And how how completely pissed off can one be after nearly completing a post and then when working to link a recipe from epicurious a very strange window popped up in the corner of the monitor that looked very official (like a normal software upgrade notice) saying something about a hard drive clearing to protect my marriage and keep us from viewing all the "adult" sites visited on our computer. Huh?
So of course I DID NOT click it. I cancelled it. Of course, that initiated the download, which I then stopped by closing all the tabs. Excuse me for asking, but while I was away on vacation, did someone replace all the cockroaches in the world with spammers? What is up with those guys? They are seriously out of control right now. How can there be such L-O-S-E-R-S in the world?
And my post. Shhhheeee—iiiiiiiitttt. Yes, it was closed as well. Unsaved, of course because I was working on it.
I am so NOT inspired to write it all again. At least not the one I was writing. It was one of those doozies where you throw a bit of this and a tad ‘o that, and it ends up being totally mouth-watering scrumptious. The recipe. Not my writing. *sigh*
Well, maybe I’ll write it. But not the way it was. This will be the fast version. You’re on the edge of your seat, right? Aren’t you so glad I’m back? Seriously.
Take Two On: What to do with all the food you didn’t eat on vacation on your last night there… (it already sounds delicious, huh?) Bwah-hahahahaha. But it was because I only cook perfect food. Of course, there were more than four cooks with their hands in this meal of pasta, salad, grilled garlic bread, and Baked Berry Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream. No. I’m so not writing about all the recipes. You’ll just have to get over it. Ahem.
The pasta idea probably came about because we (the two groups of friends we went on vacation with) were salivating over recent issues of Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and Gourmet before leaving for Lake Tahoe. Or maybe it was just myself doing the salivating. Anyway, I had tagged a bunch of recipes and emailed the others to divvy up cooking responsibilities. We took some food from our own kitchens with us (die hard foodies, doncha think?), we shopped a bit after arriving (uh..two or three times), and borrowed some ingredients from the pantry in the house.
All said and done, by the time the last day rolled around, we had TONS of food left — even though 11 people had been porking out all week. So, after scanning the tagged recipes, we concocted a smashing pasta dish that we all enjoyed and can’t wait to try again, tweaking a bit here and there, depending on what we have in the house when we decide to make it again. Make sense?
Okay, hold your shorts, because my fingers are aflyin’ about now.
The original recipe for the base of the pasta was "Fresh Tomato-Olive Sauce" by Michael Chiarello whom I love, love, love. And then, we probably borrowed a bit of this recipe, too, because we sort of had it in our heads. Or sausage on the brain or something. And my Berry Crisp was kind of based on this recipe, because we had left over blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, but I didn’t measure anything exactly. On Vacation? Come on. Get a grip. The salad? The usual mediterranean chop: romaine, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, feta, avocado, kalamatas, green garlic stuffed olives, tomatoes, capers…like that. With a balsamic vinaigrette tossed in.
So we grilled some large sausages, chicken thighs (I think we used six of each) salted and peppered lightly, then chopped them after they were done. No, I’m not the one who threw them on the grill. Nor am I the one who left them to burst into flames. Of course when the rescue operation was in full gear, a couple of pieces hit the deck and we saved them on account of the 30 second rule. No one complained of grit at dinner, so we were good. The deck wasn’t, though, greasy morsels that those pieces o’ meat were. We sprayed and scrubbed, and sweat, and worried a lot about what the home owners would say (not the rental owners — but my friend’s parents who graciously allowed us to enjoy their home for the evening while they were away). Jeez. You’d have thought we were a bunch of slobs by looking at those grease spots on that very clean deck. Stressful! Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes…We also grilled red peppers, zucchini, and quartered onions. I’m sure there was some garlic in there somewhere, too. Oh, and we grilled four lemon halves until they were caramelized and squeezed the juice over the veggies and tossed. This alone is quite delicious if you haven’t ever tried it.
The most interesting ingredient was the mushrooms. The mushrooms that were left in the kitchen sink of the rental that my huzbink offered to drive back and get so we could use them. But my friend’s daughter went instead because they forgot to bring the ice cream for the dessert. My friend recently returned from a business trip to China and brought back the cutest little dried mushroom caps. So she hydrated them, and sauteed them in garlic, butter, and olive oil. My goodness we we drooling over the aroma of those while they were cooking. Are you confused yet? This was sounding kind of Italian or something, right? Wot Up with the Chinese mushrooms, you say? We were emptying the larder for our return trip, remember? Everything goes.
So here’s how the pasta comes together:
Make the tomato-olive sauce a couple of hours before you eat to let it juice up. Cook two pounds of pasta (if you’re feeding as many as we were) and make sure it’s al dente. None of that mushy pasta thing going on. Put the drained pasta in a very large serving bowl. Add the chopped sausage and chicken, sauteed mushrooms, grilled veggies, and tomato-olive sauce.
Mix well and sprinkle on lots and lots of freshly grated parmesan. Adjust the seasoning and serve.
It’s completely tasty. Even better the next day. Except…I think there was something missing. I couldn’t quite figure it out. I’m thinking the artichoke hearts should have gone into the pasta instead of the salad which was also excellent. Basil? Not sure. But I’ll give it another go before summer’s over and I’ll keep you posted.
Oh, and here are the gratuitous Berry Crunch photos for those of you who can’t live without dessert.