Culinary school takes up more of my time than I anticipated. It’s good, though. I’m staying busy, re-learning time-management, feeling accomplished daily, and thoroughly enjoying school. It can be frustrating at times, and sometimes overwhelming, but more often than not I love it.
I am learning a new “language”: kitchen lingo, which consists of loud voices and directions. Brushing up on my French, learning new French words, and improving my accent. The French accent is key; it’s so sexy. 😉 I am also becoming more of a food snob than I was before. My palate is expanding and I can now tell you all the ways in which restaurants can make you sick. Unfortunately for my family and closest friends, I enjoy passing on knowledge. I only feel a little bad for ruining fast food and chocolate milk for people.
I am having a little trouble adjusting to my schedule. I learn about, and cook, delicious food all day at school, then come home exhausted with no desire to be in the kitchen so I order out. This is bad news for my health and pocketbook. I haven’t gone grocery shopping or cooked in several weeks. I decided that needed to change. I decided that at a time that I didn’t feel like going out of my home to shop. So I rummaged through my almost-bare cupboards to see what I had: peanut butter, apricot jam, pasta, tomato purée, lots of spices, tea, stale cereal.
At this point I would have been satisfied with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but I had no bread. Since I always have a variety of spices on hand I decided on pasta with a simple tomato sauce. I am a firm believer that pasta tastes better when accompanied by bread and cheese. I didn’t have any bread, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover the unopened parmigiano-reggiano in my fridge. Since I live alone, I often have partial boxes of pasta. A whole pound is too much for one, and produces too much leftovers. As I pulled the box of spaghetti out of the cupboard it tipped over and spilled almost half it’s contents onto the floor. I was left with about a quarter of a pound. Enough for one. The recipe below serves four, though, I can do math.
Normally I would use real onions and garlic to make tomato sauce, but this was a day of using what was on hand. I like things spicy, so I added a generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. The great thing about this sauce is that it’s all up to you. Follow my recipe if you choose, but taste it along the way so you can add whatever you prefer to suit your taste buds. It’s not a fancy dish, and it took almost no time to throw together, but I was much more satisfied after dinner than I would have been with fast food or pizza. I even had leftovers.
- 2 15-ounce cans tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- freshly ground black peppercorns
- sea or kosher salt
- -Stir all ingredients together in a saucepan.
- -Simmer until warm.
- -Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
- -Serve warm over your favorite pasta.
- -Top with freshly grated parmigiano cheese.