Monday, January 4, 2010

Am I in High School again?

Being a NYC lifer (so far at least), I am lucky to still have many great friends from elementary and high school. These old friends are like family and they pull no punches. They give me advice I never asked for, tease me like I'm 5 and broadcast embarrassing childhood stories to the world, stories I wish could die in a small middle-of-nowhere town far far away. But, because we went through such awkward and wild times together, I love them unconditionally and whenever we hang out I usually laugh so hard I go hoarse and my belly hurts. Good times guaranteed.
Since those good old days I've made lots of new wonderful friends who I have "mature" relationships with. We do big girl things, like get drinks and meet for dinner and laugh a lot, too. And every once in a while, a special lady will come along and I have to ask myself, "Am I in high school again?" (In an awesome way!) Because our conversations are so trustingly open to the point of being just crazy ridiculous and I can't stop laughing hysterically to the point of dry heaving like a silly teenager.
Meet Julie, my new great friend who I met at Polo. I actually knew Julie in a sense before she knew me. One day, while getting coffee, this wildly curly haired girl in line in front of me was on the phone ranting in a totally New York accent about some phone bill debacle. Then when she ordered her joe, she got into the story with the coffee guy, who looked scared. I was dying. It was a true Julie moment, but I didn't have the honor of knowing her just yet. A few weeks later, while shooting, in comes this stylin' young lady, with bouncy hair and a huge smile and when she opened her mouth and that Upper West Side accent rolled out, I knew it was the same funny girl on line at the coffee shop. Ever since then we have the most fun on shoots and she is an inspiring and amazingly creative interior designer and art curator to boot.
So we decided to do an outside of work girl's dinner and via my polo email calendar, Julie invited me to a "meeting" called "Jen and Jules Do It Dirty Style." How awesome. The "dirty" comes from Dirty Dancing. The dinner was to honor the late Patrick Swayze. Julie hosted in her amazing apartment in Carroll Gardens. Wine and cheese appetizers to start.
I toted everything over I would need to make a simple Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Bay Leaf topped with buttery croutons and fresh cilantro and Julie made a delicious green salad to serve with it.
We blabbed and cackled all night like hens, talking about things NOT fit for this blog and we didn't even have time to watch the movie. And the kicker, to make it even more like high school, Rocco picked me up and drove me home!
Jules, thanks for having me over. I am so happy I met you. You are a special and beautiful person. Until we meet again... (I think we have something marked off on the work calendar coming up. YES!!!)
Julie's Dirty Style Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup
1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion or shallot, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 TBSP fresh grated ginger
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 can coconut milk
1 vegetable bouillon cube with 1 C. water -or- 1 C. vegetable broth
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 TBSP honey
2 Bay Leaves
Cilantro for garnish.

Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil. Add the curry, cayenne and turmeric, grated ginger and bay leaf. Adjust spices to taste. Sautee until soft. Add the butternut squash and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and sautee for a few minutes. Add the vegetable broth to cover the squash. Bring to a boil, then simmer until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Puree in a blender or with a hand mixer. Return to pot. Add the coconut milk, honey and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, cube some crusty bread and sautee in butter until brown.

Serve soup hot, topped with buttery croutons and cilantro garnish.

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