Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cook This For An Instant Addiction

Except for my friend @kazoofus, of course...she should not try to cook....anything.  She knows I say this with love.

OK, here we go--it's pasta, it's vegetarian, and it's ridiculously awesome.  What I have done here, because I am a horrible person, is crafted a version of the Pasta Fresca dish that you can find at Noodles and Co.  What can I say?  I'm devoid of original thought.  Also?  I'm not a chef, so this recipe doesn't have measurements so much as it has...estimates.  Sorry.  You can wing it!  It'll be good!

One box penne pasta
One half bunch fresh spinach, coarsely chopped and washed.  Actually, you should probably wash it, THEN chop it.  Just sayin...
Two roma tomatoes (or...just whatever kind of fresh tomato you have around...not a big deal), cut to about 1/2 inch dices
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/4 to 1/2 cup of diced onion (depends on how much you like onions, my dear...)
One Tablespoon diced garlic (the amount is also negotiable, but come's garlic.  What's not to love?)
Roasted Red Bell Pepper (the jarred kind)
Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing--virtually any will do
Feta Cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Cook enough pasta so that when you eat this for the first time and notice that it's amazing, you'll have enough for you to come back for seconds.

When the pasta is nearly done, warm a few tablespoons of olive oil on low heat in a high sided frying pan for a few minutes, and add your onions.  Cook on low until the onions are fragrant, adding a bit of salt and pepper as you are cooking them.  When the onions are smelling yummy, add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally.  Now add the olives and a couple of tablespoons of chopped roasted red bell pepper, along with a couple of tablespoons of the liquid from the pepper jar.  Continue to cook on low for another minute.

When your pasta is done, drain it and hold on to it--you're not ready for it yet!!  You have some nice tasting stuff on the stove, but we're still building this dish!

Stir in a scant 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette and the tomatoes to your pan and continue to cook on low for two more minutes.  Check seasoning!  Now add the drained pasta and spinach, and stir to combine. Cook until the spinach is just wilted.

Scoop a large portion of this yummy goodness into a bowl.  Top with feta cheese (or parm, if you must) and FEAST!

There....I've done my public service for the month.  You're welcome!


Because I'm all about me, and read my own writing like it's good or something, I thought you'd enjoy this old post from 2007 
You're welcome. 
(Was that bitchy?  Meh...I guess I don't actually care if it was...)
There is a guy who lives in my town, who runs a business and is successful and appears to have a lot of friends and all, but...

Something about him is just "not right".

And I don't know exactly what I mean by "not right"--I guess I would have to say that if somebody told me something "shocking" about him,  (ie he spent all of his "alone time" looking at wildly inappropriate materials on the internet) I would not be shocked. 

There is something happening that he's not sharing.

Anyway, even though he and I don't really run in the same circles, I do manage to run into him from time to time.  He is always polite and friendly.  And he always coordinates a seat right next to mine.

A lot of women think that they are Creep Magnets...I just happen to have some doozey stories about this kind of thing, so when sharing Creeper stories with other women, I usually win, trumping with the tale of the guy who hid out in a dumpster of the restaurant across the street from my apartment so he could watch all of my comings and goings.

Perhaps all the stalkerific experiences from my past have simply made me hyper-vigilant about this sort of thing.  Maybe he's a really nice guy who is simply misunderstood.

Or, he's a total Creeper.


Lets approach from another angle--a bit of perspective...say you're out with friends, and there is a guy who has been staring at you enough for you to notice.  Do you base your Creeper Assessment on whether or not he's cute enough to make you want to stare back?  Be honest...

Anyway....the same Creepy Rich Guy, nice and all, not unbearably unattractive, but not cute enough to make me want to stare back, always manages to find me at any event we happen to be attending together.  The latest was one of those forced-march holiday things where they put you in a room with a bunch of people you can barely tolerate and a couple of people that you genuinely enjoy (Hey Kim and Marty!), so you spend the evening hanging out with the people you genuinely enjoy and make those audible pleasant sounds when the people you can barely tolerate make their "rounds" to wish everyone a Happy Holiday--really, you're just too nice to tell them that you'd really rather be at home right now, snuggling up with a warm cat and a blisteringly-cold martini.

Because Creepy Rich guy is, well, rich, and well known around town, he gets invited to these things, is non-committal about the invite ("...maybe I can make it...we'll see..."), then, when he shows up, it is almost unexpected.  He secures dinner and drinks for himself, and generally gets everything free most of the places he goes since everybody knows him, and gosh, what a surprise to see him, since it didn't sound like he was going to make it when he was invited. 

After all that, he plunks himself down in the chair next to mine and asks me if he can get me anything.  Six or seven times.

There are women, I suppose, who would find this impressive.  As you may have guessed, I'm not one of them.  "Beware of the man buying you drinks," I always say...

It is quite possible that there is some element of imagination in all Creep Magnets--that is, maybe this is all in our heads?  Maybe that guy means no harm, has no other motive than just being friendly, and he's just socially awkward?  I can accept that.  I mean, the guy doesn't hit on me or anything (in the traditional sense), he's just...there.  Creeping me out.

But when this sort of thing happens, I tend to run through the Creeper history in my brain and remember Creepy Dumpster Guy, Creepy Bus Stop Guy, Creepy Guy In The Parking Lot After Work At 2:00AM, Creepy Dude Trying To Get Me Into His Car, Prominent Creepy Guy Who Told All My Co-workers That He Was Madly In Love With Me (I never met him), Creepy But Nice Guy Who Never Took No For An Answer, Creepy Guy Who Tried To Get Himself Invited To Thanksgiving Dinner At My House, Creepy Guy From The Hotel Who Followed Me Around, Random Crazy People who always seem to find me in a crowded room when I'm trying  not to be noticed and insist that I "party" with them, along with other, less aggressive types, and I just sort of throw the Creepy Rich Guy in on the growing pile.  After doing the math, I realize that there have been a LOT of people who have wanted hang out with me who would never be admitted into the fortified inner circle.


The reality is...I'm such a weirdo.  Meaning, I actually have a Fortified Inner Circle--you can practically see the line on the ground.  I'm such a social idiot that I can't even imagine having a large group of friends--seriously, if I don't know you, the chances of me speaking to you at all are slim to none.  Mindless banter makes me twitch.  If I do happen to speak to someone who doesn't know me, I always feel like I made a complete ass of myself because they maybe just wanted to talk about the weather, and I, of course, have a STORY about the weather, which is long and may be damned funny, but, they don't have the time to hear the whole thing, so they walk away in the middle of it, leaving me smacking myself on the forehead and proclaiming myself a complete moron for trying to stuff a monologue in a hole the size of a "Yup".

Ultimately, the people who eventually become my friends have taken a fair amount of time out of their lives to dedicate to this purpose.  Believe me, I appreciate it.  They are also, like me, story-tellers.  Weird, Bizarre, or Cool things happen to them and they call me and they start off their conversations with "You would not BELIEVE what happened to me today..." and I perk right up because I love listening to stories, even more than I love telling them.

I think the difference between Creeps and Friends is the story.  Creeps don't tell a lot of stories about weird, bizarre, or cool things that have happened to them.  It makes you wonder what they are hiding (ie hours and hours of "alone time" looking at wildly inappropriate materials on the internet).  And they also hear stories differently from other people.  Usually, people just smile or laugh and move on with their day when you tell them a funny story.  Creeps hear a story and internally determine that you have now invited them over for Thanksgiving Dinner, then they get pissed when you act surprised.

Anyway...considering the fairly large number of Creeps in my life and my bizarre ability to rattle them off from memory (On Comet, On Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen!), I think that I might be, maybe, a bit of a Creep Magnet.  Just a little. 

But, like anything else, Creeps make for some (hopefully) interesting stories.  Like this one.  Which I will someday use to make an ass of myself at a party.  Where I will be seated next to someone who is, all the while, thinking:  How come I always get stuck next to the Creeps?