December 31, 2010

December 30, 2010

g's first cooking lesson

Recognizing how busy I've been, G made dinner tonight.  More specifically, he asked me to teach him how to make dinner tonight and I couldn't have been more thrilled.  He even cleaned up afterward - I am such a lucky girl!

He wanted to make beef tortellini with a simple tomato sauce.  If you ask me, the tortellini are better saved for a cream sauce or soup but if G's offering to make dinner I'm not about to question his choices.

So here's my step by step lesson for a simple tomato sauce.  Perhaps you can get your sweetie to make it for you too! ;)

Step 1:  Choose and cook your pasta.  
G chose tortellini but feel free to choose your favourite.  Unless you choose a very quick cooking pasta like capellini, your sauce will come together in the time it takes for the water to boil and the pasta to cook.  If you want a quick-cooking pasta, no problem - just make the sauce first.

Step 2:  Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. 
I like non-stick but stainless will do nicely - just stay away from reactive metals such as cast iron or aluminum as they will react with the natural acid in the tomato.  Not a good thing.

Step 3:  Add one roughly chopped or sliced garlic clove to the skillet.
Saute just a minute or so, until you can smell its aroma.  You don't want any colour on the garlic otherwise the flavour will become overpowering.  If it burns, it's game over - trust.  Keep an eye on the garlic.

Step 4:  Add 1 tsp tomato paste and saute very briefly (30 seconds or so).  
This step is optional.  The sauce will have a lovely fresh taste if you omit the paste, and I often do.

Step 5:  Add canned plum tomatoes to skillet.  I am fortunate enough to have home canned tomatoes (a ton of work every summer but totally worth it) but there are lots of great commercial products available.  Just make sure to choose whole tomatoes in juice (not stewed, diced or pureed - whole taste fresher.

Step 6:  Using a wooden spoon break up the tomatoes and simmer over low heat until pasta is ready.

Step 7:  Drain pasta and add to sauce in skillet.  Stir to allow pasta to soak up sauce.

Buon appetito!

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December 28, 2010

slowing it down

I am not one for new year's resolutions but after the insanity of 2010, as the year winds to a close I feel compelled to adopt one for 2011:  slowing it down.  For me, that means less energy focused on work and greater emphasis on things I enjoy:  family, yoga, photography, cooking, reading and, most definitely, this blog which has been neglected for much too long.

Step 1 in my reintroduction to the land of the living: participating in the 2011 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge.

December 24, 2010

good tidings

From amidst the detritus of our fabulous Christmas Eve dinner, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!