Food

Please Roast Some Garlic.

Pasta could be considered a vice, I suppose, if you start looking forward to lunch tomorrow even before you finish dinner today. Like I did yesterday.

A jar of soft, sweet garlic was calling to me from the top shelf of my fridge. It had been there since last week, when I roasted way more garlic than I needed. It was demanding to be transformed into deliciousness.

So I complied.

I minced a large shallot and then pulled the jar of garlic and a small bowl of minced sweet onion – leftover from Sunday night’s dinner – out of the fridge.

I boiled a pound of spaghetti. Easy enough. Make sure you dump in at least 2 TBSP of salt once the water starts boiling.

While the pasta was boiling, I grated a big pile of parmigiano reggiano.

When the spaghetti was cooked, I dumped it into a colander and then used the same pan to make the sauce. ‘Cuz who wants to wash more pans than is absolutely necessary?

I dumped a hunk of butter – about 3 TBSP worth – into the pan with some good olive oil – about 2-3 more TBSP worth.

I used unsalted Kerrygold butter made from grass-fed cows. I like to imagine that all cows in Ireland are fed nothing but grass and that none of them are given unnecessary antibiotics and growth hormones. I like to imagine that Kerrygold Irish butter is made in Ireland.

When I was done imagining I dumped in the shallot, the onion and the garlic – mashing the soft garlic into a paste with the wooden spoon as I stirred.

Hmmm, lots of dumping was going on. That’s okay.

Next I sprinkled in some salt and pepper. I used my fancy/shmancy light gray Celtic sea salt, just FYI. Then I gave it a light dusting of cayenne pepper.  Just a LIGHT dusting.

As soon as the shallot, onion and garlic were a nice caramelized brown, I dumped in the cooked pasta and folded until it was completely coated with garlicky goodness.

That’s it.

The hub and I piled it on our plates (the daughter doesn’t like pasta but who cares?, she wasn’t home).

Then we topped it with the parm regg.

Oh My Goodness. It smells and it tastes sooo good.

I went for seconds. I wanted to eat the whole pan of it except I knew I’d be sick if I did.  That’s when I started looking forward to the leftovers for lunch.

I awoke looking forward to them.

I’m eating them right now, as I type.

I probably shouldn’t have heated up ALL that was left, and I probably shouldn’t have dumped it ALL on my plate, but I did.

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I also shouldn’t have snapped a pic of such a plain-looking dish.

Fortunately, I picked more basil than I needed the other day and behold – emergency dried out basil leaves right there on my counter!

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There, that’s a little better.

This is a seriously delicious dish. A SERIOUSLY delicious dish.

Really, go roast some garlic!

Meanwhile I’ll be looking forward to tomorrow’s lunch, when I’ll enjoy the leftover leftovers because I REALLY shouldn’t have dumped it ALL on my plate.

#gluttony

 

 

 

 

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Food, life

Fluent in Food & Love

The pastor’s sermon that day outlined The 5 Languages of Love by psychologist Gary Chapman.   On the way home from church I asked my then eight-year-old daughter which love language spoke most to her.  Without hesitation she replied “Acts of Service” and “Quality Time”.  I commented that I tend to mostly give Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch because those are the languages that I speak most naturally, but I wanted to remember to speak the languages that best float her boat.

An hour later she was up a tree at the opposite end of our courtyard.  I walked over and asked her if she was ready for lunch.  She started to climb down but I stopped her and said, “Stay there, I’ll bring it to you.”  She jumped down anyway to give me a hug saying,  “You remembered, mom, Acts of Service,” and then she scrambled back to her perch.  As I was walking away she called, “Thanks, mom!” Then she yelled, “Mom, that was a Word of Affirmation, you know, saying thanks.”  I took a few more steps and she called out again, “And, mom, that hug was Physical Touch.”

I came back a few minutes later with a picnic basket.  Her face lit up as she chirped, “You made a whole picnic!  I thought you were just going to bring me a sandwich!”  She pulled out her lunch and then asked, “What’s this?”  I told her I was going to join her.  She patted a branch, smiled and said, “Have a seat.”   After a few bites she asked, “Mom, do you realize that this is Quality Time?”

Later I remembered an assignment she had when she was in kindergarten.  She was to complete the sentence “My mom loves me because…” She had written “because she makes crazy bread with cream cheese for me and plays Hands Down with me.”  I commented that Acts of Service and Quality Time were her love languages even back then.

For the rest of that afternoon and evening she gave me a big smile whenever she saw me.  Right before bed she had a big grin on her face.  I discovered why when I went in to brush my teeth.  On the bathroom mirror was a large soap heart with “Love Ya” written in it.  Life doesn’t get any better than that.

An hour ago I was outside checking on my garlic, which, I am thrilled to report, is growing taller by the day.  The hub came out and exclaimed, “It sure is a beautiful day!”  Being fluent in his love language, I immediately translated it to, “Mind if I go fishing?”

So when I said, “Why don’t you go fishing?”  His face lit up.

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He’s been working hard every weekend remodeling our second level.  He’s painted walls and ceilings, replaced moldings, installed hardwoods floors throughout, put shelves in my closet, etc.  His goal today was to get his office and our bedroom put back together.  So he will no longer have to sleep on the family room sofa and I will no longer have to sleep on the living room sofa.  The spare room can wait. He spent all morning moving our desks back into the office, setting the computer back up, etc.

“We can finish the rooms tomorrow after church,”  I said.  “It is supposed to rain tomorrow and the temperature is going to drop back into the 50’s for several days.  Go enjoy sunny and 70 while it lasts.  But first you have to have lunch.”

While he brought his fishing gear up from the basement for the first time since October, I threw fresh basil leaves, walnuts, a few sun-dried tomatoes and a two cloves of garlic into the oskar and gave them a whirl.  Then I added some parm, basil olive oil, salt and pepper and blended it to bits, which I tossed with the leftover gemelli I had in the fridge.  Plum Market had some nice parmigiano reggiano on sale last week so I bought two big hunks.  It’s been all parm all the time ever since.  Lunch prepared in ten minutes flat.

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“This is pretty good,” said the hub as he scooped the last bit from the pan onto his plate.  “It’s the best pasta you’ve ever made.”

That’s what he said last time.  And the time before that.

Wanna’ talk love to the hub?  You really only need two words: fishing and food.

Think I’ll go trim the raspberry bushes and soak up a little vitamin D myself.

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Food, life

Potluck

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It’s summertime and churchgoers around the country will be gathering for potluck picnics. They will arrive in droves, arms laden with macaroni, pasta and potato salads.

Picnic tables will be shoved together end to end to receive their offerings. Those who have the gift of baking will proudly display carefully arranged platters of homemade brownies and fancy, hard-to-serve cakes. Those who have had a harried week will discretely deposit a box of store-bought cookies.

Kids playing, men grilling and a long line of hungry fellowshipers collating plates of a little of this and a bit of that. Except me.

I hate to sound like a food snob, but when I attend potluck picnics, I tend to stick with the food I brought. Especially when it comes to pasta salad. And not just because I know all of the ingredients in mine are organic. It’s mostly because I love a good pasta salad and, disappointingly, most of the pretty pastas calling to me from the buffet line are just bland impostors that look much better than they taste.

Not mine.

The lucky brethren who pile my pasta onto their plates hit a jackpot of flavor.

What’s my secret? More accurately, who’s my secret? Pam Anderson.

If you, too, make a great pasta salad, then please share your recipe. Potluck picnickers everywhere will thank you. Potluck picnickers. Say that three times fast.

But if no one is asking who made your pasta salad, then take a lesson from Pam. Your church will thank you.

Have a happy, delicious 4th of July.  And God bless America.

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