easy tomato butter sauce

hi, sister three here! this is my favorite tomato sauce that utilizes fresh tomatoes. i’ve made this recipe with plum, roma, and grape tomatoes and it’s always tasted delicious! i like to dice my tomatoes instead of just halving them so that they break down easier and i don’t have to mash the sauce as much. blending it is also an option, but i don’t like blending hot liquids. but i recommend that you leave a few spoonfuls of sauce behind when you blend it for extra texture! the garlic gets put in at the end of the sauce so it has time to soften instead of getting crispy and burnt. i hope you try this, enjoy!

serves 1

you will need:

6 tomatoes (your choice), diced

half an onion, diced


3 thinly sliced garlic cloves (can be diced, but i love thinly sliced garlic)

parmesan cheese (optional)

spaghetti (or any other pasta)

  1. heat up about a tablespoon of butter in a super hot pan- you want the butter to melt on it’s own before proceeding to the next step.
  2. toss in the onion and stir. cover the pan and fill up a cup with a tiny bit of water (just a few drops)
  3. after a few minutes, uncover and pour in the water. when your onions are brown and nicely cooked (don’t forget to season!), toss in the diced tomatoes.
  4. after stirring around, toss in the garlic and let the mixture boil/simmer for 20-30 minutes. you want most of the liquid to be gone!
  5. “mash” the sauce with your cooking utensil if you’d like- this allows the pasta to absorb the sauce better.
  6. after seasoning to taste (i recommend adding sugar), toss in as much butter as you’d like. i like a lot to make my sauce creamier, but it’s all up to you.
  7. when the sauce is finished, toss in your parmesan cheese and the pasta! top with more cheese if you’d like. enjoy!



another nice day in brooklyn

the remains of a fresh pasta dinner on the roof. we bought freshly made spinach pasta noodles from the italian market in chelsea market, fresh little olive, tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms all sauteed together. similarly, with just some olive oil, s&p. love it when that happens.

limeade, instagrammed. I had to do it πŸ™‚

simple gnocchi

sometimes I run out of pasta sauce that’s pre-made and I get really stressed out because when you’re a student that is pretty much all you eat. but today I remember with some olive oil, fresh veggies, and lots of freshly ground pepper, you can still be in for a treat. I also sprinkled some herbs like oregano and basil and thyme to spice it up a bit. I always add tomatoes at the very, very, end so they can remain fresh and crunchy, a nice contrast to the mushrooms. I used to hate olives but they’ve become a favorite since entering “adulthood” – and they add a great taste to any pasta too. I chop them up into little pieces and throw them in with the tomatoes.

gnocchi is such a cozy food. I can’t wait to make my own someday soon!

can’t wait to see sisters soon! reunion πŸ™‚

happy friendsgiving from socal!

Hey systers,

So soon, and we’ll all be together again! Only 2 more nights until I see Sister 1 again, and 2 weeks until I see Sister 3, and 3 weeks until we all see each other again in Taiwan, home of delicious food galore. Can our stomachs handle it? I hope so. Well, here’s my Thanksgiving post, and I’m sorry it took me so long. That fall semester crunch after Thanksgiving break gets me every time!

Well, I celebrated meaningful Thanksgiving with my friends Lily, Noelia, and Nelson. Since we were staying in Lily’s apartment for the break, it made sense to gather our small potluck party there. Nelson brought the Martinelli, Lily was in charge of sweet potato fries and dip, Noelia covered the pumpkin pie, and I made mac&cheese (out of the box, yes). Also, frozen pizza…’Twas a feast in the eyes of us young undergrads, to be sure. Oh, and egg nog was had, of course. There may not be a happier Thanksgiving moment than eating the leftovers straight out of the bowl with your best friends.

Real Thanksgiving was spent working at one of President Nikias’s many holiday parties, this one a Thanksgiving feast for students.They paid us for the entire time we were there, even though we were let off 2 hours early. So I got paid to stuff my face with incredibly delicious Thanksgiving food? No complaints here.Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, all that good stuff cooked to perfection. One more word: pie. I actually had a hard time moving at a normal pace afterwards…Ultimate food coma. Not unlike the one I’m prepared to experience every night we’re in Taiwan.

Can’t wait to see you guys πŸ™‚
Love always,
Sister 2

Spaghetti “ajo e ojo”

According to The Classic Italian Cookbook” by Marcella Hazan, which my professor gifted to me last summer, spaghetti ajo e ojo (spaghetti with garlic and oil), is now a “universal favorite, especially among Rome’s chic insomniacs, who depend upon a wee hours’ spaghettata to see them through the night until their early-morning bedtime.” A great cookbook and introduction to Italian cooking, this recipe is easy-peasy but surprisingly pleasant and excellent for those nights that you are starving but without many ingredients. And pasta is usually better simple.

Instead of crushed garlic cloves that are sauteed and then removed, the book recommends Β the garlic chopped and left in the oil for a fuller but milder taste, and no bitterness (summarized)

For 4 people:

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tsp of very finely chopped garlic
  • salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti or spaghettini (I used thin spaghetti, barilla style. classy!)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  1. Boil a pot of water, and fan out the spaghetti. Note: do not break the spaghetti in half. I’ve been doing that for years, but supposedly it’s not good for the pasta. Make sure to add a bit of olive oil to the water and a bit of salt.
  2. While the pot is boiling, you can go ahead and add 1/2 a cup of olive oil to a small sauce pan. Add the garlic and a bit of salt and allow the flavors to simmer until the garlic is a golden brown (if it burns, it will not be tasty anymore!) Take it off the heat once the color is achieved.
  3. Drain pasta and put in a bowl; add the garlic/oil/salt combination on top. I actually added some fresh spinach and chopped tomatoes to the mix as well, in case you’d like to make this your entree as opposed to an “introduction to a second course.” Then add some ground pepper and parsley, as well as some extra olive oil if necessary, and toss together. No cheese, or extra salt, is really needed.
  4. Eat up

Megan, take notes. Can’t eat on campus forever!

I enjoyed this while double enjoying Glee. God, I love this show. We should get tickets to see them live, ha ha ha.

mushroom ragu and polenta rounds

I had polenta, that had been sitting in fridge for quite sometime. The kind I had was pre-cooked but honestly I think making your own will probably taste much better. Nonethless, I wanted to make something that wasn’t the usual. I didn’t have all the right ingredients, so this is what I threw together.

1. Bake polenta in oven for about 15-20 minutes, at 350 F.

2. While baking, have the following:

  • mushrooms, sliced
  • sweet onion, chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of chicken broth
  • thyme
  • cream or half/half
  • a little bit of marsala wine
  • olive oil

So, I sauteed the garlic and onions first, then the mushrooms in olive oil at medium heat. Then I added the chicken broth after the mushrooms had cooked through, another 2-3 minutes. Then, I add cream, tomatoes, and the wine, as sprinkle salt, pepper, and thyme all over and let it simmer together for 5-7 minutes. Then, I put little piles of the mushroom mixture on each little round of polenta, with some parmesan on top. Very easy, and actually pretty good. I don’t think it was a true-to-form mushroom ragu with polenta, but I tried.

As an afterthought, I hope you two are paying attention to the news. It’s hard to believe what is happening in Egypt right now, do you remember what we saw just a year ago? Keep prayers for the people..

live blogging on the protests in egypt here:Β http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/01/28/liveblog-egypts-protests-erupt

forever green

I had the most excellent meal at Master’s Dinner last night: shrimp scampi, mashed potatoes, and some breadsticks. A rare treat amongst the not-so-lovely food of EVK. I’m off to get Chick-fil-A for breakfast with some friends, and it makes me miss home more every time. The workers there are just as nice as the ones back home, and they wear USC Game Day shirts for the football games, too! Everyone around here is USC-ed out. For example, there’s a Trojan Roll at the nearby sushi place! It’s crazy. Though I do love it here, I miss the red, gold, and yellow of the East. What’s the point of fall weather without crunchy leaves? Sigh. I haven’t had any foodventures besides my Chick-fil-A runs, unless you count my mounting obsession with Yogurtland! Froyo…we need it in Georgia, stat. Favorite flavors? Taro and pistachio with a sprinkling of Cap’n Crunch πŸ™‚ Oh, and boba is my other snack of choice. Mmm.

Also, President Obama is coming to USC tomorrow!!! I’m so excited to see him, even if he’s just here to convince us to vote for Barbara Boxer. I miss my sisters, and I cannot wait for our Thanksgiving feast πŸ™‚