Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pasta carbonara

Pasta carbonara is the one (1) thing that I make better than my mother. And I'm proud to say that it's really better than hers, by a lot. That's it though, for absolutely everything else--she's the master. There's a magic trick going on with this dish--how does so little turn into so much and how does it all happen so fast? Bacon, of course, is part of the answer. And it is all ready to go in the time it takes you to boil the water for the pasta. I use half a package of bacon and cut it up into 1 inch pieces. Cook them until crispy and set aside. Meanwhile get your water boiling because once the bacon is crispy all you'll be waiting on is the pasta. Use a thin pasta, like spaghetti and salt your water heavily. Have someone open a bottle of red too, while you're waiting around.
OK, the pasta is probably close to done, so break two eggs into a big bowl and grate about 1/2 cup of Parmesan in there. Add salt and pepper and beat it all together really well to combine.Your pasta is done! Drain it, drizzle a bit of olive oil or some of your bacon fat over the top and then instantly add it into your egg-cheese mixture. Toss it well, keep it moving--try to get every strand of pasta coated with the mixture.Add in your bacon pieces and don't be shy about a little grease getting in there too.You should be rewarded by a glossy, creamy sauce studded with bacon that is best served right away. A weird alchemy takes place binding the egg and melting the cheese right to the hot pasta. If you end up with scrambled egg on your pasta then you are my mother. You have no recourse. Go back to making red sauce.I usually add a handful of minced parsley and squeeze a little lemon over right before serving to cut the richness. It's pretty much the most delicious thing ever, so stand back.

Whole roasted garlic

The world's most simple and perfect appetizer! Just lop off the top of a head of garlic, rub it with olive oil and let it roast itself into a creamy, mellow spread for crostini. Slice off the top quarter of a head of garlic. By the way, for the record I definitely should have used a bigger head of garlic because this got eaten in record time. Sadly my garlic was guilty of green sprouts. I was too lazy to pick them out and actually I don't think it matters for this. Rub it all over with olive oil... Then put in a little oven-safe container and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Pour over a splash of white wine.Put a slab of butter on top (look, it makes its own hat!) and a tablespoon of so of minced parsley. Roast at 375 for about 45 minutes until each clove is totally soft. Put it on your favorite fish-shaped plate and enjoy. It will be spreadable and creamy with a perfectly mellow, nutty flavor. Be sure to eat the wine-olive oil-butter sauce it roasted in too!

My old kitchen

Now that I'm in my new house, I thought I'd just share a few pictures from the kitchen I cooked in for the life of this blog so far. I am planning to remodel the kitchen in this new house and I think a lot of the customizations will probably reflect my old kitchen--especially in the respect it paid to the sanctity of the work triangle. For such a small space it really was absolutely perfect. Except for the stove. The stove was tilty.Here is where I had many pots hanging right over the sink...great for putting away easily. Also all my knives...and a devotional candle to Saint Martha(Stewart). This is where people usually ate when they came over for dinner...right next to the stove! I loved that, actually. In my new kitchen the stove will definitely face out towards guests and be a part of the social environment. Maybe with a little more room this time...Of course, a poster of the God of Cookery hung over the whole place, being my all-time favorite movie.An overflowing bookshelf, with favorite cookbooks and cooking literature...Next to an overflowing recycling bin...And my overflowing spice pantry.I will really miss this place! I'll just give my thanks for many good years and be excited to move on to something new...