It’s Friday night, and I’m out for a walk because I have nothing better to do.
I see all of the couples and groups of friends headed out for happy-hour drinks; I’ve also passed by several bar windows where a solitary person drinks alone at the bar.
I am craving a celebratory, end-of-the-workweek drink, or five. The “five” part is why I’m on a break.
How is it that some hours pass by so slowly, but some weeks, months or even years fly by in a blink? I was out for a walk earlier this afternoon, and it seems like a lifetime ago. This afternoon I spent sedentary, working at my laptop while the sun went down in a spectacular fashion that I nearly missed. I ran up to the roof when I saw a red glow in the windows of the high-rises across the street and knew the sunset must be amazing. It seems like the hours in between my two walks were an entire week’s worth of time.
I gave a homeless man $10 tonight, but only because he had a dog sitting on his lap.
I’m entertaining thoughts of xxxxxxx and Xxxx but instead I corral my train of thought to the units of Botox I’ll be injecting into my forehad on Monday morning, and exactly how much that’s going to cost me. When did I become this person? When did I get this old?
I decided not to cross under the BQE and walk through Greenpoint tonight, as has been my go-to walking route for the last couple of months. I walked earlier today, and I don’t need to go that far. But then again, how am I going to pass the time once I’m back home?!
I would love to cook something extravagant, but my fiance won’t eat it all, and I am also on a diet: trying to lose the same 10 lbs I’ve lost and gained, and lost and gained, over and over again for the last eleven years of my life. The same ten pounds that determine whether I look skeletal or curvy, at my height.
My fiance keeps asking me what I want for my birthday next month: I want snow, and I want the thigh-gap that I had in Fall of 2018. Simple things, really – but two things he cannot possibly wrap up and hand to me come February 18th.
The warm weather fucks with my head much like the malfunctioning bathroom scale does. As a person who spends a lot of time living in my own head and imagination, it is hard to conjure up pleasant winter memories of the past or even future winter scenarios when it is a balmy Spring day in January. Global warming will destroy us all, and we deserve it. Humanity has been a scourge on this earth for the last couple of hundred years.
What am I going to do when I get home?! I have the energy to walk another 8 miles, but I’ve walked these same streets on a loop for the past 11 years, and I’m bored by the same sights and smells.
I’m bored with life sometimes. That is my problem. I honestly think this is why people have kids – boredom. I would be lying if I said I haven’t considered what life would be like with a child in my advanced age – having a kid. But there is no way in hell I am ever going to survive being pregnant for almost 10 months. I also don’t want my future child dying in a water war or nuclear holocaust or wide-spread famine. I also do all of the household work and emotional labor now, and can’t imagine having a kid on top of all of this work I already do. I’d be doing all of the child-rearing.
If I had one super power, it would be to eat whatever I want and never gain weight. Right now, I’d eat an entire, large Margarita pizza from Rome to Brooklyn. Those of you who doubt I could do so, clearly don’t know me. This is why I don’t have a thigh-gap right now.
I really, really want a cocktail. A cosmo would hit the spot, or that purple gin drink that they do at Citroen in Greenpoint. I’m jonesing…
At least I’m not tweaking.
I am really considering going to the liquor store. One drink. One, celebratory, end-of-the-workweek cocktail. Drugs have no calories though…
My mind is not normal.
These are the thoughts I entertain daily. How many calories are in a cosmo? Too many. Maybe a vodka seltzer would be a better option.
I am home now, listening to the Dandy Warhols and reliving ages 21-22. Funny how music brings you right back to where you were and who you were with when you heard it. What you were feeling… I love music. It is one thing I have always been and always will be passionate about.
Depeche Mode concert is in t-minus 4 months as of tomorrow. Must get skeletal.
I have a new record player and five new records. Maybe I can take up record shopping in used record stores as a hobby. I need a hobby that is healthy and not expensive though. All of my hobbies are expensive and/or not healthy; or they straight up bore me. Maybe I’m boring…
Isn’t that what they say? “If you’re bored it’s because you are boring”?
Apparently I can’t add captions to photos anymore… either that or the ChromeBook from 2015 that I use to write these posts hasn’t allowed for whatever updates I need to write captions, due to a software upgrade. Just another aspect of my existence that’s fallen behind the times and cannot be updated due to lack of funds. It’s whatever… I’ll spend the rest of my life using my discretionary income to buy birthday presents, help street cats, and buy wedding shower gifts for people while I remain struggling and wearing clothes from Poshmark and Forever21 (remember when I vowed to stop buying fast fashion? Yeah… If I made more money, maybe I could have kept that vow). It’s a fate I’ve come to accept. This is my purpose on life… to stay poor and serve others.
I’ll never own a house, I’ll never have kids (largely because I don’t want kids, but I also can’t afford them), and probably never get married at this rate. If I do get married, I’ll be so old that I won’t even be able to wear the sexy wedding dress I always imagined myself wearing – I’ll also need a “The Swan” level makeover prior to my wedding, because in addition to already needing botox and fillers (but not being able to afford them), I’ll also most likely require a breast lift and lipo by that point in my life. I’m fucked. Fucked financially, fucked in the head… you name it.
The only things I’m currently looking forward to are a Korn concert in August, and a trip to Italy and France that we are planning for September. I will finally see my boyfriend’s parents and his friends for the first time since 2018, and I will finally see the South of France, which I’ve wanted to visit for basically forever. I’m enjoying planning this vacation… however, it means I have to be even more careful with my already-limited discretionary income. I mean I don’t go out much, but when I do it somehow ends up being a $100-$200 evening… EVERY TIME. This is probably why I now only go out once a month…. Fucking Uber prices are out of control these days. I should honestly just delete the app and take my chances being assaulted as a drunk woman on the subway next time I’m out. I spent fucking $57 on an Uber from midtown Manhattan back to Williamsburg last Saturday. I could buy a week’s groceries with that.
Can you tell I’m in a great mood today? 😀
The other thing which has become the bane of my fucking existential existence, is that I am still helping the stray cats that I already busted my ass to raise money for and help off the streets. There is literally only so much I can do as one person, without extra cash to spend on two extra cats. I hate promoting the GoFundMe I created… it feels like begging, and that is the last thing I ever wanted to do. I basically spent 9 months of my life starving (legit… starving) because I didn’t want to ask my parents for help when I was working as a server and not even making enough money to pay my rent (which was only $650 back then….). Like, if I’m not even OK asking for help when I need it myself, how do you expect me to keep asking for help for two cats that everyone now thinks are “all good” just because they’re off the streets and in homes? I do what I can… but what I can do never feels like enough. I really thought my part would be done after the cats were off the street, in homes, and had their initial vet visits… now I get daily texts about one peeing outside of the litter box and the other one hiding under the bed. I sometimes think I did more harm then good. I guess this is why you shouldn’t meddle in other people’s business. Maybe these cats were better off on the street, and for my own selfish reasons, I couldn’t bare to walk by and see them living like that. Maybe they were happier… I don’t know.
Seriously though… I’m only living for this Korn concert and trip to Europe right now. I don’t care about dinners out, parties, drinks with friends… I just need this trip to Europe with the boyfriend I basically see one day a week. I’m over everything. I need a legit vacation, and I need time off with my boyfriend and no one else.
I’ve given up on the goal of finding a new job before July 6th, when I have to start going back to my office in midtown 2-3 days a week, but my new goal is to have a new job lined up when I get back from my vacation in late September. I think it’s doable – I just need to find the motivation to do it. I mean, more money is my primary motivation… but it’s so hard to find time and willpower when you’re already in front of a computer for 8 hours a day for work.
Speaking of work, I had to run a collateral errand for the first time in over a year and a few months, and it was kind of nice. The client was so desperate to have someone sign pages in front of me, that they paid for a car service to pick me up in Brooklyn, drive me to two towns in Long Island, and then back to the office in Midtown. I was bitching about the absurdity of it all the night before, but it was really nice sitting in a luxury SUV for three hours, and getting paid to just ride around collecting and dropping off signature pages. I think I could do it more often….
It has been hotter than hell in NYC this past week – about 90-91 degrees every day for the last four days with 82% humidity… absolutely foul. I know people always bitch about how they can’t wait for Summer to come when we are in Winter here. I am not one of those people. Winters here are not even that brutal, but summers sure as hell are… especially in the last several years. Global warming is increasingly evident here. Since it has been so damn hot, I have been avoiding cooking anything that involves the oven or multiple sauce pans of boiling water on the range.
Before the heatwave arrived last week, I decided to take advantage of a nice 78 degree evening we had, and make gnocchi, since it involves the oven and I wanted to make one good meal before I swore off the oven for the next five days. I based the dish I made on one that a little, Italian restaurant in Alphabet City (East Village) had, once upon a time, when they were still open.
My sister was the one who introduced me to this restaurant – I remember going when I was a student at FIT, with my sister and mom and brother-in-law. I think I also went a couple of times after that. I just looked the restaurant up, and they opened in 2000! Apparently, they’re still open and they are now located in Tribeca! Who knew!
I remember they moved to Williamsburg for a brief time in 2013 after the lower East Side location closed, and I took my boyfriend to have dinner there after raving about the place for months. Sadly, when Max existed in Williamsburg, it was not as good as I’d remembered it to be. The food was mega salty and their was a lack of ambiance and coziness that the restaurant in Manhattan had had. Anyhow, they had this amazing gnocchi dish with roasted eggplant, and their marinara sauce was to die for! I feel like I ordered that dish every time I went to the lower East Side Max. And so, having picked up two nice eggplants from the deli last week, and needing a plan for them that was NOT eggplant parm (I was not about to bread and fry shit that night… that requires a very particular mood), I decided to recreate this dish!
1 large eggplant (or two smaller ones)
1 jar of quality marinara sauce (Rao’s isVictoria brand)
grated Parmigiano to top the dish, and for the gnocchi
fresh basil to garnish
FOR THE GNOCCHI:
2 large Idaho potatoes
2 cups flour ( 1.5 will go directly into the gnocchi mix and rest is for kneading and dusting the counter top, etc)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano
1 large egg (beaten)
1 tsp. salt
Set oven to 400 degrees
Wash your potatoes and pierce them with a fork in several locations around the potato, rub in oil, and set on baking tray
Wash eggplant and cut into small cubes
arrange eggplant on same tray as potatoes, coat in olive oil and sprinkle with salt
put tray of potatoes/eggplant into oven to bake: the eggplant can come out after 20 minutes, and go into a saucepan, the potatoes need to bake about 45-50 minutes (total), so they will go back into the over after you move the eggplant to the saucepan
After 20 minutes at 400 degrees, the eggplant will be transferred to a large saucepan on the stove, over low-medium heat (make sure the saucepan is coated with olive oil!)
Cook the eggplant over low heat for another 4 minutes or so, and then add in the entire jar of sauce, along with maybe 1/4 cup extra water, and continue to cook over low heat until the eggplant is very soft (it should already be fairly soft after the oven)
Once the potatoes are done baking (you should test by sticking a knife into the potato), slice the potatoes open length wise and let cool for a minute, or just until you’re able to handle them without burning your hands
once you are able to handle the hot potatoes, use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the potato into a large mixing bowl (you want to make sure you avoid getting the skin into the gnocchi mix)
Add in about 1/4 cup grated Parm, 1.5 cups flour, salt, and the beaten egg and mix away! (you can also add a couple tablespoons of olive oil, or even cold water, if needed!)
Mix all of the ingredients together to form a soft dough
add more flour if necessary (a bit at a time) – the dough should not be sticky or tacky
lightly flour the surface on which you will be rolling out the dough, flour the dough lightly and cut into four, equal sections
working with one section at a time, roll the dough into a rope that is about as thick as your thumb
Next, take a sharp knife and cute the rope into 1 inch sections that should look like little pillows
I like to lightly flour the gnocchi at this pint, before I make the fork imprints
after the gnocchi has been cut into these little pillows, you will use the tongs of a fork to gently imprint the top … this helps sauce stick on them, although this step can probably be skipped if you’re in a rush for time or just not feeling the extra effort
Set aside the finished gnocchi, onto a plate or board, where they can later easily be transferred to a pot of boiling water
complete these steps with the remaining three pieces of dough (don’t say I didn’t warn you – it literally takes FOREVER… this is definitely a dish to impress or show your love to someone)
now that your gnocchi are waiting, start a pot of heavily salted water on high heat and bring to a boil
You should also turn the oven back on, to 380 degrees (you’re going to finish the dish in the oven after all ingredients have been added)
add in the fresh gnocchi once the water is boiling – because they are fresh, they will only take a minute or two to cook
you’ll know they are done, once they float to the surface of the pot
using a slatted spoon, scoop the gnocchi from the surface up and into the saucepan with the sauce and eggplant
Once the gnocchi has been added to the sauce/eggplant, you’ll want to throw in a handful of the little mozzarella balls, transfer the saucepan (as long as it doesn’t have any plastic!) directly into the oven, and bake for about 6 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted
Serve in a bowl and top with freshly grated parm and fresh basil for garnish
There is a recipe … I promise. If you’re only here for the recipe, scroll down! If you’re here for my bullshit, welcome 🙂
Let me preface this by saying this is MY favorite risotto that I’ve ever made. I basically replaced half of the uncooked rice with corn, so it was light, delicious, and I kept going back for more. I also really love crab meat….
Life has been boring yet crazy these last few months. My boyfriend has been working like a dog, and I legit never seen him. He works 7 days a week. We usually have one or two nights a week off (Monday and/or Tuesday between 7-11pm). He’s always working…ALWAYS. We haven’t had a full day off together since February, and as a result, I’ve become more neurotic than normal. Not sure if this is a good thing, or a bad thing. I’m kind of on the fence.
I have a lot of alone time to focus on myself and reflect, which is good since I am an anti-social introvert, at the end of the day. It is also bad, since I am an anti-social introvert, who hates most people and social engagements, at the end of the day. I spend a lot of time talking to friends online, and I have one or two friends I see regularly in-person. It is what it is… I feel like being alone makes me even bitchier than I already am sometimes. But I also love being alone, because I can always be my true self… it’s a double-edged sword for sure.
Every time I go out, I spend way too much money. I don’t think I can go out and have a night under $200. Maybe this is just me? I don’t know. I drink too much, I get lazy and spend money on Ubers when I should just take a subway instead (times are dangerous, no?). This makes me not want to go out at all. I’m trying to fucking save money. I want to leave this city – I want to buy a house. I want to quit my job. However, sometimes I am forced to spend money…namely, every time I engage with another human face-to-face. A girl has to keep a few friends, or else, what does she really have at the end of the day??? It’s a tough situation… I also buy myself clothes when I’m feeling down, which is increasingly often.
I’ve been using all of this extra free time to focus on bettering myself both physically and mentally.
My goal this summer (besides traveling to Europe to see the in-laws, whom I haven’t seen since 2018, and taking an actual vacation), is to wear shorts… in public. I know this sounds stupid to most people reading this. Maybe it is stupid. The sad truth is, I hate my legs – I have hated them since puberty/age 12, when they went from being knobby-kneed chicken legs to the most curvaceous and voluptuous part of my-otherwise-thin-and-muscular body. I feel like they don’t fit the rest of my body – they’re the first place to gain weight and the last place to lose it. I swear to god – if I eat a huge meal or binge eat for a few days, my stomach is still flat and has definition, but I will be a pant-size bigger because everything accumulates on my inner thighs and on my ass. I know that this is on par with today’s standards of beauty… but I grew up in the 90’s and I’m not about that thick-slim lifestyle, alright??? It’s cool if you are, But I’m just not. We all have our personal aesthetics – some women want boob jobs and Brazilian butt lifts. I want a thigh gap and a six pack.
I’m not saying I’m not thin – I know that I am thin by normal standards. But here’s the thing – I am 5’3″ with a small build….I have small bones and I’m tiny. In pictures with a group of people, my head looks like half the size of other people’s heads. I don’t want to walk around with a Kardashian-sized ass… it doesn’t fit my body or my personality or my aesthetic. And this is why, for the first time in my life, I have been busting my ass (no pun intended) to do actual work outs.
When I was younger (i.e. up until a few years ago), I would just start skipping meals to lose weight. This time, I’m actually doing it right. I’m still eating… just a lot healthier. When I was younger and wanted to lose weight, I would just eat one meal a day and make it whatever I wanted – a burger and fries, a milkshake, a steak, 1/3 of a cake….nowadays, they call this “intermittent fasting,” and it’s what the cool kids do. It’s what the Silicon Valley boys do.
I can’t do that shit anymore. I actually get hungry before 3pm these days. So now, I’m eating salads for breakfast at like 10am, trying to refrain from drinking a bottle of wine each night, and not eating after 7pm. Which, by the way, is extremely difficult to do in NYC, because whenever you make plans or a dinner date, it’s cooler and more romantic to eat later at night. Having a social life is harder now. Every time someone makes dinner plans for 8pm, I just want to be like “BITCH… I’m not 26 anymore. I can’t drink four glasses of wine and eat a fucking pizza at 8:30pm without waking up 6 lbs. heavier.”
Anyhow, I’ve actually been making sure I get out for walks EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even when I’m tired or hungover, even when work has been hell, even when it’s cold. I make sure I get my ass out there for at least 3 miles a day. I’ve also been doing push-ups, leg lifts, wall sits, and jumping around each and every day. I’m not 26 anymore, and starving myself while still being lazy isn’t an option that works for me at this point in my life.
I will not spend another Summer ashamed to put on shorts. I will not spend another Summer wearing tight-ass, black, skinny jeans in 95 degree heat for a 5 mile walk with my friend. No… not this year. I remember I once when to Vegas with my family. I was 19 and it was the summer of 2007. I had gained maybe 15 lbs. in college that year, and even though it was 103-105 degrees every day in Vegas, I refused to wear shorts or put on a swimsuit and get in the pool. Last year, I came pretty close to feeling this way. In the beginning of lock-down, my boyfriend didn’t even want me going out for walks because he thought I’d catch COVID and die (been there, done that… I didn’t die — I didn’t even get sick (minus still having phantom smells 7 months later), but that’s another story). I basically sat at home for three months, did no exercises and binge-ate out of boredom. I gained weight, and I hated myself. I hate living in a body that I hate. It’s like being in a prison. Maybe not everyone feels this way – they shouldn’t. I honestly hope no one EVER feels this way, but I do.
After taking years of dance lessons in front of a large mirror with other girls, and knowing my body so well, how it moves, how it responds to certain exercises – I’ve realized that this body is my home. This is where my mind and my soul and my personality all have to co-exist. In order all components to live in harmony, my body needs to be in shape. In order to be mentally and emotionally healthy and happy, I need to be happy with this shell that I inhabit.
Seriously though – I never want to spend another Summer in skinny, black jeans because I’m too self-conscious to wear shorts or dresses. I’m tired of being hot, uncomfortable, and feeling ashamed of and disconnected to my body. And it’s my own damn fault, for not doing more about it. You can’t just dislike something and be unwilling to make the effort to change it – whether it’s your body, your job, etc.
Anyhow, let’s discuss this risotto!
The RECIPE – Let’s get onto this stellar recipe:
(1) 16 oz. Can of pasteurized lump crab meat
1 box (32 oz.) of seafood stock or, 3-4 cups of “Better than Bouillon – NO Chicken Base”
1.5 cups of uncooked Arborio rice
3 cups, cooked, blended sweet corn (use blender)
1 large, finely-chopped roasted red pepper, or one small can of finely-chopped, roasted red pepper
1 cup of white wine (any will do as long as it’s not too sweet – Sauvignon Blanc is ideal)
1/2 medium white or yellow onion, finely minced
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup half and half (light cream or heavy cream will also do)
4 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 bay leaf (dried or fresh)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley to garnish
Cook 3 cups of corn over high heat until done
Blend corn with 1/3 cup water in blender and set aside
In a large wok or deep saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat and add in the minced onion
Cook onion over very low heat (being careful not to burn it) for about 1-2 minutes
Add in the rice (yes – the secret to good risotto is slightly cooking the dry rice in the olive oil for a couple of minutes without liquid… I don’t know why, but it adds a depth of flavor)
Continue to stir and cook the rice over a low heat until it’s completely covered in the oil and begins to become ever-so-translucent in color
Raise the heat to medium and add in the white wine (I like to turn up the heat of the burner before adding the wine so that it makes that nice ‘SSSSSsssssss!!!’ sound when it his the hot pan)
Risotto is a dish that has to be stirred pretty much continuously – you can’t really step away from more than 30 seconds, so START STIRRING… and don’t stop!
As the liquid is absorbed by the rice, add in roughly 1 cup of seafood stock or fake chicken stock at a time, and keep gently stirring until it’s been absorbed
Alternate liquid stock with blended corn mixture
After you’ve added the first cup of stock and 1st cup of corn mixture, and once the rice is moist, add in the bay leaf and other seasonings (granulated garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper)
Keep adding cup after cup of stock or blended corn mixture, until you’ve used up the entire contents of the corn mixture, and most of the stock.. by this point, the rice should be pretty tender, but neither dry nor too saturated in liquid
Add in the half and half (or cream) and continue to stir
Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and the butter
Add in the chopped roasted peppers and stir
Add in the can of crab and gently stir
Continue cooking over low heat, sample and see if any additional seasonings are needed
Add in the butter and turn off the heat… stir until butter is melted and incorporated thoroughly
Add more salt/pepper to desired taste (if necessary)
Remove the bay leaf, and serve on a plate – garnish with fresh parsley and voila!
And now, for an update on the homeless cats a few blocks away :
Someone ripped down my sign requesting to build a shelter or provide a shelter in the community garden. That made me pretty fucking angry, as you can imagine.
I did, however, meet another person who has also been looking out for the cats, which was nice. Now, there is like a team of us making sure these two cats are fed and taking care of, and that brings me great joy.
If you came here for the recipe, scroll down…. because I’ve got a lot to say that isn’t about pasta.
I feel like it’s the Fall of 2011 again, because I am currently obsessed with looking after a couple of homeless cats in need, and the thought of saving them is currently consuming almost every waking thought. I don’t know why I get so obsessed with these things from time to time.
It’s literally like the year that Bijou, his sister, “Pot Pie,” and his mother showed up in my parent’s backyard when I was living at home after college, and my entire life’s focus and goal became saving those cats. After we were able to live-trap them and get them spayed/neutered, I built a shelter from scratch using a large, dog kennel, tarps, and my own, down coat. This shelter not-so-lovingly was soon referred to as “tent city”, and my dad, mom, and sister were all pretty appalled by the situation happening in the backyard, since my homemade shelter stuck out like a sore thumb when you looked out the living room sliding door. I must admit, it was pretty trashy looking, but it was functional and kept the cats warm and dry.
I remember coming home from work and checking on the cats to make sure they were all accounted for and using the shelter and had been fed. The only thing I would look forward to after each and every miserable shift at Hollister in Binghamton, was coming home to check on and take care of those cats. I even bought a fucking electric blanket that I made my parent’s keep plugged in on the front porch all winter long, and I turned the Adirondack chair into a secondary shelter for them – covered in blankets and sheepskins, with the electric blanket underneath.
I literally cannot stand to see or be aware of an animal in need or distress. I don’t give a fuck about most humans – judge me however you want. Unless a human is a baby or a child in a fucked up situation, they can ask for help and they have unlimited resources to get help. Animals are defenseless and at the mercy of humans who either are kind enough to help them out, or ignore them and let them suffer.
I am imploring anyone who is reading this right now, to ask around and see if anyone you know would like to take in a street cat as a pet, or knows someone who can help get them homed. I’ve reached out to several local organizations, but most of them are TNR (trap/neuter/release). They all seemed happy to hear the cats were spayed and had a regular feeder, but told me in order to have them fostered out, we will first need to know if the cats are friendly.
I met the cats’ feeder, an older lady, who “claims” that she feeds them twice daily. I have reason to believe her claim is bullshit though, since I now make the effort to walk by the parking lot where the cats live, twice-daily, to check on them. I also bring food and fresh water to feed them if I don’t see evidence that they’ve already been fed. At least I know the cats are both spayed, which she also told me, since they have the telltale clipped ears.
I left laminated notices on the the community garden next to the parking lot where the cats live, to see if the people gardening there would be ok with me placing a shelter for the cats in the garden. The garden is really shitty and adorned with crappy plastic lawn ornaments, etc., so I don’t know why they’d be opposed to me placing an nice, cottage-style cat lodge there. No one has responded to my post yet though, and I am getting more and more disturbed.
I will literally go on a fucking hunger strike if I need to, in order to get these cats the help they need. I am willing to throw down $200 of my own money to buy shelters, but I can’t just buy shelters and place them behind a gated garden without someone a) letting me into the gate, and b) ensuring they will not be thrown out.
Today, I saw the older, mangier looking cat sleeping on a discarded pillow that made its way under the front of a truck parked in the parking lot… it fucking broke my heart. I cannot let these cats go on living this way, when my own two, spoiled cats are fat, happy, warm, healthy and loved. I would take the cat in myself, but I have a one bedroom apartment and two male cats, so bringing in a third just isn’t going to work.
Anyhow, enough about the cats. I will find a way to help them, whether it’s a shelter or helping them to be vetted and fostered out.
Last Sunday, I was doing my usual walk home from Elsie Rooftop back to Brooklyn, when I was suddenly inspired to stop by Eataly and spend money I shouldn’t be spending on overpriced pasta.
The night before, I was scrolling through the ‘gram and saw an upright, tubular pasta dish that this Italian food blogger/cook I follow on Instagram had posted, and I felt the urge to make something similar. And so, in the pouring rain, I stopped by Eataly Flatiron for the key ingredients – a large, tubular pasta that could be stuffed and baked in an upright position, and a good quality ricotta. I was pleasantly surprised to find Eataly was not as busy as usual (I guess because of the rain), so I had time to meander the aisles and find the perfect ingredients without feeling stressed.
Have I ever mentioned I hating out these recipes from my head, and that’s why I don’t do it as often as I should? LOL. I know this was supposed to be food and recipe blog… I love cooking, but man do I hate taking the time to type out the recipe.
Large, tubular pasta (paccheri or cannelloni work best)
1/3 cup good quality ricotta (or smoked ricotta)
1/2 pound ground sausage (or meatless sausage)
2 cups fresh spinach or arugula
Container of Mushrooms (baby bella), coarsely chopped
1/2 medium sized white or yellow onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. butter (or butter substitute)
2 Tbs. flour
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 cups Whole milk (or milk substitute – I used oat milk)
1 tsp. granulated garlic
2 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
coarsely chopped fresh basil or parsley
If using the recommended Morning Star Sausage, cook for 1.5 minutes in microwave, then roughly chop into crumbles and set aside
Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil over low heat in a large saucepan, and add in the minced onions. Stir occasionally until translucent.
Add in the chopped mushrooms, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft (8-10 minutes).
Add in a 2 Tbs. of butter and let melt
Add in 2 Tbs. of flour, to form a roux
Gradually add in milk or milk substitute, increasing the heat to medium.
Stir continuously, and add in the grated parm and the seasonings (it should go without saying, but taste your sauce to see what it needs more of)
Once the sauce seems to be the proper consistency, stir in your sausage crumbles (or, if using real sausage, your ground meat), as well as the fresh arugula or spinach
Continue to stir over low heat until spinach/arugula is cooked and meat is cooked through (if you are using real sausage)
Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil, and once boiling, cook the pasta to the al dente specifications on the the bag or box
Once the pasta is cooked, drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside
Heat oven to 350, and butter a casserole dish or dutch oven
Using a ladle, cover the bottom of the casserole dish in a layer of sauce… this will be the glue into which you’ll be able to stand the cooked noodles upright
Arrange the pasta noodles standing up
Once the noodles are organized and covering the floor of the dish, use a pastry bag, large ziplock, or a small teaspoon to fill the noodles with the sauce mixture
Bake uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes
Plate noodles standing in upright position, and top with ricotta and fresh basil or parsley
The whole time I just spent typing up this recipe, I was thinking of those cats… I’m telling you, I won’t rest until something has been done and I know they have a home or at least a safe shelter. I can’t sleep or relax knowing they are three streets down without a soft and warm place to sleep.
In other news, I probably should stop buying things I don’t need from Poshmark. I mean I found these awesome bell bottoms, but I also bought some heart shaped sunglasses I probably don’t need and might never get a chance to wear.
Time to go cook tonight’s dinner and brainstorm ways to save those cats. I might just go hang out around the community garden tomorrow and see if I can find a person to talk to about putting a shelter there.