Sunday, September 23, 2007

not remotely food related

so i'm sitting here minding my own business after a long week at work (that's a joke! get it! long week at work! ha! ok nevermind). so anyway, today i've been making chili and cornbread, which maybe i'll blog about someday. and j is over, so we're watching college football. and at 7:44 pm Eastern Standard Time on the dot, Saturday night college football started, and a little ditty came on and i looked at the television and who should it be but Perry Farell, on stage with two other shmuckaroos, singing about how great Saturday Night College Football is.

Did you get that part about Perry Farell?

Singing about how great college football is? while wearing sparkly pants?

I have no idea what to think. that's like saying trent reznor sold out to Nascar. okay okay, perhaps not that extreme.

nothing to see here. move along.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

lunch for a friend

my friend Mrs. B teaches 6th grade special ed, and since i'm not doing anything these days, i decided to bring her lunch. but not just any lunch; it had to be good. no pb & j here! although having said that, i do like pb & j a lot. and it probably would have transported me back to childhood, to eat pb & j in her classroom. but i wanted better than that.

whatever i made had to be easily transportable, so i sat down and went through some cookbooks (incidentally, i catalogued them yesterday - did i say i was bored? and we have 120 cookbooks and food-related books in our library. we have more that have been loaned out and i know of two steven raichlen books that have gone "missing" and for all i know they're in the box of occult and anne rice books in the garage. so 120 is the low end there). the boy suggested i make something of the barefoot contessa's, because a lot of her stuff is portable. and as soon as he said that, i knew exactly what i wanted to make.

Caesar Club Sandwich
From Barefoot Contessa At Home

Serves 3 (generously!)

2 split (1 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
good olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces thinly slices pancetta (i used bacon)
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
1 large ciabatta bread
2 ounces baby arugula
12 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
2 to 3 ounces shaved Parmesan (use a peeler for this)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan skin side up. Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. Cool slightly, discard the skin and bones, and slice meat thickly. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place the pancetta (or bacon, in my case) on another sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes until crisp (closer to a half hour for bacon). Set aside to drain on paper towels.

Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until minced. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, and mayo and process again to make a smooth dressing. (Refrigerate the dressing if not using immediately).

Slice the ciabatta in half horizontally and separate the top from the bottom. Toast the bread in the oven, cut side up, for 5 to 7 minutes; cool slightly. Spread the cut sides of each piece with the dressing. Place half the arugula on the bottom piece of bread and then layer in order: the sun-dried tomatoes, shaved parmesan, pancetta, and sliced chicken. sprinkle with salt and pepper and finish with another layer of arugula. Place the top slice of ciabatta on top and cut in thirds crosswise. serve at room temperature.

i've been dying to make this recipe for a while, and i'm irritated with myself because i was running low on time while assembling and forgot to take pictures of the sandwich before cutting. trust me, it is impressive! the flavors marry so well together. the recipe says it makes three servings, but you'll see that each portion is so huge that you can share with someone else. i stopped by the boy's work on the way to the middle school and dropped off his "serving", which he shared with the executive chef. he had suggested i used shaved Asiago, so i used a mix of both parmesan and Asiago. later, he suggested that next time i cut the sun-dried tomatoes into slivers, as they would be easier to eat that way.

I wrapped each piece in plastic wrap, packed up some pretty disposable plates with big huge gardenias on them (i do have my big, gay, and girly moments sometimes), and brought along a big tupperware of mixed greens, which i dressed when i got to the school with a simple vinaigrette (1 clove chopped garlic, salt and pepper, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and olive oil, put it in a container with tight fitting lid and shake like hell. the amount of vinegar and oil is up to your taste). growing up, we had salad every single night with dinner, and this was the dressing we used. if you need help with basic dressings and sauces, i suggest purchasing Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, which is my absolute favorite "cookbook" ever. it's basically a condensed version of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Oh, and anchovies. if you don't already know this. a bit of advice: don't advertise that there are anchovies in your dressing. well, most people like them and will get over it; but a few will not deal with that well. i once brought homemade tapenade to a party in DC and i was going through the list of ingredients with one of the guests who immediately looked disgusted with me and life in general when i mentioned anchovies. people assume the worst, but honestly you cannot get a better source of savoriness for things like caesar dressing without them.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

brownies for charles

My friend Charles, who lives in Williamsburg VA, has a birthday coming up. i've mentioned him before; he's the one who has sent me kooky gifts over the years including all the miniature booze bottles for made-up holidays. i always try to include some kind of baked good in his goodie box for his birthday, and this year i decided on brownies because i'd never made them for him before (he usually gets something that ships well, like a lemon loaf cake or some other pound cake).

this year's gift box included Wings Across America, the best and cheapest little peeler in the whole world (you can find clear plastic ones at williams sonoma for 3 bucks apiece), and a couple of Georgia products. i found an article about georgia wines and decided to go looking for some; but our upscale liquor store nearby the house only had the habersham winery "scarlett", so i included a bottle of that in his package. i hope the wine is good enough to drink and not just mediocre, although regardless of the taste, he will enjoy the idea of a wine named "scarlett". i also sent him honey from weeks works (they're just north of here in cherokee county), because i like their product. a few months ago when all the food sites were discussing the diminishing bee population and whether or not cell phone signals had anything to do with it, i emailed the good people at weeks works just to get their opinion on the matter. after a few emails back and forth, i was asked if i'd like to keep bees, but i passed on the offer. it's not that we don't have the room in our yard, because we do; it's that i have a very nosy dog, and also as much as i like bees, i'm terrified of them. didn't anyone see The Swarm? that shit scares the crap out of me.

Charles prefers pecans to walnuts, so i included these in the brownies; besides, that kept with the bit of Georgia theme i had going on already. but my next dilemma was that i was unsure which brownie recipe to use. a basic brownie is a basic brownie, whichever cookbook you may use, but i wasn't liking what i saw, so i kind of just wung it a bit with what seemed right. after the brownies had cooled, i cut them into squares and wrapped each individually in plastic wrap and put them in a box. the top brownie i wrapped with ribbon and included a birthday candle, and also a note which read (as i write every year) that he could either share with the other kiddies or go off into a secret corner and eat the whole lot himself.

i hope he will be pleased.

Brownies for Charles
makes 9 square brownies

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped up
2 sticks of butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. line a 9-inch square pan with parchment and lightly coat with spray oil. I use the method that joe pastry describes to line the pan with parchment.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave; run it on high for about a minute, then stir - you might need to go an extra 30 seconds to another minute for this. Set aside. Or you could melt these together in a double boiler, but my preferred method is the microwave. It's pretty much the only thing I use the microwave for.

Beat the eggs and sugars together until well blended and smooth. Add the vanilla, then mix in the chocolate mixture.

Sift together the flour and salt and add to the mix but DO NOT overblend, then stir in the pecans. Pour this into the pan and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes (check at 30 minutes by inserting a toothpick into the center). Leave to cool on a rack for 20 to 30 minutes, then remove brownies from pan and cut into 9 even squares.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

on the hunt for pork fat

the boy went to ireland for a month in the fall of 2004, and that was one of the most miserable periods of my life. not only did i miss him like crazy, but during that time i got a flu shot and then proceeded to have the worst flu ever. i couldnt get out of bed for days, and not having anyone there to dote on me totally sucked ass. the only beacon of light during this time was the arrival in the post of the Les Halles cookbook i had pre-ordered from Amazon. i read the entire book from beginning to end, and sat up in bed and laughed out loud. and when i came across the recipe for rillettes, i just knew i had to make it.

well, that was 3 years ago minus a month, and i didn't get around to making rillettes
until just now.

rillettes is one of those childhood favorites of mine. it's basically a pork spread that you slather onto crusty pieces of baguette. you can make it with other meat, like duck and whatnot, but to me the real thing is made with pig and it is laced with pork fat. so yes, it's not the best thing for you in the world. the boy mock-threatened to call up my kickboxing instructor and inform him of what i've been eating so that my next workout will be a doozy.

so i decided to make this on saturday, and enlisted my buddy zack for some help in finding pork fat. zack told me that the dekalb farmers market sells pork fat, and as much as i love that place it's also a good 35 minute drive from the house (on a good day with no traffic and driving 80 mph). i figured it wouldn't hurt to ask around up here in suburbia if pork fat was available, in order to avoid the trek.

i first asked the butcher at the publix near the house. well, i'm pretty sure he was not the butcher, probably just some assistant wearing a white coat and hair net. so i asked him if he had any pork fat and he looked at me blankly.

"Pork fat? did you say, pork fat?"
"Yes. Do you have any?"
"I'm not sure what you mean."
"Well, you know, pork fat. The bits and trimmings of fat. From a pig." i mean, shit. how difficult is this to comprehend?

another blank stare.

"What do you need this for?"
"Well i'm doing a french recipe."

blank look turned into skeptical look.

"We've got salt pork over there. Is that what you mean? I've never heard of pork fat."

blank look from me this time.


Next! i called Kroger and asked to speak to the butcher, who told me that although Kroger didn't carry pork fat, he was almost positive that Publix did. Nevermind.

Next! i called Whole Foods, where a kind man who actually sounded like a butcher because he knew what pork fat was told me that the pork they receive is so lean they have barely any fat to trim off.

so i decided to make the trek to dcfm, on a saturday at 4:30 pm. anyone who's ever been there knows that although this place is fantastic in every aspect, a saturday afternoon is absolutely NOT the time to go; but i was on a mission and i had pork belly and shoulder bubbling away on the stove and i needed to get back to it pronto. away i went, down 400 and over to 285, a road i never venture on but now i know why. it is totally filled with potholes and assholes. i thought 400 was bad, but i must have gotten used to it. drivers on 285 are a whole different shitlick breed. but i arrived and proceeded to pushy-shovy my way through the warehouse, and i mean this literally, i really did have to pushy-shovy my way through it to the meat department and secured my one pound treasure of fatty goodness.

honestly, it's pretty gross looking. when i got home, i rendered it away on the stove until it released its porky goodness. but the whole idea is gross. just dont think about it. just do it.

while it was rendering, mrs p was pulling the best song and dance from her repertoire. that dog was pacing the kitchen and giving me the long sad face, the one she likes to pull when she's pretending that she's a starving orphan. i am wise to her ways, though.

i'm not posting the recipe because those of you who are anthony bourdain fans already own the Les Halles cookbook, and i have a sneaking suspicion that rillettes is probably the last thing you want to make. but you are totally missing out, man.

but i have two small issues with the recipe as it is. i was a little unclear as to what stage the rendered pork fat had to be for me to add it to the mixture, so i added it while it was still warm and liquidy. and i think in the end i added too much of it. i mentioned this to zack via email, and he wrote back, "I think there is a typo in your email.. you said 'too much pork fat'. This phrase doesn't exist!". the other issue i had is that it wasnt salty enough, so i've added some kosher salt to the finished product.

all in all, it was a nice trip down memory lane for me. one bite, and i was transported back to childhood. thank you, mr. bourdain.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


i don't know who was more excited when the boy received a copy of Daniel Boulud's Braise for his birthday - he who received it, or me, who selfishly gave it to him knowing that it was one of those gifts that benefits both of us.

and now that the weather has turned a bit, and we have the windows open and a nice breeze is flowing through the house, i don't feel so badly about having the oven on for 4 or 5 hours at a time. its blaring heat doesn't indecently warm up the house, like that one time not so long ago when we decided to make braised short ribs in 100 degree weather.

when i first glanced through the book, i read aloud to the boy the titles of the most intriguing recipes, and it seemed that all the ones i hollered about involved pig in some way. one of my master plans to follow through with during this recently, uh, acquired unplanned vacation time is to cook a hell of a lot. i have other master plans, and those involve making bread (i've got baguette proofing as i type this) and kickboxing a lot. so far i've not done so badly. i'm going to deserve an award for Best Suburban Housewife when this is all over with, what with all the vacuuming and laundry and cooking and stuff. actually, in reality, i have much respect for housewives. growing up, my mom worked now and then, but since my dad was away a lot (he worked for a major airline), she did all the housewifey things. this shit is hard work, and i believe that housewives (or househusbands, which seem to be more common these days) are rather unappreciated. my hat goes off to you.

so i digress. one of the first recipes i turned to in the book not only involved pig but involved a rather super cheap piece of pig. that is the best thing about braising, that one can take a tough piece of back end of animal that nobody else wants (e.g. people with money); and the art of braising makes it develop, kind of like the ugly duckling into a swan. so i ran across this recipe and it seemed so intriguing, and involved a lot of the flavors that have pleased me of late.

You'll need to make a trip to your local asian or specialty market for some of the ingredients, and while there see if you can find ham hocks (not the smoked kind). i bought the ham hocks, frozen, from the Super H, for a total of 5 bucks. if you can get fresh, well by all means buy them. and do buy them as meaty as you can get them, as DB suggests in the opening paragraph. i cannot get over how succulent the braising liquid becomes once the dish is complete. the level of flavors and the wonderful kick from the hot pepper flakes and sambal oelek, oh. i am at a loss for words. don't be put off by the use of lychee fruit; after all, people in the US eat ham with pineapple, don't they?

Ham Hocks with Lychees and Bok Choy
From Daniel Boulud's "Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine"

Serves 4

"In the United States, ham hocks are normally smoked, along with the rest of the ham, and are used to flavor a big pot of greens or soup, especially in the South. But I also like to cook with fresh , uncured hocks, because they have a lot of flavor and are inexpensive. They're also unusual, since you don't see them on their own very often. As much as I love them, you do need to seek out nice, thick, relatively meaty ones. Hocks that are just skin and bones are no fun to eat. But with good ham hocks, this intensely flavored, pan-Asian inspired recipe won't disappoint anyone. Serve it with regular or sticky rice."

4 pounds fresh ham hocks, trimmed of excess fat (I found these frozen at the Super H for 5 bucks total, although you have to trim off the fat yourself)
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 (2 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
1 (20 oz) can of lychees in syrup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flake
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon red chili paste (i use the kind with the rooster on it, Sambal Oelek)
4 baby bok choy (about 1 pound), tough stem ends trimmed
1 pound bitter melon (available at the Super H) (1 large or 2 medium), quartered lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 bunches scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the ham hocks and cook for 10 minutes. Drain.

2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

3. In a large cast iron pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ham hocks, lychees and syrup, soy sauce, brown sugar, cilantro, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, and chili paste. Bring to a simmer.

4. Cover the pot, transfer it to the oven, and braise for 3 hours, turning the hocks two or three times during cooking.

5. Add the bok choy and bitter melon, and continue to braise, covered, for 1 hour 15 minutes. Add the scallions, cover, and braise for an additional 15 minutes. Serve over rice.

the above picture doesn't do the dish justice. i took it last night and the lighting was bad. if there happens to be any left later on, i'll try to remember to take pictures of it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

the best breakfast

i've got many kitchen projects going on, one currently braising away in the oven which i'll blog about later this week. so while i take a break from cooking, i'm going to sit down with the latest issue of Food & Wine and eat a papaya sliced in half with a lime squeezed over it.

i remember the first time i ever ate papaya that way; i was in hawaii over christmas with my dad when i was 15. we drove around the Big island and stayed in some swanky hotel, and one morning we ordered room service breakfast (which was a rare treat - my dad doesn't ever order from room service). room service brought me an enormous papaya with a lime half to squeeze over it. since then, when i taste that flavor combination, i remember that long ago trip with my dad.

second best breakfast ever was also during that trip... down the road from our hotel was a roadside cafe which served the best banana nut pancakes i've had in my life. i can't remember the name of the place, since this was like 23 years ago and unless i write stuff down i can't remember anything these days.

we're really enjoying the fantastic weather which has come our way this past weekend. i love fall, and although it's still not crisp and cool enough for my taste, one can sense the beginnings of fall. we have the windows open, and the curtains are flying upwards when a small gust of wind comes along. the only downside to this is that Mrs. P barks her wee little head off when she hears a car door slam four houses away.

btw, that's a joke, about Mrs. P's wee little head. she's not so wee. or little. her head is mighty. and i do love it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

on cookies and wine

so i'm sitting here this evening drinking wine and making cookies, which happen to be two of the things i do really well. and while sitting on a barstool in the kitchen watching the nine inch nails live dvd and waiting for cookies to come out of the oven, i had a moment.

tomorrow is my last day at the Big Corporate job, although "last day" is really not that accurate. more accurately is, Show up at 11:30 am and turn in my computer and cell phone and beat a hasty retreat. where i am then headed to a kickboxing class, because i firmly believe that i would not have made it through the past two weeks without kickboxing. the job search is going slowly, but i still feel very confident that i'll find something where i'll be a perfect fit. i'm mostly really upset that i'll not see a lot of these people again. i really will miss you all - you know who you are, all five of you who know of the existence of this blog, that is ;)

anyway, i wish you all the best. and if i see you tomorrow, i'll give you a cookie.

much love,
the french tart

Saturday, September 8, 2007

on being too sore to cook

i have to apologize. i've not fallen off the face of the earth. it's just that i haven't really been cooking lately, at least nothing to write home about.

my kickboxing place finally opened their alpharetta location, after almost a year of promising that it'll open any day now (yeah, i know, permits and stuff prevented it from opening, yadda yadda yadda); and this couldn't have come at a better timing. not only do i need to let out some pent up aggression, but i'm suffering from a sad case of I'm So Fucking Out Of Shape that it hurts. this week i went to one of the late afternoon sessions three times, and lemme tell you that afterwards, after i've come home and showered off, the last thing i want to do is to cook because i barely have the energy to even sit on the couch without moaning in pain.

so there has been a lot of buttered noodles, and standing in front of the fridge gnawing on pieces of cheese for dinner. and i've wiped out my entire stash of frozen japanese wontons. a trip to the Super H today must be made, because i've become dependant on those dumplings. yes, Boy, i know they're not the healthiest thing in the world for me to be eating the hell out of, but we have no other food in the house right now.

i toyed with the idea of going to kickboxing this morning, but the fog in my brain has not lifted yet and i haven't had coffee. so let me have some coffee, make a grocery list, possibly do some yoga, and plan a few days worth of some healthy food that i can actually blog about without boring you all to death.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

on making fresh pasta

So yeah. I got laid off. But no worries, i’m actually quite okay with this.

I went through those five stages of grief awfully quickly, in fact I think I skipped over a few of them. I went through them prior to the actual day I was told the news. the rumor mill at Big Corporate Company ran amok these last few weeks and I got confirmation from a very reliable source on the Friday before that “It” would happen. So I went home and drank this while fixing my resume and sending it out, and I made sure to use the fancy crystal.

If I had a tiara, I would have worn that too. Because that’s what girls do when they’ve had a disappointment, at least that’s what Patty tells me.

On Saturday, Patty came over and we celebrated with more bubbly and lots of cheese and bread, and we toasted the End To An Era. See, it’s not so much a big deal in the rest of the country, but the Big Corporate actually started as a small Atlanta start-up which the locals love to cherish the memories of.

Sunday I woke up and felt pretty fucking great. Well, with a wee small hangover, but you know. I spent the day making pasta. I haven’t made fresh pasta in a while, and it’s not so much that I wanted to eat the pasta as I wanted to make it. kneading pasta dough, any dough for that matter, is incredibly therapeutic. And what’s more even therapeutic than that is the action of smooshing the dough into the pasta machine and having it come out flat as anything like a steamroller on the other end. I have the attachment to the kitchen aid bitch, and I can’t even begin to express how wonderful it is. As I fed the dough through the rollers, I felt my anguish and stress evaporate. I spent a couple of hours just smooshing the dough through the rollers. Half of it wasn’t edible in the end because I over-smooshed it, but that didn’t matter to me. Later, with what dough was left, I made the tomato-pesto sauce from Patricia Wells’ Trattoria and layered it with big lasagna-sized noodles. It was fresh and delicious, although when the boy walked in to the kitchen to talk to me and I opened my mouth, he immediately made a face and waved me away.

Me: “Oh shit, does my breath stink?”
The boy: “UM YEAH okay I love you and all, but you gotta do something about that”.
Me: “Should I come sit on your lap and breathe in your face?”

Not everyone is “over” it as I am though. On Tuesday while sitting in a big room as our haggard-looking VP was laying us off, there was a girl sitting two rows behind me sobbing uncontrollably, and I felt awful for her. She’d been there longer than I had. And I was quite surprised that I too wasn’t a blubbering mess. This would be my normal course of action, I mean I cried while reading the last Harry Potter book. Somehow or another I got through my grief a lot faster than other people. I’m not in denial, I’m not angry, I’m not sad. Well, I take that last one back. I work with a lot of fantastic people and I shall miss the camaraderie, the ability to walk by my vendor manager’s desk and make farty noises and have him yell “No farting in my cube!”, and the very casual atmosphere including being able to wear ragged jeans and chuck taylor’s to work.

However, I would probably have never left Big Corporate had they not kicked me out, so this is for the best. It’s time to move on.

The ol’ resume has been dusted off and rewritten about 4 times, and i’ve even gotten a few call-backs, so i’m actually quite upbeat about this. It’s a whole new world; let me at it!

Pasta Dough

Pasta recipe was loosely adapted from various sources. Pasta dough is basically flour and egg, and i’ve seen some with salt and olive oil. I’m not so sure about that last ingredient though. I recently acquired some doppio zero flour so I used a mix of that and regular AP flour.

2 cups flour
2 eggs
pinch of salt

dump flour onto work surface and make a well in the center. Add eggs into the well and slowly, by hand, carefully mix the flour and eggs together until dough begins to form a solid-ish mass. Knead until you get to that soft smooth point, usually about 10 minutes. cover and let sit for 1 hour. Divide dough into pieces and feed through the pasta machine following the manufacturer’s directions. Usually you start on the lowest widest setting and pass the dough through several times, then go up a setting and pass dough through several times, etc etc until you get to the end. Lay pasta sheets flat or drape all over anything that will stand still (i’ve previously used chair backs, the toaster, the faucet, and the blender to drape pasta over). After a few minutes of this, cut into desired shapes and cook in liberally salted boiling water for just a couple of minutes, if that.

Adaptation of Patricia Wells’ Lasagne with Basil, Garlic, and Tomato Sauce (of course, I only made a small portion of this since it was just for me)

6 oz fresh lasagne

4 garlic cloves, minced
fine sea salt to taste
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 firm ripe tomato, peeled, cored, seeded, and chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup (2 oz) freshly grated parmesan cheese

You could smoosh all this by hand in a mortar and pestle but mine isn’t very big, so I use the food processor.

Place garlic, salt, and basil in bowl of the food processor and process to a paste. Add the tomato and oil, and process again. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cheese. Taste for seasoning.

Cook the pasta and drain. Place a rectangle of pasta in a warmed shallow soup bowl. Top it with a spoonful of the pesto and smooth out the sauce with the back of a spoon. add 2 (or 3 if you’re a glutton like me) more layers of pasta, topping each layer with a spoonful of pesto. Grate on some more parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

And finally, although most importantly, i want to wish a very happy birthday to the boy. we're celebrating later with a trip to the local churrascaria along with j and patty.

happy birthday, my love!