Thursdays are my favorite day of the work week. Well, I have to wake up early to go to the classroom… and can’t go to the gym beforehand.
But then Steve and I have a matching long lunch break (because we both work 8-6:30 Thursdays), so we always spend it together. And then Thursday night is potluck. It is a day filled with people I love, so the working parts always seem insubstantial.
Anyway, I arrived at Steve’s and he had some brussels sprouts getting GORGEOUS. Can you believe these were frozen?! Lookit that caramelization!
He does ‘em in a saute pan like I do my Austin methodology, but instead of olive oil, honey and dill, he does olive oil (and I’m sure more than me :D), honey, garlic, and soy sauce.
While he finished prepping that, he presented me with radishes with lime juice and cilantro. They were AWESOME!
Recipe from David’s Peruvian mama, a woman I desperately want to meet just based on the dishes her son has recreated for us.
Then we went to a pic-a-nic!
In the park by his apartment and our work, there is a beautiful marshy area that Steve calls “Quackers Quadrant” (well actually now *I* call it Quacker’s Quadrant in my head, and feel totally ridiculous).
But anyway, there are ducks. And turtles!
My puny contributions were some sort of freezer burned homemade lentil burgers. I also brought myself yogurt for my growing lady bones.
Steve made one of his glorious fried rice creations: with black beans and chickpeas, lotsa sauteed veggies, and those awesome brussels sprouts on top.
As an added bonus, I got to eat it with a tiny fork! Steve inherited these and I am so amused by eating with them!
Picnic was glorious. Lying down by the water, listening to birdies chirp, being happy with the boy. I am so spoiled.
Then work was adorable that day too- the kids are on Spring Break for Earth Day so we celebrated early with a trash pickup- the kids worked in teams to clean up specific areas around our center, and won prizes for most garbage collected; most unusual item (a sneaker won!); and stinkiest garbage. Despite whining like the whiney whiners they are at the beginning, they ended up loving it and seemed proud at the end to have helped improve their environment.
Strolled back to Steve’s that night to find him throwing yet more veggies in pans (he has an extremely complicated system for dealing with fresh and frozen veggies, coordinating pans, covering things, etc. etc.). Many delicous things: snow peas! Carrots! Okra! Red peppers! Mushrooms!
He also had some rice noodle explosions, hahaha. That one noodle WOULD NOT STAY IN THE PAN. It was SO FUNNY. It was like some tentacled sea creature trying to escape.
The final dish was delicious, though I kept going “Braaaaaaaains… BRAAAAAAAAAAINS!” because I thought that was what it looked like.
Though Steve, to his credit, told potluck guests “Just so you know, this has like half a bottle of olive oil in it.” Which it really did.
I got very vague and unimpressive Asian inspiration from Steve and went to the pleasant little hole-in-the-wall Asian grocery store near his apartment and got some pretty good lookin’ and cheap chayote squash. Gave it a saute with oil and salt and pepper, that’s all.
Shoulda cooked it longer. I say that every time I make chayote. I need *patience* and *time management skills*. Oh well. Anyway, that did not a full potluck contribution make, in my opinion.
Sooooooo I was MEGA LAZY THIS WEEK. I got a coupon for Alexia from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, and I finally was like “Argh! I’m phoning it in this week! I am just too lazy!”
Plus, Erin was hosting (a hilarious amalgamation theme: Last Supper Seder.. hahahaha) and the girl loves her some sweet potato fries.
Pluuuuuuuuuuuus, not only did they have sweet potato fries…. they had WAFFLE CUT sweet potato fries. Why is everything infinitely more exciting when it is waffle cut?!
These were good but not great. Greasier than I would care for. Still, pretty good value, and a nice thing to have around when you went something sort of bar-food-y, but cheaper ($3.99 at Giant for 20 ounces) and vaguely wholesome.
They were mostly snarfed down before dinner even started… so we’ll consider that a success.
So our wonderful potluck hostess went ALL OUT on her delicious Jewish heritage. We were immediately greeted with Manischewitz and macaroons (did you know there were cookies and cream ones?!)
But the piece de resistance was her MATZOH BALL SOUP! OH MY GOD! I hadn’t had it since my wonderful Jewish-comfort-food-eating New York City trip and it was SO BEAUTIFUL.
Plus Erin, being the awesome friend she is, knew I wasn’t eating meat for Lent and really wanted me to be able to try it, so she made it with vegetable stock. It was SO DELICIOUS!
Another highlight of the meal was definitely Olivia’s asparagus. She was making it for the first time as a Passover-appropriate contribution, and it was SO GOOD! Tossed with matzo crumbs, parmesan, and lemon zest. SO GOOD! COULD NOT STOP EATING!
My first plate.
And then there was the late arrival of Erin’s other friend, who brought charoset, which is basically I think just apples, almonds, and more Maneschewitz. It was blissful. I ate a ton.
Oh and Carolyn made cookies.
Conversation topics of the night definitely verged on the bizarre a good deal of the time. But it was tres adorable to look over and see Steve and Mitch, lying together like preteen girls at a sleepover, talking about trips to Sweden. Precious.