Please meet Ella. And have some bacon, too.

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to skip the part where I explain my absence around here and just get straight to the point: I have a new niece. Her name is Ella Camille and she was born just yesterday. I won't meet her for another two months, but I love her already.

photo taken by Ella's daddy, Matt

She arrived into the world in a hospital somewhere near Oakland, California, while the snow and rain came down hard here in Chicago to form a deep slush. She's a California baby, and, like her big sister, she'll grow up eating seaweed salad and tofu dogs, and live in a house with a lemon tree outside the window and the beach just two hops away.

Did I mention that it's snowing here? I know it's not snowing in California, but I kind of like the fact that Ella was born on a day when it snowed. Because as much as I hate it, there's something special about that first snowfall. We wait for it once Thanksgiving is over, and although we're expecting it, it still comes as somewhat of a surprise. And for days, weeks, months, that's all anyone can really talk about. It's a big deal around here.

And Ella is certainly a big deal, so it only makes sense that she and snow make their first arrival together. Welcome to the world, Ella, and here's to family and warm blankets and big sisters and snowy birthdays and a life of a million firsts.

I know it doesn't tie in as smoothly as some might like, but I hope you'll accept this recipe for bacon and shrimp linguine. I've been meaning to post it for some time but just never got around to it. I'd say the birth of a new niece calls for celebration, and what better way to celebrate than eating some bacon?

Congrats to Michelle and Matt and Mira!

bacon + shrimp linguine

Bacon + Shrimp Linguine
This recipe is very, very loose. As in, I haven't made it in a few weeks and never really wrote down the recipe or measured anything so I'm just kind of guessing as I write. But you get the main idea.

1/2 lb linguine
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
1/2 lb jumbo shrimp, or a couple handfuls, peeled, deveined and cut in half
4-6 slices of bacon, diced
1 tbs tomato paste
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
salt, pepper, and whatever Italian seasoning you have
olive oil, maybe

Boil a pot of water and cook linguine according to package directions. Drain and set aside. I usually like to toss with a bit of olive oil so the pasta doesn't stick together as it cools.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon until crisp. Set aside on a paper towel lined plate and dispose of about half of the bacon grease. Add half the garlic and all of the shrimp to the skillet and cook until pink and tender, flipping halfway through. Set aside with the bacon. Add some olive oil if necessary and the rest of the garlic and the chopped onion. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and seasonings and cook 10 minutes, until sauce thickens a bit. Mix in tomato paste a little at a time until the sauce reaches desired consistency. Let simmer a few minutes more before adding the cooked linguine, shrimp and bacon. Toss until well coated and serve immediately.

Serves 2 with plenty of leftovers.


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  2. (let's try this again)

    Tears in my eyes. Only you (I mean it) could tie the beauty of a new baby to the beauty of a first snow. Congratulations to your family - she is gorgeous, gorgeous.

  3. she's so small! so happy for you guys :)

  4. You know what's funny? This week, it snowed in the Bay Area. Not too far from Oakland, in fact. I didn't see any, but just a few miles away, and a little higher up, there was definitely snow. And it never snows here. Maybe that was the universe's magical something to represent you since you couldn't be here in person (um, could I be more Berkeley?) :-)

  5. Congrats for your new niece!
    She looks so pretty and healthy, I loved that thing of "growing with a lemon tree..."
    Here is not snowing yet, but it's getting cold enough : )

  6. shanna - thank you so much. when i sat down to write this post, all i could think about was that it snowed on the same day she was born. new baby, first snowfall, it just seemed to fit, ya know?

    les - thank you! babies are so little it's kind of crazy.

    kim - snow in the bay area? insane! maybe the snow gods knew ella was on her way. and there's nothing wrong with being berkeley. i love it there! :)

    190.arch - thanks so much! yeah, it's pretty cold here, too. and i am so jealous of my sister's lemon tree!

  7. Your niece is very cute!

    And your pasta dish sounds delicious :)


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