Thursday, October 08, 2009

*yellow light.

I love my camera. I really do. It's adorable and pocket-size and it slides into any purse for easy documentation of lunches, dinners, and unsuspecting bystanders.

I also love this, Giada's Orechiette with Sausage, Beans, and Mascarpone.

What I do not love, however, is the ever-shortening days, the waning light, and the yellow cast of my kitchen overheads.

I hate it, in fact, abhor it even, and I haven't really been able to get over it in the past 19 hours. This dish was appallingly easy and incredibly delicious, and I am NOT HAPPY that it looks like it was prepared on the sun.

It called for orechiette, which Publix didn't have, so I settled for dried gnocchi, which was ... not gnocchi at all. But it shared the same general shape.

dried gnocchi.

GAH, that's bad.

Next was turkey sausage, casings removed.

kinky sausage.

See, now that's just too close, a casualty of having to get out of the way of my own shadow haveImentionedIhatethelightinginmykitchen? It might also be suggestive? Maybe?

Moving on.

Diced onion, radioactive if this image is any indication;

un yun.

fresh oregano, which did not taste at all hairy despite what you see here;


earthy cannellinis, apparently captured in a sterilized laboratory; and

can nellini.

the pièce de résistance: FROSTING.

creamy cheese.

No of course it's not frosting. What is wrong with you? That is my new favorite ingredient, mascarpone cheese. Mascarpone tastes like the love child of two eccentrics, sour cream and cream cheese, only with the benefit of a privileged and world-wise upbringing.

Mascarpone is Sean Lennon.

Pasta cooking? Boring. I'll spare you the details. Water boiled, pasta went in, I burned my tongue testing it, I swore and caused J to trip over his own feet in fear—there's nothing new here.

I sautéed the sausage and onions in a little olive oil until the onions were tender and the sausage was golden, which took some patience. I tend to develop itchy anxiety over the menacing crust forming on the bottom of my not-nonstick pan. (In my defense, TFin caused me to use up all my elbow grease in early childhood.)

sausage 'n' onions.

But I stuck it out, with deep-breathing techniques and Zen meditations and the realization that it wouldn't matter how much stuck to the bottom of the pan; I was unlikely to clean it for a month, at which point it would be unidentifiable either way. And those caramelized bits really started to look (and smell) good.

brown bits.

I did clean the skillet before the night was through, which is an unfathomable feat, but the real miracle was that I remembered to reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid before I drained it.

agua pasta.

No, that's just a marvel. The true miracle is that I read the recipe far enough along to even know I needed to do that. And then retained that memory instead of replacing it with all of the words from The Little Mermaid.

I stirred in the beans and oregano to the sausage mixture to warm through for a couple of minutes, then deglazed the pan with the pasta water and stirred in the mascarpone.

mascarpone sauce.

It's just so ... satisfying. The cheese swirls in, and the sauce instantly changes from brothy and beasty to velvety and slurring. It's what dreams are made of. You know, for some people. It's what my dreams are made of on nights when I don't have that weird recurring scenario where I'm being wooed by an unidentified country singer I keep trying to rebuff with four-letter non sequiturs.

(Seriously, I curse at him furiously for no reason. He just wants to play his guitar and have a little piece of K, and I am a horrible harpy in return. It's all very strange and specific and it makes me glad that dreams are a manifestation of the parts of our psyche that we don't live out in real life because I cannot risk spewing hateful speech at the people around me who only are around me because they don't know what goes on in my bizarro brain when I turn it off to go to sleep. Oops.)


The sauce gets poured over the hot pasta, if you haven't forgotten that we were cooking in a yellow submarine because I certainly did,


and it casts a sort of warm and comforting spell in a way I can't express. Today when I heated up the leftovers I told LSis it smelled like Thanksgiving.

gnocchi fog.

This is the kind of meal it's a shame to eat by yourself, because there's no one there to nod excitedly with sauce dripping down his chin about the abject amazingness before telling you to shut up and let him eat already. Although J can do a passable impression.

This morning I couldn't resist attempting to get at least one shot that didn't look it was taken on a Vegas street, so I snapped a quick picture in the natural light.


And got an actual gleam. Like the ones you get off diamonds, the ones that come with sound effects.

So go home and make this tonight. I'll be on the Woodside, putting in a skylight. That's not hard, right?




my foodgawker gallery



I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.