"Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it." ~Unknown

Sunday, February 27, 2011


     For as long as I can remember, we would have nachos for dinner on the day of the Oscars.  We would gather around the plate of glass resting on a pair of iron rams heads in our living room, trying to find a comfortable position from which we could both see the TV and eat the tray of nachos Dad had just placed on top of a pair of pot holders in the middle of the glass.  Dad's nacho recipe has always been fairly simple, grated cheddar layered with triangular tortilla chips.  Tonight Mom and Dad will be at a friends Oscar party,  though Cy, Mimi and I will still squeeze around the plate-glass table with a plate of nachos.  I'm going to try and spice up the recipe a bit though.  I think I'll add mozzarella, olives, taco meat, maybe we'll see something else at the grocery store to add to the nachos.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Perfect One

     For lunch today we went to a new sandwich shop that hides beneath the towering skyscrapers downtown, (Portland isn't New York, but still).  The People's Sandwich of Portland is a Communism themed sandwich restaurant with sandwiches named The Hammer and Pickle (a cubano) or argentino arabiata. All sandwiches come with a side of DicTaterChips.  Sadly Cy isn't making any sort of sandwich tonight.  Instead he's making fettucini alfredo, for a while we had fettucini alfredo every other night, but it's been more than a year since we had it last and Cy is bringing back one of our families favorite dishes.
     The fettucini itself only takes a few minutes to cook so Dad's been slicing the membrane-y bits off a honey-gold grapefruit for a salad.  Ever since my little accident with the mandoline Cy and I have been very much knife averse.  A few moments ago I was watching Mildred (our cat) stalking a squirrel in the back yard.  Then the hunt was interrupted by Dad pouring off the boiling pasta water, then the rising coils of steam shot up, covering the window and obscuring my view.  I've barely started blogging and in a matter of seconds dinner will be served.  In the salad bowl sitting on the marble counter Cy is adding some local olive oil to the salad.  You wouldn't think that you could grow olives in Oregon, or make a profit, but apparently some folks are giving it a try it in nearby Yamhill county.

     The fettucini tasted just like I remember it. Funny thing is now, when I try to recall the old taste, I can only remember the most recent taste.  The salad was good though our excellent local olive oil was a bit lost in its strong flavors. It was a bit of a waste seeing as our local olive oil supply is extremely limited.  The honeygold grapefruit was excellent, the honeygold is a rare variety of white grapefruit, and tastes and looks like the predecessor of all grapefruits, the pomelo.  After we'd all finished eating Cy decided he wanted to make crêpes.  After digging around in our recipe box, he found an old recipe labeled crêpes á la Ben and is cooking a crêpe right now.

     The crêpes were excellent.  Soft and moist, delicate and buttery, they held a multitude of toppings too.  When I first bit in to my carefully prepped crêpe, I tasted the sweetness of the whip cream, and then the nutella's cocoa came in still sweet, but a little sharp, mmmm good.  Two bites later I was at the far end of the rolled crêpes, the nutella was still there, but the whip cream had been replaced by lemon curd and butter.  That was one heck of a crêpe.  That was the first time I've had nutella, and it was quite good (I'm pretty sure were not getting any money from Ferrero).  Cy says my next crêpe is the perfect one.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


     Tonight, we'll be having dinner at a friends house.  At first, I was planning to make dessert.  Some sort of  heart shaped cake for Valentines day.  But then I was asked to make a salad.  Just my luck, that as my thumb is healing, we're using the mandoline again.  The first time this happened I sliced a chunk off my thumb, the second time I gave the kitchen a wide berth and the third time is today.  The salad is fairly heavy on roots with a fennel bulb and a celery root, but what is probably the strangest is the five bunches of parsley.  Three flat-leaf, two curly.  This should be interesting.

     After meticulously ripping the fronds from fennel bulbs stalks, there just happens to be exactly enough for the cup-and-a-half called for, I had to quarter the fennel bulb.  Which seems like a bad idea when one is preparing to take a mandoline to it.  Dad is slicing the quartered fennel  bulb on the mandoline, so far, one bulb down, we are incident free.  There must be a better way to slice stuff paper thin.  Quartering the fennel bulb seems less insane now. The fact that the bulb is quartered means that you can use the guard successfully almost immediately.  Sometimes, when you try to use the guard, it actually makes you more likely to get hurt.  But when one quarters the fennel bulb it makes it much safer.  The salad is finished, not yet tossed and we are en route to the Stalnecker's house where we'll be having dinner.

     The salad was excellent.  The dressing added a bit of tang and acidity and the meticulously shredded bits of frond, celery root and the fennel bulb mixed well with the ringlets of shallot and the parsley.  The parsley itself was just vaguely salty, and these separate parts came together quite well to create a fluffy salad that tickled the roof of your mouth and then bit back.  The main course of the night was a beef stew made by Chris, and for dessert Maryanne made us a pair of pies, apple and blackberry which were quite good.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV

     The last and only time we've cooked on Super Bowl Sunday I made pirogi.  Now it's Cy's turn to cook, and he's going to make what should be a fairly easy pasta because, while we love to cook and write about it, I missed the ads (the important part) and the game (the one time a year I actually bother to turn on a football game).
     The main course tonight is sort of pasta' n' cheese.  From Cy's description it should be cheesy fettucini.  For a side we are going to have a salad that Dad found in America's Test Kitchen.  It's a pear and cranberry chopped salad.
     Cy's been cooking the pasta, and I've been watching the game.  Right after the Steelers dropped what should have been an easy catch, Mimi said to me, "I don't like the orange and black combination on the Packer's uniforms."  Then she said our kitchen is orange colored.  Unless I'm color-blind, Mimi, the Packer's colors are green and gold.

     I was watching the clock tick down to half-time on the Packer's 21 to 3 lead, when Dad called me into the kitchen to get some pictures.  To my surprise, dinner was ready!  Then after I'd gotten a few pictures of the finished plates of food, Mom called from the living room to tell us the Black Eyed Peas were on.  Were did that time go?  Maybe it was just a short meal.

     The pasta was fine, a little spicy, as was the salad, though the little pear bites in the salad were excellent.  But the Super Bowl is on, the Ozzy Osborne and Justin Bieber ad was funny, ("looks kinda like a girl") and we have ice cream for dessert. Not a memorable dinner, but always a memorable day.