Meatless Monday Mania!


Yes, folks, it’s finally here.

Super Bowl Sunday.

And while pretty much everyone else in the country is thinking about who’s gonna win, if Beyonce’ is going to actually sing live and the copious amounts of beer, wings, chips and dips that they will be consuming in just a few short hours (that is, if you haven’t started already..) I’m looking ahead to other things going on this week. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m totally Badassing the Super Bowl Spread today- boneless wings in my original sweet-hot, Asian, ragin’ Cajun and tequila lime sauces, guacamole & chips, caramelized onion dip & chips, and some sublime sliders that I’m fresh grinding from a filet/short rib combo topped with caramelized onions, thick cut pepper bacon, cheddar and a sweet chipotle ketchup. But, we’ve got a big week ahead here at DBA HQ…

Tomorrow is the deadline for the first annual Iron Fork Charlotte competition! This is a cooking competition sponsored by Creative Loafting and from what I gather it’s sorta like the love child of “Iron Chef” and “Chopped” on a much smaller scale. Only one secret ingredient, only one dish to be created in one hour. Piece of cake. They are kinda pushing it towards “Executive Restaurant Chefs”, but hey, I figure a little upstart like myself would be make things interesting. If you think so too, or if you’d just like to see me put my money where my mouth is, go to:

IRON FORK CHARLOTTE

and nominate your favorite Domestic Badass (that’s me, Annamarie Gatto) to compete! Since I don’t work out of a restaurant, just type http://www.thedomesticbadass.com in as the answer to the question “what restaurant do we find him/her at?”  Best part is that the event will be live and ticket sales go to a local kids charity.  Cooking for a good cause-now what could be better than that? (well, maybe winning the lottery might be a little bit better…)

Another cool thing going down this week is a little feature story in the Gaston Gazette about…yours truly! The lovely Bernie Petit from the GG found out about my crazy little world o’ cooking and did a nice little feature story that is coming out on Wednesday of this week, I think. For updates, like us on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

With all the “healthy” (yes, I’m being sarcastic) food that we’re all gonna face plant into today, I’m also looking ahead to tomorrow and the phenomenon known as

“Meatless Monday”

(insert big sweeping epic music cue)

Now I LOVE my veggies. I was the kid that never had to be bribed to eat her broccoli. But I also make no claim to be a vegetarian. I did try going without red meat for a while. Now that I think about it, it was actually like 8 years. But after ending a very toxic relationship with a guy who was “red-meatless” (toward the end, even my longing, lip smacking looks toward cows sent him into a freaked out frenzy-“Ohmigod! Do you really want to eat that?!) I decided to celebrate my independence by grilling a lovely surf and turf dinner.

That dinner left me with a few things:

  1. A horseshoe shaped scar on the crook of my left elbow from a run in with the circular shaped handle of a skewer of perfectly marinated and grilled giant prawns. Hey, the patio door slammed back on me with the prawns on a platter in one arm and the steaks on a platter in the other. It was either the arm getting branded or the patio getting the prawns. I chose the prawns, figuring the arm would heal. (I mean, those damn prawns were $15 bucks a pound. Priorities, folks, priorities.) The arm did heal, and eventually, the scar faded away. Too bad. I interpreted the horseshoe shape as a sign of the good fortune coming my way after unloading the, ahem, “baggage”. Damn, I miss that scar.
  2. A renewed love of beef. My God. That steak was probably one of the best I’ve ever had…I can still taste it….sigh…
  3. A hell of a lot of energy. You try going almost 10 years without the protein jolt that a giant steak will give you and see what amazing feats you can accomplish. Red Bull, my ass. You can keep the “red” and give me the “bull” thank you very much.
  4. I also realized that, as much of an animal lover as I am, I am not a vegetarian. I used to feel bad about that, but I’ve come to terms and peace with my carnivorous ways. Plus it was exhausting trying to be something I clearly was not.

Now, just because I am not vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean I don’t like, eat or cook vegetarian meals.  Plus I have some lovely vegetarian and vegan friends that I adore and I enjoy creating yummy dishes for them to chow down on.

So a couple of weeks ago, when faced with “Snow-pocolypse 2013” while everyone else was stocking up on bread and milk, I was buying whole chickens and spaghetti squash. I mean, what the hell is up with the bread and milk anyway? Do folks eat bread and milk together? Do they soak the bread in the milk and pretend it’s bread pudding. Don’t they know that there are waaaaay better things to eat during a snowstorm? Questions that beg answers, but that’s another blog for another time.

Back to the spaghetti squash.

So the grocery store had a whole pile of ’em and they were cheap, so I figured I’d buy one and do something with it.  And much like the tofu that sat in my fridge for a week and a half, the cheery yellow squash hung out on my counter for about a week or so before I figured out what I wanted to do with it.  Now, the last (and I think, first) time I ate spaghetti squash was when I was a kid. But I remember that I liked it and it was fun to eat, since it looked like it’s pasta namesake.  So I figured, “what the hell”, grabbed the squash and….

Stared at it.

For about 15 minutes.

I finally decided on going with a Greek kinda thing, figuring that having a bit of briny saltiness (olives and feta cheese) and a wee bit ‘o heat (pepperoncini peppers) might be a nice compliment to the sweetness of the squash.  Now, I cooked my squash in a tagine

imagesBut you can use a pot with a tight fitting lid or roast it in the oven.  This dish is packed with flavor, satisfying and good for you too! An added plus is that you can serve it right out of the hollowed out squash shells, which is pretty darn cute. Give it a try and let me know what you think…

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“It’s All Greek to Me” Spaghetti Squash 

The Badass says, “Who says that only Mondays should be meatless? Try this flavor packed vegetarian dish for a light supper or as a super side dish. Can’t live without some meat in your life? Try serving this with some marinated, grilled chicken. For a fun way to serve, spoon the squash mixture back into the hollowed out squash shells.”

Here’s what you need:

1-3 pound spaghetti squash

2 TBS butter

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

½ a 28 oz can of whole plum tomatoes, diced (juice included)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 TBS balsamic vinegar

¼ cup red wine (I used cabernet)

5 pepperoncini peppers, thinly sliced

¾ cup chopped kalamata olives

1 ½ cups crumbled feta cheese (about 12-14 oz)

1 TBS fresh oregano, minced

And here’s what you do:

Ok, so first, you gotta cook the squash. I steam mine, but you can also roast it.  To steam, put the squash in a pot that has a tight fitting lid and add enough water to cover about ¼ of the squash. (**Note**I actually use a tagine for this recipe) Cover and cook on high until the water starts to gently boil, about 3-4 minutes (times may vary). When the water starts to boil,  lower heat to medium low, cover tightly and steam for about one hour, or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork. Remove squash carefully and place on a cutting board. Let cool for 10 minutes then carefully slice in half lengthwise (the squash will still be hot, so be careful!). Remove seeds. Using a fork, separate and remove the strands of squash and place in a large bowl. Set aside. Reserve the hollowed out shells for serving.

Now to make the sauce!

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 15 seconds then add the diced tomatoes and juice. Cook on medium for 2 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and wine and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the peppers and olives and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with the squash.  Toss in the feta cheese and all but 1 tsp of the minced oregano. Spoon the mixture back into the shells, sprinkle with the remaining minced oregano and serve.  Serves 2-4 entrée sized servings or 4-6 side dish sized servings.

Enjoy!

Now, this is another dish that my T-Rex sized carnivore of a husband really enjoyed (he was really surprised at how much he enjoyed it actually), so I encourage my fellow carnivores to give it a try. You might just be surprised, too.

Now, if all that weren’t enough, the most exciting part of this coming week is…(drum roll, please!)…..

The premier of a brand new episode of The Domestic Badass web series! 

It’s been a long time coming, but we think you’ll agree that this episode was worth the wait. Not only will I be sharing my highly requested recipe for ceviche,  but we’ve also got a couple of new characters making their debut as well as a visit from one of your favorites. Plus, The G-Man really pulled out all stops with the cool effects. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the direct link first!

Well, I’ve gotta start prepping the game time goodies. Whatever you may be doing tonight, enjoy yourselves (responsibly if you’re driving!) and of course…

Have Fun…and Be Fearless!

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

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