Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs, Artichoke & Roasted Pepper Salad, Sauteed Kale

Hello everyone.  Let me take a minute to just say that I am extremely extremely busy lately!  Since leaving my other job, where I was head baker of the vegan bakery, I have taken not one, but two new positions, in addition to teaching my gluten free baking and cake decorating classes at NGI.  Needless to say, I am so busy and tired lately that most of the time, I'm not sure which end is up.  Not that this is a bad thing at all, because I am working with the things I love most: food!  I work as a private chef in the mornings for a very nice family in Flushing, then in the afternoons/evenings, I work as an executive pastry chef in Long Island City (while living in Brooklyn!).  By the time I get home from cooking and baking all day, the last thing I find myself wanting to do is more cooking and baking.  I would like to spend some time with my Hubbs!  But this is not all in vain - I am saving a lot of money now for our business.  It has really become time for us to get our act together and get cracking on all of the preliminary work, so we can open our vegan cafe!  Cannot wait!  I am expecting it to be the most difficult, but rewarding thing I can do in this world!  So, to make a short story long ... I will likely probably only be posting once or twice a week.  I will definitely try to incorporate the gluten free  Wednesdays in my posts.  (What I really need is a mini laptop to work on my blogs and other things while I am on the looooonnnnngggg commute from Brooklyn to Queens! :)  So without further ado, Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

This was a delicious way to use up the leftover meatballs and sauce from the gluten free Wednesday from quire awhile ago.  I froze the lentil meatballs in the marinara sauce and of course promptly forgot about them.  I was going through the freezer recently, a form of Spring Cleaning if you will, and discovered the meatballs.  Score!  Easy dinner tonight!  I love it when that happens.  Since I didn't have the time to thaw the meatballs overnight in the refrigerator, I placed it in the sink in a bowl of warm water, and it was ready to go within a half an hour.  Roasting the peppers was easy, because while those were roasting, I was able to finish the rest of the meal.  I love meals like this.  And when Hubby compliments the meal, it makes me smile, because I know the secret - it was so easy and quick, but tasted like it took all day to prepare.  Although I guess that really is true, because when I made the meatballs initially, they did take quite a long time, but were they worth it!  If you don't want to go through the motions of making the meatballs, you can definitely buy ready made vegan meatballs - super easy!  But definitely make the salad - I made enough so that we could have it for dinner two nights in a row, and Hubbs was disappointed when it was all gone!

Spaghetti & Meatballs with Artichoke & Roasted Pepper Salad, Sauteed Kale:

The Plate: Artichoke Pepper Salad, Sauteed Kale &
Spaghetti & Meatballs!

Spaghetti & Meatballs, Prepared

Artichoke & Roasted Pepper Salad:
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered, excess liquid squeezed out
2 small orange or red bell peppers, roasted, see below
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 pinches sea salt
1 pinch black pepper

Sauteed Kale:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 bunch kale, thick stem removed. sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tamari/shoyu

1.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2.  Have the spaghetti and meatballs prepared.  All you have to do is reheat them.
3.  Prepare the artichoke and roasted pepper salad.  Wash and dry the peppers.  Drizzle them with a small amount of olive oil and place on a baking tray.  Place in the oven and roast until the skin is blackened on all sides, about 1/2 hour. 
4.  Place the peppers in a small bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow the peppers to "sweat".  This will help the peels come off much easier. 
5.  In the meantime, prepare the rest of the salad: squeeze the artichokes of excess water, quarter and place in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the olive oil, sherry vinegar, sea salt and pepper. 
6.  The peppers should be ready by now.  Remove the plastic wrap and carefully take off the top of the pepper.  Be careful because the pepper is filled with hot juices.  Empty the juices from the pepper.  Peel off the outer skin on the pepper- it should be very visible and easy to remove.  It may be stuck in some places - just use a paring knife to help you.  Rinse the peppers of any remaining pieces of skin and seeds.  Julienne the roasted pepper (slice it into long, thin strips).
7.  Place the roasted pepper strips in the bowl with the remaining ingredients and toss to coat.  Season to taste. 
8.  Prepare the kale.  In a large work or large saute pan over high heat, add the olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the kale.  It will seem like a lot, but it will shrink down considerably.  Use a wooden spoon to constantly move the kale around until it wilts.  Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the tamari - be careful it will sizzle.  Stir ingredients around and season to taste. 
9.  To serve, portion out a serving of the pasta and meatballs, the kale and the artichoke pepper salad. 

Dinner on our NEW Table!
(Well, not so new anymore, but we LOVE it! Thanks Mum!)


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