Friday, June 24, 2011

The Birth of Dinner Night

Hello my fellow bloggers,
I have decided to try something new.
     Once a week me and my mom, Lisa, from messybedstudio, are going to work together in a collaboration to create a gluten free meal that everyone can enjoy.  My mom, a mixed media artist (and much more), has been selling her art work and writing a blog about her daily adventures.  This is our way of combining the world of art and food, which we realized are not very different.  We will alternate posts, the first will be here on dylansglutenfreedom and the next will be located on messybedstudio, then back to mine and so on.  I will notify you in a post when a new recipe is available.
     One of the points of this collaboration is to hopefully make the process of  "making dinner" which over time can be cumbersome, a little easier and more fun, for you and us!   Some of the recipes we make are going to be totally original and consist of whatever is fresh and in our pantry, while others will be our gluten free adaptions of recipes from cook books.  And thanks to the Salvation Army, we have just found a new cook book that looks promising!  Every post will consist of original photos by yours truly and my cooking partner, Lisa.
      We are calling this segment, Dinner Night.  We would like to welcome you to our dinner table.

Toady we are making...

Gluten Free Pasta with Fresh Vegetables and a Mixed Green Salad

     First off, I have to say how lucky I am to be part of a farm veggie share/co-op program.  Having fresh vegetables right from the fields is an amazing thing, and I would suggest that if there is a farm with a co-op program near you that you check it out.  If you are a foodie like me, you will actually taste the difference between the veggies from the farm and those from the supermarket.  Unless you have picked a fresh cucumber, you would not know that they are covered in little spikes.  This is the epitome of fresh, and its amazing to see how different fresh veggies are from those that make it to the supermarket. 

     We made this meal after picking up our veggie share from the farm and were instantly inspired.
This meal consisted of.... (Quantities can be changed, feel free to experiment! There is no wrong way to go with this recipe)
1 Zucchini
2 Yellow Squash
7 Baby Turnips
6 Kalamata Olives
Cherry Tomatoes
3 Garlic Scapes
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Bag Tinkyada Brown Rice Penne Pasta
Left over Grilled Chicken
Mixed Salad Greens
Salad toppings... Grapes, Strawberries, whatever you like.

     We started our night by cracking open a bottle of red wine, and playing Fever (Adam Freeland Extended Remix) By Sarah Vaughan from the Adjustment Bureau soundtrack, and began to cook.
     We began by heating up a large frying pan with high sides with the butter and olive oil.  We chopped the turnips into small pieces and put them into the pan to begin softening.

 We chopped the zucchini and yellow squash, into little triangles, by halving and then quartering the zucchini length wise and then just chopping the "sticks" into small triangles.


      We then chopped the olives into a fine chop.  They are hard to chop, so if they end up more like a paste that's fine.  We also sliced the cherry tomatoes in half and chopped the garlic scapes like you would scallions.  Once the turnips have gotten a bit soft and have played around in the hot butter and oil, put in the zucchini, yellow squash and mix. 

      Depending how soft you like your veggies, or if you still like them to have a little crunch, use a knife or spoon to test the softness of the veggies as they cook.  Once they get close to your desired tenderness, add in the olives, cherry tomatoes and garlic scapes.  Stir together.

      At this point, wash and dry your mixed salad greens and garnish with veggies or fruit.  Grapes are always good in a salad, but since its strawberry season that's what we used.

     Cut up the basil in a rough chop, just fine enough to spread throughout the veggies.  This is a good time to salt to taste.  Don't be scared away by the salt, like I am sometimes, the salt really brings out the flavors of these veggies and is a key component.  And remember that you will be adding this to pasta, so the flavors can be a little stronger than normal.  Because we had some left over grilled chicken, we cut that up into small strips and added it to the veggies.  You don't have to add the chicken if you don't want to, or you can substitute it for something else.  This recipe works with everything.  Let everything mingle together for a few minutes as you prepare the pasta.

     Follow the directions on the bag on how to cook the pasta.  I like mine more mushy so I let it cook a little longer than it says.  Once it is cooked to your liking, strain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the water and add a dab of butter or olive oil to prevent sticking.  Then take the veggies and add them to the pasta and stir together.  Use reserved 1/2 cup pasta water if you would like it a bit more saucy.

Sometimes simple meals like pasta and veggies can be so rewarding.  Great flavors, that can be interchanged and substituted with almost anything.  This is just the beginning of Dinner Night, check back for more meals!

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