Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Charred, Raw, and Fried

Lately, there has been a lot of non-food stuff occupying our attention. We're still eating, just not being too creative or trying much new. I've been a little uninspired in the kitchen as well as with dining out. Not even Pittsburgh Restaurant Week has grabbed my attention. We couldn't make it to the opening event and then couldn't make it to the blogger dinner. There is so much going on this week that, as unbelievable as it sounds, we just can't seem to find the time to enjoy any of the PRW deals.

Lately, we also have been dealing with lots of annoying adult stuff (property reassessment stuff, medical bills/health insurance stuff, house stuff, yard stuff, budget stuff...). SP got stung by hornets while weeding the mulch areas (which actually look much less mulchy lately and more like overgrown mini jungles). No matter how diligently we attend to the yard, it grows like crazy this time of year and even just 1-2 days later, looks as if we are neglectful homeowners. I suppose all this rain isn't helping.

It seems that every day there is a long list of 'matters still not resolved' and 'chores' and frankly, it is really weighing me down. I feel beaten by bureaucratic crap and all the other stuff we just can't seem to sort out and solve. And then there's the health stuff. I definitely have not been feeling all that terrific lately. Some of SP's issues are flaring up, which stresses me out. And my parents are at that age when stuff starts to happen and is currently happening.

Weighed down. Constant fretting. And so tired.

It's not all serious adult crap, though. We went to the Benedum see The Addams Family, which was a lot of fun. We watched a lot of the Olympics. Just as I got SP on the Pirates bandwagon they started losing, but we're still watching and hoping for the best. We had a meal out with friends to celebrate a friend reaching a weight loss goal. We've seen several movies. And I find myself still taking photos of food, although when I checked the camera and cell phone my food photos seem a bit random!

There was a tomato tart, our first of the summer.    
Sadly, the tomatoes were roasted too long and were charred tomatoes. Not very tasty. I was very disappointed. Not even the puff pastry and liberal amounts of feta and goat cheese could disguise the charred tomatoes.
We tried a new dish, a Lamb Ragu with Ricotta and Mint.
It was tasty, but not as tasty as I'd hoped. I stumbled across the recipe and it made me think of the amazing lamb & pasta dish I ate at George's in San Diego last April. Sadly, this recipe was not as tasty as that dish, perhaps because it was ground lamb, not braised lamb, and didn't have kalamatas or artichokes. I think I would have preferred my ricotta as a scoop on the side (like at George's) instead of melted into the sauce. And more mint. Definitely more mint next time.
We spent a lovely 2 hours eating lunch and talking with friends at Bartrams House Bakery. A small cookie and blueberry muffin:
I had a breakfast sandwich, again (egg, cheddar, bacon, tomato, spinach on croissant). Delicious.
SP had a cheddar and broccoli soup which I thought was just OK. It was a thin soup, not thick and cheesy, more of a light cheese flavored broth with large chunks of broccoli florets instead of wee flecks of broccoli. What can I say, I like my cheese soup thick and creamy and cheesy and light on the broccoli - in other words, absolutely unhealthy!

We have enjoyed some wine in the last few weeks, including trying a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that was a much stronger sauvignon blanc than what I normally enjoy. We also made cocktails, my usual 4 kinds of liquor with fresh orange juice cocktail.
A different kind of potato salad: Red Potato & Green Bean Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette:
Some of the potatoes were not cooked enough, so that dampened my enjoyment of this salad. Plus, the shallot seems to be giving me heartburn or acid or something, as raw shallot/onion in salads sometimes does.

We made homemade vanilla ice cream, which I forgot to photograph, and chocolate chip cheese bars, which I also forgot to photograph. The bars are super easy:

2 cups chocolate chip cookie dough (or any cookie dough you desire)
8 oz cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
Press half of cookie dough into bottom of greased 8x8 pan. In bowl, mix cream cheese, egg, and sugar. Spread in pan on top cookie dough. Crumble remaining cookie dough on top. Bake 350 for 35-40 minutes.

And we went back to Downey's House where SP enjoyed salmon with a mushroom & bacon & sun dried tomato sauce plus a side salad and I enjoyed pepperoni rolls and funnel cake fries with chocolate sauce for dessert.
Hopefully, we'll get some of the items on THE LIST crossed off soon and things will feel a bit... less weighty! And maybe once that happens we'll feel more like cooking and we'll stop grilling chicken or cooking pasta or making salad from whatever was in the CSA for our meals!

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