What’s that saying? While the cat’s away, the mouse will… be very, very bored.

You get so used to a routine and then when it changes, you don’t know what to do with yourself. At least that’s me. He’s gone for the weekend, me here to fend for myself. By 1300 I had done the laundry, ironed, vacuumed, dusted, tended the plants, worked out, cleaned the kitchen, read Julia’s memoir by the pool [not all of it], practiced my cursive [those of you familiar with my pathetic script, be amazed], and gone grocery shopping.

Sipping sweet sun tea and doing my fourth crossword I thought, now what? There must be something I have been wanting to do, something I need to do. Some project or task. I do remember the saying about idle hands after all.

The day flitted away slowly. Little things here and there kept me busy — tidying, planning and organizing. Two delicious meals also came out of today: a bread salad built around flavors of the Mediterranean served with hunks of cheese for lunch, plus a bowl of blue cheese and green bean pasta for supper.

Tomorrow, cookies

Mediterranean Bread Salad with Olives & Avocado [serves 1]

Printable recipe

For the vinaigrette:

1 T extra virgin olive oil

1 t red wine vinegar

a splash of fresh lemon juice

1/2 t minced shallot

1/2 t minced garlic

1 T coarsely chopped parsley

kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

+ + +

For the salad:

a large handful of mixed greens

1 tomato, cut into wedges [I threw a lone tiny yellow tomato in, too]

1/2 of an avocado, sliced thickly and cut into chunks

1/4 c purple olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

1/4 of a cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and then in chunks

1 T capers, drained

several slices of red onion

1 thick slice hearty bread, cubed [we had whole wheat challah]

To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add the lemon juice, shallot, garlic and parsley; whisk again. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the greens and dressing until all the leaves are coated. Add the remaining ingredients and toss again lightly. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve with chunks of good cheese.

+ + + + +

Creamy Green Bean – Blue Cheese Pasta [serves 1]

Printable recipe

1/2 c dried farfalle [a couple wayward fusilli found their way in]

a small handful green beans, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces

1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil [or try 1 T evoo + 1/2 T walnut oil]

1 t lemon zest

2 to 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled or cut into small cubes [any good kind will do — Roquefort, Gorgonzola, plain blue cheese]

kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

several basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese, for grating [optional]

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a good amount of salt, stir in farfalle and cook according to package directions, or until al dente. In the last few minutes of the pasta cooking time, add the green beans to the pot, allowing them to just soften. Drain both and set aside.

In the meantime combine the olive oil [or olive + walnut oils], lemon zest and blue cheese in a large bowl. Add the pasta and green beans, and mix gently. Add the basil leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper; mix again lightly. Serve immediately, with a grating of Parm over top if you like.