One morning, last week, during our dreary Spring Break the boys and I went to the library, as we often do. I love taking them there, seeing their love for books and the way they open up their imaginations.
As we make the short drive to the library our conversation turns to what books everyone will be looking for. Ben is into mysteries and historical fiction. Samuel loves anything in a series and says he judges ALL books by their covers (we are working on that). Henry likes stories with animals, especially Jan Brett. He takes after his mama, loving her illustrations.
Once we arrive everyone fans out to search the shelves for their next reading adventure. I usually go with Henry first, helping him to make his choices before heading out to scope a few treasures of my own.
I usually head to the home, garden and cooking section to see what is new, if any inspiration is lurking in the orderly aisles. This time it came from ‘Giada’s Family Dinners‘, with a recipe for an Italian Muffuletta. I decided to make my own vegetarian version, adding a few extras as well.
inspired by Giada De Laurentiis
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 olive oil
10 Large, pitted green olives, chopped
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 cup Roasted Red Bell Peppers, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
1-1 lb round bread loaf (I used a whole wheat version, about 7 inches in diameter)
A few basil leaves
4-6 artichokes, canned or marinated, quartered
4 ounces Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 Red onion, thinly sliced
A couple handfuls of arugula
In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, garlic, oregano to blend. Gradually add in the oil. Stir in the chopped green and kalamata olives and roasted peppers. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste.
Using a serrated knife, slice the loaf of bread in half, creating a top and bottom. Hollow out the top and bottom halves of the loaf. Spread some of the vinaigrette in the bread bottom. Follow with arugula, basil leaves, red onion slices and Provolone. Spread more vinaigrette on cut side of the bread top and place on the sandwich.
Cut the sandwich into wedges and serve.
After rounding up the boys and looking through everyone’s final selections we check out our books and load back in the van.
The ride home from the library is always quiet. Every boy has his nose in a book, trying to figure out which one to read first. I remember doing the same thing as a kid, it seemed like such a big decision.
When we get home the big boys head to their rooms, anxious to dig into their chosen book, while Henry and I snuggle up together, ready to read in our favorite chair.
On library days, new books in hand, life feels good.