My first reaction when Krista asked if I’d write a guest post for this blog was, “Sure, I’d be honored!” My subsequent thought was, “Ahk! I haven’t cooked in months. What on earth am I going to write about?”
With a full-time job, a book coming out in October, and another book due at the publisher’s on November 15th, the most cooking I’ve done since spring is choosing what toppings I want on the take-out pizza. (Usually mushrooms and onions, though I occasionally take a walk on the wild side and order mushrooms and olives.)
In the dim and distant past, my husband and I worked together in the kitchen for almost every meal. We’d both taste test, get in each other’s way, and generally have a good time. If I peer ahead into the not-so-distant future – say November 16th – I’m thinking this will happen again. Hooray!
But until then, most of our meals are being selected on two criteria: one, does the recipe require less than seven ingredients, and two, do we actually have those ingredients in the house?
Here’s one of our standard weeknight meals. Fast, easy, and, if you add a nice salad, fairly healthy.
16 oz. angel hair pasta
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Dash of salt
1-1/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated
In a large pot, start heating water. At this point we turn the oven to a very low temperature and start heating a big bowl into which the pasta will eventually be dumped. If we remember we’ll also heat individual pasta bowls.
Melt the butter either on the cook top or in your microwave. (If melting in the microwave, be careful!) Grate the cheese.
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and sauté the garlic until almost golden. This doesn’t take very long, so be careful. Warning: if you happen to turn away to do something else while cooking the garlic, say to let a cat in, and the garlic burns, toss it out and start over. Burned garlic will ruin dinner, but if you work it right the whole thing can be blamed on one of the cats.
Cook the pasta. Drain it and put it into the heated bowl. Add the butter and a dash of salt. Add the heated olive oil and garlic. Mix well, but gently. Serve individual portions, sprinkle with Asiago cheese, and put on the table straight away.
Note: when we cook this entire recipe for the two of us I end up with Asiago Pasta for lunch three days in a row. Bonus!
P.S. My debut mystery, Murder at the PTA, has a release date of October 5. After writing fairly seriously for 12 years, I’m a teensy bit excited about this. Here’s a short description:
As the owner of a children’s bookshop in the quaint town of Rynwood, Wisconsin, and a divorced mother of two, Beth Kennedy has a full plate. So when her best friend, Marina, asks her to become the secretary for Tarver Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Association, Beth can think of better ways to occupy what little free time she has. But after some arm twisting (Marina's favorite activity), Beth agrees to come on board.
The course of PTA meetings never did run smooth, but when Tarver’s unpopular principal turns up dead, Beth realizes that making bake-sales wheat free and funding class trips weren’t the only things on the agenda. Then the local gossip blog, WisconSINS, starts fanning the flames of speculation, and it seems like everyone’s a suspect - especially certain members of the PTA. Beth knows she must race to find a killer before he teaches another fatal lesson. All too quickly, she discovers that murder is anything but elementary.