Just pasta, tomatoes and basil.

One of our favorite, yet simplest meals of the Summer uses lots of basil and tomatoes. I take a bowl of chopped fresh tomatoes, a couple slivers of garlic, toasted pinenuts, lots of basil, s+p, and a good slosh of olive oil. While that sits a bit, I cook some pasta and toss the hot pasta over this mixture. The heat of the cooked pasta warms up and gently cooks the tomatoes. Once the mixture cools a bit, the flavors have mixed and we eat a wonderfully simple meal.

We usually use a macaroni of some kind for the pasta. When I got home the other night, I had an itch for some fresh pasta. 2 C flour (1 wheat, 1 white), pinch of salt, olive oil (1T) and 3 eggs later (and the use of my trusty spackle knife) I had these noodles for the dish.

A very nice pasta option for this dish.


weber_cam: School Lunch Edition (part 1)

tomorrow's lunch

This past weekend was good to catch up with friends and share school lunch suggestions. We never had to pack lunch when Frankie was in daycare, now we're faced with trying to make something interesting a few times a week. She actually likes mini corn dog day.

This takes a little thought, but I'm enjoying finding variety in the supermarket for her lunch. Tomorrow's main course is a couple romain leaves wrapped around smoked turkey and provolone. With this is a couple sides of grapes, tomatoes and a little dessert of cantuccini. The cold cut rolls were suggested by Christa (thanks!). I think they're a nifty alternative to a sandwich.

I'll be listing various options we learn of on the sidebar under "Plat du Jour" for you parents.

To bed with me - school night.


Sweet Italian Sausage

Sweet Italian sausage about to be tied off.

I think I know what Cliff Clavin felt like walking into Cheers. When I walk in to Weiland's Gourmet Market, I shoot the breeze with the butcher. He told me the other day of the US's problems with hog casings. They're really expensive these days. The pork's stable, but the casing's have doubled in the past year. I've told them of my recent sausage making endeavors and they share my enthusiasm. They make Weilands for me.

This was my first pork sausage attempt. Fresh ground pork butt (4 lbs), some garlic, smoked sweet Spanish paprika, fresh basil and some other spices. The critical spice was salt. If you add too much, too bad, batch ruined. Too little, still a problem. Incorporating more involves additional mixing and maybe overmixing. This one, I just followed the recipe and hoped for the best. The sample quenelle (alright, it was a good sized patty), I just cooked was fabulous. I'll be carting these off to our cookouts this weekend. Recipe by Ruhlman, followed to the letter with the addition of chopped fresh basil.

If you have a Kitchen Aid, the attachments are cheap (or get a dedicated grinder/stuffer under $100) and get into this hobby. It's fun and the final product is quite simply better than you can find anywhere.