Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Further Cause for Cooking

I have two new inventions to share.

The first was inspired by the overwhelming heat and humidity of last week, and the unveiling of a new drink at Starbucks (you're gonna charge me $6 for that, buddy??!)

The second is a tribute to the wonderfully sensuous texture of meat sauce. But without the meat. Now why, you might ask, would a person who's never claimed to be a vegetarian go out of her way to make a meatless meaty-sauce? Good question. My response: I'm not sure! But I can tell you this: I've steered clear of meat almost entirely for the past 3 months, not out of any conscious decision, just cause I haven't felt like it. (well, there are some environmental reasons that factor in, but why complicate things now?) So slap me with whatever label you'd like. (And if you must, I have a personal preference for "vegequarian" - credit goes to my friend Zahra for that one) Anyway, I enjoy this stuff with spiral whole wheat pasta - like rotini! Or fusilli!

So here goes:

Choco-Banana Smoothie:

- 8 oz. (half package) of silken tofu
- 1 frozen banana
- a few heaping tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
- a blender/food processor

I'll leave it to you to figure out the rest, brainiac. This stuff works in a cup or a bowl. But I'd go with a big ceramic mug if I were you. A spoon is definitely a must.

Garlicky "Meat" Sauce

- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves - 1/2 head of crushed garlic (I prefer the more intense side of the garlic continuum)
- a few healthy shakes of crushed red pepper flakes (Turkish chili, if you have it)
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes (with liquid)
- 1/2 - 2/3 cup ground almonds (food processor does the trick)
- 8 oz. (half package) silken tofu
- 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
- salt

Saute the garlic and red pepper flakes in the olive oil over medium-low for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes, liquid and all, and raise heat to medium. Stir frequently, about 10 mins. Add the ground almonds and the silken tofu, and mix well. If you're adding peas, add them now also. Lower the heat and simmer for another 15 minutes or so, and season with salt to taste. Serve over shapely pasta right away, or store in the fridge or freezer for later. This stuff gets ridiculously flavorful after a few days in the fridge. Plus, if you feel like having a cooking bonanza (and aren't vegan), mix the sauce in a baking dish with egg-coated cooked pasta, sprinkle the top with cheese, and bake for about 30 mins at 400 degrees F, until the top is golden.


Luna said...

what do you mean about egg-coated cooked pasta? you mean tossing the pasta in raw egg? i'm going to have to get some of this silken tofu...

Evie said...

Yup, you mix cooked pasta with a couple of beaten eggs and mix it with the other stuff to bake it into a casserole!