Remember my "real Italian food needs to be more popular" rant?
This is where both of those rants come together in a beautiful friendship.
Classes started last Monday. I'm taking General Biology.
To clarify: I'm an English major with a music minor. I'm not pre-med, pre-dent, pre-PT, pre-PA, pre-opt, pre-pharm, pre-vet, or anything except, apparently, pre-unemployed.* This is my first science class in three years. The professor started class by listing all the kinds of people who "should think twice" before taking the class (translation: should be across the hall in Contemporary Biology instead).
Naturally, I was on that list. But did I transfer to Contemp Bio? Of course not. I am nothing if not stubborn, prideful, and thick-skulled.
I'm also taking this honors class that combines the history of science and the history of art. I appreciate what I've learned. I've always meant to sit down and learn the different kinds of Greek vases, but I've never had time until now.
What I don't appreciate is how one of the professors keeps calling for extra class sessions. He's super passionate about his subject, which is always nice, but there seems to be a disconnect in his perception of his students' responsibilities. The fact that we might have to go to other classes, or do other homework, or go to work, or --- I dunno --- sleep, just isn't on his radar. Case in point: We were scheduled to spend six hours with him in class last week. (Just in class. That doesn't count writing papers or reading articles outside of class.) Instead, we spent almost nine.
Okay, it looks pathetic and whiny when I write it out. But I assure you: when one of those extra labs gets out at 10:30 p.m. and you got two hours of sleep the night before and you have a quiz at nine o'clock the next morning ... an iota of whininess is justified, I think.
But how about these tomatoes, eh?? No whining there. I'm not normally a tomato person. I'm really not. Even tomato soup is a stretch (although this soup may have converted me). But these ... these are perfection. They are flame-colored joy bombs. They are the Golden Snitches of summer produce. One of my bosses gave these to me. I took them home reverently and put them in my fridge, then cut them into big chunks, mixed them with minced garlic and chiffonaded basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and put it all on toasted hunks of sourdough from a local bakery.
Safeway will not cut it here. Do not even think about going to Alway-Artmay.** No. You need local goods, my friend. If you're lucky enough to still have tomatoes in your garden ... use them. If you don't but your friend/neighbor/boss/mother-in-law does ... I recommend dark clothing and a moonless night. If you're already caught up in mists and pumpkins and mass-produced Halloween costumes ... bookmark this recipe for next summer.
(original recipe, but virtually identical to everybody's Italian grandmother's, I'm sure)
- 3 c. tomatoes, chopped roughly (I used four kinds: cherry, golden cherry, yellow pear-shaped, and mini-Roma-type things)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3-4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 c. fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 sourdough baguette
- butter for frying (optional)
- In large bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil, and salt and pepper. If desired, let sit in fridge for 10 minutes to develop flavors.
- Slice baguette on the bias (slightly diagonally) into thick slices. Fry in butter over medium heat, or toast in toaster oven.
- Top baguette slices with tomato mixture. Top with more basil if desired.
*When people learn that I want to be a librarian, their reaction is often something along the lines of, "Do you really think we're going to need those in ten years?" I always wonder if they expect me to have an epiphany on the spot and switch my major to something practical, like whatever they're studying.
**Wal-Mart. You're welcome.