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Sometimes a craving hits me in between meals, and I am not one to ignore that angry stomping and loud cussing in my tummy. I swear, sometimes I’m convinced that inside there must live one vicious little Belly Brat who jabs tiny spoons into the membrane of my stomach screaming at the top of his lungs: “FEED ME! FEED ME! FEED ME!”
Just like NOW.
What is Agi to do? I can’t focus on a single thought. I stare at a computer screen, but in fact, with my mind’s eye I’m scanning the inside of our refrigerator. On the top shelf rests an almost empty jug of Aloe Vera Juice (Jason puffs at me: “You don’t love me!” every time I hand him a glass with a 4 oz shot of the swill. “Yeah, I know baby, it’s pretty nasty, but SO GOOD for you!”). On it’s right, the last drops of almond milk in a carton box. One floor below, I see a bowl of raw chicken that’s been leisurely marinating itself for tonight’s dinner. Right beneath the chick rests a large container with a green lid – those are my herbs. Three lazy lemons keep them company. I pull the door wide open and on its inside shelves I find two eggs and jars full of all kinds of things: pickles, low fat mayo, Dijon mustard, capers, sun dried tomatoes, sesame oil, flax seed oil, and almond butter. Downtown, the veggie compartment is almost empty, and there are certainly no baby carrots to be found to save my life.
The fridge is sadly vacant and void of any possible snack-worthy objects, which reminds me that it’s time for grocery shopping. What do you know? It’s Friday. The Belly Brat, on the other hand, doesn’t give three flying mosquitoes what day of the week it is, and keeps yapping and moshing about at the bottom of my esophagus as if he was rocking out at a Metallica concert. I’ve had it! At this point I’m desperate to find something, ANYTHING, so I can shove it into his little brash mouth so he shuts up and keeps quiet! …at least till dinner-time, so I CAN FINALLY WRITE!
Wait. Did I say ALMOND BUTTER? Instantly, a bright, energy-saving eco bulb lights inside my skull: FOOD. I unplug my head from the refrigerator’s chamber, crane my neck around, and… realize in wonder that it’s been 20 minutes and I’m still sitting at my desk staring bluntly at the tabula rasa hoping to become my next article for the blog. Wow. …
… What was I saying? Oh, yes, the Almond Butter. FOOD! Please, god, make sure we have at least one green apple on the counter, because desperate or not, I am NOT going to patch my mouth-hole with spoonfuls of a NUT PASTE. Ain’t happening.
I cut corners hustling to the kitchen, air whistling in my ears, and arrive at the fruit bowl, a pearl of sweat sliding down my chin. Alleluia! On the platter there are three Granny Smith apples. One is most likely inedible – judging from the wrinkles, grey hair, and a hump. The other two look perfectly perky, firm and juicy – not unlike the sensual orbs flitting about within the mind of any healthy 16-year old boy or the day dreams of a woman after having breastfed three babies.
With no further ado, I proceed to core one of the apples and cut it into wedges. I catch myself squeaking in excitement. Impatiently, I place the pieces on a flat plate around a small bowl filled with my Almond Butter “dip”. With the first bite I can hear – loud and clear – church’s bells ring!
I feel I should amend my Spaghetti Marinara story to paint a complete picture. I’m warning you, however, it may slightly affect your viewpoint and perspective of the event. And most importantly, I HOPE you’ll revise a possible judgment you may have formed about yours truly.
Do you remember the giant plate with the enormous amount of pasta on it, all drowned in Marinara Sauce, topped with rolling stones of veggie balls? Remember how I then placed it all in my mouth, bite by bite, to finally have it disappear entirely into my cow’s stomach? And what did you think just then, ha? Now, let me explain one thing – the act of devouring the monstrous serving of Spaghetti Marinara was directly preceded by an intense 2-hour training session at the gym under the strict supervision of my no-bullshit-when-it-comes-down-to-working-out boyfriend. I was STARVING!
To further plead for your sympathy, I will now attempt to bribe you with the recipe for the infamous Marinara Sauce.
MARINARA SAUCE with AGI’s TWIST
First, arrange for the following:
– half of a large onion
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 1 tbsp of good olive oil
– 30 oz can of crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce
– 1/2 cup of red wine (the kind you would drink, a good one) or low sodium chicken stock
– 1/3 cup of Mascarpone (not mandatory)
– bay leaf
– 1 tbsp of dry oregano
– 1 tsp of red paprika powder
– 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
– kosher salt + fresh ground pepper to taste
– fresh flat leaf parsley & basil, 1/4 of a cup of each
Heat the oil in a large and deep skillet. Throw in chopped onions, sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper, and sauté for about 5-7 minutes over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic, stir and cook for another minute or two. Now pour in the wine (or chicken stock, what have you) and continue cooking over medium-low heat, until it reduces a little. Next, empty the can of tomatoes into the skillet, then add oregano, paprika, nutmeg and more salt and black pepper. If you want it extra creamy, now is the time for the Mascarpone. Mix it all well using a wooden spoon, let the cheese melt and incorporate into the sauce. Cook for about 3 more minutes and add freshly chopped parsley and julienned basil. Stir once again, taste, ad more salt and pepper if needed, and turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf – it is NOT edible.
Your sauce is DONE. It should be of a beautiful, deeply red color (or pinkish if you went the cheesy route). You’ll smell all the spices, and the fresh basil will give your dish a whole new dimension.