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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Frankie Says Relax

I've *got* to relax.

Leaning out of the passenger-side window screaming "Fuck you! Fuck you!" at yahoo drivers, while shooting the bird, so far hasn't gotten me killed.*

Even though afterwards I've never really felt great about it.**

If hindsight is 20/20, then that one incident with the cabbie and his carload of out-of-towners was pretty humorous. Yet, the flourishing of "fuck" in my everyday flabber-jabber seems less like a fabulous flagrancy of the English language and more like a frustrating fixture of growing hardened, bitter, and maybe even downright mean.

I don't like, don't need, the added stress. Lately I've discovered a good pick-me-up by dashing into the closest Walgreens, Rite Aid, etc., and heading towards the birthday card section, where upon reading the 5th goofiest card my spirits are back on track and I feel human again.

For happiness' sake, I think it's important to manage your stress and anxiety, especially if you really want to enjoy food. You know that I get so stressed sometimes that I don't even want to eat. Or if I do, the most I can muster is 415-771-1591.

However, when I'm relaxed and feeling good, I'm able to devote my imagination to "what the heck am I going to do with this fava bean", rather than "if I did happen to throw a brick through his window, could I have gotten away with it".

The other night, I happened to answer the first question rather than the second and, believe you me, it was so worth it. Besides, I can't really see myself foraging for dandelion greens on the edge of the prison yard. That, I defer to the professionals.***

*This is apparent.
**Much like "Hell's Kitchen" until last night's episode.
***Oh, puh-leeze. She spends a minute in the joint and figures she has a right to complain? She probably snitched out 5 butches for a tablespoon of pine nuts and pinch of arugula.

Pasta That Makes You Go Ohmmm

This pasta came about because Bruce and I found what could be the last great fava beans of the year at 79 cents per pound at a produce stand next to the Flying Fish Grill in Half Moon Bay. In addition, white corn is on sale everywhere and it's pretty hard to resist buying a few. In fact, most of the ingredients for this pasta dish were just things sitting pretty in the fridge, thus the stress-free nature of it. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit more of this...

½ pound of medium shell pasta
2 cups of diced ham
2 cups of shelled fava beans (I think it goes 1 pound = 1 cup peeled)
half a large yellow onion, diced
1 large handful of mint, chopped
3 ears of white corn, cut from the cob
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
½ teaspoon of anchovy paste
½ teaspoon of cayenne
4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup white wine (maybe a Sauvignon Blanc)
Salt and Pepper (the spice, not the 80s rap duo)
1½ cups of grated Parmigiano Regiano
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 juicy lime

1. Shell your fava beans and immerse in boiling water. Parboil for a few minutes and then, using a slotted spoon or something similar, remove the beans to a colander and run under cold water. Drain, peel, and then set aside. Reserve the cooking water for pasta.

2. In a medium cast iron skillet sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil on medium high for a few minutes (don't brown). Then add the garlic and fry until fragrant. Add the chopped ham and fry for a minute or two more. Remove from heat.

3. To the skillet, add the fava beans, fennel seeds, cayenne, and anchovy paste. Return to the heat and fry for another minute, then add about ¼ cup of wine and reduce slightly. Remove from the heat again.

4. Next, cook the pasta in the reserved water until al dente. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

5. When the pasta is cooked and drained, return it to the pot. Add the contents of the skillet to the pasta, as well as the corn, mint, half of the cheese, and salt and pepper (ah, push it) to taste. Mix well and push it real good.

6. Add the pasta mixture back to the cast iron skillet and spread out evenly. Squeeze the lime juice over the top, then pour on about a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and then sprinkle on the last bit of cheese.

7. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes has passed, turn on the broiler and lightly brown the top. Mr. T says "I pity the fool who walks away from a dish under the broiler", so stand there and watch it.

When it's done, remove from the oven and either serve immediately or take fancy-schmancy pictures of it for your blog while it sits there and gets cold.



Blogger drbiggles said...

Funny you mention Frankie. After 6 years I finally have my Boys Only room (stereo & desk & computer).
Found my Frankie record (you know? Vinyl?) from ... well whenever it hit the streets. I also found my Mac Davis record, thought he'd disappeared. Ah, heaven.


2:49 PM  

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