Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back in the kitchen at last!

Today I finished my September article for the Durham Herald-Sun.  I wrote about books that I've read about food, cooking and chefs.  I loved this one by Kim Sunée.  The lavender on the cover distracted me as I was writing and I started looking at other photos of lavender, such as this one from a recent Sunday market in Isle sur Sorgue, a lovely Provençal village (and home to my truffle-hunting friend).
And then this one (it is really a painting, but I've decided to make it my fantasy home, with the lavender field in the background)...
Anyway, after writing the article, I set off to Whole Foods to buy the necessary ingredients.  Then I found my way back into the kitchen to practice the recipes I wanted to include.  What bliss.
One recipe, la Mousse au Chocolat, looked like this at one point--
This was after I'd melted the chocolate with some water in a double boiler, let it cool and then added egg yolks.  Right before folding in the egg whites.  The little ramekins are cooling in the frigo (well, two have already been consumed by the eaters!).
Then I heated up the stainless steel pan (I do not know what I would do without this pan) and added olive oil and grape tomatoes--
I let them cook for 10 minutes and then added--

onions, salt, pepper and a pinch of salt and let that cook for about 5 minutes before adding--
black olives,
chopped garlic, and some red pepper flakes.  This simmered away (and made my house smell delicious) while I cooked--
And then voilà- I mixed it all together and grated some Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.
Ms. Sunée calls it Midnight Pasta #3:  Penne with Popped Tomatoes, Anchovies, and Onions.  It is simple to make and so good.  Très provençale, aussi!  Tant mieux.

1-2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of sugar (as needed)
1  small onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
Hot red pepper flakes, to taste
4-5 anchovy filets
Handful of black olives or 1 tsp. black olive tapenade
1/2 lb. penne
Garnish:  Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high to high heat.  Add tomatoes and cook, tossing often, about 10 minutes.  Cover and let cook about 3 minutes.  Uncover, season with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar.  Add onion, toss, and cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovies, and olives.  Lower heat.
Cook penne in salted boiling water just until al dente.  Drain, reserving about 1/4 c. pasta water.  Add pasta to skillet and toss.  Heat about 1 minute, adding some of reserved pasta water if too dry.  Toss to combine.
Divide pasta into 2 warmed bowls.  Serve immediately.  Add another crack of pepper and garnish with cheese, if desired.

Bon appétit, Mme Sunée!  I hope you've found the home and the happiness you were searching for.

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