It was late by anyone's standards as we watched the last of our guests head off into the night.
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Another Spaghetti Saturday officially drew to a close
Everyone headed home filled with great food, great wine, and the best of conversation. There's always a moment after we've seen the last person to the door when there are no final partings left to linger over. It's late; we look at each other and smile.
There's no satisfaction greater than a job well done, save the profound pleasure of friendships deepened.
It's in these moments that the puppies decide to stand down, the kitties emerge from hiding, and we scan the house, trying to decide between the necessary evils. Do we finish cleaning now, or face it head-on in the morning?
The tables are filled with dessert plates, wine glasses, fresh flowers, and a scribbled on score-card from the last game played. Through the open window comes a crisp midnight breeze, its gentle reminder we're on the cusp of fall.
Eventually, I realize, as if waking from a dream, that I've been standing, unmoving, gazing into the kitchen for more than a few minutes. That I've been utterly lost in the peace and quiet that settles on the house, one that's been joyfully alive only a few hours before.
Over the years, I've come to realize; a house will weather many seasons (and definitions) of peace and quiet. There are those that following a teenager's door-slamming argument, or which settle in as one becomes an empty-nester.
Then there are those found in life's everyday moments, like having the house all to yourself for the evening, or lazy Sunday afternoons when only a nap will do.
Not to mention a special kind of peace and quiet that settles over the house after a party. I've come to think of it as a gift really, from a
space at its best
No matter the particulars, I'm always thankful for what we've created. A home that can happily contain, and embrace the full spectrum of our lives, from communal to quiet
No matter the particulars, I suppose is the key.
Sometimes I find myself clicking through the pages of design blogs, those prescribing peaceful space through Zen decor? Beige on beige? When it comes to decorating, we all have our own versions of peace and quiet.
What about when it comes to living? If you're like us, it'll be found in long walks at the park with the puppies, or a glass of wine on the back porch. Though I also realize there are those I love for whom peace settles on their spirit in the absence of quiet, places like a glittering party
I used to wonder what kind of person would say “Wait a minute” when invited to come outside and look at the stars in the sky. (Then again, I'd be the first to ask for a few minutes, if not hours if called to look at dawn's first lights)
It's happened more than once that I've given up my own peace and quiet because of the desire to share it. I used to be a little annoyed, stars don't wait for our minutes, and neither do rainbows or sunsets.
We all find our own way, in our own time and place, and it's in these quiet moments after everyone has said their good-byes, that I've really begun to understand. Certainly, there are those we love who come and happily thrive on the party.
There are others whose peace and quiet is found simply at the kitchen sink, up to her elbows in warm, soapy water, doing the dishes, and thinking of all of the joy from the evening
when the party's over
During the summer months, it's been hard for us to think about comfort food .. and the menus for Spaghetti Saturday have varied a bit. For example, this past weekend we featured Mediterranean flavors
Admittedly, I'd been looking for an excuse to make this salad. It's a recipe from my brother and his wife that my Mom has claimed as one of her favorites. It's not hard to see why
A quick and easy salad featuring the bold flavors of the Mediterranean. It's full of tomatoes, crisp cucumber, slivers of onion and bell peppers. Toasted naan for crunch and a creamy dressing made of feta and fresh dill.
While it was perfect on its own as a side, I've enjoyed left-overs for lunch by adding grilled chicken or baked halibut. The leftover dressing is wonderful served simply with roasted or grilled veggies, or as a dip for those who enjoy the crunch of raw.
ps: For other recipes and stories from Spaghetti Saturday .. here
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~ Adapted from the Market Vegetarian Cookbook by Ross Dobson
Mediterranean Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing and Naan
- Mediterranean Salad
- 8 oz naan, roughly torn into bite-size pieces (or pita bread)
- 1 lb tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 red onion, sliced thin
- 1 carrot, sliced thin
- 1 zucchini, sliced thin
- 4 oz pitted black olives, chopped
- 2 handfuls fresh mint leaves, chopped
- Creamy Feta Dressing
- 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled + a bit more for sprinkling on top of the finished salad
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ⅓ cup milk (any nut milk will also work great)
- Toast the Naan
- Preheat the oven to 325° F.
- On a parchment-lined baking sheet, add the naan and bake for ~ 10 minutes, or until the naan is browned and toasty
- Creamy Feta Dressing
- To the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the feta, garlic, vinegar, dill, and oil. Blend until smooth (it will be thick)
- With the food processor still running, add the milk in a slow, yet steady stream until the dressing is smooth and creamy. (Be careful not to over mix)
- Set aside in the fridge
- In a large bowl, add the sliced veggies, olives, and mint. Gently toss to combine
- Just before serving, toss with ½ to ¾ of the creamy feta dressing (depending on how you would like it to be). Reserve the rest for drizzling.
- Sprinkle with extra feta, if desired