I happened to be in the house at the time when an Oprah show was on, talking about how her whole staff was going on a Vegan challenge. I applaud those people who can go Vegan.
(Funny side note: I keep trying to type "Vegan" and my fingers keep typing "Vegas." Is it time to go on a vacation or what?!)
In case you didn't know, vegan and vegetarian are two different things. Vegetarian is when you don't eat meat, but you do eat other things from animals - for example, eggs, dairy, cheese. Some vegetarians eat fish (they are actually called pescetarians), but I guess since fish have little personality, they don't feel so bad about that.
Then there are vegans - these people are, in my opinion, absolutely disciplined and mystifying to me. Vegans don't eat any product from an animal. No cheese, no ice cream, no chocolate!
I know I could never be vegan. There would be no reason left to live if I couldn't have milk, cheese, ice cream. Hello, my last post was about chocolate bunnies.
But I am passionate about animals, and the topic of horse slaughter is alive and well. After watching this show, it gave me pause to think about the other animals. I wouldn't dream of slaughtering a horse to eat it, I'd rather live in a cardboard box begging for food. But what about those other animals? The cows, pigs, turkeys, and chickens we all eat?
Over the years, I've slowed down on my meat consumption - we have a vegetarian or seafood meal perhaps once a week, maybe more (especially if it's the famous DiCostanzo sauce with pasta, that I had to get engaged to Matt first before his mother released the recipe to me!). When we're eating out (rare, but we do....on occasion), I usually end up getting seafood, because I love it so much and I was slightly traumatized by going to the Ruth Chris steakhouse in NYC and seeing more steaks in one room than I've probably eaten in a lifetime. After seeing that, my steak just wasn't as tasty.
So I had a thought. Wouldn't it be great if I shared a vegetarian recipe (or two) with you guys, and in turn, you send me one, and we'll do one big happy Vegetarian Love Fest blog post? What do you think?
I don't think I'll be a vegan any time soon, or even a full time vegetarian. But I do know that I have a renewed appreciation for what goes on our plates here.
Send some recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org, and as soon as I have a few, they'll go up on a blog post with, of course, proper credit to the person who sent it to me!
Without further ado, one of my faves:
Blushing Penne Pasta
1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
1 cup thinly sliced onions
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream, divided
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
Cook penne according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook onions in butter for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the thyme, basil and salt; cook 1 minute longer. Add 1 cup cream, wine and tomato paste; cook and stir until blended. Combine flour and remaining cream until smooth; gradually stir into onion mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Drain penne; toss with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Yield: 8 servings.