June Cleaver Goes Mediterranean

While we are in L.A. for the summer Nate is working and I am a stay-at-home-wife. I thought that on a few days I could withold from going to the beach or Rodeo Drive and be like June Cleaver - a 1950's housewife who has mastered cooking and cleaning.

Last Tuesday, while Nate was getting ready to go to the office, I lay in bed envisioning a day of cleaning our vintage apartment and making something traditional. When he returned, I could greet him at the door dressed in a pretty shirtwaist dress, a pearl necklace, heels, and a pot roast. While he changed out of his suit, I would offer him a Stepford wife smile and a dry martini for him to enjoy before we sat down to dinner. And after dinner, we could have a homemade cake.

Well, that just did not happen. First of all, I don't own a pearl necklace (but I wouldn't mind receiving one as a gift). Secondly, I don't own a shirtwaist dress. I brought plenty of sundresses and cocktail dresses and go-out-dancing dresses, but nothing from the 1950's. I also don't have in this apartment a martini glass or even have vodka or gin with which to make Nate a martini. I am also lacking a cake pan and a mixer to make a cake from scratch.

And my last obstacle to this 1950's domestic dream? No air conditioning! And last Tuesday was hot enough to warrant a weather warning on weatherchannel.com. While I had awakened with good intentions, I was sweating by the time I had done the breakfast dishes and the last thing I wanted to do was get out the mop bucket or turn on my oven. I admit I roasted a chicken last week, but that morning offered a cool breeze that I wasn't enjoying on Tuesday.

I sweated it out for a bit and then gave up. I put on a sundress and headed to the mall to seek air conditioning in some shops. After I cooled down, I went to the farmers market. Since I had scratched my all-American June Cleaver vision, I was going Mediterranean instead. My thought was that I could make an antipasto dinner - many little dishes that can be served room temperature. This way I could create them ahead of time, set the table, then take a cold shower and cool off. When Nate arrived home, the kitchen had cooled down and dinner was ready.

For dinner I had made a traditional caprese salad using summer heirloom tomatoes. My green salad was some fresh mache and ricotta salata with a light red wine and lemon vinaigrette. I had roasted zucchini and sweet red peppers then sprinkled fresh oregano over the top. We really like cannellini beans so I had simmered a rinsed can of these beans in softened shallots and rosemary and a bit of broth until the beans were soft. I had also picked up a hot Italian sausage and braised that for Nate.

To add to this dinner, at the farmer's market that day, I had bought some meaty cerignola olives and a bottle of Chateau Saint-Pierre, a soft rose that complimented my small dishes And for dessert? Lemon sorbet from the grocery store. Easy on my part and it was a light and perfect end to our antipasto dinner. Take that June!

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