Basic arrabiata sauce

Cooking, Food, Meatless, Recipes No Comments

I made this up the other night. I have no idea whether it’s remotely like authentic arrabiata sauce, but it’s yummy and easy.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 2-3 tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 med yellow onion, diced
  • 1 28oz tin diced tomatoes
  • 1 14oz tin crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt, give or take – to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp decent balsamic vinegar


  1. Set a decent sized sauce pot on med-low heat and add oil. Toss in garlic and let warm up for a bit, then turn heat up to medium.
  2. Throw in red pepper flakes, shallot, and onion, and saute for 3-4 mins until the onions are translucent and getting soft.
  3. Turn heat up to med-high and add diced tomatoes, including all the juice from the tin. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 mins then add the crushed tomatoes. Add some salt and pepper, stir well, turn down to med-low or low, and let simmer for a while until it’s a nice saucy consistency and the tomatoes taste cooked.
  4. Stir in balsamic vinegar, simmer for a couple more minutes, and serve.

You might want to start with less than 2 tsp of hot pepper flakes and adjust the recipe to suit. We like some pretty spicy arrabiata, and tend to serve this with sliced chunks of hot italian sausage, red onion, and yellow peppers over fusilli. It’s also great with straight up spaghetti and meatballs.

Update: Rob thinks it could have used a hit of sugar (1/2 tsp or so). This is possibly true.

Now we’re in Moncton

General, House, Moncton No Comments

So we’ve moved. From Ottawa to Moncton…from a 1 bedroom+loft condo with no yard to a 4 bedroom house with a third of an acre…from the capital to the maritimes. The move, while ridiculously stressful, went relatively well. All people and pets made it unscathed, and all our stuff appears to be OK with two notable exceptions. Rob’s acoustic guitar sustained some cosmetic damage and my gaming computer (a carefully designed and lovingly hand-crafted $2500 machine) got utterly destroyed. The machine was dropped hard enough that they managed to bend the frame in multiple places, and most of the rivets and internal screws got sheared off. It’s currently in bits in a box in the basement. I’m not exactly thrilled about this, and I’m especially unthrilled by the hum-hawing and foot dragging the moving company seems to be doing related to the insurance claim.

At this point I’m fairly convinced that all residential moving companies are crooks. Not only did they (the company in question will currently remain nameless) attempt to jack the price of our move by 50% after they had all our stuff (essentially holding it hostage), they’re now trying to tell us that the computer damage isn’t their responsibility. By “not exactly thrilled” I actually mean “seethingly infuriated”, of course. On the bright side, the driver and guys who actually showed up and moved our stuff on and off the truck were great. Everyone else? Not so great.

some other books

These are some of our books, temporarily staged in the basement ’til we can figure out a proper shelving solution. They are not organized in any sensible fashion.

We’ve been in the house for about three weeks now, and it’s all good. The worst of the wallpaper has been stripped and the upstairs is all painted. For the first time in over six years we have unpacked all our books, which is satisfying in a pretty fundamental way. I’ve got my little workshop more or less set up, so I should be able to start mucking about with stained glass again soon. And, in spite of the 2.5 feet of hard-packed snow, I’ve ordered herb and tomato seeds. Yes, there are huge piles of snow on everything still, but it’s spring, dammit, and I want my herb garden. I’ll start the seeds inside around mid-April in hopes for a mid-May last frost, but given how lousy this winter has been that may be ambitious.

herb books

We’ve also been cooking a lot, including a prime-rib roast, pan-seared sirloin steak, guacamole, tzatziki sauce (on sauted pork tenderloin), a full roast chicken, chicken soup, baked halibut, sausage pasta (one simple tomato sauce, one arrabiata sauce), apple-cinnamon coffee cake, buttermilk biscuits, buttermilk pancakes, french toast, a red curry on rice, a somewhat bland spice cake, various salads and sandwiches, and lots of miniwheats. I really need to start keeping track more carefully, because pretty much everything we’ve had (with exception of the spice cake and the not-curry-enough curry) has been really very good. Today is steak and mushroom quesadilla day, I think, and I might make a mango chutney for later in the week.


Reading-wise, I’ve recently finished Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food which is his follow-up to Omnivore’s Dilemma, both of which are worth reading. I’m partway through Roberton Davies’ Fifth Business, and about 1/3rd of the way through Anthony Everitt’s non-fiction history about Cicero (which is excellent). I’m reading Cicero because I recently finished Robert Harris’ Imperium which is a novel centred around Cicero. I think after I’m finished this Everitt book I’ll crack Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States as my non-fiction selection, and Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth for fiction. We’ll see.

Things are generally winding back down into a more regular routine, which is good — everything has been basically haywire since the week before Christmas (when we put the offer on the house), and I’m pretty sure this is the most extensive bout of stress I’ve dealt with in my life. Very, very much looking forward to the snow melting and getting a bbq and some patio furniture. It’s going to be a great summer.


Cooking, Food, Recipes No Comments

For those of you who might be interested in this sort of thing, I’ve started a new project to organize all my collected online recipes in a single place (currently they’re scattered all over the place). It’s all a work in progress, of course, and you can find it over here: Dria’s Recipes. There’s also an RSS feed if that’s how you roll.

I haven’t made the majority of those yet, of course — I just collect interesting-sounding recipes to rifle through for inspiration later on.

Tzatziki sauce

Cooking, Food, Meatless, Recipes 2 Comments


  • 1 cup plain yogurt, drained*
  • 3/4 cup cucumber, drained**
  • 1 tbsp diced shallot
  • 1 tsp (or more) minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • A bit of salt


  1. * I used 6% fat plain “balkan style” yogurt, drained by leaving it in a coffee filter in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl for 30-45m. This drained out a bunch of the extra water and made it nice and thick.
  2. ** To drain the cucumber, I diced and salted a bunch of cucumber then left it in a strainer over a bowl for half an hour. I then rinsed it in a collander and pressed between paper towels to squeeze out as much water as possible.
  3. Put the cucumber, shallot, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and dill in a small food processor, and chop it up nice and fine. More water will be released at this point, so drain most of that off.
  4. Put cucumber mixture in a small bowl and add the yogurt. Mix it up and salt + pepper to taste.

I served this with sauted pork tenderloin cubes that I had marinated with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and some finely chopped rosemary. Simple salad (romaine, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese) on the side with a lemon/lime vinaigrette.

about:mozilla newsletter submission reminder!

about:mozilla, Work No Comments

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