Saturday, September 24, 2011

One for the books

I have wanted to write a cookbook ever since i started to legitemately (read: get paid for) cook. For nearly four years now, i have scrawled down what i am eating for dinner so that it might be transformed into my own recipe in what i hope will be an epic collection. So far these food stained bits of paper have made it into an also food stained manila tag envelope marked "for cookbook." And there they have sat for nearly four years. The food stains are no longer identifiable.

So this year, i decided to change tactic, inspired by Nigel Slaters brilliant "Kitchen Diaries." I would record each day/night, good/bad what i cooked/ate, into the very body (a petit hardcover journal) of my "cookbook." It would be a seasonal log of the year replete with sketches and anecdotes, and best of all, the journalistic devotion would help find this since dreamed of book complete by the beginning of the next quattro of seasons. Not quite. Not at all, actually. In fact, now there is only a new collection of food stained scraps of paper. The only difference is that these ones have dates, so that someday they may be placed in some sort of logical order as if recorded as happened.

"Someday," indeed. There will be a someday, i am sure. And perhaps some of those scrawls, however long ago, will be included. At least this one will be (and food stain free):

Zuchinni (sorta) Carbonara

My ma told me that someone told her that if you, gardenless, do not end up eating some free zuchinni at least once all summer, then you have no friends. Harsh, it seems, but for anyone who has ever rang a doorbell and ran like hell, leaving a box of rather large zuchinni on someones front step, you know how generous the season can be. One of my favorite ways to deal with the abundance:

In a large pan, gently soften:
1/2 spanish onion, small dice
2 large cloves garlic, minced

Add and saute:
2 cups thinly sliced zuchinni (use the mandolin--its easy peasy)
generous pinch of dried chili flakes
even more generous pinch of sea salt

Meanwhile, boil enough pasta, preferably a long noodle like linguine, but if you live for penne, go for it, for four. Toss aldente pasta with the tender zucchi and a good handful of chopped Italian parsley. Splash in some white wine, and continue cooking pasta for just a minute or so. Crack four eggs over the lot, and toss to cook completely. Drizzle with gentle extar virg olive oil, and a hefty grating of parm or pecorino. Breakfast or dinner. Or immediately after the drop-and-dash-doorbell...

ps: i call this "sorta" carbonara, because the chefs i staged with in van would scoff at this for too many reasons to list here. Primarily, the lack of smoked pork and use of the whole egg. In my defense, this recipe was created, like too many others, for a post work, 1030 ish, starving for comfort and nutrition, plus just plain starving, dinner. So it is not authentic, but damn is it tasty.