It's been one of those days...
So, after a rough day, what do I do? I resort to what I know best...cooking.
It seems there is something that always calls me back to the warmth and comfort of my humble kitchen.
Today, before I set out, I had gone to my garden to pick these beautiful tomatoes.
I have four varieties - Early Girl, Beefsteak, Cherokee Purple and Sweet Red Cherry.
The cherry tomatoes have done really well, but the others have been slow to ripen, split on the tops and produced less fruit than usual. But nonetheless, I just cut away the bad and use what I can. They're still just as delicious as ever.
For me, on a bad day, this simple recipe I created is the ultimate comfort food. It can be made any time of year but summer time is best when fresh homegrown tomatoes, garlic and herbs are in season and readily available. This is my Summer Angel Hair Pasta with Roasted Garlic and Heirloom Tomatoes.
The yummy smell of roasting garlic and basil wafts through the entire house, bringing the kids around asking...'did you make pasta?' My kids actually request this dish a lot. They just refer to it as Angel Hair. I love making it. There are some recipes that have a therapeutic effect while in the making. This favorite recipe is effortless, healthy, and the aroma permeates my entire home. Once everything is cooked, I usually steal a clove or two of garlic that has softened in the oven and has soaked up the olive oil and spread it on a piece of sliced baguette. The other joy of making this dish comes from the gift of my garden. Walking out my back door to pick the ripe tomatoes and snipping off some fresh basil and oregano makes my heart swell with gratitude.
So, for a day that started off not so great...I'll say it turned out just fine.
I served up some love with a side of grateful and I'm back on my way.
I started following The Yellow Table after hearing about it from my friend,Megan Hartford, a local photographer and blogger. The Yellow Table is written by Anna Watson Carl and has captured the hearts of many all over! Anna invites us into her small New York City apartment for dinner parties with her friends around The Yellow Table. Each time I visit her blog, I instantly feel taken away and inspired to write, cook, and share the experience of good food with friends and family. Anna recently began aKickstarter campaign to raise funds to self publish her first cookbook. You can read about her journey here. The cookbook did get fully funded which brings me to some terrific news!!! Anna asked several cooks to test recipes for the upcoming book and I'm happy to say I am one of them! YAY!!
I was given two complete menus, a summer menu and a winter menu. It was a challenge to complete with a busy schedule getting kids ready for school and college and a weekend out of town, but I did it!
After reading over the recipes, I decided I wanted to find as many local ingredients as possible.
Naturally, my first stop was our local Farmers Market. I picked up some beautiful grape tomatoes from A & H Farms, heirloom Purple Cherokee Tomatoes from Derek Haug, and lucky for me, I found kale, garlic, and cherry tomatoes from Weiche Farms. The most difficult to find was skirt steak. Finally, I found it from a local rancher - (even better) -The Picolet Family's farm, Oatie Beef. Some of the produce was donated to me for this project! Thank you Andrea and Derek!
SHOPPING SUCCESS!!! I put together my list and it was go time!
I prepared the Summer Menu first and invited some good friends over to share it with us. The evening was perfect for a dinner outside. The weather in Kansas can be miserable in July but this year it has been unusually cool and rather beautiful.
Outdoor patio lights across our deck made it especially inviting on a summer evening. We all enjoyed the delicious food with some wine and good conversation.
Thank you Sean and Eileen for spending the evening with us!
Just two short days later, I prepared the Winter Menu and invited my wonderful and lovely writer friend, Allie, to partake in our next food adventure. She is a trooper! She was called to duty when it became clear extra hands were needed to get the timing just right! Bacon and chocolate were involved!
The weather had returned to typical Kansas...hot, muggy, and lots of biting creatures hanging around so we moved inside to the big table. Allie arrived bearing gifts...a bottle of some very (insert sarcasm) expensive red wine that we drank down like Kool-Aid as we enjoyed our desserts.
It was a wonderful and challenging experience. As a cook, I have a difficult time following recipes. It was important to follow procedure and take notes, no straying off the path for this girl. The recipes took me on a new journey discovering some flavors I had never tried, but I was open to try some new things...Detox Kale Salad? Yep! And sooo good!!
Sharing these meals with friends was by far the highlight. Cooking for and with friends is really a gift to my soul. My recommendation...don't let too much time pass between meals with friends! Gathering around a table sharing food and conversation is never a bad idea and should happen often.
My door is open...invite yourself in!