The Bare Necessities

If you’re living in an eerie space for up to a month’s time, maybe more, what things are necessary for your functioning?

As it turns out, my necessities were primarily kitchen-related. It seems that all those other things lying around our house weren’t that important after all. Although let’s be honest – I do miss my couch, but I couldn’t justify moving that big ol’ thing around.

Yes, I had all my oils and all my spices sent here to our temporary apartment. Don’t judge; it’s hard enough grocery shopping with an empty pantry and fridge, and having at least some of my regular items on hand certainly makes the temporary stay more bearable.

Also, Chris unpacked everything and alphabetized my spices prior to my arrival – he is definitely a keeper.

What else? Oh yes. I will also be lugging my Dutch oven over to San Francisco once our temporary stay is complete. It seems I couldn’t imagine being without it for that long, and that was probably a good decision, what with the 3 pots and pans they have at this apartment. Cheap ones, too.

Prior to packing, I had a flashback to two summers ago in Hilton Head, easily recalling how shabby utensils are in furnished living quarters, and in light of said flashback, I quickly dug my old culinary school roll-up bag from the depths of a closet and loaded it up with all my favorite utensils, including my knife. That was definitely worth it, already. My knife needed sharpening, but thank goodness I packed my quick n’ easy sharpener too!

It seems I also can’t live without wine, because we brought all 3 boxes with us. We claim it’s because we felt more comfortable storing it here rather than a weird warehouse, but I’m not sure who we thought we were kidding when we used that excuse. Regardless of why, we’re already glad the wine is here.

Although the cooking has definitely taken a back burner, per se, having all my ‘necessities’ around has most certainly motivated me to toss a few ingredients together for dinner, especially since dining out nightly isn’t the best idea for these jeans I’ve been wearing every day that might bust at any given moment. So with that, another pasta dish has surfaced, this one loaded with kale, one of my favorite greens and meanwhile, my jeans (and my dignity) have been spared for yet another day.

Rigatoni with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Adapted, barely, from Cooking Light, December 2010; serves 4

time commitment: less than 30 minutes

printable version

8 oz rigatoni
5 c roughly chopped prewashed kale (~2 medium bunches)
2 slices center-cut bacon
1/4 c oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped
1/2 t crushed red pepper
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t salt
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved
2 T fresh lemon juice

Cook pasta in boiling water 8 minutes or until almost tender. Add kale, and cook 2 minutes. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

While pasta cooks, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and let dry on a paper towel-lined plate; crumble and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add sun-dried tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add pasta and kale, reserved 1/2 cup cooking liquid, black pepper, and salt to pan; toss to combine. Top pasta mixture evenly with bacon and cheese; drizzle evenly with lemon juice.

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