Sunday, July 19, 2009
Veggie Stuffed Shells
It turns out to be true—we do turn into our mothers.
Or maybe just me.
In the last two weeks I have gained just enough energy to start getting everything ready for baby two. The house has vacillated between organized and disarray. Our assessment of our readiness ebbs and flows accordingly. Luckily, we have plenty of help. We have a handy-man helping with things like putting up curtain rods, removing any poisons from the garage, etc.
The other day, I asked him to come by in two weeks to disassemble Belle’s crib. This piece of furniture is something that I never cared for as a child. I learned the skill of breaking out early and never looked back. Belle on the other hand, who was able to break into child gates before turning one, has never made any overture to leave the confines of her wooden sleeping quarters. Instead, she has made her crib her sanctuary, taking blankets, animals, books in with her at every nap and every bedtime.
Last night, J—was putting Belle down to sleep. I could hear them trekking up the stairs singing the classic medley of abcd-itsybitsyspider-hushlittlebaby. (Or is that choral pastiche only classic at my house?) I could hear them discuss how many books would be read at bedtime. I could hear the laughter. Then there was a moment of silence. I wouldn’t have noticed it except that it was followed by “Mommy.” First from J—and then from Belle. I couldn’t place their tone. It wasn’t quite happy. It wasn’t angry. But there was definitely an underlying sense of urgency.
I waddled upstairs as fast as I could, both hands clasped under my sizeable, 9 months pregnant girth. When I got upstairs, J—was standing silhouetted in the door looking at me— face paled. I walked into the room. The space where the beloved crib once stood was now a square of dust bunnies punctuated by a couple long forgotten chew toys.
Belle asked, “Where is my bed?” It might have been obvious to J—what had happened but for a two-year old the question was full of earnestness.
And at that moment, the shock—I am blaming the shock—turned me into my mother. When I was Belle’s age and my mother had a hard time weaning from my bottle, she told me a bird came in and flew away with the whole cabinet of glass bottles. And, that is what I told me daughter. The bird came in and borrowed her crib. It sounded stupid coming out of my mouth. It sounds stupid as I type it now.
Luckily we had set up the toddler bed. So we got it all ready with Belle’s menagerie. Then we read every book on her shelf. We tucked her in. And, closed the door.
The rattle and pleading coming from the other side of the door were disquieting to say the least. J—just stood and watched the door for a while. Still stunned from the emptiness of the room and the fact that I was turning into my mother, I went downstairs and drowned my sorrows in some carb-based leftovers.
We had some delicious shells in the fridge stuffed with Ohio ricotta, fresh Ohio mozzarella, Swiss chard from our garden, local peas that I had frozen, local mushrooms and sweet onions from the Farmer’s market, and shredded carrots from our garden. Top with a cream sauce or with tomato sauce (as we did.)
When my mother heard of the whole story, she was fairly unfazed. She reminded me that I didn’t join the bird hunting society of America or have a deep-seated desire baby bottles. I guess turning into your mother isn’t the worst thing in life.
Veggie Stuffed Shells
For ½ a box of medium shells, use the following filling:
½ sweet onion
1 small head of chard
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup sliced mushrooms
When cool add sautéed veggies to:
1 cup ricotta
½ cup grated parmesan
½ cup fresh mozzarella pearls (quartered)
½ cup frozen peas
Stuff into shells and place in butter lined baking pan. Top with tomato sauce or cream sauce and more parmesan.
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes until cheese looks bubbly.
This recipe is my entry for One Local Summer for this week. This week the parmesan and pasta continue not to be local—but as the chard and carrots are from the porch, I feel it was an okay trade-off. And, finally our CSA has given us a share, so this week we should have too much zucchini localness to speak off.
This is also my entry for Presto Pasta Nights started by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast and hosted by Pam of Sidewalk Shoes.