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Today was very heavily influenced by two of my blog readers: Miss T and Miss D. I could respond to each of them privately, but I would rather thank them both publicly for helping me out with my wine and my mustard greens issues.
There is no one to blame but them for what happened today. For today, I took the advice they shared with me via my reader’s comments. I went to the sunny Mediterranean (mentally, that is).
My first stop was Spain for some wine - sangria specifically, hold the oranges and brandy, light on the sugar, extra lemon, please. The name refers to the color of the wine which is similar to the color of blood ("sangre" means blood in Spanish). Somehow, that just seems rather appropriate for the BTD.
Next, I was off to Italy for Italy is the home of minestrone. Minestrone soup can help just about any vegetable - even mustard greens. Minestrone soup changes from region to region, cook to cook, and from one season to the next. Today, mine was a winter version, which means it had no zucchini, no green beans, and no fresh baby spinach by the handfuls.
Instead, I used bite-sized pieces of equal amounts of onion and celery sautéed in olive oil with lots of chopped fresh garlic, rosemary, dried thyme, and ground sage. Then I added a small can of tomato sauce, a bay leaf, and a quart of vegetable stock. When it came to a boil, I added bite-sized pieces of butternut squash and a bunch of chopped mustard greens. I put a lid on it and then let it simmer until the squash chunks were done.
Pasta, potato chunks, and carrots? No, none of them...I am trying to stay away from them for the time being - that’s what the squash was to replace. Cheese? No...I had already eaten my day’s worth. Beans? No...I’m saving my edamame (soybeans) for the later on in the day. If you could only taste the wonderful blend of the butternut squash and the sage! The colors are beautiful, too. Sunset orange and red contrasted with shades of green.
Did it end there? Nope. There was a beautiful purple eggplant sitting all alone on my kitchen counter. I cut it in half, poked it all over good with a fork, and then baked it at 425*F for about 30 minutes, cooled it down and then made my version of AB compliant caponata (eggplant salad). Most caponata has slices or chunks of eggplant in it. Mine is more the consistency of a spread or a dip like Baba Ganoush.
I had been tempted to make eggplant mozzarella (think compliant eggplant parmigiana in a casserole version), but I wanted something to go with my fish tomorrow morning before I head in to work...cheese is not on my menu for tomorrow. In addition, the casserole tastes best when made with peanut oil. My A son is very allergic to peanut oil so I do not to use it whenever he is around and I cannot air out the house thoroughly before he gets back. Therefore, the caponata sounded like the better choice.
While I was working on the caponata, I got to thinking...jumbo shells stuffed with seasoned tofu, dressed with spaghetti sauce, and sprinkled with cheese didn’t sound bad either...but how to get around the pasta shells...maybe, I could use spaghetti squash nests, fill them with the stuffing, and then add the sauce and cheese instead. If it works, then I could possibly do the same thing with my cottage cheese & spinach stuffed manicotti.
I think that it will work...I had no problem subbing the squash for pasta underneath my lamb sauce from the Crockpot back on Saturday. If the nests don't want to stay together, I could always wash them with a little beaten egg and then set it as a binder by baking them in the oven for a few minutes. Since they'd be pre-warmed as they came out of the oven, they should bake faster to make up for the time lost in forming the nests.
Then, what ever was I going to occupy myself with while using the NordicTrack? Hmmm...Italy was the answer yet again! Decisions had to be made though: Sophia Loren and Clark Gable (hubba-hubba!) in It Started In Naples, Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant in Roman Holiday, or three couples in Three Coins in the Fountain? Loren & Gable won in the end - this time.