Sunday, May 22, 2011
lovely day for an apocalypse
Soooooo....about that apocalypse thing... I took the above picture on my way back to the train station after teaching yesterday, approximately 2 hours before all the good little kitties were scooped up by an invisible hand and delivered to heaven and the rest of us experienced a catastrophic earthquake unlike any seen/felt before, leaving us to survive continuing chaos and degradation until the world is mercifully destroyed on October 21st.
As you can see, I was not one of the chosen. According to a comment on my last post, neither is one of my readers. Unfortunately, neither was Angst. He was very disappointed.
On the brighter side of things, yesterday was a gorgeous day - not bad for your last day of "normal" life, huh? In a way, it kind of felt like one of those movies they put out a few years ago where everyone is going about their business like everything is normal, completely ignorant of the danger and destruction that awaits them in just a few short hours.
Or not. "Rapture Fail," to quote so many others. As much as I would like to live in the Time of Tribulation (not really, actually), I'm pretty happy the whole day passed with nothing more than gossip, sunshine, and a movie I liked far more than I thought I would.
I started the day with a smoothie date! Kelly from Living On The Vedge met me at Pure Fare in Rittenhouse Square and helped introduce me to the wonderful world of smoothies. While I still can't see them becoming a regular part of my breakfast rotation, I think they have a place once in a while, kind of like a special treat. I plan to actually devote a post to my smoothie experience, so I'll move along in the day for now. After we finished our smoothies and nice conversation, she headed to the Rittenhouse Row Festival and I headed to the train station for a relatively short day of teaching.
As I approached Suburban Station, I was caught off guard by this astonishing image. First of all, the Comcast building is the tallest building in the Philadelphia skyline and is an imposing building to stand beneath. It looks like it reaches straight up to heaven (maybe Angst should have taken the elevator instead of waiting) and, being clothed in reflective glass, it actually blends in with the sky until you notice that the sky looks a little pixelated and weird. Then you have this moment where your brain yells, "Holy crap, that's a building!"
The other incredible thing that caught my eye was the eerily perfect reflection of the building I was standing next to. After I stood there gawking long enough to make a few tourists stare at me, I decided to pull out my camera and capture this amazing view before heading underground and out of my beloved city. It is definitely things like this that cause me to pause and truly love my city.
After teaching, I returned to my fair city and found not a single stone overturned, so it looked like we were still safe from the zombie invasion for which the CDC was preparing America. I was relieved to see the beautiful and historic synagogue on Lombard St was still in one piece, with the 10 Commandments standing proud and strong at the top.
Another welcome site was the steeple of St. Peter's Church on Pine St, the gold cross gleaming in late afternoon sunlight. It came into view as I crossed 4th St and I was struck by the way it stood out against the magnificent white clouds, as if to say, "we're still here!"
So, the threat of apocalypse past, Mister and I thought we would enjoy the beautiful weather with a trip to Horizons, intending to drink in the temperate air and remarkable sky along with a tasty dinner and undoubtedly decadent dessert, possibly a cocktail or two. A lot of other people had the same idea, so given the choice between dining inside and at the bar or eating elsewhere, we headed back toward home. Mister tried to find another fun place to eat, but I really had my heart set on Horizons, so we just went home, where I prepared the last dinner from our menu, Fusilli with Lentil Sauce from Vegan Italiano.
I have seen recipes for lentil sauces before and aside from the way red lentils break down and thicken a sauce, I just couldn't imagine how it would work. In fact, my original intention for this sauce was to use red lentils, until last night, when I pulled out my jar and found it to be lacking at least half the quantity I needed to make the sauce, so I hesitantly used regular ol' Goya brown lentils instead.
Mister and I were both completely surprised by how incredibly tasty the sauce was and how well all of the parts worked together. Mister plowed through three big bowls and I chomped delicately through 1.5 (keeping his food math intact). I am so sorry I didn't make this sooner. I don't anticipate lentil sauces being my new passion, but I will definitely make this one again, and probably in the not-too-distant future.
After dinner, we watched Avatar and it was really a remarkable movie. We both went into it with a trepidation we reserve for big budget blockbusters with CG main characters. Our bro-in-law in California does this for a living, so we know CG has improved significantly in the last ten years, but Jar-Jar Binks really ruined everything. We were both completely impressed with the movie in all aspects - CG, storyline, acting, even psychology (awesome inner battle with Jake Sully). After the movie, we still had to wait for some of the drunks to stop screaming in the streets, so I put together this week's menu. Having gotten through our Italian Week, I felt the need was quenched and we could move on to a completely ethnically diverse menu:
1. Italian-Style Rice Casserole from Vegan Italiano. Okay, so I didn't make this last week due to a dearth of peas at Whole Foods, but I have the peas now, so we'll have it soon. Besides, I can't go from all Italian to no Italian without doing irreparable damage to Mister's psyche.
2. Naked Burritos - I've seen one too many Qdoba billboards (I pass one every day on my way to work) and the craving for Mexican, more precisely burritos, set in.
3. Pasta Con Broccoli from Appetite for Reduction. Old habits die hard...maybe I'm not completely over my Italian cravings.
4. Seitan Gyros from The Accidental Vegan, at Mister's request! I almost always ask Mister if he has any requests when I start my menu planning. 98% of the time, he does not. Last night, I asked again, and by habit, he said "no." Less than 30 seconds later, he stepped back into the kitchen and said, "Yes. Can you make me gyros with that seitan, since it tastes so much like lamb?" How could I refuse my poor vegetarian Greek? He hasn't had a gyro in nine and a half years.
5. Salsa Rice and Red Beans from Vegan on the Cheap.
6. Seitan Pepper Steak also from The Accidental Vegan. Since the seitan recipe makes a 2-lb loaf and I don't know how long it will keep, I figured I should have another recipe that requires seitan on the menu this week. I had some trouble choosing between this and Seitan Cacciatore, but ultimately decided that my menu, though far more diverse than last week's, still required a little more variety.
So there you have it: Italian, Mexican, Greek, and Asian. Not bad! We kicked it off tonight with Mister's request, since I had to bake the seitan this afternoon and I figured it might be easiest to just slice the seitan very thinly right after it popped out of the oven (okay, I let it cool a little tiny bit). I set up a Build Your Own Gyro station on my long counter and let Mister construct his own. I figured that was also a safer way to go about the Tahini sauce because it seems like I always put too much sauce on Mister's stuff.
Shortly after I took that oddly yellow picture, I think I figured out why gyro-serving places always give it to you in a little paper cone. It's hard to keep those suckers wrapped in a cone shape without crushing the pita and/or getting tahini sauce all over your hands.
I did both. SO, I decided I was not as good at gyro-eating as my Greek husband (unlike him, I think I only had one or two gyros before going vegetarian) and decided to turn my dinner into Gyro Salad (kind of like a Greek version of Taco Salad).
Second time around, I just skipped the pita altogether. It was so good - the savory seitan really did mimic my memories of lamb and Mister was thrilled - it was exactly what he wanted it to be. He so rarely requests anything other than "Whatever makes you happy, baby," that if he does want something specific, I fall over myself to make it for him. The crunch of the chopped romaine was the perfect complement to the chewy seitan and the umami of the seitan foiled the semi-sweetness of the tomatoes as the smokiness of the tahini sauce coated everything with a layer of "something special."