Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Green Giant

There's a lot of this going around lately. Or maybe it's already passe, who knows, but I went quick-and-dirty-fusion tonight.

But let me share a little back story...

Somebody, I don't know who, brought some garden vegetables to work with a 'free to the world' post it attached. I didn't find out about this until midday though. I was in the breakroom early for my cup of coffee (or three, hey, it was a cold commute in) but they appeared only after that. There was a couple green bell peppers and some little zucchini that I saw other people took. When I got there there was a single item left, but it was impressive. There was a two foot long, 4-5 inch diameter grey zucchini. I took it. I felt weird, I don't like to be that guy that takes the last piece of birthday cake, and this was way more conspicuous. Nobody else was taking it, I hear it had been there for about 4 hours. So it was mine now. Hmm... had to figure out how to lash it my bicycle's cargo rack for the journey home. But that was a few hours away yet. In the meantime, it sat there on my desk gathering more innuendo than I expected, but such is cubicle culture.

I still never found out who brought it to work. When I do, I'll have to thank them.

I decided pretty early in the day what to do with it. So I emailed Wife and asked her to steam a batch of brown rice by the time I got home. Upon my arrival (soggy bottomed, it was wet out!) I set the oven to 350, sliced my squash lengthwise and scooped out the seeds, I was making baked boats! I opened a can of tomatoes and dumped them in a mixing bowl with about 1.5 cups of brown rice, some green onion, some garlic, a bunch of caper berries, a little rosemary and a little olive oil. Not working from a recipe I just steered myself in a somewhat Italian direction, it seemed to work out. After mixing the bunch together I packed it into the hulls as best I could. Into the oven with it for 40 minutes while I changed my focus to some pasta.

Butterfly pasta! The girls always like the butterflies. Michaela, my oldest, loves pasta in general, but Maeve, her younger sister, not so much. She doesn't hate pasta, she just doesn't ever eat much of it. Fun shapes definitely help things along though. While the pasta water was boiling though I got to work on something to put in it.

I pulled out two little zucchini from the fridge. Yes, yes, I realize I have the zuc motherload already in the oven, but Wife bought a bunch of it at the grocer several days ago and I have plenty to use up. I sliced those into 'knuckles.' At least that's what I call them? After chopping the top off I slice the squash diagonally, rotate 1/4 turn so the cut surface is facing up and cut at the same diagonal angle starting at the widest part of the previous cut. You wind up with these great triangular cut chunks that are fun to work with and even better to eat. If you don't know what I'm talking about my desciption probably isn't helping, if you do know what I mean let me know what the cut is really called and link us all to a youtube instructional.

While going to town on my 'knuckles' I also thawed some edamame in the microwave. I used about a 1/3 lb. Once those were no longer frozen (2 minutes, 22 seconds in this case) I pushed out the beans and set them aside. I also chopped a fistful of cilantro, two large cloves of garlic very then, chiffonaded (?) two leafy stalks of thai basil, and more-than-a-cup of romano cheese. I sauteed my knuckles in olive oil over quite high heat for a few minutes, until they were starting to brown a little. To that I added the soy beans and sautted them for just a couple minutes. Removing my skillet from the heat then, I added the garlic and tossed together with salt and pepper. I wanted the garlic to hold onto it's punch.

Once the pasta was done and drained I added the basil to that pot along with a scoop of sambal badjak, the shrimp extract therein lends a lot to this dish (not to mention the heat!) and toss. The rest is mere assembly: add the veggies to the pasta, top with cheese and and a little cilantro. Grabbing a slice of the baked zucchini boat and and glass of wine this fast meal wasn't going to stand a chance against the hungry horde. mmm.

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