So on Father’s Day, Daisy, a big, ungainly red dog who belongs to my daughter Jodi and her wonderful husband John, decided to drink water from the toilet. She then rushed out of the bathroom and wanted to kiss and lick everyone. There was a scramble to get away. Baby Maggie looked at me and started to cry. Little Charlie fell and scraped his knee and Beanie (Annabel) just wanted to tag along with my daughter Jessie, whom she calls “Auntie.” Our dog, tiny, fluffy Shlomo, looked at Daisy with amorous eyes, except the size difference between the two of them brings to mind Danny DeVito trying to have sex with Rosie O’Donnell.
I sat thinking of the food I just cooked, and wondered if Mayor Bloomberg would lead a posse of police out to East Hampton and have me arrested for crimes against mankind (or is that foodkind): Spaghetti with sun-dried tomatoes (loaded with salt—see the recipe below), and rotini (dirty pasta) with an olivada sauce and even more salt (again, see recipe below).
My wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, who approaches the kitchen with the same sense of fear and wonder the cavemen must have had when they first saw fire, decided to cook a dish with bulgur wheat, shrimp and spinach. For the previous two nights, she had nightmares pertaining to food. Nightmare one: There wasn’t enough of what she was planning to cook. The guests were disappointed. Nightmare two: She had forgotten to cook the shrimp and they were served raw. The guests had retched. I suggested after the second dream that perhaps she should attempt to write a cookbook entitled The Insecure Chef, featuring recipes that can be found on Campbell’s Soup cans. She was not amused.
All day long my BlackBerry was overworked with buzzing and ringing and beeping and burping messages of love from my kids and their kids. We are a close family. My children have grown up, and there are times I have some small regrets I haven’t grown up. I’m not such a bad father, I console myself—I’m just an immature father. I’m lucky—I don’t need this day. For me, every day is Father’s Day. My kids actually like me.
During the day I read a book, Still She Haunts Me, by a wonderful writer named Katie Roiphe. I read and re-read a line in the book and think perhaps I will reach out to Ms. Roiphe and ask, with her permission, if I can use her line on my tombstone:
“He thought he was not accountable for anything he said cleverly.”
SUN-DRIED TOMATO PASTA DELLA FEMINA
• 1 pound sun-dried tomatoes in their oil
• 7 cloves garlic
• 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 tablespoons kosher salt
• 1 cup olive oil (use oil drained from the sun-dried tomatoes and add olive oil to top off to one cup)
• 2 pounds (dry) Dreamfields Spaghetti (I use Dreamfields pasta, which is available at most fine stores, because it is the only low-carb pasta that doesn’t taste like cardboard. In fact, it tastes better than any other pasta on the market, even those that are loaded with carbs. And I guarantee your guests will never know you are cutting their carbs if you don’t tell them.)
Place sun-dried tomatoes, oil, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper in a Cuisinart with chopping blade. Pulse blade until tomato mixture turns into a loose, oily paste. Toss cooked pasta in a large bowl with sun-dried tomato mixture and keep covered for at least four hours. Toss again and serve pasta at room temperature.
• 2 boxes Dreamfields Rotini (spiral-shaped pasta)
• 1/2 pound fresh olivada (Olivada is a dark purplish olive paste. Fresh olivada paste can be found in most Italian food markets; otherwise, use the jarred olivada, which is not as good, but still works with this recipe.)
• 20 or 30 Kalamata olives, cut in half
• 6 cloves garlic, cut in thin slices
• 1/2 cup olive oil
Sauté garlic in large pan until it is soft. Add olivada mixture and olives and stir until mixture is warm. Throw in cooked rotini, turn up the heat and stir until pasta is covered, hot and delicious. Serve warm.
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