RED for Project Spectrum in May
May brings us many things. Cinco de Mayo. Mother’s Day. All those wonderful budding trees and spring flowers – and lawn mowing, too, unfortunately. Graduations. Memorial Day. Parades. And so much more.
This year, the month of May also kicks off the start of Project Spectrum 2011, or PS5. Project Spectrum is a celebration and exploration of color that spans all means of creativity. Fiber Arts from crocheting and knitting to spinning. Gardening and the great outdoors. Photography of course, because how better to share vibrant creativity than through pictures? And even the culinary arts.
Oh yes, cooking is definitely an art. Granted, for me at least, it is not always a successful means of expressing my creativity. Some of my more recent failures are pudding that won’t set (I can’t decide if I should blame the soy milk or the high Colorado altitude), cookies that practically disintegrated while being cooked (also blamed on the altitude – although they were still quite tasty, being somewhere between cookie and candy), and while not a complete failure, my dinner tonight, which wasn’t nearly as tasty as I imagined it should be.
Since May in Project Spectrum is focusing on red hues, I decided to turn my from-a-box-pasta into something a little more colorful – and hopefully more interesting. Now, I rarely make pasta from a box because I’m always disappointed, but I had no cream or good melting cheese and I really don’t care for butter and flour sauces. And going to the store? Well, I haven’t been in about two weeks for a reason, and I wasn’t feeling any more adventurous this evening. Except when it came to livening up my pasta apparently.
It was a tiny penne tomato parmesan mix by Lipton, and it called for milk, which never ends well for me because I always end up letting it boil right over – another reason I should stick to making my own sauces. But with no trip to the store in sight it was either that or cereal again. Or soup. Blah. So I boiled my milky pasta mix over as usual and had to gradually add more water as the noodles cooked until they appeared to be done. I shredded some hard parmesan cheese to add and threw in a little basil, some smoked chipotle, a little garlic and italian seasonings, as well as a pinch of brown sugar. Once I was as satisfied as I was gonna get with that, I shredded some mozzarella (yes, I know, I’m addicted to cheese) to sprinkle on top with a bit of bacon (also a weakness – bacon makes everything better, though!) and crushed up some leftover veggie chips from Terra Chips (delicious, by the way) to top it all off, popped it into the oven under the broiler for a few minutes and set about taking a few pictures while it cooled. Unfortunately the chips got a little more browned than I anticipated and they hid the bacon pieces anyway, so it wasn’t quite as colorful as I’d hoped, but the red glass vase livened it up a bit.
So here is my tiny casserole for one and my first attempt at culinary creativity inspired by Project Spectrum: