WRITTEN ON July 13th, 2010 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Uncategorized

What is it about making new friends as adults that seems a little scary and awkward?  Is it that we’re already so set in our ways that a deviation from what’s routine and comfortable seems too much of a hassle?  Do we cling to high school and college friendships because we still think those were the greatest years of our lives and we need constant reminder of that (dear God I hope not)? Or is that that, as adults, we’re so much more painfully aware of our own flaws and idiosyncracies, and we’re afraid of making fools of ourselves in front of people who don’t already know how weird we are?

Whatever it is, it’s something I’ve had to get over as a newcomer in what is really a very small town, at it’s core.  Sure, Huntington is one of the biggest towns on Long Island, with a thriving downtown area and bustling, big hearted community. Still, it seems as though everywhere we go, my husband, himself a native, knows everyone.  While this should make things easier for me, more often it only serves to accentuate my “otherness.”

Let it be known that I’m no wall flower: quite the opposite.  I’m a last girl standing, life of the party type, often to my own detriment (I pay dearly the next day). I’ve always been somewhat of a big fish, that is, I’m very social; generally I’ve been a girl about town wherever I’ve lived.  But I’m actually a little inhibited when it comes to going that extra mile in meeting new people.  I get scared off by walking into situations alone and I’m often too intimidated to make the first move, so to speak. I can converse with a pet rock once I’m introduced, but it’s that initial step, walking in and saying, “Hi, I’m new here and golly would you take pity on me and talk to me?” that usually has me running for the hills.

This is 100% my own shortcoming.  The people of Huntington that I’ve met, re-met, or gotten to know better since we’ve moved here have been incredibly open and welcoming (we’ll leave the trashmen off that list). I’ve been touched by their invitations and efforts to include me.  It doesn’t hurt that Kevin knows so many of them from childhood (and I’ve yet to really venture outside that circle). So when, a couple weeks ago, I was re-introduced to someone I really felt I clicked with, I figured, why not.  Just go for it.  Hey, I guess it’s the new me.

Let’s just say right off the bat that Facebook is, despite it’s many annoyances, a fantastically easy way to connect with people.  I looked this girl up the day after the party and friended her (which of course brought with it the friend-ing anxiety: will she accept?  Will she make me sweat it out? Turns out she took pity on the new girl in town and accepted right away.  Phew).  After a day or so of Facebook banter, we had plans to check out what is now my favorite market in town: Plum Crazy.

It’s a place that I’d never have found, or gone into, on my own.  Besides the fact that I’d never have known it existed, I’d have been overwhelmed by the mainly Spanish labels.  So we went together, picking out tomatillos and perfectly ripe mangos.  I ended up going back yesterday, to get more tomatillos and some Oaxacan cheese for these enchiladas.

Making them last night, I thought of all that’s changed over the last several months.  And I thought how something as everyday as a coffee or shopping date with a new friend can open your eyes to things you didn’t know were there.

Plum Crazy about Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas in Salsa Verde (serves 4)
14 tomatillos, husks removed
2 handfuls cilantro, picked over for stems, roughly chopped
1/2 a white onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 serrano peppers, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 cups pulled roasted chicken (I used rotisserie, with the skins removed)
2 cups Queso Oaxaca, shredded (if you can’t find this, use regular mozzarella- not fresh)
10 corn tortillas
1/2 cup half and half at room temp
2 poblano peppers
Preheat oven to 375. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook tomatillos and garlic about 6 minutes, until they are soft.  Drain and put tomatillos and garlic into a large bowl.  Add cilantro, onion, peppers and lime juice.  Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth and not too chunky.  Set aside to cool slightly. In the meantime, grill or roast the poblano peppers, whole, until the skins are charred and blackened.  Once cool, peel skin from the peppers, remove seeds, and chop coarsely. Set peppers aside. Slowly add half and half into tomatillo sauce in a stream while blending, until well incorporated and frothy (if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can do all of this in a regular blender or food processor).  In a 9×13 glass baking dish, spray a bit of cooking spray, then spread a thin layer of the tomatillo sauce on the bottom.  Warm tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until soft and pliable.  Working quickly so the tortillas do not firm up, fill each tortilla with a bit of chicken, a large pinch of cheese, and some poblano pepper. Roll up and place, seam side down, into dish.  Continue with remaining tortillas.  Pour the rest of the tomatillo sauce over top to cover the enchiladas.  Top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake in oven for about 35 minutes until sauce is bubbly and cheese is golden brown.

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