parting with the pieces

Not to be depressing, but it’s the week when I am struck with the harsh reality that all things come to an end. (Many, at least. And for a while, anyhow.)

I bid adieu to sweet summer tomatoes, along with my appendix, this week. Unrelated, but a loss on both counts.

I suppose we could look on the sunny side of things and say that summer tomatoes make room for fall potatoes. And who tires of potatoes? Saturday’s visit to the farmer’s market behind our apartment was exquisite—everything wonderful is in season, the abundance of fruit and vegetable variety is at its finest. Had I not headed to the hospital soon after my successful shopping, I was about to return and take photos of my sunny walk for you.

And though my Saturday did not end happily (nor did my Sunday or Monday), these lovely veggies were calling to me over on the sofa since I returned home. And today, the humming of pain killers subdued, the little guys were screaming.

Blame it on Mom for teaching me not to waste, or the mid-day inspirational television to which I’ve been subjected in my excrutiating recovery. If the blind 19-year old can inspire the town despite his broken trumpet valves, I ought to be able to hobble to the kitchen and make good use of those ripe tomatoes?

So in my Advil-induced state, I beckoned the tomatoes and purple potatoes (+ coordinating basil) to join me in a whole-hearted, half-conscious attempt to play with my food.

Lindsey’s Purple Potato Tomato & Basil Spaghetti

for the potatoes

You could spare 5 minutes cooking time by omitting the potatoes, but they’re such an indulgent vegetable, and when they’re purple who can really resist?

1 lb. baby potatoes

1 tbsp. butter, melted, combined with 1 tsp. olive oil

salt and ground pepper

My dad made up this potato dish, which he made often for us growing up. It’s great with tender redskin potatoes. In a safer effort than mine tonight, slice the potatoes about 1/2 centimeter thick. These bake quickly in the toaster oven, but for a larger batch like this one, spread the slices in a single layer on a large baking sheet.

Heat the oven to 375F.  Brush the top of the slices with the butter/oil mixture. Sprinkle with coarse salt followed by a very light dusting of pepper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until browning and bubbly.

for the pasta

inspired by Fresh from the Farmers’ Market by Janet Fletcher

1 lb. assorted gold and red cherry tomatoes, halved (yes, really)

3 large shallots, minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes

1 lb. dried spaghetti or spaghettini

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

Yes, Andrew came home to find his recuperating wife tempted by the fruit of another—because we’re on the same page about tomato being a fruit, right? You must trust me about taking the trouble to halve the tomatoes. This is what I was doing, slouched on a kitchen stool, when Andrew walked in the door tonight to, “What are you doing?”

Bring your pasta pot to a boil while heating the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium high. Infuse the oil with the pepper flakes, stirring for about 2 minutes.

Add the shallots for another 2, then dump all of the tomatoes into the oil. Bring the mixture to a simmer, tossing gently once or twice. Turn off the heat before the tomatoes break—no longer than 5 minutes total. Turn off the heat.

When the pasta is just cooked through, transfer directly from the pasta water to the skillet of tomato sunshine. Toss gently over high heat for a minute or so until the noodles glisten with tomato-ey magic.

Toss the potato slices inside, or serve atop the spaghetti. Sprinkle with basil and fresh parmesan.

Ah, tomatoes in just the shade of my autumn mums. We’ve got to take advantage of these things while they last. I sure thought I’d be going into the week with an appendix, and I don’t mean the handy one in the back of my new Market cookbook…

Make the best of what you’ve got… happy summer!




leftover update: for lunch, wilt your leftover salad greens (arugula, spinach) in a few drops of olive oil. toss leftovers in the skillet, heat and eat! (with plenty of parmesan, of course.)


1 Comment

Filed under budget, dinners, here to share, lickety-quick

One response to “parting with the pieces

  1. feastonthecheap

    Those potatoes are something else! Hard to find those beauties here in NYC…

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