I didn’t realize how much I see food (preparing food, that is) as an expression of love until this weekend. So, here I sit, after my first FULL week away from Matt totally in love and nowhere to put it….so I put it into my cooking.
Fast forward to Sunday evening and over the course of 2 days I have made the following:
5 types of tomato-based pasta sauce (w and w/o meat)
1 curry sauce
1 eggplant pesto (DELICIOUS, recipe to follow)
1 batch of roasted plums with lavendar oil
1 rice pasta dinner w/red sauce + goat cheese for my neighbor (nice, 80 yr old man)
1 omelet with fresh basil and sundried tomatoes
2 off-white videos (to follow)
As I got to thinking, all around me there were examples of how we use food to express love. Even my weekend of culinary experimentation was part of a chain of events surrounding love. Here’s how:
I recieved the bounty of amazing produce (tomatoes, eggplant, plums, and more) from our friend’s M. and B. at Wellspring. They loaded up my hatchback and topped it off with two bottles of wine prepared from their grapes harvested a couple years prior. The wine was a gift (of love) from M’s brother who also farms and shares of his ‘wealth’ with those around him.
When I got home, immediately I gave a box of amazing heirloom tomatoes to my neighbors, a family with 3 thriving young kids and big appetites. They loved them.
Now to the cooking…..Inspired and needing to get these tomatoes off my table and into something good I called upon a few of my creative mentors (Deborah Madison especially), and brewed up a ton of sauces to share with MY LOVE, Matt, when he comes home in 1 month.
THe plums were cooked in a lavendar oil gifted to us by our friend A. last year from her homemade stash.
I ran into my neighbor, a clever old man with a 200 lb Mastiff. They bring me the newspaper every morning at 8 am sharp. He lives alone (wife died some yrs ago) and rarely gets a home made meal. His eyes lit up when I knocked on his door bearing a tupperware container full of pasta with homemade sauce, goat cheese and freshly chopped parsley.
So I realized that sometimes its okay for food to be an expression of love, especially when it is shared. There is lots of talk about how we as a culture substitute food as love, hence our food and sugar addiction. This way of being closes our hearts and isolates us (believe me, I’ve been in that place and boy is it lonely). I would agree with that 100% and I also agree that there is something powerful, magical and deep about breaking bread with your neighbor, or making something special that you know somebody will love. In those instances, food is a reflection of love, not a substitute, and the heart remains more open. I got just a little bit closer to all the people involved in this process this weekend, even my husband who was 500 miles away. Dare I say I even wrote him a poem on Saturday. Do you know the last time I wrote poetry??? Me neither. It must have been all the fumes from the pasta sauces going to my romantic head 🙂
So, below are just a few ideas on how you can share some love w/ two creative recipes + 2 videos on pasta sauce and herbs.
2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cups + 2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup Parmersean or Romano cheese
1/3 cup walnuts
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large or two small eggplants, sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat an oven to 400. Place the eggplant on a cookie sheet and coat with the 2 tbsp EVOO. Bake for about 30 minutes or until flesh is soft. In the meantime, blend or put in a food processor the nuts, garlic, and cheese, making a paste. Add the basil, salt/pepper and oil. Blend. Scrape the flesh of the eggplant out and add to the basil/oil mix. Blend or mix until smooth. Makes about 2-2.5 cup and is DELICIOUS!!
1 lb small plums (not sure what kind I had, they were sweet and often used for prunes??)
2 tbsp lavendar oil (you can buy this or make on your own). If you don’t have that, use a light oil like safflower or regular oilve oil and you can sprinkle w/ a little lavendar
2 tsp cinnamon
Halve and pit the plums. Coat the baking sheet w/oil and line up the plums. Take a brush and add a topcoat of oil + the cinnamon. Bake for about 25 minutes. Some may stick to the pan, so be careful. They are somewhat gooey and SUPER SWEET. Great topping for oatmeal, to put into a crumble, or to eat as they are. Yum!!
Video #1: Pasta sauce
Video #2: Herbs