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 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 ...

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