Thursday, February 7, 2008

Yellow Rose Ridiculousness

Ridiculously delicious, that is.

All my cooking was from Yellow Rose Recipes this week. I made the Asparagus with Spinach and Artichoke Cream Sauce, Kasha Varnishkes and Mushroom Gravy (to top the kasha). NOM!

That up there may not look like much, but it's the Asparagus with Spinach and Artichoke Cream Sauce and it is DIVINE! I didn't really expect to like the sauce much because it has quite a bit of nutritional yeast in it, but you don't taste the nutritional yeast in this at all. It's just creamy goodness. I think this is my favorite use of nutritional yeast to date. I was home alone when I made this, plated it, photographed it and ate it. Since I was alone and this sauce was SO good, I did something I've never done before: I licked the plate clean. I've had this as part of my lunch every day since and it takes every bit of willpower I have to refrain from licking the container I bring it to work in.

This is another dish that looks and tastes impressive but is super easy and pretty fast to make. Also, it makes a lot. The recipe calls for two pounds of asparagus. Well, I've eaten all my asparagus and still have about a third of the sauce left. So I'm picking up more asparagus tomorrow. I'm always pleased when I can stretch out my sauces more than expected. It makes me feel virtuous for not abusing the added fat, calories, etc.

For those not in the know, kasha varnishkes is a pretty standard Jewish dish. It's basically farfalle with buckwheat. Kasha is another word for buckwheat. Varnishkes is another word for damn tasty*. The recipe adds cumin to the mix, which is not standard, but it adds a nice kick to it. I've always loved kasha varnishkes and was sad when my mother pointed out that all the store-bought ones are made with egg noodles. Now I can make it better than the appetizing section of any kosher supermarket. Score for the vegans!

(random fact: another popular Jewish dish that is often eaten side-by-side with kasha varnishkes is egg barley. Egg barley does not actually contain eggs and the store-bought type is usually vegan. Go figure!)

Another way Joanna de-traditionalized the dish (which is great. I've been eating the same damn thing for 27 years!) was the addition of mushroom gravy. In all my years of eating this stuff, I'd never had it with gravy. This was a great idea. And her gravy takes about five seconds to make and tastes spectacular. I don't know if this is always the case, but for me, it tasted even better the second day. I think I added too much lemon juice, but by the next day, all the flavors merged together into a pool of awesome. I also kept my mushroom pieces pretty big (I used a pre-sliced mushroom blend), so it's more like a sauteed mushroom topping than a gravy, but that's how I like it. The book suggests doubling the gravy recipe to go with this, but I've been getting by just fine with the single recipe.

Detail of the buckwheat and bow ties:

All together now:

* Kidding!