Thursday, July 18, 2013

Chilled Summer Squash Soup

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was out of town and unable to pick up her Farm Share/CSA for the week - so she gifted it to me! I received a ton of beautiful, leafy greens (seriously, I came home with like 8 different bunches), a handful of garlic scapes, and four mid-sized summer squash. The greens went right into a huge 4th of July salad, and a few days later I turned the squash into a yummy chilled soup. Stay cool!

Chilled Summer Squash Soup
4 summer squash, peeled and sliced
1 garlic scape, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
14 oz vegetable broth
8 oz sweet corn, drained
Spices to taste - thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper

How to
Lay the squash slices on a cookie sheet and coat with olive oil and salt. Roast at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime and in a large pot, saute the onions, celery and garlic scapes in the remaining olive oil until brown and tender. Add the roasted squash, vegetable broth and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer the vegetables for 20-25 minutes, or until ingredients are tender. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Add the corn, let simmer for another 5-10 minutes, then remove from heat and transfer into smaller bowls that can be refrigerated. Chill for 3-4 hours, serve cold.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Finding play

All too often we get wrapped up in work. Making money, making a schedule, making that transfer to an uptown express. And while I'll be the first person to stress the importance of staying vigilantly late at work to finish that one last task or rereading the email for the 10th time before you hit "reply all," I'll also be the first person to tell you just how necessary it is for us as an exhausted, overworked society to make the time for some serious play.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that "it is a happy talent to know how to play," and Gretchen Rubin dedicated an entire chapter to the business of play in the recap of her year-long project dedicated to finding happiness (check out The Happiness Project, a thought-provoking, if maybe slightly implausible, way of life). We spend our entire childhood being told to "go play outside," but why do these instructions stop once we hit a certain age and obtain a "real" job? Many people like to brag that they work hard and play hard, but if you were to actually tally up the amount of time you spend working versus your moments of real play, how balanced would that scale actually be?

The other day, my friend and I dedicated the better part of an entire day to experiencing about 15 minutes of true play. The goal was simple - gain entrance into the Rain Room, a large-scale art installation at the MoMA in which digital sensors cause rain to fall from the ceiling except where you're walking or standing at that moment. This allows you to walk through the rain without getting wet. Which. Is. Awesome.

We arrived at the museum around 10:30am. We were directed to the end of the line, located on an unglamorous section of 53rd Street. We were told that the at this point, the wait to get in would be about 4 - 5 hours.


Only 10 people are allowed into the Rain Room at once, and there is no limit to how much time you can spend once inside. It's suggested that you cap off at 15-20 minutes, but one MoMA intern told us that just the other week someone led an entire 35-minute yoga class in in the room. Apparently wait times have reached 8+ hours on previous days in New York; patrons logged almost 12 hours of waiting when the exhibit was in London last year. So clearly, we were doing well with a projected time of only 5 hours.

I won't bore you with the details of what amounted to a full five and a half hour wait on a New York sidewalk on a hot, sticky New York summer day. We checked our email, ate a wrap, dedicated a solid two hours to deconstructing our current relationship statuses (stati?), and I passed Level 23 on Candy Crush Saga (why why why did I ever start playing that?!?!).

And then we finally made it into the hallowed halls of the Rain Room.

And we played. Simply, purely, innocently.

I twirled. She sun-saluted. We threw our heads back and laughed. We allowed ourselves to be children, playing in the rain.

And it was delightful.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

365/photo-a-day - June wrap up

summerofyes - toasting my union - jersey shore
astoria sunset - 92 and sunny - central park - met rooftop 
end of an era - looking down - somewhere on lex - fancy shmancy!
sunset love - art in queens - boardwalk sunset

Gosh I love the summer. The days are longer, the air is stickier, the drinks taste better, and even the vacations wear sunglasses. And I embraced this month with open arms. A fancy dinner where I got to get all prettied up, two separate visits to the Met, two separate visits to the beach, a marriage equality music video (I like to think I had a little something to do with the recent news out of the supreme court!), and some serious sitting in Central Park.

The thing that's becoming very clear to me in light of this take-a-photo-every-day-in-the-year-2013 is that it's actually really difficult to take a photo every day. I'm not using this as an excuse, but I work a lot - sometimes six days a week for hours (and hours) a day - and it becomes impossible, not to mention irresponsible, to devote considerable time every day to taking a photograph that I am proud to post and call my own. Maybe it would be different if I didn't have such a crazy schedule. Well, actually, it would be different if I didn't lead this schedule - if I was a full-time blogger, then of course I'd be taking more pictures and posting every day and baking so much more than I already do. But I'm not a full-time blogger, this is just my hobby that arose out of a need for a creative outlet outside of my daily occupation.

It sounds like I'm complaining, or rationalizing. I'm really not. I love my job and it's insane schedule, I love my friends and the huge amount of time and attention they require, and I love the challenge of finding the much-needed "me time" that I require to accomplish my hobby-related goals. And at the end of the day (or the month) if I have a collection of photographs that showcase my previous month, I can consider that a job well-completed.

I'm at the half-way mark of this project. I had assumed I'd peter out and forget all about it by mid-March, but that hasn't happened - instead I'm finding more things to photograph, finding new inspiration (and gaining more followers!) on Instagram, and loving this project more and more each new month.

June by the numbers
Pictures of the sky: 8
Pictures of my feet: 3
Pictures of my hands: 2
Pictures of people/animals: 4

365/Photo-a-day is a personal undertaking to capture one photograph per day in 2013. All photos were taken by me and processed with Instagram, Snapseed, PhotoToaster, and/or the new A Beautiful Mess. The images were compiled using Picture Collage Maker Lite. What to see my pics as they happen? Follow me - @maspad on Instagram!