Dec 9, 2010

roasted tomatoes and olives pasta

You know you've crossed some sort of fast-food, canned-soup, frozen-meals border when your teen is demanding a home cooked meal. I have been admittedly reluctant to reenter the kitchen since the MoFo and last week's Teen Dance we hosted. I made so much food that David and I wound up buying a freezer. Okay, so it was an excuse, but it is certainly helpful to have the extra space.

Without hesitation, my daughter wanted Pasta Puttanesca, my son wanted Pasta with Spaghetti Sauce and the youngest one was craving Mama's Bean Soup. Since I felt a wee-bit guilty at my laziness, I granted all of them their meal choices - something I do not typically do and do not recommend anyone do so either. Bad habit.

Tonight it wasn't too much of a stress though. I had a 2# container of cherry tomatoes and a wonderful jar of olives sitting in the fridge (the olives, not the tomatoes). I roasted the tomatoes on 450 until they got a little charred and released their juices. I tossed them with crushed red pepper, olives, pasta and some of the reserved pasta water.

Good tip: always reserve a cup of the pasta water in case your dish needs some more liquid. The starch in the water also helps to thicken the sauce.

Traditional Puttanesca contains capers and anchovies as well, but I know my kids didn't want the extra pungency (replace the anchovies with some miso when you toss it all together), so I skipped the capers and miso. In other words, this isn't a typical Puttanesca but instead a very easy, very delicious, very quick weeknight meal.
 A great way to get back in the kitchen.

Cost Breakdown

pasta: $2
tomatoes: $4
olives: $2
Total to make 4 servings:

Dec 5, 2010


The holidays can either be wonderful or a setback. When first having gone veg, this is probably one of the more difficult times since the gatherings with families can place strain on the new diet. Your little Tofurkey looks more like an afterthought than a centerpiece, and a turkey or ham can dominate the table.

That is, unless you actually have a contending centerpiece.

The dish that this Holiday Seitan Roast is in is a normal-sized casserole dish - 9X13. This is not a small roast. It has a beautiful glaze and you can see the texture is moist and lovely. We enjoyed this roast on Thanksgiving, but it is an appropriate addition to any holiday table. It is made using a variation of Tofu-Seitan (which I will be posting) and requires the same amount of cooking time as a turkey would, although it needs no brine.

The Truffle Green Bean Casserole is an upscale version of a regular green bean casserole, but I couldn't stand another holiday with the same old green beans. This is one of those dishes that the holidays would not be the same without, yet needed a revamping. I made it with porcini mushrooms and truffle oil.

Lastly, is the Yule Log Cake. This is made with the same cake batter that I made for Olive Garden's Tiramisu, but baked the batter in a sheet pan and rolled it around a cocoa-cream cheese filling. The frosting is a chocolate ganache. This is tricky to roll and fill, but I love its looks.

The holiday recipes are coming; I am also trying to catch up with the MoFo recipes, so stay tuned.


Holiday Roast

Truffle Green Bean Casserole

Yule Log Cake

RECIPE UPDATE FOR HOLIDAY ROAST : this dish has been tested and revised is featured in the cookbook "Everyday Vegan Eats," by Zsu Dever.