Thursday, January 31, 2013

Still Hanging Out Upstairs

Blanket Collection
Chilhuly Garden and Glass

I'm still hanging out here upstairs in the house. The kitchen remodel is plugging along. Plodding forward a full two months after I thought I would be moving our furniture back in (I know........). I am now more realistically referring to this project as the 'downstairs remodel' due to some flooring and millwork that were included. 

Right up front I should tell you that I am so very happy with the couple of guys measuring, sawing, hammering and finishing away down there. I can't say enough about their honesty, work ethic, communication, attention to detail and excellent craftsmanship. But certain things appear to be beyond the control of those spending their days here....and well, during the past week this has become more than obvious: Door/window millwork lumber was returned for the second time because the entire order arrived wrong yet again. The fire door to the garage was for some reason drilled for a different deadbolt than the one that was brought directly to the door store when the order was placed.....just so that type of thing would NOT happen.  Hardware was back ordered. Certain phone calls weren't returned promptly. In the on going saga of our front door lock (you didn't know there was one did you?) we were locked out of our house Friday evening.

And my dog died. I had a week last week....

Normally this might call for diving into a pan of warm homemade brownies while snuggled under my favorite blanket in front of the television, a cold glass of milk at the ready. Since most of my baking equipment is still packed away in the garage......I turned to the next best comfort food: Pasta. 

I began thinking about the way my mom loves macaroni best (and often mentions it!)...... warmed together with canned chopped tomatoes and their juice...... and started out to buy the ingredients for this simple dish. Somehow, my recent passion for kale got in the way......and then my craving for Beecher's Cheese. A can of  cannellini beans made their way into my cart, and well.....this is what I came up with. It was honestly so good, simple and comforting that I made it twice.


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Tomat0, Kale and Cheese Pasta

2 14.5 oz cans of chopped tomatoes with their juice
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 lb kale, washed, de-stemmed, de-ribbed, rolled up and cut into ribbons
2 tsp dried basil (although I think fresh would have been wonderful)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 lb of conchiglia pasta (kind of a cross between a fat macaroni and a shell     
  shape....other similar shapes will do!)
1 can cannellini beans (Italian white beans), rinsed and drained
2 or more cups shredded Beecher's cheese

Place tomatoes and their juice, along with the minced garlic, chopped kale, basil oregano, salt and pepper into a large sauté pan or saucepan. Simmer 5-10 minutes until the kale has softened to your liking. Then add the beans.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta to just al dente. Save out a couple cups of the cooking water, then drain the rest from the pasta. Gently toss pasta thoroughly with the tomato/kale/bean mixture in its pan. Add about a cup of the shredded cheese and gently fold until the cheese melts into the hot tomato mixture, there is kale sticking to the sides of the pasta and some of the white beans are lodged into the ends. If you feel the need (and depending on the consistency of sauce you enjoy with your pasta), add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan. Correct the salt and pepper seasonings.

Sprinkle the remaining cup or more of cheese on top and dig in while it's warm.

Makes 4-6 generous servings.

**Marc thought another can of beans would have been nice, but I thought it turned out perfect this way. Your decision!

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

Warmly, Margaret


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PS. Have you  noticed that I haven't necessarily been sticking to a regular day for my posts. The first year it was EVERY Tuesday and Friday without fail. Then as life changed, I changed......to every Wednesday. Which sort of shifted toward Thursday. Which then became the occasional skipped week of posting. 

One thing I know about this process is that both writing and photography are important to me. So important that if I'm rushed or hurried or simply uninspired and don't feel I can put something 'out there' that I'm happy with, that I'd rather put it off until I can. It's such a great discipline to post once a week with regularity, but on the off chance that I don't show up, please do continue to check back in. Or join me through Blogger. Or sign up to receive an email with each new post. And by all means...please feel free to leave comments. I LOVE hearing from you!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh...I can't believe the remodel continues!! It's a tough process at best, and really hard when it's way off schedule. But, I'm glad you have some great people on the job.

Here's to comfort food when you really need comfort! -- Michele

Anonymous said...

This sounds delicious! I'm going to try it this weekend. I often concoct similar dishes with whatever is on hand. I was a bit teary-eyed reading your post as my mom (who passed away in November) often made macaroni and tomatoes as a quick, simple supper when I was growing up.
Debbie

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