Friday, October 9, 2009

Start with the spinach


Friday night, tired and wired, contemplating a quick call to the takeout joint. But it was COLD in the kitchen, and I figured cooking would warm it up. It always does. And cooking does tend to improve my mood. But I really didn't want to make a big deal of it. I just wanted to eat.

Unlike most days, I hadn't been pondering the contents of the pantry and fridge in between phone calls at the office, so I was starting from scratch. For starters, there was the spinach in the fridge, from Wednesday's farm share. It wouldn't last long. Boiling some water for pasta would be easy. And warm up the kitchen pretty quickly while fixed some other things.

A half tomato sitting in the basket. Cooking might improve it's flavor -- the tomatoes hadn't been great so far this year, so cooking would be kind. And there was another big one just sitting there, so I sliced half of it. And onion. Onion makes everything taste good.

But wait. I ran out of garlic the other day and hadn't replaced it. Enter the year-old pesto cubes in the freezer. I'd been wanting to use those up for awhile. They really won't last much longer. They have garlic in them.

So. Olive oil heating on the stove, add a vidalia onion (from the share), when translucent, add the tomato (from the share). Cook for about 15 minutes while the water heats up. Fascinating how cooking tomatoes this way will reduce them to almost nothing and concentrate their flavor. When the water boils for the pasta, add a pound of whole wheat penne, which will cook for 10 minutes, and set the timer for 8 minutes so I remember to add the chopped spinach to the pasta pot a minute or so before it's done. Remember the spinach? When the spinach goes in, add the pesto cubes to the skillet, and cook a little more. Then, at the last minute, on an inspiration, toss in a frozen cube of year-old tomato concentrate. Salt and pepper

Drain the pasta when it's done, rescuing a coffee mug full of liquid in case I need it to moisten things up a bit, and add the pasta to the skillet, for a nice quick meal.

Parmesan cheese would have been a nice addition, but somehow, it had disappeared, so I substituted the parrano cheese, which worked nicely.

Gourmet cuisine? No. A good hearty meal for one with leftovers for whomever was around over the weekend. Yes.

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