Welcome to our Meatless Monday Cooking Adventure.
First, I would like to be clear: I am a cooking novice. In fact, I’m one of those people who gets really excited when I come back up to Guelph with leftovers from home (#homecookingforthewin).
Having said that, I’ve always loved the idea of being able to cook so I’ve decided to challenge myself and do a Meatless Monday blog post (woohoo)!
The goal is for this to be a weekly blog post.
For Day 1 of this journey I’ve tried to find a very simple recipe …
Ingredients (all found at nearby Metro)*:
- a bunch of fresh basil
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 kg ripe tomatoes, or 2 x 400g of chopped tomatoes**
- Olive oil
- Tablespoon red wine or balsamic vinegar***
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 15 g parmesan cheese
*if I found that I had ingredients at the house already, I used those instead. I also used less than what was stated above. I am not cooking for 8 people Jamie Oliver!
**Ok. So I am basically ignorant of All Things Tomato. So this direction was completely useless. After staring hopelessly at multiple kinds of tomatoes at Metro, I decided to go with 4 Italian tomatoes. From what I understand, they are a kind of Roma tomato, or plum tomato. Thank goodness for Wikipedia.
***none of that at the house except balsamic vinegar? I added a teenie tiny amount and it didn’t end up tasting odd so… there’s that.
Initial prep: Gather the ingredients and place them together. This makes it ready for use and also makes you look like you know what you are doing.
Look at that, I’m on my way to becoming a chef!
STEP 1: Prepare the basil! In my case, I found I had this little packet of it already. I imagine fresh basil would taste better, so if you want to be all amazing and a cooking genius, grab some leaves and dice like no other! Check out the website for the more exact mechanics in this step.
STEP 2: Peel the onion and 2 garlic cloves you have. Once peeled, slice them into teenie tiny pieces. I cut them horizontally all the way across and then criss-cross cut them up.
WARNING: Eyes may water from onion being cut. Whatever you do, don’t rub your eyes!
STEP 3: If using fresh tomatoes (like I am) then also take this time to cut the tomatoes in half, and then into rough pieces. If using a can of tomatoes, open it carefully.
STEP 4: Place saucepan, or whatever pan you have really, and add a tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped up onion pieces. I’m just gonna eye it instead of being exact, but if you want to follow the instructions to the T, go for it!
Cook for about 7 minutes or until soft brown colour.
STEP 5: Add the garlic and basil stalks (if used fresh basil) to the mix and then add the fresh/canned tomatoes (and tablespoon of vinegar/red wine if you have).
STEP 6: Time to add seasoning! Add to that flavour with a little pinch of salt and pepper (again, I’m eyeing this step) and continue to cook for around 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure it evenly cooks (I guess) and to feel like you are doing something.
STEP 7: Add the basil pieces, reduce heat, and leave it alone for a bit. While that cooks, grab a pot and fill it up (roughly ¾) with water.
STEP 8: Putting the pot of water on stove, add a bit of salt and raise to boil. Once the water is boiling add the spaghetti, or whatever pasta you are using
STEP 9: Taste the pasta at various times as a snack- and to make sure cooked at al dente (which is basically soft enough to eat, but still has a bit of firmness to the noodle).
During the time you wait for the pasta cook, I checked on the sauce, tasted it, and decided to add some other spices I happened to have (red pepper spice and roasted garlic and pepper powder). You can also use this time to get ahead of cleaning up.
STEP 10: When pasta is done cooking, strain water out and tip pasta back into pot.
STEP 11: Mix with sauce, either in pan or pot or plate or bowl. Whatever floats your boat! Then add some basil leaves if you have some left, grate some parmesan and add it on top.
now: to EAT!
After eating your delicious meal, you could rate yourself on how you did. Don’t be too hard on yourself if it isn’t great, I know I’ve cooked some interesting foods in my years (tip: random ingredients added haphazardly into pots are not always a great idea). The rating could be a fun way to mark your progress, as well as be your own fancy food critique.
My personal rating: 2.5/4 stars. I enjoyed it, but I felt like it was missing something (-1). Perhaps this was due to one of my alterations. It was also less saucy then what I usually like in my tomato sauces (-0.5).
Tweet @sustainableUofG any suggestions for next week’s Meatless Monday dish. I hope you had fun!