Late last Friday, I got the opportunity to attend a large IT Forum in Las Vegas. The forum was held by my old employer, so it was a great opportunity to see old friends and colleagues. The event was great - interesting and providing me with a number of presentations that will help me tremendously in my current position. It was also a blast to hang out with my old buds, listening to them play music (it must be a requirement somewhere that when you put a bunch of geeks together in one place, SOMEONE has to play a mean guitar - in this case, we have several). Almost every night was a sing along. As usual, you drink a bit too much in Vegas, and it made me remember why I recently cut down on my martini intake...;-)
The thing that really sucks about Vegas (apart from the rampant consumerism, watching people that can ill afford to be there gamble away the mortgage payment and way too many folks with questionable taste), is that you've decided not to make meat or chicken a major part of your diet, there's precious little to eat out there. I had to stick to either Italian or Mexican in order to have a decent meal and I had to order fish a lot. Luckily, I stayed at the Venetian and they have a Canyon Ranch spa there and I ate breakfast and lunch there almost daily.
I also came down with either a sinus infection or something - so the spa's steam room came in verrry handy.
Back on the homefront, the tomatoes and peppers are in and doing well, the herbs are taking off and the spring flowers are just gorgeous. I have a climbing rose that I've neglected after it looked like it wasn't going to make it past the first season just take off and is full of beautiful yellow-orange blooms.
I actually missed cooking all week and got busy making a great Caribbean Stew from my new Moosewood cookbook - it's easy to make and goes great with brown rice and jerk seasoned fish or tofu (I ate it with a veggie burger and that was great, too. My camera battery is dead, but you can imagine the colors:
1 large sweet potato - peeled and cubed into medium to large chunks
2 small zucchini, sliced thick
1 large onion, diced fine
1/2 tsps of allspice and thyme
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
2 to 4 cups of shredded kale (I used collards, because it was the only fresh green I had on hand).
Saute the onion in a soup kettle on medium low for about 5 minutes or until very tender and beginning to caramelize. Add the the allspice and thyme and stir until fragrant, about a minute. Then add the sweet potato and saute for about two minutes, then add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered for about 7 or 8 minutes until just tender. Then add the zucchini and greens and put the lid back on simmering until all veggies are tender - about 15 minutes at most (keep checking). Yummy!