Saturday, March 27, 2010

Baby Girl Piglet.

For Jr. & Jess's little girl.

Go-to Pasta.

I made this one up. I can't remember if I've ever talked about the love I've had for sausages lately (or over the past year and a half). Just writing that sentence makes me think probably not because I can't get over the concept of how saying I'm loving sausages sounds. Whatever. I'm over it. When I go the AMICI Italian Market, I can't NOT get the Sicilian Sausages. Last time I got four, and froze them in sets of two. Because undoubtedly I need to make this recipe at least once a month. Normally when I'm making this, I use spicy Italian turkey sausage. That is of course unless I'm splurging on these Sicilians. They are outta this world.

So last night after a week of attempting to eat Paleo, the big reward (even though I'd had a few cheats along the way) was some really rich, really decadent pasta for dinner. My pasta go-to. Normally I break up the sausage out of the casing and brown it first. But while it was thawing, I started with the vegetables. A red onion, a green pepper, and a red and/or yellow pepper (or in this case, what I had left of the red and yellow pepper slices in the fridge). You can totally scale this up or down, with more or less of any of these ingredients, depending on how much you want to make.

Slice these up and cook them in olive oil over a medium-low heat until they are brown and sorta caramelized. Soft, not crisp. I do this on a low enough heat that I can leave the stove for 10 minutes at a time and then return to stir them up. It takes me about 30 minutes to get the effect this way. Set aside.

In the same pan, squeeze the sausage out of the casing and brown the bite-sized pieces. About 5-10 minutes. (See those red pepper bits? You don't get these with Jenny-O turkey sausage. This is the Sicilian version).

Return the vegetables to the pan and mix them all together with the sausage.

Add the sauce. This is where I totally cheat, and I don't feel bad about it one bit. I use sauce from a JAR! Seriously, my favorite is the house brand Arrabbiata from Safeway. No kidding. If you can get your hands on this I highly recommend it as my favorite jarred sauce, but really, just use your favorite sauce from a jar. Add enough that the sauce-to-meat/vegetables consistency is to your liking.

You can stop there and add your pasta, but if you want to go all out, add some heavy cream or half/half. Again to your liking for color/consistency.

Then add your favorite cooked pasta. I prefer rigatoni or linguini. Top with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Voila. Better – or comparable to – anything you could get in a restaurant. (In my humble opinion).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

St. Patrick's is one of those holidays kinda like New Year's and Halloween that really does nothing for me. I do love that it's celebrated so enthusiastically every year for at least a week by the people who love it.

Would you get a load of these three kids? They are the sons of friends of mine and I got this card in the mail yesterday. I go around and around and around the picture – they are all my favorite!

(And they're standing right in front of my building).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Things are growing!

Now that I have my own yard, I think I've developed a true love of Spring – previously for me a rather ho-hum season. Mostly because it always ticks me off that it takes so long for it to get HOT out once we see the forest thru the trees and a subtle end to winter.

Seeing these things growing helps me tremendously.

I definitely think it will still snow, and our temperatures in the 50s will suddenly plummet again below freezing. But signs like this give me hope. I LOVE that "new green" color. And when the dead branches on things in the back yard finally bud, after looking like it's impossible for them to do so for so long, my heart might swell and burst with joy.

For now, I can look forward to the day when, long before we hit 80ยบ, the 80 daffodils in my front yard sway their golden heads in the breeze. Good times.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bolognese and Meatballs.

After I watched a bunch of kids and a couple of my friends get their heads shaved in support of kids with cancer* at the biggest suburban 1-block block party I have ever seen, I did some grocery shopping. I love grocery shopping. I went to AMICI Italian Market, Whole Foods AND Dominick's this afternoon.

Last night Dave talked me through his meatball recipe and his variations on Lidia's Bolognese recipe. I haven't had a full fridge in weeks. So it was exciting to fill it today with all kinds of stuff, but even more so to spend the evening making sauce and meatballs.

*This was I think the 3rd St. Baldrick's event hosted by this particular block in my neighborhood. They have raised over $32,000 this year! Something like 100 people shaved their heads. It was really incredible to see, regardless of the pelting rain and chilly temperatures. Like a not-so-mini-St. Patrick's Day extravaganza. Carts dispensing shots of whiskey, Blackhawk's and Sox Southpaw mascots, fire trucks, port-a-potties. It was awesome!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Finished today. Gouged my thumb with an x-acto while doing so. It's still bleeding (45 minutes later). Funny thing about that is right before I did it, I thought, You're going to stab yourself. I was doing something really dumb.

I documented the path this one went on in my journal and thru sketches and photographs. I might spend the rest of the day writing it up. It's given me an idea for a series. I loved making it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Julie & Matt's: Two Partridges in a Pear Tree.

Finally gave this one away to my dear friend and her new husband. A little wedding present if you will.