Friday, July 28, 2006

It's been a good week

Really, it has. I don't say that often -- usually there's something that ruins my mood -- but this time it's the truth. I finished my first draft (even though it's about 25% over the word limit...) and I got to shadow one of my favorite doctors yesterday and I got to hang out with kids today and I made some of the most fabulous pasta ever. (Pesto, beware, I have a new obsession.) Oh yeah, and my knitting is going well too.

So first, the food. I bought a 3-pound bag of garlic par usual...brought it home, and the first head of garlic that I got out had started to go bad. As I am too lazy and cowardly to drive back to the store and argue for the return of my $5, I immediately hop online to find the quickest way to save a lot of garlic. And surprisingly, you can freeze it. All that you have to do is puree 1 part peeled garlic with 2 parts olive oil. Which I did. But not without first realizing that it makes the most amazing oil ever. Ever ever. Oh, and for your pleasure, this is what 5 heads' worth of garlic cloves looks like. (And that, I would guess, is less than a pound of garlic.)
The inspiration:

At this point, I am hungry. And having the I-have-no-food conversation with myself. I usually go grocery shopping on Sundays, so by this point in the week, I really don't have much fresh fruit or vegetables around. Open up the freezer, wander around on the internet a little more, remember about the fabulous C&Z pasta and decide to make it. (Modified to hell and back of course.) Just to warn you, if you're going to visit C&Z, make sure that you'll be able to eat within an hour. The recipes sound amazing and her food photography is unbelievably beautiful.
The final product:
My food photography is not as good, but I am so in love with the pasta. (This is probably the 5th time that I've made a version of the recipe...)
The recipe:
Take 2 tablespoons of pureed garlic in olive oil (as described above...alternatively, you can just add 3 or 4 cloves of sliced or minced garlic to the oil in the next step) and heat in a lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil and saute for about 30 seconds. Add 4 oz uncooked pasta (rigatoni or ziti or shells, nothing tiny or thin) and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup hot water or stock and cover the pan. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover, check to make sure that there's still some water in the pan (if not, add 1/2 cup of water), and add 1/2 can chickpeas (or well-rinsed and well-drained white beans) and about 1 cup of artichoke hearts (I get mine frozen from Trader Joe's...fresh thinly-sliced carrots, zucchini, or broccoli are also amazing). Cover the pan again and cook for 6-8 minutes more, until the pasta and vegetables are tender. If there's still water left in the pan, uncover the pan and increase the heat to medium-high to cook off the excess water. Season with salt and pepper and let people think that you are a culinary genius.


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