Sunday, July 15, 2018

7-15-18 Spaghetti w Japanese eggplants and mint



My goal tonight was to create a “rustic” dish, even though I can’t begin to describe to  you what that means. It is something simple, with a minimum of ingredients and best served on an old wooden kitchen table with dishes and utensils that don’t match…totally unpretentious.


INGREDIENTS:

1.     Spaghetti
2.     Two Japanese eggplants cut crosswise
3.     Olive oil
4.     Garlic
5.     Leeks
6.     Fresh mint leaves finely chopped
7.     Mozzarella cut into small cubes
8.     Fresh tomato 1-2 slices cut into small pieces

PROCESS:

Saute the Leek and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the eggplant and cook of med-high heat, adding half of the mint after 4-5 minutes. Stir often and continue cooking until the eggplants begin to brown. Cover and remove from the burner until the pasta is ready. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the eggplants, along with a drizzle of olive oil and some of the pasta water. Garnish with the rest of the mint plus the cheese and the tomatoes.

COMMENTS:

Patience and I were both pleased with this dish. I think the next time I do this I will add some croutons (made with P’s bread) to the garnish.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

7-3-18 Angel hair pasta with fresh herbs & olive oil


After a week away from home it felt good to be back in my own kitchen, and even better to be preparing a pasta dinner. Tonight I wanted to take advantage of all the fresh herbs in Patient’s garden creating a variation of the traditional Aglio Olio.



INGREDIENTS:

1.     Angel hair pasta
2.     Extra virgin olive oil
3.     Fresh thyme, oregano, and basil finely chopped
4.     Garlic – one clove minced
5.     Shallot – sliced
6.     Tomato – medium size coarsely chopped
7.     Mozzarella cut into small cubes
8.     Salt and black pepper

PROCESS:

Add the herbs, garlic and a dash of salt to the olive oil (about 1/3 cup) and allow to sit for several hours or more.

While the pasta is cooking sauté the shallots in olive oil and place in the pasta bowl. Add the pasta with some of the pasta water to the bowl, along with the herb infuse olive oil and mix well.  Add the tomatoes and mozzarella and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and serve.

COMMENTS:

The herbs used in place of the traditional parsley give a subtle, but distinctly different flavor to this dish that is best described as gentler and/or softer. P and I both gave this a 10+. The next time I will prepare the olive oil 1 or 2 days in advance, and reserve some of the herbs for a garnish.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

5-15-18 Ravioli w mushroom-sundried tomato-cream sauce




I wanted to use the ½ pint of white mushrooms in the fridge to make a sauce for the spinach cheese ravioli in the freezer. I also wanted to keep in rather simple and open to last minute “inspirations”.

INGREDIENTS:
1.     Ravioli
2.     Mushrooms coarsely chopped
3.     Sundried tomatoes in oil coarsely chopped
4.     Tomato paste – 1-2 teaspoons
5.     Fresh basil leaves
6.     Olive oil
7.     Onion and garlic
8.     Sweet Vermouth
9.     Heavy whipping cream
10. Chicken broth
11. Grating cheese

PROCESS:

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook over med-high heat, stirring frequently until they begin to brown. Add the sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, and a splash of sweet vermouth, lower the heat and continue cooking. Add the broth if the sauce becomes too thick. About 5 minutes before adding the ravioli stir in the cream – as much or as little as desired. There is no fixed amount for any of these ingredients, so there is no right way or wrong way to prepare this.

COMMENTS:

Patience and I both gave this a 10. It was fun to prepare, and offers a lot of options to explore any number of variations.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

4-7- 18 ANGEL HAIR PASTA WITH ASPARAGUS AND CHOPPED CLAMS





Tonight’s dinner affirmed what I have always suspected. The emotional involvement of the cook is the most important ingredient in the preparation of any meal.
Recently I have been approaching the dinner hour with little enthusiasm, going through the motions of doing what has to be done at the last minute without any forethought. Fortunately most of the time the results have been ok, and occasionally better than ok.

I began thinking about tonight’s dinner early in the day, deciding what I wanted to do, imagining the preparation and how the dish would look and taste. I knew exactly what I wanted, and how I would do it. And because I had everything worked out in my mind, I was free to act intuitively and make additions or subtractions during the preparation. But the real key was my emotional involvement. I was passionate about what I was doing.

INGREDIENTS:
1.     Angel hair pasta
2.     Chopped clams
3.     Asparagus
4.     Olive oil
5.     Shallots
6.     Celery
7.     Garlic
8.     Lemon juice
9.     Grape tomatoes – halved
10. White wine
11. Dried dill or fresh if available
12. Butter – 1-2 pads

PROCESS:

Cook the shallots and celery in the olive oil until they begin to soften, add the garlic and a pinch of salt and cook uncovered over low-medium heat for several minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Next add the clams and its juice, the asparagus, and dill, and continue cooking. Several minutes later (sorry, but there is no rigid time schedule here.) add the tomatoes, lemon juice, and bless the pan with some white wine. Allow it to simmer to reduce the liquid while waiting for the pasta. Turn off the heat about 4-5 minutes before the pasta is ready and add the butter. Then add the pasta and a bit of the pasta water and dinner is ready.

COMMENTS:

This unpretentious pasta dish was everything I wanted it to be: light, delicious, and the perfect accompaniment to Patience’s freshly baked bread.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

3-29-18 Cavatappi w crab-corn cream sauce



I wanted to try something different tonight.



INGREDIENTS:
1.     Cavatappi pasta
2.     Frozen corn
3.     Lump crab meat
4.     Whipping cream
5.     Olive oil
6.     Shallots
7.     Celery
8.     Garlic
9.     Sundried tomatoes in oil
10. Dried dill, basil, and tarragon
11. Old Bay seasoning
12. White wine
13. Chicken broth

PROCESS: I did this on the fly, so nothing is carved in stone.

Saute the shallots, celery, and garlic in olive oil. Add a bit of broth and about a cup of corn, along with the herbs and 3 or 4 finely chopped sundried tomatoes. If it gets too dry add more broth, or some wine. Then add the crab and let it simmer. I add the cream at the same time I put the pasta in the boiling water. Stir frequently, and when the pasta is ready add it to the sauce.


COMMENTS:

Patience, the inhouse food critic gave this a 22.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

2-3-18 Gemelli with ham


There was just enough leftover baked ham in the fridge to use for tonight’s pasta.


INGREDIENTS:
1.     Gemelli pasta
2.     Baked ham coarsely chopped
3.     Sundried tomatoes chopped
4.     Olive oil
5.     Butter
6.     Carrots
7.     Celery
8.     Dried tarragon
9.     Garlic
10. Leeks
11. Sweet Vermouth
12. Chicken Broth
13. Red pepper flakes

PROCESS:

 Cook the Leek, carrots, and parsley in olive oil until soft, add the garlic and sundried tomatoes and continue cooking. About 5 minutes later add the tarragon and chicken broth and continue cooking while waiting for the pasta. When the broth cooks down add some wine.  Add the past and some pasta water and cook for another 1-2 minutes before serving.

COMMENTS:

Wow, this was good, a unique flavor that we really enjoyed. It was worth taking the time to write this up and post.


Thursday, January 18, 2018


1-17-18   POET’S PASTA



Our delightful dinner guest tonight was poet/writer Ahron Taub from Washington DC, and current artist in residence at AIR studio in Lowertown.




INGREDIENTS:
1.     Gemelli pasta
2.     White mushrooms
3.     Artichoke hearts
4.     Sundried tomatoes- coarsely chopped
5.     Leeks
6.     Garlic
7.     Olive oil
8.     Aurgula
9.     Dried basil
10. Sweet Vermouth

PROCESS:

Cook the Leek and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring often, until the mushrooms start to brown. Lower the heat, add the wine, basil, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts and continue cooking over low-moderate heat. When the pasta is done, add it to the pan and mix well, then add the arugula and allow it to wilt from the heat before serving.  Top with your favorite grating cheese.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

1-13-18 Kick Ass pasta




I spent all day thinking about this, and tonight I am pleased to say it worked as planned, a simple, no frills, dinner.


INGREDIENTS:

1.     Spaghetti
2.     Mushrooms
3.     Asparagus
4.     Olive oil
5.     Onion
6.     Shallots
7.     Garlic
8.     Fresh chopped parsley
9.     Butter
10. White wine
11. Lemon juice
12. Dried Tarragon

PROCESS:

I cooked the mushrooms and shallots in olive oil and garlic over high heat until the mushrooms started to brown. I removed them from the pan, deglazed it with wine and set them aside.

Next – cook the onion and garlic in olive oil and add about 2 tbsp of butter and fresh parsley. Add the juice from ½ lemon.  Keep warm while the pasta is cooking.

Wrap the asparagus in wet paper towels and nuke for  one and half minutes.
When the pasta is ready, mix it into the the sauce and transfer to the plates. Top with the mushrooms and add the side of asparagus. Sprinkle with some parsley and enjoy.

COMMENTS:

Patience loved this, and that says it all.