I tried the carb free thing once and it just made me really cranky. I exercise pretty frequently and my body needs carbs to run properly. Or so I think. I have friends that are as active as I am and they swear by going carb-free. One day without carbs leaves me craving a giant bowl of pasta. However, some carb-free meal alternatives intrigue me. Like eating spaghetti squash instead of noodles with a bolognese sauce or cauliflower puree instead of mashed potatoes. One carb-free alternative that I think I would particularly like is zucchini noodles. You feed the zucchini through a device called a Spiralizer which produces spaghetti-like zucchini noodles that can be served with any sauce you like. This sounds like something I would LOVE even though I’m already plotting a half and half zucchini and pasta mix. The challenge is, I don’t own a Spiralizer and Chad said I can’t get one (such a grump). So until I order one on amazon using the credit card I keep on the side for items Chad won’t let me buy (shoes, bags, clothes, and Spiralizers) I devised this great solution – Zucchini Lasagna!
There are a few things that make me feel like a real NYC local – like my weekly grocery shopping at the farmer’s market, taking a morning jog along the East river, the fact that the famous Joe’s Pizza is my local pizza joint, and using any NYC public space as an extension of my living room. There’s a beautiful park with a big grass lawn close to my apartment that I sometimes use for al fresco dining in the summer. My lack of personal outdoor space has been remedied many times by this park. It’s lovely to be there with my fellow New Yorkers and bask in the novelty of sitting on a blanket in the grass in Manhattan. So the other night when my friend and I decided to have dinner in the park I jumped at the chance to make us a picnic friendly dinner. I had just been to the market and it’s heirloom tomato peek season. They have gorgeous tomatoes in every shape, size, and color. This Roasted Garlic & Heirloom Tomato Focaccia is extra sweet from the juicy, ripe tomatoes and perfect to for your next meal – picnic or not!
The realization that we’re halfway through August is making me feel a little panicy. There’s just a few precious weeks of summer left and I feel like I’ve hardly touched the surface of everything I want to do. I really need to go through my closet and make sure I wear all my whites and brights before Labor Day. I need to get up early on the weekends and spend every free second I have soaking in the sun and swimming in the ocean. I haven’t even taken my yearly happy hour trip to the Frying Pan or ANY roof-top bar… like what have I been doing!? And most importantly I need to consume as many local summer vegetables as humanly possible before it’s too late. I’ve been a little manic running from tent to tent at the market buying up every delicious veg that I can get my hands on. I’m talking WAY more than any respectable couple could eat in a week. But I NEED to – when I think of the slim pickings in mid-winter it me makes throw in a few extra zucchini before I even know what hit me. If there is any local eat that I’m feeling particularly frantic about it’s CORN and TOMATOES. I realize this is my second corn and tomato recipe, but corn and tomatoes ONLY taste good fresh-picked in the summertime and I need to enjoy them while I have them! This Fresh Corn Polenta with Steak, Parmesan, Arugula & Tomato recipe is an awesome summer meal that highlights both corn and tomatoes beautifully. Topped with steak right off the grill, Parmesan and arugula, it’s so good you’ll totally understand why I’m starting to panic!
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!