If you were to do a graph–and I’m not a graph person, so you’d have to help me out here–measuring the effort you put into a dinner vs. the pleasure you get from eating it, chances are there’d be a real corollary between the work put it in and the pleasure received (see, for example, lamb merguez with eggplant jam). Every so often, though, there’s an outlier: a recipe that’s so incredibly easy, so simple to put together, it doesn’t make sense that the results should taste as good as they do, but they do. And I’d wager that of all the recipes that fit into this tiny category, the ones at the very apex of “easy to do” and “good to eat” are recipes involving mussels and clams.
As you probably know, by now, I’m a pasta-loving fool. My blog has 78 recipes for pasta and risotto in its archives, so you know I take my pasta-eating seriously.
Sadly, my pasta love is now at odds with my spring-time desire to get in shape. I’ve been sticking to my gym routine for two months now, and though I still eat pasta and pastries and all the other naughty P foods on weekends, I’m trying to focus on a healthier P-word during the week: protein. The challenge I made for myself was this: transform the kind of sauce you’d love to eat over pasta on a typical weeknight into a protein-rich dinner that’s every bit as satisfying but way better for your beach bod. The secret? Instead of pasta, use eggs.
“Write the things that matter to you most” is what a writing teacher somewhere is telling his or her classroom of students. This is great advice and I am heeding it right now when I tell you: I am disappointed in this parsley-scented soap. I bought it at Bed, Bath & Beyond a month ago and squirreled it away for when we ran out of the lavender-scented hand soap. When that day came, I eagerly threw the lavender into the trash and removed the parsley-scented soap from the cabinet. This would be the moment, the moment I would find out what it’s like to use parsley-scented soap.
The best drink I’ve drunk in recent memory was the basil lime daiquiri I drank at ABC Kitchen, Jean-George’s highly praised farm-to-table restaurant attached to ABC Carpet. The drink positively glowed with its fluorescent green color and intense basil-y aroma. Here, let me show you a picture….
Eggplant is a funny vegetable. It’s not a vegetable that inspires passion, the way that asparagus or ramps do in springtime. It’s not a vegetable that anyone would put on a short list of favorite foods. If the farmer’s market held a prom, I’m pretty certain eggplant would be sitting by itself on a bench, chatting uneasily with a turnip, and waiting—hoping—someone might just ask it to dance.
Well, eggplant, here I am in my tux: waddya say we ménage a trios with some tomato and basil? No, no, silly eggplant, we’re not going to make love—sorry—but we ARE going to make something better: Pasta alla Norma!