Did I tell you that I LOOOOOVE free cooking??? It's just simply AWESOME! The most amazing things are discovered when we do free cooking. If you asked me last week, I would have said free cooking sucks! I cooked some whole wheat linguini and started working on a vegan sauce (since that's the new thing in the house). I've done vegetable only pastas in the past, and they all turned out awesome, but I don't know if this whole "vegan" thing just threw me off! I feel like I'm stepping in an unknown world, and now even doing something simple, feels complicated just because it's all new to me! Perhaps because of the known restraint that dairy (my long best pal in the kitchen) is no longer welcomed.
So after reading about vegan eating and reading different recipes, I decided to try out different spices, like cumin, together with some of the spices I already love, like ginger and turmeric. All I know is that I got WAY carried away with the spices, and the result was simply AWEFUL! It had all the veggies I love in it, like zucchini, carrots, kale, onions...but I messed up so badly with the spices that I couldn't even get myself to finish eating it without getting nauseated! YES, it was THAT BAD! So luckily I had not mixed the pasta with the sauce as I normally do, so I was able to save it. But since this experience I told my husband (whose wise response to the dish was, "you're trying too hard, just keep it simple") that from that point on I would stick to the recipes! At least until I mastered vegan cooking.
So that's how I came across Chef Cloe's Mac 'N' Cheese recipe! I thought it looked good, and I happened to have all the needed ingredients. BUT, as I organized myself to make it, I remembered of the poor, forgotten linguini in the fridge. If I didn't do anything with it, it would have to be tossed out...and we don't want to do that!
I figured I could stick to the recipe, and just change the pasta! That wouldn't cause any harm, would it? So I made the sauce EXACTLY how the recipe called for, and it looked BEAUTIFUL!!! Okay...not exactly, exaclty...I used whole wheat flour instead of the all purpose. But then once I looked at that creamy, thick, beautiful looking sauce, I just couldn't resist adding the new smoke paprika spice I just bought! I had never tried it, and it smelled sooooooooooooo good! That was the point on of no return...free cooking kicked in, and the most amazing thing happened! Yes...the most amazing thing!
After adding lots of smoke paprika, I added some dry basil and black pepper. Then I remembered I had some frozen peas and fire roasted corn! So added that as well (made sure to defrost it a little in the microwave before, and didn't cook it too long in the pan, so the peas keep their bright green color and don't get too overcooked). At the very end I thought, well..it would be awesome with some grated parmesan cheese on top, but why not grated carrots? You add the benefits of raw, with the beautiful color and some crunchiness to the dish. My absolute favorite combination in food is creamy, crunchy and spicy! Yum!
Lastly I remembered I had some fresh mint, and that ALWAYS goes well with some fresh carrots. So I cut up a few pieces and garnished on top!
Seriously...one of the BEST creamy linguini I've had!!! NO KIDDING!!! Sooooo creamy, rich, fresh....and best of all, 100% vegan! WOW...who would have thunk? :-P
You know you wanna try me!!!
Thanks Chloe, you're awesome!
And thanks free cooking, I knew you were still there ;)