It’s summer in Oklahoma and it’s…
The weatherman has predicted fifty (or more) 100° days this summer and we’re doing everything we can to beat the heat. We’ve picnicked on “cold suppers” — Club Sandwiches, Chef Salads and the like. We’ve microwaved leftovers. We’ve beaten a path to the grill, which keeps the heat outside — unless you inadvertently throw a liberal dash of cayenne in the steak rub… Suffice it to say, when your mouth is on fire, ambient temperatures pale in comparison.
As the old saying goes, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” But when the power goes out, it’s a whole different ball game. During “peak times” (late afternoons and evenings) our lights have a tendency to flicker. That means fridge-foraging comes to a halt. The computer and digital piano get unplugged. And if all else fails, Plan B goes into effect:
1) Call the power company to report the outage. (By the way, hats off to our electric co-op crews who work tirelessly to keep our homes and kitchens comfortable — we appreciate your excellent service!)
2) Grab enough ice for a tall, cool one, then shut the freezer — and leave it shut! (If a long outage is suspected, grab enough ice for several tall, cool ones…)
3) Do something that requires no physical exertion whatsoever. (Bear in mind, napping is difficult when you stick to the couch.)
Thankfully, Scrabble qualifies as a minimal-exertion activity, except for sweating out the dreaded triple-point words. Hoohah this past weekend, I won by one point! (Sorry, no photo to accompany that burst of revelry; just imagine the “happy dance.”) It’s good to celebrate life’s little victories.
In keeping with our slowed-down pace, I concocted this simple pasta dish (which incidentally, requires the oven.) Sometimes I just can’t stay out of the kitchen.
Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce
4 T. butter
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 T. crushed dried basil
1 head of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
Melt the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add crushed tomatoes and dried basil (fresh would be divine if you have it.) Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Heat oven to 400° (when the opportunity presents itself.) Remove outer skins from garlic while keeping the head intact. Slice off the top, then place garlic in foil. Drizzle with olive oil; seal and roast for 20 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven (don’t forget to turn it off, unless you’re a glutton for punishment); set aside to cool.
When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the roasted cloves onto a cutting board and mash into a paste. (Discard skins.) Stir garlic paste into the tomato sauce; season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue simmering over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. When pasta is done, drain (do not rinse); add it to the tomato sauce, toss gently and serve with grated Parmesan.
Enjoying the “still life,”