Monday, March 14, 2011

being nourished

Hot and Sexy in March has involved contemplation, which is good, but I must also remember all the ways OTHERS, not just myself, nourish me.

For example, my kitty makes me laugh with her Exorcist moments on the screen door to the deck.


And then my boyfriend is sort of just the best ever. I am terrible at being sentimental, hate any hint of gushiness. So instead I will state, categorically, based on a thorough review of data, my boyfriend is better than anyone else’s boyfriend. He just is. He is just way way more awesomer.

Yesterday was sunlit stroll through Georgetown, make-your-head-spin tasty pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso.

Today was lunch surprise! I was ordered to report to his apartment for homemade lunch. Well, sure!

For the first time I think in his entire life Steve followed a recipe, and not just any recipe. Possibly the greatest food in the world: FALAFEL.


Oh. My. God.

TEN OUT OF TEN. I cannot even believe how delicious it was.

Though he (absurdly) said things like “It just needs to be coated in butter!” (no.), it was

The texture was absolute perfection, somehow achieved through the use of an oven rather than a deep fryer: doughy lusciousness in the middle (who hates dry falafel? I do! This was meltingly tender!), plus crisp exterior. It  Sauteed onions and spices imparted a heavenly flavor. Plus the whole additional powerhouse of HOMEMADE TZAZIKI made from full fat Greek yogurt (nom nom nom nom!).

The recipe will need to be in ALL OF our lives soon. For now, I can report that it involved mashed garbanzos, and Steve has no food processor and is awesome and did it all by hand.

I ate roughly four times the amount pictured. Add.ic.tive.


Also, long overdue praise: Steve made a massive batch of Get Well cookies upon my broken pelvis’d mother’s return from Antarctica (what a hilarious sentence.) They had dried cranberries, macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, and ABSURD quantities of butter.


Finally, a couple of Fridays ago I got off work and it had been… a rough day.

Stupid stupid morning meeting>rushed preparation for the afternoon program>controlling 40 children while an 80-year-old retired physicist with a heavy accent made them make graphs (just… don’t ask. I work for a nonprofit. When it comes to guest speakers, beggars can’t be choosers, apparently?). There were mean, mean fifth grade girls. Fifth grade girls are MEAN.

I had to be back on the job at 10 am the following (Saturday) morning, leading the program that I’d planned for the month with our executive director “dropping in.”

Went to Steve’s. Asked to use his shower (another impressive thing about Steve: his bathroom is clean. After I… gave him a gentle talking to about it. But it’s lovely! I mean, except he has no soap. But I just use shampoo.) Cried in the shower. Got out.

And was fed this, which entirely healed my soul:


Element 1: pasta (whole wheat) tossed with egg (free range) and feta (!)

Element 2: Tons of walnuts toasted in olive oil and basil. Deconstructed pesto of sorts?

Element 3: Scads of sauteed veggies, including wonderful wonderful fresh asparagus.


On the topic of pasta being good for the soul, can’t forget my mama. It’s also decidedly soul-healing sitting down to dinner of her farmer’s market impulse buy of pumpkin ravioli, tossed with some spinach wilted in garlicky olive oil and a lotta black pepper.


Pillowy outside, tossed with bitter greens and tangy garlic…


Sweet pumpkin-y inside.


So tonight I sat down to dinner, fearing the onset of sickness due more to physical and mental exhaustion than pathogens, and nourished myself. SOUP!

Stock, culled from veggie trimmings, simmered in the crockpot all day yesterday.

Tortellini, purchased once again by my mother, Ms. Leave No Carb Behind (she informed me that she ate leftover spaghetti clam sauce for dinner last night… then was still hungry… so she ate a sweet potato).

Rainbow Swiss chard, grown to beauty by local farmers.

Crushed red pepper flakes, cause spice makes nice :D



Finally, cheers to the ritual.

I don’t know what I’d do without my after dinner cup of tea.

However, this one was a bit special:


Well, first of all, AWESOME, where do you see licorice spice tea?! Not in enough places, that’s where.

But, in fact, this came from ANTARCTICA! While getting x-rayed, before getting airlifted off the continent, (hahahaha, oh my poor mother)  my mama meekly requested a warm beverage. The nurse offered her flavors, she went “Licorice spice?!” and so she got on the plane with four bags.

One of which she gave to me :D Souvenir!


All Things Yummy said...

photos of your kitty are so funny. thanks for sharing

Astra Libris said...

Wow, I totally have to concur, Steve is AWESOME!! You're super awesome too, though, so it's natural that he should be awesome... ;-) I am eagerly awaiting his falafel recipe!! *poised on edge of seat*

Maya said...

The only question is will Lele be able to tear herself away from Steve to have a long overdue catch up hang out with Maya?

Hope to see you soon!

Jess said...

That pasta looks redonkkkkkk! MMM!

Steven Alexander Heathcliff Basil Bert said...

To borrow from a wise man, “My name is only an anagram of toilets.” Okay that doesn’t really apply to me whatsoever, but what I’m meaning to say (borrowed from a glorious show) is that your post left me feeling positively flushed!

Ileana, the way you weave beauty and feeling into my life is so beyond compare. I love you for valuing the little things in life as much as the grand gestures.

To a world that used to be chopsticks and now feels like Fantasia.

Also here is the recipe I took from Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Carole Raymond.

- ½ medium red potato
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 (15 ½ - ounce) can garbanzo beans drained
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and Pepper
- Lettuce
- Tomato
- Tsiziki Sauce (see next recipe below)

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Cut potato into 1-inch chunks. Place potato in small saucepan w/ enough water to cover; boil until tender (10 min). Drain. While potato cooks, heat in oil a small skillet over medium or medium-low heat and slowly sauté the onion until it is soft, stirring frequently, 8-10 minutes

In a medium bowl, mash the potato, garbanzo beans, and lemon juice. Add the onion, garlic, tahini, paprika, if using parsley, and salt and pepper to taste; stir to combine. The mixture will have a consistency similar to cook dough.

Lightly oil a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Spoon the mixture onto the baking sheet, forming 3-inch pancakes. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes (in reality it will take 30). Garnish if you like with lettuce, tomato and Tsiziki Sauce.

Tsiziki Sauce
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt (substitute with plain Greek Yogurt – go Fat!)
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at room temp. for 20 minutes. Store leftovers in fridge; will keep for four days.