Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The mother of all catch-up posts

Should we forbid this comportment at the dinner table? Should we laugh it off?

I never would have worn a box to dinner! I wonder if the kids in ancient Rome started wearing boxes to dinner. I bet it was one of the signs.

A few nights later, I asked Owen to set the table and he did this:
I actually think the newspaper place mat is a good idea.

Okay, food. In the bowl in the photo at top is the tomato soup from Barbara Lynch's Stir. I was not so crazy about this soup, which tasted like spaghetti sauce, so Isabel and I changed it drastically, mostly by adding a lot of sugar and cream. I think the two of us were warped by Campbell's and expect tomato soup to be rich and sweet. Doctored by us, the soup was absolutely delicious, and while it is perverse to use canned tomatoes in August, this would be an excellent soup for January. Here's the recipe:


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil (or another fresh herb. I think dill would work well.)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups cream or milk

1. In a soup pot, gently saute the onion and red pepper flakes in the oil until the onion softens. Pour in the tomatoes and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching.

2. Add water, basil and sugar and simmer for another 15 minutes.

3. Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return to the pot and stir in the milk or cream. Taste for seasoning and serve, ideally with grilled cheese sandwiches. Serves 4.

A few nights later, on the newspaper place mats, we ate Lynch's cheese risotto, which employs, instead of the usual Parmesan, my favorite cheese: aged gouda.
This ugly photo is strictly to prove that I really did make risotto.

The aged gouda was an excellent twist, but the really interesting aspect of this recipe was that Lynch instructs you to fold whipped cream into the cooked risotto. I don't understand the point of whipping the cream, because it melted as soon as it touched the risotto, instantly reverting to its pre-whipped condition. That said, the risotto was incredible.

All caught up.


  1. I love, love aged gouda. The flavor crystals!

  2. I love, love this line: "I wonder if the kids in ancient Rome started wearing boxes to dinner. I bet it was one of the signs."

    I also think you need a new saucepan/risotto cooking pan. Corning ware is too hard to clean! and needs too much attention on the stove (burns easily) for someone like you who has four or five recipes going at one time.

  3. well, i for one am grateful to Owen for wearing that box outfit, it's really making me laugh right out loud in the middle of an otherwise boring day at the office.

  4. Hysterical, an Owen in the Box! Was it just a random thing for him...oh, I think I'll wear a box today? Or is there some backstory?

  5. If you make the gouda risotto again without whipping the cream, please let us know how it goes.

  6. I don't try to argue with any of my kids about what they wear, cardboard or otherwise. Of course, I have three boys, one in college and the other two are 13 year old twins, so I get alot of pajamas worn as clothing and swim trunks all year round.

  7. 12 hours later i just read that rome line again and it made me laugh out loud again. it's going to be my new way to cheer myself up in the middle of a bad day. those photos and that line.

  8. Owen likes cutting up cardboard to make costumes. Thus the boxbot.

  9. Good for Owen for thinking outside of th box! (wah-waahh.) My kids make their robot costumes out of paper grocery bags. Would you rather have a box kid or a bag kid? Hmmm....

  10. The box is stunning. I LOVE it! Definitely to be encouraged.....Oh to be young and able to wear a box to supper.......

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