Mamma Mia

#instafood

I didn’t have the luxury of growing up in a food driven family. My mom wasn’t the domestic type. I specifically remember one meal she made that left little to be desire. She pulled out a delicious smelling, but not homemade, loaf of garlic bread from the oven. Hungry and eager to dig in, we quickly noticed that she hadn’t taken the plastic wrap off, creating an inedible layer. I cannot remember if we threw the loaf in the trash compactor, or if we cut it the long way and ate the buttery, garlicky middle—something tells me the latter happened—but I think it highlights my mom’s cooking prowess. Eating out and takeout was the Pulkkinen-Harvey way.  Sorry if you read this, mom: you were great at everything else. Except driving…I digress, I digress!

I got a real dosage of home cooking when I dated this kid named Matt Giglio in high school. Minus the large family, they were the stereotypical, loveable, loud Italians. And there was always food on the table. How he and his sister stayed so skinny, I will never know. Despite my true Haitian heritage, and my very English-German last name, I like to think that if kids are in my future (sweet lord I hope they aren’t!) that I would be of the Italian mom variety. Home cooked meals on the table five nights out of the week, whipped together with love and adoration…and of course a little bit of brassy attitude. The other two nights, if you were curious, would be reserved for a nice restaurant meal and the other would be for leftovers. Yeah, I’ve put a little thought into this.

So, a few nights ago I ignored my pungent fish sauce and decided to go the Italian route. Sorry Asian food, you’ll have to wait. I went with the laziest meal possible, while still being able to keep my culinary muscles flexed. Think of it as an ‘active rest’ day in the kitchen. Folks, you guessed it, I made some pasta. And since I can kind of be an ingredient snob from time to time, I turned my nose up at the jarred, thick, preservative laden sauces that filled the shelves. I find that pasta only feels like a heavy meal when slathered in that red goop, so I ventured out and made my own. Well, I actually slightly modified a Martha Stewart version. Something tells me Stewart isn’t an Italian last name, but her sauce utilizes fresh ingredients, so I figured Mamma Giglio, if she could see me, wouldn’t mind.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 pounds unrefrigerated ripe tomatoes (preferably plum)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (from 2 garlic cloves), plus more if desired
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Variation: 1 cap-ful of balsamic vinegar to give it a little punch
  • 1 pound spaghetti or spaghettini
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Finely chop tomatoes, basil, parsley,balsamic, and garlic, and mix together with oil (or pulse ingredients, including oil, in a food processor to blend).*The photo above is an example of a halved recipe. If you are doing the small one, and only have a small food processor, you are going to want to do this in two or possibly three batches
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, and toss it in a serving bowl with the raw sauce. Transfer to 6 shallow bowls, and drizzle with oil. Serve with cheese.

I like to make the sauce and let it rest for at least fifteen minutes, an hour would be ideal, to let the flavors mingle. This sauce tastes great warmed but, but it is also phenomenal cold. Fresh basil is absolutely necessary in this recipe. The dried kind can’t compare. If you aren’t sure what to do with the leftover basil leaves, which can understandably be a deterrent when buying fresh herbs, make sure to grab a lemon at the grocery store and make some lemon-basil water, which is so refreshing after a workout (yeah, people, I’ve actually been working out!)

Lemom-basil water and my new fruit bowl. Isn’t it massive and magnificent?!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Happy Trails and New Beginnings

Gal pals, dude friends, I’m sorry I haven’t been around. I have a new love and I’ve been spending all my time with it for the past few days. We spend wild nights together and sleepy eyed mornings. I sneak in quick, sexy bites between classes. I always go to bed content. My new love is food.

Alas, not a 6 foot, six-pack packing, smooth skinned man with locks that flow just so, but food doesn’t argue back with me, or steal the blanket, and we rarely have those “I swear that’s never happened before” moments. This all might seem rather silly, because I’ve always enjoyed food and cooking and sharing that enjoyment with people, but I think it has transferred finally over to love; it was a long time coming situation.

My shopping trips to City Market have been the highlight of my week. I look forward to poking around the bulk bins for spices, different gummy bears to try, and grains to consume. I give flirty eyes to this really cute black guy who works in the produce section (can I come see your band play sometime? Can we talk about afro maintenance?) I squeeze a lot of tomatoes and get super excited when I see bundles of organic bananas and pints of blueberries in the reduced produce section. I take my sweet, lush time in the wine section, selecting the perfect blend for a light-headed night. This is not to say my life has been so dull that I’ve resorted to elevating this seemingly mundane weekly task to the pinnacle of weekday fun, no. It’s just that this trip, which I no longer rush through, is what enables me to have magical mornings, evenings, and get me through the day afternoons. Hell, I even like schlepping back home the block and a half with reusable bags full of my day’s bounty- I consider it a solid workout.

Because of that, I’m “rebranding” the blog. Oh, the dreaded, throw around R-word. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll be switching platforms, or even the new name, or what style font I’ll be using, but I’m turning this blog into one full of food and sumptuous photography. It’ll still be funny and sassy, sprinkled with innuendo, and  filled with lots of food to fill your soul and stomach. You’ll be getting the same me with a new look. Keep checking in for posts, though, so when the big changeover happens you won’t feel like I broke up with you on a sticky note.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn