Friday, August 17, 2012

Pink lemonade bars

Somewhere, it's hot. Not here, but probably wherever you are. If so, these gorgeous and inventive little bars deserve a place at your summer picnic. They really do taste like pink lemonade!

What makes them pink? The simplest raspberry puree stirred into the lemon layer.

This was another winner from Smitten Kitchen. The only slight glitch I had was that stirring in the flour left me with some lumps, which I then spent quite a bit of time trying to squash without overmixing. But, maybe my flour was lumpy to start. I'm not sure. Does flour just get lumpy out of the blue?

Lumpy or no, these delighted all I foisted them upon.  Something about the pink, I think.  Even the men got giddy.


Happy birthdays: Two very important people were born today and to them I wish the happiest of birthdays. First to the huz, then to Stacie. I'm lucky to be married to one and count the other as a lifelong friend. I wish you both wonderful years ahead.


To Rome, with love: And Florence and Tuscany too, in a few weeks. Recommendations? Shoot them my way.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

When the cat's away...

The husband has ventured to the midwest for a few days for work, leaving me and Sophie to our own devices. It's reminded me of the couple of years I lived alone, pre-husband. Back then I had Frances, who was around the age Sophie is now.  A girl and her dog is a tough combination to beat.

Soph has gotten to sleep on the bed while I've been been free to watch whatever idiotic  television I feel like. I've also been able to eat weird solo food, as my friend Liz and I call it. Cooking for one is not necessarily fun or exciting, but it frees you up to do whatever you like, without thought of how balanced or pretty it is. You can also eat things your partner doesn't love. Like eggplant.

This week, right before the husband left, we got our produce box. As if the stars were aligned, it contained one lovely, flawless eggplant, swaddled in a paper towel to keep its beautiful purple exterior from getting nicked. I pulled it out of the box and cradled it happily. "I'm going to eat this whole eggplant myself," I said, beaming, to no one.

I had big dreams for my eggplant baby but in the end, what I did was neither fancy nor involved.  I sauteed the diced eggplant in a pan with some olive oil. After it softened, I threw in some chopped, seeded heirloom tomatoes and minced garlic, salt, and pepper. I let that cook down for awhile. Then I added a handful of pitted kalamata olives and a sprinkle of parsley. Finished it with a dash of red wine vinegar.

I tossed this with cooked farro, scooped some into a bowl, and topped it with a dollop of ricotta. There was also a final grating of parmesan, which came after the photo was taken.

I have to tell you, this was a very good dish. I would eat this dish in a restaurant!

Who knew weird solo food could also be so delicious?