Monday, June 9, 2008

An Old Favorite (and a new one too!!)

Tonight I made an old favorite of ours. This simple pasta dish is perfect for busy nights, and light enough for a hot evening. The temperatures have been soaring out of control this past week, and we haven't felt like eating much.....which works to my advantage, since I haven't felt like cooking much!! Anyway, I decided it was time to get some real food on the table, but again, the heat really drains the cooking energy, ya know.

This pasta couldn't be easier. Start by cooking your pasta as directed. I recommend penne rigate for this recipe, but any short pasta would do. When your pasta is nearly finished heat 3 Tbs of olive oil over medium-high heat. Mince 6 cloves of garlic and drop them in the hot oil, along with about 10 whole basil leaves. Cook for a few seconds until garlic and basil begin to sizzle. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add one 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes with about half of their juice. Add cooked pasta and simmer until heated through. Serve drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil.

I served the pasta with a simple side of baby spinach drizzled with olive oil as well, along with a baguette from Blue Dog Bakery. The girls devoured this pasta. They either really, really liked it, or they were extremely happy that mommy started cooking again!

For dessert I made another version of my "nice" cream (remember: my name for cruelty free ice cream!!). Tonight I made Mint Chocolate Chip. This is a new favorite!! This flavor got lots of praise from everyone. The peppermint flavor was just right, and was not overpowered by additional sweeteners. I intended to make the finished product green, but they wanted $16.99 for a box of 4 small natural food colorings at the store, so I opted to leave the ice-cream white!!

Mint Chocolate Chip "Nice" Cream

1/2 of a 12 oz package of firm silken tofu (I use Mori Nu brand)

1 cup Silk soy creamer

1/2 cup Soy Dream Vanilla soy milk

1 tsp Peppermint Extract

2 Tbs Brown Rice Syrup

Green food coloring (optional)

1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

In a food processor combine all ingredients up to chocolate chips and pulse until tofu is smooth. Refrigerate for several hours to chill. Freeze in ice cream freezer following manufacturers directions. When ice cream is nearly frozen add chocolate chips while paddles are still churning.

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