“Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.”
On Friday, I braved rush hour, the summer heat, and the oven-like New York City subway stations to travel over to the East Side to volunteer for New York Cares. Sketching was a great way to distract myself from thoughts that I was about to melt, and fortunately I had plenty of interesting “specimens” on the platforms to study.
From a distance at the 96th Street station, I captured this young fellow.
Once I got over to the library where I was volunteering, I found myself with some extra time before the project started, so I plunked down at one of the kid-sized tables in the children’s wing to catch my breath and enjoy the cool quietness around me. The only other patron on that floor was a very studious, very sweet looking middle-aged gentleman who was poring over what looked like a geography book.
And because he held himself so still, he was the perfect model!
I’m flying solo this week since my husband is out of town again. Generally when he’s away, I find that my habits become rather manic. All of a sudden there are so many more hours in which to get things done…and eating and sleeping are usually the first to get shafted. But I am trying to be somewhat more mindful this time around. Case in point, yesterday, after my 4th day of eating leftover pasta for dinner, I was inspired not only to do a BIG shopping trip (we New Yorkers all have our OWN handy-dandy, folding shopping carts, thank you very much) but to cook healthily as well.
(Me, in a year or two…)
While I did plan the menus, I didn’t thoroughly read through the recipes (tsk, tsk), so at 9 p.m. I’m writing this blog post while my shrimp marinates and the cucumber salad
rests overnight rests in the refrigerator ’til the shrimp is ready. As I said, my sense of time does tend to go all wonky…
Every nice meal needs appetizers and a drink. Here’s what I enjoyed as I did the chopping prep-work for the dinner:
Mixed nuts, olives and a vodka-tonic “mock-tail” (my non-alcoholic version omits the vodka)
Although shrimp is the main feature of this meal, I needed a vegetable to accompany the shrimp. Since it’s been so hot this week, steamed veggies really didn’t appeal. I’m in love with beets, so this salad seemed perfect.
Quick ‘N” Easy Beet Salad
1 cup coarsely chopped no-salt-added canned beets
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fat-free Italian dressing
2 lettuce leaves
1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour dressing over mixture; toss gently. Cover and chill 2 hours. Serve on lettuce-lined salad plates; sprinkle with hard-cooked egg. Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1 cup beet mixture and 1/2 egg.)
And, for whatever reason I also felt like I should have a salad to go with my salad!
Marinated Cucumber Salad
2 English cucumbers, julienned
1 red bell pepper, seeded, julienned
1 yellow pepper, seeded, julienned
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cilantro chopped
In a large bowl combine cucumbers, peppers, salt and pepper. In a small bowl whisk together remaining ingredients for dressing. Pour mixture over vegetables; toss well. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 2 days.
(Shrimp recipe follows)
Grilled Shrimp with Lemon Thyme
1 Tbs. minced fresh lemon thyme or thyme
3 Tbs. fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Salt, to taste
16 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Vegetable oil for cooking
1 lemon cut into wedges
In a bowl, combine lemon thyme, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and salt. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours. Preheat a grill pan or prepare a fire in grill. Coat grill pan with vegetable oil and lay shrimp on pan. Or, skewer shrimp and place on grill. Cook 2-3 minutes. Turn shrimp and continue cooking until pink and opaque throughout. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4. (Adapted from The Golden Door Cookbook, by Michel Stroot. Broadway, 1977)
Note: I wish I could give credit for the beet and cucumber salad recipes. Alas, I clipped these recipes years ago from magazines and didn’t think to include the authors when I pasted the recipes in my recipe folder. My apologies to the chefs!
It’s been HOT in the Big Apple, which makes the idea of going out sightseeing – and anything that involves having to wait on a hot subway platform for a train – pretty unappealing. As a result, I haven’t done any real life sketches this week. But for your enjoyment, here are two pencil sketches inspired by photographs, along with the marker and ink versions.