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My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Recipe Testing

You never know where a tweet will take you.

A few weeks ago, I tweeted that I'd like to be a recipe tester.

Now, *ideally* I'd not only like to be one, but I'd like to get paid for doing it.

A girl can dream...

Well....a few days after I sent that tweet, Vanessa Kimbell, who has a blog describing her upcoming cookbook, replied that I could test recipes for her though doing so would not involve money. 

That really is OK.  It's kinda fun to test somebody else's experiment.

We sent a few emails back and forth to each other, and after I told her that I'd prefer to test vegan recipes, she sent me one.  Turns out that her upcoming cookbook has many vegan recipes, so it should appeal to quite a broad audience. 

The recipe she had me test is Tomato and Garlic Pasta.   The recipe calls for "fresh Parmesan for serving," which my omnivore family members used.  I used a vegan version, Almesan, from Isa Moscowitz's Veganomicon (p. 207).   For copyright reasons I cannot describe that recipe to you, but it involves a lot of almonds and ends up tasting surprisingly like Parmesan. 

Back to the recipe I tested:  Vanessa is writing for a British (or at least broadly European) audience.  If you look at her recipe, you will see that it has metric quantities which Americans would need to convert. 

Aside:  I remember in second grade being told that we HAD to learn the metric system because by the time we grew up, the US would be using the metric system "just like every other country".  I guess I haven't grown up yet, because 35 years later, the US still uses a system brought over by the colonists!

Converting quantities really isn't so hard, except that the foods used (tomato puree, olive oil, spaghetti) do not readily come in the quantities requested, unless you go search for European imports at a specialty store.

I decided to make her recipe with quantities as close to those requested, but in the quantities that the products are most readily available in American supermarkets.  I used:

1 head of garlic
1 6 oz can tomato paste (known as "tomato puree" on the other side of the pond)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 lb spaghetti

You can look at her recipe to know how it's made; the only other change I made was to add a quarter cup of water to thin the sauce. 

The recipe was excellent and very cheap.  Garlic was on sale for 3 heads for $1, so the one head was about .33.  The spaghetti was .99 for one pound.  The tomato paste was .59.  Literally, for a little more than two dollars, I made a main dish that could serve six.  (Wine, bread, and a salad completed the meal.)

Here's a picture.  Though it's from her blog, I can attest that mine turned out to look just the same.


I look forward to testing more in the future!

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