It’s Valentine’s Day and my little girl is sick. She’s had a pretty high fever for the past 3 days fluctuating between 38 and 40 degrees Celcius, is congested with a head cold and has had little to no appetite at all. We took her to the emergency pediatrician at the local clinic on Sunday night and were sent home with nausea medication and told to wait it out. So Thomas and I have been up nights taking her temperature, giving her medicine every 4 to 6 hours and checking on her. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten much sleep and if I had the energy or the time I would make a nice dinner for my husband and myself to enjoy and we would have had a relaxing night at home with our normally boisterous two year old. But instead of celebrating this holiday as two lovers rejoicing we are spending it as worried parents drawn thin by Anna’s lack of appetite, vivacity and normally good spirits. We are trying desperately to coax her to eat toast, or anything at all really, drink plenty of fluids and keep her fever down. Over the past few days Anna, Thomas and I have been watching Baby Einstein videos over and over again and Disney movies like Dumbo, Bambi and The Jungle Book as we sit together on the couch, or we’ve been building block castles, drawing on her marker board, coloring or doing puzzles and when the medicine makes her feel a little bit better we have even kicked a ball around the house a little bit (sorry downstairs neighbor)!
So here is what I would have liked to have made if we were all feeling well this Valentine’s Day. I hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with love and fun with the ones you care about even if you are stuck at home eating boiled potatoes with spinach and drinking lots of camomille tea. I just hope that my little girl will be feeling better and be back to her old self very soon!
adapted from Mark Bittman
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
3 large celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2⁄3 cup white wine
3 cups diced tomatoes (from a can is fine)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
5 to 6 cups vegetable stock or water, or more as needed
3⁄4 cup bulgur
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
Saute onion and celery in oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the onions are translucent add the garlic and saute for a minute more until fragrant. Add the wine and cook for another minute, then add the tomatoes, thyme, stock, bulgur wheat and salt/pepper to taste. Simmer stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes or until the bulgur wheat is tender. Serve with chopped fresh parsley on top.
About 2 cups Sofrito (recipe here)
1 large can of Crushed Tomatoes
salt and black/red peppers to taste
Romano cheese or other hard cheese of your choice
Follow the recipe for Sofrito (and if you wish substitute 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste instead of the tablespoon of slowly simmered fire roasted tomatoes). Combine the crushed tomatoes with ALL of the sofrito and add salt and peppers to taste then simmer over medium low heat until the sauce thickens a little. Add the freshly cooked pasta to the sauce and combine then add grated cheese on top just before plating.
For the Pasta
Raspberry Pie with Lattice Top
Adapted from Mama’s Minutia
6 cups (frozen) raspberries
1 cup sugar
5-6 tablespoons tapioca pearls (blended in a coffee grinder to a fine powder)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the Crust (recipe here)
Preheat the oven to 400° F Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and allow to sit for about 15-20 minutes while you prepare the crust. Roll out two halves of dough into circles large enough to fit your pie plate. One of the circles goes in the plate the other gets cut into strips (about 18 to 20 strips). Don’t worry that they will all be different lengths! Fill the pie crust with the filling and start laying the longer strips on first in the center of the pie (both horizontally and vertically) making sure to follow the lattice structure of over one under the next when laying the strips. Work your way out to the edges using smaller and smaller strips until the entire surface of the pie is covered. Curl the ends under and crimp and brush the top with milk being careful not to drip too much milk into the filling. Bake on the middle rack with a parchment lined cookie sheet under it on the lower rack, to catch any spills, at 400° F for 30 minutes and then turn the oven down to 350° F for another 30 minutes. Cool for at least 2-3 hours to let the pie set before attempting to cut. It will be juicy but the longer it sits the firmer it should set up.
Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!