Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Culinary Aspirations

After my trip to the east coast and finding out about a plant-based gourmet institute, I have been excited to cook every single little thing. Tonight I made an (all organic of course) sun-dried tomato polenta grilled in a rosemary infused olive oil. I topped the bowl with grilled pepper-jack (Daiya Brand) sourdough breadsicles. On the side I had a spinach and strawberry salad. Usually I eat polenta with a jar of some basil marinara, but after seeing that organic sauce costs $7.99, I decided to make my own. I've never really made a marinara or tomato sauce, but my boyfriend loves his sauces, so I took a shot at it. Read on to experience my food adventure!

I started by peeling 8 cloves of garlic and dicing them up with my chef's knife. I then poured a few tablespoons of olive oil into a pot and placed the diced garlic into a pot. Onions costed 3.99 each today (crazy I know!) so I used a couple tablespoons of onion powder in the garlic and oil. I cut the ends off of plum tomatoes that I bought last night for a tofu scramble and snacking, and placed them into the garlic oil. I opened a can of tomato paste and put in two heaping spoons of it into the simmering pot. After the main ingredients, that I made up as I went, I added fresh sea salt and ground pepper. I mixed it all up and put a lid on it.

I heated up my H2O Non-stick pan with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, garlic pepper, onion powder, and rosemary. After it was nice and hot, I placed it on medium heat to stay there. I sliced the sun-dried tomato polenta into 1/4'' slices (one quarter inch). For two people, I cut 10 slices (5 each) and placed them in the oil that was nicely seasoned with the herbs and spices. I let them cook while the sauce simmered, and assembled the bread that would go on top.

Today I bought some bread that I normally would never buy: fresh baked sourdough baguette. Yummy! I normally only get whole wheat pita or sprouted, but I realized sourdough is delicious and can make great baby garlic bread (breadsicles) or crackers. As the rest was cooking, I sliced up six 1/4''
pieces and placed them on a miniature cookie sheet (5X8'') lined with foil. I topped them with a total of a teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkled pepper jack Daiya brand vegan cheese on top. I put them under the broiler for 5 minutes until the cheese was melted.

I had some pre-washed spinach and placed a handful into each bowl. I sliced 3 strawberries for each salad and toppled them in a pile on the lettuce. I sprinkled a half cap of balsamic vinegar (great with fruit) and half cap of olive oil for each salad. Ground some pepper and salt on top- Delish!

For dessert I made my prized cheesecake filling and stuffed it into the center of big strawberries! With a small paring knife, I lopped off the top so it was big enough to put back on top for decoration later. I cut out circular centers, and filled them with the cheesecake filling. I placed them in the fridge to firm up and cool back down. Yummy :) I know I need pictures, but I'm working on a getting an awesome new cammy.

I love eating things from bowls, so instead of plating the polenta I put it in a glass bowl. I fanned out the five slices on the bottom of the glass bowl. Turning the bowl in a circle, I spooned the hot garlic tomato sauce onto the polenta, so it did this pretty swirl thing. I then took the tiny breadsicles and placed four around the edges. I cut one in half and stuck it right down on top.

The salad was just thrown together by placing spinach in a bowl with the strawberries piled on top.

Everything was in a bowl, making it easier to eat,
clean, and design! Enjoy!

And to leave you with a little cutey patootie... Cabbage Patch Cake Toppers!

Something I saw at the thrift store today that I HAD to take a picture of! Go ahead... Laugh.

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