My brotha the runner! Who knew? As a child I remember Jimmy, one of my older brothers, showing up for summer vacation from UC Berkeley with a giant Jew-fro and a dufflebag full of albums — ya know, LP’s, VINYL . . . little-used now but a vivid picture in my little five-year-old mind (yeah, yeah, at the time; it has matured considerably since!). One of my ablsolute faves was the Big Brother and the Holding Company album Cheap Thrills featuring someone who later became one of my all-time idols, the wild and woolly Ms. Janis Joplin. The LP artwork by underground cartoonist R. Crumb of Mr. Natural fame, illustrating the songs and bandmembers, was goofy yet supercool at the same time.

I was in awe of Jim — in my sweet little mind he was just like one of those cartoon characters, a cool dude with his Pall Mall cigarettes and (justified) annoyance as I bugged him to do anything and everything with me, from “Wanna do some coloring with me?” to “Read me a book” to “Let’s play a game,” on and on it went. Actually he was so patient and went along with so much of the silly stuff I asked of him. I will never forget those times, especially us setting up the Monopoly board for what must have seemed to him like the 16,000th time.
Fast forward to today, four decades later: Jim is a paralegal who donates some Saturdays to volunteer legal work and an avid runner. Not just your ho-hum once-around-the-block jogger but a full-fledged marathon/ULTRAmarathon-running guy, without the smoking and most of that hair but still a handsome man, as both he and my bro Bill were both fortunate to inherit our father’s good looks. What a different person he is now from the student I knew in those days of my childhood, though still a wonderful and thoughtful man.
And now that I’m living here in SoCal and we see each other regularly, on occasion he’ll ask for a recipe to make for a potluck at one of his running gatherings, and I am always more than happy to help out. Most recently I offered to make something for him to take and from what I understand it was a hit. Some things change but I still love my bro as much today as I did as a five-year-old. He’s such a mensch and I just wanted to thank him for being so great and helping me with this blog as he is my sole editor, and the job pays really badly [I’ve had worse! -Ed.], but there’s abundant food and recipes and he never complains. So here is the recipe I made for him this go-round. Thanks again, James, you really rock! [Aw shucks! -Ed.]
Pasta Salad With Roasted Veggies, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts:
1 lb rotini or bowtie pasta, cooked and drained
1 small jar sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 lg. jar marinated artichokes, quartered, reserve 1/4-1/2 cup marinade for dressing salad. Add a little at a time(when adding the other dressing listed below.)
1 bunch asparagus, roasted with olive oil in oven for 10-15 minutes at 450ºF, cooled and chopped into 1 1/2 ” pieces
3-4 zucchini cut lengthwise, roasted with olive oil in oven for 10-15 minutes at 450ºF, cooled and cut into 1 1/2 ” pieces
3 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
1/2 bunch fresh basil, chopped
Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning to taste
Fat-free Italian salad dressing OR extra virgin olive oil/red wine vinegar/salt/pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients, and let sit for several hours or even better overnight in the fridge, and then serve at room temp.

And as always, enjoy!!!
© Jennifer Green Alger 2010