Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yogi Dinner

Hell froze over last Saturday when Billy (carnivore and hater of green vegetables) suggested I cook gluten-free pasta for our friends Katie (vegan with a gluten allergy) and Keith (vegetarian). This coming from the man who drinks Coca-Cola to stay hydrated - I almost died from the shock. "Hey, if it's bad we can always just order a pizza." I appreciated his flexibility but that's not how I roll. Then again, I had to admit that vegan and gluten-free cooking was beyond my comfort zone of butter, flour and cream. Plus, I had a busy day on Saturday and needed to find something quick and easy to cook after teaching yoga for eight hours. I was hoping that with a little finesse I could make this gluten-free pasta work.

I needed maximum flavor in the form of vegetables (in any color other than green). My saving grace came in the form of cherry tomatoes. Roasted for twenty minutes at 400 degrees, they pop and ooze and (when drizzled with olive oil) make their own perfect sauce. I sautéed some shallots in olive oil and said a little prayer as I threw the DeBoles Gluten-Free Multi Grain Penne into the pot. The box said 12-15 minutes which sounded suspicious so I set the timer for 8 minutes in the hopes of catching it before it got soggy. No such luck. After 8 minutes it was pretty mushy but it didn't really matter once I doused it in goat cheese (for the non-vegans)! Goat cheese makes everything taste better, especially with the roasted tomato/shallot combination. (Note to my readers: You can obviously make this dish with any pasta you want. The roasted tomatoes are like candy and the goat cheese just melts in your mouth.) The final product? Billy went back for seconds! Katie was happy and I was thrilled that I'd managed to pull of a tasty meal without the use of butter.

I had set the table the night before knowing that there wouldn't be enough time when I got home from work. Instead of buying flowers I just used things already in my home. The thyme plant looked rustic and wild in the center of the table and I threw some lemons in an old ironstone bowl for color. I served my new favorite Cabernet, California Karma, which was a cheeky addition to our yogi dinner. There was no time to cook dessert so I bought fresh cherries from the farmers' market.

More than the food, I truly enjoyed the gift of a relaxing evening with good friends. We talked from the heart and laughed till we cried. Ellie loved being the center of attention and was so excited to play with her godparents. She collapsed at the end of the night, exhausted from happiness.

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