Category Archives: Eat

Wow.

Hello, blog!

It’s been a while!

I went to Milan.

I went to Afghanistan.

(wasn’t really allowed to take any pictures…) but I stopped in Dubai! (This is the new tallest building in the world, btw.)

I wore myself out.

MY APARTMENT IS CLEAN.

I’ve been practicing doing math. I’ve been researching things that I want to do. I’ve been planning time with family, and time with friends. I’ve been taking ballet classes (more to come). I’ve been obsessively searching for accent jewelry pieces that do not make me feel generic. I’ve been adjusting to the cold weather! And generally enjoying myself.

I’ve started a new sweater. While the last one (for sister) was a lace pattern and very lovely, the lace pattern was large, the stitches were large, and the entire project was actually, if you can believe it, easier than it will be for me to complete this sweater in a very basic stockinette stitch with a raglan shape. Oy vey. I swear, it will be more difficult to finish, if only because I haven’t been giving it the time. Hopefully with some time riding in the car to family functions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, I might come close to finishing the body before New Year’s? It’s only pathetic because when Spud and Chloe did it as a knit along on their blog, it only took a couple of weeks, and that was ages ago, and I think I started around when they did! Nevermind that I had to stop and start over again.  I’ll post soon about this sweater alone and more about the knitalong — which is still available online even if those who were actually knitting along have long since finished.

Anyway, I am excited to be blogging again!

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heatwave!

It is hot.

It is intensely hot.

It has broken 100 degrees more often than not lately, and today, though the temperature will not actually rise above 95, the humidity has increased significantly. It’s wild! It’s crazy! It’s unbelievable how hot it has been! Summer is great! But holy guacamole! This is nuts!

Awesome things from summer have been cook-outs and new friends and baseball games! I finally made it to one at Nationals Stadium, but I have to admit my preference still lies with Camden Yards. Oldie but a goodie. It’s so good. But Nationals Stadium does have Bens Chili Bowl working to its advantage.

One week after my first Nats Stadium experience, I managed to see the Nats play the O’s at Camden Yards and the O’s swept the series so I think that sealed the deal. A pretty grim match-up but baseball games rule no matter what, even when it’s 100 degrees and you’re in the beating sun and literally melting into a puddle, actually no not then, but almost every other time. (We moved to much less expensive, much more in-the-shade seats within an inning and a half…) Point being: BASEBALL IS FUN!

I have this new bocce ball set that I am really excited about — I’ve been waiting and waiting for exactly the right time to break it out and break it in, but it’s been SO HOT! Impossibly hot — impossible for bocce anyway. Bodily contact with anything other than the hardwood floor has been downright uncomfortable. There’s nothing for it. Even the A/C is no match for the humidity.

Yesterday my friend visited and though I have no photographic evidence of this, I will go ahead and tell you all the things we did to cool off. We went to a museum (the National Gallery of Art), we ate spicy foods (not logical, but yes delicious), we went to the pool, and we drank iced coffee in Busboys and Poets.

The pool was awesome because we used to think that when they blew the whistles and everyone got out, that everyone had to get out. I actually asked, and it turns out it’s adult swim, which means that I don’t have to get out! That was really great.

Other things I’ve done lately to cool off in this crazy bigger-picture heatwave (many weeks this has gone on, with few interruptions of nice sub-75-degree mornings, and infrequent but sometimes-cool breezes) include the following delightful things.

PUSH-UPS!!! Childhood memories abound!

Anyway, that was awesome.

My friend who visited, upon arriving in the apartment, promptly informed me that my consumption of grapes was all wrong, and then put all my grapes in the freezer, which was also awesome.

I’ve been meaning to finish knitting my first pair of socks (I still only have one…) and a pair of mittens (I still only have 1.75…) but touching yarn is so uncomfortable that I can’t really bring myself to do it. I’ve been reading a lot, which has been nice. The long weekend was great. We watched fireworks from a friend’s rooftop and had a really awesome panoramic view of all the fireworks – legal and otherwise – all over the District and surrounding cities.

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BEST: egg

Memorial Day weekend, my sister and I had a whirlwind trip to Brooklyn. We ate perfect food at perhaps my favorite breakfast establishment (anywhere?) and I have to share it. We didn’t order anything I hadn’t had before, but that’s because I love the things we did eat so much.

Please enjoy these photos of our breakfast. YUM!

coffee and beignets

biscuits and vegetarian gravy (w/ mushrooms) and caramelized grapefruit with brown sugar and mint

eggs rothko - brioche with egg over easy under melted cheese, with candied bacon and a broiled tomato

requisite table-top portrait - sisters

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recently

"dinner" out with "ladies"

morning after - fresh fruit, coffee

flowers in my office window last week

Tulips on the Tidal Basin

sprawling to read/nap/knit on the Tidal Basin

These have replaced my single tulip in my office window. (Tulip died, I procured three african violets after receiving a tip on the care and keeping of them, and then my boss went on vacation and left her green things in my care. A risky move, for sure, but I'll do my best.

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First Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie of 2010

Apologies for being remiss in my blogging. Some technical difficulties and off-computer distractions have collaborated to keep me away from here for about a week. Anyway, I’m back. And I made a pie!! After a long winter full of disappointingly liquidy apple pies, I am pleased to present my first strawberry-rhubarb pie of the year. I am even more pleased to say that it is reportedly “just like grandma’s” — however I should note that I have still not graduated from pillsbury crust. I’m working on it, and as far as I’m concerned, I’ve got all summer to master fruit pies with homemade crust. It was still really really pretty!!

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Fun!

via Lindsey

This weekend, my friend Brooke and I organized a reunion for alumni in DC, meant to be a potluck picnic. It turned out so great, and our location was so idyllic that we were even featured in Prince of Petworth by a stranger.

It was pretty fabulous. We had approximately 1 million snacks and I didn’t ever do a headcount, but the group photo above was taken after a few people had already departed. We even had one member of the entering class of ’66 (the third class ever) and one from ’86. It is really impressive to look at the very recent graduating classes also. There is a really amazing concentration of us in the area, given the small size of our graduation classes. People are doing really great and interesting things! Among us there are law students, grad students, interns, employees of the government and private sector, commercial and non-profit, as well as doing impressive and inspiring things with their personal lives – really compelling hobbies and volunteer work.

Doug brought a grill and that was fantastic. People kept walking past and wondering aloud, either to us, or whomever they were with, if that was actually allowed in Malcom-X Park. We didn’t actually know, and at one point a park officer walked past looking menacing, and a hush fell over the crowd but he simply continued on his way and we all looked at each other gleefully and agreed that that was indeed a confirmation of just how allowed it must be. This was a tiny grill, but it was featured prominently within our little spread, and so we felt reassured by the unspoken approval of the “authorities.” Not that the approval of authorities has ever been a high priority among New College students or alumni.

Red heads - via Lindsey

via Diana

So the moral of the story is that it was really wonderful getting everyone together, and it was great to see everyone, and we should do this a lot more often! Also worth noting is that this casual concept, born of a happy hour among friends and classmates, became an event endorsed by our alumni association precisely because they hope to host an official event sponsored by the alumni association, highly publicized, in the fall of this year, so please stay tuned in to the NCAA for news or announcements about other New College Alumni events! It’s nice to remember that we like each other and want to see more of each other.

via Lindsey

via Lindsey

via Lindsey

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Friday Bind-off, wk 6

This has been a wild week!

I have been really excited about all of the buzz about my friend Justin and the album he released as part of his project called Sarasota. Joseph Gordon-Levitt found it and has been tweeting about how great it is, and it’s getting a lot of attention on his website, hitrecord.org. Amazing! I am so happy for Justin, and if you haven’t listened yet, I seriously advise you to do so!

Ok… things I liked this week?

I’ve started knitting Liesl, a cardigan pattern from Ysolda, and so I’ve got homework for the class I started on Wednesday. I’ve got two weeks to finish the yoke, so here’s hoping I get two weekends off from work, and maybe an evening or two. This weekend, we’re having a New College reunion potluck picnic (Sunday!) and I can’t wait!

Homemade cherry blossom special - modified slightly with grenadine rather than cherry liqueur

Sliced cucumbers with salt and pepper

Strawberries, blackberries, toasted baguette, OJ, and coffee, in my new mug from Barcelona!

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St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Sunday night, some really lovely friends and I had an Irish dinner to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

I made a vegetarian shepherd’s pie (using epicurious’s recipe here) and it was very well received! I ended up being really late because the grocery store was mobbed, being a Sunday afternoon, and then the process is a pretty long one, but it was well worth it. I made the stew and mashed potato top separately, and brought them to my friend’s house and baked them in a dish together when I arrived.

It was pretty thrilling to start with such a beautiful array of delicious fresh vegetables and herbs. I rarely have such a variety! I had never cooked with Seitan before, but that was the meat substitute used in the recipe. If I had it to do over again, I think I might try just throwing in even more vegetables instead, maybe brussels sprouts, which I always love, and I can’t think of many more that would fit in. I only think of brussels sprouts because cabbage suits a lot of Irish dishes, and they are just really precious tiny heads of cabbage. They’d look completely delightful in a stew so full of pearl onions. Anyway, I went light on seitan, heavy on pearl onions and parsnips, and it was really tasty. I added a lot of fresh ground pepper to the potatoes and it was so very tasty.

The rest of the dinner was so delicious. There was a sausage and stuffed cabbage rolls (both vegetarian and meaty varieties… I only had the pleasure of tasting the veggie ones). We had a few drink choices – hard cider, Guinness, Bailey’s, (Irish car bombs…) I had the cider and it was great. The whole thing was delicious, but the best was yet to come! A surprisingly decadent dessert of baked lemon custard with blueberry topping from a book of Irish dessert recipes caught us all off-guard. It was intensely good.

As for the company, I have really been sorely lacking in great lady time and this really hit the spot! More of that is definitely in order. And maybe another experiment with a recipe from that Irish dessert cookbook…

The mushrooms, leeks, and garlic all starting to cook together...

The entire shepherds pie, fully assembled and ready!!

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Pizza from Scratch

Saturday night, with no plans for dinner, SC and I decided to make a pizza. We had done it once recently, but with a pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joe’s. Without another handy, and discovering that the neighborhood Giant had none but Pillsbury in a cardboard tube (unroll onto cookie sheet… no thanks?), we used a handy dandy smartphone to confirm that even if we made dough from scratch, we could probably eat within the hour and thus began our adventure!

As it happened, that very day I had read Metrocurean’s post on pizza dough and bread-baking, which had already motivated me to break open the jar of yeast I bought a few weeks ago (probably bracing myself for some snowstorm baking that didn’t happen), so I was actually excited to try pizza dough from scratch. I thought I had some all-purpose flour, but upon arriving home, I discovered only an abundance of whole wheat, but I was not deterred!

So to get started, SC consulted How to Cook Everything (Thanks, Roommate, for making such a terrific investment!) and we followed Mark Bittman‘s instructions for making pizza dough with a wooden spoon, as opposed to a food processor. I sneakily added a full teaspoon of dried rosemary to the dry ingredients. Then I used warm water, which I don’t think he specified, but a woman who once shared a table with me at Whole Foods had offered me that unsolicited advice, and I conveniently remembered. (Warm enough to activate the yeast, but not so hot that it kills it–that’s key) The kneading took a long time, and by the end, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to work in all the flour called for in the recipe (3 cups!), but I did eventually.

So once that part was done, we let it rise for a little while, and prepared our toppings. SC browned a sausage or two and then sliced it thinly. We also used half of a large red pepper, a yellow onion, and olive oil. We didn’t let the dough rise for longer than half an hour, because the recipe in Bittman’s book said it made 1 large or 2 small crusts, and we only intended to make one pizza. So we tossed it around and then pressed it into a round cast iron pan (neither of us has a pizza stone, and between us there are two kitchens, and we were in the one without a pizza pan or a baking sheet). So we sauced it and topped it and baked it at 550 degrees for about 12 minutes.

When it came out, SC topped with some fresh basil and it was completely delicious! The crust ended up being extremely thick–more like a bread– and very hearty. The rosemary really did add so much, and altogether, it was really tasty, but I guess ultimately, that crust should have been two pies.

So in the end, it was pretty tasty! But most of all, the crust was so… big and bready, that it’s ultimately inspired me to try baking bread! The rosemary was so satisfying that I really really want to try again with the whole wheat and rosemary in a loaf, instead of under a pizza.

This is all the left over crust that just ended up being excess (but still tasty!).

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Leftovers for lunch

On Sunday, I made a chicken pot pie for dinner, and I’ve been enjoying the leftovers. SC says it was my best yet, and I think I agree. I’ve never baked my own crust for one before– and I didn’t this time either– but it turned out really well.

Pie before baking

I used this recipe, but replaced about a third of the chicken called for with 1 1/2 medium yukon potatoes. I cooked all the makings of the pie filling for longer than instructed because the potatoes took longer than the other vegetables to get soft, and the gravy stuff took longer to thicken up. I also used a lot more freshly ground pepper than the recipe calls for and it made it spicy in the best possible way.

Often when I make something like this, or a lasagna or a casserole… any kind of dish that “covers all the bases” of a balanced meal, I have a hard time coming up with accompaniments other than salad or something. It’s hard because with pasta or pie, bread makes the whole meal too bread-y. This time with the pot pie, we had asparagus. We just put it in the oven with the pie. SC didn’t know how much pepper I put in the pie, and he peppered the asparagus a lot too and drizzled with olive oil, and it ended up being delicious–on its own and with the pie.

after baking

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