The Best Thing I Have Ever Made
My roommate and I invited a few friends over for dinner the other night, with the alluring promise of “the best dinner Jen has ever cooked.” That is a lot to live up to, my friends! But she wasn’t lying, this homemade pasta with brown butter, sage and butternut squash sauce was just as good as we remembered. I made it to celebrate finishing my anatomy course last year, and Marie and I were speechless at how absolutely decadent and flavorful this was. It is funny that we decided to make it again almost exactly a year to date later! To make it completely from scratch will take some time (I pulled the pasta, sauce and a salad together in just under an hour and a half) but there are some simple substitutions if you wanted to make this for a faster weeknight meal! Simply use prepped butternut squash (they sell peeled halves in the grocery store, or frozen cubes might work) and boxed pasta to simplify your prep time. Dinner will still take an hour, but most of that will be from roasting and not from active prep time. No matter which direction you take this recipe, be sure to give it a try. It lived up to my friends high expectations, and Marie and I still agree this is the best thing I have ever cooked! The recipe is not my own, however, so head on over to These Peas are Hollow to check it out. I followed the recipe exactly, but used fresh linguine (just narrower noodles than tagliatelle) and light instead of heavy cream, since it is what we had on hand. (I also left off the gorgonzola and parsley garnish.)
With a good dinner and good friends comes lots of laughter, music, good conversation, but few pictures. Not wanting to detract too much from our time together, I only snapped one picture of our meal! However, I did use the opportunity to learn a few things from my photographer friend. I really want to start working on improving my photography skills, which requires a little bit of equipment. My friend showed me how to use a napkin to diffuse some of the spotlight (aka a desk lamp creatively angled by my accommodating roommate) when taking pictures at night in my dining room. Lighting is as, if not more, important than the quality of your camera, and poor lighting has ruined many of my best meals. A project for Christmas break is to build my own light box, using this tutorial from (never)Homemaker. I am going to simplify the construction a bit, but really think that this is the most important (and inexpensive) first step I can take! The next problem is my camera. I am currently using a 6-year-old Cannon point and shoot, which has held up pretty well. It takes good pictures in sunlight, but is starting to fail if a flash can’t be used. I am slowly starting to research new cameras, but on a student income (read: <$0), this is a huge investment to make. My friend was telling me a little bit about micro 4/3 cameras, which sound like an interesting option. They aren’t named 4/3 because they are smaller (yes, my friends, 4/3 is greater than 1… oops), but because of the patented lens system. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) They are kind of a stepping stone between point and shoot and larger DSLR cameras. I need to continue to do some research, but there are so many options to consider! This is where your advice could come in handy!
Questions: What kind of camera do you currently use? Are there any brands/technologies/cameras that you would recommend? Do you think the micro 4/3 camera is a worthwhile investment, or would it be smarter to pay more up front for something of better quality that might last longer? Any advice from blogger/photographer/hobbyist friends would be greatly appreciated!