Wednesday, September 21, 2011

squiggly pasta and other favorites

So, Friday finally marks the official start to my favorite season.  I get excited about the Autumnal Equinox the way most people get excited about Memorial Day marking the inaugural beach weekend.  For me, the First Day of Fall marks the end of the hot, sunny season that makes my husband sneeze and sweat and makes me squint too much.  More importantly, it reminds me that other favorites are just on the horizon - my favorite month (October), my favorite time of year (between Thanksgiving and Christmas), my favorite weather - cool, dry, a little bit of a nip on your nose by the time October bleeds into November...that first time a starkly cold breeze whips your breath away or colors your cheeks with the slightest crimson.

I put my husband in charge of determining how we would celebrate the arrival of Fall (it's his favorite time as well) and upon conferring, we came to a mutually agreeable decision - we planned to go to Linvilla Orchards, a little outside the city.  They have baskets upon baskets of freshly plucked apples of many varieties we don't commonly see in Whole Foods or Essene.  There are apple cider donuts, dozens of different pies, and of course, apple cider and coffee.  This year, Mister has his heart set on funnel cake with gooey cinnamon apples piled on top.  There is also plenty of lovely land upon which to wander and enjoy each other.  We went to Linvilla to celebrate our first wedding anniversary (and left with every imaginable apple product that you don't have to plug in).

Fast forward to the weather forecast.... of all the days this week, the day it's supposed to pour and be absolutely miserable?  No, you don't get a prize if you guessed Friday - it was kind of a "gimme."

So, new plans?  Baking.  Probably lots of it, too.  What this is all leading up to is that there is just no way I will have the energy to care about making good spanakopita until Friday, when I've sat inside all day watching P!nk videos on YouTube and trying to decide whether to bake cookies or cupcakes or both.  Instead of spanakopita, tonight I made Pasta Twists with Cauliflower and Spinach from Vegan Express.

Let's see - pasta, cauliflower, garlic, kalamata olives (subbing for sundried tomatoes, about which Mister can sometimes be a bit wary), and spinach... yup, lots of favorites in there.  I will almost definitely make this again - it was easy and tasty.  There are, however, a few things I will do differently in the future.

Since there is no "sauce" to speak of, there needs to be something else lending flavor.  Cauliflower is not the most exciting vegetable (especially after you slightly over-steam it...sorry, Mister) and spinach is good, but again, not a hugely flavorful vegetable.  The only real flavor came from the kalamatas and the dried cranberries (subbed for raisins, which Mister hates more than I thought possible), and unfortunately, they didn't play together all that nicely.  In the future, I'll steam the vegetables with broth, not water, and I will be a bit more generous in my sprinkling of Mediterranean Sea Salt.  I may also involve a flavorful finishing oil, like a fruity olive oil or possibly walnut oil with the slightest drizzle of dark sesame oil.

As you may be able to see, there is a round of garlic bread peeking in on the pasta...

Mister was kind enough to go to Superfresh for me while I was at work today (second time!), and when I got home, he explained that there was a sale on the big round kaiser rolls I asked him to pick up for sloppy joes, so he got 12 instead of 6.  I know he'll use some for sandwiches, but 12 is a lot of rolls when they're the kind that are freshly baked and without preservatives, so they'll go bad before Monday.  Remember - no kids - it's just me and Mister.  So, I figured two of them could turn into garlic bread to accompany our meal.

Well!  It's still early, which is one of the many things I love about my new job, so I've been able to devote a few hours a night to redeveloping myself into an intelligent and well-rounded human being.  Let's compare:

Old Job:

  • get home around 9pm
  • hurry to get dinner on the table between 9:30 and 10
  • eat
  • clean up
  • screw around on Facebook for a few minutes and probably drink a glass of wine depending on the day
  • Go to sleep (and still only get 4-6 hours a night)
New Job:
  • get done work around 6:30 or 7, depending on the day
  • stop at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Superfresh or anywhere else on the way home
  • take my time saying hello to Mister and telling him a little about my day, maybe lying down for a couple of minutes before starting dinner.
  • Dinner is on the table and we're eating between 8 and 9pm
  • By 10, the dishes are done, the leftovers are put away, and I'm blogging (sometimes).
  • Now, I will spend a little time doing work homework (that I'm happy to do because I like what I'm learning and know that extracurricular work will help me to succeed at a growing company that is willing to take a chance and invest itself in me)
  • Then I will continue reading my silly Anne Rice book for my own adolescent pleasure,
  • then bedtime with 6-8 hours of sleep.

1 comment:

  1. new job > old job

    You could also make a balsamic syrup to sprinkle over the top of that pasta...