first thing this morning i went to the harvard square post office to buy some new stamps from the vending machine (had a bunch of magazine subscription bills to send out). it was close to lunchtime so there was a big crowd. next i went to water the garden. notice that around noontime half my plot is covered in the mulberry tree's shadow. fortunately i sort of had an idea this might happen so i planted most of my vegetables in the one area that gets sun exposure the entire day. there might be sunnier plots, but i have the option of growing both sunny and shady plants. from there i went to market basket to get some ingredients for tonight's dinner. i helped my parents pick up some cucumbers and went to the cafe to drop them off before returning home to work for a few hours.
i have dire needs to visit a dentist. for somebody who can barely get health insurance, dental insurance is a luxury i can't afford at the moment. however, it's been 3 years since my last cleaning, and i have recurring nightmares that at this point i have a mouthful of cavities and i need to see a dentist to confirm or deny my suspicions. i called my usual dentist but to my surprise i got an answering machine saying he moved to allston. when i called the new number, the line was disconnected. did he retire? did he move? what happened to him? so now i will have no choice but to find a new dentist.
in the late afternoon i went to a community meeting at harvard law school concerning the proposed relocation of some victorian era houses that will occur at the end of june. sections of mass ave between harvard and porter square will be closed off in order to accommodate this engineering feat. unfortunately it may also be the weekend i'll be down in new york city, so i won't be able to see it when they actually move the houses. the meeting was hosted by the city of cambridge, harvard university, the engineers, and the various related municipal departments like the police and fire chiefs. since the meeting was at 5pm, most of the people who could attend were retired silver foxes. the engineer gave the heart of the presentation, which was primarily addressing the temporary traffic routes and the logistics of local travel during that weekend. there were some architects there as well, with european accents, tiny glasses, and shoulder-length hair of house designers. the houses would be raised onto platforms 5-6 feet in the air in order to clear the island in the middle of mass ave. the largest house would take up almost the entire width of the street, stand 30 feet in the air, and weigh approximately 290 tons. i'm hoping to convince my neighbors to take some photos of the spectacle while i'm gone, i'm sad i'm going to miss it!
i started cooking at 6:30pm so i wouldn't miss the start of the red sox game, with josh beckett returning to pitching duty tonight after being on the disabled list with a blistering finger. it was a recipe i found from the june issue of eating well magazine, pasta with creamy mushroom-pea sauce. late last night i was scouring cookbooks and food magazines looking for inspiration. originally i wanted to do something with cucumbers (this cool vegetable would be a great complement for a summer dinner) but all the recipes i found were for appetizers or salads. then i came across this pea recipe. i can't remember ever cooking with peas before; not that i don't like peas, but i've always found them to be a boring ingredient. the recipe called for 8oz. of rotini cooked simultaneously with the peas in a pot of boiling water. while that's going on, i made the sauce: quarter pound of prosciutto cooked with olive oil for a few minutes, then i added some chopped garlic, followed by 2 cups of crimini mushrooms, cut into quarters. i cooked the mushroom until most of the liquids have ben released, then i add a tablespoon of flour to thick the sauce. i then add half a cup of white wine and let that flavor absorb for a minute, before adding a cup of chicken broth, stirring for a few minutes. the recipe also called for some whipping cream but i skipped that step, figured the sauce was thick enough already. i then tossed everything together with the cooked pasta and peas. i added some cucumber slices as a garnish.
i was already done before julie arrived. the only thing left to do was to toss the pasta. i was actually surprised with the result, not bad for such a simple recipe. i thought maybe i could've used bacon instead of prosciutto, but bacon, besides being fatty, has a habit of getting crunchy when you cook it too long, which wasn't the case with the prosciutto. the white wine is also essential, sort of brings all the ingredients together (originally i was reluctant to buy a new bottle of wine, since i'm only going to use it for cooking and it'll go bad in the fridge when nobody drinks it). the peas however, i hardly tasted them, but they do add a nice dash of green to the pasta, and word on the street is they're healthy, so i can't complain too much.
after dinner, julie was busy surfing the web, looking up slovenia photos on flickr. although her trip is 3 months away and only for 2 weeks, she's preparing for it like she's going to move there, learning how to speak slovenian, becoming an expert on all things slovenia. all i know about slovenia is maybe there are gypsies and wolves there. later for dessert we had some ice popsicles.