Mid-summer, a time of abundance, even in the scant growing season of New England. The CSA is in full swing. The home garden is producing. And my father-in-law can’t resist picking more fruit than he can possibly consume.
He’s an engineer, turned doctor, who should have been a farmer. He loves picking. Last week, when I drove down to Philly to drop off Cecilia, he sent me back with a 20 lb box of blueberries, a (slightly) smaller box of peaches, a bag of beets and some mangoes. Challenge accepted!
The slowly spotting bananas had been staring at me from the counter for three days, looking more brown and pathetic every day. I could no longer trick the girls into eating them and even though I knew they were better for me the browner they became, they had passed the point of no return for me, too. Something had to be done about this fruit before they liquefied on the counter.
I’m trying to break a bad habit. With Addison’s chronic fatigue is a symptom, especially in the afternoons as the stored cortisol levels from the morning dose are waning. I try to take a short nap or rest to combat the fatigue, but that really doesn’t help the low blood sugar, which itself is a response to low cortisol.
Waking up from these naps has become a trigger to stuff my face with the first available thing I can find in the kitchen. It doesn’t end well. For a man who looks routine and plans, I have terrible impulse control with snack food.
This Christmas I added a new tool to my pizza arsenal: the Uuni 2s. The Uuni is a portable, wood-fired pizza oven. I’ve been eyeing an Uuni since the original launched on Kickstarter five years ago and Santa finally came through this year. With the weather finally warming, I’ve been able to give the oven a good test drive the last few weeks.
Ideally, I’d have the time, skill or money to put an outdoor oven in our backyard for bread and pizzas. We have a great spot for it, but let’s be realistic, saving for college is going to trump a pizza oven. Never say, never, though! In the meantime, the Uuni is a nice consolation and takes up way less space.
It also happens to make some great pizza, but it definitely takes a little time and practice.
I wasn’t planning on posting, or even finding, two back pocket recipes so soon, but this recipe is so good and so easy that we’ve made it twice within a week. I’m struggling to think of anything beyond a slightly soggy bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or a steaming bowl of 69-cent high-sodium ramen that is as easy or as quick to get on the table for a week night dinner.
Pasta and beans is not something we traditionally throw together here in America often, but you will see it all the time in Sicily. It really did remind me of sitting on the family’s farm (Michelle’s father immigrated from Sicily) and eating the bowl of pasta and green cauliflower they served for lunch. That’s still a taste memory that I can call up almost at will. Never mind the great pizza we had in Rome or the fish by the coast, it’s that bowl of pasta that something still sticks in my mind (and taste buds).
One other thing occurred to both of us as we each polished off seconds for the second time in a week. These also taste like adult Spaghetti O’s. In a very good and elegant way. There’s something about that rich tomato paste sauce, oil and pasta that must have been hard-wired into our brains as latch-key children of the 80s.