We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vodka Sauce

     Kimmy made a killer vodka sauce...she typically like to make the butterfly pasta to put it over - she felt the larger pastas held the sauce better.  Today, feeling ambitious, I thought I'd make the sauce...I spent at least an hour searching for the recipe...all the while, a nagging memory of a dog eared recipe card, well loved, well used, in the back of my mind.  You see, she loved the recipe so much and made it for us so often, she had simply worn the card out, but, had it memorized!
     So, I got in touch with my sister, Lauren, who's recipe it was - she had shared it with Kim many years ago.  Laur came through and I was in business!
     Ok, so here it is, as Laur gave it to me:

             Heat sauce pot
             Put 2 TBSP of olive oil in pan and get that heated up
             Add 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced into oil and sautee (yes, 6-8 - look, if you don't think you can handle that much garlic, make something else, OK?  Kim's philosphy was 'if you can't stand the garlic, stay out of the kitchen!'
            Add 1/2 cup of Vodka (now, people will ask me 'Vodka? will I get drunk?  Well, the alcohol does burn off, unfortunately, during the cooking process, so if that is going to be a problem for you, just drink directly from the bottle as you are cooking to gain desired effect.) and bring to a simmer.
           Add 1 cup of heavy cream and bring to a boil, stir it!
           Add a 28 oz can of tomatoes (Laur recommends crushed ones, as it gets 'saucier')
           Season with basil, salt and pepper.

           Kimmy would always double this recipe, so we had extra - it freezes well, or it will last in fridge for about a week.  Also, Kim would add 1/2 cup of grated parm at the end and stir it in.  She always used fresh basil, 4-6 leaves when doubling the recipe and two bay leaves (remove before serving).
           Ok, there was a cooking show that Kim absolutely loved, called 'Sam the Cooking Guy'.  Sam was great, because he wasn't a 'foodee' or whatever the Food Network chef's call themselves.  He was down to earth, did the show out of his kitchen and was on PBS or the local network.  He was 'one of us', using common ingredients he already had around the house.  Kim loved when he was cooking a recipe and would say 'hey, could you add some corn to this recipe?', or some other ingredient.  She would often quote Sam.  So, in this spirit, I say "could you add some shallots to this recipe?"  Absolutely.  Two to three, chopped shallots taste pretty good in this recipe!  Kim would always run the batch through her blender to make it all smooth and 'saucier'.  There's a photo of Sam's cookbook above - watch for him! 
             The sauce is pretty easy to make and fast.  But, would it pass the scrutiny of the bambini??
Yes!  Bene!!  The bambini approved of the Vodka Sauce!!
              These guys love their pasta!!  They all ate two bowls and then I got them out front to burn off some of their energy and they played with Mitch, Hadley and Alex.  And now, Cody is at Alex's playing some video games...
             Tonio brought home some nice pieces he's been working on in Art class at school:
            This is a Warhol-esque self portrait he did (I know it is hard to see, but he is wearing a Philadelphia Flyers shirt!).  It looks as if all three kids have been blessed with Kimmy's artistic abilities!!

            The other day, Brian and I took Cody out through Fantasy Island.  Cody has so much energy, it is so good for him to get out and do some desert biking.  When we got there, Cody quickly talked Brian and I into going on a new trail he had done with Tom and his friend Dale, last time we went through.  We agreed and Cody led us through with his usual torrid pace.  He has one speed.  Fast. 
           And as we went through, I remembered the beautiful day I had the chance to take Kimmy through...as we passed through a Mesquite grove, I remember her saying how pretty it was...as we approached the huge Palo Verde tree further down the path, I remember there was a huge, black bull just beneath it, about three feet from the path...and Kimmy never saw it!  I remember her saying that she could not keep her eyes off of the mountain views, how incredible they looked!  And I warned her not to look for too long, or she'd be wearing some cholla or prickly pair!
           Then, Cody led us down the new path - the Fire Trail.   He narrated each new dip and turn, telling us all about the Field Goal as we approached.  It was a scenic, down hill, with a quick rise through two, perfectly placed saguaro cacti...no problem.  Next, we approached the Elbow Jammer...an almost straight down drop, that had two quick hills at the bottom.  Cody shot down the hill at break neck speed, negotiating the transition at the bottom and easing over both smaller hills at the bottom.  Brian navigated the drop without a problem...I almost made it.  As I hit the bottom, my left foot slipped and I instantly renamed the Elbow Jammer for a different part of my anatomy that I had jammed!  As I regained my footing, I hit the first hill and instantly blew out my back tire. I wasn't mad or dissappointed, I was feeling pretty happy that I had survived!  There was no way to repair my tire, so I gave my truck keys to Brian and told him and Cody to finish the trail and I'd hike out to Houghton road and meet them there.
             I hiked out to the road and remembered...they had just installed a brand new, barbed wire fence.  There sure is a lot of barbed wire out here - is Arizona the barbed wire state?  There would be no climbing through it.  I started following it until I came to a culvert and was able to slip beneath it.  Rather than sitting and waiting, I started walking south on Houghton to meet up with Brian and Cody...Dan, I was thinking of you as I slipped beneath the fence, I spotted an old Mets scarf stuck in the barbed wire - I was tempted to salvage it, wash it and mail it to you in Iowa...!  I hiked about 2 miles up Houghton and the guys picked me up...we'll try it again this weekend!

       Tonight, the bambini's want to watch 'The Incredibles'!  So we'll settle in soon to do that...another day has past - these guys seem to be doing better each day...school helps.  Antonio and Autumn stayed after school today and Mrs. Schrantz and Mrs. Rudzena helped them catch up their homework - they always leave happy and feeling a sense of accomplishment....

        And I tell them:

               " God gave you shoes to fit you.
                 So put them on and wear them.
                 Be yourself, be proud of who you are!
                 Even if it sounds corny,
                 Don't let anyone tell you you aren't beautiful"
                                                         - Eminem



  1. Dave, your kids certainly do have Kim's artisitic ability. I'm working on labeling and mounting pieces for Vail Pride Day, and I have Autumn's in front of me. It's a dolphin leaping out of the water, which is filled with hearts, stars and peace symbols - beautiful!

  2. Dave your humor is showing more and more! I love the vodka sauce and as soon as I buy some vodka, I'm making it! I'm not sure how much I'll drink on the side tho - LOL!!!! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Dave, thank you for sharing all these recipes with us. I think pasta sounds wonderful for dinner tonight! Enjoy the weekend and God bless you always.

  4. I absolutely love Kim's Vodka sauce. I will never forget the day we ate at your place and she served it to us. I thought I was at a very expensive Italian Restaurant! She gave me the recipe and we love it. We always make enough for leftovers.
    Your bike riding sounds as graceful as mine. Sure made me laugh tonight.