It happens at least twice a year. This feeling in my gut. It starts somewhere in the pit of my stomach. Or maybe on the surface of my skin, the hair on the back of my neck standing up, hills and valleys of goosebumps marking the terrain on my upper arms. The air around me starts to feel heavy, the buildings taller, their shadows cold and impenetrable. Or maybe it's the unrelenting sun, beating down without any rest or room for shade. Either way it's unbearable. My breath catches in my throat. I want to trip that lady with the enormous bag in front of me. If the F train doesn't get here exactly NOW I will throw myself onto the tracks because then maybe SOMETHING will happen. WHAT the F is that SMELL???
GET ME OUT OF THIS GD CITY!
Really, I blame you for this particularly intense bout of violent NYitis, what with that account of your time in Faeryland, away from anything resembling a train, rush hour, or hold buttons. But it's not all your fault. It's also this season. I have such a love/hate relationship to summer in New York. On the one hand, how can one not get giddy when the temperature gets up into the 70s and the sun finally appears after the brutal climb up and out through winter snowdrifts? And really, what could be better than sipping a cold cocktail on a hot roof with a view of the city skyline? On the other hand, everything smells worse, the walk from the shower to the closet to the subway platform results in its own shower of sweat, and when what I really want to be doing is picking tomatoes from my garden and grilling steak on the barbeque, all I can do is cram myself into my tiny, hot kitchen, where all my appliances have their own sheen of sticky sweat, pull some herbs from my crisper, and cringe at the idea of turning on the oven.
Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam and I have a little vegetable patch in the sun and a nice tree to sit under and maybe the sound of the ocean not far down the way....
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE this city. I'm lucky to live in this city. But you know what would make me love it more? A country house.
Until that happens, here's a meal I made in my teensy apartment kitchen that tastes like it came from a beach front condo.
Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa
1 bunch cilantro
1 red onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 white onion
mahi-mahi, cod, catfish, or tilapia
1 head cabbage
vinegar (I used a mix of cider vinegar and white vinegar)
2 cans black beans (or the dried equivalent, if you're special like that)
goya adobo (or a mix of garlic powder, onion, salt, pepper, etc)
For the salsa:
Dice the mango, red onion, half the red pepper, and half the jalapeno with seeds. Mix and season to taste with kosher salt, black pepper, and the juice of a lime (or maybe a little less, depending). Chop about 1/4 c cilantro and mix in.
For the cabbage salad:
Shred the cabbage into thin slices (for 3 people, I used about half a head). Add 1/3 c diced red onion and a bit of minced jalapeno (heat is up to you). Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Add about 1 teaspoon of sugar (more or less to your taste), a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar, plus about 1/4 c of white vinegar. Toss and let it sit for a bit before eating.
For the fish:
Marinate pretty much however you like. If its really fresh, you don't need to do much but salt and pepper. I rubbed it with some olive oil, lime juice, and leftover minced jalapeno and red onion, salt and pepper, and a little goya adobo. Cook it in a pan over medium heat, a few minutes on each side until cooked through. Flake it into pieces and squeeze with some lime. Done!
For the black beans:
Make a quick sofrito of one chopped green bell pepper, half a white chopped onion, and two chopped cloves of garlic, sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper. When the pepper is soft and the onion is translucent, add the beans with their liquid. Since I was doing a quick version, I added a packet of the Goya Sazon, but if you're not into the MSG thing, you could do a combo of cumin, salt, pepper, garlic, and whatever else you like.
Heat your corn tortillas, add the fish, then a spoonful of salsa, and a pile of crunchy cabbage. Serve with rice and beans, a slice of lime, cilantro and sliced avocado for garnish, and sour cream on the side. Drink a beer.
Someone get me outta here. Any ideas for a cheap vacation??