Inspire us, said a friend who has been an active cheerleader for launching this silly blog where I can yabber publicly about my groceries, but don’t make us feel inadequate. Don’t make us thresh anything, she seemed to be warning me, or filet it or tie it up with a chive.
To which I say, AS IF. My essential laziness and failure to manage my time well are the safety net here. In my active fantasy life, I will soon set aside the necessary hours to crank out hundreds of homemade ravioli for the freezer. Until such time as this hallowed day (and a pasta machine) arrive, thank goodness for Mama Rosa or whomever it was in her factory that made the bag from the grocery store that I try to always have on ice around here (for a gluten-free ravioli resource, see below, and thank my sister). And a double thank goodness for tomato paste, the subject of today’s love sonnet.
Whenever I need tomato paste, I need about a dollop of it, maybe a dollop and a half. Then the rest of it sits around in the fridge until it grows a beard (if I bought the little glass jar of organic tomato paste) or dessicates to the point of no return (if I bought the skeevy little metal can). Thanks to my relentless ruminations about food, neither of us needs to worry a moment longer over this thorny problem. Now I put a piece of parchment paper (ooh, I do love parchment paper) on a tray, and I spoon little wads of tomato paste on there and whap it in the freezer, and then I fling the little rock-hard nuggets in a bag or jar, and then, when an epic and relentless rainfall causes the catchment basin (I don’t know if that’s really what it is called, but it sounds right) at the top of our hill to breech at 11pm and a torrent of muddy water like a river in a Colorado vacation brochure whooshes past the house, and though there is nothing to be done in the dark about this I stay up until midnight fretting and wringing my hands and looking out the window, and then once I have finally gone to sleep the woodstove makes a funny noise at 4am and I have to go stare at it for a while to see what its plans are, and then at 6:58 I wake up, with a start, having overslept, and must immediately snap to attention to remove an embedded tick from my husband’s back, then everything is still OK in Lunchbox Land. Because I have frozen ravioli (and even if you are gluten free, you can too, if you go here), a dollop of tomato paste, a little butter or olive oil, a dash of tamari, and a thermos. I don't drain the ravioli all the way, so the little bit of extra pasta water can magically spin a golden sauce for me, out of the straw of my morning.
If you happen to live somewhere that there is a Greek market, you can buy a jar of tomato paste like this 25 ounce beauty (yes, that's right--25 ounces of fun):
and then you can be OK for weeks and weeks, knowing this thermos and that gravy and the soup that needs a certain hint of something will find that something in a frozen red lump in the freezer.
What the Greek home cook is doing with a pound and a half of tomato paste at one time is intriguing, though. Something new to obsess over.