Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Capellini Pomodoro

If I can admit something, it's that I'm superstitious (against my better judgment). On Monday I said to Sam, "this weather has just been so amazing. I love it!" And BAM. Yesterday was a hot, humid sweat fest. I jinxed the weather, and I'm sorry! And now when dinner time rolls around, I don't want to turn on the oven. Actually, I don't want to move at all. I just want to sit on the couch, sip diet coke, eat watermelon, and watch Downton Abbey. Is that so much to ask? But I have this charming three year-old who requires three meals a day, plus snacks. Enter capellini pomodoro. I have a feeling this will be our go-to dinner all summer (because, it was actually already our go-to dinner all spring).

You kind of can't go wrong here. It's simple, and I think it's best to not follow a strict recipe. But to make things easier, this is how we do it 'round these parts.
1 package capellini (or angel hair)
1 box small tomatoes (cherry, grape, plum, or even roma all diced up will do)
8 cloves garlic (or more! don't hold back!)
1/2 cup olive oil
a handful of fresh basil, torn or cut chiffonade
kosher or sea salt, pepper, and freshly-grated parmesan to taste

Put on a big pot of salted water to boil, and while you wait, begin quartering your tomatoes and mincing your garlic. Before you put the pasta in, tomatoes and garlic should be ready. Put the olive oil in a small sauce pan on medium heat and toss the garlic in to loosen up a bit. Toss the pasta into the water (it only takes about 2-3 minutes). Once it's done, drain it, and immediately toss it into a big bowl with the tomatoes, garlic, and oil. Using tongs or two spoons, gently toss everything together to combine, adding the basil as you go. Season with salt, pepper, and top with parmesan. You can also toss the tomatoes in with the garlic to cook a bit, but I just warn you to not let them cook much. You want the tomatoes to be firm and fresh. Also be sure to cook the pasta al dente. This provides our small family with plenty of leftovers that get better after a night in the fridge and are stealthily eaten by the forkful throughout the day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I've typed "luck" so often tonight it no longer has meaning...

I'm getting to those 200 other photos, I swear. But life has been changing a bit in the last couple weeks, and I've been a bit preoccupied. More on those changes later, but in the meantime, let's ponder the universe, shall we?

You have entered to win Oh Happy Day's Trip to Paris, right? Because it would be simply foolish not to! Also, if you win, please take me with you. But if I win, I'm taking Sam. Sorry.

I've been thinking a lot about luck lately. Several blogs I read mention feeling "so lucky" to be living the life they're living. What, in life, would make me feel so lucky? And shouldn't I identify those things and work toward them? I have a sneaking suspicion many of those things would have to do with delicious food (what with my equating luck to homemade pop tarts recently). Certainly having a girl like Bria makes me feel lucky. I mean, seriously, that girl is hilarious.
And, I really want to know, what would (or does!) make you feel so lucky?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Try This Tuesday

And we're back! I've overcome the intimidation of photo file organization on our computer. I uploaded 200 photos today, and I'm ready to start sharing some incredible things we've eaten in the last two weeks. So, in the sometimes-recurring series, Try This Tuesday is here to save the day.

I think I've perfected the Hawaiian pizza. This crust (add 1T olive oil to the dough); Trader Joe's pizza sauce, canned pineapple chunks, and canadian bacon; and Safeway mozzarella cheese (Lucerne brand, the mozzarella log that is not water packed).

My friend Erica has some great recipes, and this Mexican Tortilla Bake is one of them. It's easy to freeze ahead of time, and adding some homemade pico de gallo on top turns it into a fresh, filling meal. Funny enough, I made this meal during National Vegetarian Week-- along with four other meat-centered dishes that week. We usually average less than one meat dish a week, so the strange carnivorous menu was delightfully ironic.

I just discovered the dreamy 101 cookbooks blog. Do you know it? The photography is delightful, and most of the recipes have me reaching for a pen and my shopping list. This Pappardelle with Spiced Butter was delicious. Warm, earthy, and complex. It was fun to make, though I think I need to steer clear of recipes that require to me to buy ingredients I'll never use again (I'm looking at you, wilting and dead mint plant sitting on my counter). I'm all for branching out and trying new things, but sometimes it's not very economical. It's a delicate balance though, because I'd love to make a permanent leap into new food territories-- one where scary new ingredients become familiar friends-- but it's a long process to create familiarity.

Do you read Cup of Jo? Because you really should. Last week she posted about Greek Yogurt and Berry popsicles and Avocado popsicles. I know, right? So we made them this weekend. They were just as she described them-- the avocado were surprisingly sweet and the yogurt were tart and creamy (we used raspberries). I will be making both again and again (especially the avocado!).

It's no surprise my favorite food blogger continues to be Molly Wizenberg. I can never get enough of Orangette. We tried her Baked Pasta with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella for dinner on Sunday and were absolutely smitten. If I had to commit to one cheese and forsake all others, might I choose fresh mozzarella? I can't say for certain, but it's a definite possibility.

More on this later, but I made a batch of granola for my dear sister Lindsay, who just had a baby (darling, precious Chloe Eve!). Smitten Kitchen's is my favorite granola because it results in a crunchy, clustery granola. Also, pepitas? Yowza. Those things are TASTY when they are all baked up in sugar and honey.

Are you still reading? Wow. You're a trooper. Well, I appreciate it. I also promise more (and shorter!) posts to come in the following days. Now I'm off to frolic in the gorgeous weather (not quite 80 and no humidity!)-- a rare, but greatly appreciated late-spring gift from Mother Nature.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Luck Be a Pop Tart Tonight

Announcement: I have a new place to take people.

Sam's parents were in town this weekend and wanted to have a food adventure with us, so we trekked out on the hot and humid metro, heading for 7th Hill and the nutella calzone, but . . . it was closed. In a split second I knew we were destined to go to Ted's Bulletin. So we walked the couple blocks over. (This is why I wish we lived on the Hill! We could walk to so many places! Oh well. My waist and wallet thank me.)
(Bria insisted on wearing a single leg warmer all day.)

The very friendly waitress said they were known for their homemade pop tarts, shakes, and peanut butter bacon burger, and I was immediately sold.
We all started sharing some shakes-- peanut chocolate banana and s'mores. I only wish they were larger (and maybe just a touch thicker?), but they were divine-- particularly after our long and hot metro ride.
I told Sam he had to order the peanut butter bacon burger (I clearly am not worried about his arteries). And it was amazing.
I had the campfire burger with a veggie patty, and it was good. I think it would probably be amazing if eaten with a regular beef patty-- only because there are baked beans on it, and the veggie patty is rather soft and is made with a lot of black beans, so it ended up being more of a bean mash burger. I'm not complaining. In fact, I am saying you should definitely try it-- just go for the beef.
Bria had a burger, Diane had fish, Don had meatloaf, and it was all very tasty, until we reach this next and very important finishing detail.


(making the pop tarts!)

Can I admit that I have a serious weakness for pop tarts? Only the brown sugar and cinnamon ones, but the truth remains that I will eat an entire box if it is within my reach. So I ordered their brown sugar pop tart. I savored it. I ate 1/4 after our dinner, and then morseled it throughout the day yesterday. And each bite was out of this world. Regular pop tarts are, you know, kind of gross, right? Like you're really only eating it for the filling and the frosting. The pastry on these gems was flaky and sweet and could stand on it's own as a dessert. And this is why we will go back again and take any friend that will accompany us-- just for the pop tarts.
(Also, I saw HOMEMADE TWINKIES there and almost died on the spot. Twinkies are yet another of my embarrassing obsessions. MUST. GO. BACK. FOR. TWINKIES.)