Last Week I Cooked…

Baked pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage. I come home later on Mondays so I ended up putting this together on Sunday night. I did everything but heat the pasta in the oven and it held over perfectly. I used chicken sausage instead of pork because I wanted something lighter (as much lighter as a baked pasta dish full of cheese can be…), which it was, but I would prefer Italian pork sausage otherwise. The bechamel is a bit of work, but it is mostly being attentive and whisking while everything else boils. This was a big hit at dinner, and even reappeared as breakfast later in the week.

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal MattersRoasted cauliflower and lentil salad. I left out the cinnamon, ginger, and dates here, and swapped kale for the arugula. Instead of letting everything cool and then tossing the salad, I tossed the hot cauliflower and lentils with the kale so it would wilt a bit and be easier to eat (with great success). I wanted a little extra acid, so I squeezed another half a lemon on the finished salad. It was filling and absurdly healthy, a perfect counterpoint to the pasta full of cheese from the previous night.

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal MattersRice bowls with avocado, mango, and green sauce. I intended to use a green mango I had but didn’t give it enough time to ripen, so I resorted to frozen mango. I sauteed the onion and then added the cooked black beans and their liquid, and let it simmer enough so the black beans thickened. Then I added a teaspoon of white vinegar and some salt. The green sauce and a few dashes of Tapatio made this into the easiest weeknight dinner.

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal MattersI made extra rice for the burrito bowls and intended to make it into fried rice.  But there didn’t end up being as much leftover rice as I hoped and there were way more leftover black beans than I intended, so dinner changed course to be “everything in the fridge that could go on a tortilla.” There was some leftover squash from a week ago, leftover buffalo tofu, lettuce, avocado, salsa, and I made some small salads from the cucumber, cherry tomato, cilantro, red onion and cider vinegar. All the leftovers in the fridge were used up and everyone was happy. WIN WIN.

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal MattersI’ve kept up my sourdough making and this time I tried adding oats, which my sister warned me would disappear in the bread and she was right. But it still makes excellent toast with butter and honey, or avocado. I also made a few breakfast burritos with black beans, scrambled eggs, and whatever else I found in the fridge.

A few extra things to read this week. After reading Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper I’ve been on a constant hunt for (and creator of) Sichuan food. Pete Wells wrote about a restaurant this week that I want to go to right now: “Corn kernels stir-fried with pine nuts are strangely easy to get along with.” And the Piglet started this week!! I took out Brooks’ book from the library after he won the Piglet last year and I have to admit it didn’t grab me. But it was unlike any cookbook I’ve ever read and he was a great pick for judging the first Piglet round. I loved that he took on two cookbooks so different from his own style, tested them with his restaurant staff, and compared similar recipes from both cookbooks. Looking forward to the rest!

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