Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chef Chloe's Avocado Pesto Pasta, and a new cooking adventure

Hello there!

Since I last blogged, I've started college. Because I am no longer living at home, my access to basic kitchen appliances is limited, therefore I am being forced to improvise--not that I don't like being creative in the kitchen; I just prefer my place in front of the stove.

If you wish to live in residency and are under the age of 19 at my university, you are assigned to one of two residencies that both require meal plans. Around the time that I was purchasing my meal plan, I had completely given up on cooking anything in my room. I thought that, at best, I'd be able to have a mini-fridge, but wouldn't have anywhere to buy food to fill it. Assuming that I would be buying meals solely from the dining hall, I selected the Normal meal plan. Now I realize that this was a mistake. The food at the cafeteria, or at least the vegan options, is significantly below par. After two weeks of eating over-salted, over-done vegetables (also non-organic!) and dry rice, I've come to the conclusion that if I want to retain a healthy relationship with food, I'm going to have to start making my own food. Now, judging by the fact that I have a cooking blog, however new, you could say that I'm not exactly heartbroken about this, and I'd have to agree with you. I have almost everything you need. I have a rice cooker, a kettle, a Magic Bullet, a mini-fridge, and a lounge with a microwave to heat up leftovers and a full-size fridge with a freezer for anything that doesn't fit inside my fridge. The only thing missing from my collection? An oven, or a convection oven, since I don't think the university would be too pleased if I brought full-sized appliances into my dorm room.

I'm going to be blogging, hopefully every day, on what I'm eating and how I made it. My friends (new and old) have all told me that I should write a cookbook. I don't think I could do just that, but I think (hope, really) that I can manage a blog.

Today, I cooked for one of my friends on my floor. We had the Avocado Pesto Pasta from Chef Chloe's blog. It was so delicious and easy to make, and she kept thanking me for preparing such a delicious dinner and asking me how I made it. Below is how I did it.

Avocado Pesto Linguine
Serves 6 (I halved the recipe so it made enough for my friend and I with huge servings)
What You Need:
1 pound dried linguini (300 oz. whole wheat fresh linguini)
1 bunch basil leaves (about 2½ ounces) (3 handfuls)
½ cup pine nuts (1/4 cup approximately)
2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled (1 avocado)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ of a lemon) (I didn't have any lemon... whoops!)
3 cloves garlic (1 super huge clove of garlic that I got from the farmers market today. Seriously, it was the size of two.)
½ cup olive oil (closer to 1/3 cup of olive oil to compensate for the lack of lemon juice.)
Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Boil 1.5 litres water in a kettle.
2. While water is boiling, put the avocado, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and basil in the Magic Bullet or other food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
3. Once water has finished boiling, put a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of the rice cooker (about 1 tbsp or less) and put in the pasta. Pour water over the pasta until the rice cooker is almost full, and replace lid on rice cooker. You don't need to have your rice cooker on during. If you don't have a rice cooker but you do have a big bowl, you could replace the rice cooker with a big bowl. Let the pasta sit for a few minutes, stirring and taste-testing occasionally until done.
4. Drain the pasta into a colander and then put back into bowl/rice cooker. Stir pesto into pasta. Serve and enjoy!