Bacon, Eggs, Cheese, Pasta.
It seems every time I make pasta, I always have leftovers. Every. Single. Time. I used to hear the phrase “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” on an almost daily basis and I think it may still be true.
So, seeing that sad bit of pasta hanging out in the fridge I felt the need to rescue it. I’m not a fan of throwing food in the garbage (unless of course it has started to look like a science experiment gone horribly wrong). With that sense of resolve, I scanned the kitchen to see how this bit of leftover pasta could transcend its current state into something seriously good.
Staring into the refrigerator, I felt a bit like the woman from “Romper Room”… you remember her right? She would look through her looking glass and say the names of the kids she saw. Every week I waited and waited to hear my name. Never happened.
Now that the temperatures are not hovering near the triple digits, I’m no longer avoiding my oven like the Bubonic plague. Which is a good thing for me, as I thoroughly enjoy baking.
I’ve said it before, it’s cheaper than therapy and that is exactly what it is for me… therapeutic. It’s quiet, calming and serene, all the things one needs when living in one of the most hectic, crowded, noisiest cities in the world.
The quiet moments puttering around the kitchen, the sound of the back of a knife scraping across a measuring cup to level off flour, the clinking of the measuring spoons as they delve into baking powder, these sounds are truly soothing to me.
The warmth and aromas that emanate from the oven… here’s where it really starts to get good.
The original recipe called for all-purpose flour and the traditional creaming method. I opted to follow my friend Jenni‘s advice and switched out the flour with a lower gluten cake flour and changed the method to include liquid fat, i.e. melted butter instead of chilled. The oven temp in the original recipe was 350, I cranked it up to 400. Every professional baker I’ve ever known has baked muffins at this temp, so I’m not really sure why all the recipes call for 350, but I digress…
The weather in Brooklyn is perfect today… mid 70’s, sunny and breezy. These end of summer days are the ones I really cherish because I know too well that before long, they will be gone until the spring.
It is nearly unthinkable to cook dinner inside today. The days left in this year that we can enjoy being outside are numbered and I want every last second of warm sunshine I can get.
Although, grilling in inclement weather is no foreign concept to me. I have memories of my grandmother grilling in the rain, tongs in one hand & umbrella in the other… I guess once she decided what was for dinner, there was no turning back. Luckily for me, the weather this weekend has been picture perfect.
If you are among the throngs of apartment dwellers with no access to a grill or outdoor space, this is delicious done on a grill pan or even a saute pan. Speaking as one of the aforementioned, I’ve cooked many a steak on top of the stove and they are almost just as good.
Labor Day has passed and thus marks the unofficial end of summer (moment of silence, please).
Once again, it is time to put away the bathing suits and sunscreen. No more tousled beach hair, salty lips from the sea or digging your toes into the sand. Summer fruits and vegetables are still here for a few more weeks and I try to get every last bite I can before they disappear until next year.
Tomatoes will soon be those pale pink, insipid, cellophane-wrapped globes trying to pass for the real thing and even though we know better, some of us will buy them anyway… only to be thoroughly disappointed.
I usually make a last-ditch effort this time of year to get the last of the summer produce before I am limited to root veggies. Fall produce is wonderful and I love it, but there’s nothing like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, corn, etc. during the summer months.
This salad makes wonderful use of what most people grow in their gardens, so if you are lucky enough to grow some of your own veggies, you may not have to go farther than your back yard to get your ingredients!