mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Recipe for disast-- err *pasta*

lj keeps logging me out. Oh the wuvable wascally ways of our blog of choice.

Because tammylee has passed on many useful recipes in the course of her journalling, I post one back.

See, every few years I discover a wonderful new food, which is essentially a depised old food done properly. In 2003 it was strawberries. As my sister reminds me, through our childhood our mother had a fondness for making fruit salad out of unripe strawberries and unripe pineapple. Why, I don't know. Maybe Toronto in the 60's didn't believe in ripe fruit. It was a very British town then, and even the home British at the time sort of thought fruit should be a penitential experience. Maybe she remembered how the real thing tasted and drew on that to supply the deficiencies. We had no such experience and it gave me a dislike for strawberries ever after. Until one day mvrdrk randomly said something about 'strawberries macerated in sugar.' Macerated in sugar... that has a ring to it. So I tried them and the rest, as they say, is history. Of course they're macerated in Nutrasweet now because the sugar ones were so good I put on weight with them.

Equally, one evening last fall I wandered next door to tell my brother something or other. They were just finishing dinner in their overworked lawyer fashion. "Have a seat," says my s-i-l. "There isn't much left--" indicating a bowl of broccoli and another of brussel sprouts. "S'OK," I say, "I've eaten" (two hours ago) and pick up a spear of broccoli to nosh on as the lesser of two evils. And experience an epiphany. "Oh-my-god this is GOOD! Is it organic?" She looks surprised. "No, Fiesta Farms regular (the local Italian supermarket a block away), 99 cents a bunch. It *is* good, isn't it? A little lemon juice is all it takes."

I've had broccoli and lemon about three times a week, minimum, since then. (I notice in fact that it has to be Fiesta Farms regular, 99 cents a bunch, because even their organic isn't as good.) I'm sure this would be very healthy of me except for one little problem. My gut hates vegetables unless there's starch to cushion them; even potatoes don't do it unless the veg serving is a tiny nouvelle cuisine thing and balanced by more meat than I care to eat. The solution, alas, is pasta.

Thus my sinful dinner of choice. Boil a bunch of pasta- rigatoni is my favourite. About three quarters of the way through throw in sliced broccoli spears. Boil to mush. (I don't do al dente: my gut hates that as well.) Drain in a fine sieve or risk losing a lot of the broccoli. Return to pan. Squeeze in lemon juice (quantum sufficit as my old school lawyer father would say- as much as is needed ie to taste.) Add dollop of butter, margarine, or oil if that way inclined. Sprinkle quantum sufficit of grated parmesan, several turns of the sea salt shaker (sea salt is another of those well-kept culinary secrets) and ditto of the pepper mill (so are pepper mills, though my Dutch friend tells me quite rightly that Canadian pepper has no taste compared with straight-from-Indonesia Dutch pepper.) Heat gently a few seconds, stirring mixture together. This forms a green cheesy sauce that coats the pasta. Eat the whole thing with a glass or two or several of wine; eye empty pot hungrily and wonder about making another serving. This is why I can't lose weight.

Sea salt is something I learned from our cook at the daycare. Correct that- our chef. We're the only daycare in the world with a chef and I don't know what we did to deserve him. His grilled mushrooms are to die for and we've all tried to duplicate his recipe with no success. In the course of that it came out that when he said 'sprinkle salt' he meant sea salt, but I've no idea what else he's forgetting to say when he says 'simple- I brush them with oil, sprinkle some salt and oregano, and put them under the grill.' One would have to watch him do it. The fact is that he himself doesn't know, because he cooks so much from the right side of the brain that one day he forgot his own recipe for a dish and stood there, between fury and disbelief, trying to remember what was the one thing he put into it that gave it its particular taste.
Tags: food, rl_07

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