Although I've had the idea of testing out recipes from cookbooks for a while, I didn't plan on starting today. It was a little bit of a challenge to decide what to cook based on what I have in my fridge/pantry.
Still, checking only my newest aquisition, Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook, I managed to find something I was willing to try. I had already had soup for lunch, with vegan grilled cheese, so I decided to have something a little more consistent. For vegans, that usually means either a rice dish or pasta.
I flipped the pages to the pasta section. Ignored the few tomato based pasta, in fear of yet another tomato dish (my lunch soup was tomato soup).
Note that the exact measurements of the recipes will be omitted here because of copyrights. If you're interested, please get the book. Another thing you have to note is that I mess up recipes all the time. I suffer from a self-diagnosed attention deficit disorder, and that often comes in the way of many things I do.
I put a pot of water to boil, for my pasta. The recipe called for penne, but I didn't have any. I used farfalle instead. Whole wheat. Then, I realized the recipe was for four people so I'll have to size it down by half. I am alone but I eat a lot, so... I used half an onion, and a few broccoli florets. The book probably meant for me to use fresh broccoli, but I only had frozen ones on hand. My florets were big so, when they were done cooking in the little bit of water I kept to cook the onions and broccoli, I cut them in half. Then two cloves of garlic. The recipe asked for three but I am supposed to down size it, remember? Well, I had forgotten. I remembered just in time, before cutting my third clove.
My veggies were done before everything else. Even before my water started boiling because I forgot to turn on the stove high enough. I put them aside and made my sauce while my pasta was finally cooking.
The sauce is from another recipe the book is sending us to. It says to use two roasted red bell pepper. It also refers us to another recipe that tells us how to roast peppers but I wonder if that works on a ceramic stove top. In Brazil, I was doing it on my gas stove, because it had real flames. I used to love doing it. It might not be the same here...
Anyway. I used jarred roasted bell pepper because I had some on hand. I was quite shocked that my brand new jar only contained two roasted peppers. Seemed like too little.
The recipe also called for soft tofu. I didn't have any so I used half a firm tofu instead. And a little bit of non-sweeted soy milk. I also used salt and a little lemon juice rather than lemon zest because I had no fresh lemon. And three more cloves of garlic.
I am surprised it's supposed to be raw. But I'll cook the pasta, veggies and the sauce together, so that should be fine... At least, that's what I thought.
No dill like specified in the book, but I have frozen herbs. I used that instead.
A little bit of a whizz in the blender. Until my sauce became very liquid. Kept my sauce aside in my blender until later.
While my pasta were still cooking, I had a quick chat with my dad on Skype. It's his birthday next Tuesday and he's coming to visit in Germany. My "new sister" and her wife bought him a plane ticket to come and see me. Really happy about that.
OK. Pasta cooked and drained. I mixed everything together, and let the sauce reduce a little. Sweet Baby Jesus (I can say that, I am not religious)! So much garlic. It's definitely not a meal for a vampire. Or human. Good thing I am spending the night alone with my cats, and they don't care if I have a nasty smelling breath.
I added stuff that was not part of the recipe to try and correct the taste. First, soy cream. Almost all a little packet. The bell pepper sauce was also too sweet, because of the peppers. I added some salt, and pepper, and curry powder, and a little bit of powder bouillon to give it some extra taste.
I didn't have any basil to make a chiffonade. I used to have a basil plant up to a few weeks ago, but my cats were showing it too much love. So to keep the plant away from them, I forgot it outside in the cold. My basil plant didn't survive.
I didn't add any herbs to the final plate because I was remembering Gordon Ramsay's nervousness in front of a plate covered with parsley.
Overall, the dish was eatable, but still too much garlic. I still taste the garlic in my mouth while typing this.
I will probably not make the same recipe again. I have already a red pepper sauce made with cashew nuts and tofu that is much richer and savoury. I'd use that instead.
Also, it was visually not worth to take a picture of the meal. Just a big mess in a bowl. Instead, here's a picture of my cat Astor.