I sit amidst the wreckage of the aftermath of an impromptu cocktail/dinner party with some of my girlfriends from college. We all lead very busy lives: one of us is in law school, another is a nurse, another is a school counselor, yet another has her MBA and teaches English with me at the university . . . the list can go on to include those who couldn’t make it tonight (the doctor, the PE teacher, the elementary school teacher, etc . . .we have an amazingly talented, successful, and beautiful group of friends). Yet, even with all of that busy-ness, we manage to find time to reconnect to each other–to be there for each other. I have learned that besides family, having great friends is the best blessing in a life.
Dinner was a haphazard affair but made infinitely precious by the company in which it was partaken. We sipped margaritas and just caught up on what everyone’s Thanksgiving week looked like.
I read a book a while ago by William Nicholson called The Society of Others. It was lent to me by a dear friend who manages to read my mind by providing me with books I will love among other things. In this book, Nicholson’s narrator reads another book (how’s that for a funhouse mirror?) that describes a phenomenon called “the great enough.” The great enough is when you are absolutely content with a moment just as it is. It is a perfect moment. This moment will last only a few seconds, but those seconds will be indelibly printed on your brain for the rest of your life. The great enough isn’t something that can be sustained. It is fleeting. But we should spend our lives striving to attain those moments because within them is the meaning of human existence. I am lucky in that I have felt this great enough many times in my life: lying on the roof of the family car, watching a meteor shower in a black NorCal sky; feeling the disorienting coldness of the Pacific as I dove over the Marianas Trench; listening to a dusk Latin mass in the Pantheon in Rome; here tonight with my girlfriends. To name a few.
So what inspired both this moment and my (slightly pretentious) explanation of it? Why the margaritas of course. The recipe is from another good friend and is as follows:
1/2 White tequila 1/4 Triple Sec 1/4 Rose’s Lime Juice
Do not substitute anything for these ingredients. If you are feeling crazy, add a lime. I took this margarita mix with me to the hospital when I gave birth (no one told me that you really only want to eat donuts after that horrible experience–which I did. A whole dozen, but don’t tell anyone).
I served to my friends a recipe of my own making. Inspired by a one-time visit to a restaurant on Park Ave called D’Mood. This restaurant is both expensive and pretentious, but two things really struck me when I was there: a) the belly dancer and b) the dish I ordered. The belly dancer was amazing. In no way a striking beauty, this woman oozed sexiness through her body control. I mean if you can control your abs like that, you can control anything. The dish was some sort of winter squash dish served over couscous. I have no idea what was in it other than squash and raisins but I have craved it since. My son helped me cook. Here is picture of his part in the cooking:
The following is what I thought the squash dish might be like (sans raisins because I hate them. I meant to include craisins, but forgot):
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 parsnips, diced
- misc. baby carrots, diced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 small pumpkin, chopped* (but I don’t really think it was a pumpkin; however, it looked like one)
- 1 mini pumpkin, chopped*
- 1 small butternut squash, chopped*
- 1 small really cool striped squash, chopped* (bought it for decoration, but it is really cool)
- 1 medium small sweet potato, chopped*
- some amount of cardamom
- some amount of curry powder
- 1 cup chicken broth
*I am assuming you are peeling all of these things before chopping
Saute onions, shallots, and garlic in a generous amount of olive oil until just soft. Add carrots, parsnips, and parsley and saute another ten minutes (if you are faster than I was, you can add the cardamom here too. It took me freaking forever to shell the pods so I didn’t get it ground until the next step). Add all of the squash, curry powder, cardamom (if you didn’t add it earlier, you slacker). Saute until just browning (not burning–an important distinction). Add the chicken broth (honestly, I used Better than Bullion (pretend I did a trademark thing here). I love this stuff). Simmer, covered, until squash, etc. is soft.
Serve on a bed of couscous. With a side salad:
- some leaves of red leaf lettuce
- some leaves of green leaf lettuce
- x amount of cucumber, tri-peeled, sliced with slices cut in half
- x amount of heirloom tomato (not CSA), sliced into wedges and wedges cut in half
- nut mix
- dressing of choice
Not quite D’Mood’s but still really good. And who can top the company?