Monday, April 12, 2010

What's cooking - Around the house

Today is a 'home' day. After all the work for classes, art openings, studio work and family gatherings, I needed to get things back in order. My studio is in my house, so what I'm really saying here was I needed to leave 'work' and concentrate on the home-front. So, after I did the needed emails and tax stuff, it was time to go home.

Putting on a ham bone to boil for split pea soup set the mood. Then it was time to empty waste baskets, dust, vacuum, clean the bathrooms, mop the floors and wash the towels. The droopy flowers and sad plants got composted. Clean towels were put up and fresh flowers were cut and arranged. A few plants got re-potted.

In the midst of all these domestic duties, the rain and cloudy skies vanished. The sun came out. Of course, that did point out a few dust bunnies I'd missed, but that's ok. What better way to clear the house and the mind than with the bright sun shining in. One of the things I've come to realize is that domestic duties aren't just good for the home, they're good for the soul. Cleaning the dust on the furniture is a way to clean my mind and clear room for more creative ideas. Not that it happens instantly, there were no obvious eureka moments today. But the clean surroundings refresh my senses.

After that it was time to get out in the sun, so I took the dog for a walk. It was so warm, I was walking along with no coat on! Amazing! Just a few days ago, I was bundled up in polar fleece, gloves, hat and a rain coat. Today, I'm wearing a baseball cap and sunscreen. What a difference a day makes, eh?

What I realized on the walk was that my pot of soup just didn't seem right anymore. That's ok, too. I can save it for tomorrow when it's supposed to rain and get creative again, cooking up something else. I decided to whip up one of my favorites, pasta and cheddar cheese sauce. I've always made my un-macaroni and cheese from scratch with real local cheddar cheese. It just tastes better to me than that stuff in the blue box, and really, it's easy to make. Here's the recipe.

Pasta and Cheddar Cheese Sauce
2 cups uncooked pasta of your choice (I like penne)
Boiling water to cook the pasta
2 Tbsp butter (yup the real stuff)
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese(good local cheese, please)
1/2 cup grated cheese for the top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil the water in a large pot, put in the penne to cook. While it's cooking, melt the butter in a sauce pan, add the flour and mix together. Now add the milk slowly, stirring with a wire whisk until all the milk is in and heated. Add the cheese in small handfulls, mixing with the whisk until the sauce is smooth and thick. Turn off the burner. Drain the pasta, put it in a casserole dish and pour the cheese sauce over the top, mixing the sauce and pasta together evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and put it in the oven until it's all bubbly and melted. Enjoy!

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