Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The power of an ingredient

Sometimes just one ingredient can make a dish. I can think of two recent examples from our dinners.

1. Fresh sheets of pasta. I bought them at Wegman's, although when Darling Husband and I first set up house, we used to make homemade pasta quite often. (I remember a wonderful sriacha pasta we made...) These sheets were on sale, and too good of a deal to pass up. I dropped them, two at a time, into salted, boiling water and swirled gently with a spoon. It only took a minute or so for them to be pliable and tender, but not fully cooked. We removed and shocked the pasta in cold water. These sheets, cut in half, became manicotti. I used an egg to bind some ricotta, salt and pepper and julienned sundried tomatoes. We wrapped the pasta around a few spoon fulls of the ricotta, then topped with a blushing sauce made from a blend of marinara and alfredo, thinned with a little milk and spiked with a healthy amount of black pepper. A sprinkle of mozzarella on top and the manicotti went into the oven to allow the flavors to marry and the cheese to melt. It was fantastic, and I think it's all due to the pasta. (The four cheese marinara and cheesy alfredo, mozzarella and ricotta probably didn't hurt. I think the key to a good meal is to just keep adding cheese.)

2. A perfectly ripe avocado. Mashed with some salt, pepper, cayenne and a squeeze of lemon juice, it was creamy dreamy greeny heaven. I don't even remember what we ate it on. I just remember licking the bowl.

On a related note, the Father's Day fairy delivered two containers of duck fat to Darling Husband via USPS. I wonder what that ingredient will do? Side question: can you plan a religious experience??


  1. Can you plan a religious experience? Sure.
    A Papal audience. Pilgrimage to the West Wall. Making the Hajj to Mecca. Of course, we are only planning the context in which we predict a religious experience will occur. But, then, isn't that true of any type of experience?

  2. Ah, an interesting point! I was thinking more of when one toasts bread and the Virgin appears on the toast... :o) NO, not really. You're quite right.