I met a dear friend for the Worlds Best Eggs Benedict on Tuesday (to be found at Bon Vie on Selby Avenue in St. Paul), so of course I had to stop at Great Harvest Bread, just down the street, to see what they were baking that day.
I can hear you groaning.
I was there so early that most of that days loaves had just emerged from the ovens, and were neatly lined up on metal cooling racks. Bonnie, the owner, cheerfully said hello as she kneaded a batch of dough, her arms dusted in flour, her hair pulled back with a scarf.
And there it was. Pepperoni Loaf. And instantly I was inspired to devise that evening's dinner menu. They pulled a warm loaf off the shelf, gently laid it in a brown paper bag, and advised me not to put it in the fresh plastic bag they provided until it had cooled completely.
Right. Only nerves of steel, and the fact that I was completely stuffed from breakfast, prevented me from sampling it as I drove home.
Loaf intact, I set it aside to cool and put a pot of salted water on to boil. I pulled a package of rotelle (corkscrew pasta) from the cupboard, then searched the refrigerator for ingredients.
Red and orange peppers, the beautiful Italian wild mushrooms from Farmer's Market, kalamata olives, sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes, fresh spinach (also from the market), a ball of fresh mozzarella, and a Vidalia onion. Chopping commenced, and I strolled out to my veggie patch to pick some basil and Italian parsley to join the party. I made my own dressing, with the help of Penzey's Italian Dressing base. (I could have also used a bottle of Italian salad dressing, or another flavor-whatever was in the cupboard....)
With noodles cooked and cooled and chopping complete, everything received a thorough toss and some salt and pepper, and made it's way to the fridge. Dinner was ready. My summer version of Kitchen Cupboard Pasta. Later, when it was time for dinner, I warmed the bread for about 10 minutes, so the outer crust was crunchy, the pepperoni was warm, and the cheese was slightly melted. Groan....
The pasta and bread was a hit, and while the pepperoni loaf was quickly gobbled up, we have pasta salad for several more meals, I am thinking maybe to go with ribs tonight.
What's in your fridge and cupboard? Get creative and make something fresh and yummy for your family tonight, and let someone else make the bread for you!