ok, ok

I know. It's been about 20 years since I've had the chance to write anything, but rest assured, I haven't been giving in to the take-out menus or trader joe's frozen pizza inclinations. Much.

Actually, I've been on something of a self-imposed Pantry Challenge. Really trying to dig deep into the dry goods and see what comes out. Fresh produce still makes its way to me via the CSA and impulsive Prather Ranch buys have kept the freezer stocked with protein. That, and cured meats that go a long way.

Take a new favorite, with only three ingredients. Penne, leeks and prosciutto. Insanely simple and light and just feels all kinds of springy.

Beyond leeks, I've fallen for fennel. One night I broke out the mandoline in hopes an artfully shaved fennel salad, but the bulb was reduced to a hash. I had a small sirloin tip searing (and setting off the fire alarm), and sauteed the hash in a simple pan sauce.

Once I figured out the secret of the mandoline (multiple blades!), the second bulb got a close shave, was paired with some asiago and dressed with lemon and olive oil.

I really like this fennel two ways, and it's become something of a staple.

The pantry is just about clear, save for some udon I've had since Portland, a bag of odd-shaped artichoke pasta that might become a salad and a few tins of fish that will probably be opened in case of the Big One. For me, it seems, earthquake preparedness means smoked oysters. Not too bad.

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