Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Those of you who don't know me well might be surprised to learn that I have an amazing talent of coming up with genius ideas for new products and business ventures (really, though, you shouldn't be that surprised). Since I became a mother three years ago, my ideas have focused more on making parenting easier, so here are 5 genius ideas for products that I hope will see the light sooner than later. I hope you like them enough to invest in their creation and distribution. (Call me.)
Co-sleeping is all cute and cozy, but what happens when either baby or parent is awake? When the "co" in "co-sleeping" goes missing, you need the INST-A-RAIL. It's a remote-controlled system of rails that come up on all sides of the beds (very silently, of course) so that you can safely leave your child asleep in your bed alone or let him/her frolic on the sheets while you sleep. Perfect for babies who have learned to roll over, scoot, crawl and/or exercise. I know I presently need this at least twice a day.
|Imagine this, but on all sides of the bed |
|It's going to fall out in 3 minutes.|
3. HOME SCANNER
|I have no idea what this actually is.|
|We'll stay in the car for another 90 minutes.|
5. TOILET PAPER CUTTER
|I'll try the sudden side pull again.|
Find 5 more genius inventions for parents here.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
The original recipe is zucca with ricotta forte, which translates to "pumpkin with strong ricotta". The ricotta forte is a specialty of Bari, in the region of Puglia (Italy's high heel), and it's a pungent, spreadable cheese that is basically ricotta left to go bad for months. You can read its fascinating story in this post from Serious Eats. In the original recipe, pumpkin cubes are cooked with onions, celery, capers, anchovies, and black olives, and then mixed with a couple tablespoons of ricotta forte.
I replaced the ricotta forte with ricotta salata, which nowadays is a delicious and inexpensive staple in my pantry. Then, I replaced the pumpkin with spaghetti squash because I think it works great both for flavor and texture. Plus, I love spaghetti squash because I think it's Mother Nature giving a winking nod to Italian cuisine. *winks back*
This resulting dish is absolutely delicious and packs a lot of flavor. You can serve it as an appetizer or side, maybe spooned on toasted country bread. It also tastes great the day after, but I can't say about the day after that, because then it's usually gone. One admission: In my version you won't find the anchovies. As much as I worship my little oily friends of the sea, I've found that the squash-anchovy combination is not something my body reacts well to. If you want to try it, add two anchovies to the hot oil at the beginning of the recipe. And if you like it, you're allowed to call me a coward.
Spaghetti Squash with Ricotta Salata and Black Olives
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp capers (or more!)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2/3 cups pitted black cured olives, halved
1 cup cubed ricotta salata
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the garlic and capers. Let the capers "bloom".
- Add the onion and celery to the pan and stir fry until the onion is golden and soft but the celery is still somewhat crispy, for 5 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in the spaghetti squash and cook until it colors a bit, about 10 minutes.
- Add the black olives and cook for another 10 minutes or so, adding a few tablespoons of water if the squash mixture gets too dry.
- Transfer the cooked mixture in a bowl and stir in the ricotta salata. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, a hefty pinch of dry oregano, and freshly ground black pepper.