Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Long time, no blog! My computer at home is not nearly as fast as the one at work and therefore makes blogging a little less easy and convenient. Enough with the excuses, on with the blog!
Reading: Still working my way through Hillary's book. They just moved into the White House. It took 130 pages for them to get there. It is pretty interesting. I don't remember paying very much attention to politics then (just knew we had to get Bush the First out of there!) so it is interesting to read from the standpoint.
Also still reading Galileo's Daughter. Not moving too quickly in this one, either, though it is interesting. Since I know very little about Galileo and his times, I am learning some as I go. Can't imagine living in a time when people still think the sun moves around the earth. Years from now, maybe someone will read my memoires and say they can't imagine a time when we sat around and watched reality TV so much.
I am kind of working on redoing my scrapbook from when I was in France. I want to write more about the pictures and stuff so that it might be interesting for someone other than me to look at. In the process, I looked through and sorted my huge box of letters (some from 1984, if you can believe it) and found those I received while I was in France. Hoping to jog my memory on some of the things about the trip that I might have forgotten. Mostly it is just making me wonder whatever happened to all these people I so eagerly corresponded with. Why don't I hear from them (or contact them, for that matter) anymore? There are huge numbers of people that just completely fall out of my life and I never figure out what happens to them later. Would it be weird to track down people I haven't heard from in over 10 years and say, "so what the heck ever happened to you anyway?"
Eating: I don't think we have tried anything new recently. However, I do have a recipe sent to me by my friend Matt from Prudential (that is where we worked together. Neither of us is there anymore, thank God.) The e-mail was so amusing, I am going to copy it here. I had e-mailed him after July 4th to ask for the recipe. Here it is.
'The salad is quite easy, really. I'm so flattered that you'd ask for the recipe. :) It's basically one unit of each thing, except for a few things.
1 box of rotini. I greatly prefer Barilla brand, in the blue box.
1 can of black olives, I use medium-sized olives. Dunno exactly what size the can is, but it's the standard-sized can that's about the size of a normal can of Spaghetti-O's.
1 10-oz. jar of green olives.
1 little plastic container of grape tomoatoes. I eat around the tomatoes, myself, but as I understand it, there are people who like them. They also give some nice color to the finished product.
1 3.5-oz. package of sliced pepperoni.
Okay, that's all that's whole units. I also have on hand:
Oregano leaves, mostly for looks since I can't really taste it myself.
Kraft shredded three-cheese blend of romano, asiago and parmesan cheese. My local Cub has it, but it's not next to the Kraft shredded parmesan cheese in the green can.
And the mystery dressing, which I'm not telling you yet.
What I do is open up both kinds of olives and dump them in a colander together. I then put the tomatoes in with them. I rinse them to get all the various olive juices off of them, and let them drain while the water boils for the rotini.
When the water comes to a boil, I put in the rotini and set the timer according to the directions. I try not to overcook it, because who likes soggy rotini?? Then I put the olives and tomatoes into my salad bowl. I shake a lot of the shredded cheese onto them, and a lot of oregano leaves. As the rotini cooks, I cut the pepperoni slices in half. I've found that they don't stick together in the salad quite as much if you cut them, as they do when they remain in a disc-like shape. As I cut the pepperoni, I'll separate the pieces and toss them in the salad bowl. If I don't finish before the rotini is done, it's no big deal, because I can finish later while the rotini drains.
When the rotini has finished cooking, I drain it using the same colander in which the olives and tomatoes drained. There's no real reason to use the same colander, it's just that I only own one. If I owned more than one, I'd still probably use only the one, because I like to minimize the amount of required clean-up. Run cold water over the rotini as soon as you get it into your colander. I'll keep it under the running cold water until the water draining from it is cold. It starts out quite hot, so be cautious if you stick your hand under the draining rotini.
While the rotini drains, I'll finish cutting the pepperoni and tossing it into the bowl. Before I add the drained rotini to the bowl, I'll stir it around thorougly, being careful not to squish or stab any of the tomatoes. When the rotini is done draining, I'll add it to the bowl, then I'll add the dressing.

The dressing is Kraft Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette dressing, from their "Special Collection", according to the label. I couldn't find it at the store one time, and I tried using olive oil vinaigrette instead, but it wasn't nearly as good. I end up pouring in about half of the 16-fl. oz. bottle. If you're making the salad a day ahead of time or something, wait to add the dressing. It tends to soak into the pasta, and the salad ends up a little dry. Since I usually make the salad at the last minute before I leave for the event, it isn't a problem for me. :)

After I've added the rotini and the dressing and mixed it all up, I usually end up adding more shredded cheese and oregano. I just estimate both, until they look about right.

That's really all there is to it. It's simple, and doesn't even take very long to make. You might consider variations, such as a different pasta, or colored rotini, or adding other things like sliced red onions or
pepperoncinis. I suppose that next time you invite me over for a party, you're going to make this salad, and I'll be back to being the teenie weenie man...."
Maybe you have to know Matt to appreciate this but I found it quite humorous. This is a man whose idea of cooking is to make toast. The reference to "teenie weenie man" is that for food days at Pru, he almost always brought a crockpot full of barbecue cocktail wienies and earned the nickname "The Teenie Weenie Man". Not a nickname he cared for, mind you.

Gardening: Apparently this is the time of the summer when I grow great crops of weeds and dead plants. Time to get out there again. Not very motivated...
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