Sunday, March 20, 2011


After a sun-starved winter season I am ready to see sunshine.  Last week, while in Alabama, I was able to soak up some of that sunshine. I went there to help my daughter move to her new place of residence. The south has a charm all its own and it is a pleasant place to visit. Now I can add driving a mini-van stuffed to the brim with household goods, one granddaughter and a 150 pound Great Dane from North Carolina across the south to Bama to my list of interesting life experiences.
While getting my daughter settled, we heard of the monstrous earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan. I have some good friends in Japan. I have known my friend over 30 years and have watched her children grow up. My friend just became a grandmother a few weeks ago after her married daughter happily welcomed a baby girl into the family. They have so much to live for. Also, my son is serving as a missionary in Japan at the present time and naturally I was concerned for him as well. My faith helped me feel in my heart of hearts that my son would be taken care of. The Lord takes care of his own, but it sure felt good to get an e-mail from both my son and my friends a few days later letting us know they were safe. The magnitude of the disaster cannot have hit our brains yet. There are still 10,000 people missing, whole towns have been wiped off the map, and the nuclear power plants damaged in the disaster are still threatening to make the situation even worse.
 Things like this remind us of how insignificant ‘man’ is in the face of raw nature. The earth is groaning under the weight of human foolishness. If I was not a believer in the end of times I might have become a convert lately over the sorry state the world is in.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Let's Eat!

We had lots of left over ham from a family dinner. Since I try to be careful and not waste food I was running out of ideas for ham left over dishes. We’d already had several meals using the ham for dinner; omelettes with ham, sliced ham, baked scalloped potatoes with ham, mac and cheese with ham, etc. The doggies even had treats of ham trimmings on top of their kibble. One day, when things were slow at work I put ‘left over ham’ into a web search and found the following recipe. I was not sure the family would like it but I was desperate for some new ‘hammy’ eating ideas. It was very yummy so I though I’d share the recipe. This recipe came from the dashrecipes web site and is from the book Skinny Italian by Teresa Giudice.

Tagliatelle with Smoked Ham and Peas       (Serves 4)

Quick, easy dinner in 25 minutes. If you can’t find the tagliatelle, use linguini noodles. (The recipe called for half spinach pasta and half regular, but I just used regular pasta.)

1 lb tagliatelle or linguini
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
5 ounces trimmed ham, cut into cubes
1 cup fresh or thawed peas
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

  1. Bring to boil a pot of lightly salted water, add the pasta and cook as package directs until al dente. Try to time the cooking so it will be done the same time as the sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent (about 3 min.). Add the butter and melt. Add the ham and peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.
  3. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Return pasta to the pot. Add the sauce and salt and pepper. Toss the pasta and if needed, add some of the reserved pasta water to make a light sauce. Serve hot.

My notes: I used linguini noodles because I could not find the tagliatelle, you could also use fettuccine noodles as they are also flat, just wider than the linguini. I have a great garlic press that I use so my hands aren’t all garlic smelling when I use garlic.  I used frozen peas that I defrosted in the microwave before adding to the sauce and I always use real butter when I cook. Nothing compares to the taste and I find fake margarine type products revolting. Use your own judgment what you want to use when you cook. I served this in my favorite pasta bowl set and we sprinkled some grated parmesan cheese on it just before eating. This dish reminded me a lot of alio olio pasta that my dad and Aunts used to make when I was a kid.