Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Garlic Time

I swear it is my favorite vegetable. There is very little I will not eat it in or on. I have been carrying around a recipe in my head for years, from an Italian restaurant I used to frequent in Ft. Lauderdale. It is for a simple Marinara Sauce that is made delectable by the addition of sliced garlic that has been sauteed in olive oil until it is browned and crispy. I use a whole head more or less. Saute it until brown not burned, add a shake of red pepper flakes and then take off the burner. SLOWLY add a can of whole tomatoes with their juice(San Marzano if you can get em). Breakup the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, add a handful of chopped basil, a few grinds of black pepper and a couple of pinches of sugar. Slowly simmer for 20 or 30 minutes, no more. The combination of the hot/sweet with the acid of the tomatoes and the musky taste of the toasted garlic is cosmic. No carrots or onions or peppers here. I am a purist. Some al dente spaghetti, a side salad and a bottle of red, perfect meal.

Tonight we make vegan stuffed shells with spinach and marinara sauce. I adapted this recipe from "Vegan With a Vengance" , the back of the pasta box and memory. I grew up around a lot of Italian Americans and stuffed shells were a staple.

1lb firm tofu pressed

2 tsp lemon juice

1 clove garlic minced or much more according to taste

a pinch of black pepper and salt

a handful of finely chopped basil leaves

4 tsp olive oil

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

12oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

12oz package jumbo shells, parboiled for 10 minutes and rinsed

1 recipe John's Fond Memory Marinara Sauce

Preheat the oven to 350. Drain and press tofu for 30 minutes or so. Mash the tofu in a large bowl until it is crumbly. Add the lemon juice, garlic , salt, pepper, basil and nutmeg. Mash with your hands until it is the consistency of ricotta cheese. Add the spinach, mixup and then add the olive oil. Mix with a fork now and add nutritional yeast and mix till incorporated.

Stuff shells with the spinach mixture. Place half of the sauce in a casserole, add the shells and pour the rest of the sauce over the shells. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with garlic bread.

Buon Gusto!

On a more serious note...For those of you not wanting to expose yourself to Roundup Ready genetically modified seed, you might consider buying tofu made from organic soybeans. My local Kroger carries Vitasoy. Roundup Ready seed has been genetically altered so that the farmer can spray his fields with Round Up and it will not kill the plant. Just all the plants around it. I make no judgements but admit that I already have way too many bad habits to take chances. If they listed Roundup as an ingredient, would anyone buy it?

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