Sunday, September 4, 2011

At Last, Normal Noise

     Today is the first day of normal noise since Irene took away our power.  Every day since last Sunday was greeted with the steady drone of a generator - not that this is a complaint.  I was thankful for every little bit of power this past week even if a refrigerator, freezer, TV, and lights couldn't be on all at once.  At least we always had water - cold water, but good nervertheless.

     But normal noise on a farm, from the very obvious to the very subtle, is wonderful, comforting sound.
The very subtle noises for this time of year began - and always begin - around the last week in July.  Somewhere the cicadas (I think) strike up a chorus that can't be missed.  It suddenly is the new sound of morning that wasn't there the day before. To me, it is the sign of the beginning of the end of summer.  The sound totally surrounds you, and yet I've never seen the creatures that make themselves known with this sound. 

     The barn brings anticipatory noises from the turkeys as soon as they hear the key unlock their door.  The door crashing sound is brought forth by the sheep in their eagerness to get out.  They can't help but knock into each other since they don't seem to be able to get the idea that all of them can't fit through the doors at the same time.

     Even though I try to see how far I can get sneaking up on the geese, they always hear me before I get to their door.  Ditto with the chickens.  All of them get their food and fresh water. 
      My last normal sound comes from Beethovan.  As soon as I turn to leave he sneaks up and grabs at the leg of my pants.  I turn too look and as expected he has arched his neck in a perfect "S" to the ground, then towards the sky, making a victorious gooselike sound.  He successfully scared me away again, and I wouldn't want him to think anything differently.

      Although thankful for the generator and its noise, the farm is now back to normal noise, and it's great.
   Today's recipe - so simple, so good.
Sungold Tomatoes with Pasta 5*
 4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
 8 oz Sungold or cherry tomatoes
 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
       Kosher salt
 6 oz capellini, spaghetti, or bucatini
 3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan
 8 medium fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
 Toasted breadcrumbs (for garnish; optional)
1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes, season with salt, and cook, covered slightly and swirling pan often, until tomatoes blister and burst, 10-12 minutes. Press down on tomatoes to release their juices. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
2. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.
3. Transfer pasta to pan with tomatoes; set over high heat. Add 1/2 cup
pasta water. Cook, stirring and tossing often, until sauce thickens and
begins to coat the pasta, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining oil, cheese, and
half the basil and toss until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente. (Add
more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Add remaining basil, season with salt,
and serve with breadcrumbs, if desired.
Adapted from Mario Batali

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