Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters - Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad

Glory be, I slept last night! It was only 5 1/2 hours, but it was uninterrupted, and on that basis I claim a moral victory. I would do a happy dance, but the floor upstairs tilts, especially in the morning, and I run the risk of landing on my ass, so I'll save the dancing for a more level occasion.

Truthfully I wasn't sure I was going to make it. The benadryl did not seem to be working, and I was on a roll in Words with Friends. That in itself is a positive sign, because when the brain fog is really bad, I can't manage Words or my other favorite, Free Cell. On the other hand, when I get too wrapped up in Words, I tend not to fall asleep.  Fortunately, all my Words Friends seemed to fall asleep before me, and I eventually followed suit.

This is going to sound weird, but I have to come to terms with the fact that some days I am going to feel pretty good. There are two problems with that: first, I start feeling guilty about being out of work and applying for disability, even though I know, at least intellectually, that (and here's the second problem) it's not going to last.  So I have to stop feeling guilty, but hell, guilt is in my DNA.


Ichiban eggplant

Cherry tomatoes

My garden has been a great deal of fun this season, with the best producers being the okra, ichiban eggplant and cherry tomatoes.  You might call it an embarrassment of riches, what with all those fresh vegetables begging to be picked each morning. I wanted to do something I hadn't recently done with tomatoes, and this salad came to mind. This recipe is really all about those sweet, fresh tomatoes and my brainstorm turned out to be a tomato tribute.  I only wish I'd had more of the mini eggplants available. Obviously if you can't find them, just leave them out.  Pasta salads are wonderfully flexible that way.

2 cups uncooked pasta (tricolor rotini or this Wacky Mac blend of shapes and flavors)
1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, cut into small cubes
2 large green onions, sliced
1 small stalk celery, with leaves, chopped
2 ichiban eggplants, sliced and fried
10 black olives, halved lengthwise
15 pimento-stuffed green olives, halved lengthwise
3 petite kosher dills, sliced
1/2 cup Athenos crumbled feta cheese, garlic and herb flavor
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup pizza size pepperoni slices, quartered
Ken's Light Options Balsamic Vinaigrette, to taste
Herbes de Provence, to taste

Cook the pasta according to package direction; rinse with cold water and drain well.  Combine all ingredients in an extra large bowl.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

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