Do you ever feel like you oughta mind your business and watch more TV? I love my couch, I love my snacks, I love alone time…the thing is:
B. the world is a different place since I gave birth.
I used to be perfectly happy to keep my fridge full of vitamins, Diet Coke and old cream cheese.
I forbid even the mention of anything with fur (including the cream cheese) coming into my house.
And I worked wayyyyyy too much to volunteer.
I remember years ago, when I had a restaurant, one of my customers asked if one his students couldn’t do an apprenticeship in my kitchen. “Does he have experience?” I wanted to know? None. “Does he want to be a cook?” He wasn’t sure. My answer: “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” He didn’t give up. He brought the kid in to meet me. And so then what are you supposed to say? “Don’t look at me like that?” He started that Monday. All of a sudden I had to completely rethink cooking. I had to break it down into translatable pieces that made sense. I had to explain why salt and a dash of olive oil goes into the cooking water for potatoes, and why I loved cooking like I loved my husband (madly, deeply). And I realized that I love teaching. And I love learning from people whom I would otherwise never even know. That kid ruined my potatoes, would have me on the phone looking for him when he didn’t show up, made a beautiful tomato soup and changed me.
I now know, that believe it or not, I love to share. I love the challenge of getting people to love their food and to consider making it, even.
This PTA stuff is taking up way more time than I would have ever agreed to. But I have a (used to be) hidden agenda of teaching myself to probem solve, how to work well with others, how to inspire curiosity and motivate action.
All this is only going to help me get you loves of my life to cook dinner.
To make that tomato soup: Heat up a heavy pan and drizzle with your best olive oil. Add 3 cloves of garlic, cut in half, and 10 rinsed and dried basil leaves. If the basil goes a dark green before the garlic is golden, remove them from the pan with tongs. When the garlic is golden, turn off the pan, and get the basil back in there if you have removed it. Pour a 28 once can of San Marzano tomatoes into a bowl. Squish them with your hand until smoothish. Add them to the pan, and turn the heat onto medium. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and if you like black pepper, a grind of that as well. Keep it on the heat for fifteen minutes. Taste for deliciousness. (if you aren’t crazy about your olive oil, use half olive oil and half butter to saute everything–it will improve the flavor. or look for better olive oil.) Puree the mixture with a hand held blender. Add enough whole milk to give the tomato mixture a creamy color. Taste again for salt. Serve with a grating of Parmigiano Reggiano and bruscetta, (grilled or toasted bread) rubbed with a raw clove of garlic and sprinkled with salt. It’s good with a side salad of sauted garlic, wilted spinach, chic peas and lemon zest.