Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fingerling Potato Dish


Last night we tried out a new recipe - a fingerling potato dish. It's very simple: Slice fingerlings, cook in boiling water, drain, sprinkle potatoes with rice vinegar, add artichoke hearts, ham, capers, and toss in a mayo-mustard-dill dressing. I can't decide whether or not I like this dish!!! SP really enjoyed it. I liked the dill taste - dill is one of my favorite flavors. I think maybe the potatoes should have been cooked a bit longer to make them softer - I prefer mushy potatoes. I would eat it again, but not often.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

CSA Week #3


Last night was week #3 of CSA goodies. This week: apples, green garlic, spearmint, baby lettuce, salad greens, green onions, fingerling potatoes, eggs, and a bar of homemade castile soap. I'm looking forward to adding some fresh spearmint to iced tea. And to trying a new fingerling potato recipe tonight.

Frittata


One of our favorite 'quickie dinners' is a frittata. Thanks to the CSA, we've had plenty of eggs lately. And on Sunday when we grilled chicken for dinner, SP also grilled some red peppers, so we have a container of roasted red peppers. Last night we made a roasted red pepper, zucchini, and cheddar cheese frittata, with parmesan and chives sprinkled on top. Delicious. And so easy, much easier than regular omelets or quiche or even scrambled eggs (well, we think so!).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Burning Down the House


It's only Tuesday morning and a friend of mine is not having a good week. T emailed me that yesterday, a day he took off from work so that a new water heater could be installed, he lit a citronella candle and set it on a plastic table on the porch. He was hoping to keep the bugs away. As candles do, it melted, presumably all the way down, and caught the plastic table on fire. Ii was one of those candles with a hard exterior/coating that isn't supposed to melt/catch fire, but it did. T was upstairs in his house playing guitar when his neighbor ran up to the back door to tell him about the fire. Luckily, he had his garden hose hooked up and quickly extinguished the fire. The 'funny' part is that his Maine Coon kitty sat there the whole time on the lounge chair with the table melting & burning two feet away from him and didn't even jump off the chair or meow in terror because of the fire or the spraying of the hose. I've always really liked Eddie the fluffy kitty - T used to bring him over to visit me in my apartment back when I had a huge cast on my leg and couldn't get out and needed cheering up. I'm glad he is OK. And the house, too!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tamarind

Yesterday we met SP's family for lunch at Tamarind, an Indian restaurant in Green Tree. I am not a huge fan of Indian food. It's not Indian food in particular -- I am just not a huge fan of spicy food and Indian food tends to be spicy, at least to me it's spicy. Even the most mild of spicy foods is spicy to me. Also, I do not like garlic -- it makes me sick. Literally sick to my stomach within a half hour or so of eating it. My least favorite foods/food flavors include curry, lentils, lemongrass, coconut, peanut, any kind of chili, any kind of bean. So my least favorite foods/flavors along with not liking spicy food and getting sick from garlic - well, it just doesn't make Indian food a good choice for me! But SP & his family love the lunch buffet at Tamarind. I tried several dishes - the lamb was quite tasty but after swallowing, the heat spread around my mouth and I started gulping water. I was advised to drink the mango lassi to cut the heat, but despite liking yogurt, I don't like yogurt drinks. SP told me the chicken rice would not be spicy, but as my lips tingled and went numb, I heard SP's dad and SP's sister discussing how the chicken rice seemed to have quite a kick!!! I tried the eggplant in sauce, a fried chicken thing that was a bit spicy, some rice/lentil dough thing, scallion pancake, rice with peas & cumin - none of it was especially tasty to me. But the naan. Ohhh, the naan. I think I amused everyone by eating 8 pieces of naan and plain white rice. Meanwhile, SP and his family enjoyed plate after plate of Indian dishes. SP and his sister especially enjoyed a pumpkin dish and the soups. Even SP's 1 year old nephew enjoyed his scallion pancake and mango lassi. So I would recommend Tamarind if you like Indian food, especially the weekend lunch buffet because it is a very nice buffet. As for me, well, I'll just fill up on naan. And dosa, which, while not at the buffet, is on the regular menu and I really like dosa.

Tamarind: http://www.tamarindpa.com/index_tsi.shtml

Hot Weekend


Sheesh it got hot this past weekend - the news said it was 87 on Saturday & Sunday!! Our thermometers inside told us it was 85 in the living room and 86 in the bedroom! We managed to resist turning on the a/c until last night. I just felt too stuffy. Even though we'll be turning it off tomorrow, it was so nice to have a cool house to sleep in after 2 nights of being slightly uncomfortable!

SP had another productive 'yard work' weekend. He mowed (although 24 hours later the darn dandelions reemerged), dug up the yellow flower weed and the silly looking purple flower ground cover (see photo top L above), and he planted the hostas (no photo yet). Now we need to buy plastic and mulch to fix up the ripped plastic and depleted mulch. The landscaping looked so nice when we looked at the house and bought it last year. But we didn't do any yard maintenance except for mowing - we concentrated on painting inside and other inside decor. Have I mentioned the pink walls, pink blinds, pink light fixtures, and abundance of mirrors from the previous owners? All that pink and all those mirrored closet doors and all those random mirrors mounted on walls - I still shudder! Now we are confronted with lots of yard work. Slow, steady progress...

On a sad note, our magnolia tree has lost nearly all the beautiful, pink flowers - I suppose all the wind and rain last week battered the blossoms to death. It's slowly changing into the green, leafy tree we remember from last year (we missed all the spring blossoms last year). I'm glad I took a couple of photos before it lost the blossoms.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekend in Canton, OH


In today's newspaper, there's a suggestion for a 'Weekend Getaway' to Canton, OH. Earlier this month, SP & I went on a weekend getaway to Canton! It all started when my mom told me about a 'Kimono As Art' exhibit at the Canton Museum of Art. Then I realized that the Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton and I had never been there. So we decided to have a weekend in Canton! We drove out on Saturday and went straight to the Museum of Art. The kimonos are stunning - they are not meant to be worn, they are pieces of art. The 'main' display of 40 kimonos arranged in a U and depicting the gradual change of seasons across a landscape is breath-taking. We sat in the center and marveled. We were finished at the art museum by around 2 pm so we decided to drive the half hour north to Akron to go to the West Point Market.

I first heard about WPM in a cooking class catalog for a store called Crate. One of the classes was a field trip to WPM. WPM is wonderful - first, we perused the wine - an exciting experience for 2 Pennsylvanians, seeing wine sold in a grocery store!!! Then, the cheeses. There were cheese samples. Yum. And wine tastings. The rest of the store is a blur of teas and meats and fish and bakery items. We bought some desserts for later that evening and some wine & tea to bring home and then headed back to Canton.

Sunday we went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I grew up in Pittsburgh and can remember the teams of the 1970's when they won 4 Super Bowls and we would sing the 'Steelers Fight Song' in music class - I still love Steelers football. SP had the misfortune of spending the first 15 years of his life in north NJ and thus becoming a NY Giants fan. He also likes the Steelers (having lived in Pittsburgh ever since age 15 except for 2 years in Seattle). We fear there ever being a Steelers-Giants Super Bowl. Things could get ugly in this house. So naturally, we lingered at the Steelers and Giants areas. There's a lot to see/do at PFHOF and we easily spent 3 hours wandering around. Worth the trip. And we got $5 off coupons good until the end of the year since we are from Pittsburgh and the new Super Bowl ring and SB XLIII memorabilia aren't on display yet.

The best part - not being responsible adults for a weekend! No laundry, yard work, etc. - just enjoying a road trip and exploring another town.

Desserts!!! And CSA Dinner Delight


Last night we cooked the fresh spinach pasta we received in the CSA box. Tasty!!! We sauteed the criminis with some onions and then added them, some peas, chives, and butter to the pasta and dolloped bits of the chevre on top. Very tasty meal. After dinner, SP made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for himself (I don't like peanut butter - what a waste of yummy chocolate chips) and chocolate chip cheese bars for me. The chocolate chip cheese bars are so simple and tasty - just buy a log of Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough, press half into an 8x8 pan; mix together 8 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, & 1 egg; spread on top of dough in pan; crumble remaining dough on top of cream cheese mixture; bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Movie Night

Since there wasn't a new episode of Lost last night, SP & I cuddled up on the couch and watched Bolt. It was lot of fun!!! We really enjoyed the movie despite it being completely predictable. One of us is a cat lover, the other a cat tolerater, so we had some good-natured snickering and ribbing regarding the cat & dog characters in the film. Of course Rhino the Hamster stole the show!!! After the movie, we watched The Unusuals. We both are really enjoying the show. I was sad at the cancellation of Life On Mars, which I really enjoyed, and while The Unusuals doesn't intrigue me as much as LOM did, it is certainly entertaining and there's actually character development and continuing individual story lines. Tonight is the return of Grey's Anatomy and hopefully it will continue to redeem itself after all those those silly and annoying 'dead Denny ghost' episodes I endured earlier this season.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Go Pens!!

SP & I weren't planning on watching the entire Pens game last night. We planned to watch a movie (we're falling behind in our Netflix viewing!!!). But it was just too much fun to watch Fleury repeatedly stop the Flyers and lead the Pens to victory in game 4. Game 5 tomorrow, back in Pittsburgh.

CSA Week #2


Last night we got our second batch of CSA goodies: fresh spinach rotini, crimini mushrooms, chevre goat cheese, parsley, chives, salad greens, and arugula. We had a taste of the chevre when we cut it in half to split with SP's brother - oh it was tasty. Yum. SP issued a stern warning that I am not to eat all the cheese while he is at work today -- he knows me & my love of cheese all too well. I could easily eat it all by myself! We also had a good laugh that after a weekend of re-potting plants, we now have a parsley plant to re-pot. The basil is noticeably taller than on Friday when we bought it and the parsley looks to be doing quite well, it just needs some more space. Another chore for the weekend -- the sunny with temperatures in the low 80's weekend. I can't wait!! Enough of this wind and rain that has been battering my newly planted pansies!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Posies & Plants


This past weekend was a weekend of many trips to stores for posies & plants! We planted some pretty pansies in the planter out front -- hopefully we won't kill them this year (last year, we neglected to water them and they crumbed to dust). We also bought several plants for the sun room and stayed up very late on Saturday transplanting them into pots and adding soil and watering and arranging! We now have a 'majestic palm' in once corner, 2 'assorted foliage' arrangements, a pot of basil, an African violet, and a spathiphyllum (peace lily). Then we enjoyed the new coziness on Sunday while we watched the Pens game (which they lost, miserably). SP also did a few more hours of yard work - it's starting to look less 'jungle-y' out there. A friend brought over some hostas she split off from her plantings so now we have more digging and planting to do out front (we have some ugly, weedy things that we need to dig up and replace). I think that we are both secretly happy that ever since the hostas arrived, it's been raining, and it's forecast to rain the next couple of days. Darn! Guess we'll have to wait until next weekend to play in the dirt!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Penguins & Cinnamon Bread

The Penguins won their first playoff game against the Flyers last night - yay!!! SP & I had the game on in the living room while we baked a cinnamon bread (recipe courtesy of the Vanilla Icing blog). It was delicious - we each ate 2 pieces during 'Lost' (which has managed to re-capture my attention after a confusing beginning to the season). Game 2 tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cross-Stitch



I started doing cross-stitch about 5 years ago when I broke my femur and was stuck on the couch with a cast covering my whole leg for 6-8 weeks. I only do counted cross-stitch and I prefer to use the kits. Last month I finished a small cross-stitch of seashells. We got it framed and after much debate, decided it looked best in the upstairs bathroom - the walls are painted a much darker shade than the rest of the upstairs. The frame of the seashells was too light/blended in against the other walls. When we moved in, we painted every room except the bathrooms and the guest room downstairs. I chose a color called 'seaside sand.' It's a very, very light sand color with just enough of a tint to contrast against the white crown moulding we have in every room. I like neutral colors because then you can have any kind of decor and if you need new furniture or a new bedspread, you don't have to worry about matching the walls/carpet.

Chicken Marsala


The chicken marsala last night was yummy!!! The recipe we use is one I found several months ago when I was looking for a chicken marsala recipe that didn't call for dredging the chicken in flour. At the time, SP thought he had celiac disease (first doctor said the test was 'inconclusive' so probably yes, avoid gluten, that was 7 years ago; second test this past February [with a new doctor] showed that he doesn't have celiac - there has since been much celebrating with gluten goodies!). Not sure why I didn't just dredge the chicken in cornstarch or one of those gluten-free flour substitutes (other than I don't like the gluten-free flour substitutes!) but the point is, the recipe I found is gluten-free (no dredging in any kind of flour) and yummy. It might not be 'real, true' chicken marsala, but we love it!!! Lots of onions and mushrooms and chicken in a marsala-chicken broth-butter sauce. We like to eat it with butter noodles. Last night I decided to use up the carrots - they were starting to get bendy - so we had cooked carrots as our vegetable.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More food thoughts

Sweetie Pie (SP) and I decided to join a CSA this year. We are splitting it with one of SP's brothers. Tonight is our first night! Last night we received an email telling us that this week's box would contain eggs, apple cider, honey, green onions, red potatoes, spinach, & salad greens. I am not excited about apple cider since it has always made me sick to my stomach, but SP is looking forward to it. As we snuggled in bed last night, we tried to plan menus using the CSA goodies. Most likely we will make German Potato Salad and a Spinach & Shrimp Risotto. We probably won't actually cook these meals until the weekend - usually we cook on weekends and eat leftovers all week, so this week's dinners are already made (leftover Easter dinner and tonight I will be making a lot of chicken marsala, hopefully enough for 2-3 meals).

Easter Dinner

I'm still thinking about Easter dinner (probably because we have lots of leftovers!). We marinated a boneless leg of lamb in red wine, lemon, mustard, vegetable oil, & rosemary. Thankfully it was sunny and in the 50's instead of the snow and cold we had been experiencing so we were able to grill the lamb - there's something so tasty about the char marks from the grill! We also roasted red potatoes in a mixture of lemon, mustard, & oregano. For the vegetable, we sauteed green beans with olive oil, lemon juice and zest, & pepper. What a wonderful Easter meal.

Starting Out

Here I am, finally starting a blog, something I've been meaning to do for a while... I always seem to have lots to babble about but right now... drawing a blank!!!!