Italian Pasta, Birthday Cake Scones … We Are Breaking in the Kitchen in Newport Beach
While there is still a lot to get done, much of which will take months as remaining items are crossed off checklists on weekends and during evenings when we have a bit of personal time – hanging pictures, organizing the closets, ordering window treatments, filling in the last few pieces of furniture – our place in Newport Beach is coming along nicely. After returning from Missouri, where we had been for several weeks in order to continue our planned personal and professional relocation from the state, we finally stocked the kitchen and broke in the appliances beyond our usual breakfasts by cooking one our favorite recipes, the Marcella Hazan tomato sauce with onion and butter over penne, which I first wrote about more than five years ago.
The meal is as simple and wonderful as ever. Two pounds of tomatoes, five tablespoons of butter, a yellow onion, and a bit of salt over a flame transform into something greater than the sum of the parts. It’s easy to make, delicious, and absurdly inexpensive to prepare. As the sauce begins to simmer, reducing and thickening into its final form, the kitchen fills with the the fragrances and sounds of home. In this process, and in its own way, it makes this new place as familiar and comforting as the old.
Despite the oven being gas, we’ve noticed that it behaves differently from our oven in Missouri. It takes significantly longer to cook, meaning we are going to have to adapt as we aren’t sure what is causing it. I’m sure it won’t take long until it is familiar but the first few times we bake pies, roast chickens or turkeys, or make Coq au Vin, it’s definitely going to require more attention and scrutiny.
We have so many things we will be able to make now … I had wanted to try Hazan’s lamb and juniper berry recipe for so long but could never get a decent cut of lamb in Missouri. Now, we can walk and pick it up from a grocery store. The fruit and vegetable selection are insanely good, too … take a look at our freshly stocked refrigerator! I feel like a kid in a candy store. Or, in this case, a fully grown adult in the produce section. Same thing. Those of you who cook will know exactly what I mean.
This weekend, Aaron decided to make a birthday cake scone recipe he found in a baking magazine we picked up at a Barnes & Noble in Kansas City several years ago. Why birthday cake scones given that our birthdays aren’t for awhile? Because they looked good. They didn’t disappoint (not a surprise since Aaron and I love things that are vanilla and/or almond flavored and these were both). The recipe made eight scones, each of which was 500 calories. I enjoyed grabbing one for breakfast with a cup of fresh, hot black coffee.
The biggest advantage is the fact that we can have the grocery store deliver everything within two hours so our kitchen can be stocked without us having to worry about running out and getting ingredients. With time being a particularly precious commodity these days, this is a huge bonus. There are so many things we can outsource and automate to free up our time, moving here is going to turn out to be a massive productivity boost because it will allow us to focus on our day-to-day work at Kennon-Green & Co. far more than we could have in Missouri. So much of our lives are just managed it’s fantastic. Dry cleaning, car washes, food delivery … it did not take long to get used to it.