My boyfriend has 4 vowels in his last name. That is pretty much the extent of my Italian-ness.
And yet, despite my very Scandinavian blood, I've tried over the past few years to "master" the red sauce (marinaaaaara, if you will) and always add tons of things to bulk it up. But then I came across this recipe at Smitten Kitchen and it has forever changed the way I make sauce. Not only is it simple, but it is so super good. Please note how many ingredients there are:
FOUR! THERE ARE ONLY FOUR F'ING INGREDIENTS!
1- 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 sweet onion, cut in half, peeled
5 tablespoons of butter
some salt. not a lot.
The knife is NOT an ingredient, please don't make that mistake, it would be embarrassing for you.
THAT IS IT!
Put the ingredients (minus the salt) in the pot and BLAZAOW! That is basically all you do!
Bring to a simmer on medium heat, then lower and leave at a slow simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir every once in a while, and smush (not the Jersey Shore type smush, that is disgusting) the tomatoes with a wooden spoon once they become soft.
Near the end, the sauce takes on a beautiful shimmery sheen, and you can sprinkle in the salt.
Now, the recipe says to just DISCARD the onions. Oh Mio Dio! that hurt my heart.
Instead, I pulled them out and ate a few slices with a side of red chard sauteed in EVOO and garlic. Try it, you will thank me.
Spoon the sauce over pasta (sidenote: there was a man on our staff a year ago from Rome, who, I kid you not, stormed into my office one day rapidly speaking Italian with his hands just flying all over the place, furious that no one in America salts their pasta water!! So, for his sake, please remember to do so). You could top with some parm, but honestly, it doesn't even need it.
This rainy sleety Monday is making me tired (so tired in fact, that while perusing Design*Sponge I thought their "Virginia Guide" said "Vagina Guide" and was utterly confused for a full minute) so I am being lazy and will just share with you my three favorite mint things of the moment. Why mint? Because I have a mild very serious obsession with it. The color, the flavor, the scent...
I just picked up this little gem after eying it in white for ages on Anthropologie.com. A friend told me hers acts odd and thus it wasn't a good buy, so I decided against it. Then, while Boyfriend was agonizing over a big TV purchase at Best Buy this weekend I popped over to Pier 1 and there it was in mint green! I couldn't resist! I ran to the register where oh-so-flamboyant check out guy said silly little things to me like "oh that is just faaaabulous" and "guuurl, way to save a tree!" when I didn't want a bag. Once back in Best Buy I tried to show Boyfriend my new noisy little toy and couldn't get the bell to work. DAMN I should have listened to my friend. So I stormed back over to Pier 1 and found check out guy and said, um, it doesn't work. "Oh hunny! [insert slow batting eyelashes and pity-filled looks] You just have to turn it all the way past 15 and then back if you are setting it for less than 15 minutes!" Doi Hilary, don't you know how to use a timer? So he demonstrated, and we stood there silently while he held the little ticking clock in his perfectly manicured hands for at least 2 minutes, and we squealed in unison when it rang. It was really quite exciting.
Lordy this stuff smells so damn good and now I do too. Er, my lips do at least. Love love love. However, the website suggests you can "Outline lips with lip liner of your choice about ¼ inches from the outside of your lips toward the center. Then use a lip brush to blend the salve to achieve a “pouty look”. By "pouty" do you mean "trashy"? Bad advice, Dr. Smith, bad advice.
This is like heaven in a little container. I have only had a few of "Five" the flavors, but ah-mah-gawd they are all so good! Mint is *by far* the best.
On Sunday, I (along with two dear friends) volunteered at the annual Fair Food event, the Brewer's Plate, at the Penn Anthropology and Archaeology Museum. About 50 local restaurants and breweries team up and serve bite size- and some more than bite size- pairings of food and beer. There's really something exciting about drinking a nice beer, eating fancy food and leaning on a sarcophagus (until a guard comes and politely asks you to not lean on said sarcophagus). Volunteering is the way to go, seeing as tickets were upwards of $125! We got to enjoy the event for about an hour and a half before manning our "farewell" station; handing out shopping bags, potato chips and magazines. (Sidenote: Beth smooth talked/befriended one of the museum guards who slipped us in the back entrance to view the Silk Road mummies! If you don't know why that is exciting, check here. Super dramatic- think Chinese government vs. UPenn).
Needless to say, the food and drinks were amazing, and while I don't have pictures, I will tell you, oh reader, my favorite tastes of the night.
1. Art in the Age Root and Snap. These were by far my favorite drinks of the night. Root is like root beer for grown ups, and a thousand times better.
Here are some beautifully done videos that explain what they are:
2. Dogfish Head Midas Touch. Another fun Penn related story- Dogfish worked with one of the head archaeologists at Penn to recreate the oldest known beer recipe which was found in King Midas' tomb! How could I not love such a wonderful mix of anthropology and beer? I went back for seconds.
3. Prism Brewing Company Love is Evol. I'm not even sure why I liked this one, probably because it was genuinely unlike anything I'd ever tasted. It's a strawberry jalapeno brown ale (whaaaat?). It's weird. But good. Brewery tour anyone?
2. Betty's Speakeasy fudge is just oh so good. I had the dark chocolate with smoked sea salt. If you've never tried any of their interesting flavors, it's time to get some.
3. JG Domestic. While I could really only take about 3 bites of the duck rillette topped with foie gras and lavender caramel (yes, I had to google that), it was delish and came with a really cute spoon. I'm a sucker for really cute spoons.
4. Royal Tavern's Porchetta sandwich with broccoli rabe. I ate 2. I could have eaten 15.
5. Biba's (Tria's new place) cheese spread was ah-may-zing, and the crudités had goat cheese and beet spread! Yum!
Today, my 3 best friends and I went to the Philadelphia International Flower Show! After a hectic lunch at Reading Terminal Market (I think everyone in the tri-state area decided to go there today as well) we made our way to the show which was themed "Springtime in Paris"! It was a bit overwhelming, but everything was so beautiful!
While one of the highlights of my weekend was a massage and facial at Bernard's Spa, there's not much about it that is blog worthy- and lucky for you there are no pictures of the event. So instead I'm going to tell you about a wonderful hole in the wall shop, Nannygoat Antiques, that Lily and I went to on Saturday! Lil discovered it a while ago, but since they are only open once a month for about three days at a time, it was difficult for us to find a time to check it out. I'm so glad we finally made it! It's run by three older women who just love to hunt for vintage and antique stuff, and aren't out to make a huge profit so the prices were really reasonable. I got a few great little treasures! Like this antique kerosene jar...
...and this bird's eye view print of Philadelphia from Paris...
...and this too! I had been thinking of getting one of these for a while, but I like the authenticity of the actual ward map...