Overnight, Stihl pulled the stuffing out of his bed.
Fixing him with a baleful glare, I gathered the brown filling, which was spread across the entire kitchen floor, and crammed it back into the softball-sized holes the big blue weinmaraner had ripped in the green plaid fabric. Unwilling to take the time to stitch up the damage, I pulled the edges together and fastened them with large quilting safety pins. I tossed both stinky dog beds into the washer and moved around the kitchen, putting things away, wiping up messes, and doing a casual food inventory.
The result wasn't encouraging.
Cabinets and pantry were nearly empty, large gaps of space between small clusters of useable items. There's a reason for the voids: I'd rather do anything but grocery shop. Everything, from the store layout, to over-tired children dragged around by careless parents, irritates me. And despite LOW-LOW prices and ONE TIME ONLY sales, I usually end up feeling shafted. Ordinarily, I'm able to avoid mainstream commercial food stores by sourcing my products from small village markets, farmer's markets, and barter trades with other farm friends. Still, we have two strapping teenage sons, who require regular feeding in large quantities, so I must embark occasionally on a grocery store odyssey to stockpile things like coffee and toilet paper.
Coffee and toilet paper were about the only things on my inventory list. Farm work, writing, and summer-school carpooling had hindered my ability to get the grocery shopping done over the last couple of weeks. (Not that it took much to interfere with that chore). Realistically though, time had gotten away from me, relying too heavily on mining my freezers and pantry, until there was almost nothing left. Reviewing the list, I had the following items in the pantry: 2 bags of dried pinto beans, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, half a jug of popcorn, a small bag of cornmeal, 1 box of rigatoni, a bag of peanut butter chips, a bottle of white wine vinegar, and an 8 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts. That's it.
No, I'm not kidding.
The food roster in the fridge was slightly more promising. I have been harvesting our farm produce every day lately; bags and containers of beets, green onions, basil, dill, thyme, lettuce, and chives were jammed into every nook and cranny. Milk, sour cream, half a container of grated Parmesan cheese, several jars of last year's dill pickles and jam, 3 cans of beer and a bag of leftover chicken legs, rounded out the icebox pickings.
I sighed as the washing machine timer signaled the finish of the cycle. Transferring the dog beds to the dryer, I went in search of my recipe box. There had to be a card in there with some kind of inspiration...
And there was! Artichoke Pasta Salad came out of Southern Living magazine back in the early 90s, and spoke to my meager, oddball supplies. I felt triumphant! I could squeeze one more day out of the week, and not have to find an excuse to dodge the grocery store bullet.
Pulling the canine cushions out out of the dryer, I saw that the safety pin had released, and the inside of the machine was fluffy with brown polyester padding. Rolling my eyes heavenward and starting to get annoyed, I stopped and I reminded myself how lucky I was after all; I had an excuse lined up for tomorrow's shopping evasion tactics: sewing torn dog beds!
I love it when I can catch life's curve balls; makes me feel like Superman.
The Rediscovered Recipe Box #27- Artichoke Pasta Salad
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 cups orzo, uncooked
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1/2-inch strips
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Combine first 3 ingredients in container of an electric blender or food processor; process until blended. With blender or processor still running, add oil in a slow, steady stream; process until blended. Stir in parsley and basil/ Set dressing aside.
Cook orzo according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water.
Combine orzo, artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, and dressing; toss gently. Cover and chill.
Arrange orzo mixture on a lettuce-lined platter; sprinkle with prosciutto and green onions.