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Showing posts from July, 2010

Friday Shout Out: Preservin'

Lately I'm obsessing over what to can/preserve next. I'm already thinking about Christmas gifts and I think Scott and I may do what we did last year, which was to hand make everything for friends and family. It was very rewarding, fun, saved us money, and way less stressful than hitting the mall or big box store for the one perfect thing for each person on our list.
Like a squirrel hoarding for winter, I'm saving extra jars and food containers that will hold up well for nesting gift goodies and I want to hit up Craigslist and thrift stores to find Ball and Mason jars. Much cheaper than buying new ones, and less waste too. The jars and threads can be boiled to sterilize and reuse - it's the lids that have to be new and replaced.
With tomato season about to hit its peak, what could a canner want more than to do some homemade salsa? Chutney? Gazpacho? Vegetable soup? Even Tomato Jam! Marinara? The possibilities are quite endless.
I also would like to try out something I tas…

Daydream for a Droopy Thursday

I'm not having a very satisfactory week, or month, or maybe even year, it seems.

Last night my husband and I had another "serious talk" about where we are, what we're doing, and how the whole shebang is going - this moving to Dc business, jobs, life, etc. He said something he's said time and time again - that he's feeling "like a square peg in a round hole." That he just doesn't fit here.

After sitting down at my desk today, again searching for something, anything, to do here at this cold cubicle where the A/C runs overboard and the computer monitor glow gives me headaches -- I get what he means.

Emails come in like fast breaking waves, meetings are held where the same things are repeated like a skipping record, and I got my first phone call of the month from someone actually outside of this building...here on the 29th of August.

Oh venting on the Internet. It's so cathartic.

Sooooo...all is not so well. I'm listless, feeling my mind and any …

Fresh Blend

After our sinful weekend splurge, I determined that this week I would drag out everything chillin' in our crisper drawers and work on eating as fresh and healthy as possible.

I also apparently decided to use a blender for virtually every meal, and with the aid of a new-to-me $2 cookbook I found at Diversity Thrift (fabulous gay-owned thrift store in Richmond), Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2003.

Sunday eve I made Cocoa Fudge Cookies for Scott, so he won't have to go out and buy yucky dry boxed ones. These are somehow not that bad for you, so okay, I made them for me to occasionally enjoy as well. I subbed whole wheat flour for all purpose.

Last night I made my usual Moosewood cottage cheese-blended-with-greens-and basil-and-garlic sauce on bow tie pasta, with steamed zucchini and cherry tomatoes. I chased it with a slice of seedless watermelon. Yums.

I then got to work on blending some roasted red pepper gazpacho. The linked recipe is not the exact one I used, but similar. It's…

Forgive Us Our Trespasses, and Please Pass The Butter While You're At It

Confession: Visiting Richmond, Va. this weekend, I had a couple moments where I seemed to channel my late grandmother of fabulousness, Coxey. Whenen taken aback by a sinfully wonderful dessert or food, she would exclaim (with hand to her chest as if clutching a strand of imaginary pearls) "My my, that is almost too rich to eat."

I held off from breaking out her famous little expression but if the truth be told, I would have worn myself out using it. I didn't know it before I visited, but Richmond has some pretty amazing restaurant offerings. Big ups to my friend and resident of Richmond, Victoria, for selecting unique and gobsmackingly-good places.

Let's get started with Lulu's, which started our trend of visiting comfortable, intimate cafes with lots of original, local-themed artwork this weekend. Though originally we planned on visiting the Shockoe Bottoms Tomato Festival, the 106 degree weather killed that plan, so we hit up Lulu's for some A/C and cold drin…

Friday Shout Out: Mojitos

Such was the theme of this week; two mojito-filled evenings in 48 hours. I don't even know how I managed to handle that!

Mojitos are pretty wonderful cocktail creations - light rum, simple syrup, mint leaves, lime - crush it all up, pour over ice, and just press "Play." You will be transported to a place that's airy, relaxed, and in no way 129 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here's the two I tasted this week:

First, at Banana Cafe in Capitol Hill. Great Cuban food; mojito was mixed well, minus the eight billion mint flakes I had to pick out from my teeth. I prefer the mint slightly muddled, not pulverized into herbal confetti.

Then, on to last evening's taste at Gazuza in Dupont. Fire up the hookah, eat some sushi, and sip on a mojito. Yep, it's like a United Nations of concepts up in there, but the bumpin' tunes and drinks make it entertaining. I only had a sip of my friend's drink, but it tasted kicky and fine. No mint bits to worry about.

I know many of my blog…

Cookin' The Books

Here's one for my gift list... I do have a 30th birthday coming up, you know. *wink wink, nudge, nudge*

It's not 'til September, so you have plenty of time to select the perfect little thing.

Kidding. I don't have room for squat at home. I'll take best wishes and lots of love any day.

But seriously...check out this cookbook featuring recipes from Austin City Limits performers. Willie Nelson's Mango Salsa? I could go for that.

Per Request: Boulder

Like, duh, it's a given - anywhere we go, Scott and I will seek out the food and drink opportunities to the hilt.
Our recent adventure in Colorado did not disappoint in that regard. Whether you're coming off the hiking trail and need recharging, trying to escape the magnifying-glass sharp sunshine, or ready to quench your thirst, you won't run out of options in Boulder.
What did we like best? Here's our top 5.
1) Celestial Seasonings - a different kind of brew. Yep, CO is known for its beer but as an Anglophile, Scott is a big tea drinker, and as for me, well, I like it to cool me down in the summer, to warm me up in the winter (or at my office, where the frigid A/C is always on full blast), and to calm me when my emotions need a little tea party break.
Luckily, the Celestial Seasonings factory in Boulder beckoned and we didn't resist its charms in the slightest. With three family members, we signed up for the tour - receiving packets of Sleepytime blend as our "…

Never Have I Ever...

Reading Julia Child's book on kitchen wisdom last night, I realized there's many a food I have zero experience with.

Here's a list of items - ingredients, products, dishes, etc - I have never worked with, in no particular order:

Creme fraiche
Fennel
Watercress
English Peas (no foolin')
Star Anise
Turnips/parsnips/rutabaga (those root vegetables)
Quince
Figs
Kim-chee
Tempeh
Veal
Herbesde Provence
A whole Chicken
Ribs
Lobster
Beets
Homemade Mayo
Capers
Poached eggs
Sushi
Lychee
Fingerling potatoes
Cocktail bitters
Baked beans


And related to this, I don't own or have never used:

A cast iron skillet (on my "To Obtain" list)
An ice cream machine, crank or electric (I don't own one, but I did crank ice cream once)
A food processor (I have a chef's knife, a blender, and a Pampered Chef food chopper)
A flour sieve
A pastry/piping bag
Cheesecloth
Pasta machine
Mandolin
Mortar and Pestle
Kitchen scale


I think I have some work to do!

Big On The Pig

Let's just all acknowledge this for a second: barbecue is an art form. It takes time, effort, patience, and a lot of smoke, heat, and know-how to create the final masterpiece. Luckily, Scott and I were invited by a new friend to a 21-year gathering centered around the glory of pork in Cheverly, Md. last eve.

I figured it would be a casual deal so I made some blue cheese potato salad and prepared to eat some grilled meat. I had no idea that I was about to take part in quite the ceremonial affair.

Our hosts' home was decked out in pig paraphernalia - pig string lights, tin signs, porcelain figures, photos, framed note cards, and even a pig in a tree.


After the hosts and I chatted and they learned I was from North Carolina, instantly I had to ante up and confess my favorite regional style of 'cue in the Good Ol' North State. As I pledge allegiance to the Lexington style of pulled pork with a red ketchup and vinegar-based sauce, I was told that I should have been there last y…

Friday Shout Out: The Teaches Of Peaches

We're now in the throes of summer and one glorious aspect of this sultry season is to literally enjoy the fruits of its labor.

Melon, as I mentioned last week. Blueberries, God bless those little orbs of tasty goodness. And the crown jewel of the hot months, that fleshy, juicy and amazing round ball of lusciousness - the peach.
Being married to a Georgia boy who knows his peaches (not a euphemism, I swear), I learned that South Carolina is actually the top producer of the fuzzy fruit. Ever whizzed past Gaffney, SC on I-85? You will see their water tower that looks rather butt-shaped, but it's a peach. This week an interesting discussion took place at the MARC train platform with my fellow commuters - the best way to eat a peach. One group just goes for the fruit, fuzzy skin and all. I'm on the other team - the peel and cut crowd.

It would never occur to me to eat the skin but hey, I've always been intrigued by passages in books where a character picks something off a tree…

Egg-cellent?

Pardon the pause on posts here - Scott and I visited Colorado for a little spell this past weekend and we have a wealth of photos and good food/brews to blog about -- coming soon.

After a trip, it's always interesting to come home to find there's not much in the fridge or pantry to eat. I executed a small grocery run and well, I didn't purchase much for lunch. Somehow I got the idea to boil some eggs to take along with salads for a protein kick. My eggs came out fine, but I was extremely self-conscious about the odor of said eggs.


You know the egg smell. It's...special.


Most people at my office bring or buy lunch and eat at their desks, which is something I resisted for the first couple months at work. After spending time hangin' on my own at the dining hall tables upstairs, I started feeling very "odd girl out" a la a bad movie scene set in a high school cafeteria. Like Ally Sheedy's character in Breakfast Club, only without the dandruff issues (and bet…

Aguamelon

How scary is this? I hacked into a big watermelon we bought last week and cut out the flesh and scooped it in a big bowl - and now it is almost all gone! I have cannibalized that watermelon!

There's just something divine about the cold ruby-colored fruit in the summer. Scott and I relished some last night as dessert and then later we discussed how Scott's dad asked if we enjoyed it with salt. I know it's a common practice to do so, but I like mine just simply sweet, unadorned.

Here is a discussion of how folks treat their watermelon.

Have y'all had yours yet?

Food on the Fourth

HTT had quite the holiday weekend, food-wise, and info is coming soon on that, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, give it up for this man at Moishes Kosher Bakery, serving up some ridiculously tasty rugalah.

Photo courtesy of Amy Blaszyk

My friend and co-worker Amy did a whirlwind trip to NYC over the weekend and brought back some goodies to share. They were like buttah! (Amy recently did a story for WAMU on the Twitter/food truck phenomenon around DC - check it out!)

MazelTov, y'all.

Food-Related Shame

Just because I want to know this has happened to someone else before...

Ever made a disastrous food run?

Around 1pm today, I started craving something sweet and icy. Frozen yogurt came to mind, but there's not a place nearby. Ice cream? Too heavy. The Safeway store up the street seemed to be safe bet to find something in their freezer section, so I headed out, making a stop at the restroom beforehand.

I exited my office building, hanging a left out of the door, when I felt...a soft breeze. Puzzled, I looked down to see my dress hiked up on the left side and TUCKED in my underwear. Cursing, I quickly whipped the offending dress back into its proper place and, head cast down, moseyed on to my destination.

I'm pretty confident both people manning the front counter at work saw my backside sans coverage, as did some smokers who hang out near the front doors. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

What did I buy once I commenced the Walk of Shame? A $2.50 carton of Safeway brand fat free Lemon Sorbet, when …