Sounds Ital to me

I never understood the name ‘Rasta Pasta’.  A dish birthed in Brooklyn I’m sure, that now allows Caribbean restaurants in the tristate to serve up their version of this pasta dish. A plated dish of Penne and little vegetables cooked in milk and cheese is a hit – trust meh, people just love its flavor and well…I guess its catchy name.  It’s as though the Italian Alfredo had a cousin that often vacations on the ‘islands’ if you get what I’m saying.

Now, from the beginning of Rasta even if you’ve never dived into their way of living, through music their strict diet is known to all.  So when I hear of Rasta and pasta I think of ital.  Food that aims to increase ‘livity’.  Plant based, from the earth, with limited processing and it sure as hell ain’t supposed to have a face.  Like the addition of grilled or jerk chicken, shrimp and salmon offered by restaurants to top off your order of creamy, cheesy Rasta pasta.
Am I the only person taking this name literal?

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Mise en place of the vegetables for the recipe

Anyway, since returning from vacation of soaking up the great food culture through travelling between Trinbago, Barbados and St. Lucia.  Over five weeks of loving-up on childhood and new friends, meeting and working with new colleagues, eating clean and highlighting the efforts of a country promoting and encouraging islanders to eat local – I have not blogged.  Ugh… over a month, and as much as I’ve thought of the process: to prepare my blogging calendar of tasty eats and adventures to share with you guys I could not get my entire life.  I swear it’s not another excuse from the self-proclaimed excuse queen.  It’s as though anxiety and anxiety-forming thoughts canopied me for two months.  Battling with adulting under the grey, emotional skies of surviving a huge restructuring at my firm and a situationship that ended in a teeny-tiny heart break that occurred for most of the first quarter of the year.  Luckily for me and no longer in shock, things are much better.  Luckily for you, I’m saving you guys a paragraph or three of reading through corporate roll-a-coasters, imminent changes in my professional life, my overflowing personal to-do list and me being a complete sucker for a salsa dancer.

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One effort that helped me through this short depressing period was controlling my diet.  A tough feat of not allowing myself to regress, to be fooled by the smoke mirrors of a coping mechanism that once ‘soothed’ me when adulting got too much for this trini ooman to handle.  As much as I wanted to run out of the day-job’s revolving doors into the cold only to be warmly greeted by the cashier of my go-to Chinese restaurant, where for most of 2015, knew my dinner order of double-cooked pork belly with chili leeks and white rice as I pushed the door open, I didn’t.  Thank you sweet, black baby Jesus.  Instead, I like You tuber Rosianna Halse Rojas stuck to home cooking of mostly plant based food and healthier more natural substitutes to track mental health and energy levels.  Sounds like an ital diet 🙂

Eating healthy home cooked meals has so many benefits and while cooking I’m able to think through all the thoughts circling my brain, even getting the chance to write down resolutions and next steps as I waited for water to boil to make tea – in the peaceful safe place of my apartment kitchen.  Clarity.  Through the sounds of fragrant oils sizzling, aromatic liquids bubbling, wooden spoons to stainless steel pots clang-clanging, sharp knives to cutting boards transporting freshly peeled, sliced and smashed colored vegetables and herbs to assorb my worries, fill me with good vibes and make me happy.  Don’t know if thick cuts of bacon would have the same effects.  LoL

Happy to say, I feel good now, no grey skies.  Let the blogging begin.  Again!

Vegan Rasta Pasta

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This ‘ital is vital’ recipe of chick pea pasta and seasonal veggies cooking in coconut milk was filling and delicioso!

Note:
– I bought chick pea pasta and cooked in salted water as the directions suggested.
– This recipe can be made using your favorite pasta.
– I fancy coconut oil these days and used instead of olive or vegetable oil.
– When buying canned coconut milk always read the ingredients for added sugar, I stay away from those.
– The below recipe made three servings.
– For a summer variation, I’d use more seasonal veggies like sweet corn and roasted tomatoes.

8 oz. of Chick Pea pasta, cooked
1 cup of Calabaza pumpkin, small cubed
1 large Shallot, sliced
5 cloves of Garlic, sliced
1/2 Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
2 Green Onions, cut into 2 pieces
4 sprigs of fresh Thyme
8 whole White Mushroom, cubed
Coconut oil
2 cups of Coconut milk
Salt and Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Paprika
1 Bay leaf

– Melt 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Sauté the cubed pumpkin first.  Season with salt, black pepper and while stirring, allow to cook for about 5 minutes.  Set aside.
– Adding more coconut oil if needed to the same pan, sauté the shallots, garlic and mushrooms.  Once more, season with salt and black pepper until cooked, add the sliced sweet peppers and scallions to the pan and cook for the last 2-3 minutes.  Set aside.
– In the same pan, add coconut milk, thyme and bay leaf.  Bring to a rolling boil for about 1-2 mins before tossing in the cooked pasta and vegetables.  Add paprika and taste for additional seasoning.  Cook for about a minute or two again before serving hot with toasted Panko breadcrumbs and fried sweet plantains.

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