Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Here’s my take on Valentine’s Day: I’m not a fan of this being a Hallmark holiday where you have to purchase something for your loved one. However, I love that fact that this holiday allows you to express your love and gratitude for your loved ones. I think its really important to verbalize your appreciation and love for your family and friends. :)
I’ll tell you what…I have really great parents. My dad showed up with this beautiful vase of blooming tulips.  The cool thing was that the bulbs were still attached; so you water the flowers and they’ll bloom for months.
my beautiful valentine's day tulips
He said that with the blooming of the flowers, he hopes my health will bloom :) How sweet.
the blooms are just peeking through!
So tonight for our valentine’s dinner, we had broiled striped bass, with red pepper and eggplant GF spaghetti. This was so delightful. My mom said I should can and sell this sauce!
gluten and dairy free!
So here’s what you need:
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
6 or 7 button mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 eggplant – cubed, sweated, and steamed
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 c white wine
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil chiffonade
several T reserved pasta water
Lets talk eggplant first…I hear they can be bitter. A way to fix that is to cube it and put it in your steaming basket (not over boiling water…just in the sink) and salt it to let it sweat for 15 minutes.  Then rinse the salt off and steam it for 7-8 minutes. You can prep the rest of your veggies during this time.
Now for the sauce.
In 2 tsp EVOO, sautee the onion until tender. Then add the garlic and mushrooms. After a minute or so, add the red pepper. At this point, add your dry herbs. After several minutes, add the steamed eggplant and wine and let it evaporate. Allow the peppers to get tender, and then add the diced tomatoes. At this point, stir in a your fresh basil, but reserve about a tbsp for garnish. Now is the time to check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. When the GF noodles are finished cooking, drain, rinse, and add to the vegetable mixture. Toss, adding a healthy splash of the pasta water.
mmm! delish!
This dinner was so amazing. The pasta sauce developed a smooth creaminess from the eggplant as it broke down. The red bell peppers gave a bright sweetness that paired so nicely with the sweetness from the tomatoes. And then the garlic and basil cut through with a light and fresh *zing.* And although the striped bass looks charred, those are just blackened herbs. The fish had wonderful texture and flavor. Moist and meaty with a nice crust. And no dessert for us…sugar is my enemy right now.
I hope everyone had a super valentine’s day! Happy tummies!

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