Back on The Ranch, this communal capitalist real estate investment next to what is now a large wanna-be molybdenum mine that will remove an entire mountain of Idaho paradise that I was part of in the seventies, occasionally people did not bring the groceries they had promised.  This posed problems for the pantry, which we usually solved by some fantastic pesto dish and a stray lemon.  Tonight’s recipe is another one made of necessity. The new roommate, longtime friend and healer Airion has been here since July.  She helped Dan move out when he got a raise and could find his own place.

Airion, aka “Evy,” I have known since I was 20.  That is a long time.  And she has always been incredibly wise about food.  She’s the one who taught me the rainbow plan for checking your plate for completion.  Ask: Do you have all the colors?  I think you’ll find out where you have color preferences (I like white) and how to have food adventures that are so nourishing and delicious you won’t even miss your preferred monochrome.  She’s been a collaborator in my healing since she became a professional massage therapist and had worked on me before I was injured.  It’s been great having her here and so helpful. But she’s coming down with a cold (we’ve had our Russian cold front in) and didn’t want to risk the promised trip to the store.  So I’m on my own, alone, in the pantry.

First I try the past date box of hummus I find when I rummage around the upper cabinet.  Not good, but the squirrels will really like it, I figure, as I spoon it out beneath their tree in the early frigid starlight.  It disappears into the snow, still powder, though it fell days ago in our Russian weather.  (I did not ski, but that’s another story.)

I find some whole wheat penne rigato in a lovely little bag from some specialty shop.  Lucky me.  And some artichokes in vinaigrette, and butter beans.  And an acorn squash roasted yesterday.  And the last of the summer pesto.  Some asiago from our Thanksgiving houseguest who left some storebought pesto, too!  A bit of onion and garlic, braised in the artichoke marinade at 350 degrees until the onions are translucent while the pesto soaks into the squash in a saucepan on warm.  I add the drained artichokes and half a can of butter beans to the squash. The pasta boils and boils, as it always does here, a mile high.  When it achieves al dente I add it to the beans and squash and artichokes, turn the burner off.

Once the onions bubble, everything goes into the casserole and is tossed, then eaten on a plate beneath some grated Asiago.  Followed by:
Power greens in basalmic vinaigrette with garlic and pine nuts.  Just like it sounds, in that order.  Also with some of that Asiago!

With mango sherbert, blueberries and tangerines later.

The aromas of this amazing pantry party entice Airion from her sickroom.  She decides that starving on tea might not be all her body needs and after adding garbanzo beans to her bowl feels fortified.  She agrees that mine tastes perfect, but claims hers has more calcium.

As you entertain your loved ones, remember.  If you overdo, you’re just not as much fun!  So take it easy.  (i’ll blog about that once I figure it out.)

So here’s to the holidays and meals with friends and snow.  I wish you peace on earth and happiness.

Do you have a favorite recipe that helps you feel better and tastes great? Please share it here in the comments box.