Wednesday, October 21, 2009

greetings from the skids [now with photo!]

Someone recently told me that this bl*g is "on the skids." This person pointed out that awhile back I promised a post about Montréal and said I'd share a new, favorite gruel recipe, but there has been no post about Montréal, that gruel recipe remains unrevealed. I'd like to tell you that I've been busy naming my dog or wearing pants not made out of fleece, but I've been whiling away my days here on the skids, where the couch is comfortable, the wine plentiful, and the expectations low.

And frankly, y'all are kind of deadbeats, as well. Remember last April when I asked (the then seven of) you for help with a gruel recipe? I was staying at a mouse-infested nunnery in the sex-change capital of the world and looking for something to cook. Well, six months later someone finally answered my call. I made Melissa's pasta on Sunday and then ate leftovers for lunch the past two days: it's not only delicious but also very easy, the perfect kind of recipe for a bl*g on the skids and the deadbeats who read it.

Melissa's Fancy Gruel
Melissa did not post specific measurements for the ingredients, and since we don't like to be bossed around here on the skids, I didn't add them. But when I made this, I used lots of everything: lots of pine nuts, lots and lots of sundried tomatoes, a big clove of garlic, plenty of parm, and I was liberal with the lemon juice (though I tasted as I added it). You could also try black olives, capers, fresh tomatoes if you have them, chicken if you eat chicken, etc.

bowtie pasta [I used whole wheat penne, which I thought was good; the yachtsman did not approve. If you're making this for him, try bowties, or at least use some kind of white pasta, though technically it will no longer be gruel. And you should always add lots of salt to your pasta-cooking water, but this is especially true if you're using whole wheat pasta. I mean lots of salt.]
pine nuts [I toasted mine.]
sundried tomatoes (rehydrated in warm water for a few minutes) [I'd never bought dehydrated sundried tomatoes before, but I tried them here—they're so much better than the ones packaged in oil, and cheaper, too; I chopped up the rehydrated tomatoes before tossing them with the pasta.]
spinach (I like a lot) [I do, too.]
lemon juice
olive oil
crushed red pepper (if you like it hot) [I do.]

Boil your pasta [I set aside some of the pasta-cooking water before I drained the pasta]. You can saute the garlic, to mellow it out, if you please [I did]. When the pasta is done, just toss in spinach (the hot pasta will wilt it [if your spinach does not in fact wilt when you add the pasta, or doesn't wilt to your liking, toss the pasta and spinach back in the warm pasta-cooking pot, add a little of the hot pasta-cooking water, put the cover back on the pot, and let it sit for a minute or two) and everything else, with lemon juice to taste [in addition to adding olive oil here, you can add a little more of the reserved pasta-cooking water, which will not only make the pasta a little more wet, but also adds flavor]. Great warm, cold, or luke.

I was going to say that I'll take and post photos of Melissa's Fancy Gruel the next time I make it (which will be soon), but there have been enough broken promises around here lately, so maybe you can take photos of Melissa's Fancy Gruel the next time you make it (which should be soon) and I'll post them here.

Photo courtesty of nondeadbeat William, who made Melissa's Fancy Gruel at his brand new house.


  1. Is that damn dog still anon?! You're calling the poor guy Poodle and Peanut behind the yachstman's back, aren't you?


  2. I'll admit it: My name is Steph the Face & I am a deadbeat. I have not been posting nearly as much as I should be (although I've never stopped reading). But I have been cooking a lot more than usual lately! Stuffed mushrooms, apple crisp, chili, and baked apples are just a few of my newest endeavors. To be fair, I also have been reviewing the GFD recipe index and have printed several recipes, which I intend to make, photograph, and test on MeatMan. Stay tuned.

  3. You're clearly not a deadbeat, StephFace (that's quite a list of food you've been whipping up!) and you have no responsibilities here at GFD beyond reading.

    Quizz, the puppy remains nameless, though I have been known to call him Peanut. Also Pierre, Rabbit, Lou, Sweetheart, Murray, Mo, and Mister.

  4. I've got it: Half-Pint!

    You have me wanting to take in animals just so I can name them. This must be what Adam and Steve felt like.

  5. I LOVE Half Pint! You can even hyphenate it, if you like. Or Oscar Half-Pint if you want to add a little class.

  6. Yum yum yum - love the look (and probably the taste too) of the spinach!

  7. I don't know if you have noticed so I am going to tell you. I am boycotting commenting on your blog until Peanut has a name!