Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Eating off the land

I grew up in a farming family in India. I brag about my farming roots whenever I get a chance. I guess farming is in our DNA.  I call my husband and I "backyard farmers" with great pride, with emphasis on the word "farmers". Every day I walk into my garden, I feel proud to be a farmer's daughter to carry on the tradition of my family roots.
 This time of year, tomatoes are everywhere. I reserve one raised bed in the kitchen garden  to grow all types of cherry tomatoes. I love to grow all different shapes and sizes and to use them in my recipes or pop them in the mouth while they are still warm from the sun. During this season, I make a different salad everyday using all homegrown produce. Whatever I am harvesting that day makes my meal. If I am pruning a Thai basil bush, then Thai-shrimp fried rice is on the menu for lunch. If I am harvesting zucchini, our morning breakfast will be zucchini pancakes or zucchini curry for dinner. If I am harvesting cherry tomatoes like today, those cherry tomatoes will end up in the form of a salad or turn into a garden pasta. Today I decided to make pasta using freshly picked tomatoes.

Sun gold is my ultimate favorite cherry tomato to eat fresh

Yellow pear tomato

Black plum

Red cherry

I harvested enough tomatoes for lunch. While I was at it, I harvested some sweet basil and Italian parsley, too!

I gathered some pantry staples such as extra virgin olive oil, crushed red peppers flakes, fresh garlic, and a pound of spaghetti

Garden pasta

1 lb spaghetti, boiled al dente according to package instructions,  reserving 1/2 a cup of pasta water
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 lbs multi-colored cherry tomatoes
small bunch of sweet basil
2 tablespoons of minced Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup freshly grated parmeson cheese

First, boil the pasta according to the package instructions and keep it aside. Heat a wok on medium high heat. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to the wok. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and fry for a minute

Add cherry tomatoes and warm through the tomatoes

Add cooked pasta and stir in

Add chopped basil and parsley and stir in

Add a cup of grated parmeson cheese and mix in. If you need to, thin the pasta with reserved pasta water.

Voila! Pasta is ready. Enjoy!

For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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