I don't know how you cook, but for me it is a little like writing. I take an idea or thought and let it germinate... fester... ferment. I try to consider what I have available, who I am cooking for and what the occasion is. For this weekend's party, I also needed to prepare something that wouldn't take much time - thus, the world's fastest pasta was the perfect solution. I originally had this more than 20 years ago at a family friend's house and have been making it ever since.
Put a cup of good olive oil in a glass jar. Add 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves and about 4 chopped tomatoes to the olive oil. Chop a large handful of herbs - I used flat leaf parsley and basil, and add them to the olive oil mixture. Place the lid on the jar and periodically give it a good rolling shake. Cook a pound of pasta, reserving about a cup of the pasta water. Add the water to your jar of loveliness and give things a good roll or 2. Pour sauce over pasta and finish by seasoning with salt and pepper and cheese, if you like. I had some fresh mozzarella which I cubed and added. Serve hot, warm of cold.
I was asked to bring a dessert item to the party, but didn't have an incredible amount of time to get overly creative. I did, however, have boxed angel food cake mix which I knew would suffice. I've never made an angel food cake before - perhaps, you will argue, I still have not. Believe me, I know my friends - by the time dessert rolls around their primary concern will be eating something sweet - not whether the cake is from a mix or hand measured. The mix was pretty cool - just add water and beat for about 2 minutes, it couldn't have been any easier. I don't have an angel food cake pan, so I opted to make 2 loaves instead. I had a couple of fresh mangoes, which I cut and then grilled over low to medium fire to get a little char on them. While they cooled, I had the hubby pick some mint in the backyard which I then soaked in Hypnotiq. After a couple of hours, I chopped the mint and the mango and combined them with the soaking liquid to make a nice compote to jazz up the cake. Prior to serving, I sliced the angel food cake (with a sharp serrated knife), fanned it out on a platter and placed the mango-mint compote on the side. So easy - so delicious.