milk)
1/2 cup cubed mozzarella (I don't bother with the mozzeralla, I just like triple the asiago)
1/2 cup grated asiago (I just grate a big pile)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. (I add the chili flakes and a bay leaf or two to flavour the oil now.) Add the bell peppers and onions, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes (I add the peppers just before the garlic). Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the vegetable stock and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 5 minutes, and almost all the broth is gone. Crush the peas lightly with the back of a spoon against the side of the pot (I use a potato masher against the bottom; it's easier on my wrists than a spoon against the side). Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss well to coat. Adjust seasoning, to taste. Add the extra-virgin olive oil (I don't add the oil here), cream, and cheeses, and toss to combine. (I adjust seasoning after the cheese because the first time I made it with too much salt.)

Divide the pasta among serving plates and serve immediately. (Duh! Is this instruction really necessary?)

Ooh, and notice the orange plate on which this yummy food sits... I love our new orange and oatmeal dishes. Except, I've noticed that I kind of ignore the oatmeal dishes. I love the orange dishes so much, I've gotten greedy. When I make Sugar Daddy a cup of tea or put something on a plate, I always give him the oatmeal dishes and keep the orange for myself.

Also, my sister-in-law gave me this fantastic recipe for banana bread, which I made a couple of weeks ago. She made us some right after Swee'pea was born and it was just what the doctor ordered. I have no idea where she got the recipe from but it's great! I just followed her instructions exactly.

(pre-new dishes)

Banana Oat Loaf

1/2 c butter or marg
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c rolled oats
1/2 c hot water
1 c mashed bananas (3-4, the riper the better)
3/4 c chopped nuts(optional)
2 eggs beaten
2 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (I usually reduce this a bit)
I add chocolate chips as well (3/4 c-1 c? I just eyeball it)

Place soft butter, sugar, oats, hot water, mashed bananas and nuts in large bowl. Stir until well blended. Add beaten eggs. Beat until well blended. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt; add to first mixture all at once and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.(if desired) Spoon evenly into greased loaf pan. (9 x 5 x 3 inch)

Bake at 350 degrees about 65 minutes or until done.

Remove from loaf pan, cool on rack. Let stand for a few hours before slicing (If you can wait that long).

If you decide to try any of these recipes, let me know how you like them.


banana said...

FYI - Emeril also has a really great vegetarian chili recipe with lots of portobello mushrooms - very meaty (without the meat!)

ps (portobello can also be portabella - wasn't sure of the spelling!!!)

ewe are here said...

Yum, banana bread. I actually use the recipe from the Magic Spoon cookbook, a children's cookbook, for banana bread, but this recipe sounds really worth a try. ;-)

nomotherearth said...

Now, I'm hungry. I'm going to have to try that Banana Loaf recipe. I'm sure mine won't look half as fabulous as that one, though.

cinnamon gurl said...

Banana: I keep meaning to try Rachel Ray's suggestion of adding a can of refried beans to chili... I'll have a look at Emeril's recipe.

I've seen portobella but I still spell it portobello myself.

nomo: Wow, what a compliment. I'm not a baker at all but it was really good. I've baked like 5 times in the last 5-10 years.

cinnamon gurl said...

Hey ewe, (I've been dying to say that ever since you started commenting here) it is totally worth a try!

jen said...

chef cin. yum. my mouth is watering now.