It’s getting hot here in South Florida, and it sure calls for some light recipe and food. Where I come from, northern Italy, summer is really hot, too (also, I think about 5% of the population have AC in the house, so we just sweat and pant summers away).
It really calls for the same light food.
There’s not enough hotness, not enough heat in the air, here in the Sunshine State or back in the Boot (Italy’s nickname), to avoid this dish for longer than a couple of days–at most.
It’s Pasta al Pomodoro, Tomato Sauce Pasta.
Now, before you roll your eyes, let me say that this is not, oh-so-not, what you find anywhere in a supermarket. It’s probably less than what most people cook from scratch, too.
It is light, and it just ‘slides down your throat’ as easy as a gulp of white wine.
Let’s start with the ingredients, after which you’ll start seeing how simple this will be.
You can go with (canned) plum tomatoes or (canned) diced, either plain, depending if you want it more watery (plum) or a bit thicker (diced). There’s no, I repeat, there is no tomato paste anywhere near. What you want to do with them is pass them in the food mill. The size of the disc you use will change the thickness of the sauce. If you can, don’t blend it. Blending it would cut the few seeds in there and make the sauce bitter.
That’s it. Tomato is the only ingredient.
But not the only “secret”.
So, you have your milled tomatoes.
Put them in a sauce pan (for thicker sauce) or a pot (more watery).
Add: a pinch of salt, and a dash of baking soda. The backing soda will sweeten the sauce by eliminating the acidity of the tomatoes.
Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Not a nut oil. Or God forbid, no coconut oil or weird stuff. We’re Mediterranean people. We use olives, and we like ‘em virgin.
And, by the way, there’s still no heat under this.
NOW you turn on the heat. Medium.
And wait. After, let’s say 15/20 minutes, you can either turn off the heat (more watery), or lower the heat to the minimum and wait a bit more until is as thick as you like.
Stir every now and then. Also, put a lid (watery) or leave it open (thicker).
When you turn off the heat, you take a few leaves of fresh basil (dry basil is really not a thing). In they go.
And that’s it.
You cooked the pasta aside, right? Didn’t overcook it, right??
Benissimo. Now you put the two together and enjoy.
If you want, you can dust some Parmigiano (or Grana Padano) on it. Fresh from the wedge, please, not the one already grated. It’s dry and sad and will spoil everything.
This sauce goes with anything you like, drinking-wise.
And let me say briefly that this is, indeed, NOT something that will jeopardize your diet.
A can of tomatoes is 22 cal.
One tablespoon of EVO has 120 cal.
A serving of pasta, around 2 oz, is 200 cal.
You are full and satisfied under 250 cal. 300 is you want to eat a bit more because it just tastes soooo good.
Also, is college-students food because is cheap and easy to make.
I hope you try this and let me know how it went!
Crescent Creek Collection
On sale for only $0.99!
From the cold Canadian border, the US 1 runs along the east coast with patience. Southbound, always south, until it reaches the Sunshine State.
Not the fastest way, sure, but if you have time to drive it all the way down, you might find yourself lost in one of the coastal towns that dot the US 1 like little jewels.
Maybe that town’s name is Crescent Creek.
These are the stories of its people.
More About Viviana
Beach bum and country music addicted, Viviana lives in a small Floridian town with her husband and her son, her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her boy, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family.
Who isn’t baking these days? I certainly am. One of my creations is soda bread. I mentioned it in New York Engagement on Chapter Nine where Krista had a family meal with the Ryans at their pub in Hell’s Kitchen. In the book, they served brown soda bread to go with Guinness caldereta, longganisa coddle, and chicken lechon. As the only flour I have at home was all-purpose white and I wanted it for breakfast and tea, I followed this Irish-American version with whiskey-soaked cranberries from seriouseats.com. The Ryans are Irish-Americans after all.
1 cup dried cranberries (or raisins or currants)
1/2 cup Irish whiskey (or hot water)
4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Combine the cranberries and whiskey (or hot water). Cover and set aside to rehydrate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cut the butter into slices, then work it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it is fully incorporated. Add the honey, buttermilk, and the cranberries and soaking liquid. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the liquid is absorbed.
3. Flour your work surface lightly and turn out the dough. Gently bring it together without kneading so as not to overwork it. Form the dough into a 6-8 inch disk about 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 inches high and place it on your prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, make four cuts all the way through to create eight triangles.
4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the bread is nicely browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack. If you like a softer crust, cover the bread with a clean kitchen towel as it cools. Serve plain or as I do, with cream cheese and your favorite beverage.
New York Engagement
May 21, 2018
Love takes you to unexpected places
Krista Lopez has traveled from the white sands of Boracay Island to the bright lights of New York City for love. Once again out of her element, Krista embraces Carpe diem as a motto. With her boyfriend by her side, she has confidence to take on The Big Apple and the prospect of ...
Meeting the Parents
Blake Ryan won the approval of his girlfriend’s conservative family when they met in the Philippines. Now, he’s eager to introduce the woman he loves to his Irish-American clan. To share his past with her as he prepares to ask her to be part of his future. But an urgent call in the middle of the night reminds him that things can change ...
In a New York Minute
A terrible crime and his family’s mixed reception of Krista conspire to derail their plans for a stress-free vacation. Will the circumstances cool Krista and Blake’s romance? Or will they seize the day and strengthen their bond?
New York Engagement is available in eBook and paperback from major online retailers. Signed paperback can be purchased from my website maidamalby.com.
More About Maida
With a poet for a grandfather, a short-story writer/teacher for a mother, and a voracious reader for a father, Maida's new career as a writer is a natural fit. Spouse to a USAF Veteran and mother to a kid who loves Texas and Super Mario, Maida writes multicultural contemporary romances set all over the world. At some point in her life, Maida has lived and worked in the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States so it's not surprising those are favorite locations for her novels.
Before Covid-19 shut down commerce as we knew it, I clung to my daily shopping habit, cultivated during the 30 years I lived in Germany. Fridges are small there, so most people shop for fresh food daily. But we’re still in lockdown in Washington State—and honestly, even when restrictions are lifted, I’m not going back to my old habits. Too many people being too careless about hygiene and social distance. Our new normal is a big weekly shop, with no quick trips to Freddie’s (Fred Meyer, Pacific Northwest grocery chain) for a few crucial ingredients. I’ve been forced to plan more and become more resourceful about using up bits and bobs of produce, meat, etc.
One of my favorite ways to use up an assortment of veggies is a frittata. This Italian baked omelet is good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and comes together in a half hour or less. You can add typical breakfast meats like crumbled sausage, bacon, or ham, or go with an all-veg version like the one I made today. The key is a high ratio of filling to egg.
This morning, I had on hand a block of feta cheese, so I opted for a vaguely Greek flavor profile. Here’s what I used: (photo of ingredients attached)
I heated a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, oven-proof skillet and added
Et voilà! Or however you say that in Italian. A delicious meal that keeps well in the fridge and also tastes good cold.
Some other favorite fillings:
Love, Art, and Other Obstacles
Brand New Release!!!
May 18, 2020
Opposites attract, Art World, Artist, Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Steamy Romance, Rivals to Lovers, Bisexual Heroine, Tattoos, Chosen Family, Redhead Hero
Rejected by her family for her bisexuality, graphic artist Margot DuPont yearns for a life with no fences, no limits, and no family ties. Between college, work at Book Nirvana, and an art competition, she barely has time for her part-time girlfriend much less a flirtation with her competitor.
Dumped into the foster system at a young age, ceramics artist Elmer Byrne craves a big, loving family of the heart. His artist family almost fills that need, but something is missing...until Margot. But when he offers his heart, her thorny defenses shatter him.
Thrown together in an art competition that could jump-start one artist's career, but not both, their irresistible attraction forces them to reconsider the meaning of success.
Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance and cozy mysteries from her home in Washington State. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, belly dances, plays guitar badly, and gobbles all the books.
I’d love to hear from you! Please visit me on all the socials.
Amazon Author Page
Travelling abroad is a great eye-opener. It will expand your mind and force you to face your judgements, many of them inaccurate. Travel is an enlightening experience, one which I have been very lucky to have done since I was a child.
One of the most intriguing and, dare I say, phenomenal places to visit, is the Middle East.
Contrary to many westerners’ beliefs, this region is quite safe, even for women travelling alone, (barring places with political unrest). It is a fascinating place.
My first introduction to the Middle East was as a ten year old visiting Egypt with my family. Despite it being so different to my home, there was something about the place that I couldn’t shake off. Something fascinating, something intriguing, something indefinable.
I would return to Egypt many years later as an adult and despite all the negative hype about the Middle East at the time, I found this a place I was treated with much respect by both men and women.
Across the region, cultures and religions meld together, ancient and modern live side by side, 5,000 year old structures stand beside modern-day skyscrapers. The people are very friendly and hospitable, willing to help a stranger from another land. This chivalrous code of conduct towards visitors is deeply engrained into their collective psyche.
I met many western women living across the Middle East, all of them there for love. I also met so many wonderful Middle Eastern couples, strong, intelligent men and their strong, independent women, some doctors, some lawyers, some teachers. All of them fabulous.
That’s how my very first romance novel, Duty Bound Desire: The Sheikh’s Forced Marriage was born. It is the first of a trilogy with the second book to be released at the end of May.
I taught in Egypt for a while, loving it. The students were attentive and eager to learn. The parents had such respect for the teachers, holding us in high regard. It was a teacher’s dream.
I later travelled further east to the United Arab Emirates. Here the landscape is different but no less mesmerising. It is here I would find myself walking through the desert after a very bumpy dune bashing ride. Why was I walking in the desert? I should have eaten a lighter lunch, (you get my drift), and couldn’t finish the ride.
I could see the Bedouin camp we were to meet up again in the distance. The 4 wheel drive took off and I began walking across the desert sands towards the camp. The sun was setting over the desert and the scene was simply magnificent. It is some of these scenes I would later write about, the memories of the people and the places still so fresh in my mind.
Duty Bound Desire: