Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Now That You're Here

Summer has finally arrived in Boston! While appreciated, it seems awfully sudden without the meandering stroll up the thermometer that usually happens in June and the beginning of July.

Due to this heat and humidity, I have absolutely 100% no desire whatsoever to cook. The warmest I'm willing to go at the moment is microwave.

Hence my genius dinner plans for the rest of this week: frozen yogurt. Or as I endearingly call it, fro yo. My absolute favorite place to obtain this tart, cold, creamy, low-fat treat is a local Boston chain called BerryLine. There are three locations: between Harvard and Central Squares, between Harvard and Porter Squares, and by the Fenway T stop. The first store is conveniently a three block walk from my house. Yes, I go there all too often. I've already gone through one "rewards" card and had my free medium with one topping.

Oh the toppings! Feeling healthy? Numerous fruits to choose from, as well as granola. Nursing a sweet tooth? A solid selection of candy options is also at your beck and call. BerryLine and I were meant to be.

In other news, tonight I am 'auditioning' for Kaplan. If hired I will be instructing a prep course for the GREs. This will be the first time in my life I will have two jobs concurrently, unless you count being a student while working part-time in college.

The Kaplan audition consists of giving a 5 minute how-to presentation to show that you're capable of teaching somebody how to do something. While engaging the audience. They recommend choosing a topic with which you are fairly familiar to make yourself more comfortable in front of the audience. So I've decided to give instruction on how to take a blood pressure. Considering I take BPs, on average, 15-20 times a day it's safe to say that I'm familiar with the topic.

So wish me luck! These days we could all use a little extra income.

Friday, July 24, 2009

In Media Res

Sometimes I do things I know I'll regret later just because they're so enjoyable in the moment. For example, drinking. Though not so much lately, being 20 days into my month of sobriety.

In this moment I am thoroughly enjoying the dregs of a box of salt water taffy that my co-worker Natasha passed on to me. I'm quite aware that the sugar high will end, leaving me to plummet into a headachey oblivion (in my mind I picture this as Wild E. Coyote suddenly realizing that the ground has run out beneath him, holding up a 'Yipe!' sign.)

Last night was a gustatory adventure. My roommate Meredith, our good friend Nicolas, and I had a dinner party. While using the CouchSearch function on http://www.couchsurfing.org/ to figure out just where our profiles came up, we realized just how many Surfers there are in Cambridge and Somerville whom we've never met. So we did the logical thing and messaged three strangers each to invite them over for dinner!

Meredith made her infamous butternut squash enchiladas (gluten-free, vegetarian.) The ratio of squash to cream cheese to scallions, smothered in even more cheese, easily makes this dish our go-to dinner party/potluck choice.

Butternut Squash Enchiladas
1 medium butternut squash
4 oz. cream cheese
4 scallions
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander or cilantro
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
48 oz. salsa
1 to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
shredded iceberg lettuce

Split squash down the middle & bake at 400 for 45 to 60 minutes [probably more] until soft on an oiled pan. Scoop out 2 cups and mash with cream cheese, spices, and scallions until fairly smooth. Soften tortillas by frying or steaming [I nuke each one for 12 seconds]. Apply half of the salsa on the bottom of a casserole dish, roll filling into tortillas, and bake with cheese and remaining salsa on top for 25 to 30 minutes at 350. Garnish with sour cream and lettuce.

I "helped" Nic make some Mexican rice (gluten-free, vegan when replacing chicken broth with vegetable broth, from my America's Test Kitchen cookbook. Thanks mum!) to accompany the enchiladas. Also the night before I had thrown some sliced grapefruit, green apple, bosc pear, and lime into some blush wine with orange juice for a lighter summer sangria, adding some gingerale just before serving.

Our guests pitched in as well, mostly with beer and wine, but also with some nice cheeses and Nut Thins to hold over our appetites. One pleasant surprise was a salad thrown together by the two women currently surfing with Meredith and I - spinach, strawberries, and chopped walnuts with a lovely ginger miso dressing from Whole Foods. YUM!

I predict more new-friend-dinners like this in the future.

Unsurprisingly the Surfer I talked to the most was the one visiting his brother from San Juan. Of course now my new fantasy is to save up enough money to go visit in December where Geo promises to teach me how to surf and longboard. We'll see ...