Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bucket Lists

Several years ago I decided that I wanted to put a running goal on my bucket list.  At the time, in my mind, there was only one goal worth putting on the list, and that was running the Boston Marathon.  However, in order to run the Boston Marathon, you have to qualify by finishing a qualifying marathon within a certain time.  So, I signed up to run the St. Jude's Childrens Hospital Marathon.  

Now, I wish this was an inspirational story where I could tell you I ran my qualifying marathon and finished with a qualifying time.  But I didn't.  I was on pace to do so and then something happened right after mile 20 and when I finished, I had missed my qualifying time by several minutes.  And as I limped away, completely chafed and missing 4 toenails, I realized something.....bucket lists are live documents and therefore are subject to being changed at any point in time.  So I happily went home and edited my bucket list, which now looks like this....

finish a marathon and live to tell about it.

I may be pointing out the obvious here, but training for a marathon involves a lot of running.  I discovered that while I do love running, I don't particularly love getting up at 4 am to run 20 miles in the rain on Saturday mornings.  The bright side to marathon training, and perhaps the thing I loved best was carboloading.  Every Thursday night for months I made the same pasta dinner and I wolfed it down with a loaf of garlic bread, completely guiltless.  Now, I am telling you right now....unless you are training for a marathon and burning 2000 calories in 3 hours every weekend, do not eat this pasta dish on a regular basis.  But, if you're curious as to what cream, butter, cheese, and pesto taste like, give it a try.  But just once.  Unless you're making an addition to your bucket list.

Anyway, the reason I am telling you all this is because the other day I stumbled upon this recipe, and after reading the bloggers description I had to try it.  Just to see if it topped my beloved marathon training pasta.  

Spaghetti with Lemon and Parmesan
  • 1 cup (250ml (8.45 fluid ounces)) cream
  • 3 cups finely grated Parmesan/Pecorino cheese
  • juice and rind of one lemon
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2tbsn freshly chopped parsley
  • salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • 500g (17.64 ounces) spaghetti, cooked and 1 cup of cooking water reserved

  • Combine all the sauce ingredients and mix well.
  • Toss with the cooked spaghetti and add some of the reserved cooking water to loosen it up a bit if necessary.
  • Serve with chopped parsley and some extra Parmesan if required.

Here's what I have to say about this dish.  I ate it.  Mr. McGhee at it.  The minis all ate it.  Success.  Nobody said one word about it.  It was neither great nor disgusting.  But, it was easy and quick to make, which was important because it gave me time to enjoy this.

I served the pasta with tomato parmesan.  

Tomato Parmesan
  • tomatoes
  • basil
  • mozzarella, shredded
  • parmesan/pecorino, shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
1.  Preheat oven to 450F.  
2.  Cut the tomatoes in half and lay on a baking sheet.
3.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper the tomatoes.
4.  Lay a basil leaf on each tomato.
5.  Pile cheese on top of basil leaves.
6.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes.  Then broil an additional 1-3 minutes until brown and bubbly.

We love these parmesan tomatoes.  I want to warn you though, the tomatoes are mushy.  I think that next time I will skip the baking and just broil to see if that keeps the firmness of the tomatoes a bit more.  

Before I sign off, I just want to say...I think it's important to have a bucket list in life.  I love to dream of adventures and challenges I want to experience in life, but I find that when I write things down, they often go from something I dream about to something I am doing.  It is amazing how when you put those dreams out there in the universe, the universe will find a way for those dreams to come true.  And for those of you with minis, show your kids what it looks like when mommy chases her dreams.  If for no other reason, than this......