I realize that Ash Wednesday was... at a point in the past. But it's the sort of holiday that lasts all year through, right? The Ash Wednesday spirit can be with us even when the store displays are gone, the lights are down, and we've been frantically working on school and life instead of blogging and wishing each other Ash Wednesday cheer. So in that spirit, I present to you: Ash Wednesday, or, Jimmy Rings in Lent with Baked Ziti.
First of all, I would like to share the observation that major Mormon universities could stand a little Religious Diversity Sensitivity Training. Jimmy is our friendly neighborhood Protestant who attended Ash Wednesday services and came back with ashes on his forehead. He was then interrogated by every single person he met on campus throughout the day.
"Whoa! Did you hit your head?"
"You, um, got something on your head there."
"Heh. Did you, uh, forget to wash your face this morning?"
He was quite exasperated getting these remarks from the Mormons all day and then the frosting on the cake was when we sat down to dinner and his friendly atheist Chinese roommate greeted him with "Dude - what's all over your face?"
"I just can't win, can I?"
Poor Jimmy. But the meal he created for us was fantastic. He had a recipe for baked ziti - and we improvised a second one with spinach to have a little more variety.
Sautéeing three packages of frozen spinach with one large onion, diced. In butter, of course. What else would you sautée things in?
A basic white sauce with cheese. Jimmy had a recipe for the tomato-meat baked ziti but left this one up to me. I promised him it would be good but had my doubts halfway through the white sauce. White sauces always do that to me - there's that moment you fall into this pit of brown flour despair, but they have a way of resurrecting themselves. This one was a butter-flour roux, milk, salt, parsley and then shredded mozzarella cheese.
The spinach version before it went in the oven
They actually turned out pretty tasty! We only got one complaint from the impossible-to-placate gentleman who likes to complain when things don't have meat. Only one of these had meat so he razzed me about it. I told him is was the first day of Lent so he should get used to it, stick a sock in it, and go attend the upcoming Religious Diversity Sensitivity Training. Actually, I didn't because I can't say any of that in Chinese. Sigh. The limits of language on the ability to be a brat.
You go Jimmy! Show them Mormons how it's done!