What's with this weather??

June 22,2009
Lindsay Hutton( )
OK, seriously Mother Nature. Enough is enough. For all you New Englanders out there, you know exactly what I am talking about. This month has brought a whole new meaning to the term "June Gloom." I'm starting to think it's going to rain for all of eternity, and that we are all going to be forced to retire our sunglasses and adorable summer outfits forever. It's depressing. And I'm not sure how much longer I can handle this! I understand New England weather has a history of being unpredictable...but that's just it. This weather has been predictable, in a horrible, dreary, non-summery way. I should have been to the beach at LEAST 3 times so far. Nope. Not once. Instead, I've been forced to try to entertain myself indoors, which has not been easy. I've plowed through about 3 or 4 books. (I'm currently finishing up The Da Vinci Code. I may be a little late to the game reading it, but it really is as good as everyone has said.) I've tried new recipes to cook. I got this delicious one from a friend of mine at my gym: Tunisian Vegetable Ragout with Quinoa Traditionally a stew like this would be served over couscous, but quinoa works perfectly. 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes 1 large onion, halved and sliced 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/4 teaspoon allspice 1 cinnamon stick 1 -2 teaspoons harissa or chili sauce (to taste) 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste) 2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, canned 1/4 cup raisins 1/4 cup vegetable broth 8 cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped) 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed 2 cups vegetable broth, fatfree 1 clove garlic, minced Cover a large plate with unbleached coffee filters. Toss the eggplant in a bowl with a little salt, and arrange it on top of the filters. Microwave for about 8 minutes, while proceeding with the rest of the recipe. (Note: You can skip this step and sauté the eggplant along with the onion. Allow additional cooking time as needed to fully cook eggplant.) Sauté the onion in a large non-stick pot until it begins to brown, adding a little water if necessary to prevent sticking. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute. Add all spices, including cinnamon stick, and stir for another minute. Add the zucchini, canned tomatoes, chickpeas, raisins, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the eggplant and cherry tomatoes. Cover and cook on low while quinoa is cooking. Heat a medium-sized nonstick pot. Add the rinsed quinoa, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until the quinoa is fairly dry. Add the vegetable broth and garlic, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Cook until quinoa absorbs all of the water, about 15 minutes. (If quinoa is tender and doesn’t seem to absorb all the water, remove the cover and turn up the heat for a few minutes.) Remove cinnamon stick. Spread a bed of quinoa on each plate and top with ragout. Yummy!!! Moving on, I've also taken copious naps, watched countless movies, and gotten caught up on all the shows I've DVR'd. But, I'm beginning to run out of things to do in this weather. Any suggestions for rainy day activities to keep this bored blogger entertained?