March 18, 2005
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I'm heading to New York today, so yesterday I skipped marketing and figured I'd work with whatever was left in the refrigerator. Mostly, I had the tail end of a bolognese sauce on which it was time to fish or cut bait.

But it wasn't much sauce, I only had one tomato to extend it, Linda likes a high sauce-to-pasta ratio, and we were hungry. So some extra dishes were in order.

One was Burnt Cumin Carrots, which is basically a Todd English recipe. He doesn't say burnt, but that's really the idea: moderately large chunks of carrot, coated with a tiny bit of oil, kosher salt, pepper, and cumin, and roasted in a 400° over until "nicely browned", about 45 minutes. A terrific way to use less-than-perfect carrots. Spicy and crunchy outside, soft and sweet inside.

But the carrots weren't going to be enough, either -- especially since carrots shrink a surprising amount when least expected. So I grabbed a dozen shrimp from the freezer (which is fine, since around here essentially all shrimp are frozen), thawed them, painted them with almost no oil, and sprinkled with the just-arrived sate spice from Penzeys. Onto the grill for a couple of minutes. Instant appetizer.

So: shrimp sate, pappardelle with meat sauce and lots of freshly grated cheese, half a Ziggy's foccacia left over from lunch, cumin carrots. About an hour. Almost free -- everything except the shrimp and the Argentine Malbec (Finca el Portillo) were basically sunk costs, inventory that was already written off.

Lesson: that Wolf grill can come in handy.