Sunday, July 26, 2009

11:59 p.m.

So much work was done this weekend. My eyes have gotten so used to staring at a screen, I squint in pain if I look at anything else. 
Time for bed. 

Saturday, July 25, 2009

9:15 p.m. and lovely friends

On a cicada-filled July evening, a single firefly crawls across a plaster wall blanketed in heavy, angular shadows. He (or she) goes about his business as I lazily sit cross-legged in a chair that hits my back just right, toy with the gnocchi remnants of my dinner and listen as the Nocturnes of Chopin fill my still, air-conditionless apartment. A knock at the door makes me jump. It is Joe and Marcos who surprise me with a bowl of blackberry crumble they made with the fruit we picked this morning.

"It's best with ice cream," says Marcos.
"Yes, you should have it with ice cream," adds Joe.

I have some. It melts creamily over the still-warm, sugary-salty crust. I grab a fork and meet the firefly back in my studio for dessert. A blackberry-induced coma ensues.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fridge Friend

There is something more satisfying than a successful trip to the grocery store. It's when you drag your bags up however many flights of stairs, drop them on the floor by your fridge, start unloading, and discover that today Maytag is going to look incredible.

Refilling your refrigerator is much like a day at the spa. Or in my case, pumicing my heels and shaving my legs. After draining the door shelves, crisper and drawers early on (those plums were too good to save for later! I had to eat four in one afternoon!), you manage to finish out the week in a less dignified manner. The end of the week (or two weeks, depending on how often you shop) is when you make the final, 1-square-inch bit of mature cheddar last a little longer than it typically should. You smell the bag of spinach and deliberate whether consuming the slightly wilted, slimy leaves that are four or five days past the expiration date will do enough harm to convince you not to eat them. I know, it's private, but we do these things. We smell our underarms too.

When you finally manage to acknowledge the serious lack of anything in your Whirlpool, it's time to break down and bear the crowds at the grocery. When you finally walk through those automatic doors and grab a basket, it's like meeting up with an old friend—one you forgot how much you liked. The produce section calls to you. It's easy to imagine any one of those fruits or vegetables finding a happy home in your fridge. You want them all. But, after a meticulous selection process, you zip through the line, pay, and so begins the rejuvination of your fridge's soul. When you arrive home, its depleted contents looks happier, fresher, healthier (not always healthier) with every item you add. You imagine what you'll throw together for a snack or lunch or breakfast tomorrow. And as the door swings closed, Fridge lets out a monotonous, humming drone, letting you know he is happy and full.
Pings of drizzly summer rain dance on tin rooftops that line the alleyway. In my studio on the second floor, droplets pierce the ripped, mesh screened window as each one—a minute liquid warrior—tears its way through the tiny holes and splashes into a puddle on the worn, white ledge. Voices from the neighboring front porch trickle upwards and drift through my apartment, all the way to the back bedroom, where I fittingly listen to Bloodbank in the warm, yellowy glow of a single lamp.

10:16 p.m.

Too late for a real dinner, but this really hit the spot. Also, I have never been more excited about drinking water—I finally replaced my filter and it is delicious (the water, not the filter).
Grilled asparagus and sliced tomato with melted mozzarella over a toasted whole wheat English muffin. Topped off with a bit of black pepper.

In other news, I needed a trashy, brainless book to refresh after reading Michael Chabon and Philip Roth back-to-back. It's filled to the brim with gossip and cheeky banter, and the seafoam green cover is actually quite cute. The three main characters are all journalist-types, and it got me thinking: why is it that, in "chick-lit" and romantic comedies, a majority of the leading ladies practice journalism? Okay, perhaps I don't live in New York and perhaps I don't write for a super-glossy fashion title, but I mean, come on. There is nothing glamorous about waiting for pages to send (which all designers—and even writers—must endure) or photoshopping the nose-hair out of some old dude's portrait, even if you happen to be wearing Louboutins. Just a thought. Anyway, I'm gonna go finish this book.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dinner Tonight

White wine and lemon pepper tilapia over rosemary potatoes and onions with roasted asparagus, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Musings on Goodbye, Columbus

People must know what I'm thinking when they see me blushing while reading Philip Roth.


I recently began packing up my apartment to move to a new place at the end of the month. Lots of stuff got trashed, but I'm the type of person who takes forever to purge and pack a years-worth of stuff. I inevitably get distracted by funny notes, photographs, bike locks and finding a place to relocate bobby pins. When I got around to cleaning out the closet in the studio, I had a hard time getting rid of much. Instead, I rediscovered the craft possibilities that had sat all year inside the caboodle cases on my metal shelves. I pulled out a bag full of old paper, india ink, paints and thread, grabbed some scissors and a glue stick, and went to town on a cute little book. It ended up being a birthday present for a friend, but not before I could take a few photos.

Eat This

I'm not sure if it's little or kind of known, but a fact about me is that I enjoy cooking. Despite my dangerous sweet tooth, I am not a baker. But, with the right amount of sea salt, wine and veggies, I can turn around a more than half-way decent meal in about 30 minutes.

On a typical school night, I couldn't get around to cooking until 9:30. Still, I have no complaints about the dinner—gnocchi, garlic, asparagus, peppers, spinach, white wine and a bit of mature cheddar—I ate for at least 70 percent of my senior year of college. It was flavorful, filling and took 10 minutes to make.*

Since graduating and starting my new job, I've become a bit more adventurous in the kitchen. I've been experimenting more with ingredients, and have developed a new-found love for sesame oil. I have a few favorite foodie blogs and writers, and I draw inspiration from what they're using. Still, there's nothing quite like creating even the simplest dinner on your own accord.

At the moment, I struggle with my bad habit of compulsive stirring and opening the oven too often to check on food. I'm learning that, although less movement and slower cooking seem like no-brainers, they are difficult practices to master.

Still, I think continuing to make tasty dinners (for usually 1) on a first-job budget will prove to make this year interesting. I'm hoping to get more creative and better at re-using unique ingredients.

To keep myself (and anyone who reads this thing) motivated about cooking and trying new things, I'll be posting snacks, dinners and anything else I venture to make. Yum!

Farmers market zucchini, mushrooms, tomato and red peper in a garlic-y, buttery, white wine delicious sauce.

Blackened sesame Salmon over fresh stir-fried vegetables and white rice.

Red and yellow Tomato Salad, with Goatsbeard Farm goat cheese, cucumbers, green onions and basil. Ooh, and a tasty slice of cucumber in water.

S almon marinated in honey, sesame oil and almonds. Served over udon noodles and crunchy mixed greens (edamame, bok choy, red peppers, snow peas, chopped leaf lettuce).

*For those unfamiliar with gnochhi (pronounced no-kee), the potato-based pasta is ready after about 3 minutes in boiling water.

Monday, July 6, 2009