Notes from a Yarn Hacker
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February 2010
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Paying it forward
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Tuesday, February 23rd

Paying it forward


A few years ago - for Valentine's Day the year I was pregnant, I think - Dave got me Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking". I am ashamed to say that before he bought it, I was unfamiliar with it. That was really, truly wrong of me, but thankfully, he set me straight. It's an honest to goodness treasure that runs the gamut from "couldn't be simpler" to "challengingly complicated". I love a book that solves weeknight dinner dilemmas and then a few pages later makes me wonder, "Hmmm - could I pull that off?"

This is my own personal "pay it forward" moment. Just as Dave introduced me to this valuable tome, I'm going to pass on to you the easiest of recipes from the book. It's such a keeper, though, that everyone should have it in their repertoire, and I include non-cooks in that sweeping generalization. This is a recipe that is hardly a recipe, it's so easy. Everyone should know how to make this.

Marcella's Tomato Sauce
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (Hunt's works great here. You want good quality tomatoes. You could also use a can of whole tomatoes and chop them roughly)
5 oz butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half around the equator
Pinch of salt

Dump everything into a pot on med-high heat. Let mixture come to a fast simmer (don't boil), then drop heat to a slow simmer. Let sauce simmer, uncovered, about 45 minutes or until everything thickens up a bit. Stir occasionally but don't break up the onion. When sauce is thickened up a bit (just eyeball it - you don't want runny juices but it's not like a fork should stand up in it or anything), remove from heat. The tomatoes will still be chunky and the onion will be quite softened. Take out the onion. Stir into hot pasta - this is enough sauce for a pound of pasta.

I know. I know. When I first came across it I thought, "What a crock. How could this be interesting?" But I made it anyway and I was soooo glad I did. The sauce makes the pasta addictive. Something happens with the butter and the tomatoes that makes both of them better than they could be alone. And the onion adds a sweet, light sense of itself... I don't know. It's just good. And because this sauce uses what most of us have available in our kitchens right now, it's something everyone should know about.

Endlessly adaptable, you could throw some leftover chicken or turkey in the pasta. The sauce is nifty over eggs. You can leave half the onion in the sauce and then puree the whole thing with an immersion blender for something completely different but still delicious.

But whatever you do, just do it. You can thank me later.

P.S. - It freezes well too, so when you decide you want this all the time, you can double, triple, quadruple the recipe and freeze a bunch. That is, if it makes it to the freezer and doesn't, you know, fall onto some pasta on the way.
Posted by GoddessKristin on 02/23/10 at 08:35 AM [link] [No Comments - Be the first!]



Monday, February 8th

A few more, for good measure


A couple of recent shots, to keep the party going...

Several weeks before Christmas, for the second time in as many years, we took part in a gingerbread house building party. The amount of sugar available at this yearly shindig is absolutely ginormous and this time around Dessa had a ball. She discovered marshmallows, for one thing. Then, of course, there were at least a dozen kids there, so Dess was thrilled - any time there are kids around, she is beyond excited. Here's our future Frank Lloyd Wright hard at work:



Anyone who knows me knows that I love to cook and especially to bake, so it's no surprise that I'm trying to instill this into my daughter. Recently she's graduated from merely watching the proceedings to really assisting. Julia Child, watch out!



And here's my girl, just hanging out (on the cats' scratching post, bien sur)...


Posted by GoddessKristin on 02/08/10 at 08:20 PM [link] [No Comments - Be the first!]



Wednesday, February 3rd

Pictures, quickly


Hey, it's only the first week of February. I guess I should get around to posting a couple of Christmas pictures right? And then I can go take down my Christmas tree or something.

(Just kidding. I take down the tree on New Year's Day, religiously. And like the heathen I am, this year I waited until the day after New Year's Day. It was so exhausting that only now am I getting around to Christmas pictures. That's my story. And that's all I'm gonna say.)

Anyway.

Dessa in her Christmas finery in front of our fireplace:



She got an easel and paints from Santa and Grandma, respectively (how Grandma knew exactly what Santa was bringing and thus paired her gifts accordingly is one of the great grandmotherly mysteries of our time!) Here's our budding Picasso:



And just in case you were thinking I exaggerated about the multitudes of plush bedtime friends? This one was taken about 15 minutes ago as I was putting Dess to sleep. Can you find her amongst the rabble? (And yes, she does sleep in that direction. A few weeks ago she decided that was the way to sleep and no amount of cajoling will convince her to put her head on the pillow at the headboard. We let it go. Pick your battles and all that.)



More soonest. For now, I need to go work out.
Posted by GoddessKristin on 02/03/10 at 07:46 PM [link] [1 Comment - Go read it!]