Thursday, May 28, 2009

Best Laid Plans

Well, at 9:11 this morning I planned to write for an hour and 1/2, walk the dogs then write for another hour before heading over to Mad's school to stuff envelopes.  But I logged into Blogger and started reading some of the blogs I follow, then my mom called and asked if she could bring my (very beloved) Aunt and Uncle over for a quick visit while they are in town.  I said yes, of course, bring them on over because I don't get to see them nearly enough, and what was I going to do with the time anyway -- write?  Hah.

So we had a great quick visit, and now here I am, snuggled back into the comfy couch, dogs on either side, laptop fired up, and damn if I'm not hungry.  It's hard to blog about food when you're hungry.  Must. Write. Blog.  But perhaps if I had another cup of coffee...

I'm so distractable.  
(Here's a fact: according to my computer's dictionary, there is no such word as distractable.  Ah, but the Mirriam-Webster online dictionary does acknowledge it... interesting... did you know distract likely comes from the latin distractus, past participle of distrahere, literally to draw apart, from dis- + trahere to draw?

For instance, every week, usually on Tuesday, I get out my favorite cookbooks and find recipes, and make a shopping list of food for the week.  Then, I dutifully go to the store and buy only those items on my list, which I have trained myself to do so I don't wind up buying whatever the store happens to be hawking that day.   The rest of the day, I walk around feeling all smug and superior because I was able to resist the spicy peach chutney and andouille sausage because they just didn't fit into this week's plan.  No matter how excellent they tasted.  No matter how many times I went back to the hawk-er, pretending I needed to try that chutney one more time so I could decide whether my husband and children might like it.  I resisted, I stuck to the plan.  

Except that on, say,  Memorial Day Monday at 5pm, my original list/menu plan long gone in the jumble, I find myself staring into the refrigerator and thinking, why did I buy all that ricotta?  The friends we've invited over on the spur of the moment are piling through the front door with their children and their bottle of wine, and I've promised food, positive I've got something in the fridge.  Nope.  I've got a ton of ricotta and a lemon.  What the heck was a I planning to do with that?  

Completely flummoxed (ORIGIN mid 19th cent: compare with dialect flummock to make untidy;confuse), my first thought is pizza?  Got flour, got yeast, got a bit of tomato sauce somewhere, ok, it's paste but I can use that -- no mozzerella.  It wasn't pizza.  I don't have time to dig around the cookbooks, and if I'm going to be completely confessional here, I'd probably already used whatever other ingredients I was planning to mix with the ricotta when I abandoned (lost)  my menu plan earlier in the week.

But, there's a  1/4 bag of frozen broccoli and a 1/4 bag of frozen peas, and I've got pasta (I always have pasta) , and olive oil, and waaaay in the back of my fridge, I've got an old rind of Parmesan, and this is what I made:

Pasta with Ricotta, Broccoli and Peas
Serves 4-6 adults if you've got some salad and some bread (I served 4 adults and 4 children, but girl-children, who happen to eat like birds)

1/2 cup ricotta 
olive oil (1/8 cup or so)
1lb pasta (I used macaroni shaped pasta for this, but whatever)
1/4 cup frozen broccoli, run under warm water in a sieve until it is less frozen)
1/4 cup peas (also run under warm water)
a grating or two of Parmesan
kosher or sea salt
a solid grinding of pepper

Scoop ricotta into a bowl and swirl in olive oil stirring until the ricotta isn't quite so thick. Zest the lemon into another bowl and set aside, then cut the lemon and squeeze 1/2 into the bowl with the ricotta and olive oil.  Stir all this vigorously with a whisk until the mixture is well incorporated.  Boil up your pasta, plonking the broccoli and peas into the boiling water for a couple of seconds right before you drain the whole thing.  Put the pasta/vegetables back in the pot and immediately throw the ricotta mixture in the pot as well.  Stir it all up.  Add a teaspoon of lemon zest.  (Put the rest in a ziplock and save it in the refrigerator for another time) Grate a tablespoon or so of Parmesan into the pot, and add a pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper.  Taste it. Add more lemon juice, or Parmesan or salt depending on your taste.  You can eat this right away, or you can put it in a nice looking bowl and let it sit until you're ready to eat it because it's also good room temperature.

If you happen to have broken down at the grocery and bought the andouille sausage that lady was pushing, then slice it up and saute it in some oil because it's good on top of this pasta (not that I did this exactly.  Oh, fine.  Ok.  I did come home with the sausage, but I froze most of it and just cooked up one link and it was heaven.)

If you have some fresh thyme in the garden (I didn't, but I will once I get to the garden center and buy some) about a tablespoon into this mixture would seriously enhance the whole thing.

Mint might be good too, actually, but I don't have that either.

And If I'd had a can of artichoke hearts I would most certainly have chopped a few of those up and thrown them in.

Have you noticed how my tenses have been slipping all over the page in this post?  Like I said, distractable.  Past, present, past perfect --  what other crazy tenses have I used all you English majors out there?


  1. Kath - you did it again. Made me laugh and made me drool. Love it!

  2. Love this post! It's weirdly like you have been visiting my own mind/kitchen (now what exactly was I planning to make with... and if it was that, then what did I do with the... oh, yeah, maybe I threw it into the ... oh, crap). The only difference being that you're brave enough to invite people over on the spur of the moment, which I always want to do, but then I think of my kitchen (not to mention living room, crazy dog, etc.) and shudder.


What are you having for dinner tonight?