I swear this is not turning into a cooking blog.
However, I do have two more cooking related (or vaguely cooking related) stories to share.
1. I am, at this very moment, making my own spaghetti sauce for the first time in my life. In the Elizabeth-is-really-trying-to-work-harder-at-cooking quest, I recently subscribed to Everyday Food, one of the many magazines of Martha's Empire. It is a pretty magazine (I am about pretty magazines above utility, generally, unless it's US News and World Report, which I read whether it's pretty or not). However, as an added bonus, it is also useful. And do-able, in the "this could become a magic formula recipe" sense.
Hence, the spaghetti sauce.
Today falls into the category of the three or so times a year that I am actually inspired to cook (Thanksgiving, cold winter days when I can make soup and bread, and Farmer's Market time). Maddie, Gracie, and I have been going to the Farmer's Market downtown this summer with some regularity, and I like to make things with what I buy there. Today we bought a whole bunch of tomatoes, some peaches, corn, and green beans. Some of it will become baby food, some non-baby food, and some of it is becoming this sauce.
I'm only a little tiny bit concerned by the amount the oven is smoking at the moment. I have my eye on it, though. I wonder if this happens when Martha makes roasted tomato sauce?
If you happen to find yourself with extra tomatoes, I bet this will be good.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
3 lbs tomatoes (beefsteak or plum)
1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
4 garlic cloves (peeled)
2 tbsp olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Preheat oven to 425º. Use a sharp paring knife to core the tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in half, transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Add onion, carrots, garlic, and thyme.
Toss tomato mixture with oil, season generously with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet (turn tomatoes cut side down). Roast until tender, 45 minutes to an hour. If vegetables begin to brown too quickly, push them toward the center of the sheet.
Using tongs or your fingers, peel off tomato skins and discard. Transfer everything (including juices) to a blender, pulse several times until chunky. Let cool completely; transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate up to one week, or freeze up to three months.
Special In Progress Cooking Note
I turned down the temperature a little bit and the house isn't quite so smoke-filled anymore. Whew.
2. Of the many things that have the power to annoy me, one is missing allusions. When I was teaching, I often came upon students who could have cared less about learning history—but even they cracked a small smile when I said if nothing else, learning it would allow them to understand allusions to other things, thus not being the dimmest crayon in the box. You know, the one who never gets jokes, has things rapidly flying over their heads all the time, etc. Well, this week it happened to me. Hmph.
Do you know who Nigella Lawson is? I didn't, until just recently. It all started (sort of) on my trip to Denver last weekend, where I bought some new measuring spoons at The Container Store. (I recently crunched my old Target measuring spoons in the garbage disposal. Ordinarily you would think if someone couldn't take care of their things they ought not buy new, more expensive versions of those things, but I've reasonsed that if I have nice, new, cute measuring spoons that match our cool silverware, perhaps I will take more care not to crunch them. We'll see how that theory pans out.) Anyway, they happened to be "Nigella Lawson" brand spoons. I thought nothing of it.
Fast forward to last week, when I read Sophie Kinsella's newest book, How To Be an Undomestic Goddess in one night. Sophie Kinsella always writes books that make me laugh out loud while reading, all the while ruining my eyes and circulation as I sit in the same chair from beginning to end without getting up. At the end of the book, Ms. Kinsella thanked—get this—Nigella Lawson for being an inspiration. Huh? The lady from the measuring spoons? What?
Turns out, Nigella Lawson is some kind of Cooking Celebrity across the Atlantic, and she's cute, too. (Of course she is! Just look at her measuring spoons!) She's written a ton of books, one being called How To Be A Domestic Goddess. Ahh. It all becomes clear. I just read a book in which a whole layer of meaning passed me by. The allusion just rapidly flew over my head, with me oblivious to the whole thing. This is the kind of thing that annoys me on principle. It's a small thing, really, but I won't be making that mistake again. I get it. Make all the Nigella Lawson references you want. I might even read her book about being a domestic goddess. : )