Saturday, July 10, 2010

There Was a Vegetable Fiesta on my Balcony.

Last night, after my little brother and I came back home from our adventures to the library and Barnes & Noble, I randomly decided to make myself a healthy meal that consisted mostly of vegetables and olive oil. :)
...Maybe it was because of the articles I read in the Health and Yoga magazines at Barnes & Noble, the ones that urge readers to make healthy yet satisfying choices in everything you eat and do; I guess their words motivated me to stuff myself with bright colors of food, and in the end I felt a great sense of accomplishment and relaxation; not just out of eating the final product, but mostly out of the entire process of creating it.

When I got home, I instinctively grabbed the last red bell pepper from the bottom drawer in the fridge, along with three succulent-looking, deep green zucchinis (I remember my first experience of cooked zucchinis that my mom used to make all the time, with the shine of olive oil having been decorated all over it and with hints of herbs scattered around...Mmmm, delicious). I then thought of taking a few white mushrooms too, but I just let that idea leap out of my mind because they weren't as exciting to look at as the almost blinding red of the pepper and as the nature-y hues of the zucchini.

And after gently handling the vegetables under running cold water and with bits of soap, and after rolling them in a towel to dry (and while doing all of this I felt like I was treating them like babies, as if holding of pressing the vegetables too hard under the towel was going to destroy them!), I took a knife and made my attempt to chop the vegetables like a pro...My cutting skills aren't too bad in general, so cutting the zucchini into fourths wasn't so difficult; but when it came to the red bell pepper, it was almost impossible for me to do one chop and get a clean cut--instead, trying to chop them was only making the attempted pieces turn into fraying fragments looking like a disease on the obviously I stopped trying to chop the pepper and just made long, deep incisions (boy, now I sound like I'm talking about a surgical procedure!).
So then I finally had nice, long strands of red juicy goodness lying out before me, next to the green hues of the strands of zucchini, all encompassed by the contrasting whiteness (save for a few food stains) of the cutting board. :)

I laid the pieces out on a cookie sheet and brushed them with about a tablespoon and a half of extra virgin olive oil; and with a little spontaneity in me, I decided to toss (well maybe not toss, because that would have made the task very messy!) a few pieces of goat cheese on some of the pieces (of both vegetables)...I didn't want to take the risk of possibly having the food taste terrible because of the goat cheese, so that's why I didn't put the cheese on the whole set.

And with the preheating to 350 degrees and the timer set to 10 minutes (which I later added 5 min to just to see what happens; so really the timer was to 15 min), I slid the beautifully prepared vegetable fiesta into the fiery sauna (not literally fiery, because obviously that would have been very dangerous..). And I spent that amount of time cooking a turkey dog on the stove; as I also stepped out on the balcony and gently plucked five basil leaves from a basil plant my dad recently bought, and chopped them after rinsing in cool water.

After what seemed like an eternity (mostly because I was starving, which was why I found myself munching on walnuts while waiting for the vegetables to get ready), the alarm of the oven went off and I practically sprinted to the kitchen as if to the rescue of my "babies!"
And when I took the cookie sheet out of the oven and set it on the counter, the most amazing smell began to surround me! and It smelled like pizza because of the goat cheese and zucchini together, so much so that I was afraid my brother would rush to the kitchen to see if I actually made pizza (his favorite food)! Also, to make the setting look even more appealing, I put the pepper and zucchini pieces on a clean plate, and then sprinkled the ensemble with my chopped basil...And the smell just kept getting better!

And you may ask, what was the turkey dog for? Well I thought from the beginning that if I only ate vegetables for dinner, I wouldn't feel so full that I'd eat another feast half an hour later; so I thought the turkey dog was a great and low-calorie way to throw an anchor in my stomach to keep me full, along with the vegetables.
So after the basil procedure (again, sounding very surgical for some reason...I apologize :P), I cut the turkey dog into little pieces and served it on a separate plate, since I was afraid that the prettiness of the vegetables lying together would be ruined by the random dog.

And with all of this prepared, I sat on the balcony in the 80 degree weather, with my Glamour magazine open, and the two plates of deliciousness spread before me waiting for me to devour them. I ended up enjoying every bite, and as it turns out, the goat cheese with the red bell pepper tasted amazing!

So I guess in the end it must have been alright for me to take the noble risk of throwing on the goat cheese on the vegetables, instead of just on a few pieces of them...

...So the vegetable fiesta would have been filled with even more life and excitement than before!

I hope this blog didn't bore you to sleep, because I just realized that I spent about an hour writing about myself cooking two colored things and eating it with a fake hot dog and cheese. But at the same time, I hope this blog has inspired you to be more inventive than you may have found yourself to be, and to take small risks in order to make your creations flourish.

Munching on more walnuts...

Bean out.


FireintheBreeze (Brittany) said...

best post ever! i was right there with you in your kitchen, running about with vegetables and crunching into golden walnuts. i love it - and it definitley inspires me to cook healthy and be to the store now to pick up some zuchinis :)

shirenesBEAN said...

Oh thank you! I'm so flattered hehe, let me know how the cooking goes with the zucchinis! :D