meatless monday: a giant pot of pasta

i want it all!!!!

i want it all!!!!

having been snowed in for almost an entire month you start looking around for activities to occupy your day, so why not cooking!! on one of my many recent days off i decided to spend the whole day fussing over a pot of sunday sauce. sunday sauce aka that american-italian tradition of starting a pot of spaghetti sauce, tweaking it and simmering it all day. now of course i have a freezer full of spicy tomato sauce! time to start making up some yummy meals with it. this meatless monday i took one of the larger containers cooked it up with tons and tons of noodles combined all that yum together and i have enough spaghetti to last me the whole week. oh i’m in pasta heaven!

"its a nice an spicy just like mama used to make"

“its a nice an spicy just like mama used to make”

 

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Dark night delights

The winter wind is howling outside the kitchen…why not howl with it?

Dark chocolate digestive cookies and a dark stout are perfect companions on a cold winters night.

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My favorite meal of last week!

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An open faced sandwich made of hard boiled egg slices, melted cheddar cheese, smears of spicy mustard and mayo, topped with spinach (all on slices of whole wheat bread).

This sandwich was so easy (and filling) it’s probably going to become a standard for when I need a quick meal that’s hardy.

When all you have to do is rinse off some veg, slice a few things and broil– it doesn’t get much easier than that!
(I hard boiled the eggs a few days earlier).

Oh, and there were some leftover malt vinegar potatoes on the side, but they were old news.

Cooking School Confidential: My Inner Hermionie and Thor the Chef

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All my life I have been the shy and quiet student. I’ve never had that “you raised your hand too much” moment , but I had it last week. It all started when my new professor/Chef generally asked if anyone had made a soufflé?

hermonie

Sigh. I stopped raising my hand after 3 questions and just pretended I hadn’t cooked, or eaten, or was excited about X, Y, and Z. Because guess what? I am excited and I love to cook and I love to eat and it’s obvious.

This is Professional Cooking 101, so we are starting  as basic as you can get: stock, chopping, sauces, scrambled eggs, etc, so I should know a thing or two about a thing or two…right?

Wrong– Do I know why I dice my veg when chopping? No. Do I even dice my veg? No. Do I heat up my saute pan before putting the oil in? No. And that is just the tip of the giant KitchenAid Mixer.

Our Chef is focused on thinking well to create well (he also loves hip-hop and England) so he’s coming from a good, “food is love” place, which is important to me since it’s the foundation of who I am as a home cook.

This week we watched these fantastic videos from the MAD (A community of chefs, cooks and farmers with an appetite for knowledge) that I had never heard of before. They are all on-line and free http://www.madfood.co/videos/ . With so many interesting food people and topics I’ve never really thought about  (like foraging) on the symposium list, I know I’ll have a lot to watch on my lunch breaks for a while. So check it out.

The one by Mangus Nelson, a Swedish Chef, who grows all his own food at in an arctic climate was fascinating if you garden (and he reminded me of “Thor” the Chef if there was a Thor the Chef). Wiley Dufresne (Top Chef guest judge) talked about the how and why  cooking and it made me want to eat at his restaurant in New York.

I’ve only been to two cooking classes so far and I am so excited to be in a room with sincere, liked-minded food people, that I can’t go to sleep when I get home.

I know once the actual cooking starts next week, I’ll be so exhausted that going to sleep won’t be a problem, but until then it’s a little like Christmas.

vegan macaroni pie….hey it’s a recipe

when i lived in knoxville, there was a great scottish pub. little did i know that the scots like everything ala pie, my kind of people. one of the more decadent pies to select from was a macaroni pie. now with various allergies, the real shabang is out of the question so i created a vegan version. dudes enjoy……and raise a pint to the macaroni pie!

how can you go wrong when there is pie crust involved

how can you go wrong when there is pie crust involved

RECIPE: VEGAN MACARONI PIE

serves 4

DOUGH

2.5 cups flour

1/2 cup ice cold water

1 cup vegan butter or all vegetable shortening

1/8 cup applesauce

1 TBSP vodka

MACARONI AND CHEESE

4 cups macaroni noodles

3 cups shredded diaya cheddar cheese

1/2 cup dairy free sour cream or plain yogurt

1 TBSP nutritional yeast

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 TBSP ground mustard

1/2 tsp black pepper

3 TBSP soy or almond milk

olive oil for coating

*set oven to 375 F

* cook macaroni according to package directions, while macaroni noodles are cooking start on your pie dough

*in a large mixing bowl combine flour and butter, the butter needs to be cut into the flour, you do this by using a pastry cutter or forks, cut the butter into the flour until it forms crumbles. mix in applesauce and vodka, use a wooden spoon to mix till dough becomes moist. gradually add in ice cold water, you may not need it all, only add enough till the dough is slightly sticky and is not dry and crumbly. pie dough works best when it’s at room temp!

* when noodles are cooked and drained mix in the rest of the mac & cheese ingredients together with the noodles. stir till nice and creamy, helps to get this effect if the noodles are still nice and hot when you start mixing them.

* oil 4 pot pie pans with a small amount of olive oil, don’t want nothing stickin! roll your dough as if you were making a full size pie. about 18 inches in circumference and 1/4 in thick. cut the rolled dough into four equal squares.

* scoop 1 cup of mac & cheese into each of the pot pie pans. next place one dough square on top of the pie pans filled with mac & cheese. sculpt the extra dough around the edges inward to form the pie crust edge. brush on olive oil on top of pie crust to help it brown

*bake for 25 minutes until crust becomes golden