Saturday, July 09, 2005

A Winner of a Dinner

Tonight's dinner was one of those culinary marvels where everything goes exactly according to plan. The meal featured whole wheat pasta with a chunky sauce (onions, garlic scapes, yellow split peas, the last remnants of a salsa jar, chopped black olives and tomato sauce), focaccio bread with black olives and fresh basil, and steamed kale with fennel/basil vinagrette.

It was just the right mix of colors and flavors. It was also super simple. I started the sauce about an hour and fifteen minutes before the meal by sauteeing the onion and garlic, adding the yellow split peas and water, and simmering for about 45 minutes. When the peas were tender, I added the remaining ingredients and let simmer for another half hour.

The focaccio bread was made from a piece of the pizza dough that I was defrosting for tomorrow. I finely chopped black olives and fresh basil and just kneaded them into the dough. I sprnkled garlic powder on top and let rise for 15 minutes before baking.

The kale was just cut off the stalks into a microwave safe bowl, the vinagrette poured on top and microwaved for about 4 minutes.

This time of year I really try to make my meals revolve around the produce we get from our CSA. It helps me avoid waste. That's why I used garlic scapes rather than regular garlic. It was just what I had on hand. This is also why we used a fennel and basil vinagrette and kale. These were all things we had picked up earlier in the week. Over the years I've gotten much better at learning what can be substituted for what without destroying a recipe. It is one of the most useful frugal culinary skills to have.

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