Monday, April 18, 2011

simple treasures

By the time I got married, I had a pretty good handle on cooking, though I had not yet experienced the joy of the diversity wrought by a shelf full of cookbooks.  I was still building my collection - of cookbooks, cookware, and baking tips; however, by the time of my bridal shower, it was pretty well known that Natalie Loves Cooking.  As such, a theme to my shower was recipes - what ingredients were necessary for a life of love and happiness, silly games like that, and most of my gifts from my registry were either cookware or bakeware.

The woman who hosted the shower in her gorgeous, probably-been-in-magazines home owns and operates a Kitchen Kapers, so she thought all of this was wonderful.  One of her gifts to me was The Bride and Groom First & Forever Cookbook along with a matching recipe box that came with pre-printed cards as well as empty cards.  That box is now packed absurdly full from the recipes I've collected over the years, so I figured it was time to pry it out from between Fannie Farmer and my little gold book of recipes and make some old favorites this week.  We'll kick off Monday with Garlicky Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil.

I have no idea where this recipe came from, but it is sinfully simple to prepare and never ever tastes less than terrific.  All it really is, is 4 cloves of garlic

a generous handful (1/3 cup) of chopped, fresh basil

and two pounds of perfectly ripe plum tomatoes (a miracle find in April, if you ask me) with a favorable amount of salt.

But every time it comes up smelling like...okay, not roses - more like garlicky tomatoes with a hint of basil, but that smells pretty darn good and it tastes even better.

Something I noticed last night as I was spending my last contemplative moments awake before joining my asleep-since-supper husband in bed should not come as a surprise:  I love my home.  I'm so happy with the way everything is coming together, even if we did get lazy and fail to unpack the last few boxes and the living room isn't quite set up the way I want it yet.  We're close enough that I can sit here and look around and be at peace.

So, after I cleaned up from dinner, I was to pleased with how shiny and clean my kitchen looked, I thought I would share my happy place.  I've been waiting to get everything as I want it so I can do a before-and-after post, and I still will, but we'll give you a sneak preview of my kitchen.


 Nice and open, but seriously?  Do you see the complete and utter lack of counter space (assuming I actually want to use my toaster oven and coffeemaker and have a place to drain my washed dishes)?


With a little help from IKEA, I created a little, open galley kitchen! Now I have plenty of shelves for all of my cookware, as well as plenty of counter space for food prep.  Believe it or not, I can use every last inch of that long counter when baking.