Lately I’ve been filling out a lot of personality quizzes that may or may not hold the secret to my future – “You will find great success,” “Futures are worth hunting,” and “Lucky number 20” are a brief sampling. Based on the various results, I decided to try to figure out ways to help me focus more on doing school work rather than puttering about the interweb trying to decipher vague, astrology-esque predictions. I’ve tried just about every trick in the book to help me focus – there’s an exercise ball stashed under my dining room table that I use as a chair. I’ve stacked my textbooks on top of each other and perch my laptop studiously on top of them to give off an ultra-academic air rather than reveal that I’m just perusing the dress section on Anthropologie’s website. I’ve even started remembering to take my vitamins. But despite all these valiant efforts, I still find myself contemplating clouds rather than homework.
At the initial onset of this utter and complete lack of focus, I attributed it to the fact that I was “suffering” from a severe case of senioritis rather than face the fact that I felt discombobulated, confused, and lost. Coming back to school, I thought I had already done the whole reimmersion thing by working at a camp over the summer … Wrong. Consequently, reimmersing myself back into the Goucher community has been weird at its worst and reinvigorating at its best. Sometimes I find myself relishing in the fact that I don’t know half the student body, other times I find myself lost in that same sea of 800 unknown people.
It wasn’t until about a week ago that I realized I had forgotten, along with my vitamins, to do the little things that make me truly happy and much more focused: reading the Wednesday edition of The New York Times, drinking copious amounts of tea, writing wordy emails to friends and family, and most of all, cooking. Prior to my mishap-with-a-knife-while-scone-making, I hadn’t really baked or cooked anything in what felt like eons. Essentially I had gone from conducting some sort of cooking adventure on-the-daily to just sticking a bowl of oats in the microwave and calling it breakfast – a long shot from the freshly rolled and baked croissants I had been munching on six months ago.
Reuniting with les Américains over Fall Break, I restarted the culinary engine while working and gossiping with my friends in the kitchen. Loaded with fresh beets from the local CSA and a pumpkin courtesy of a certain local dining hall, we decided to make some sort of pasta concoction followed by some sort of apple-pumpkin dessert. As we danced and chirped around the kitchen, the meal came together in ways we never foresaw: The noodles were coated in a blushing-rose-bordering-violet-tinted sauce reminiscent more of a sunrise or a freshly-dipped Easter egg than a plate redolent and brimming with pasta. And then of course there was the goat cheese – 12 ounces of crumbled chevre were massed on top of the pasta and melded into the noodles. Dessert followed with a heaping pile of freshly-plucked apples under a layer of crumble and then a vanilla and spice infused pumpkin pie.
Mounding a small mountain of pasta into our bowls, my friend Maddie turned to the rest of us and asked, “So, what are your thoughts/hopes/plans/dreams?”
“Eating more goat cheese. Actually, being able to eat goat cheese for the rest of my life.”
“Ha. Eating all of this food.”
“Having enough room for all of this food!”
“Rolling out of this room alive.”
“Getting rich and buying homes for our parents in the south of France.”
And with that we decided to just focus on eating and making food for the remainder of the night.
Blushing Pasta Recipe:
- beets (roasted with oil and honey)
- pumpkin (roasted with olive oil)
- pappardelle pasta (or any other wide noodle) cooked, remembering to reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water at the end
- 2 bunches of arugula, washed and dried
- olive oil/garlic/parsley/salt/pepper to taste
- goat cheese
- pasta water
Roast beets and pumpkin at 425 degrees F until fork-tender. Chop roughly.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water with a pinch of salt to boil. Add as much of the pasta as you see fit. Cook for 7-8 mins, or until al dente. Drain and reserve pasta water.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add about 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté about 3 cloves of minced garlic until golden. Then add arugula to pan and stir until wilted.
Add beets, pumpkin, and pasta to the arugula mixture, continuing to mix with a large spoon.
Crumble desired amount of goat cheese on top of pasta. Add pasta water and stir until mixture is at desired consistency.
Using tongs or whatever is available, put pasta in individual serving bowls and sprinkle salt, pepper, dried parsley, and additional goat cheese to taste.