I just got back from Atlanta where I spent my Saturday at Create + Cultivate speaking on a panel about food in the digital space with some women I admire a whole lot.
It sounds a lil’ cheesy but I left Saturday feeling so ridiculously inspired and really excited to try harder, try new things and all at the same time super grateful for everything. I also realized that while I love men, my favorite is women company. I work with mainly women, most of my friends are women and I really like it that way.
When I got back last night from traveling—which actually was pretty easy–all I wanted was a big bowl of autumn-like comfort. I didn’t have this in front of me because of course I made this a week ago, but I wanted it to be!
I’m not gonna lie, I’m not one to jump on recipe food trends right away. I’m what you call an SEO nightmare. If I was a smart blogger, everything would be called one bowl this or 30 minute that. I’d make those Pinterest pin collages that are like ten photos deep that have like a million repins. I don’t hate on stuff like that; it’s just not really me…and I’m sort of too lazy to try it. So, I’ve been super skeptical of the one pot pasta trend that hit its peak last year when Martha Stewart posted this recipe.
Not gonna lie, I still give that water to pasta ratio major side eye. But I’m what you call an al dente freakazoid. I can’t handle mushy pasta like at all at all.
CARBS is a gift I can get behind for V-Day. I’m not a big go-out-to-dinner V-Day person. Instead we like to just stay in and cook a quiet, chill meal and then watch something trashy on television while talking about how we still can’t believe we let a crazy corgi live with us.
We’re actually headed to Big Bear on Sunday and I’m super excited to hang out in the snow and stay in a cabin for a few days, especially since there’s this really strange and unusual heat wave in LA right now and it’s really bumming me out. It makes me want to move. The snow will be a much welcomed change. I also maybe sorta bought Amelia a parka so that’ll be cool. (She already hates me.)
It’s rainy today. The clouds are rumbling and lightening is lighting up the sky. It’s feels sort of strange since it hardly ever rains here in Los Angeles, let along during the summer months.
The air feels thick and damp. It reminds me of summer days in the south, which makes me want to curl up with the air conditioning blasting and do absolutely nothing. I’m not doing exactly nothing today (there are last minute book edits and other shenanigans) but I am here to let you know about this dish, my favorite childhood meal: Tallarines Verde.
This was one of the recipes mom would make us when she didn’t have a ton of time. My brother and I were obsessed with this dish. I remember always coming into the kitchen and sneaking cubes of queso blanco off of her cutting board—it’s so good and salty and fresh. This green sauce is unlike what you might be accustomed to—it’s creamier and thicker.
Traditionally it’s served with steak on top but she never gave it to us like that. She skipped the steak and would just serve it to us in a bowl. Whenever I eat this, I immediately get nostalgic in a way that almost hurts. It’s an edible reminder that childhood is gone and time moves too quickly. How does that happen? I would hate to be thirteen again, with all of the doubt and anxiety and loneliness I felt as a kid, but man, it really is just moving too quickly for me. Have I ever told you that rain makes me super emo?!
It’s my everything rite now. I went for a good three weeks totally obsessed with rhubarb. Now, I’ve moved on to peas. I hope you’re not tired of them yet because we’re just getting started, my friends.
I took a little pause; it honestly feels like I haven’t posted in forevrrrr. I’ve been working on a big recipe testing project for a private client’s cookbook so while I’ve been super busy in the kitchen, I haven’t been busy working on stuff for youuu all.
But, I took a break a few days ago from said project to make this pasta because I wanted the taste of spring in form of carbs.
A few people on Instagram were like, MINT AND BACON?!!? I’ll admit, that’s a bit of a weird combo but the pesto has mint and the bacon is cooked separately.
Hopefully that eases some of you that might be like, MINT AND BACON?!
The mint isn’t strong in the pesto, just a hint. It gives a wonderful refreshing flavor that isn’t aggressive. It’s chill. It’s passive.
If I had the choice to come back into this world as someone else, I’d come back as two very different types of people:
The first one would be an upper middle-class girl in the Edwardian era. Like, Elizabeth Bennett…but Latina. I’m not sure if that’d work but in my dreams that’s how it’d be.
Or I’d like to come back as a wise old man who’s a boxing coach. I’d work in a dark, dusty boxing gym on the east side of LA. I’d be just like the movies. I’d mentor a kid who had lost his way but had a “gift”; I’d coach him, school him, show him the ropes and live out my broken dreams through him. There’d be a montage. An anthem would play over a sequence of shots of me working with him day in and day out until he boxed like Floyd Mayweather.
When I think about making pesto, a romantic little picture is painted in my brain. I’m in a rustic, Tuscany-style home, barefoot in some sort of oldish, wrinkled – yet totally chic – long, linen dress, in a kitchen that’s older than my great, great grandma, and I’m there making pesto with the guidance of a sweet Italian old woman I can barely communicate with.
I’m adding stuff to the mortar and pestal, grinding it up and we’re laughing and looking adorable. The pesto is made from fresh basil that I picked just a few moments before, the cheese made from the neighbor’s cow and the garlic is fresh from the early morning’s walk (because I imagine you can just walk down the street and run into garlic everywhere. I dunno?). I’ve never been to Italy, sadly, so I’m not positive, but in my brain this is how it works.
The real life story of this pesto is that it was made by a girl living in LA who’s had one too many tootsie rolls this past week and needs a proper dinner. I have electricity so I opted to make this using a food processor, though a pretty mortar and pestal is totally on my Christmas list!
I’m a pretty big fan of pestos that aren’t traditional (evidence: here and here), which makes me believe that maybe I should be calling them something other than “pestos,” but whatever. This “pesto” is what I like to think of as a basil-no-longer exists kind of pesto. It celebrates the changing season, so kale is in place of fresh basil.
In this instance I used dino. Mainly because it’s called dino and that’s the coolest name in the world for a vegetable. If I was a dude I totally wish my name was dino.
Also, do you think dinosaurs ate dino kale? Hope so.
Week nights are weird. Most of the time you’re tired and kind of want to just eat something, chill out, sit on the couch and watch a few things before you have to do it all over again the next day. I know what this feels like. And most nights cooking something even slightly labor-intensive is really daunting, but take-out also seems like a lot of work because you have to talk to someone…on the phone. And forget about driving somewhere, you JUST got home. UGH. And OMG the feeling of hungry has now turned into HANGRY (hungry + angry), and you just wanna eat something. right. this. second. When this is the case, I turn to pasta–it’s my go-to. Always and forever.
Over the years I’ve become a private master of the “15-minute pasta dish for one person.” Lemon pasta. Vegetable scrap pasta. Spaghetti with eggs and lots of black pepper. Carbonara. Butter and crushed red pepper (not all that exciting). Butter and cheese pasta (also not that exciting, but very dependable), and the list goes on and on…
If you do a small amount of planning and remember to a buy a few red peppers over the weekend, this is a new little 15-minute pasta that could enter your rotation. It’s a solid one.
I have cooking mood swings. There are days when I want something to go from my fridge, to a pan, to my mouth in, like, 15 minutes. I have recipes for that!
Other times–usually on Sundays–I want to cook something that’s a little challenging, you know, try a bit of a kitchen project. I think challenges are a good time. I really enjoy throwing on music and starting something that’s a little tricky; I find it methodical (and often times delicious).
Enter: homemade pasta.
No fancy Kitchenaid pasta attachment needed. Just a fork and a rolling pin. That’s all. And some muscles, too. You’ll for sure get a crazy bicep workout rolling out dough.
This is a bit of a step-by-step. I think we should dive in. Now!
(This post is in collaboration with Bravo for their show, Around the World in 80 Plates. This week they’re in Rome, Italy. Check it out on Wednesday at 10pm/9pmc on Bravo!!)