First, let me start by saying that I have been an absolutely horrendous blogger of late. I’ve neglected my inbox, let comments go unnoticed for days — heck, weeks. And I haven’t posted since, I don’t know, 6 weeks ago?
Second, let me explain. As I alluded to in previous posts, the year of 2011 marks an exciting yet stressful transition in my life. I got a job in Michigan, and a job that I love at that (hence, the excitement). When the position became permanent in February, my husband was still working in New York and in limbo, waiting to see what would come of my temporary status. Long story short, from February until now, we have put our New York apartment on the market, sold our apartment, my husband has moved out to Michigan, and we are now living with my parents, using my parents cars and basically freeloading until we can find a place and get settled here. Therein lies the whole “stress” part of the equation.
Now here’s the kicker. Remember my stress and anxiety over taking the New York bar exam last year — the exam I vowed I would never, ever take again under any circumstances? Remember my excitement upon finding out I had passed last November? Well, I have to do it all over again. Alas, a little thing called “reciprocity” (or lack thereof) stands in the way of my New York scores being relevant here in Michigan. So, in the midst of a new job, no home, and closing our apartment sale in New York, I am now studying for the bar exam (again).
I hope, given the circumstances, I will be excused for my horrid blog upkeep of late.
Anyways, in other news…My parents recently returned from the 2011 Vegetarian Summerfest and they were absolutely blown away by the amazing experience. Armed with t-shirts, books and other propaganda from their trip , my mom declared herself a reformed woman upon their return. (To think that just a year ago they were just flirting with the idea of vegetarianism). From the eye-opening talk of S.A.E.N.’s Michael Budkie on animal research labs, to Woodstock Animal Sanctuary‘s Co-Founder Jenny Brown, to Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn‘s informed presentations on the effects of a plant-based diet on heart disease and health, the trip was truly life-changing and educational for my parents. I’m especially jealous that they got a sneak-peak at my girl Marisa’s upcoming documentary Vegucated, which I’m told was every bit amazing as I expected it would be (and my parents are not known to hold back their opinion on such things).
Among the trinkets of knowledge my parents brought back to Michigan with them were the health implications of a high-fat, high-oil diet. I’m much too busy and tired to veer too far into a debate on the virtues of a high-fat/low-fat diet, but it was interesting to me that multiple renowned heart doctors echoed the theory that “good” fats such as olive oil and nuts are really not that good after all. True or not, I’ve always been open-minded about different dietary protocols, because it just means more of a challenge for me. I love a culinary challenge, and taking fat and oil out of a roasted tomato pasta sauce seemed like the perfect place to start. The end result, with sweet basil and tomatoes in peak season this time of year, was a rich and flavorful sauce that didn’t miss the oil or fat (or gluten! or meat!) at all.
Roasted Tomato-Basil Toss:
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
1 cup vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 tablespoon white wine
2 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
small pinch of salt
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 lb. gluten-free spaghetti
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. In a shallow baking dish, toss tomatoes with wine, broth, salt, pepper and garlic. Bake in preheat oven for 20 minutes, toss, then return to oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Let cool.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse if required. Immediately return pasta to pot and toss with roasted tomatoes and basil. Add additional salt to taste and serve.