Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Twice baked potatoes with asparagus and brussel sprouts

I realize that I didn't take any pictures last night, which is a big no-no for me. The good news is that I failed to photograph my food because it didn't last more than thirty minutes after unveiling it. My little brother stopped by last night to drop off some stuff (he's going to be staying with me for a couple of months) and eat dinner. I needed a win last night as my previously hopeful avocado pesto pasta did not turn out at all.

Now I have to bring it back a few years. See I am woefully untrained in a kitchen. My mother knew how to make three things: tacos, spaghetti and chicken with mashed potatoes and corn; the latter of which I have since learned I'm allergic to and can attribute to many of my childhood illnesses and skin conditions. Oh and occasionally my mother would make a huge pot of pinto beans that we would mix heaps of cheese into and roll into tortillas. Occasionally the corn would be switched out for broccoli heated in the microwave and doused in butter and cheese.  The only thing I've ever really learned to cook is stir-fry and to many of my friends' amusement I may add. See my original manner of cooking was to put everything on low heat so that I wouldn't really have to pay attention to it. Instead I could sit back and watch a movie or read a book until I smelled the smells of food cooking. Then I would rush to the kitchen and stir hoping that it wasn't burnt...or too burnt anyway.

Now I take much more joy in the little things. The chopping and slicing, though I'm still not great at either, and the smells of food cooked as it is meant to be. That is not to say that I am a great cook. Quite the contrary in fact. Oftentimes I forget an ingredient or add too much or too little. I'm no good at guestimating a pinch or dash. Nevertheless I approach the kitchen with zeal and a little bit of hope. Anyhoo back to the avocado pesto pasta. My food processor refused to work with me no matter how hard I tried. My avocados were only a few days old but already relegated to a mushy texture. So I ultimately mixed some marinara sauce to my chunky yet mushy pesto and mixed it into the pasta. Becca still ate it, god bless her. She claims it was good but she will basically say that about anything I make, especially if I'm upset. Nevertheless she brought a container to work the next day and ate through the left-overs.

So last night I made twice baked potatoes. I set the oven to 400 degrees and put 5 potatoes into the oven for 40 minutes. They came out and I shaved off their little heads and scooped them out. Now this is much easier than it sounds and I often scraped away the bottoms or sides. I've read that it's easier to scoop out cold baked potatoes so I will have to try that sometime. Instead I burnt and singed my hands trying to pry out (mostly) cooked potato flesh. I then added that to a garlic olive oil mixture on the stove. I added some spinach and some soy milk (did not measure but enough to cover bottom of pan).  I mashed up the potato mixture as much as I could and waited for soy milk to be absorbed. Then I restuffed the potatoes, which again is easier said than done especially when there are holes. Some of my potato mixture seeped through but I merely took the potato skin hats that I had cut off and put them on the bottom to keep them from leaking. It was a quick fix but worked for the most part. One potato fell over but whatever. I then topped them all with Daiya and shoved them back in the oven for another 15 or 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, I added some garlic and olive oil to another pan and tossed in the brussel sprouts first, which I had halved. Then I added asparagus. Ok here's another thing. My mother only cooked asparagus from a can. She refuses to acknowledge this fact and claims that I'm making up stories, but I never once had fresh asparagus. So I don't really know how long to cook it.  I've heard that they should be green as a stoplight so that's what I did. I think they may have been slightly undercooked this go around but they were still good.

So after a little over an hour of cooking, I unveiled my creation to my little brother who by the way thinks veganism is insane.  I happily report he had two servings of everything (had to stop him at one point so that there would be enough for Becca when she got home from work).  He didn't even realize that the Daiya wasn't real until I pointed it out. So there you have it. I made a vegan gluten-free meal without a proper recipe or kitchen knowledge. This just goes to show that anyone can cook. Anyone can be healthy. Anyone can do this. I know because if I can do then anyone can!

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