Monday, June 16, 2008

Blazing heat and aching feet.

I've got a confession to make - I don't do well in the heat. My gray matter melts and I become a major space cadet. Come summer, I'm prone to bad food wear decisions and bouts of some serious forgetfulness. Such was the case last Tuesday.

I thought I was going to a soft-ware conference in mid-town, on the far East side. First Avenue in the 50's to be exact. This is nowhere near my home. In fact, it would probably be quicker for me to drive to Connecticut than to get to this conference, much less by 9 a.m. during the height of rush-hour.

But go, I did. Woke early, threw on a sun dress and some pretty ballet flats and off I went. Three jam-packed subway trains and 400 staircases later, and I emerge on 5th Avenue and 53rd Street - a half-mile from where I need to be. (I know, I screwed up!) I hoof it. Ordinarily this would be no problem, I'm used to walking and generally enjoy it. Have I mentioned that its 102 degrees here? The sun is blazing, the side walks are molten and I'm beginning to turn bitter.

Twenty minutes later I arrive at my destination. I feel like a wet mop and no doubt look worse. I head towards the compulsory security desk to sign-in. The guards are looking at me funny. Uh oh, how big is my hair? They stop to question me ... damn, I should have worn a hat. They want to know where I'm going and who I'm seeing? I pull out the conference invitation, pass it over, and the guards start to laugh. Is there some kind of joke? Am I the but of it? Why, yes. Yes I am. The conference is scheduled for next Tuesday - the 17th. Oh my God!

I smile politely as I rip the invite out of their hands and wish them well. Back out in to the sun and another 1/2 mile back to the trains. Low and behold as I approach Lexington Avenue, I spy a previously unknown, to me, subway entrance. Beauty! I'm rapidly regretting my choice of shoe and this will save me a few precious blocks. Down I go. Down more stairs than I ever imagined possible. Is this train in hell? My thighs are sweating, my hair is expanding and my knees are exploding. I think I feel dizzy and I know I'm a bit confused.

At long last the platform is in sight and a train's pulling in. Its blissfully cool and magically empty. Seats abound! I take one and offer a small prayer of thanks. Out of the station we go. I'll reverse my route and be home in no time. Right? Wrong. It dawns on me that this train is taking way too long between stops. I know its not this far from Lexington to 5th, and yet the train rattles on. We're picking up speed ... shouldn't we be slowing down?

Miles later we pull into a station ... "23rd Street and Ely Avenue" ... what the ... ?!? I get off. Where the hell am I? I've never heard of such a place. Mysteriously, a "V" train courses through the station. Have I entered an alternate universe? Since when are there "V" trains?! I glance around and take note of the crowd: they're young, pierced, and multiply tattooed. Oh my God, I think I'm in a borough. I think I'm in Queens - land of under-funded twenty-somethings who have yet to upgrade to Red Hook. Help me!!!

I head for the stairs, oh joy, and cross the station to what I hope is the Manhattan bound platform. Eventually I make it home. Hot, tired and laughing out loud at myself. I've lived here for 23 years - long enough to know my way around. I should and do know better. Oh well, I'm blaming the heat and the ballet flats. There'll be no cooking for me this day. Its looking a lot like a big salad, topped with rotisserie chicken and some Green Goddess dressing. Perfect choice for the wicked weather. The recipe is courtesy of "The South Beach Diet - Supercharged" - though I've changed it a bit and improved it - and the chicken courtesy of the supermarket.

Hopefully you'll skip the subway-surfing Odyssey, but do try the salad with this dressing. Its outstanding.

Green Goddess Dressing

  • 1/2 medium avocado, peeled
  • 3 tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp. nonfat, plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Add to the blender:
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Blend until well combined. Add in some additional water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dressing reaches your desired consistency. Serve and enjoy!

Promptly refrigerate any unused portion of the dressing. It will keep, in a sealed container, for up to a week. Its also delicious as a dip for chips and veggies - similar to guacamole. I like to add a dash or two of hot sauce, so feel free to do the same. This dressing is insanely good, I highly recommend it!

P.S. - Feel free to mock , but don't write me to whine about my harshing on Queens or the boroughs. I kid! I kid!

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