Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowy Garden

Just a few weeks ago, New York was still kinda balmy and the last of the veggies, arugula and radicchio, were growing in our garden. But now it's a snowy wonderland...

We won't be dining al fresco any time soon! That's gotta be two feet of snow on that table!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A taste of summer in the dead of winter

Baby it's old outside! So, I know, this is no time to think about gardening. After a long, warm fall, with the harvest lasting far longer than expected (I picked  my last pepper in early December), we finally pulled up the last of the peppers and petunias, brought the rosemary inside, and got ready for the winter. And indeed, winter has arrived!
 It's been a frozen zone here in NYC for the past few weeks. But to break the cold spell, at least psychologically, I browsed my freezer the other day, looking for a container of cherry tomato sauce that I prepared from a bountiful late summer harvest and stored away. I figured it would be a nice reminder of days gone by. When cooking the sauce, I used a recipe I found online at Epicurious, which called for roasting the cherry tomatoes with garlic and spices. To finish the dish last week, I added the feta, olives, capers, pine nuts and farfalle pasta. It was so delicious, it took me right back to the lovely days of summer, when our tomato plants were heavy with fruit and I could just walk out on my terrace and pick off a handful of cherries. I still have one more container of the sauce, so I will be able to enjoy my summer reverie again soon. The recipe is easy to make and if you don't have tomatoes growing, you can probably find some nice heirloom cherries at a decent market like Whole Foods. Or you can bookmark this page and wait till next summer...

2 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 pound farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
1/2 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
1/4 cup drained capers
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Combine tomatoes, oil, garlic, vinegar, and crushed red pepper in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes are tender and juicy, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Stir in oregano. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Return to pot. Add tomato mixture, olives, and capers. Stir over medium heat until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add feta and stir until melted and creamy, about 2 minutes. Divide pasta among 6 plates; sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.