Saturday

I can’t believe the day is shot already.

Judging from my headache, we’re in for a weather change. We got about an inch of snow on Thursday/Friday, so it actually looks wintry. More precip headed this way, but it will arrive in the form of freezing rain, which means possible ice accumulation. Downed branches and power lines. A good day to stay home. Hope the power doesn’t go out.

Spent the afternoon cooking. I’m always on the lookout for one-pot meals that combine protein and veg–I like making enough for the week because come Wednesday, shoveling something in a bowl and sticking it in the microwave is about all I can handle. Lately, I’ve been having some success with curried veg & bean recipes, with or without added meat.

A couple of days ago, I caught an episode of Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way on PBS-Create. He made a delicious-looking pizza using a round of flatbread as the crust, and mixed up a popover which he filled with apricot jam. He also made Orecchiette with Fennel and Tuna, which caught my attention because 1) fennel and 2) tuna.

This guy made it as well. He followed the recipe more closely than I did–I made it from memory, and forgot the pine nuts and raisins. Didn’t bother with the cheese or the additional pasta water. Instead I added dried tarragon, capers, and the zest and juice of half a lemon. Broccolini. I only added half as much pasta, and an additional can of tuna. Served it atop a bed of fresh baby spinach, which is my way of combining the hot food and salad on one plate.

All I can say is, damn, it was good. Many times I will make something and know it’s okay-but-not-great. This stuff, though–I would have happily paid for it in a restaurant. The tarragon really boosted the flavors, and fennel works well with fish. As for the tuna, I refuse to pay for the really fancy ventresca, but I do splurge on canned stuff from American Tuna. It’s line-caught, and doesn’t need to be drained. I used a can each of the plain, garlic, and jalapeƱo–it stayed chunky and had a nice taste. If you’re looking for canned tuna that actually tastes like tuna, give this place a try.

Anyway, this recipe is a keeper. I can see adjusting veggies depending on mood. The broccolini was a nice addition, but baby spinach or another type of green leafy veg might work

I even made dessert. Last year, I bought a mini-pie maker. I haven’t used it that much, but I did fall for a couple of the recipes. My favorite was the blackberry-ginger pie, a simple as breathing filling:

3/4 pint blackberries, rinsed and patted dry
1/3 cup granulated sugar
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely-chopped crystallized ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt

You just combine everything in a bowl and stir until the berries are lightly crushed and evenly coated. I found three 6oz containers of blackberries at the store, so doubled the other ingredients. Put them in a glass casserole and let them boil away in the oven at 425F for about 20 minutes. Then I topped them with cobbler dough made with biscuit mix, and baked for another 20 or so minutes. Had it with vanilla ice cream. So good.

I am very full now. Just wish my headache would go away.