January 19th, 2007


Ziti For Brains

Yeah yeah, I know I know. I got some call-backs to make. I tend to keep my ringer off whenever we have guests over to the apartment and socializing is involved. In this case, we've had a guest since last Saturday, so my phone's been pretty quiet.

Oh and by the way ... ahem ...


Or, it was. This morning. At 5:45am. When I was running.

After the Day of A Thousand Cappuccinos, I was fully prepared to go home, snuggle up with a couple peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and call it an early evening. The night before I told certain people in my apartment that I'd be cooking again the next night. That's two in a row for me; look at Little Stevie Homemaker! I could've gotten away with not cooking by utilizing my I'm Tired defense and giving everyone the ol' puppy dog eyes, but I decided to hit up the Food Bazaar on the way home instead.

Baked Ziti - I told you I was making a meal with cheese in it and eating some! It's like lasagna only without the cottage cheese and with ziti noodles (like longer, straighter macaroni) instead of ... lasagna noodles. Oh, and I made it without the pound of hamburger for which it calls. Five or six peppers of varying colors and sizes (jalapeno, red, yellow, bell, chili), and a squash that looks like zucchini. Cut all those bad-boys up, dump them in a wok with a jar of spaghetti sauce, throw some cayenne and some black pepper and let that simmer while you boil the box of noodles (if you're using hamburger, instead of the vegetables, you brown the meat, drain, then simmer in the sauce while the noodles are boiling). Now, you're gonna need 8oz of mozzarella, cut it in half, shred both halves and stick one half of the shredded cheese in a bowl. Mix in that bowl some more pepper, some salt, and like 12oz of ricotta cheese (which, I guess is like cottage cheese, come to think of it). When the noodles are done, mix thoroughly with the sauce. Take half the noodles and lay them down in a 13" x 9" x 2" pan, spread the cheesebowl mixture over that, put on the rest of the noodles, then sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top. Don't forget the crushed red peppers if you want that extra spicy. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes on 350 degrees with a loaf of garlic bread. Take the foil off the pan for an extra five minutes while you're cutting the garlic bread, and there you have it. Really, what you're looking at here is a simpler way of making a lasagna, what with all the layering involved and everything.

Plus, if you go with vegetables around my place, you get praised like no tomorrow. Apparently, I have quite the knack with making noodle-based foodstuffs.

But, here's the real question: What the hell's with Steven A. Taylor eating two kinds of cheese in the same meal? What the hell's with him eating cheese PERIOD? Has the world gone CRAZY? Look, I'll admit, what I made last night, I could eat. I wouldn't throw it out of bed. You might even say that ... I Liked It (Hey Mikey!). But if you think this means my personal War On Cheese is over, you don't know Steven A. Taylor very well! For starters, the noodle-to-cheese ratio was something like 3:1 or 4:1, so it's not like the damn thing was swimming in it. If I were a cheese lover, instead of 8oz of mozzarella, I'd go 16oz easy - and make sure it's the good kind, made from whole milk! Secondly, this meal left plenty of Overs, and I've yet to taste the creation The Day After (and, God willing, if my roommates manage to eat it before I get home tonight, I won't have to). Third - and of utmost importance - it was hella-melty and both the cheeses are white. For some reason, I manage to stomach really melty and/or really white cheese (non bleu). And Velveeta, again, for some reason. So, we'll see. We'll see if we can't expand this thing to cheeseburgers sometime by the end of the century. Maybe even - GASP - nachos! Oh, that's just crazy talk!

After dinner - with about a half a bottle of wine in me - Emily, Donald and I set off to work on an art project. Guerilla Yograffitiing! Let me explain, this isn't my idea, I was just there to lend a hand. There's this giant wall of graffiti near our apartment building that has remained for the most part unchanged. So, Emily got this idea to trace the outline of three different yoga positions onto black construction paper with white chalk, cut the figures out, and glue them on the wall over the graffiti. Early in the morning on this Sunday so as to not be hassled by the thugs in our neighborhood. Last night, we did the outlines. I'll let you know how it goes this Sunday; I'll be out there to provide a muscular presence in case the shit hits the fan. Well, I'll provide somewhat of a flabby presence anyway.

With a week's layoff (I'm PRETTY sure it was last Friday that my achilles decided to be a bastard), I earmarked today, Friday the 19th, as the day I'd return to running. This was back on Monday when I realized it wasn't anything serious. Last night, in preparation of waking up for the first time this week at 5am, I opted to NOT accompany Jenny, Emily, and Donald to the Burlesque Show. I'll go out and stay out late if it means I turn in a poor performance on the job the following day, but I won't go out and ruin my running routine. In bed just a smidge after 10pm and that was that.

You should've seen me this morning. On my fifth lap around the park, the first flakes of winter started to fall. Ear-to-ear smiles on my face; all was put right in the world. Snow and but mild discomfort for my achilles. That mild discomfort - after completing three miles - has been upped to moderate, but I think it's just tight. I'm walking without a limp, but the usual pop to my step isn't quite there. Could just be shock/wear from the first run in a week, but I'll monitor the situation. I'm not running this weekend, so we'll see how she feels come Monday. To my chagrin, if this keeps up, I'll have to cut back to Every Other Day for a while until it toughens up. But, I'm just glad to be out there again. It's what I need.

Things were looking good by the end of the run. I had my sweatshirt and knit cap off, letting my body temperature cool down. The city looked like a snowglobe all shook up. Fantastic. It stopped snowing by the time I left for work at 7:15am, but there are some heavy storms in Upstate New York. The CNN weatherman said to watch out for a snow storm sometime towards the end of next week. Konstantin, you could be picking a bonzer time to fly out to the Big Apple.
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