Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pasta Primavera

What's not to love about fresh veggies?  Asparagus is still available here in Ohio...and still looks nice and fresh, so a couple weeks ago, we had pasta primavera for dinner.  Doesn't it look yummy? 

Here are the veggies sauteeing in some good olive oil.  I added in the baby bella mushrooms first, got them nice & flavorful...then in went the garlic, sliced leeks & yellow squash.  The asparagus was the next player to enter, and finally some grape tomatoes & thawed frozen peas.  If you look closely at this pic, you can see the steam rising from the pan.

Then the cooked pasta was dente, of course.  I used Barilla Plus Thin Spaghetti this time.  It does have a lot of extra good things for you, but at 2.5 times the price of a box of regular Barilla Thin Spaghetti, I'm not sure it's going to be a staple on our menu.  Once all of this goodness was tossed together, it was served & some grated Parmesan cheese added the final touch.  It could have used some Italian flat leaf parsley at the end, too...but we didn't have any that day.

The veggies & pasta were so yummy.  Each was done just right...even the asparagus was just tender, but crisp.  The only disappointment was the grape tomatoes.  They had a very bitter flavor for some reason.  Pretty color, but terrible flavor.  I'm afraid we picked around time I think additional color will come from sliced carrots or maybe some red peppers.  I'm not a big fan of cooked them raw, but cooked...not so much.  If I add them just at the end, they should be fine. 

This yummy pasta dish will definitely take on a lot of reincarnations on our summer menu.  Quick & easy...and good for you, too.  We have a Farmer's Market opening here in Parma around's at Stearn's Homestead, which is an actual farm right in the heart of Parma, OH!  With fresh off the local farm veggies, we'll be eating good in the neighborhood.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I learned to cook from Mom...

This has to be one of my favorite photos of my Mom, Eleanor.  The scene is Thanksgiving dinner...probably in the my Grandma & Grandpa's house.  The entire family would get together for was always an early early in the day Thanksgiving dinner. 

The female cousins would share the tasks of setting the table...including the kid's table in the living room.  It was an honor to be able to take the "good" silverware out of the buffet cabinet & place it just so on the table.  That table was so big that I remember after Grandma & Grandpa had both passed on, it was left in the house to be sold as part of the deal since none of us had a room large enough to accomodate it. 

All the women were in charge of the cooking...Grandma & Grandpa had put the turkey in early in the morning...the stuffing was made from cracker crumbs & parsley & eggs & chicken livers chopped VERY finely...with chicken stock to moisten it.  I still make it today...we're sure it has a connection to matzo balls somehow...even though the family was not Jewish but Hungarian.

The place to be was in the kitchen as the turkey was being carved...then you could "steal" some of the crispy skin from the bird.  We all fought over it...every year.  Now I leave the skin on the turkey, but only take a small bite as I'm concerned over the healthiness of that stuff.  How times change.

Dinner was the usual feast...and after dinner, the men retreated to the living room to socialize & the women & girls would do the clean up...VERY Ozzie & Harriet, no?  Then after all was cleaned up, we would draw names for the Christmas gifts...the parents drew the same number of names as they had children...and we would write out our Christmas wish lists to give to the aunt & uncle who drew our name. 

So on this Mother's Day...I want to thank my Mom for teaching me how to cook...even though at times I didn't like it very much.  I've taken many of her recipes & spiced them up for our tastes...but there's no comfort food like Mom's Scalloped Potatoes...especially since I've added lots of thinly sliced onions for extra flavor.  Hearty...not healthy...a once a year splurge full of wonderful memories.  And I still use a Feemster's Famous Vegetable Slicer to cut the potatoes &'s a dangerous device & you could easily take off pieces of your finger with it...but it's what Mom used, so I use it, too.   
Mom crossed over in November 2008...but her memory lives on.

Thanks, Mom & Happy Mother's Day!