Wednesday, November 22, 2017

11-22-17 Angel Hair pasta with a creamy tomato-lobster sauce

So simple, but oh so good.

The inspiration for this dinner began when Patience pointed out that there was a healthy crop of Dill still in the porch garden.  Knowing it would be several days before we would run out of Thanksgiving leftovers I decided we needed pasta tonight.


1.     Angel hair pasta
2.     Onion and garlic
3.     Olive oil
4.     Del Monte diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
5.     Heavy whipping cream
6.     Basil and fresh dill
7.     Lobster meat (lump crab meat will also work.)


Prepare the onion and garlic in olive oil, cooking until soft, then add the diced tomatoes and the basil. After 5-10 minutes blend the sauce in a food processor or use a hand held processor, then add the lobster and some fresh dill and continue cooking over low heat. Several minutes before the pasta is ready stir in the cream.
Mix the sauce with the pasta and garnish with fresh dill.


Patience and I both gave this a ten-plus plus-plus. The sauce was light, with a gentle sweetness that comes with the Del Monte tomatoes. Fortunately there was enough sauce left over so we will be enjoying this again in the not so distant future.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Last Porch Pasta of the season?

Fettuccini with eggplant and greens

1.     Japanese Eggplants
2.      Mixed greens
3.     Olive oil
4.     Carrot thinly sliced
5.     Shallot
6.     Garlic
7.     Dry Sherry
8.     Fresh Oregano and Tarragon
9.     Sundried tomatoes
10. Al dente brand mushroom Fettuccini


Prepare the soffrito – shallots, carrots, celery, and garlic.  Add the eggplants and cook covered over low-medium heat.  After several minutes add a splash of dry Sherry and the fresh herbs, along with a few chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil.   Continue cooking while waiting for the pasta water to boil. Add the mixed greens and 1/3 cup of chicken broth about 10 minutes before the pasta is expected to be ready.  Add the pasta when ready and mix thoroughly.


This may be our last “porch pasta” for the season. The eggplant plant appears to be headed toward plant heaven after having a great season, and it looks like the greens will be joining it. The basil is done, but the tarragon, oregano, thyme, and rosemary look like they may be around a bit longer. The tomatoes are quickly becoming history, however we have a counter full of green ones we picked to save from the freeze.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

CONFLICTED….the armchair travel artist studio newletter #142


Oh how we suffer for who we are. Here I am in these “winding down” years, and I find myself caught up in this huge dilemma, torn between two opposing forces: the desire to retire to my recliner with books, pen, and paper, spending the day ruminating and generally doing nothing, and the never ending desire to go into the studio and create an epic body of work.

It’s an interesting dynamic. When I’m alone with my thoughts (that sounds better than ruminating.) my brain shifts into overdrive and begins to fill my head with ideas for new work with new subjects and different mediums. I envision one or more portfolios of paintings and drawings, pushing against the boundaries of my craft to become a better artist. It is so easy to do all of this in the comfort of my chair nestled in a quiet corner of our living room. From that chair I can do anything and everything. Unfortunately I can’t spend all day in this chair, so I have to find a way to act on all these brain-based aspirations I have, and the result is the Arm Chair Travel Artist!

Armed with a laptop computer and Google Street maps I have been traveling the world seeking inspiration for drawings and paintings. It’s been fun revisiting the streets I walked during my time in Bologna Italy seven years ago, but I’ve probably spent more time traipsing about the UK and the Netherlands.  I love the architectural differences in the various regions and cities, and for now Edinburgh is my favorite.  I’ve completed several in this series, and have several more in progress.

Maggie Dickson's  wc 12x18   Edinburgh

On the Water  wc  18x18  Amsterdam

The Bay Hotel  wc 12x15  Robin Hoods Bat UK

I finally have dates for the exhibit of my new clay prints at the Art Guild of Paducah. The show will run from Oct. 25th to Nov. 25th, with reception on November 3, from 5-7 at the AGP gallery at 115 Market Square.

The river portfolio exhibit is tentatively set to open on Janurary 11th at the River Discovery Center in Paducah. I will have more details later.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Eggplant, Mixed mushrooms and fresh tomato sauce

Sitting on the kitchen counter was a basket of Japanese eggplants and 4 ripe tomatoes, all from the porch garden, waiting to become tonight’s dinner. I had all day to think about how I would make that happen.


1.     Wild mushroom fettuccini (by al Dente)
2.     Japanese eggplants quartered lengthwise
3.     Mixed mushrooms
4.     Fresh tomatoes cut in half and grated on the coarse side of a hand grater, skins discarded
5.     Sundried tomatoes in oil, coarsely chopped
6.     Shallots
7.     Olive oil
8.     Garlic
9.     Fresh basil and tarragon
10. Mozzarella coarsely grated


Cook the shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown. Add the tomatoes and herbs, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a separate skillet until hot, and cook the eggplant until golden brown and soft. Remove each piece as they are done and drain on a paper towel. Add the eggplants to the tomato sauce, along with the sundried tomatoes and continue cooking over low heat while the pasta is cooking. Add the pasta to the sauce and top with the mozzarella. You can do this in the serving dish or in the individual dishes.


The fresh tomatoes produce a sweet sauce (that you can’t get from canned tomatoes) that is enhanced by the sweetness of the eggplants. Both are tempered slightly by the sundried tomatoes. The mixed mushrooms add a satisfying texture to the dish.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I can't keep up with the greens in our porch garden. They grow as quickly as I harvest them. Tonight I found myself looking at a basket of Swiss Chard and beet greens, and a small packet of BBQ pork from our freezer.  It was a no brainer. 

Gemelli with BBQ pork, peas, and mixed greens.  Everything is a shade of pink because of the beet greens.

This was so simple and oh so good.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Mezzi Rigatone with carrots and beets cooked with olive oil, butter, and fresh Tarragon and Thyme, then married to roasted grape tomatoes from our yard (they are everywhere), and kissed with some heavy whipping cream.

I'm too tired to post a recipe, so the pics will have to do.
the sauce - waiting for the past

The End

Monday, October 2, 2017

Heavenly Ravioli

I escaped the awful news of the day by taking refuge in pasta. Once again I turned to the porch garden for 5 medium sized tomatoes supposedly bred for use in Italian tomato sauces. I don't know all that really means, but I can tell you the results of tonight's enterprise was fantastic.

Cheese ravioli with creamy fresh tomato sauce with mixed mushrooms and seasoned with fresh oregano and tarragon.  All treated with a splash of sweet Vermouth and red pepper flakes.