My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Favorite Meal

BW's week of vacation is winding down (wwaaaah!), so my blogging should start gearing up again. It's been a nice week, both productive and relaxing, and it's been so nice to get to spend time together that I haven't felt like spending it on the computer!

One thing we've been doing quite a bit of, of course, is cooking, though not as much as we'd planned to since we ended up with lovely weather most of the week and preferred spending it outside and not in the kitchen. So the meals we have made have been pretty simple, and last night's was no exception. If we had to choose one absolutely #1 favorite meal, this would probably be it. It's simple and quick and delicious and healthy and filling. If there's a downside, it's that we never have any leftovers! :-)

BW, for some silly reason, likes to call this meal, "Weenies and Gravy." I find this name inaccurate and unappetizing, yet vaguely amusing, so I humor him. :-) The "weenies" refers to the Tofurky Italian Sausage with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil. It's the only processed meat analog we still buy, since it's minimally processed. We like that Tofurky is still a small, family-owned company and that they use organic tofu. We use just one sausage, sliced and browned in a non-stick skillet, and divided between our pasta bowls of Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice spaghetti.

The "gravy" refers, of course, to the tomato sauce. I make a much more involved marinara sauce when time permits, but for this quick dinner I combine a small can of organic tomato paste with a can of organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and add organic dried sweet basil, thyme leaves, marjoram leaves, oregano, garlic powder and a couple of bay leaves. I don't measure any of it. (My Irish grandmother used to get so frustrated when her new Italian mother-in-law, who spoke virtually no English, was teaching her to cook my grandfather's favorite meals, because Nonna NEVER measured anything. She'd throw some herb or other in the pot and my grandmother would ask her what measurement to use, and Nonna would reply with increasing agitation and volume, "A peencha! A PEENCHA!" Apparently this technique made it into my DNA, because when it comes to my Italian herbs, I rarely measure. I do, however, use more than "a peencha!" of everything.)

We cook the pasta (using the energy saving method of boiling for two minutes and then just letting it sit, covered, for 20 more), heat the "gravy" in the microwave, brown the sausage, toss a salad, slice the bread (see below) and pour the wine... and we have our favorite meal.

We also like to add a few black olives, and I like my pasta sprinkled with some garlic salt and nooch (nutritional yeast flakes).

Of course "weenies and gravy" just cries out for homemade bread! Usually for this meal BW makes focaccia, but yesterday he made oatmeal bread in the bread machine. I'm not going to bother typing up the recipe since BW has created several variations of it, all refined over the years to work at our 5,500' elevation, but it's a treat. Has thick-cut oats and whole wheat flour, applesauce and agave nectar along with bread flour and other usual bread ingredients.

No Frankenloaf, this!

Just because I haven't blogged this week doesn't mean I haven't been taking photos and thinking up stuff to blog about! I have a few posts in the hopper for the month of November (which, as it happens, is World Vegan Month!) But since BW is upstairs making Chunky Apple Oatmeal Pancakes right this red-hot minute, I must scamper! :-)


  1. Pasta and red sauce has to be my number one favorite meal too...deserted island stuff (like what you would take with you to a deserted island)...I love the story about your grandmothers and their different cooking styles! Oh, and my dad used to call red sauce gravy too.

    I've been meaning to try that brown rice pasta.

    I lurve your new holiday decor for the blog, and the cute photo of Tessa (I think?).

  2. You're kidding, your dad used to call it gravy too? LOL! Wait till BW hears that! :-)

    We really, really like the Tinkyada organic brown rice spaghetti (w're not as fond of their elbow macaroni because it doesn't hold up very well). We use the energy-saving technique for cooking it (which is written on the package)... boil it for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let it sit 20 minutes. It's impossible to overcook it that way, unless you forget it's sitting on the stove and it ends up soaking for a half an hour or more.

    Yes, that's Tessa! Very good! :-) She loves to wear hats, and I love that one of her in her Santa hat. I had it printed on a mug for my mom a few Christmases ago. I had almost no time this morning, it was a long and frantic day in town today, but I used the time I did have while I drank my Teecchino decorating my blog! Such priorities. :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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