Fresh Food, Fast: Easy Summer Pasta

One can’t help but be giddy(if you are a foodie!) with market offerings as spring rolls into summer.  Now delivering week after week, richly nutritious, psychedelic fruits and vegetables.  You don’t have to do much to make beautiful food when we have access to such valuable fuel.

Here is a fast and easy pasta dish, that as you can see is all about the veggies.
Ingredients: peas, heirloom tomatoes, kale, onions, garlic, green olive tapenade, bacon, and whole wheat spaghetti.
Method: I cook my pasta for about 6 min. in salted water;  so that it has a bite to it, but will still hold up for a few minutes at the end, when it gets re-introduced to the main ingredients. p.s….cooking in salted water adds great uniform flavour to the pasta .
Mise en place:(pronounced meez en plas) everything in place.  I like to have my ingredients close so that I don’t forget anything.
At this point I have just introduced the onions, garlic, bacon and kale to the pan with olive oil.  I have the stove on medium heat.  Once there is nice heat, I turn it down to med-low, add a glug of olive oil if necessary, then put a lid on.  This allows the kale to steam.

I throw the tomatoes, tapenade, pasta and peas in, more to warm up slightly than to cook…another 4-5 min on med/low.

I used lots of peas, but you can vary the quantity of each ingredient as to your preference.  There is so much texture and freshness in this dish, with of course, a little smokey boost from the bacon.

This is why I love cooking so much, it is deeply personal to the cook and for those they feed.  There are few rules in cooking, but all will agree that food tastes better when prepared with gratitude and love for the offerings and for those we choose to share it with.  It is no wonder that breaking bread is a spiritual endeavour.

food and love: go big or go home

When I had my cook-shop and cafe, my walls were painted “chalkboard green”.  Onto which, I wrote whatever I felt like: descriptions of cookware, food specials of the day, and interesting quotes.  The following is the first quote that I scribbled on my walls and endorse whole-heartedly;)!

“Cooking is like love.  It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”  Harriet Van Horne

On that note; the following is just one of my versions of a “grown-up grilled cheese”…perfect casual lunch— the title is humble, but the ingredients stellar.

It all starts with the cast iron pan.…I fried up the bacon in it before adding the sandwiches.  Simple: artisanal bread(this was called rustica olive). Onto which I spread smoked red pepper jelly, on the other side I placed chopped spinach and local old cheddar, then finally the bacon.  The sandwich was fried crisply and slowly to allow the cheddar to melt into the bacon and spinach.

This is a basic grilled cheese that has been elevated by the ingredients.  No more are the days of the Kraft slices prematurely oozing out of the bread before it had browned nicely, we now have access to creamery’s that produce traditional nutty cheddars, and beautiful breads that provide the texture and foundation of the dish.  Add to it a chutney or savory jam, and against my husbands wishes, add some green.  There is a balance of sweet,salty and savory against the backdrop of the old-world style bread.  Ooooohhhh la la!  While I don’t cook/eat like this every day; when I do, I make it count!