by isaac black
When people ask me why I am vegetarian, I always want to ask them why they eat meat. A lot of people think that vegetarians are missing out on delicious food; on the contrary, I feel like omnivores don’t fully appreciate food in the same way that vegetarians/vegans do. A lot of the food that people consider “good” isn’t very flavorful. It just has a lot of fat, sugar, or salt, or all of the above. My approach to food is to cook without meat, first of all, but also to highlight the unique flavor of a food. If I cook for someone, my goal is to make him or her think, “I didn’t realize I like _______ so much.”
That being said, I kind of threw that out the window with the entree of my latest meal for people. But it was a hit, even though I overcooked the pasta. Plus my crepe game probably needs work.
Starter: savory rosemary crepes
I used a pretty standard crepe recipe. I can’t even remember which one I used; just let google decide what crepe recipe you use. The only difference is that I added a pinch of salt and several (5 0r 6) rosemary sprigs. Make a test and decide how strong a rosemary flavor works for you. Add a thick slice of heirloom tomato and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Add a little bit (very little, as it can overpower) of grated romano cheese.
Entree: brown butter pistachio fettucine
1 stick butter (yikes)
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 tsp salt
Few grinds fresh black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 lb pasta
2 cups baby broccoli
Brown the butter (on low-medium heat, cook the butter until the milk solids turn brown and fall to the bottom of the pan). Boil broccoli for 2 – 3 minutes, then shock in ice water to retain color. Add the garlic and shallots and sautee to the browned butter. When the shallots are turning clear, add the pistachios. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and lemon juice. Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind that the flavor needs to be strong or it will get lost on the pasta. Add the boiled broccoli and stir together. When the pasta is al dente, drain, retaining a bit of the pasta water. Add pasta to the mixture and stir, adding pasta water to taste. The pasta should be well coated. Top with grated parmesan and, optionally, fresh red bell pepper.
Dessert: basil vanilla frozen custard
This was the probably the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted, homemade or otherwise. It blew my mind. Unfortunately I have a very small ice cream maker and there was only a few tablespoons per person. Should have hoarded it for myself.
I copped this guy’s instructions for a custard-based ice cream, only I added a little more whole milk to extend the recipe, and it worked out fine. I infused the milk with basil and real vanilla bean (I wish I could remember quantities; I played by ear. Just taste the milk as you’re infusing it). Usually homemade ice cream is icy and soupy. This ice cream had the best consistency–perfectly creamy and thick.
That’s it. Now you just need to get through the winter so you can eat this outside with friends.