When I left you on Thursday, I was strolling out the door from my internship to meet a good friend downtown for drinks and dinner. I was hesitating about whether to force her to do organic with me, but Dinah is such a sweetie, I thought, if not now, when? We met at the Astor subway stop and walked over to First avenue to 7th St to try out Counter, an organic restaurant and bar. It was fairly early, about 6, so we snagged the two seats outside. I didn’t know it was a vegetarian restaurant, but neither I nor Dinah minded – we were just a bit thrown. “I’m so used to using meat as a reference,” I said to Dinah, as I scanned the menu. “Vegetables are always just the side note. I don’t even know where to start choosing.”
No matter, the cocktails were wonderful. I got an Angry Lesbian to start, a spicy/fruity concoction, while Dinah got a Slap and Tickle – Green Juniper gin with jalapenos and cucumber. Hot! (And all organic!)
The fare was light but delicious. I totally recommend it if you are on a diet. I had a quinoa and fruit dish, while Dinah enjoyed a gaspacho. I’m no food critic, but I was happy, especially after sharing their three cheese sampler and crusty and buttery bread. There’s another organic place a block east, called “The Organic something-or-another,” fyi.
After that we gave up all pretense of environmentalism, drove her old, old Subaru back uptown to my apt, and then went out with some old friends to drink heavily. The next morning we tottered home on our high heels, and had breakfast at Tom’s Diner (the one from Seinfeld) before she left for Long Island.
On Saturday, My roommate, Vicki, decided to celebrate her birthday earlier this week with an all-out potluck picnic with all of her friends. Instead of doing the bbq thing with Lays chips and hotdogs, we went super fresh and healthy.
As I puttered around the kitchen making a classic rosemary lemon chicken skewers recipe from trusty ol’ Joy of Cooking, Vicki chopped up fruit for sangria. To a huge bottle of chianti, she added two shot of Tanqueray gin, ginger ale, and plenty of ice to make a lip-smacking drink. I rummaged around in my room for garnishes (see the pictures!) that I had bought long ago and never had such a perfect occasion to use. I also made a batch of my signature pecan fudge, which was complimented as “melt in your mouth,” “caramel-y” and “omg I’m going to be sick.” (in a good way!) by Vicki’s friends.
Vicki found a list of picnic recipes from Bittman and made up the beet salad and tomato and peaches salad. (Note: wear gloves when dealing with beets! Vicki looked like she had attacked herself with a knife.)
It’s important to note that Vicki never cooks, so if she can do it, anyone can! Needless to say we were pretty impressed with our handiwork.
The picnic was a huge success! Somebody is friends with the owners of Baked, in Brooklyn, and brought a box of their cookies. Those giant gooey confections were wonderful. Also there: vegetables and hummus, subs from Tastee Sub Shop in Jersey, home made cheesecake, salad, salad, salad, tomatoes and mozzarella toppedwith olive oil and sea salt, homemade mango salsa, piles of berries and fruit, and homemade focaccia and sour dough bread from Vicki’s friend.
SO much better than potato salad and hamburgers!
Vicki is pretty proud – the cops came we were so rowdy. (Ok, park rangers, but still!) I popped up to offer a lady officer fudge, but she declined, saying it would be tantamount to bribery. I turned to a young male officer, thinking he would be an easier target. “Fudge?” I said, holding out a pile of chocolaty goodness and my most winning smile. “Uh, I’m allergic to nuts,” he mumbled. “Oh!” I cried. “We have nutless fudge as well!” I turned to search for the other container as other picnicers giggled, and saw Vicki mouthing “Sit down!” to me. I plopped down, and after the lady cop was done writing up poor Sheira for drinking a beer, we all took up a collection for her. What a high school flashback!
Lemon Rosemary skewers, apt style (The Joy of Cooking):
Soak wooden skewers in a tupperware dish full of water for one hour.
Meanwhile, stir together in a cereal bowl:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (Vicki: “Does that come in a spice bottle?” No, Vicki, you use a cheese grater on a lemon.)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or .5 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon minced garlic ( recommend the slap chop for this.)
.5 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Slice into small pieces 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. Coat chicken in marinade, thread on skewers, throw on a pan, and put in the fridge for two hours. Set the oven to broil, throw the chicken in for 5 minutes, turn skewers, ten more minutes. Pull out and enjoy!