Notes From the Sofa
Come and visit Collage Home! We love these new treats for your Valentine’s sweets.
A beautiful vase to showcase your Valentine’s flowers: Brass Hinged Vase, $85.00
They’re back for Valentine’s Day! These figurines have been so popular, and we have a few of the newest designs in store now.
For the perfect gift for anyone, come in and browse our home fragrance collection. It’s the best in Central Florida! We’ve added some new products from Agraria, including new fragrances for their iconic tassel diffuser and their new line of bath salts. Beautiful, and they smell fantastic!
Revisit a Lost Art This Valentine’s Day
Everybody loves to get letters. Notice, I didn’t say, “mail.” I said, “letters.” Not bills. Not notices. Not statements. And by “letters,” I mean any form of written communication not requiring financial action or a filing-away with other important finance-y (read: boring) things.
Valentine’s Day offers the perfect opportunity to send reminders through the mail to the people you love, letting them know that you think of them, that you value their contribution to your life, and that they are worth the few minutes it took to write (with a pen, or crayon – whatever’s handy), to locate their address, and to find a stamp. Email is handy, of course. But email doesn’t offer that fantastic anticipation brought by a slightly heavy, often colorful, hand-written envelope. Admit it: you’re almost embarrassingly excited by these, aren’t you? Just a little?
Especially now that the time-honored Christmas card tradition is becoming less and less popular, a little note in the mail can put a flutter in your heart as you excitedly open the envelope to see what newsy missive might be inside. A funny card? A birth announcement? An invitation? So much more fun to display on your mantelpiece (or on your refrigerator) than a print-out of an email.
That little bit of excitement is the very reason why The Paperie at Collage Home is delighted to be offering so many options for renewing the simple pleasure of note-writing. Come in and browse our selection of cards and of options for personalized stationery. We’ll even be highlighting some forgotten tips for written communication. Isn’t it time to reinvent this age-old tradition?
And now, for something completely useful:
Our friend, Serafina Dimeo, who co-owns the restaurant Sorelli (just outside of London) with her sister, has used this no-fail recipe for years. It’s hands-down the BEST pasta supper ever: rustic, authentic, beautiful, and so, so easy! You and everyone else will thank us for passing this on.
1 or 2 packages spaghetti, depending on how many you’re serving. (You’ll want plenty for seconds.)
5 punnets of cherry tomatoes, baby plum tomatoes, or grape tomatoes per package of spaghetti
1 package fresh basil per package of spaghetti
2 whole mozzarella per package of spaghetti
Garlic, chopped (to taste)
Salt and pepper
Pinch of sugar, to taste
Here’s what you do:
- In a wide-bottomed pan with a lid, heat a little olive oil, and add some garlic. (Hint: you don’t really have to chop garlic. It may dissolve, or you can fish it out later. Once it’s been in fat for a time, there’s little value in keeping it in the sauce. The flavor has already been infused into the oil by the heat.) There’s no need to brown it; just get it heated and coated with oil.
- Dump all of the tomatoes in the pan, along with about 2/3 pkg of the roughly chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar. (Nope, no water. The moisture will come from the tomatoes.) Let this cook, covered, over low heat, with the lid slightly askew to allow some steam to escape.
- Stir after about 3 minutes, and then again after about another 4 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when all of the tomatoes have burst, and the sauce has become dark-ish, and thick. At this stage, you might be tempted to remove the tomato skins. Sometimes we do; sometimes we don’t. It’s entirely up to you. It makes absolutely no difference in flavor, it’s just a texture thing.
- Taste the sauce, and see if it needs any more salt and pepper, or if it needs another pinch of sugar to balance the acid of the tomatoes. Up to you.
- Turn off the heat, and prepare the pasta. While the pasta is boiling, tear or chop the mozzarella, and roughly tear the remaining basil.
- When the pasta is nearly done, turn on the heat under the sauce to medium-low, and add a ladle-full of the starchy pasta water. Let this reduce into the sauce. Add more if you want to thin out the sauce.
- When you’re happy with the sauce consistency, drain the pasta, and dump it into the sauce, along with the mozzarella and the remaining basil, and mix. That’s it. Pour the whole concoction into a large bowl, and serve family-style with a salad and some bread. Oh, and fresh parmesan, of course.
You can use tinned Italian tomatoes, pre-shredded mozzarella, and short pasta if you’re in a pinch. But it doesn’t look as authentic, it isn’t as beautiful, and it won’t taste quite as fresh. But it’s still great if you’re really up against it.
This will be the first of many, many times you’ll use this recipe.