We’ve got a couple new recipes we’re liking a lot.

I can spend forever in front of a chocolate counter deciding what to get, but in the end it always comes down to caramels. So I’ve begun a hunt for a good caramel recipe. (Hmm, maybe the amazingly talented people at Skinner’s Sugar House would share theirs…) What I’m going for is the classic chocolate covered vanilla caramel, but since I’ve never made any kind of caramel at all I just picked a recipe and gave it a shot. These aren’t chocolate coated, but after tasting them I’d say they’d be delicious dipped in chocolate, and I’ll try that next time I make them. They’re smooth and creamy and overall yummy.

1 cup heavy cream

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon fleur de sel (we had kosher salt, so I used that)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

1. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil parchment.

2. Bring cream, butter, and fleur de sel to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.

3. Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a deep, heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel. (took about 20 minutes)

4. Carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248°F on thermometer. (took about 1/2 hour)

5. Pour into baking pan and cool at least 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of waxed paper, twisting 2 ends to close.

The cooking process took about an hour, which is a long time to be at the stove, but I had a stool and my computer and a Rowan to keep me entertained.

One thing I learned is that tin foil is not a good substitute for parchment paper. I had a hard time peeling it off in places and lost some of the caramel. (Believe me, every effort was made to avoid this catastrophe. It was only when I realized that I was coming very close to cutting off a finger that I finally gave in to the inevitable.)

The other recipe is for a dinner. It’s delicious. Jon and Dagny completely flipped over it. If you read it and it sounds good to you get the ingredients on your next trip to the store. You won’t be disappointed.

Serves Two

1 Large, ripe tomato (2 cups roughly chopped, 1 1/2 cups blended)

1/2 Cup Raw Cashews

1 Tbs Tomato Paste

1/4 Cup Water

2 Tbs Olive Oil

2-4 Cloves Garlic, minced, optional

6 Ounces (ish) Whole Wheat Spaghetti

1 tsp Salt (edit: upped from 3/4!)

2-3 Tbs Wine or Water, optional (we used
Marsala wine)

1-2 tsp Freshly Cracked, Coarse Black Pepper

1 Large Handful Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

Core the tomato, then roughly chop it. Add it to your blender, seeds, skin and all. Add cashews, tomato paste, and water. Blend until very smooth.

Add olive oil to a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn. Once water is boiling, add pasta. Pour sauce from the blender into the saute pan and bring to a simmer. Add salt and let cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If desired add wine/water to thin out the sauce. Taste and season more if necessary. Let simmer until pasta is finished cooking. Once pasta is cooked, drain. Add pasta to the saute pan with black pepper and freshly chopped basil leaves. Toss to coat. Serve immediately, garnishing with more pepper and basil.

The recipe serves two, so Jon played with the amounts. I asked him for specifics: He used 4-5 tomatoes, “3 handfuls” of cashews, ”a lot” of garlic, and the rest is, believe it or not, even more vague. He also threw in 1/2 an onion, and I think it was a good addition. **I’ve been corrected. Jon says he used 8 cloves of garlic. **


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