Monday, February 21, 2011

Keeping It Simple: Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Peppers

My friend C. (the other C., not the pot pie C.) came over last week to visit.  It was good to see her; she's a smart woman with two children and a doctoral degree who made the difficult decision to stay home after the birth of her second child.  We talked about how amazing birth is, and then I yammered on for a while about work.

To be fair, when my leave was arranged, the responsibilities of my job were divided among people in the office, and it was expected only that I'd check email occasionally and get updates from the people taking over.  (So it's not like there were slavedrivers at the helm, as it may have seemed from my other post, though this is complicated by the fact that the terms of my leave, according to HR, require that I be working from home, but according to my supervisors, require that I do nothing.)  The nature of my job entails relationship-building with faculty and students, though, and I hadn't planned to ignore those relationships simply because I'm not on campus.  It's true, I didn't entirely trust the people who have taken over my responsibilities; that's my problem, and I tried to extend the olive branch and get over my misgivings.  But I don't understand the policy change happening without even asking me what I think, and stripping me of the authority to make any decisions about the program that I built, telling me that they'll "revisit my restart date at a later point in time."  I don't understand what I did to deserve this.  I've given many years of service to my workplace, and I've earned the respect of lots of students, faculty, and staff.  So why this?  Why now?

Anyway ... this is what C. listened to me talk about.  And as she pointed out, as long as she's known me, I've been itching for something new.  The question is what?  And how?  Not things I can exactly worry about when I'm just barely three weeks postpartum, though yesterday I got an email saying my name had been passed along for a possible a new position at my university ...not a job offer, exactly, but more of a "you might want to have a conversation about this with the leadership involved."

Still, better to focus on eating right, getting sleep when I can, exercising, and getting to know my newest little family member.  Keep it simple.

Because she's a thoughtful friend, C. brought over a great big bowl of this for dinner: it's not a difficult recipe, but there's lots of flavor.  Opt for local and organic when you can find it; this really does make a difference.  And leave the complicated politics behind.

Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Sweet Peppers

1 T. olive oil
3 red, orange, and yellow peppers, sliced
1 to 2 onions, sliced
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 lb. sausages (your choice .... veggie is fine)
1 lb. pasta
1-2 T. more olive oil
32 oz. diced tomatoes
fresh oregano and thyme
fresh grated Romano cheese

In a skillet heat roughly one tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering (medium high heat).  Add sliced peppers and onions, sprinkle with salt.  Saut√© until onions turn soft, at this point sprinkle with fresh oregano and thyme.  Once peppers are also soft, add two cloves of crushed garlic and turn heat off.  Put veggies in a bowl.  Add sausages to heated pan with just a drop of olive oil. Turn sausages to medium and cook covered, flipping them half way over.

Boil water and cook pasta to al dente.  Drain pasta and return to hot pot.  Add about one to two table spoons of extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste to pasta and mix.  Add diced tomatoes and some fresh oregano and thyme. Sprinkle with fresh grated Romano cheese.

Pile pasta, veggies and sausage on top of each other and enjoy!
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  1. Maybe it is the perfect time to be thinking of a "what if.." scenario for work. How long are you planning to stay at home? New baby, new trajectory as you start going back to work... this could be exactly the time to shift gears a little. And definitely put your name in the hat for that other position -- options are ALWAYS good.

  2. Work is sounding complicated! It doesn't help that you built the programme because you have such an emotional attachment which maybe makes it difficult to realise when you aren't getting enough back to make the negative things worth it?

    Uncomplicated sounds wonderful. This looks even simpler than what I made last night (sort of a baked fritatta with veggies from the garden and eggs from a neighbour - and local sausages broken up to make the husband happy).

    I hope you and your daughter are recovering well and you are all enjoying the expanded family. :-)

  3. Thank you for the kind words. I am thankful and grateful for our friendship.
    It was a great visit. I do not mind listening to your work stuff. I totally get it and am glad to be an open ear. You will figure this all out, but as you said, now it is time for you and Noa to rest.
    You made the dish look so pretty. It is a tasty, hearty yummy one. I LOVE pasta.
    See you soon!

  4. I'm sorry you're having to deal with all this other junk while you're transitioning to a new family life. I don't have any answers for you but I do hope that in the end everything works out swimmingly. Thinking of you. xx

  5. that DOES look yummy. just the kind of thing you want to make when it's cold & snowy out.
    & i'm with the above posters-- maybe this is a good time to examine where you're headed & scope out some new directions.

  6. I don't know you in a work setting, but something tells me that you are very, very good at what you do. And as someone who works in an academic setting, working with faculty, students and staff, and getting somewhere, is no small feat. I'm so very sorry that you're having to deal with this when you shouldn't have to worry about any of it. It also sounds like what they're doing (revisit your restart date!? huh?) is not even legal (or, perhaps more accurately, shouldn't be).

    Your friend is right, though. And you deserve to be doing something - and to be somewhere - where people do not drain your energy. And appreciate you.


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