Sunday, September 5, 2010

Green Eating (Mostly)

I'd like to explain that I've had a slight culinary 180 in the last few months but I'm not sure I can explain it fully myself. I had a crisis of conscience and, simply put, I won't be cooking meat anymore. Or eating it.

Now, this has actually produced a surge in my cooking since I won't run by a McDonald's for dinner anymore. My new eating habits require planning and forethought, which is one of my favorite things about cooking! The finding new recipes and making plans!

I have baked but only a little - the bran muffins I made last year, some with banana and walnut and some with pumpkin (instead of applesauce). They've been my go-to breakfast for the past couple weeks.

Mostly, though, I've been cooking. I made a spinach and mushroom veggie lasagna that combined two recipes - one vegan and one by Gia De Laurentis - that did neither justice, I'm afraid. It was a lot of ingredients and work and in the end, it came out bland. With some salt, it was decent, though.

I've been experimenting with roasting veggies and using my new rice cooker and trying to figure out tofu. It's a learning process and nothing memorable enough to blog about.

Until this, I suppose. I was looking for spinach recipes because I kind of looooooove spinach. I found this pasta from Ina Garten and it has good fats (olive oil) and veggies (spinach/peas) and I used ~fortified pasta for extra fiber/vitamins. I'm not completely sold on "fortified" products when everything says whole wheat (rice/pasta/flour) is best so just go with that. But it just tasted so yummy and was on sale. I think next time I'll just go with whole wheat but this fortified business was worth a try.

This would be a great potluck dish too!

Source: Ina Garten

3/4 pound fusilli pasta
3/4 pound bow tie pasta (I used rotini because I just love the shape)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto, packaged
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.