Something quick for summer

This is for my friend Betsy, who observed that most of the recipes on this blog are rather long and involved . . .

I make this basic pasta salad many times each summer. It is open for endless variation–leave out the cheese for non-dairy gatherings, substitute broccoli for the green pepper, use nuts only if you have them, etc. The original recipe used pimentos instead of artichoke hearts (but I HATE pimentos). This past weekend when I made it, I added a pint of grape tomatoes (just tossed them on top).

[Given the current “tomato salmonella scare” I’m sticking to grape and cherry tomatoes until they get the rest figured out. A week or so ago, my food coop sold me tomatoes from Mexico and insisted that since they were organic they are safe, regardless of what the FDA says . . . and even claimed that no manure is used on organic produce . . . though as far as I know, it is just “synthetic fertilizer” that is not considered organic . . . oh well.]

I’ve included the Pasta Salad recipe on its own page, but will put it here as well:

Lucinda’s Favorite Pasta Salad
Time: 30 minutes to prepare, several hours to chill
Servings: Many
Ingredients
1 lb. (raw) pasta–medium shells, Campanelle, and Farfalle (Bow Tie) work well
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
a spoonful of pesto OR 10-20 basil leaves (fresh) OR 1/2 tsp basil and 1/2 tsp oregano (dry)
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, minced
1-15 oz can artichoke hearts or 2 jars marinated artichoke hearts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup (packed) freshly-minced parsley
4 oz. mozzarella cut into cubes
a handful of toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Heat 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt (if desired) and the pasta. Return pasta to a boil and cook until al dente (approx. 8-10 minutes depending on the shape).

Drain pasta in colander. Rinse in lukewarm water. Drain thoroughly.

Transfer pasta to large bowl. Add olive oil. Stir. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Add all the remaining ingredients, mix well. Chill and serve cold.

Enjoy!

Copyright © 2008, Lucinda DeWitt

Moving On

I’m sure Mudpie would understand that I must displace the news about her with a great baseball announcement:

Cubs recall Murton from Triple-A

Yippee! The red-head is back.

In other news, I’ve been doing lots of bread baking in the past week. Three recipes from Rose’s Bread Bible. First I tried making the Semolina Torpedo, but the Semolina I have is the type for pasta and, despite what you might read on the internet, trying to grind it into a fine flour using a food processor does not work. So that loaf shrunk up. Edible, but not very good. Then I made both Cracked Wheat Bread and Flaxseed Bread. Both turned out great! Excellent sandwich breads.

Interested cooks will also notice that I’ve added a few other recipes to the Recipe Index and Pages lists. If you try them out, let me know how they turn out. Tomorrow I’m testing out my Pad Thai recipe. I finally wrote up my consolidation of about eight different pad thai recipes. Once I give it the kitchen test (and make any necessary changes), I’ll post that here as well.

Enjoy!

My Imaginary Friend

Marvel and I are still adjusting to the loss of Mudpie (see previous post), but I thought I would share a bit of her story.

Mudpie with cat toys

Many of my friends have joked that Mudpie was my “imaginary cat” because they never saw her. Indeed, she was easily frightened and usually hid from guests, a behavior that began when she was only a kitten. In fact, I spent several hours chasing her around a barn in rural Minnesota before I managed to catch her and bring her home. [To be honest, I was first chasing a little grey striped kitten, who continued to elude me, so I gave up and “settled” for her sister.] Her color (brown), shape (very round), and smell (remember, she lived in a barn) prompted me to name her Cow Pie, but calling “Here Cow Pie!” to get her in from outside seemed humiliating for the both of us, so Mudpie became the compromise selection. Moseley–my big, black, at the time 2-year-old, cat–immediately took on mothering duties–teaching the household rules and trying to encourage proper grooming, but eventually just doing it herself when Mudpie showed no interest. They were best buddies for 8 years until Moseley died. Neither of them were thrilled when I brought Marvel home in 2000 (just for a few days until another home could be found–yeah, right), but they put up with her crazy energy and each eventually established their place in the household. Luckily, I have a big house.

M&M Together in Heaven

Moseley and Mudpie are together in heaven at last.

Mudpie & Moseley

My cat Moseley (right above) died in May 2002. Her pal Mudpie (left) has been sick for the last six months due to a large growth in her mouth. She’s been quite a trooper trying to keep going, but finally it became impossible for her to eat even watered down food. So today she went up to heaven to be with Moseley.

Please keep us in your prayers.

I’ll try to add some M&M stories to this blog once I feel up to it.

Tuesday, June 10th

I’m adding on the end of this entry, rather than starting a new one, so that the picture can stay at the top of the page for a while.  Marvel is complaining that her picture isn’t on the blog (she’s the third “m” and only one left), so here she is:

Marvel

And here’s a rare picture of the three of them together:

3mxmas

More stories later.