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I have too much stuff. I’m not a hoarder, but pack rat could be most appropriate. I seem to collect things without realizing I’m collecting. Until of course I see several of the same things around the house. So far I’ve collected lots of jewelry, pillows, blankets, coffee mugs, kitchen gadgets, knives, and of course, gourmet foods. Lots and lots and cabinets and mounds and tons of gourmet sauces, spices, seasonings, pastas, oils, vinegars, butters, cheeses, nuts, snacks and meats.

Last night I realized I had four jars of opened peanut butter. One was hazelnut, one plain, one with honey and one with Rosemary. That doesn’t count the Speculoos Cookie Butter, Biscoff Spread or Nutella either. Or the one swirled with jam. Or chocolate. Jeez.

In the fridge I currently have 12 kinds of cheese, two juices, seven jars of jam and jelly, four salad dressings, six sauces, and four milks; Buttermilk, whole milk, almond milk and fat free organic.  That’s just the items in ONE of our four refrigerators. Yes. Four. One however, only contains wine and another only contains craft beer which I also seem to collect. Oh, and it has water. The water clearly isn’t for me.

On the counter are three kinds of flour, 17, yes 17 bottles of vinegar and olive oil, four kinds of coffee, three sweeteners, four kinds of honey. In the cabinet is nine types of pasta, 14 bags of gourmet chips and crackers.  Someone help me. This could be a problem. My kitchen is like a mad scientist laboratory! I just can’t resist the latest and greatest foods. I HAVE to try them…ALL!

All in all I guess there are worse habits to have. At least this is a delicious one right? This one feeds my family and friends well. I shouldn’t be ashamed of my addiction right? Sigh. Just call me the Food Collector. But please do not ask me how many bottles of wine I’ve…collected. That might just throw us all over the top. 😉


Buttermilk Ricotta and Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Tomato Stuffed Shells


  • Homemade Buttermilk Ricotta, (recipe here; just substitute Buttermilk for whole milk) or store bought regular ricotta will work fine
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, I prefer San Marzano
  • 1 sprig fresh Rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup GOOD olive oil
  • 1/4 cup GOOD Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 package medium or large shell pasta, COOKED (I used medium)
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped Basil
  • 1 package/can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg

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Cut cherry tomatoes in halves. Place on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/4 cup oil, then 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary and salt & pepper to taste. Roast tomatoes for 20-30 minutes at 450.

In a medium bowl, blend ricotta with roasted tomatoes. Stuff shells with this mixture and place in a greased 13×9 baking dish.

In a skillet, add remaining olive oil and wine. Bring to a simmer and allow wine to reduce. Add cream, Parmesan and Nutmeg. Allow to simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Drain diced tomatoes, add to sauce and stir to incorporate. Pour sauce over shells. Sprinkle with fresh chopped Basil. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Serve with a salad and warm crusty bread to round out the meal.

20140519_191730_resizedLife is too short to eat ugly food. Bon appetit y’all!