Wednesday, August 11, 2010

3 (courses) for 1

When I have the time, I really enjoy drawing out a meal as long as possible. It just feels better when I take a special moment to enjoy each bite, and after too, when I'm not overstuffed or still hungry with an empty plate. In my experience, there are two sure-fire ways to extend one's mealtime. First, eat with friends. The more talking you're doing in between bites, the slower you're eating! Second, serve multiple courses. Some might feel this latter tip only works when the former is also in use, but I think it's fun to make fancy meals just for myself.

Vegan Antipasti

I made a three-course dinner for one this past weekend. As a small antipasto, I was a bit daring and decided to splash some avocado chunks and capers with balsamic vinegar before cracking some fresh salt and pepper over top. Extra simple, but a nice blend of sweet and salty flavors with the creaminess of the avocado.

Creamy Elbows with Peas and Walnuts

Next, enjoyed one of the most comforting dishes I know with some classy French flare:

Creamy Elbow Pasta with Peas and Walnuts
serves 4, great for leftovers

1 box elbow pasta (I used GF quinoa pasta), prepared according to package directions
4 tablespoons Earth Balance
1 shallot, minced
2 cups frozen green peas
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup shelled walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
s&p to taste

Make pasta, drain and set aside while the shallots saute gently in a large skillet with the Earth Balance. Once the shallots begin to soften, add the peas, rosemary and walnuts. Continue sauteing over medium heat.

Once the flavors have melded a bit, add the almond milk and nooch and stir until they form a creamy sauce. Taste for s&p. Toss pasta and sauce in a large bowl and serve warm.

Dessert was a hunk of my new favorite chocolate bar, ALTER ECO's Dark Twist Chocolate. It's very dark and rich, with little slivers of crystallized orange in every bite. UGHH YUM, I wish I had some right now. I highly recommend it. And cooking for oneself every now and then. Celebrate yourself! :)

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