Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 20 '09

The Half Shell is (finally) over. Yes, yes, it was fun working. And it certainly was fabulous seeing familiar faces again, that really was the best part about it all. But I have to say, we were all so exhausted and by the time we recuperated from a night at the Half Shell, we had to do it all over again. All in all, the experience was a good one.
Now what? Well, Brian decided that he would return to work at the Academy. He will still help me with food prep and deliveries to the Natural Foods Stores. That, by the way is going well, but I have had to cut it down to two days a week. Fresh wraps, sandwiches, sushi, hummus dips, and frozen dumplings are delivered on Tuesdays and Fridays to New Day in Roseburg, Harvest in Winston, and Promise in Canyonville. OOO!! If you haven't stopped by New Day lately, you better go 'cause they have VEGAN donuts and other VEGAN baked treats including some vegan + gluten-free varieties. Holy Donuts in Eugene provides them with the delectables.
We do have a few events happening in the next few weeks. Mostly private catering, but I do want to invite you all to a Country Living seminar hosted by my friends from Georgia. This will be October 7 and 8 at the Better Living Center of the Roseburg Seventh-day Adventist Church. We (The Maui Vegetarian-Vegan Kitchen) will be providing a FREE vegan supper each evening to our guests. I'll have more details posted up later and hopefully get invitations out to all of you. So keep your eyes open for that and mark your calenders. You'll get a good meal and lots of good information.
Still on the subject of food...Do you struggle with the eternal question "What's for dinner?" I do every day. We all know being vegetarian/vegan is not always the easiest. Meals often need to be planned out, and if possible, have a well-stocked fridge with just the right ingredients to put something decent together or at least a stash of frozen meals ready to pop in the oven . But we are a picky bunch, aren't we? Even though we cherish leftovers. And who has time nowadays anyway? So I thought that I'd try to share the kinds of meals we have in our professional chef's home kitchen. But don't be surprised, because Chef Brian rarely cooks at home. But once in a while he does get pretty creative in the kitchen. Well anyway, I've gotten much better at "throwing" things together, and hey! they're actually tasting pretty good. This is the best season for doing just that, with all the great produce around, but it helps to have ideas doesn't it?
There is so much beautiful produce going on right now all I can say is WOW! I am loving it. Here's a recipe my friend Marjorie gave me for "Ratatouille." It came out superb and a great way to use those succulent summer vegetables. I'll try to remember to take pictures of the stuff I make. Note: You'll probably never see an original recipe, I always change things around to suit my taste, and depending on what I have available. So the recipes I post usually reflect the changes I made.
1 cup pasta sauce, your preference
1/2 medium onion
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 eggplant
1 zucchini
1 yellow crookneck squash
1 red bell pepper
several sprigs fresh thyme
sea salt
Pour the pasta sauce into the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish. Chop the onions and spread it on the sauce, do the same with the garlic. A mandoline slicer is a great help for this next part. I peeled the skin off of the eggplant and then used my Benriner (brand) slicer to make thin 1/8" slices. Layer the eggplant over the sauce with the onions and garlic. Repeat with the zucchini and squash (No you don't need to peel the skin off of those). Slice the stem end off the red bell pepper and scoop out the white membrane and seeds with your fingers, you can discard that part. Slice on your mandoline to make rings.
So now it's all layered nicely in the dish, throw the thyme sprigs on top. Don't worry about taking off the tiny little leaves right now, just let it bake on there and then it will be easier to remove after it's all dried out. You can also sprinkle on some already dried thyme if you don't have the fresh available. And don't forget a generous sprinkle of sea salt. I prefer Celtic Sea Salt, best for nutrition and flavor.
Cover with a piece of parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until veggies are tender and the red sauce is bubbling around the edges. We had this over linguine noodles. Perfect for a summer evening supper!