Saturday, January 10, 2009

Artist's Arrabbiata with grilled tilapia, eggplant, and zucchini

I was planning to make miso soup tonight, but the weather gods did a good job of preventing that.  When I left my apartment this morning there were a good 6" of snow on the ground, but the roads were fairly clear so I thought it would be fine to run a few errands after my volunteer info session at the zoo.  During the 1.5 hr info session, it snowed a couple of more inches (and has been snowing ever since), and this turned the roads into complete slush.  Days like this make me hate snow even more, because the only way to get where you're going is to turn the steering wheel and hope that you manage to slide far enough (but not too far!) to go in the direction you want to go.  It's a truly frightening experience.  Anyway, I cut down my list of errands to the vital ones, and as a result didn't make it to the asian market.

My meal started out with Artist's Arrabbiata from the cold weather cookbook that Dad gave me.  At first I didn't realize how appropriate this was -- "arrabbiata" means angry in Italian, which is exactly what the snow made me, and the recipe was from the section of the book with ideal dishes for storms.  It's one of the most simple dishes you can make (basically you saute garlic and crushed red pepper in olive oil, add coarsely chopped roma tomatoes and let it simmer for a while, then pour on pasta), but it was so good.  I love the heat from the pepper, and even though most of the tomatoes in the grocery store are pale pink, the romas still have some flavor in the winter.  I can see this becoming a staple for me - it's quick, easy, and cheap.

To go with the pasta, I decided to pull out the grill pan again and cook some veggies.  I found some edible-looking eggplant and zucchini at the grocery store, and decided to go against my better seasonal/local judgement and buy it.  I also grilled some onions, but apparently didn't cook them long enough because only the outer petals were tender and delicious (I'll fix that tomorrow).  Let's just say that I'm not sure I'll be putting my grill pan back in the cabinet because I'm going to be using this thing to death.

And at the last minute I decided that I could probably use more protein than what was in the whole wheat pasta, so I grilled up some tilapia that I had in the freezer.  To make it go along with the Italian theme, I sprinkled an Italian herb mix on it.  It was very good, although the highlight of the meal was definitely the pasta and veggies.  

And now for dessert I have a sweet potato (sprinkled with cinnamon) baking in the oven.  I suppose it's not so bad being stuck inside :)

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