I have cooked up something delicious inspired by antiquated anniversary gifts to celebrate The Astronomer’s and my wedding anniversary for the past nine years.
He’s been gifted edible interpretations of Paper (Vietnamese goi cuon and bo bia), Cotton (braised rabbit), Leather (pear fruit leather), Fruit (rhubarb cake), Wood (woodear mushroom salad), Sugar (marshmallows), Wool (braised lamb shanks, Bronze (pasta alla vodka), and Pottery (lamb tagine) thus far.
It is customary to bestow tin upon one’s beloved in recognition of the tenth anniversary, which was convenient considering that our milestone coincided with the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders.
My pantry is more blessed with condiments and pasta than tinned goods, but I managed to rummage up cans of anchovies, chickpeas, and tomato paste — the latter two, I’m quite certain, were left behind by my cousin Jessica when she moved to northern California over a year ago.
Using ingredients already on hand, I fashioned a soup, a pasta, and a cookie. It wasn’t the most elaborate feast, but it was just what the occasion called for. This is what quarantine cooking is all about.
The first dish was a very delightful pasta e ceci soup from Smitten Kitchen, which made good use of the chickpeas and the tomato paste. Considering how few ingredients the recipe calls for, the depth of flavor in each bowl was fantastic. This one’s a keeper.
Next up was a riff on Alison Roman’s shallot pasta that made use of the rest of the tomato paste along with a can of anchovies. I swapped in onions for shallots and never looked back. NB: This is the last Alison Roman recipe I’ll be making.
Lastly, I whipped up the reserved chickpea water (aquafaba) into chocolate meringue cookies. I used this recipe as a starting point, swapped out the peppermint extract for vanilla, and added in about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. After two hours in the oven at 250 degrees, the results were superbly crispy and highly-snackable cookies.
The Astronomer gifted me a dozen cans of Spanish tinned seafood that we’re gradually going through during quarantine. The chipirones (squid in olive oil) were particularly good.
Years of marriage should always be marked by good food.
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