Hopefully, you were way too busy making merry to wonder where I have been.
Please accept my deep apology for not wishing you a very Merry Christmas.
Here in Judiland, we made the best of it all.
My dear father was brought into the hospital with some critical health issues the Monday before Christmas. So, needless to say, the past week or so has been spent dealing with those things.
There I was--frantically trying to finish up my shopping at the mall when the call came. All of a sudden, finishing up my shopping was the least of my concerns. The menus, the gifts, the wrapping and everything else fell by the waist side as I high tailed it out of the mall and headed to the hospital. Without going into any major details--let me just say that we are all hanging in there. We are all a little tattered and torn and extremely exhausted. But, I am thankful that amid all of that, we did manage to find ways to celebrate the love of family and the true meaning of the season. And, yes, we even had some fun. And, yes, gifts appeared under the tree and food appeared on the table. This year, more than any other year, having that fun and getting those gifts under the tree and that food on the table took more than physical effort--it took some major emotional effort. And, it also took some serious scheduling to make sure that Christmas and all the merry-making happened. In very unJudilike fashion, I decided to back off all the holiday parties and just focus on my father and my own little family. My house was full and I needed that comfort.
As I look back, it all seems like a blur. And, it wasn't because of the martinis....(but they sure helped!)
Although I entered the holidays a bit saddened by some hurts, those hurts took a back seat when my father took ill. Funny how we can find ourselves in one place one moment and then in an entirely different place when the really important things happen.
As I close out 2013, I have a brand new appreciation for what is important to me and how truly human I am. I can't be everything to everyone, I can't change people and I certainly can't expect others to appreciate who I am. In many ways, it's a freeing feeling. In other ways, I am saddened.
I don't expect you to understand what I am talking about.....just to know that I was deeply hurt and that even though I felt completely devastated by that hurt, it became much less important when the call came about my father....
In the spirit of renewal and to welcome the new year, I am going to take hold of these feelings and go forth in a way that honors these moments. Sometimes life has a way of slapping us upside the head when we really need slapped upside the head. I am not making any sweeping new year resolutions....I'm just saying that I heard the message that the universe was sending me and I'm hoping that I really heard it this time.....
But, that's not what I am here to talk about.....just thought I'd mention it.
However, it does provide a good segway into the recipe I am about to share with you on this last day of 2013. It's a recipe that smacks of make-do-in-the-midst-of-being-slapped-upside-the-head.
As you know, I am all about planning menus and figuring out recipes way before they have to hit the table. Unfortunately, I never plan for life getting in the way. I'm silly like that....
Today, I am sharing a recipe that just happened because it needed to happen and it turned out so phenomenal that I should trademark it. But, I don't have the time. Instead, I'm sharing it with you as my way of telling you that you don't have to plan menus or have perfectly taste tested recipes to put together a meal that is truly astounding. Like life---sometimes recipes just happen.....
Pantry and Fridge Pasta with Artichokes, Lemon and Other Stuff
This recipe came completely from what I had in my pantry and fridge.1 pound of thinly sliced chicken breasts, shaken in a bag with flour, pecorino cheese, some garlic powder, salt and pepper --- lightly sautee in butter and olive oil then set aside (use a deep pan...not a pot!)...about 3-5 minutes on each side
In the same pan---after removing the chicken--put 1 jar of Williams Sonoma Artichoke and Pecorino Saute Simmer Sauce (I bought this stuff a few months ago on a whim....what an ingenious whim that was!)
Add--a can of artichoke quarters (drained), juice of one lemon, some lemon zest, 2 nice size dollops of whole milk ricotta, a handful of pecorino, about 4 oz of white wine, about 4 oz of chicken stock......at this point, I recommend you drink rest of the wine in the bottle....
Simmer it all for about 10 minutes
In the meantime, boil water for some good pasta (about 1/2 pound)....al dente
Dice up the chicken into bite size pieces
Add chicken to pan with sauce and throw in some juilienned basil
Cover and simmer for about 5-8 minutes
When pasta is done....drain it and throw it in the pan with the sauce and chicken and toss very to coat.
Throw in some more pecorino and serve.
Then, open another bottle of wine.
I am not sure what 2014 holds for me. But, one thing is for certain---I am going to make this more often!
All the best to all of you for a delicious ending to 2013!
Thank You for sharing my journey......
Did I mention that I have another round of house guests arriving in about 6 hours?
Anyone have a few good recipes for my pity party?