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"What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on
the same day? One issue. One day. Thousands of voices."
Joni Mitchell said it best all those years ago" Give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees, please."
There was a time when I wanted my apples perfect; my lawn perfect; and worried about germs and bacteria.
Then we moved to Europe and I traded my 'hose, heels and briefcase' in for hoe's, rubber clogs and a wheelbarrow. We started meeting people who were in tune with the food and the land. (OMG – Back to hippie roots, again!)
I started seeing slugs in the lettuce and spots on the apples as good things – no pesticides used.
I got a few sturdy shopping bags and I carry them with me to the supermarket (actually, they're mandatory there), the farmer's market, even the mall.
Recycling is not discussed; it's expected and made easy.
I learned what (to me) was the secret to odor-free compost piles: no meat or dairy. Eggshells are fine. As long as you are composting vegetable scraps you have no odor and relatively few (in our case, none) scavengers. We keep a bowl on the counter and empty it at the end of the day.
When we moved to Ireland I was warned that I would not find good dental care. When we moved to Andorra, there would be no hospitals. As to France, well, the French are, um, not as clean as, say, Americans.
Maybe not, but they're healthier. They may not wash their hair every day, and their clothes after each wearing, but they use less water. And, yes, there is dog shit on the sidewalks – it's gone in a day or two…unlike putting it in a plastic bag in a landfill where it will stay, unchanged, for 500 years! We don't have anti-bacteria everything; butchers have bloody aprons; and everyone carries their daily bread in their hands – unwrapped, no bag.
What's my point? The Environment is your environment! Accept that you live on earth, a 'dirty' planet, teeming with millions of life forms. Remember that all of us (even the slugs and especially the bacteria) have something to contribute. Take care of our planet and quit trying to change it into something sterile and perfect – or you may succeed!
You don't have to do anything big – just be more conscious of how you live… and the next time the check-out person at the supermarket says "Paper or plastic?" hand'em your spiffy new shopping bags…. and do NOT be embarrassed about it…. You're COOL!
Whew, all that made me hungry – How about some pasta? for Presto Pasta Nights, which she founded over eight months ago and has been going strong ever since. Great idea, Ruth!
Prosciutto, Pimiento and Chevre Lasagna
8 – 9 sheets 'no-cook' lasagna noodles
1 jar pimientos, roasted red peppers, 9oz, (280gr)
6 slices Prosciutto (5oz, 150gr)
5oz (150gr) goat cheese (chevre)
1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 can crushed tomatoes, 15 oz (450 gr)
1 can tomato sauce, 8oz (220 gr)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 tbs red wine
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
1 cup milk, 8 oz, (250ml)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (2 oz, 60 gr)
Finely chop onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, herbs and red wine. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer until needed. In another medium saucepan heat the butter over low heat. Add flour and stir with a whisk for 1 minute. Add a little (1/4 cup) of the milk and whisk to combine. Turn heat up to medium and keep adding milk, a little at a time and whisking. When all of the milk is in bring to a boil (should almost be there), whisking. Then remove from heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then stir in half of the cheese (1/4 cup). Cut Prosciutto into strips. Drain peppers and cut in wide strips. Slice the goat cheese thinly, 1/8" (.3cm).
Now you are ready to assemble: in an square, 9 X 9 (22 X 22cm) or oblong baking dish, 8 X 10, (20 X 25cm) or so…make the following layers:
Cover and bake 400F (200C) for 20 minutes, or until noodles are done. Test in center with a sharp knife. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer to brown cheese. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into squares (or oblongs) and serve.
Stop by Once Upon a Feast, on Friday for all of the great pasta recipes.
Meanwhile, relax, and remember something you learned as a child: A little dirt never hurt anyone!