Saturday, January 03, 2009

Feeding My Addictions & A Simple Pasta Recipe: Linguine with Olive Oil, Garlic, Pecorino Romano, and Parsley

And a Wonderful Book for Art Loving Foodies


Linguini or Linguine? Actually, this is tagliatelle with a side of art.

Hi, my name is Susan and I'm a book fiend, a certified foodie, and a recipe hound, which also makes me a hopeless cookbookaholic. I have a stack of cookbooks from which I've never made a single recipe and yet I still keep buying new ones. Add the words 'bargain priced' and there's absolutely no stopping me.

A few months ago I received an email message from my best friend Beth that consisted of a website address and the subject line "Cookbook store going out of business sale." Talk about an enabler. An hour later I had 12 scrumptious publications I never knew I desperately needed in my shopping cart (after painfully narrowing it down from a total of 17) and was giddily typing in my credit card and shipping information as fast as I could. I still haven't looked through them all yet.

Food and books aren't my only downfalls either. I also happen to be an art junkie. From pointillism to paint-by-numbers, linocuts to letterpress, watercolors to World War II era posters—I love it all.

In between the 50 or so feet of bookshelves, there are no fewer than 13 framed works of art decorating my small and very cluttered studio office (which I share with the clothes dryer, the only closet in The Shack, and anything that needs to be kept at or below 77 degrees—vitamins, sheep wormer, onions and garlic—since this is the only room that's air-conditioned in summer).

My favorites are two 1930s watercolors of pink flamingos by S.W. Graves and an exquisite pastel nude from the 1990s in a fancy but chipped gilded frame.

A little peek into my life

In addition, adorning the walls are two handpainted signs (one is wood and says 'Fresh Produce' and the other is metal in the shape of a pot of blue and white flowers and says 'Garden Tours'), an oversized forest green Postal Telegraph clock, and two cork bulletin boards that are completely covered with greeting cards, photos snipped from magazines, and other bits of eye-catching ephemera. Timely announcements and important papers don't stand a chance of being noticed.

But the majority of my two dimensional art is packed up in storage, kind of like at the Smithsonian where only about 10% of the actual museum's collection is ever on display at one time.

Also decorating my little room are a large antique oval hat box that says Pedigree Hats (scored in a thrift store when I first moved to Missouri for $1.50), a cobalt blue handmade ceramic vase decorated with the face of a cat purchased 20 years ago from the artist at an outdoor fair and a small pale green ceramic Art Deco pitcher (both filled with sand and used as bookends), five bakelite radios from the 1930s, the latest addition to my collection of 1950s lucite purses (the rest are in boxes), and a gorgeous antique hand sewn wall hanging decorated with Egyptian motifs.

Don't forget the old tin of Hartz Mountain E-Z Kleen Flea Powder with a charming drawing of a child grooming a terrier-like dog on the front, the three silver knife rests from the 1930s in the shape of animals, and one of those little square puzzle games where you try to slide the 15 numbered pieces into the correct order, complete with instruction booklet dated 1933 and red leather carrying case. Then there's the black and red Art Deco tabletop display case that holds some of my prized bakelite jewelry collection and is surrounded by part of my equally prized bird nest collection.

There's more, but I'm sure you get the idea. With a background in graphic design and years spent buying and selling (and of course collecting) antiques, in my world pretty much everything is art.

The good news is that apart from weighing a few pounds more than I'd like to and having a constant shortage of wall and shelf space (not to mention a slight clutter problem), my addictions don't seem to be doing harm to me or anyone else. I'm well read and well fed, have plenty of interesting things to look at, and am always up for a story or a snack.


The makings of a quick and easy meal

Any multi-obsessive person knows that the only thing better than supporting one of your habits is finding something that will feed all of them at once, and last year I came across such a thing: The Artist's Palate, Cooking with the World's Great Artists by Frank Fedele, which immediately became one of my very favorite books.

Take one part coffee table art book, one part cookbook, one part never-before-seen portrait collection, two parts biography and memoir, and combine them with up close and personal food talk from and about some of the most famous artists in the world, and you have a publication that, for me at least, seems almost too good to be true.

If you're the kind of person who delights in finding out that Henri Matisse "rose early to take advantage of the light, and had only one large meal at midday followed by a siesta," or that Willem de Kooning was partial to Dutch food and ate a traditional Dutch breakfast of Gouda cheese, sliced ham, crusty dark pumpernickel bread, poached eggs, and tea with milk and sugar nearly every day but also adored fried chicken TV dinners, then you, too, are going to love this book.

Where else can you learn that the Grande Dame of American sculptors, Louise Bourgeois, once tried to cut up oxtails from the wholesale meat market with a bandsaw, or that the ice in Diego Rivera's Mexico City apartment's icebox was replaced every three days?

One of the real gems in this book is Frank Rehn Gallery codirector Peter Ornstein's priceless story of the surprise, "straight out of the Nighthawks" lunch he enjoyed at the home of Edward and Jo Hopper in the mid-60s, after delivering a check to the artist.

There's a recipe either directly from or somehow related to each artist profiled, including Norman Rockwell's favorite Oatmeal Cookies, Milton Glaser's Chinese Chicken Salad, Grant Wood's Strawberry Shortcake, Isamu Noguchi's Honey & Buttermilk Oatmeal (as re-created by acclaimed chef Kevin Shikami of Kevin restaurant in Chicago), and the Caramels au Chocolat that Mary Cassatt's longtime housekeeper used to prepare for her.

This book is already so wonderful that it wouldn't matter if the recipes didn't work, but they actually do. The few I've tried so far have been delicious, including this simple yet satisfying pasta from American painter and graphic artist Will Barnet.

So what delectable things (edible or otherwise) are you addicted to?



Linguine with Garlic and Oil
Serves 2 to 3 - Adapted from The Artist's Palate

From The Artist's Palate:
Will Barnet is best known for his elegant, pared-down portraits of women at repose, executed in a style he calls Classic Modernism. He had absolutely no trouble in deciding his favorite recipe. It was easy to determine since he eats it almost every day: linguini with garlic and oil. Will told me that he always finished the meal with a glass of hot tea and a sliver of Scharffen Berger dark chooclate. He sent in the label from a bar of the chocolate annotated with this handwritten note: "Sliver with a glass of hot tea—lunch or dinner—great dessert!"

This is one of those classic, simple dishes that I, too, could easily eat nearly every day. I've made it many times, including with parsley (which I think is vastly underrated) and freshly dug garlic from my organic kitchen garden. What's especially nice about it is that the ingredients are readily available year round; even in winter you can almost always find a decent head of garlic and a nice bunch of Italian parsley.

In summer look for fresh garlic and just-picked parsley at farmers' markets. As always, I urge you to use local and organic ingredients whenever possible—they really do make a difference in so many ways.



The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity—and the quality of your ingredients of course—but that doesn't mean you can't add your own personal touch with a handful of baby arugula (so easy to grow!), some fresh basil or thyme, a diced plum tomato, or even a few wild mushrooms if you're lucky enough to have some handy. I like stirring in a spoonful or two of Trader Joe's Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta (another addiction!), as pictured above. A little basil pesto or arugula pesto would also be nice.

The amounts of each ingredient are purely to taste—it's nearly impossible to mess this dish up. I added my More, More, More kitchen philosophy to the original version, upping the garlic, parsley, and cheese, and substituting tagliatelle when I didn't have any linguine on hand (though I prefer it with the linguine). Oh yes, and there's the added bonus that garlic, parsley, and even olive oil are all very good for you. What a delicious way to boost your immune system this winter. Bon appetit!

8 ounces dried linguine (of course fresh pasta would be wonderful)
4 to 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 to 12 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup (packed) chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, drain and return to the pot or a serving bowl, saving a little of the pasta water. When the pasta is nearly cooked, heat oil in a large skillet to hot, but not smoking. Add the garlic and lower the heat, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn. Add three quarters of the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Pour the sauce over the linguine and toss thoroughly, adding a little of the pasta water if desired. Top with the grated cheese and remaining parsley.

Can't get enough garlic? You might enjoy these recipes:
Roasted Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup (fat free and vegan)
Caramelized Beets with Garlic
My Favorite Basil Pesto
Beyond Easy White Bean Pesto Dip/Spread
Hot Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip
Swiss Chard Artichoke Soup
Quick Black Bean Soup/Chili
Cream (or not) of Artichoke Soup with Garlic & Onions
Broccoli, Onion & Garbanzo Bean Soup
Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup with Onions & Garlic
Onion & Herb Crusted Lamb Spareribs
Grilled Lamb Burgers with Red Pepper, Parsley, & Olive Relish

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the artistic foodie farm blog where pretty much everything we eat fits into one of two categories: things that go well with garlic and things that go well with chocolate.

23 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Susan!

    You will always be reward winning to me.

    bob

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  2. Love cookbooks also. I love to go to garage sales and look for them. The ones where the ladies of the Chruch put one out are the best!

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  3. Simply delicious! Very entertaining post.

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  4. Food is art, no? I have similar addictions...cooking and collecting cookbooks are two.

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  5. Yum! This sounds like lunch for today. I am pretty sure that some of my parsley has escaped the frosts, and I know I still have some fresh oregano. Throw in a few sundried tomatos.... yep, this sounds like the menu idea of the day. Thanks!

    Rhonda

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  6. That meal looks delicious! My addictions include sweets, particularly baked goods and ice cream; and fresh fruit (which I suppose is another type of sweet).

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  7. Happy new year to you! I was laughing all through reading your post, so much of it sounds familiar, especially the cookbook addition - the recipes often look so good, but there is so little time to experiment with them all. Delicious pictures, that looks great, especially with all that garlic and the bonus garlic recipes at the end.

    My addiction though, well, food-wise it is certainly MANGO!! Hands down, I am willing to spend insane amount of money on that to have them every day - money that I would faint at spending on anything else. Other than that, books play a large role, though at least that is through the library and is easier on the wallet. But it does leave the guilt feeling when I am reading 5 at a time in bits and all the books are piled up on the sofa meaning others can't read them...

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  8. Yeah, I have this issue with cookbooks, too. As does my MiL, which means our total house inventory of cookbooks is . . . well, ridiculous.

    Except I never buy them new (which is why it was so exciting to get a new one from you!);I only buy old ones for 25 cents at library sales. So I have a lot of weird cookbooks from the seventies with those strangely orange-tinted photographs. And I never, ever cook from them. Why do I do this? Why am I not happy with my "Joy of Cooking" and Julia Child, which are pretty much the only ones I ever use?

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  9. You are after my heart!
    cookbooks, art, food, and so much more!
    Life is art!
    Happy new year to you,
    may you always live with passion!
    Paulette
    www.tribalybellydanceblog.com

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  10. What am I addicted to? You mean besides coffee and my computer? And food? Wait, I think I just covered all my bases...

    I, too, love cookbooks, but I only refer back to a few on a regular basis: More-with-Less, Extending the Table, and Simply in Season (the Mennonite trilogy) are top on the list.

    -JJ

    Ps. A note to livinginalocalzone: When we lived in Nicaragua, our little adobe house was situated under a row of about five, full-grown, gorgeous mango trees. In retrospect, we did not fully appreciate the bounty we had. Shame on us.

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  11. We have a lot in common. I'd love to see your lucite purses collection!

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  12. I'm addicted to art too, though I don't have nearly enough right now to cover the walls. I have a large collection of nature photography, mostly shots I've taken myself, that I am constantly adding to.

    The recipe you posted is one of my favorite go-tos. It is so simple and quick. I especially like it with spinach, shrimp, and LOTS of garlic and romano!

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  13. I do have a problem of collecting cookbooks faster than I can read them... oh well!
    Love the pasta, it is my favourite kind of dish. And yes to the more, more, more!

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  14. I'm a day late commenting. I just wanted to say that I appreciate the little insights into Susan. I have been a fan for over a couple of years and like to find out "stuff" about you
    Again, thanks and keep 'em coming
    gramps

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  15. Love your bakelite radios - do they work? My DH's hobby is antique radios; he just loves finding and restoring them. I think I've lost him since he discovered Ebay :-)

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  16. Quick and simple to make, but tasty!

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  17. Your pasta looks lovely. Pecorino Romano is one of my very favorite kinds of cheese. I grew up on a farm so am enjoying your photos!

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  18. I love this article and especially the photo at the top with the birds. Very eye-catching.

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  19. I used to make this recipe at least once a week only we added lemon juice. It was sooo simple and sooo good!

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  20. I just made this, it was soo good, I wish I could eat the plate!

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  21. This looks like a fantastic recipe. Simple ingredients with explosive flavors. That is right up my alley.

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  22. wow, that looks delicious!! I can't wait to make it! :)

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  23. I'm trying this tomorrow. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!

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January 2013 update: I know word verification is a big pain, but it's the only way I can stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I get every day. I don't want to require commenters to be registered Blogger or Open ID users because I know many of you aren't. Thanks so much for your understanding!

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