Happy New Year

Happy New Year

 While I had to cancel our little NYE gathering because I got sick, I look forward to a “do over” in the new year…I’m thankful for understanding friends as I sit bundled in a “blanket” and now finally breathing out of half of my nose and wincing at each firework explosion that will probably not end until after midnight.

Michael enjoyed the “original” dinner and I couldn’t even think of dinner so rice and “broth” was an option for a slightly returned appetite, but I opted for a repeat dinner that I made and slurped away with my granddaughter, Michelle, homemade Pho with tofu and a few veggies.  Made me happy and warm and I just might post my faux and slow faux Pho when I have a little time.

With not so many cooperative devices, I find it difficult to “blog” while I am out-of-town, so I might just wait until I get home again…or look forward to a lousy version of Cucina Magia!

Ratatouille – Julia’s Eggplant never looks good unless you are a food stylist…


I changed a few things of course, but this is the recipe that I pretty much follow:

1/2 pound eggplant
1/2 pound zucchini, trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 8-ounce onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced into strips
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 pound firm but ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cut into 3/8 – to 1/4-inch-thick strips
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Peel eggplant; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut into 3-inch-long, 1-inch-wide strips. Cut zucchini into same size strips. Place vegetables in large bowl; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain; dry with paper towels.

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add eggplant and zucchini to skillet; sauté until light golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plate; reserve.
Add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet; heat over medium heat. Add onion and peppers; sauté until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Place tomato strips atop onion-pepper mixture in skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover skillet; cook over low heat until tomatoes begin to juice, about 5 minutes. Uncover; baste vegetables in skillet with juices. Boil until juices are almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer 1/3 of onion-pepper-tomato mixture to 2 1/2-quart pot; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Top with half of eggplant and half of zucchini, then remaining onion-pepper-tomato mixture; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Layer remaining eggplant and zucchini over; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Cover; simmer over low heat 10 minutes. Uncover; tilt pot and baste with accumulated juices. Increase heat to medium; simmer uncovered, basting several times with pan juices until only 2 to 3 tablespoons juices remain in pot, watching closely to avoid scorching, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cool slightly. Cover; chill. Serve at room temperature or rewarm over medium-low heat before serving.
Recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Spaghetti with Raw Tomato Sauce and Chunky Parmesan Crumbles

Kumato Tomatoes 3

 “High-tech tomatoes. Mysterious milk. Supersquash. Are we supposed to eat this stuff? Or is it going to eat us?”
Annita Manning

A very lazy Sunday dinner indeed if you don’t bother with a “real” cooked tomato sauce and just take advantage of what the fresh vegetable stands and Farmers markets still have on hand this time of year. Since it was just me I didn’t have to worry about anyone asking me to cook the sauce and especially since the tomatoes were nice and sweet. With simple additions of a clove or two of grated garlic a little homemade tomato paste that I had previously made and frozen in small containers, fresh herbs, and finally chunks of parmesan cheese. All in all for that dinner dish I had boiling water and pasta cooking time invested and one simple tool, a box grater to cleanup along with the pasta pot, my bowl and utensils.

Raw Tomato Sauce (2)

Good nibbles with a glass of wine before dinner, a fresh fig from my one and only tree and little bites of Parmigiano Reggiano and a couple of crostini spread with anchovy butter then topped with grated provolone to have with the spaghetti…easy dinner and perfect for a summer treat of fresh tomatoes.

Fresh Figs

Anchovy Butter Crostini

Raw Tomato Sauce

Fresh Raw Tomato Sauce-stir it all together in a large bowl and add hot spaghetti (enough for two), top with cheese/pepper flakes and serve.
freshly grated or small chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano
2 large fresh tomatoes, cut in half and grated with a large hole grater
fresh herbs, thyme leaves, oregano, basil
salt and pepper
pinches of red pepper flakes
2 cloves of grated garlic
1/2 cup store-bought tomato passata if you can find it, puree or homemade tomato paste-not the canned stuff!