Sunday, January 9, 2011

Recipes Right Here! This is the One! Look No Further! Creamy Tomato Sauce! Blueberry Buttermilk Cake!

Could the recipe feature of this blog possibly be any more disorganized? I find myself searching this blog on a regular basis for recipes that I know I've posted or linked to and then I get distracted by ridiculous pictures of fatface baby Sawyer or Jack's curls (OMG!! They are totally coming back. No more haircuts!!). And then there's that whole business of having the old blog and the new blog and it's all just a just a recipe for disaster. For recipes, that is.

If I had been smart, I would have labeled the posts with the recipe name thus enabling Google searches to aid in this organizational nightmare. But I am not smart. Or at least, I'm sometimes not smart enough until it is too late.

I think I need to add some sort of side bar (?) perhaps something clickable near the masthead (?). Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about here, because I totally don't. All I know is that convincing my tech support (hi Brent!) to make this happen for me is going to require a boatload of pumpkin cookies and possibly a birthday cake. Sigh.

But really, this recipe thing kind of gets me down. I love to cook and I love for things to be tidy and organized (It's the Captain Jaggery in me. If you were one of my seventh grade students, you would understand). People think that I am tidy and organized, but really it's all a ruse. I masquerade as someone who has their act together, but it's pretty easy to see through that facade when you picture me in my bedhead and bathrobe on a Sunday morning cursing at my phone because I can't find the post with the link to Waffles of Insane Greatness, or wigs as we like to call them around here. Don't eff around with these, just go right ahead and double that bad boy. They'll get eaten.

And then there's that whole issue of plagiarism and public domain and what can you copy and what's under copyright and blah blah blah leagalese mumbo jumbo and whatnot, so I'm often hesitant to actually write out the recipes that I find and use and so I decide to just link it because I don't want to be sued by some disgruntled pastry chef. (Lawyers in the family? Advice?)

I'm pretty sure this is all a moot point, though, because from now on whatever I cook comes from this book:

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is my new cookbook of insane greatness. You really should run right out there and pick up a copy, immediately if not sooner. I've already made the whole wheat bread (twice!), the black beans (it's all about the secret ingredient!), blueberry cobbler, and I've bookmarked about a hundred other recipes to try out. The thing I like about this book is that you don't have to have a lot of really random and obscure ingredients in order to make the recipes, like you'll find in a lot of vegetarian cookbooks. It's all a bunch of relatively simple, hearty food.

Speaking of simple and hearty, I present (not from the book, no copywrite infringements here, this one's from my kitchen)....

Creamy Tomato Sauce for Pasta

olive oil
3 ish cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
basil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste
16 oz (give or take) fresh tomatoes, chopped (I used tomatoes we froze last summer, but I suppose plain tomatoes from a can would work if fresh tomatoes aren't available. Though I've heard you're not supposed to eat canned tomatoes EVER, or you will DIE a SLOW and PAINFUL DEATH. But that could just be hype. Still, why take chances? And tomatoes are so easy to freeze- just chop them and throw them into a jar and voila! Ready for the freezer. So on second thought, screw canned tomatoes. Buy fresh, freeze them, or cook something else instead.)
half and half
cream cheese

Saute onion in olive oil for 5 minutes or so over medium heat. Add in the garlic and continue to cook for a minute or two. Toss in the tomatoes and seasonings and let the whole thing cook down (uncovered) for 10-15 minutes until it all looks nice and saucy and your kitchen smells like Italy. Lower the heat and stir in an ounce or so of the cream cheese, then add enough half and half (a few tablespoons ought to do) until your sauce looks slightly pinkish but not sickly. No Pepto Bismol pasta here, no siree. Serve with penne and plenty of freshly grated parmesan.

This makes enough for our family of four, but could easily be doubled if you like your pasta really saucy or you have a crew to feed. So I guess almost everything I cook comes from the book.

Sawyer in the kitchen with Mama. Not very helpful, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Jack's interest in sewing has yet to wane. I let him use the chalk marker roller thingy (Liz?) and he was smitten. This bought me some time to do something that I have always wanted to do and yet was too stupid to figure out that it was all right there all along under my nose the whole time.


Let me explain. For the last few years we have not used napkins. Partly because I think paper napkins are wasteful and an unnecessary expense, and partly because I did not have any cloth napkins. We eat a lot of messy foods in the house and we just suffer through the drips and crumbs like the napkinless martyrs we have become. Totally gross, I know. So anyway, we were at one of our neighbor's houses for dinner (I brought the blueberry buttermilk cake- recipe in a sec) and in the middle of dinner someone discovered that they didn't have a napkin (the horror!) and so our host just waltzed right over and pulled a cloth napkin from a giant stack of cloth napkins that had THEIR OWN CUPBOARD! OMG! So jealous! I decided right then and there that I needed to get some cloth napkins and possibly a Special Cloth Napkin Cupboard, because seriously, those are some mad organizational skillz right there and I do so love a well organized cupboard. And then I realized, I had all of the fabric scraps I needed to make my own cloth napkins! So I did! No photos, because really, how lame would I be if I actually showed you pictures of my homemade cloth napkins? Okay fine, I just forgot to take some. The truth will set you free?

Now all I need is the special cupboard. Brent?

The boys made pizza for their friends. I opened the wine bottle for ours.

And because I am a one trick pony, I served the blueberry cake to them, too.

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, soft
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp raw sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup blueberries

Mix butter, white sugar, egg and vanilla in your mixer until fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder and soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Set your mixer on low and add in dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix just until combined. Spoon batter into a buttered cake pan (I used an 8 inch round one) and sprinkle blueberries on top then add your raw sugar for a sweet and crunchy topping. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Add a few minutes if using frozen berries.

Incidentally, if you do come to my house for dinner, there are only a few items on the menu. Chances are you will be served pizza and blueberry cake. But at least now I have cloth napkins! And maybe soon I'll even have a special cupboard to put them in. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?


  1. "Cupcakes Are Dead. Long Live The Pie!
    Any way you slice it, trend-spotters are calling pie the food of the year. They've also predicted vegetables will push out meat for the starring role on dinner plates." Via NPR

    You trend setter!!!

  2. If you invited me over and served pizza and blueberry cake AND wine, I would be in heaven. Just sayin'...
    Also I would love to can with you and learn together. I'll teach you what I know but it isn't much!
    I'm still looking for a job for when we get back so I'm not sure what I'll be doing or where I'll be this summer, but I'll let you know when I find out!

  3. Our cloth napkins are proudly displayed in a basket that remains on the kitchen table at all times. None of them match, some are faded, some are ripped from when the dog was a puppy, some have blueberry stains from Quinn. But, I love them and each one seems to have a little story to tell...can't imagine a meal without them!

    I am excited about this new cookbook recommendation!