In NYC we’re constantly dealing with crowds. How could we not with 1.6 million people living in Manhattan plus those that commute in every day? Sometimes you’re caught trying to walk up the stairs on the subway or walk through Union Square and you’re trapped with hundreds of bodies all around you and there’s no place to go. In such situations, I take deep breaths, imagine that I’m in a happier place, and thank god that I’m tall and breathing from a different plain of air than everyone else. Chad, however, dose not have this ability and has huge anxiety when caught in a crowd. He’s figured out drastic ways to avoid them like lining himself up in the subway so it lets out right at the foot of the stairs so he can bolt out before anyone else. He also refuses to go to places that are guaranteed to be a mob scene. Like Soho (specifically Broadway) on a beautiful Saturday, Times Square on any day, and any bar that you have to elbow your way through a crowd to get a drink. He also doesn’t go to NYC grocery stores, especially not during the post-work rush hour. Since I genuinely enjoy grocery shopping and I have the ability to transport myself to the French Alps while waiting on line at Trader Joe’s, grocery shopping predominately falls on me. However, sometimes Chad will do something nice and bring me home a few goodies from the market. It’s usually when I’m away for the weekend and he’s missing me, but he always seems to find something good. This week, I was on a girls trip visiting a friend in Virginia Beach and I came home to this beautiful bouquet of farmer’s market arugula. I know I’m kinda a freak but this arugula was so beautiful it might as well have been a giant bouquet of flowers. So I figured I’d reward him with one of his favorite summertime foods – Pasta Salad. You can thank Chad for the inspiration because boy is this Arugula Caprese Pasta Salad GOOOOD!
When I first moved into the city right after college I got a job working for a big ad agency. I worked on their largest account and thought I was going to be living in the world of modern Mad Men. We were constantly taken out to lunches and dinners at the best restaurants in the city and we were invited to big corporate parties with lots of celebrities and TV personalities. It sounds like the greatest job ever except the actual work was monotonous, I often worked late into the night, and I was completely broke. The entry level compensation was crap and I had New York City rent to pay. When I look back on it now I don’t know how I survived. But the fact that I did survive is something I am really proud of. It’s one of those things that I can pull from in years to come and think – “If I survived back then, I can survive anything!” Even though my funding was nil, I was still an enthusiastic foodie with a big appetite. I hardly had the funds to feed myself let alone make elaborate meals, so I needed to get creative. It turns out, with a small budget and little creativity you can eat quite well. My favorite meal and weeknight go-to from that time is something I call Bird’s Nest Spaghetti. A nest of pasta and spinach with one perfect, runny, fried egg all snow capped with parmesan cheese. It’s so delicious and homey and is one of my favorite meals to this day!
Anyone who was friends with me in college knows about my Pasta Carbonara. Every night after the bars closed the whole gang would stumble back to my house where I, being the enthusiastic chef and constantly hungry person that I am, would whip up some Pasta Carbonara. You probably think I’m crazy and that Pasta Carbonara is a totally bizarre-O meal to make for post-bar late-night eats, but the truth is, it’s extremely simple to make and the perfect food to satisfy your munchies. This Spring Onion Pasta Carbonara recipe calls on inspiration from my old college self and adds a touch of the more refined forager of the present to make a truly delectable meal that both the late-night-eat-everything-in-your-fridge you and the mature I-only-eat-organic you will love!
Chad is constantly asking me to make pasta. I swear the guy could live off spaghetti and Prego sauce alone. When we started dating buttered noodles were one of the only three foods he ate (along with pizza, and turkey sandwiches with no cheese or mayo – ugh!). We once got into a fight over an anniversary dinner where he ordered 3 different variations of the same boring pasta dish. If he wanted this relationship to work, he was going to have to expand his culinary horizons. Since then, he has expanded his palate immensely! Regardless of all his progress he still begs me to make pasta. And for the record, I LOVE pasta – the difference now is that I can have a little fun with the kinds of pasta I cook. So, no more buttered noodles – now we’re enjoying delicious dishes like Winter Vegetable Pipe Rigate!