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Monday, October 22, 2012

Perfection & Pasta

I was feeling really low and stupid today; I made a mistake at work last week and had to fix it today.  It wasn’t a major mistake, and it was totally fixable – it took most of the day, but it got resolved.  The fact that I made such a silly mistake, just sat there poking me, sticking its tongue out; if you haven’t figured it out already, I have perfectionist tendencies, a very bad habit that I’m trying to break.  For some reason, cooking is the thing that kind of helps me keep things in perspective (yes, I know I haven’t been cooking a lot), just hear me out.  I’ve hardly ever made a completely inedible meal.  I’ve made plenty of meals that have required some form correction, but for the most part I can work my way out of a cooking mess.  So when you need to prop yourself up, go to what you know.  Tonight, I propped myself up with a quick and simple asparagus and pasta dish.



Asparagus and pasta

Penne (½ lb. cooked al dente according to package directions)

1 bunch Asparagus (ends snapped off and then cut in half)

Minced garlic (1 to 2 cloves)

Olive Oil (2 tbsp)

Kalamata olives (1/4 cup)

Capers (1 tbsp)

Lemon juice (1 tbsp)

Anchovy filets (2 tsp minced) *optional

Salt and pepper

In a large pot, bring water to boil for pasta; make sure you salt your water for flavor once the water has reached a rolling boil and before you add the pasta.

In a skillet, heat olive oil and add garlic.  Add asparagus, olives and capers one at a time, you want to try to layer the flavors.  Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and add anchovies).

Once pasta is al dente add to asparagus and toss.  You can add a little bit of crumbled feta cheese when serving, if you wish.

Makes 4 servings as a side, or (for the singles out there) 3 servings – 2 dinners and a lunch.

And you’ll note that I’m still on a semi-Mediterranean food kick – what can I say, it’s comforting food for me.

As I finish up this post, I’m happy to say my house smells like chocolate a treat for my co-worker and friend that reminded me that perfectionism is really to exhausting to hang onto for much longer.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Getting my appetite back

About 2 weeks ago I declared to two of my closet friends that after two of the most difficult years of my life, I was deciding to only eat comfort food until further notice.  This resulted an immediate phone call from my bestie that began with me ugly crying on the phone (thank goodness I was home alone), and ended with me laughing and somehow promising that I would not dive head first into pan of mac & cheese.  Never the less, I still want and need comfort food right now.  As much as I love mac & cheese, pot roast & mashed potatoes, and brownies; I also happen to find things that are rather healthy comforting also.  So in an effort to keep my promise I’m attempting to eat food that I find comforting that are also healthy.

Inspired by Luisa Weiss’s new book My Berlin Kitchen, this week I made myself a little bit of home in a bowl – Aegean style cucumber salad.

Ingredients:

1 English cucumber

Cherry tomatoes

Kalamata olives

Feta cheese

Olive oil

Red wine vinegar

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Preparation:

Wash cucumber and tomatoes.

Cut off ends of cucumber, slice in half into half-moons and slice.  I don’t like my slices too thin.   Slice tomatoes in half.  Drop all ingredients into a medium mixing bowl or storage container.  To the bowl, add the olives and feta.  Season with salt and pepper and dress with olive oil and vinegar, and mix.

I haven’t given any proportions; this is really a cook from the gut kind of salad.  The thing to remember here is you want a balanced dish so add ingredients accordingly.

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You can of course eat this upon first making, but no worries if you make a lot, it gets better over a couple of days.

In addition to being a great comfort dish, this simple little salad has helped me get my appetite back after months of eating junk food that’s left me feeling sluggish. 

 

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