Tuesday, July 12, 2011

gloomy gone great

It was a dark and stormy night. An oil change had turned into a three hour undertaking (?!) My friend and her significant other (with whom she is soon shackin’ up! When did we all grow up?!) were coming for dinner, so I invited my significant other too.

This is all a roundabout way of saying it was soup weather. Obviously.

Carrots, celery, onion.


Cooked in oil til tendah.


Then lotsa shrooms and local zuke.


Cooked til soft.


My favorite shortcut of all time- a can of fire roasted tomatoes. Refilled that can with water, added that for appropriate soupiness. So colorful!


Cooked a long time. While I made PESTO!

Aimed for this to be extra thick, so it’d blend well into soup (I’ve used it with sauteed vegetables subsequently, with great results). Basil (that was seriously looking peaky but made great pesto), parmesan, almonds (didn’t feel like hunting through the freezer for pine nuts- did toast the almonds though. Key!), bit o’ olive oil


In that went, along with a can of chickpeas.


This was GREAT! It’s amazing how fresh herbs- particularly in their finest form, the pesto- can really elevate a simple vegetable soup. Got raves for this. And it’s kind of fun to have a first course for just a simple dinner with friends.

As for the main dish- there were two hungry boys. Which means making a lot of food. Which to me means pasta (a pound and a half. Me, the fam, Lauren, the boys. That’s it. Done. A pound and a half. 24 ounces.)

Pasta was wise, too, in that I had ricotta to use.

So I took myself a cup and a half of it, and mixed it with about 3 T chopped chives, 3 T chopped parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil. Plus scads of black pepper.


Then tossed all that with my pound and a half of pasta and a half cup or so of cooking water, which made for a beautiful sauce. Grated lotsa parmesan on top for kick.


And finally because I am slightly wary to serve boys a meal that doesn’t involve meat (is that silly? Maybe. I may have had some leftover flank steak to use from my sister’s party, too). Anyway, this salad was sure a swell combination.


Local farmer’s market lettuce, leftover grilled steak, leftover grilled peaches, avocado, and tomato. With just olive oil and white wine vinegar. Steve said that his avocado-peach-steak bite was particularly exceptional (I, believe it or not, am a little meat-ed out with all of the ethical but abundant stuff that’s been around me lately and happily picked out my salad from around the beef, leaving more for the manly men).


Another gloomy day. I, before passing on a cold to my mother, boyfriend, and coworkers, first spent a couple of days in its throes myself.

Leaving work, I stopped by Trader Joe’s (I am so proud of myself that I do not stop at the Trader Joe’s on the way home from work EVERY SINGLE DAY). Got myself Snapea crisps (do other people crave crunchy food when their throat is sore) and Hansen’s all natural yet sugar-free tangerine-lime soda.

Then I crashed on my sofa, with my laptop for entertainment, feeling that certain high that happens when your sinuses are hella pressurized.


When my sister arrived home from work, she recommended using her refrigerated eye mask. Isn’t it charming?


Joke though I may, the relief was unbelievable. Everyone needs a refrigerated eye mask.

Anyway, I get that many in the world do not share this attitude, but I genuinely find it comforting to cook even when I am sick and tired.

Plus, it was refreshing that I, a usually highly indecisive individual, knew exactly what would sate my troubled body: bruschetta.

Ohhhhhhhh yeah.

Gimme some of that white bread, hot outta the oven.


Slice it up real nice. Now put some tomatoes, basil, and garlicky olive oil on top. Slather that baby. Let the bread soak up the goodness.


Oh, bruschetta. The basil goodness. The chew of bread and tomatoes. That wonderful mix of tomato juiciness and olive oil richness that soaks into the bread. Heaven.


For protein (since alas, girl does not live on bruschetta alone, though for this meal I certainly could’ve tried), we had some nice farm-fresh eggs. It’s been awhile since I’d had a nice frittata, plus we had more ricotta to use and this awesome cookbook I got from the library, Mediterranean Harvest, had a recipe for ricotta frittata with fresh herbs, which sounded pretty great to me.

Whisk together a half dozen eggs, a cup of ricotta, garlic, and fresh herbs (I used parsley).


You put it in an oiled skillet to get a sear on the bottom (swirling it around), then reduce heat, cover, and cook until nearly firm in the middle…


… at which point you finish it off under the broiler until set and golden.


The ricotta made for a wonderful light and fluffy texture. Yet at the same time, it was rich and filling. Lovely!

Rounding out the meal, I made a fresh veggie saute.

Started with sweet onion, sauteed all sweet…


Then added corn ‘n okra, for a Southern-ish flair.


And finished with tomatoes, which released their juice to help the other ingredients steam and get tender. And you know, contributed lovely color :D


Long live comfort food.

1 comment:

Jess said...

HECK YES to comfort foods :D