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"Spring Ahead" Looking really hard for Spring: Whole grain veggie pasta bake

7:32 AM

I went off to the woods yesterday, looking for Spring. The wind was icy and my face was freezing and stiff as I slogged through the icy snow stopping every once in a while to listen.  I listened hard for migratory birds and I looked under every bush for chipmunks.   I sniffed the wind for the smell of a thaw.  I got nothing. Nothing at all. I kept walking into the old part of the woods where the creek flows and sat on a fallen tree near the water.  Still looking and waiting and anticipating.  I watched the water ooze by underneath the ice, like a lava lamp.  I sat until my fingers hurt inside my gloves and there was nothing.  No animals, no stray green.... just ice and snow and suddenly * CRACK*   *POP* *SWOOOOSH*  an ice-dam gave way and water came tumbling over the top of the ice.  I grinned. NOT what I had expected, but Spring had began with a *Bang*...  not a chirp, or a scent, or a color... but a Bang.  How appropriate for this year. And then, of course, I wanted to go poke the ice with a stick to get it to move along... but decided against it as I knew the water was super-deep in that particular section.

Today the snow is continuing to melt and the temperatures are finally above freezing.  The Robins are singing and we smelled the tell-tale scent of a skunk coming out of hibernation.

There isn't much local and fresh right now, but we ARE blessed with a beautiful fresh produce section at our local supermarket.  I guess the marginally warmer temperatures were making me giddy  last week as I filled my cart with veggies.  It's been very culinarily rich around here the last couple of weeks, so I'll share some of that with everyone this week on the blog.

Whole Grain Veggie Pasta Bake
2 leeks:  Trimmed, Rinsed, and cut into circles
2 large red bell peppers, sliced 
4 portobello mushroom caps, sliced
1 cup broccoli flourets
1 cup cauliflower flourets
1 small yellow squash cut into half moons
1 small zucchini cut into half moons
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 lb whole grain penne pasta
1 1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella (optional)
fennel seeds to taste
Seasalt to taste
Dried Thyme to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400f.  Cook pasta until it is al-dente.  Drain and put into a large, pre-oiled casserole dish.  Add veggies.   Add salt and pepper and herbs to taste.  Top with Daiya Mozzarella if desired.  Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.  

Remove and Enjoy!

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