Consecutive meetings over the past weeks. Training sessions left and right. Two websites to constantly worry about. Sales callbacks. A trip out of the country to prepare for. To say that this past week — this past month — is hectic, is an understatement. So not surprisingly, I wanted to do something different to reward myself for a job well done (and so that I keep my sanity too).
And so I turn to what I love to do: cook and more importantly, eat.
Food has played an important role in my life (who’s life does food not play any role?). I eat when I am upset. I eat when I am sad (how I wish I could lose my apetite for once when I am sad). And I eat when I am happy. And yes, come to think of it, I realize that I have found my best, best friends through food trips. I’ve even been blamed for the weight gain of two good friends! What a bad influence we are too each other when it comes to food.
Because I have been saving for shopping money, my question earlier this evening was: do I spend my money on the drive thru for my usual comfort food? Or do I spend it instead on taking the quick trip home via the Sky Way, to cook my own happy meal?
I decided to “fly” home. It was clear that I wanted to cook pasta, and come up with new sauces. As usual, the battle plan was to use available ingredients in the pantry. It was then when I remembered! I still had pasalubong from my officemate Lala.
I looked forward to using my recently-acquired “toys” in the kitchen (courtesy of my Tito Joy) . As usual, I cooked my pasta in the microwave, and used toasted garlic and bacon, which are favorite methods of mine for making pasta because of their convenience.
My new toys:
MARTHA STEWART’S SILICONE GARLIC PEELER
I e-mailed my uncle the moment I saw Martha Stewart using this on her show. All you need to do is to put the unpeeled garlic inside the tube. Roll the tube on the counter, and voila! Peeled garlic in less than five seconds. I find this tool so convenient, particularly for pasta. I have been able to peel 10 cloves of garlic for pasta in less than a minute. Believe it or not!
You can buy this tool at marthastewart.com. Other sides sell brandless counterparts with different colors at a cheaper price. Correct me if I am wrong, but I have not yet seen this product in the Philippines.
PASTA MEASURE BY CRATE AND BARREL
Cooking too much pasta has always been my concern. I’ve never used a kitchen scale, nor have I mastered the art of knowing how much pasta to boil when cooking for just one or two. But this Pasta Measure from Crate Barrel solves the problem. It’s very practical. Just insert the uncooked linguine or spaghetti in the corresponding hole and see how much pasta you need to cook.
I have seen less aesthetic but still functional versions of this in local specialty stores. I just saw one last week.
And now, the recipes! To make dinner special, I made two kinds of pasta.
LINGUINE WITH CRAB FAT SAUCE AND SMOKED SALMON
The first recipe is for me, a great discovery. I have been constantly wondering how crab fat (taba ng alimango) and smoke salmon would taste like when paired together in pasta. I thank my colleague Lala for “importing” the crab fat from Capiz.
- Crab Fat (Taba ng Alimango), 1/4 Cup
- Smoked salmon, smallest pack
- Garlic, softened via oven toaster, 7 cloves
- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
- Linguine for 1, cooked via microwave
Just add the crab fat, garlic, pepper, and smoke salmon to the freshly-cooked pasta. Like in previous recipes, I oven toaster the garlic for soft and somewhat caramelized garlic. It’s that simple! At first I was very skeptical about how the dish would taste, but it came out as a a very pleasant surprise. I love it!
LINGUINE WITH BRAVO SAUCE
This is a very quick sauce, because it is ready-made. You’ll just need to add extra ingredients to complete it.
- Bravo Garlic Tomato Sauce (yup, it’s Bravo, the Italian Restaurant in Alabang — perfect with crostini as well)
- Garlic, 7 cloves, cooked via oven toaster
- Bacon, 4 slices, cooked via oven toaster
- Parmesan Cheese
- Linguine for 1, cooked via microwave
This, too, is a very quick recipe. Just add everything together once the bacon, pasta, and garlic are cooked.
For the record, I ended this meal with a scoop of double dutch ice cream. A real happy meal indeed!