Recent Cooking Adventures: Part I

My diet is also changing again. I’m incorporating 2 days/6 meals of veggies per week. Sometimes I forget its a meatless day and I’ll eat meat so I make it up the next day so I’ve started a goal of at least 6 vegetarian meals per week. My new cookbooks, New Vegetarian and Easy Vegetarian, have been GREAT! I’ve also pulled out a few oldies, How to Boil Water and Eating for Life, and altering a few of my old recipes I used to use. Blogs to follow on my cooking adventures of the last few days or so…Here’s the first one 🙂

I cooked this last week sometime I think…I cannot remember!! These were all recipes out of New Vegetarian. I’m still working on my timing of cooking my dishes. I’m forcing myself to stop rushing and read the entire recipe before I start. I’ve started reading them the day before and then right before I start. Its a learning process because I’m always in a hurry :). So…that being said, these were slightly successful.

On the menu: Lemon-Parmesan Asparagus Spears with Mint Atoli, Edamame & Corn Salad and Cracker-Crust Pizza Al Aglio.

What I started with:

The first thing I made was the Edamame & Corn Salad. It was pretty easy. Threw some shelled edamame, sweet corn into a sauce of rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, fresh grated ginger, sesame oil and basil. I chilled it in the refrigerator while I made the other dishes. It was a little…strong…to say the least. Next time I will try less vinegar and less ginger so that it may not be as overwhelming. Otherwise, it was good. Leighton loved it.

Pretty close to what the book says it’s supposed to look like!

The second dish I started was the Cracker-Crust Pizza Al Aglio. Wow. This recipe calls for homemade pizza dough (OH EM GEE) made from unbleached flour and whole wheat pastry flour. I’ve never made any type of dough in my entire life so this was definitely an adventure! It called for a dough hook (which is used on a large mixer) and I don’t have one…nor the money to buy one! So I kneaded by hand the best that I could. I did ask my friend Andrea for some advice and got some good tips about making the dough…but I still struggled! 🙂 I struggled with it being too sticky at times and also knowing when it is ready and not over-kneaded. It ended up turning out okay though…here’s an action shot:

After I let it rise and figured that it was ready, I started rolling it out. That was also pretty difficult, but I made it. Here’s one that I made…looks like a heart 🙂 (sorry it’s blurry)

Another picture of the process…right after the dough cooked for about 5 minutes, then I topped it and cooked for another 10 or so.

End result, per cookbook. Mine came pretty close! (see below):

While these were cooking, I started the Lemon-Parmesan Asparagus Spears. Once again, I tried my luck with phyllo dough. Once again, it went badly. I made it, per the instructions as best I could. Here’s what turned out:

and what it should have looked like:

Yep. Failure. Leighton said he liked it, but I thought it was terrible. I’ll possibly try and use more butter next time and maybe 2 phyllo sheets instead of 1 like the recipe calls for. I really wish I had more counter space when working with this dough. It proves to be very difficult without lots of counter space!

I vowed to not ever work with it again after this experience but I’ve since decided that I’m going to master that stinkin’ dough!!!

Here is the finished meal. Pizza – Success!!, Edemame-Corn Salad – Semi-Success!, Asparagus – Try again…

I could not find any of these recipes online to link to but if you want them, let me know and I’ll give them to you.


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