Monday, January 29, 2007

Life's little ironies

Ok, I've definitely decided to make Joy out of my alpaca from Alpaca Jack's. I started working on the back this week and so far so good. The only thing I need is beads. I also decided to cook a wonderful casserole from Vegetarian Times Magazine, so it seemed logical to go to the supermarket by Divine Inspirations, the local bead shop, which is not the closet supermarket to my apartment. In fact, it's all the way on other side of town, but it made sense so that's what I did. When I finally get to Divine Inspirations, they were closed! I was so angry! They're closed on Sundays AND Mondays. Ridiculous! It's really not that big of a deal except I had a long day of classes and I wanted to make this friggin casserole. They lost a lot of business too. I need 5,000 beads!

Anyway, the casserole was wonderful. It has polenta on the bottom then a layer of tomatoes, squash, garlic, chiles, coriander, cumin, pinto beans, corn, onion, red pepper, and then another layer of polenta on top. The recipe is copied and pasted below. I didn't make the pumpkin seed pesto, but I'm sure it's delicious too. Though I don't think it's needed the casserole is fairly complicated in flavors as is.

After dinner, I went to the gym. It's seriously depressing to find out how out of shape one can get from one bad semester. I'll definitely be living in the gym this semester though. As I was leaving, some girls came in, clearly freshman. Keep in mind they were entering a gym. They strode up to the door and hit the handicapped button and waited for the door to open automatically. I suppose they were going to gawk at hot men and not for the work out. I started laughing, but they clearly didn't see the irony and just stared.
Three Sisters Casserole
Serves 6 -- Vegan
A Native American expression, “three sisters” refers to the practice of growing beans, corn and squash together. This filling casserole can be frozen for an upcoming party or made fresh for dinner.

Polenta Topping
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 Tbs. chili powder
3/4 tsp. salt

3 Tbs. olive oil,
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 lb. kabocha squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes with chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 15-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1. To make Polenta Topping: Whisk together cornmeal, chili powder, salt and 4 1/2 cups water in double boiler, or in large metal bowl over barely simmering water. Cook 40 minutes, or until polenta is thick and stiff, stirring 3 or 4 times. Remove from heat.
2. To make Filling: Preheat oven to 375F. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 7 minutes, or until softened, stirring often. Add bell pepper, and cook 5 minutes more, stirring often.
3. Stir in squash, tomatoes, garlic, coriander and cumin. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 cup water and salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, partially covered, 10 to 15 minutes, or until squash is tender. Stir in beans and corn, and cook 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
4. Coat 8x11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 2 cups polenta over bottom of prepared dish. Spoon squash mixture over polenta. Smooth remaining polenta (about 2 1/2 cups) over top.
5. Score casserole into 6 squares with knife. Brush top with remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Bake 30 minutes, or until heated through and top is lightly browned. Serve with Pumpkin Seed Pesto (below).

Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Makes 1 cup, Vegan, 30 minutes or fewer

This pesto adds an elegant, flavorful touch to the Three Sisters Casserole. Try it as an alternative to salsa on nachos as well. Pumpkin seed oil is stocked with other specialty oils in many supermarkets, but you can substitute olive oil in a pinch.

1 cup unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seed oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp. salt
pinch cayenne

1. Toast pumpkin seeds in large skillet over medium heat, 4 to 5 minutes, or until puffed and golden, stirring constantly.
2. Transfer seeds to food processor. Add remaining ingredients, and process until smooth. Serve with Three Sisters Casserole, or store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to a week.



Gina said...

Divine Inspiration is owned by Linda Mitchell, who is a pastor. So, she works on Sundays and Monday is her only day off. But now you really see what I was talking about with Debbie the other day. Your own shop is not open for your is open for the customer's convenience. Period.

Knitress said...

Oh, yummy!!!! I need to try this.

Bel said...

That Three Sisters Cass sounds awesome, and I want to make it this weekend. The wait on Divine Inspiration is a bummer...but worth the wait. And Lily will most likely be there...and she is so sweet! Good luck!! I want to see progress on the sweater, okay??

Nan said...

I am out of Maggi merino on by a thread!