I remember being 23 and thinking that I would never again in my life be capable of making such amazing, smart, sweet, crafty, kind-hearted friends as I had then. Fortunately, I still have those incredible friends in my life and am thankful every day for that.
But one part of that thought that I am glad seems to have faded with the wisdom of being 32, is the idea that I would never be able to make friends like that again. In hindsight, it was such a sad thought! Who was I to say there weren’t lots more amazing potential friends in the world or that I would somehow grow bitter and wretched and incapable of cultivating new relationships with humans and not just cats?
I think it was partly that I was 23, a little unsure of myself, and a little terrified of the world, although I’m sure I didn’t realize that at the moment. Another part of it was that all of my “free time” — the time I allotted for socializing — was consumed by hanging out at bars and getting real drunk and making poor choices (that were also really, really fun).
Kinda over it now. Not over drinking, and not over bars, and undoubtedly not over making poor choices, I am sure. Rather, I mean, I’m over giving ALL of my free time up to those activities. It seems like most of my friends are headed the same direction. Everyone’s got goals and careers and going back to schooling on the horizon. It’s wonderful.
But it leaves me feeling a little lacking sometimes. Lacking in goof-around, hang-out time. Lacking in yard-beers and dance-routines and karaoke parties and strange girls on the street that we name “Veronica”.
So I’ve been trying to branch out. Trying to “make new friends” by “being myself”. One thing that works remarkably well is to invite potential friends over for dinner or drinks. It’s not as hard as I expected. People are nice. People are friendly. And fortunately I’ve met a bunch of new, nice, smart, fascinating people through making this show.
I had a girl-date with one the other night. Ostensibly for an interview but she brought her dog and our dogs played in the yard and we ate picadillo tacos and talked about stuff. It was fun. It was like making a new friend. Here’s my picadillo recipe. May it get you in the door with some new friends, too.
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 small tomato, diced (about ½ cup)
- ¼ cup minced celery
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, minced
- 1 carrot, grated (about ½ a cup)
- 1 small zucchini, grated (about a cup)
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- pinch ground cinnamon (less than ⅛ teaspoon)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons raisins or currants
- 4-5 green olives, sliced
- Heat a large skillet over high heat and saute the onion for about 5 minutes until softened and slightly browned.
- Add the meat and water and break it up with a spoon until it’s in little chunks. You want the picadillo to be as crumbly as possible
- Add the tomato, celery, garlic, and chili pepper. Stir that around until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the carrot and zucchini, spices and raisins. Stir and reduce heat to low.
- Cover and simmer 20 minutes.
- Add olives and cook uncovered another 5 minutes.
- Serve in tortillas or use to stuff chile rellenos!
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