I’m not the world’s best domestic slut. I clean once a week, on Wednesdays, when I can. When I can’t, I settle for taking care of whatever offends me, if it can be managed quickly. You’d be amazed at what no longer offends. The kitchen is special to me. It’s my place. It has to be clean when I go to bed. Bathrooms- they kind of need a regular quickie. That stack of clean laundry: it could grow mushrooms before I get it put away. My desk…oh my.
I’d rather have a clean house. It would be lovely. It doesn’t come before work. I work a lot. Work really interferes with cleaning. If it weren’t for work, life would be so easy. Or clean. Okay, maybe. My desire for a clean house doesn’t come before my children (or their incessant need for taxi service). Cleaning does compete with reading, writing and gardening. In other words: I kind of need a keeper. I do go through long periods of time when my house is tidy. This isn’t one. I like having the holidays at my home. I like having company anytime. It forces me to clean. I also get to bake. Clean house, fresh baked goodies. Woohoo.
I must be slipping. This week, I invited a friend over for lunch. A new friend, whose not seen my home and isn’t used to my haphazard domestic tactics. And I didn’t clean. Like, not a good cleaning for the last 2 weeks. As my hubby says ” Well, she sure can’t accuse us of putting on airs”. She was a saint. I had managed to prepare a salad, to which she contributed a lovely, fresh, locally made feta cheese. Actually, her neighbor raises the goats that made the milk that made the cheese that made the salad that Jack built…they are at http://www.valleyviewcheese.com/ . Their farm looks lovely. It seems that when they are young the goats have the run of the place, including the kitchen. I can just picture baby goats scampering around in my kitchen. Hypothetically, I even like that picture. Valley View Farm sells cheese, eggs, honey and syrup (more than goats are roaming there!). They also have kids for sale in the spring. I mean the goat kind.
8 oz shaped pasta. If you want to go really healthy, use whole wheat. Or, do what I did: cook 7 grain pasta. Then, after you taste it, give it to the dogs and start over with yummy, semolina pasta. Really.
1 (or 2) can(s) of artichokes hearts (in water; or you can substitute with fresh steamed. In fact- this is sooo much better. But, who has those on hand?). If you LOVE artichokes, put one whole drained can into the blender for dressing, then chop the other can for the salad. If not, 1/2 can to each.
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 Tblsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 lb washed baby spinach
1 box grape tomatoes (or, if you forget to stop at the market, any tomato)
Feta…as much or as little as you like. Creamy, homemade or fat free. Your choice.
First I boiled 8 oz of shaped pasta to el dente, drain and cool.
Then, in a blender, mix 1/2 can of artichoke hearts (I actually prefer to double the chokes in the recipe, using a can in the dressing and a can in the salad) with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. The result is a creamy, aromatic dressing that (of course) I forgot to photograph.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the feta. Pour/scrape on the dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle on feta and voila! Lemony-garlicky-artichoky spinach and pasta salad. It might deserve to be served in an immaculate and picturesque terrace anywhere. But, it’s not. So clear off the table, make yourself at home and dig in. You’re family now.