Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Teaser Tuesdays: I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti
I haven't joined in on the "Teaser Tuesdays" party for awhile; but since I'm reading a food-related book right now, it seems appropriate to bring a contribution to the potluck.
"Teaser Tuesdays" is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Just do the following:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I happen to be reading the very well-timed I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci. I'd heard of the book when it was first published, and then happened to just blunder into it at the library last week ... the universe offers us what we need at the right time, if we're paying attention.
Given that I've recently ended a relationship, and given that I'm living alone now and cooking all sorts of things I haven't been able to in recent years (due to the dietary and health quirks of many of my loved ones), this seemed like the perfect "sit on the sunny porch after dinner and read" kinda book.
It's filled with tales of hope and heartbreak, as well as stories of faith and foolishness ... and lots and lots of recipes. Giulia's parents were both Italian -- her father born in Italy, her mother raised by Sicilian immigrants -- so her love of food and her talent for creating sublime dishes are both exquisite!
Here are my two teaser sentences from page 13:
"He seemed truly smitten with me, and that kind of thing just didn't happen. I can count on my breasts the number of times I have missed a meal, but for several days after that date I ate next to nothing."
In contrast, I usually go into starvation mode when my heart feels as though it's been shattered into thousands of shards, and eat very enthusiastically when I'm happy and contented. To each her own coping mechanisms ....
I'm doing quite well and eating heartily, since the time was right (though it's still a sad situation) for my new-found freedom. And here, just 'cause they're so perfect, are two more quotes from the book that sum things up perfectly:
"But still, cooking was mine. It relaxed me .... It was a way to make sense out of my internal chaos. There is logic and order to cooking. What you put into it has everything to do with what you get out of it. With love, it's not so cut-and-dried."
"Because cooking and eating well are my raison d'être, I don't stop when there's no one else to feed."
And on that note, I thought I'd make one of the comforting recipes featured in this book about lost loves -- Sauteed Summer Peppers.
I just happened to have every one of the ingredients on hand, and even threw in some mushrooms that I needed to use up; then I served the dish over polenta, rather than with the recommended grilled sausages.
It was hearty, it was delicious ... it was absolutely sublime for a sunny Spring evening on the front porch ... :)
Sauteed Summer Peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red onion, ends removed, sliced lengthwise into semicircular chunks
pinch dried oregano
3 bell peppers (1 red, 1 orange, 1 yellow), cored, seeds and pith removed, cut into strips
6 ounces sliced mushrooms
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 large tomatoes (or 4 plum tomatoes), seeded and cut into chunks
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
freshly ground pepper
Heat olive oil in large saute pan or Dutch oven over medium heat and saute garlic and onion with the oregano until the onion is soft and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add peppers, mushrooms and 1 teaspoon salt and cook partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt; continue to cook another 10 to 15 minutes until the peppers are very soft. Test for seasoning and serve with torn basil leaves and freshly ground pepper.
6 cups water
pinch of salt
1 cup cornmeal
freshly grated parmesan, for serving
Bring water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Slowly whisk in cornmeal, and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes until thickened.
Place polenta into a serving dish and place peppers over it. Top with parmesan.
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