Thursday, July 17, 2008

Linguini al Pomodoro

Where is the heat that is, in France, supposed to accompany summer?

I had a really nice dinner last night with some of my childhood friends near Paris and we had to turn the patio heater on. And of course the conversation at this point focused on the ugly summer (?) weather the region had been plagued with. As it turns out, this is all because of last year's 13 moons.

If you check your calendars from 2007, you will notice that there actually were 13 full moons. And according to the local beliefs, we are doomed for the next three to four years... nothing but mediocre and gloomy summers.

But let it not darken our spirits and let summer meals brighten our evenings!!!

This pasta recipe is just what you need.

Linguini al Pomodoro

15 ripe Tomatoes
3 Limes
1 bunch Cilantro, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, chopped very fine
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Hot Sauce
Salt to taste
2 lbs of fresh linguini, or other long pasta

In a medium saucepan, bring some water to boil. Dip the tomatoes, a few at a time, into the water for about 15 seconds, to blanch them. Then peel of the skin and, with a sharp knife, chop the tomatoes into real small chunks.

Combine the chopped tomatoes, the juice of the limes, the chopped garlic, the chopped cilantro, the olive oil and the hot sauce in a salad bowl. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors develop.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Serve the sauce over the hot pasta and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Diner Provençal

Any occasion is good to get together for a meal. I have had another terrific experience when an old friend, Delphine, came for dinner.

Weather was nice and called for a sunny menu!

Delphine came with a magnum of Rosé wine, Côtes de provence Château Cavalier, which was crisp and refreshing, perfect for what was to follow: Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb and Aubergines Provençales

Of course we sat around the table for a great deal of the evening, France oblige, and talked about all that happened since the last time we were together. A fine evening!

Aubergines Provençales

5 eggplants
18 plum tomatoes (also called Roma)
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
6 sprigs of fresh basil
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Wash and dry the eggplants, tomatoes and basil.
Quarter the tomatoes lenghtwise.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions. When golden and soft, add half the garlic and then the tomatoes. Cook until most of the water has evaporated and the sauce has thickened.

While the tomatoes are cooking, cut the eggplants: first cut them lengthwise into 5 slices, then cut each slice lenghtwise again in about 5 strips, and finally cut each strips into smaller strips, about 2 inches long.

When the tomatoes have reached sauce consistency, add the eggplants and half the basil and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the eggplants are soft, but not mushy.

When cooked, add the remaining garlic and stir to mix. Drizzle with olive oil and the remaining basil before serving.

This dish can be served either hot or at room temperature. Leftovers are to be kept in the fridge, and can be served cold also!