Food, Glorious Food

226.4lbs the morning after Thanksgiving. Not bad, considering it was non-stop eating from 2pm until sometime past 8pm. And what glorious eating it was! It’s really great to be a part of a family that really knows how to throw a holiday feast!

I’m definitely not beating myself up for gaining a pound this week. We ended up going out to dinner twice in 4 days, to start. Our other meals were realistic, so only a pound is pretty good, considering. Besides… I can lose the weight. What I never want to lose is the fun we have when we get together – it’s worth a bit of over-indulgence!

We started off at 2pm with hors d’oeuvres… Naturally, I didn’t get any pictures of the table-full of fabulous finger foods.

Italian sausages braised in white wine… olive cheese puffs, cheese toasties, a cheese board with cambozola, gouda, and another – my mind is blanking… stuffed mushrooms… I know there was more – I wish I had taken pictures.

I did take pictures of the dinner table, though.

We had two turkeys, garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, scalloped potatoes, corn pudding, brussels sprouts with onion and bacon, bacon-topped macaroni and cheese, a fantastic salad, homemade and canned cranberry sauces, and homemade dinner rolls.

And then – when I could barely waddle – we started on desserts.

Wednesday was Finley and Elise’s 2nd birthday, so we also celebrated them with Birthday Cake and Birthday Cupcakes.

Then we had mini pumpkin tarts, mini walnut tarts, and ginger cookies.

Two-bite delights!

And speaking of delights, here’s Grandpa reading a story to Finley with a Birthday Bow on his head.

A perfect day.

And I only gained a pound!


Frittata Di Riso & Pork Chops with Pears and Onions

Oops! I gained a pound!

I'm sure it has nothing to do with being sedentary with a bum foot and eating like I'm still going to the gym. Yeah. Right.

Oh, well... I need to be a bit better before the big over-eating day on Thursday. Next Friday's weigh-in will be interesting, for sure!

Last night's dinner started off with a recipe I found on La Cucina Italiana - in Italian, of course. Conde Nast stopped the English issue several years ago - bastards that they are. It sounded intriguing - and easy.

The recipe was for 4 servings, so I cut it in half and made two individual tarts. I think the recipe should have been for 8 - we both ate half and were more than satisfied. You definitely want to use a good parmesan, here.

Fritatta Di Riso

adapted from La Cucina Italiana

  • 500 g milk
  • 150 g arborio rice
  • 60g grana padano / parmesan
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • butter
  • salt

Bring the milk to a boil. Boil the rice in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain and finish cooking in boiling milk for about 15 minutes.

Put the cooked rice in a cold bowl, add a knob of butter and stir vigorously; When the mixture is lukewarm, incorporate the egg yolks, one at a time, the parmesan cheese and finally the egg whites, whipped until stiff.

Pour the mixture into a cake tin with a diameter of 22 cm/8" lined with baking paper.

Bake at 180 °C for about 1 hour. Here is your rice omelette ready.

 

I also made an old standby - Pork Chops with Pears and Red Onions - a Lidia recipe from 20+ years ago.

 

I foolishly added potatoes to the recipe because I have been doing that for years. I definitely didn't need them last night.

As with most recipes, I tend to make my own tweaks – and this one is no different. The base is fabulous, but there are a couple of steps I don’t bother with.

First, is making the balsamic reduction. I generally don’t have the cheap balsamic in the house – but I do have a really good 15 year aged balsamic I used for drizzling on top when it was time to serve.

Next is finally realizing that bone-in pork chops are the only chops worth buying. Boneless tend to be too tough and inconsistent. Also, I don’t peel my pears. I don’t peel a lot of fruits and vegetables – lots of texture and nutrients, there.

Lidia’s Pork Chops with Pears and Caramelized Red Onions

  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 center-cut pork rib chops, each about 12 ounces and 1 1/4 inches thick
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ripe but firm Bosc pears, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey

In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil over high heat. Adjust the heat to a gentle boil and boil until the vinegar is syrupy and reduced to about 1/3 cup. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet with a flameproof handle over medium-high heat. Whack garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife and scatter over oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, until brown, about 2 minutes. Lay the pork chops in and cook until the underside is browned, about 6 minutes. Remove and reserve the garlic cloves if they become more than deep golden brown before the chops are fully browned.

Turn the chops, tuck the onion wedges into the pan and continue cooking until the second side of the chops is browned, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. About halfway through browning the second side, tuck the pear wedges in between the chops.

Stir the red wine vinegar and honey together in a small bowl, until the honey is dissolved. Pour the mixture into the skillet and bring to a vigorous boil. Return the garlic cloves to the skillet if you have removed them. Place the skillet in the oven and roast until onions and pears are tender and the juices from the pork are a rich, syrupy dark brown, about 30 minutes. Once or twice during roasting, turn the chops and redistribute the onions and pears. Handle the skillet carefully — it will be extremely hot.

Remove skillet from the oven. Place a chop in the center of each warmed serving plate. Check the seasoning of the onion-pear mixture, adding salt and pepper if necessary. Spoon the pears, onion and pan juices around the chops. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar reduction around the edge of the plate.

Makes 4 servings.

It was way too much food and neither of us cleaned our plates.

Back to being a little more realistic in our portions - until Thursday!


Leftovers Reworked

Wednesday, I made a big pot of soup and had Phoebe and Nancy over for dinner and cards. It's definitely getting to be soup weather - and we do like soup around here.

Soups are generally something I just sorta make with whatever's in the house - even though I have so many soup recipes it's ridiculous. Wednesday's soup started off as one of those recipes.

It was an Italian Wild Rice Soup from Eating Well magazine.

Naturally, I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but it was a great foundation.

I had planned to make an Alaskan Cod something-or-other for dinner last night, and Victor suggested poaching it in some of the leftover soup! An excellent idea!

 

It was the original 20-minute-start-to-finish-meal. And it was really really good!

I simply heated the soup is a large skillet, placed the fish in, covered the skillet, and let it poach for about 10 minutes. The fish cooked to perfection. it was light, flaky, and had great flavor. I added a bit of Italian hot sauce and enjoyed every bite.

Here's the soup the following day - nice and thick, hearty and flavorful!

Italian Wild Rice Soup

adapted from Eating Well Magazine

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 qts beef broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 leek sliced
  • 1 fennel buld, chopped
  • 3/4 cup wild rice
  • 1/2 cup wild rice blend
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • S&P to taste
  • 1.2 tsp - or more crushed red pepper
  • 1 (9 ounce) package fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large dutch oven or soup pot, cook pork over medium heat until no longer pink.

Add onion and fennel and cook until onion is wilted. Stir in garlic.

Add tomato paste and cook a bit to remove the raw tomato flavor.

Add broth, tomatoes, rice, and seasonings. Bring to a boil.

Add rice, reduce heat, and simmer until rice is tender - about 45 minutes.

When soup is ready, stir in spinach or other tender greens of your choice.

Serve topped with cheese.

The original recipe was a crock pot recipe - something I do not own. I reworked it for stovetop.


Checking In Week 7

I know, I know...

I said I would be checking in on Wednesdays and today is Friday.

Naturally, I have excuses. Phillies baseball, of course. Rooting for them in the World Series has filled up a few hours of my time - not necessarily the hours I would generally be blogging, mind you - but I do have that knack for justifying things.

The second is I seem to have a slight fracture in my right foot.

Painful swelling, Urgent Care, and X-Rays later, it seems I most likely overdid it on the leg press.  Ooopsie!

I passed on the boot, have kept it elevated, watched it change all sorts of fun colors, take my aspirin - sadly, the Dr didn't think Tramadol was necessary - and otherwise hobble around the house.

I missed this week with the trainer and will miss next week, as well. I won't miss the leg press, however. It's out of the repertoire.

The lack of exercise didn't stop me from losing weight, however! I weighed in at 229.8 pounds on Wednesday, November 1st! 2.6 pounds is a little aggressive for a week - but only a little. I feel good and that's the important thing.

That, and the fact that I fit into a pair of Levi 501's I've had forever and have never been able to wear.

We're eating well... and other than Friday night - for the first game of the Series when I totally overindulged - I'm staying within my 1840 kcal allotment.

Plain Greek yogurt and a banana most days for breakfast - mixing it up with steel cut oatmeal or maybe a couple of eggs - and smaller portions of leftovers for lunch - or a maybe a sandwich and chips. I'm definitely not starving.

I'm going to try and do some light exercises at home, but I find that in the house I'm a total sluggo - my lack of motivation is truly impressive.

Next week will tell the tale of whether I succeeded - or not.

 


Pre-Diabetes Program

There's good news and there's bad news... typical in life, eh?!?

The good news is I've lost a bit of weight. The bad news is the program has been delayed - again.

To say that I'm a bit pissed is an understatement. To postpone something once is semi-understandable. To postpone something twice - the night before, I might add - is inexcusable. This postponement was because people dropped out after the first postponement, and they no longer have the requisite minimum of 8 people to run the cohort. The newest potential start date is now November 16th. And that's assuming, I guess, that they can miraculously find more people between now and then. I think I'm going to pass.

Back to the good news...

On September 14th - when I was first officially signed up and had my meet and greet meeting - I weighed in at 240 pounds. This morning, six weeks later, I weigh 232.4.

I've been going to the gym, seeing my Physical Therapist, eating better, moving more, and feeling great. I signed up for 8 sessions with a Personal Trainer to get me started and he has been great at pushing me and teaching me how to push myself. I'm a slug by nature, so the learning to push myself part has been important. It seems to be working.

Diet-wise, I'm weighing and logging things, but I'm not dieting. I'm eating what I want, I'm just making better choices and eating smaller portions. I usually have a popsicle at night for dessert, but there are also homemade brownies portioned and in the freezer. They're not off-limits, but I won't eat one if I had a heavy meal that day. Smarter choices.

I once thought that The Program would be my motivation to do this. What I've found out these past six weeks is that I am my motivation. My own confidence and ability to do this are what's going to get me through.

That being said, I do plan on doing weekly updates on Wednesdays. A little added motivation never hurts...

 


Brussels Sprouts, Pears, Cherries, and Cheese

Another fun recipe from Milk Street.

I've liked Chris Kimball since his early days at Cooks Illustrated. A bit of an oddball, but I can appreciate his approach to food. Besides, you have to be a bit of an oddball to be in the food business. I speak from personal experience.

The fun thing about recipes is knowing the ingredients are not chiseled in stone. His recipe called for dried cranberries - fitting for this time of year. Alas, I had no cranberries, but I did have dried cherries. (There are also dried apricots, raisins, golden raisins, and a half-dozen different nuts I could have used. Walnuts were open. I also added the steak, because I was making it as an entree, not a side dish. Us aging people need our protein.

Brussels Sprouts, Pears, Cherries, and Cheese

adapted from 177 Milk Street

  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 ripe but firm pears unpeeled, quartered and cored
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 2 ounces fresh chèvre, crumbled
  • S&P, to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil to serve
  • 8 oz sirloin steak, sliced thin

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the cherries and vinegar. Microwave uncovered until heated through, about 1 minute.

Thinly slice the pears and sprouts and mix into a large bowl. Add the cranberry-vinegar mixture, 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; toss well. Let stand for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Toss in the nuts and cheese, then season with salt and pepper.

Plate, top with sliced steak, and drizzle with additional olive oil.

 

All-in-all, it was pretty good. The recipe is supposed to be a saladish side dish, but I think it would be better if the brussels sprouts were sauteed, first. It could still be served room temperature. They were just a bit too crunchy. The flavors were excellent, though.

With a couple of modifications, I can see this happening, again...


Cheddar Beer Bread Rolls

I really do think my most favorite thing to do is bake bread.

Cooking is fun, desserts are awesome, but bread?!? There's just something about it that truly is satisfying. And they run the gamut from basic 4-ingredient flour, water, salt, and yeast loaves to really complex recipes with tons of ingredients and steps. They're all fun. Well... mostly... The perfect loaf of sourdough still eludes me and at this stage of the game, I've pretty much settled for a pretty good loaf. But that's not stopping me from trying again, one of these days.

In the meantime, there are a lot of other loaves to be made.

We decided on Ravioli for dinner the other night and Ravioli at our house requires bread. Our local Safeway - .6 mile from our front door - has pretty lousy bread from their in-store bakery, so I wasn't going to bother with them. On a side note, I'm really hoping that if Kroger is allowed to buy Albertsons/Safeway, the anti-trust rules will make them sell that store and a real grocer will move into the space. 

But I digress...

I had seen a recipe at NY Times a while back for a yeasted beer bread with cheese, so I thought I'd give it a try. Even though my Pre-Diabetes Program doesn't start until next week, rolls are good portion control for me - and it was a recipe I had never tried before. There are no bad foods in this program. It's more about moderation and making better choices.

I had all the ingredients, so off I went. Well... until I got to the bread flour. I needed 815 grams and I only had 400. I did have several other flours, so I blended some all-purpose with an organic white whole wheat my brother gave me to make up the difference. The rest, as they say, is history!

 

They were incredibly light for having so much cheese in them. Great texture. And the three flours and the cheese really gave them a fantastic flavor.

My biggest mistake was using beer from the refrigerator. (I used a Fortside Brewing Orange Whip Hazy IPA from across the river in Vancouver, WA.) Silly me. The bread took a really long time to rise... Our oven does have a proofing feature which helped, immensely, but it still took twice as long as it should have.

The end result was worth it!

Cheddar Beer Bread Rolls

adapted from the NY Times

  • 6 cups/815 grams bread flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons/55 grams unsalted butter (2 tablespoons softened, 2 tablespoons melted), plus more for the bowl and pan
  • 1/4 cup/60 milliliters honey
  • 2 cups/480 milliliters beer, such as pale ale
  • 1 3/4 cup/200 grams shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, preferably white

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine bread flour, yeast, salt, 2 tablespoons softened butter, honey and beer. Mix on low speed for 4 minutes. The dough should come together around the dough hook. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix for 2 minutes more, occasionally stopping to scrape the dough from the hook. Add 1 cup/115 grams of the Cheddar cheese and mix until incorporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until nearly double in size, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 even pieces. Gently round each piece of dough into a ball, and place into the prepared pan. (The rolls may not touch now, but they will fill in the gaps when they rise and bake.)

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 35 to 45 minutes, until they look visibly puffy. Toward the end of rise time, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the rolls with 2 tablespoons melted butter, and top each roll with 1 tablespoon of the remaining white Cheddar, being careful to keep the cheese away from the edges of the pan.

Bake the rolls until golden brown, and the cheese on top is melted and browned 22 to 28 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.


Brown-Butter Orzo with Butternut Squash

And the winner is...

Brown-Butter Orzo with Butternut Squash! And yes, boys and girls, it definitely is a winner!

It's another recipe from the New York Times cooking section. A source I highly recommend for some pretty good recipes.

Yes, they have their fair share of Really?!? recipes - you know... the kind with ingredients you can only find in a mountain village outside of Machu Picchu on a Thursday afternoon after the first full moon - but the vast majority are recipes actual people can source and prepare.

This particular recipe hit all the right buttons - rich, flavorful, easy to prepare, and made with ingredients one can easily find in their pantry. Naturally, even though we both knew we had orzo in the house - we didn't - and Victor ran down to the store while I started.

It's a quick meal from start to finish.

Brown-Butter Orzo with Butternut Squash

adapted from the NY Times

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 2-pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 3 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta

In a medium Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the foam subsides, the milk solids turn golden brown and it smells nutty and toasty, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add squash, rosemary, a large pinch of salt, the 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and the 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, and cook until squash is golden at the edges and begins to soften, 12 to 17 minutes.

Add stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in orzo and lemon zest. Cover the pan and simmer over medium-low heat until orzo is just tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 14 to 18 minutes, stirring once or twice. If the pan dries out before the orzo and squash are tender, add a splash or two of water.

Remove pan from heat and stir in Parmesan. Taste and add more salt if needed. Dollop with ricotta and sprinkle with more grated Parmesan and black pepper just before serving.

Simple and totally delicious! A perfect fall meal.

 


Whoopie Pies

We're having a bit of a local family get-together tonight at my sister's house. Even though we all live within a few miles of one another, we really don't all get together that often.

I asked what we could bring - no one person should have to feed this motley crew - and my niece said a desert - "your desserts are the best."

Flattery will get you everywhere!

So... what to make for 15 pseudo-adults and two toddlers?!? Why, Whoopie Pies, of course! Fun, hand-held, the kids can make a mess of them... Perfect!

These are a combination of recipes I've made in the past. The classic filling is a shortening and marshmallow fluff concoction I don't really care for, so I devised more of a cream cheese frosting with marshmallow fluff that's more to my liking. I'm the one cooking, so it's all about me.

Whoopie Pies

Cakes:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk

Filling:

  • 8 ounce pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 12 oz jar Marshmallow Fluff

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, and eggs together until well combined. Add the oil and vanilla and beat again.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry mixture to the egg mixture and beat or stir to blend. Add 1 1/2 cups milk and beat again. Add the remaining dry mixture and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and beat until blended.

With a 4oz scoop, scoop out 32 or more circles of batter onto a baking sheet. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, cream butter and cream cheese. Add fluff and mix well. Add vanilla and slowly add powdered sugar. Mix to a stiff, creamy texture.

Fill half of the cakes with filling and top with second half.

Enjoy.

I had to finish the batter by hand - it was too much for my KitchenAid mixer - but it worked out okay. I got 42 cakes - 21 Whoopie Pies.

Your results may vary - just make sure you have an even amount.

And... if you're in a Fall Mood, here's a link to the Pumpkin Version!

 


Squash and Plums with Ricotta

Victor was reading the Washington Post the other day when he came across a recipe he just knew we had to try. It's not all that unusual for one of us to latch onto a random recipe we find - it's more unusual to ignore them.

This one was not to be ignored...

Squash and Plums with Ricotta

adapted from The Washington Post

  • 1 pound ricotta or cultured cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small yellow squash (12 ounces total), chopped
  • 4 plums, preferably black or purple (12 ounces total) pitted and sliced
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • Flaky salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios, cashews or pumpkin seeds, for serving (optional)

In a food processor, whip the ricotta or cottage cheese until creamy and light, about 30 seconds.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the yellow squash and sauté until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the plums and sauté until they begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme leaves, and then place atop the ricotta.

Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over. Sprinkle with chopped nuts or seeds.

It's ridiculously easy outrageously good. It's savory but sweet, almost dessert-like, but better as a side dish. It would make a great appetizer with a crusty slice of bread or a really good cracker.

It also went great with a Dungeness Crab Cake from The Beaverton Farmer's Market.

It took minutes to make.

Make some.


From The Garden

Finally! Tomatoes and peppers are coming in! Black Krims, Brandywine, and an Oregon tomato are doing some serious producing. We pulled up the San Marzanos we planted - five plants - because of rot. Plum tomatoes just don't seem to do well, here.

Oh, well.

The peppers - bell, anaheim, and jalapeño - are finally doing well, also. It's taken all summer for them! The Thai peppers have lots of flowers, but I haven't seen a lot of peppers, yet. there's still time.

It's great to sit out front on our new patio and look up at the garden... We have a whole new outdoor room to enjoy, and it's great to look up and see where dinner came from!

 

Dinner, tonight, was a quick pasta dish with peppers, garlic, and tomatoes from the garden - along with fresh rosemary and oregano - white wine, shrimp, red onion, and salt and pepper. As basic as can be.

The tomatoes really shone through - they are just really flavorful - as only a homegrown tomato can be.

 

 

We're hoping for a bunch more to ripen at the same time so we can make a bit more Tomato Paste - the true nectar of the gods.

Cross those fingers.

In the meantime, there's still carrots and eggplant to go through! Lovin' it!


Orecchiette with Buttery Tomato Sauce

The latest edition of Bon Appetit arrived, yesterday, and I immediately found a recipe to cook for dinner.

We had just picked a bunch of lovely ripe heirloom tomatoes from the garden, we had an unopened bottle of Colatura - an Italian anchovy sauce (think of it as an Italian version of Asian fish sauce) - fresh basil... a nice, big wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano... We were ready!

It is really one of the quickest and most basic recipes you can throw together - and throw together really is what you do with this one. It's dinner in the time it takes to cook the pasta.

Any pasta will work with this. The original recipe called for making your own - and Alon Shaya's recipe would be perfect, here. It's our go-to fresh pasta recipe. It's perfect every time. We did, however, opt for bagged pasta because we have lots and I was looking for that quick meal.

Pasta Dough

adapted from Alon Shaya

  • 1 1/4 cup 00 flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Mix flours. Make a well and add the eggs, egg yolks, and oil. Slowly mix in the flour and knead until smooth. Let rest 30 minutes before rolling to desired shape.

The Bon Appetit recipe calls for Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes. Having learned our lesson years ago, we only grow full-sized. The amount of sauce should work for up to 8 ounces of pasta. And since there are only a few ingredients, use the best you can.

Buttered Tomato Sauce

adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper - more, to taste
  • 3 lbs ripe, heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp Colatura (or fish sauce)
  • 2 oz shredded parmigiano reggiano
  • 4 tbsp torn basil

Heat oil in large skillet. Quickly sauté onion, and then add garlic and red pepper. Stir in about 3/4 of the tomatoes, a big pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and about a half-cup of water. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer about 5-6 minutes.

Stir in butter, colatura, and cheese. Add pasta and stir to completely coat. Add reserved tomatoes and mix well - adding a bit of pasta water, if necessary. Stir in basil, and serve!

It was rich and filing without being a belly-bomb! A bit of crusty bread would have been nice, but even that wasn't necessary.

With the tomatoes finally coming in, i can see more of this in our future!