I decided that I wanted to live with K. while riding home on an Amtrak train from a conference in Harrisburg, on an unseasonably warm and terrifically rainy November Saturday. I miscalculated the distance from the conference site to the train station, and had to walk three miles through our post-industrial capital city, cheered on by flocks of crows congregated on the smokestacks. I walked for hours, plodding but purposeful, thinking, thinking, thinking.
Encouraged by a weirdly red and glowy sky, I felt a budding, firey intensity building up inside me. K. and I had been together for about 6 months. It was no longer new. It was no longer easy. But it felt solid, sustainable, as if it were in no danger of wilting. Living together suddenly seemed like the only option. I sat on the idea for as long as I could, but finally caved, and asked her in December, and she was, thankfully, excited by the idea of co-habitation.
And so, the second half of our one year together has been spent planning, and dreaming, and searching. And, to be perfectly honest, worrying, negotiating, and compromising. All culminating last weekend, when we moved in and started building our home together.
I guess technically, this is not a big move. I am literally two blocks away from my old apartment: I take the same bus to work, I shop at the same grocery store, I fall asleep to the same comforting roar of traffic barreling down Walnut Street. It feels, however, earth-shatteringly different, and wholly new. K. noted last night, over our dinner of stuffed peppers and Victory beer, that this apartment is exactly how she wanted it, and a little bit better. Which is kind of how I feel about my life right now.
These peppers were sturdy and perfect for filling. I thought of this dish as a fresh, contemporary spin on koosa mashi, or Lebanese stuffed squash. The lemon, mint and olive oil dressing lent a familiar and upbeat tang, and the peas helped wake up the heavy grains. I swear I did not cook this because it matched our kitchen decor, but it did help in making our first dinner together feel really special.
green peppers stuffed with lemon- mint couscous
4 large green peppers
3 cups whole wheat couscous
1.5 cup of fresh or frozen peas
enough fresh or dry mint to make it tasty
juice and zest of one lemon
glug of olive oil
handful of parmesean cheese
Cook couscous as directed. Once cooked, stir in oil, lemon, mint, peas, salt and cheese. Cut and hollow peppers. Stuff, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Top with cheese while still warm.