After Dark

15 Mon, 2010 § 9 Comments

Remember when you were a kid & the sun going down was a lame excuse to stop playing?

Especially when it is only 6:30pm — seriously, how does it get this dark so early?!

On our last trip to Priest’s Draw, there were no excuses & no parents to beg.  After the sun went down, we pulled out the lantern & Dave threw himself at this beast of a problem in the dark.

It actually triggered a bit of homesickness as I though about hunting/camping trips with my family; we would always get up before the sun & set out while it was still dark.  I always froze amidst the predawn frost, but the thought of being left behind at camp was unbearable.  This is one of my most cherished memories, & I deeply wish to relive it.  There is something raw, mysterious & beautiful about experiencing nature in the dark through action, rather than just the usual sitting around a campfire.

I wish I had brought a few more layers to bundle up in & not left my gloves in the car :(.  It wasn’t the dark that got to me — it was the cold!  Though I was freezing by the time we hiked out, walking beneath the stars was amazing.  I love being in a place that I can actually see the stars at night.

My hometown is drenched in stars.  This is something I had missed since moving away from home.  Now we have stars again.  🙂

As promised: more bouldering photos of Priest Draw so you can see the style of climbing by daylight.

Triangle Boulder is a good warm up just off the road.

Slopey, but fun slopey. 😉

I dig the roofs at the Draw & am determined to master this problem.

I am also counting on quite a few more late-night sessions.  🙂

~

Now for a dish I am super excited to share with you!  Even though we didn’t have this dish the night we stayed out, it would be perfect for those after-dark-bouldering-sessions…or whatever keeps you out…or those busy days that almost get away from you…

You can throw it together before hand, keep it in the fridge & pop it in the oven to warm through when you get home.  Heck, this might even freeze well if that’s your style.

The ingredients are simple — I even feared the plain tomato sauce would be bland.  Boy was I wrong; these flavors were beyond delicious & the texture was absolutely amazing — very reminiscent of ricotta — the whole household loved it.

Tofu-Kale Baked Penne with Mushrooms

Adapted from Baked Stuffed Shells in Clean Food

~4 servings

  • ~8 oz penne pasta

Cook according to directions in a pot of boiling water.

Strain & set aside.

  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves Garlic, minced

Saute in EVOO in large pan over medium heat until soft, ~5 minutes.

  • ~10 Button Mushrooms, quartered

Add to pan & brown slightly.

  • ¼ C Mirin [Japanese rice cooking wine]
  • 2 tsp dried Basil

Add to pan & stir.

  • 1 block [14-oz] Firm Tofu [I found this really great Wild Wood Organics “sprouted” tofu I love]

Wrap in paper towel [or kitchen towel], sandwich between two plates & press ~10 minutes by setting something heavy like a kettle full of water on top of the top plate to remove excess liquid.

Crumble tofu into pan, stir to combine with other ingredients & cook ~5 minutes.

  • 2 bunches Kale, torn into [bite-sized] pieces

Fold kale into tofu mixture & continue cooking until soft & wilted.

Season with salt & pepper.

  • 1 [15-oz ]can organic Tomato Sauce, divided into 3 parts

In a baking dish, layer

tomato sauce

pasta

tofu mixture

pasta

tomato sauce

tofu mixture

pasta

tomato sauce

Top with cheese if desired.

Cover with foil & bake at 375*F for 15 – 20 minutes.

Remove foil, bake 5 – 10 minutes longer.

~

Have I mentioned we are only able to bake in a toaster-oven right now?  I forgot to measure the baking dish before I made the beautiful layers…& it didn’t fit into the toaster-oven…so…everything just ended up completely mixed together as it was transferred to another pan…

& it was still amazing.

i.mean.amazing

This is one of the tastiest dishes I have had.

~

Do you ever play after dark? [I mean outside.]

What are your favorite pasta dish combinations?  [This was my first time “baking” pasta — I don’t think it’s possible to screw it up even when winging it.]

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§ 9 Responses to After Dark

  • Sounds like a great dish….I had been baking out of a toaster oven until this weekend…finally got an oven! Whoot.

    Good luck with the ceiling climbing. you rock. literally.

    • Allie says:

      We are staying with my SIL for a few weeks & her oven broke…the toaster oven works fine…unless you want to bake more than a couple things…I can survive for a bit longer 😉 glad someone knows my pain though.

      Ceiling climbing — ha — it really is. I struggle a lot right now…but I’ll get it. You get stronger every time you try something hard, right?

  • Julia says:

    I’m drooling both over the pasta dish as well the bouldering!
    Climbing at night sounds so serene and amazing!
    Tyler and I have hiked when it was getting dark, but it is usually by accident. I would love to do a night hike or climb 🙂
    Hope the oven gets fixed quick.

    • Allie says:

      You should plan a night hike! Dave & I do a midnight hike on Winter Solstice — we love it. Headlamps are generally a good idea, but if you go during a full moon you won’t even need them…oh, just beautiful — serene is the perfect word. 🙂

  • Natalie says:

    This pasta dish looks so good! I’ve been craving lasagna or stuffed pasta but it’s usually so heavy, this look filling and delish!

    Your pictures are amazing, it looks like so much fun. I try to get outside and play with the dog at least once a day but sometimes it’s hard!

    • Allie says:

      Dave loves pasta, but I’m not a huge fan because it leaves me feeling heavy. Once I realized having pasta once a week wouldn’t kill me or completely negate my fitness goals, we started doing pasta night. For me the trick is usually to add more vegetables than pasta & keep the sauce simple [like a nice olive oil] since I don’t love heavy sauces that just overwhelm. Interesting thing is that this dish is probably heavier on the pasta than I usually do, but the tofu & veggies balance it out really well. It didn’t feel heavy at all — just really really delicious.

      The nonfood photos are actually Dave’s [well, I helped with the night bouldering shot obviously]. He’s such an amazing & talented photographer. [Clicking on the photos will take you to his flckr photostream with a lot of other really great shots.] It is so much fun, but definitely hard to get out sometimes — especially when it’s cold. Eisley used to get more than just her pre-breakfast & dinner walks. I play with her a lot more when it’s warmer out [& it’s not even that cold in AZ :P]. I’m a bit of a wuss.

  • […] dishes hold really well — some even get better — over a few days: soups, chili, baked pasta, bean burgers, grains, […]

  • […] up while Dave climbed, but maybe I will make a goal to send a V4 — wait, we are hitting the Bat Cave — scratch that […]

  • […] it’s a short hike, an after work bouldering session with friends or a more extended camping trip into the desert, “escaping civilization” […]

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