Monday, November 17, 2008
Monday Madness: Meet Erin McIntosh
Erin McIntosh is a member of my "urban family" here in Rochester. You know the group of people - you spend the most time with them, their kids are like your kids, you end up spending some portion of a holiday weekend with them and you hope to hell that when old age hits, you are all entrapped in the same nursing home.
In all honesty, I would forego almost any meal in the city of Rochester in favor of just sitting at Erin and Paul's house with a big old plate of his Penne a la Vodka in front of me and a smaller plate of his Kenny Rogers corn bread to my right. Erin's cooking is just that genuine and good. And because he is one of my favorite cooks in this world, he's agreed to talk for Monday Madness:
What is your first cooking memory? Probably making Christmas cookies every year ... We would make sugar cookies and throw flour at each other.
What is your go-to dish if you're cooking for friends? Pasta is always there. (Ed. note: YES!) I always have a pasta dish of some kind ... (although) when people come over I like having different things.
What is your favorite thing to make? That's a toss up between bread and dessert. Although I really like making dessert, there are health consequences to making them all of the time.
OK - so if you were on Death Row, what would be your last meal? (Erin is one of the only people who doesn't think that this question is strange. Instead, he pulls toward him his little black box of recipes that he's tried and perfected over the years to find that perfect meal.) For appetizers, crab and lobster stuffed mushrooms. A pre-entree would be that Craisin and cashew salad. My main course would be pasta with a side of sweet potato casserole. He looks up and smiles. Basically carbs, carbs and more carbs. And then a piece of cheesecake at the end.
Words of wisdom for other cooks: Make a mess, I know I do. Everything tastes better that way ... I'm serious! (Ed. note: The other secret to our success as cooks is that we have significant others that clean up after us. It's a good thing. And we love you for it.)
Penne a la Vodka
by Erin McIntosh
1 lb. penne
1 12 oz. can of stewed tomatoes or 8 oz. fresh tomatoes, quartered
3 T minced garlic
1/4 c. fresh basil
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. vodka
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to top with
Cook pasta according to directions on box. Saute garlic and tomatoes for five minutes. Add 1/2 c. vodka and simmer 10 minutes until reduced and thickened. Add basil and cream, heat slowly. Toss mixture with cooked pasta. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.