Saturday, January 8, 2011

Date Night!!!!!!!

Happy Saturday to you all!  I had a few minor set backs this week and I am a day behind in my posts!  You will actually get two of them today because this one was supposed to be up yesterday! ;-) 

When making 'Menu Monday' I decided that it would be fun to take a new or special recipe and make it on Friday for our 'date night!'  (I realize that we are totally lame for having our date night's at the house, but we still have a newborn and we are TIRED and we like to save money too!!!)  I thought it would be a good idea to start on our 'more couple time' goal this way!  My idea was to take a recipe that I've never tried or one that I would normally get at a restaurant because it seems too labor intensive or scary to do myself and make it on Friday night.  We are also going to start getting a movie at the library each week, hopefully one that we haven't seen, and watch it together while we eat our special supper.  This also gave me more motivation to tackle some of these recipes I have been wanting to try because it made it sound more like fun than work!  This week we had Linguini with Broiled Eggplant and Artichoke Sauce!  The original recipe is from 'Canyon Ranch Cooking.'  Canyon Ranch is a spa in Arizona and I saw the book at the library when hunting for Gluten Free cookbooks!  It is not a gluten free cookbook but I have heard a lot about the spa and wanted to get this book!  There are a lot of recipes for vegetarians that I can make vegan and the recipe I tried last night I also made gluten free!  Here is the original recipe in case you don't want to get the book just yet!
Canyon Ranch Cooking: Linguini with Broiled Eggplant and Artichoke Sauce:
8 sun-dried tomatoes
4 tsp EVOO
1tsp chopped garlic
1tsp chopped shallots
1 cup vegetable stock
2Tbs balsamic vinegar
1Tbs cornstarch dissolved in water
3Tbs chopped chives
1/4 tsp dried tarragon, crushed
1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 C chopped plum tomatoes
1/4 C tomato sauce
1 small Asian eggplant, slice 1/4 inch thick
1/2 C drained and chopped canned artichoke hearts
3/4 pound linguini cooked al dente
4Tbs freshly grated parmesan

Here is what I used: the changes are marked with an *
8 sundrieds
4tsp EVOO
1tsp chopped garlic (I omitted the shallots)
*1tsp sea salt
1cup gluten free vegetable stock
*1Tbs apple cider vinegar
*1Tbs arrowroot powder dissolved in 1Tbs water
3Tbs chopped chives
1/4 tsp ground tarragon
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded/chopped
*1/2 green bell pepper, seeded/chopped
1/2 cup chopped plum tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 small eggplant sliced 1/4 inch thick
*1 cup frozen artichoke hearts (Trader Joes) the canned ones are in a brine that I am not sure is gluten free and also have added sodium, the frozens are for sure safe!  I also didn't chop them.
*1 box gluten free linguini

I wasn't sure I'd be able to find gluten free linguini (not that it matters what kind of pasta you use, but I like the thickness of linguini noodles) so I was excited to find this!  This is a quinoa and corn based pasta that I have used before in other recipes and I thought it would be especially good because the corn would go with the southwest inspired flavors of the sauce.....I was right!!!!

I followed the same directions as in the book.  First soak the sundrieds for 5 minutes to soften and then slice them into strips.  Set aside.  Then heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add garlic (shallots if you use them) until browned.  Add the vegetable stock and vinegar, bring to boil.  Add arrowroot (cornstarch) mixture and cook until thickened (about 7 minutes.)  Add chives, seasonings, bell peppers, plum tomatoes and tomato sauce and cook for 5 more minutes.

the chopped veggies

after cooking for a bit

After the previous step, preheat the broiler.  Dip the eggplant slices in the sauce and place on baking sheet.  Broil until tender, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the artichoke hearts, sundrieds and eggplant to the sauce mixture.  Then serve! 
I didn't have any table space so it was pictured on the chair! Haha!

This dish was incredibly delicious!  I probably would have added more artichoke hearts next time, but I really like artichoke.  I couldn't have any goat cheddar because my baby can't tolerate it, but it would have been even more delicious on top of this!  We ate the entire thing and it could have easily served 4 people, it was just so good!  You should definitely try this one!  I hope to continue this weekly date night in, it was fun!  Oh, we watched 'Meet The Fockers' by the way.  We didn't have a chance to stop at the library so we relied on an old favorite!  I hope your weekend is fantastic!

Do you have date nights?  What is your favorite money saving date night advice?

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