Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Recap: 1 week ago

So here was my special dinner for my friend Nina, complete with my favorite flowers (that lasted a whole week before falling apart!)- stargazers (lilies).

We had garlic bread from a Barefoot Contessa cookbook, corn on the cob, Puy lentils, Greek salad, and beets with a garlic-walnut sauce. I was trying to satisfy any cravings for veggies she might have because her husband doesn't like them. Plus, it's all fresh and healthy! in a manner of speaking... what really topped it off was my essay at recreating a Bon Appetit, July 2009 recipe for chocolate-raspberry cream pie- very yummy! And very pink!

Recap: 2 weeks ago

A friend who lives in my building invited me over for a cook-out last minute; fortunately I had used the better portion of that Sunday stewing over recipes to be tried and compiling pantry ingredients and fresh foods about to enter that murky territory known as Past Best By... and I had put together a simple white bean salad, a potato salad with vinegar instead of mayo, and the carrot cake mix package (so cute!) that my mom had gotten me for Christmas (hey, it's just dry ingredients and powdered sugar, calm down).
No-nonsense white beans, red onions and vinaigrette a-ready:

Mix-ins for carrot cake. May I point out that this cake 'kit' still required almost an hour of carrot grating by hand? At least, it did for me this time, because I didn't think to try out the grating blade on the food processor. Next time!

The final product, on the lovely Irish-designed, Asian-assembled glass cake stand I had just purchased from Marshall's for $10! Whoop it up for a good deal- one of those simple luxuries that you know you'll enjoy every time you use it (even if it's only 4 times a year). :-) This stuff was good. It was also my first attempt at frosting. Gold star!

Jackson Jewels

Could I have forgotten to post the beauties that I visited in Jackson, MS a few weeks ago? It seems so. Oops! Here are the highlights:
The Perfect BeignetMy First Fried Green TomatoesThe lovely natives I met along the way :-)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Small skill, Big pleasure

Isn't it great when you do something exactly right? In my impatience for the real butter to melt (moved away from hydrogenized margarine products), I have been putting too much butter on toast, then either letting it melt off, swathing it back on the butter pat, or simply consuming too much butter. This morning, I waited. And it was jut the right amount. Ah, waht happens when we are relaxed and generous. (It may have helped that I just saw that no one will be in the office today except me, so I have free rein over my schedule for today- woo-hoo!) Next up today: caramelized peach tart, or peach and pecan upside-down cake, or top-crust peach and cardomom pie. One of those, or something like, will end up at Nina's potluck tonight! :-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Custom of the Country

I think it is laughingly funny, and persnickety, that the DC government decided to pave over a tiny shortcut (in terms of steps saved) where people had beat the grass into dirt by their walking. The path people have made is only about 8 feet long, and only avoids maybe 10 steps. But gosh darn it, we don't want to walk in neat, brick-lined, right angles! We will walk straight to our destinations (or as straight as possible given diagonal streets)!
But it is nice to know that the government deems it worth it to pave and reconfigure the island south of Logan Circle, thereby conforming to the custom of the country. Can anyone name the author of my title? No Googling! Did anyone else notice this?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mosquito Stigmata

No, you read that right. On my last night in Mississippi, I had my inevitable run-in with a few mosquitos, and had to resort to combat methods. I turned the fan on, pulled the covers up, and woke several times restlessly in order to patrol the air... Somehow though, I did get bitten. The first one, the one that woke me up in the first place, was on my right inner forearm. I woke up the next morning to discover that there were a few more, notably one on my left inner forearm, and one right near my solar plexus. This led me to believe I was possibly experiencing some cruel mosquito joke about being Catholic. Oh, mosquitoes... blast!
On another note, I put together what one could call a "balanced meal" last night. Not from the nutrients or food groups that I mixed, but in the sources and effort level of each contribution. I had fresh bacon sage ravioli from the farmer's market last week, toasted pine nuts from TJ's, and a spoonful of my own radish leaf pesto, which when blended with the savoriness of the bacon (looking more like pulled pork to me) in the ravioli tasted milder than when last tried. Yum!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lovely observation

One of summer's pleasures in DC is seeing the fireflies- I LOVE them! I was dancing my way home (not trying too hard to be inconspicuous) from the gym, and had to sit down in the park outside M. Vernon Square to be entranced by them. Nature sure is awesome sometimes.
(the word "sometimes" is merited: mosquitoes, cockroaches, beetles that eat my mom's roses...)