Are you tired of hearing me complain about the weather? I know that I am, so instead here's something much more positive and helpful, written by the husband who chose to focus on three great things: perfume, books, and food. His recipe for pasta with fresh mozzarella and fresh fennel is wonderfully aromatic. I adore fennel in every form, and it reminds me of the best parts of summer. We have fennel in our back yard and it grows with a wild abandon. On the hottest days you can smell the leaves almost baking in the sun, wafting their anise-like aroma. Is it July yet?
In any case, here's the Husband's suggestions for some wonderful winter comforts:
Scent of the Week
I’ve rediscovered Amouage Honour Man: a peppery, woodsy comfort scent that immediately conjures an image of a fireplace in a wood paneled library. Sophisticated, warm and cozy. Unlike many Amouage fragrances, Honour Man is not quite as big and Middle-Easterny opulent, but it's still enchanting with its woody smoothness. See Gaia’s full review.
*Wife's note: he needs a full bottle.
BooksI’m reading “On Such a Full Sea” by Chang-Rea Lee and still trying to decide what to make of it. I loved Aloft, but this one is very different. It is hard to categorize and label. You could call it post-apocalyptic or futuristic and with a teenage heroine you’d immediately get a totally wrong impression on where this is going. It has an Asian sensibility and point of view that follows an enigmatic and rather passive girl through coincidental adventures in a future time Northeast while exploring issues of class, inequality, race/culture and social structures. It is a delicate and nuanced work but that somehow keeps you emotionally detached. Still an original story, style and voice that’s definitely worth reading.
*Wife's note: I really need to read something that's not about the Kardashians.
Pasta Telefono is a very simple construct. Take a basic tomato sauce and add diced fresh mozzarella to elevate the dish to a much more tasty, messy family fun. The fresh mozzarella melts and creates strings that give it the “telephone cord” name. My version adds fennel to the sauce, which brings sweetness and a herbal aspects. I also mix only part of the mozzarella with the sauce and the rest at plating. It keeps the cheese less gooey and messy. Still tasty though.
1 small fennel head (or ½ a large one), chopped
1 small jalapeno, chopped (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 lb dry pasta (225 g)
¼ lb fresh mozzarella (115 g), diced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup white wine
spices and Italian herbs to taste
Cook your pasta. Drain.
In a large skillet saute the chopped fennel and jalapenos on medium heat until the fennel starts to brown and caramelize, 5-10 minutes.
Add the white wine, tomatoes and spices and let the sauce cook for another 10 minutes on low heat. Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Add ½ of the mozzarella and mix well. Add the rest of the cheese when serving and garnish with a few fennel sprigs.
*Wife's Note: yum!