Wednesday, September 28, 2011

9-28…PASTA DISH #100!

Tonight will be our 100th pasta meal since starting this nonsense 5 months ago. After last nights big dinner we will celebrate this milestone rather quietly and with no fan fare.

When Patience gets home from work we will sit down to a dish of ravioli with a light tomato sauce. The ravioli are frozen…from 9-20’s dinner, and the sauce will be fashioned from last night’s leftovers and left over bruschetta.

All very simple and low key…in everything but the taste.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


We’re having guests for dinner tonight, one of whom has a lifetime of experience with Italian food. So I will admit right now…I want to impress them. Only time will tell if I’m successful.

A west coast and an east coast guy.

Here is the menu:

Before dinner…wine, Asiago cheese, Antonella cheese (with Scallions and crushed Rosemary), and my own blended dipping oil with Josh’s Ciabatta bread.

Salad...mixed greens with olive oil and lemon dressing

Main course…Homemade fettuccini in a Bolognese sauce (my variation of such…posted on July 31)

Desert…Vanilla ice cream with fresh raspberries. Chocolate sauce optional


Celery, chopped
Carrots, sliced
Garlic and onions
Ground beef
Fresh basil and oregano
Olive oil
Sweet Vermouth
Cream or whole milk
Whole, peeled tomatoes, 28 oz. can
Tomato sauce, 8 oz. can


In olive oil and butter cook the garlic, onions, and veggies for about 5 minutes. Add the meat and cook until browned throughout. Add a splash of sweet vermouth while the meat is cooking. Then add the tomatoes and herbs and simmer for about one hour.

While the pasta is cooking add the cream to the sauce and stir frequently.

For the pasta…14 oz. flour and 4 large eggs.


The company was great and the pasta a success. There were no leftovers to send home with anyone.

Monday, September 26, 2011

9-26…Aglio olio crudo with croutons

After yesterday’s homemade pasta I wanted something simple and swift, and Aglio olio crudo fits the bill. I’ve posted this before on several occasions, the last time being 9-10-11. The only new twist tonight was some toasted ciabatta bread croutons.


Angel hair pasta
Olive oil
Fresh basil, parsley, and oregano
Lemon juice


Cut the bread into crouton sized pieces and toast in pan with butter and chopped basil and oregano. Place into small bowl and drizzle with lemon juice.

Place the cooked pasta in a serving bowl along with about 1/3 cup of the pasta water. Mix in olive oil, finely chopped parsley and basil, finely chopped garlic and the croutons.


This dish never lets me down…it is simple and tasty, and after you serve this you feel like you’ve done something special.

I thought of adding some kalamata olives to the dish but was afraid they would over power all the other flavors, so I placed some in a small bowl to be cautiously added to the dish. My concerns were well founded...they easily overpowered everything else.


I'm not sure, but I think this playhouse is in the Rittenhouse Square area.

Ambrsosia Health foods in center city...I can't imagine it is still there.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

9-25 Wine pasta with Scallops & shrimp

It’s a wet, quiet Sunday morning and I am alone in the house with 8 whippets. The intermittent light rain is enough to keep me from walking dogs this morning, and with nothing else on my “to do” list I find myself thinking about tonight’s dinner.

After a number of recent dinners featuring a variety of tomato sauces I’m in the mood for something white and light and the first thing that comes to mind is sea scallops in a lemon-butter sauce with wine pasta. In her fantastic cook book on northern Italian food Lynn Rossetto Kasper offers a recipe for wine pasta…Pasta al Vino. It basically replaces half of the eggs used to make the dough with dry white wine. I’ve been anxious to try this since I first saw the recipe and today is the day to do so.

The Pasta

The recipe called for 14 oz. of flour, 2 jumbo eggs, and ½ cup of flour. This would make far more pasta than we needed so I cut it down to: 2 large eggs, ¼ cup white wine, and 7 oz. of flour. I quickly recognized that the dough would be too wet and gradually, during the kneading process added more flour…about ¼ cup…until the dough reached the right consistency and dryness. Substituting the wine for some of the egg resulted in dough that even felt lighter as it was kneaded. This would be great for any of the stuffed pastas, but today it will become fettuccini.

The sauce


Olive oil
Garlic, scallions
Sea scallops
Fresh basil and parsley
White wine
Fresh lemon juice
Red pepper flakes


Brown the scallops in butter with a sprinkling of paprika and red pepper flakes, remove and set aside. Deglaze the pan with wine, adding the results to the scallops. Add olive oil to the pan and sauté the garlic and scallions. Add the shrimp along with lemon juice and butter. When the shrimp are cooked return the scallops to the pan and keep warm.

While the pasta is cooking (homemade pasta will only take about 5 minutes) add cream to the sauce and stir well. Add the pasta to the pan, mix well and enjoy.


I had to wait all day for this meal but it was worth every minute I waited. Even if you don’t make the pasta give this sauce a try.

9-24…Fettuccini with sausage-tomato sauce

I ran out of steam after dinner and decided the TV had more appeal than my computer, so this post was put off until this morning.

After a night off for some Buzzard Brother’s BBQ it’s back to the pasta. I’m still working on cleaning out a backlog of refrigerator “stuff”, so tonight I’ll be using the half a package of loose sausage, the unused San Marzano tomatoes, and about a quarter cup of left over creamy tomato sauce.


San Marzano tomatoes
Italian sausage
Olive oil
Garlic and onion
Fresh basil and oregano, chopped.


Brown the sausage in a bit of olive oil, remove, and set aside. Add the garlic and onion and cook until soft, then add the tomatoes, herbs, and sausage and cook for about 30—45 minutes. I mixed in the leftover creamy tomato sauce about 5 minutes before the pasta was finished cooking.


The only thing special about this dish was the taste; I’ve never been disappointed with sausage and good tomatoes. There was also the satisfaction of using every last bit of the creamy tomato sauce I made earlier in the week for the ravioli.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Or is it nostalgia that is the driving force behind this series of drawings that has held my attention for the past month? I seem to have come full circle, returning to the art that I first created as I pursued this new “career”. Not only am I using the same tools, pens, pencils, and markers, but I’m also painting the same subjects from the same old photos and slides; the only difference is the 30 plus years of experience behind each drawing.

Whatever the reason, I am having fun, enjoying my armchair journeys to other places at another time. After weeks of “traveling” all over Paducah and the mid Atlantic states, I am beginning to focus on the 2 cities that have been a major part of my life, Wilmington Delaware and Philadelphia. While going through the first of several slide carousels of Philadelphia yesterday I realized that “my” Philadelphia existed over 30 years ago, and the many storefronts, markets, and streetscapes that I knew are long gone. The drawings from these old photos and slides are capturing fond memories, reminding me that I once thought of myself more as a story teller than an artist because of the subjects I painted, small storefronts, markets, shops, and streetscapes, on a human scale. The grandeur of large skies and endless horizons would come years later.

The new old...

And the old old....



Thursday, September 22, 2011

9-22...Florentine X 2

This is one of those nights when I feel the need to use some of the many items that have accumulated in the refrigerator over the past several days. After looking things over I’ve decided on the ground pork, fresh spinach, and the leftover creamy tomato sauce from 2 days earlier. I may have to add to the sauce if there is not enough…should not be a problem. For the pasta I bought some “gourmet” spinach pasta at Tuesday Morning. That’s right..Tuesday Morning.


Creamy tomato sauce (see blog post from 9-20)
Spinach pasta
Ground pork
Olive oil
Fresh spinach
Red wine


Cook the pork in olive oil with a splash of red wine about half way through, add the spinach, and when it is fully cooked add the tomato sauce.

Add the cooked pasta, plus some pasta water as needed, and mix well. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.


This picture says it all!

Sometimes the best meals come with the least planning.


I simply cannot come up with another title for these drawings...maybe next time. Until the spirit moves me to something else I'll continue to sit at my drawing table surrounded by pens, pencils, markers, and paint, eventually using all of them in one way or another.

Here are the latest drawings to come off the table:

Found this place on a road trip through Livingston Co. KY

The State House in Boston

Experimented with watercolor pencils...ended up using everything in this drawing.

Old market house in downtown Paducah

House on 8th st. in Lowertown.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The second half of my ravioli medley called for a meat filling to contrast with the sweeter, softer Butternut squash. I decided to go with a combination of sausage and pork with spinach. The next decision was to come up with a sauce that would work with both types of ravioli, and I’m thinking a sweet, creamy tomato sauce will be the answer. For the sake of our guests I hope I’m right.


For the ravioli…
Equal amounts of loose sausage and ground pork
Fresh spinach
Ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese
One egg yolk
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper

For the sauce...
San Marzano tomatoes
Olive oil
Sweet onion
Fresh basil
Sweet vermouth
Coconut milk
Heavy whipping cream


For the filling…
Combine the meats and cook in a splash of olive oil. Just before they’re don add the spinach and cook until fully wilted. Transfer to food processer and pulse briefly until finely chopped. Place in suitable bowl and add the butter, cheeses, nutmeg, and egg yolk, and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Roll the pasta dough to about 1/8th of inch thick…this is setting #7 on my machine..and proceed to make the ravioli.

For the sauce…
Saute the garlic and coarsely chopped onion in olive oil until soft. (Red pepper falkes optional.) Add the tomatoes and basil and cook for about 15-20 minutes, adding some sweet vermouth about half way through the cooking. Transfer the sauce to the food processer and pure to a creamy consistency. Return this to the pan and over low heat add butter, coconut milk, and cream, stirring frequently while this simmers for 5-20 minutes.


The panel of distinguished guests gave the dinner rave reviews. The ravioli and sauce were a huge success. We all agreed that although the butternut squash ravioli was delicious tonight, it would be even better in the butter-sage sauce that I used the night before.

Without a doubt, the food was at its best because of the friends around the table.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011


In a few days we are having company for dinner, and one of the guests, who shall remain nameless, is very fond of stuffed pasta. To keep her happy I will be preparing a “ravioli medley”, a mixture of ravioli with different fillings. In an effort to make my life easier I began preparing the fillings before hand, and today I made the butternut squash filling. Since I made far more than I’ll need I decided Patience and I will “test” things tonight. Instead of making pasta dough, which I’ll do for our guests, I’m using wonton wrappers as a delightful time saving substitute.


Wonton wrappers
Butternut squash
Ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese
Maple syrup
Fresh sage, finely chopped


After peeling the squash with a sharp knife and removing the seeds, cut it into small pieces and add to a pot of boiling water. Cook until the squash is soft, about 20-30 minutes. (An alternative is to roast the intact squash, cool, cut open, and scoop out the meat.)

In a suitable bowl begin mashing the squash with a large fork, adding about 4 tablespoons of butter, the ricotta cheese, nutmeg, and maple syrup, Salt to taste. I judged by taste how much of each ingredient to use.

Arrange the wonton wrappers on a flat surface and place a teaspoon of filling in the middle. Wet the edges with water and cover with a second wrapper, sealing the ravioli with pressure from you finger. It is ok of some air remains trapped in the pasta. With a little practice it becomes an easy exercise.

The sauce is simple butter and fresh sage cooked for several minutes and poured over the ravioli which take only 3-4 minutes to cook in boiling water.

The final touch is fresh parmesan cheese grated over the ravioli.


Soooooooo good! I can’t wait to use this filling in the traditional home made pasta dough.


Saturday, September 17, 2011


OK…we’re doing things a little differently tonight. A pork loin has been sitting in my freezer since just before I started this pasta nonsense, and it has to be used, so here’s the plan: I’ll roast the pork along with veggies and tomatoes and serve along side a bed of egg noodles.


Egg noodles
Pork loin
New potatoes and sweet potatoes…cut into bite size pieces
Dry basil and oregano
Fresh tomatoes, quartered and peeled
Sundried tomato pesto
Olive oil


The pork loin was rubbed with lemon juice and garlic and placed in a shallow baking dish. The veggies were cut and placed around the meat. Everything was drizzled with olive oils, salted, and placed in the oven set at 375 degrees and cooked for a little over 45 minutes.

The noodles were cooked and served with a pad of butter and just a bit of olive oil.


I decided to add the sundried tomato pesto about halfway through the roasting, hoping to create just a bit of “juice”. This was a fun way to present pork loin. The next time I might replace the fresh tomatoes with a can of dice tomatoes to get more moister in the dish.


Spent yesterday traveling the back roads of central Ohio, western Kentucky, and Maryland, drawing on old memories, figuratively and literally.

Somewhere beyond Paducah...Graves Co. I think

On my way to Wooster Ohio

Our farm in MD was just a few miles down the road from here. I passed this barn several time a day on my way to the hospital.

Don't remember the exact location of this barn. I've painted it several times.

Keep waiting for this exercise to lose its interest, but that doesn't seem to be happening, so I'll keep at it until it does.

Friday, September 16, 2011


The CSA folks are still sending us summer squash, and even though we share some of It with Mama Pajama there is more than enough for us. Tonight I decided we would use the squash along with the frozen chicken breasts on hand. Initially I considered adding some white beans to the mix but then nixed the idea.



Summer squash, cut lengthwise then sliced thinly
Chicken breast, skinless
Olive oil
Garlic and onion
Red pepper flakes
Dried Rosemary and basil
Tomato paste
White wine


After seasoning the chicken, brown it in olive oil, remove, and set aside. Deglaze the pan with white wine and add to the chicken. Add more olive oil and cook the garlic and onions with the tomato paste and red pepper flakes for several minutes before adding the squash. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, In the meantime cut the chicken into smaller pieces and add to the pan, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan, mix well, and serve with grated parmesan cheese.


I’m glad I didn’t add the beans; this was great just as it was, simple and full of flavor.


Townsend, DE

Somewhere in Cecil Co.

Fourth & King Streets...Wilmington, DE

Lowes, KY

Barns in Cecil Co. MD