Laura is off today for Florida again, just for a few days, leaving me to fend for myself again. The cats and birds provide lots of noise and demands to keep me quite busy, and we have a newly planted garden to keep me entertained!
We popped over to Allendale Farm to pick up a few groceries, and indulged in some herb and lettuce plants to fill in our beds on the front balcony.
We are opting to grow herbs, flowers and lettuces this year, instead of trying for vegetables proper. For one, we don’t get enough sun for veggies, but enough to grow lettuce all summer and to keep some herbs alive. Laura was quite the gardener, putting in the greens in neat little rows, though she can be prone to wanting to over crowd things a little much.
We also put in chamomile, tarragon, oregano and lemon balm plants, and planted cilantro, onion, parley, and more lettuce seeds. We also have some hanging baskets that we want to try to grow chard and kale in. We have fun, even if our product isn’t Red Fire Farm quality, the actual process is the joy.
For dinner, I had intended to make a big pan of eggplant parmesan, with extra to help me through the week and to finish out our eggplant… but alas, our inventory lied to me and we were already out of eggplant (though I found a small baggie of green beans, ha!).
So, using a frozen ball of pasta dough, I put together a basil-minestrone soup with hand-formed orecchiette style pasta, Boston Favorite beans and vegetables. It actaully turned out pretty well.
There is chopped fresh mozzarella from Maplebrook Farm at the bottom of the bowl, which made a lovely gooey addition to the soup. The pasta was thick and would make an Italian Grandmother cry, but I like the chewy texture and oomph it adds. Laura doesn’t complain, so I will accept that as devoted appreciation for my 15-minute pasta making skills.
I also realized that this is the first time that I have really helped make pasta since our first attempt at making it. Laura always makes the dough, kneads it and forms it using our pasta maker or with her hands. I am always making the sauce or soup that will eventually receive the goodness of pasta, but I never have anything to do with the making part. We divide tasks like this so firmly that when confronted with forming pasta on my own, I had an “oh crap, how do I do this?!” moment. Just toss it in as little balls? Try to get out the pasta machine? Play with it like play-dough? Obviously I opted to make little noodles by hand, but I don’t expect I will be making pasta while Laura is away.