Sunday, February 5, 2012

Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs and Bleu Cheese

 Mark Bittman's Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs, and Blue Cheese
Hmm...what's not to like?  OK, so some people may say bleu cheese, and some may say figs, and some may say Brussels sprouts.....we like all of the above, so I thought we would enjoy all of this together as well.

Recipe slumps happen.  In fact, I was just discussing this with my friend, Dee, over coffee the other week.  The day we were talking about it I had just checked Mark Bittman's cookbook, The Food Matters Cookbook, out of the library. I was trying to prevent a cooking slump by getting a few recipes in order to have them ready to go.  I can tell when I need to try something new.  For the past few weeks I haven't posted too many new recipes since we have been eating some old favorites.  OK, it was for the sake of the blog I was thinking about new things even though revisiting old recipes has been fun.  I know that when I shuffle through recipes like shuffling through my closet looking for something exciting to's time for a new sweater.  Or in this case, some new recipes.

Back to my coffee with Dee.  She is currently having "Vintage Cooking" fun.  She's making some of her favorites from childhood and from her early days of wedded bliss.  That's a fun idea to change things up with recipes.  It does get tiring keeping it interesting...and it's good to mix it up a bit.  Kinda like exercising....Body Combat being the new addiction in this house.

We have some friends who do "vat" cooking.  They make a huge batch of soup or chili and eat it all week.  The wife thinks her husband must have been a prison cook in a former life. We get tired of eating the same old thing multiple times, so that doesn't work well for us.  It does work if I make a large batch to freeze part of it for lunches or another dinner though. 

Sometimes, as I have mentioned before, I plan meals around the cuisine....Italian, Thai, Mexican.  Dee plans hers around the protein...chicken, chicken, fish, pork, occasional beef.  Elizabeth has planned around utensil.  Maybe the trick is to mix up the planning method?  I don't have the answer on this one...just a few ideas, I guess.  I just know that I always feel better when I have plan..whatever the plan may be.  I guess that goes for things other than meals/cooking for me.  I do like to have a plan (no comments on that anyone). 

I pulled a few recipes from this cookbook with the hope of trying them in the next few weeks. This one looked like it was going to be the first one on my plan but ended up being down a bit on the list.  Just because it takes a special day for me to be able to throw this in the oven an hour before serving.

I made this one the other night when Eleanor had a friend over working on a school project.  I love her friend, Arian.  I asked if she would like some pasta and told her the ingredients.  her response was that she would love to try it!  She said she liked it too:)

I used dried figs in making this and avoiding the almonds.  I was planning to put some pumpkin seeds on it for a bit of crunch but forgot.  A crunch would be nice too.  There was a nice combination of flavors...very slightly sweet and salty. 

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