25 July 2009

Easy Shrimp Pasta

I've spent most of this summer working from home, which means that I get to dictate my own hours. At first, it starts out by me getting up at 10 and going to bed at 2 or 3, but then it evolves into the get-up-at-4PM-go-to-bed-at-8AM. This leads to three things:

1) I am out of sync with the rest of Central Time
a) incidentally, that means I'm in perfect sync with Chris, who's in Hawaii.
2) Colby doesn't get nearly as much sleep as he's used to
3) I watch a lot of late night television, with laptop enlapped.

Late night tele usually involves police procedurals (oh Bobby Goren, you are, by far, my *favorite*) and whatever's on Food Network that doesn't involve Paula Deen, Mark Summers, or Bobby Flay. This leads to an enhancement in Alton Brown in my TV diet and lately he's talked a lot about crustaceans and how they're very closely related to roaches in the animal kingdom. This hasn't really helped my appreciation for lobster as I found one of their animal kingdom cousins wandering around my bathroom (which involved quite a bit of screaming and frantic searches for things to throw); however, I am able to ignore the roach-shrimp dichotomy in my head because phobias are nothing, if not irrational, which had left me craving shrimp.

Rewind to a week ago, and I found myself at the downtown farmers market with basil, brussels sprouts, pan sausage, and okra. Basil presented a myriad of possibilities, so I decided to make a cheesy tomato sauce with shrimp and linguine for dinner (in part, because I always wondered what canned tomato sauce actually was.). Nom. Nom. Nom.

1/2 c ricotta cheese
1/3 c grated parmasean cheese
1/4 c basil, chiffonade
8 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce (note: this is what I used... in the future, I'm using crushed tomatoes)
1 lb frozen shrimp, thawed in water and boiled for 3ish minutes, then shelled
1 lb linguine, boiled in heavily salted water
s+p to taste

combine ricotta, parm, basil and about 1/3 of the garlic and add salt+pepper to taste. The parm is salty enough, so it probably won't need a lot of salt and the pepper depends on your tolerance for heat. set aside. In a sauce pan, add olive oil and garlic and stir around until fragrant. Add in tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes) and cook for a few minutes. Add cheese mix and cook some more until it's completely integrated into the tomato sauce and heated. Toss with linguine and shrimp.

15 July 2009

10 Year Mints

Every December my grade school holds the highly anticipated Santa Shop. Parishioners donate gift-like items and the school children come in and buy little trinkets to give to their families for Christmas. A lot of what I bought for my family was total crap; little statues and other knickknack items contributed the majority of the volume, but for ~2 bucks it wasn't a bad deal. I think the best gift I ever found was a jewelry box that I got for my mom when I was in the 4th grade. She kept jewelry in it, but mostly she put anything that happened to be crammed in her pockets for the day. It's also where she stored her money. I have no idea how, but she always had a fat wad of 20s in that box. Maybe it was from social security or her pension, but that was where she got money when my friends and I would go to the corner market and get lunch or to the pharmacy where they sold Beanie Babies.

It's been over nine years since my mom died. My dad, the practical guy that he is, is selling the house next year and wanted me to go through things that she had and figure out what I wanted. A lot of it was religious paraphernalia that I'm not prepared to deal with yet, but I found her jewelry box shoved in the corner of a dresser drawer and took that immediately. I didn't really go through it because I was looking for other loot to cart back with me. I brought it with me, mostly, to clean it out and use it as a jewelry box of my own; something that had significance because I was using my mom's jewelry box, but as I opened it, I realized that it is basically a time capsule of my childhood and something that is too dear to be taken apart.

I found an 11 year old receipt from K-Mart, something that is non-existent where I live. I found another receipt from JoAnn fabrics, and from the faded lettering, I think it was for a project about a cell that I did in 7th grade. There was a significant amount of change, along with a multitude of buttons, a couple necklaces, and some mints that are nearly nine years old. I also found a couple unmatched earrings leftover from a raid on our home from a cousin that had a drug habit. I also found a 20 dollar bill. It's Canadian, but it's so fitting that it's in there. I found another small jewelry box that my brother gave to her, and much to my surprise, there was the mate to one of the earrings! It's like a gift from my mom. Where some people have shoe boxes filled with pictures and letters, I'll always have this jewelry box. And mints that are a decade old.

More food posts in the *near* future, I promise! :)