I want to thank everyone for their kind words about Tigger. Tigger was a bit of a momma’s – and in the second half of his life a daddy’s – boy, and I used to have to do a lot of defending of him to people he’d slashed. A lot of people who knew him in real life were scared of him. Scared of that sweet, adorable, lovable little guy – can you believe it?! It really makes me happy to know he had such a following on my blog and that the internet saw him for who he really was: a beautiful, funny, and wonderful cat with a huge personality. I still cry when I think about him, and this first post will be a little depressing without his presence, but I did manage to get a couple of Brachtune pictures to help fill the void.
I’m still adjusting a bit to being back in America. I was jet lagged a bit for a couple of days – couldn’t sleep – and then Mark’s mom and aunt were here for a couple of days, and what with missing Tigger, things haven’t yet seemed quite “normal”. I worked late tonight but I’d promised Mark Brussels sprouts for dinner, so I tried to think of a quick yet interesting accompaniment. (How many girls have husbands they have to try to please by finding meals to go with Brussels sprouts?! Honestly, though, Mark would have been perfectly happy to eat the sprouts and nothing else.) I sort of just pulled this together based on ingredients that seemed like they’d go with with my Brussels sprouts. It turned out quite well.
Bacony Beany Spelt Pasta
4 oz. spelt pasta ribbons
2 tsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 sliced tempeh “bacon”
7 oz. diced tomatoes (about half a can)
4 leaves Swiss chard
2/3 can Great Northern beans
1/4 tsp Australian habanero sauce (or other hot sauce to taste, or red chili pepper flakes to taste)
1/2 cup vegan stock
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Prepare the pasta as directed on the package. I found that it took significantly less time to cook than stated on the package, so if you aren’t used to spelt pasta, make sure you check it frequently.
Mince the garlic.
Chiffonade the the chard. (That’s sort of fun to say.)
Rinse the beans.
Crumble the tempeh bacon.
In a large skillet or wok, warm the olive oil, then add the garlic.
Saute for 20 seconds, then add the tempeh bacon and fry until beginning to crisp.
Add the tomatoes and their juices; cook for two minutes.
Add the chard and cook for another two minutes.
Add the beans and stir.
Stir in the stock and hot sauce or chili flakes. The hot sauce I used was purchased for Mark at The Rocks Markets in Sydney. Mark’s a hot pepper and hot sauce aficionado and I tend to buy him the hottest sauce I can find when I travel as a souvenir. I warned the seller of this sauce that Mark didn’t like “sissy” sauces and his “extra hot habanero” had better really be “extra hot”, and it is quite good! It’s pretty hot, but in small doses it has a really nice flavor and it worked well in this dish. Use whatever type of heat you like if you can’t make it to Sydney!
Add the drained pasta and toss, then warm through before serving.
Goes well with roasted Brussels sprouts and Australian red wine!
Brachtune has taken to following me around the house, much like Tigger used to. In fact, I think Tigger was oppressing the poor thing because she’s been more active lately than she has been in a while. So although I miss my constant orange companion in the kitchen, The Toonse was at my feet the whole time I prepared tonight’s meal.
Would it be wrong of me to tell Brachtune that it’s much easier for me to get a good angle for her photos if she jumps up on the island like Tigger used to do?
I know it’s not that hygienic to let my cats walk on the counters, but it can’t be that hygienic for me to be rolling around on the floor to take their picture either!
The Toonse is just too well-behaved!
I have a few more pictures to share from Australia, but it’s getting late so I’m going to postpone them for now. Koalas and kangaroos, oh my!