Simple Pasta Caprese

Pasta Caprese | The Kitten Kitchen

I’m sitting on my couch sipping some white wine, wishing I had more mozzarella cheese because I really want to make this dish again. It was so quick and simple, which has been great this week because I’m dealing with a sick kitty cat. I feel this topic is relevant because the blog is titled, “The Kitten Kitchen,” and I have many “kittens.” Four to be exact. And Miss Eleanor RigbyCat is the queen bee in this humble abode.

It was always just the two of us. Two peas in a pod. Best friends forever. Then I got a boyfriend, Chris, now my husband. Then we adopted three more boy kitties. Needless to say, she wasn’t thrilled, but she has nothing to complain about. She basically has her own apartment upstairs with her own litter box, special food and huge king-sized bed. Don’t feel too sorry for her.

But seriously, she’s one of my soul mates.

I found Ellie in my backyard when I lived in old apartment in Newport, Kentucky. I thought she was pregnant, but it turned out she had a huge hernia in her belly area. There was a tear in the area where she was spayed, and all her organs leaked through that tear. I’m sure I’m not explaining this with medical precision, but I remember that was the gist. She was almost put to sleep during the surgery because it was so extensive, but she ended up coming out of it with flying colors.

A few years later, I found out that she was having pain in her chest, and when I casually brought up the hernia thing, the doctor said she was probably hit by a car at one point, broke her ribs, and they eventually healed improperly, leading to chest pain. He said the force of the car hitting her probably also caused the internal tear that led to the hernia. Other problems she’s had include having her two front fangs pulled because of infections, anemia and arthritis. And, earlier this year she was diagnosed with kidney disease. So, she has to take two pills, two times a day, and we give her fluids once a day through a needle in the  back of her scruff. She just sits there and stares at you. Such a lovely, good girl she is.

The lady that used to live next door to me in Newport said that she thinks Ellie lived outside by herself for almost 1o years. That means she’s probably about a teenager now. Time for me to worry. She was lying down in her litter box the other day, chillin’ (and not peeing), so I assumed the worst. She got some blood work done, and we found out today that she is now severely anemic, and not producing enough of a hormone (erythropoietin), so we are going to have to start giving her some shots three times a week or so. She’s not suffering though. That’s what I was worried about. She’s still lovey, purring and all up in my face, so those are all good signs. Send some good vibes her way, if you’re so inclined.

This was a long-winded way of telling you that I really needed something quick to make for dinner the other night. I was stressed, worried and tired. And this dish delivered. It was warm when I served it, and the next day I ate the leftovers cold, which means it’d be a great dish to bring to a picnic!

Make the simplest pasta dish ever…after the jump

Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed Artichokes

Artichokes are kind of a sentimental thing for me. My mother made them all the time throughout my childhood, and I sort of took it for granted — I didn’t realize that she was preparing a special thing. The first time I put a full artichoke in front of Chris, he wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I think many people probably feel that way because they are sort of intimidating. So, how do you eat an artichoke?

Well, you boil them first, then the world is your oyster. Or, in this case, the artichoke is your oyster. Or the world is your artichoke? My mother, brother and I just dipped the leaves into a mixture of olive oil, garlic salt and red wine vinegar. We’d use our teeth to pull the tender leaf meat off, and then discard the pointy inedible ends onto a paper plate. We’d then pull the prickly parts out of the center and dig the heart out, placing it into the bowl of leftover oil and vinegar — this is the only part where you need a fork. We’d cut it into pieces and savor the best part (the goal, really) of the artichoke journey.  The end result is a mound of leaves on a dampened paper plate, but satisfied bellies were a common conclusion.

Artichokes are a springtime treat and shouldn’t be scary. I’ve never stuffed them before, and I’ve never really eaten them in any other way than what you just read above, so I was interested to see if I’d like them prepared otherwise.

Um, I did. A lot. And while Chris didn’t particularly enjoy the stink of the Gorgonzola cheese during preparation, he also enjoyed them.

Stuff your own artichokes after the jump!