I LOVE ENTERTAINING!
I don't usually get many dinner guests, as you can image my apartment is only so big, so today was a special treat. It was my first time cooking for five! Aside from the fact that I only own place settings for four, I improvised with the salad dishes and it all worked out.
1st Course: Original Butternut Squash Soup
2nd Course: Fusilli with Asparagus, Wild Mushrooms, and SunDried Tomatoes served with Marinated Tempeh and Sauteed Kale - pg. 227 from Cooking the Whole Foods Way, by Christina Pirello
Dessert: Coconut Milk Cookie Dough Ice Cream
The squash soup was incredibly easy. This did not come directly from Christina Pirello's Cookbook so I'd like to share the reciepe with you.
1 whole butternut squash
1 medium onion
Sweet White Miso to taste
I first peeled the butternut squash and cut it into square peices about 1" cubes. The idea is to make the peices about the same size so it all cooks evenly. Put the squash into a deep enough pot, add water to just enough cover the top of the squash. Bring to a boil and add about 2 pinches of salt (NOT before it comes to a boil). Cover pot and let simmer for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, diced the onion. After 15 minutes add onion dices to the squash and re-cover. Cook for about another 15 to 25 minutes. I had to cook mine for an extra 10 since the squash wasn't quite soft enough. Use a hand blender to mash when done cooking.
Dissolve enough miso for taste (about 3 tablespoons for the whole squash) in cold water and add to soup. Do NOT bring the soup to a boil after you add the miso for it kills the good live bacteria in the miso. If you're not going to serve all the soup in one sitting, it might be better to add a little miso to individual bowls. About 1 tsp per cup of soup.
Onto Christina Pirello's Fusilli...
All I can say is WOW!! This is a perfect balanced main dish. The vegetables give it a great variety which is very important when it comes to getting proper nutrition from foods. I wanted to figure out what to do with the remainder of the sundried tomatoes I had, so check out the video...
I must say, I'm learning more and more about food from cooking. For example, mushroom's actually create liquid when you cook them. So when you get to the point when you add the mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and asparagus to the sauce pan, I was afraid they'd just burn. However, they all seem to cook down creating a liquid at the bottom. Hmm. Interesting. Learn something new everyday. So just follow her instructions and don't be afraid to get "risky".
The mirin certainly adds a different flavor to the dish, compared to my last fusilli and sundried tomatoes. Also, this recipe calls for a cream sauce which you'll be surprised what it's made out of. NO DAIRY!
If you're tired of ordinary pasta and tomato dishes, I highly reccommend experimenting with this one. It's got an alfredo flare to it, without the heaviness.
BIG TIP: Since my dinner guests biked all the way from Brooklyn to Uptown Manhattan, they arrived late. My beautiful creamy sauce tasted best when it was fresh out of the pot, so be sure to serve right away and time your guest's arrival just right. Either way it was delic!
And of course, to go with it I just sauteed some Kale in water (use a cover) and wha Laa!
Dessert was bought in the store, let's not get carried away here. Dairy and Sugar free of course. Delicous, no joke. Coconut Milk Ice Cream is the Sh**! My favorites Vanilla Bean, but when they're all out you end up with Cookie Dough.
Check out the pics and you be the judge.
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