If you’re into the arcane art of Tarot reading, you are probably aware that the Nine of Swords card usually means that the querent – the person for whom the cards are being read – is under a lot of stress and needs to find an outlet for all the tension building up within. Unfortunately for me, that is exactly how things went for me this past week: too much tension, a great deal of pressure, my body screaming for rest and not getting any of it. As a result, I ended up throwing a fit at my desk on Thursday, feeling more than a little abandoned, unappreciated, and utterly frustrated because I hadn’t written anything of my own – stories, poems, and even this blog – for over a week. Believe me when I say that it really wasn’t my finest moment.
But the week is, mercifully, over. I found myself taking Friday off: did errands, wrapped up some paperwork at Social Security, went to the doctor for a check-up (and ended up with only a marginally clean bill of health, alas), saw my spiritual director for confession, and pretty much did a lot of thinking of what I really wanted to do in life. And really, all I want to do right now is pack my bags, move to Scotland where it’s wonderfully cold all the time but people are said to be so warm-hearted, and find a career that involves cooking and writing in equal measure. But, that, I fear is still some way off. So, till then…
I came home on Friday afternoon and decided not to mope and, instead, focus what little energy I had left to make quite a smashingly simple yet amazing supper for my family.
To start off, I whipped up some fantastic cheese buns made from a dough meant for foccaccia or schiacciata stuffed with a mixture of mozzarella and mild Cheddar and topped with pepper-spiced Parmesan. These little beasties are huge – just a little bigger than my fist and have a magnificently crisp crust, a fluffy interior, and a meltingly scrumptious middle. I daresay these would be just perfect with a good salad, but I was searching for plenty of edible comfort, something only a really good bowl of pasta could give.
This creamy mushroom pesto pasta is all about building things up with the stuff you have in your store-cupboard. It involves mixing a pack of ready-made pesto with cream, sauteed onions, garlic, and mushrooms and stirring through some pre-cooked ribbon pasta – fettucine or tagliatelle, whatever suits your fancy.
To be very honest, I looked at my family’s faces around the dinner table later that evening and breathed a sigh of relief. Not only were they happy and satisfied by my cooking; but the dreadful, grueling week was finally over.