Archive for the ‘tasty beverages’ Category

you say it’s your birthday

Friday, October 19th, 2012

We woke up on Crockett’s bday fully aware that we had only a few hours left in NY and we hadn’t done nearly everything we wanted to do. I, for example, wanted to eat at Dominique Ansel and Balthazar Bakery. Crockett wanted to go to the American Museum of Natural History.

Thanks to the magic of subway power (!!) we did all three.

Before we left, I’d bought this little City2Go app and marked off all the places I would like to eat with little red dots on a map of the island. When we got off the subway, the Dominique Ansel dot turned out to be many many blocks from the actual Dominique Ansel bakery. Whoops. Fortunately, the Balthazar Bakery was on the walk to the real DA, so we swung in there. It’s this teeny tiny place, too small for pictures, but I ordered a chocolate sable (chocolate shortbread, basically) and a canelette (tiny rum custard cake with a darkly caramelized outside). I was trying not to overdo it on the pastries, but I wish I’d ordered more of the sables.

When we made it to Dominique Ansel, I stared at the tiny cakes (top picture) for hours (ok minutes) but ended up going with more traditional breakfast pastry.

I ordered a ham and cheese croissant and a kouign amann, something DA specializes in. A kouign amann is like a croissant, sort of, except that it has sugar folded into each layer as well as butter. It’s sweet and crispy and flaky and it was delicious, but I’m glad I balanced it out with the croissant.

In addition to sharing my breakfast(s) with me, Crockett had a perfect little egg sandwich. (That’s seriously what it’s called). It was all squishy and cheesy and yummy.

We ate our many delicious treats on DA’s back patio. It was a little chilly but so cute. Crockett really liked SoHo – he said that if we move to Manhattan (ha) he feels like SoHo would be his neighborhood.

I hadn’t realized we were so close to the south end of the island until we saw this. I actually had to ask Crockett what it was. He was like ‘um, Em? There used to be two things there?’ and then I felt dumb.

Once again full of tasty delicious food, we headed north to the museum. It was our worst subway experience of the trip – we had to change trains several times because there was some issue and local and express trains were all mixed up, and everything was running late. Since I knew Crockett really wanted to go to the museum and my bakeries had come first and it was his birthday!, it was really the only part of the trip where I felt rushed.

The elephants made me feel better as soon as we got there, though.

We spent most of our time in the Rose Center for Earth and Space, walking around the scales of the universe exhibit. This is Crockett, larger than supergiant star Rigel.

Crockett was telling me about this prof he had in college (Crockett’s an ex-rocket scientist) who talked about the naming conventions in different areas of science and how astronomy is so much more logical than the other areas. For example, the science name (wow I sound totally brill right now) for dogs is Canis lupus familiaris. That’s all fine and dandy, but, come on, what? The scientific name for a big cluster of stars? “Big cluster of stars”. Awesome.

It looks like I’m trying to tell the future, but I’d actually be seeing the past if I were doing this. I’m ENORMOUS. Those are galaxies in there!

Perhaps I shouldn’t have had four pastries for breakfast.

We also made it to the Hall of Ocean Life, where I insisted on running around acting like I was in an underwater horror movie…

And Crockett demonstrated his blue whale lifting skills.

We had a late checkout, but we made it back to the hotel just in time to throw our things in our bags and clear out of the room (so sad). Since it was only two and our flight wasn’t supposed to be until 6:40, we stopped downstairs for one last drink in the outdoor covered bar.

My wine and I would have preferred to stay another few days.

Alas, it was not to be. Our flight home was out of Newark, so we took the subway to Penn Station and a train to the Newark tram. What up, New Jersey!

Unfortunately, our flight was delayed AGAIN (only an hour, though, not four, so … that better, I guess) and we snuck in one more meal. We went to the Oyster Bar, the same one that’s in Grand Central, on the theory that any place that got famous in a train station can’t be bad in an airport, right? I ate a whole plate of calamari. It was indeed tasty.

Crockett had one last lobster roll.

Bye New York! I miss you already!

 

you can’t call it cheatin’

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Monday morning we were in much better shape (due to a distinct lack of residual corned beef, as well as lower alcohol consumption, I suspect) and we made it out of the hotel in time for the tail end of rush hour.

And waffles.

This truck is called Wafels and Dinges. They’re all over the city, but we stopped at the one in Columbus Circle.

I got the Brussels wafel with speculoos spread, which I’ve been reading about for years (or so it feels, I actually have no idea – I mean, doesn’t it feel like you were hearing about burrata when you were just a fetus at this point?)  and it was so fucking delicious that I really was just forced to use a curse word in that sentence.

It was so delicious that I don’t even care that I look like a squinty rabbit in this picture.

I dropped the last quarter of it on the ground.

It was the saddest thing that happened to me in the whole trip.

Crockett went for the special of the day, which was an apple pie waffle. Same waffle, apple pie spread, whipped cream, cinnamon, and lots of love (probably).  I’m sure it was good, but it was no speculoos. Seriously, cookie spread? Sounds so weird! SO NOT WEIRD. SO GOOD.

After Crockett finished his waffle and I had a moment of silence for the city-sidewalk-death of mine, we headed to Chelsea to see Highline Park and (more importantly) the Chelsea Market. Highline Park is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen (<- complete and total lie). It’s like a museum walkway built twenty feet above the ground – the whole thing is only fifteenish feet wide and bedroom and office windows immediately surround it. Neat thing to do with an old train track, but still very strange. Crockett took a bunch of pictures but apparently I wasn’t feeling it, because I have zero. What I do have is a picture of the seafood sliders we shared from The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market. Crab one – good. Shrimp one – eh. Really, who genuinely likes tarragon? I’m asking. Lobster one – quite tasty but still no match for the one at The Empire. (Of COURSE I’m not sucking up to my hometown local, what’choo talkin’ bout.)

From there we hopped over to the Essex St. Market. We were exhausted, but I wanted to see Shopsin’s and get some cookies from Beurre & Sel.

Two shops at the market were closed, everything else was open. Those two shops were Shopsin’s and Beurre & Sel. Sigh. The whole thing was just like a confusing supermarket – it might have been cool if we hadn’t been to Chelsea Market first, but we had. We got Crockett some coconut water and moved on with our lives.

It turned out we were only a few blocks from the famous bagel-er (made up word? Judge says… probably!) Russ & Daughters, so we swung by to round out our brunch of tiny sandwiches.

Lox (don’t ask me what kind – the man behind the counter tried and then just said ‘mild?’ and I said ‘ok!’ and then he asked me what kind of cream cheese and I said ‘what kind do you like’ and he said ‘I like them all’ so I just picked and he said ‘spectacular’ and I couldn’t tell if he was mocking me or what but anyway) and scallion cream cheese on a plain mini bagel. Question: is the defining characteristic of New York bagels an exceptionally chewy crust?

Properly fortified, we headed back to midtown.

We stopped by the LEGO store and I pretended, just for a moment, that I was Liz Lemon. It was very exciting. I tried to talk Crockett into ice skating, because it turns out the rink in Rockefeller Center is there even when the tree isn’t, but then when he said he would it turned out I was just kidding because my feet hurt. Whoops.

Instead, we went by MOMA. Although they were lacking a giant Egyptian statue, their gift shop was way better than the Met’s. I call it a draw on the museums-we-didn’t-actually-go-into showdown.

We had a whole plan. We’d walked off our mini sandwiches, and we were going to have a late lunch at Don Antonio, another pizza place on my list-of-NY-pizza places (a list that didn’t actually include any traditional NY style pie places but wev), then nap, then head back out.

We showed up at Don Antonio at 3:31, and they were closed from 3:30 to 4:30. Their website said nothing about that, so I whined for awhile, and Crockett decided to move the nap up the list of things to do – I only made it a few blocks before freaking out and insisting I needed a drink and a chair asap.

I’m sometimes quite charming to travel with.

Victor’s Cafe saved me!

A daiquiri …

an avocado filled with bacon and tomato and monterey jack served with plaintain chips…

and some pretty hilarious avocado-as-creepy-crawly artwork by Crockett …

put the smile back on my face. (I think I took like seven pictures. Crockett was smiling in most of them  but I looked like an idiot. I have no idea what’s happening with him in this one but it’s my blog so HA. This may have been immediately after the bartender was talking about how he’d accidentally auditioned for a porn, so maybe Crockett’s mulling that over.)

The avocado didn’t turn out to be enough food, and it was a little after four thirty by the time we finished at Victor’s, so we decided to head back to Don Antonio. They’re doing traditional Neapolitan pizza, just like Motorino, but with some twists.

Crockett started with a beer that had a gorgeous label, and I had some … wine. People, I don’t even know anymore. A lot of things happened in these days, and many of those things were wine, ok?

We ordered two pizzas, even though we weren’t starving, because we absolutely had to try the house specialty. (This is not it.) This is a sausage pizza with fresh mozzarella and pistachio pesto that reminded me very much of the pizzas they sell on the street in Turkey. It got better with every bite, and was it’s absolute best at room temperature. Strange but true.

This is the house specialty. The dough is lightly fried prior to being topped with sauce and smoked mozzarella and baked. It was bizarre, and as far as ‘pizza’ goes it wasn’t anything special, but as a food all on it’s own? Fried bread with tasty sauce and cheese? I could eat that every single day. Also, it was $12, which struck me as crazy reasonable, especially considering we were in midtown Manhattan.

We had lots of leftovers and took them home, but I had to stop one more time before we hit the hotel.

Pinkberry peanut butter froyo! We don’t have Pinkberry in CO, so how could I resist?

I’m not going to lie -we almost didn’t make it back out of the hotel after all that. We’d walked for hours, eaten a bunch, drank… we were wiped. We napped until seven and then rallied, though, because we were in New York freaking City.

We went to the Apple Store.

Nope, not at all kidding.

Then we walked cross town to Hell’s Kitchen, to yet another place I’d stumbled across in my internet explorations of the city. It’s called Caseulla, and they specialize in wine and cheese. Naturally, we had some wine and cheese. Crockett also had a mead called Viking’s Blood, and everyone around us at the bar was fascinated and had to taste it too. Then our bartender tried to pick up our bar neighbor, even though he was pretty clearly already on a date.

Then we ate bacon popcorn and I realized it was Crockett’s birthday, because it was past midnight.

The bartender brought us goat cheese and Nutella truffles to celebrate, we ate them, and then we walked home.  It was our last night, but we were seriously wiped, so we decided to have one more drink at the hotel bar and then call it a night.  We did not see Chase Crawford or Blake Lively, but we did have cozy seats by the fireplace, so I think we made the right call. Then we slept hard. NY is exhausting, have I mentioned that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

when the moon hits your eye

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

New York City part TWO.

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Sunday morning we were both feeling a smidge under the weather. See, here’s the thing about altitude and liquor. When you’re at a lower level than where you normally live, you can hold your drinks better – that’s pretty common knowledge, right? The thing, though, is that the hangover does not change. So on a normal Saturday night, I might have three drinks over a few hours and interspersed with water. On a low altitude Saturday, I might… ok, did… have three drinks in two hours with no water. I felt FINE! And then on Sunday I felt like hell.

So. I did what any reasonable person would do, and I dragged my butt a block to Thomas Keller’s bakery. I returned with two enormous cups of quite tasty coffee, a bacon cheddar chive scone, a pistachio twist, a sticky bun, and a chocolate croissant.

We felt much better with coffee, butter, and flour in our bellies.

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Central Park better!

Dude, Central Park is enormous. It’s confusing to me how the most expensive city in the US can have such a wide swath of empty real estate. Gorgeous empty real estate, but empty real estate. Crockett pointed out that the property values would probably go down if the park wasn’t there, but still. Mind boggling.

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We made it all the way up to the reservoir, with a quick stop to watch the remote control boats. Because they’re BOATS that you control with a REMOTE.

I was a lot more excited about it than I look in this picture.

After the reservoir, we hit up the Met and reveled in the glory that was the super old Egyptian statute of a fellow who probably had a nose at one point but doesn’t anymore that’s in the lobby, and then we visited the gift shop. Museum gift shops were literally the only places we even pretended to shop on this trip. I know, it’s like I missed the whole POINT of NEW YORK.

We walked miles – literally. We estimated about four. Then we decided to head south to get some food. I had two places in the East Village – Motorino (pizza) and Ippudo (ramen) – that I really wanted us to try, so we went in that direction. When we found Ippudo, they put us on the one and a half hour wait list, but we were too weak with hunger to get out to Motorino, so we sidled up to the bar and decided to make the best of it. While I was washing the subway off my hands, Crockett was doing some genius ordering.

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This was… something with blossom in the name that is not findable online. Really, I tried. It has Campari and sake in it, and it was light and refreshing and wonderful. However, it was no…

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Steamed pork bun. Literally, if I could eat any of the foods we ate in New York every day, it would be these pork buns. The pork was sweet and soft, with a slight crunch around the edges, and there was nothing else in the bun but iceberg lettuce and mayonnaise, and it was positively wonderful.

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There were some chicken ones, too, and they were super tasty, but the pork ones were AMAZING.

We were actually seated in just a half an hour, and we settled in for some truly enormous bowls of soup.

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Crockett had the classic bowl.

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I had the special, that came with an unidentified scoop of something reddish that I needed to stir in. Mine was sweetish, and Crockett’s was warm and savory, and they were both fantastic. When we were in NY, every time we told someone we were going to or went to Ippudo, they got all excited and happy for us, and I totally see why.

Properly fortified, we went back to the hotel and passed out for several hours.

Naps are an integral part of good vacationing technique.

So, some friends of ours from Louisville were ALSO in New York, ALSO for the opening of a family members bar (ok, it opened like a month ago but close enough), and when Crockett and I woke up we hauled our butts out to the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn to visit said bar. (It’s called Miles.) Our friends weren’t there, but we watched the hipsters and had some beverages.

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It was tiny and cute and the bartender had fantastic curly hair.

We only stayed for one drink, though, because our friends called us from Williamsburg and we went out to meet them. They were at a cute bar with a back porch and they’d been buying fake purses and watches all day, so we hung out and heard about that until we got hungry. At 10:30. Thank goodness things in New York close late, yeah? What with the time change, we were never eating at an appropriate time.

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We ended up at Motorino, since we’d missed it at lunch. Motorino was called the best Neopolitan style pizza by … well, by everyone, so I was pretty pumped to try it.

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I started with the ‘perfect pizza wine’, which was a semi-sparkling red blend that immediately gave me a headache but was super tasty. I love wine served in juice glasses. It feels so very Italian (says the girl who has never been to Italy but does have a last name ending in an i).

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We decided to get only one pizza, so we started with meatballs. They were good! The sauce was bright and very fresh tomatoey.

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For pizza, we absolutely had to try the brussels sprouts pizza. The Bruges at our local pizza place has brussels sprouts and pistachios, but the Motorino version had brussels sprouts and smoked pancetta (which as far as I know is bacon. Seriously.)

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Uh… then we might have gone back to Pouring Ribbons. What? We liked it there! This time I had a drink called Dueling Banjos, which has two bourbons and corn milk. I know, it sounds weird. I hate bourbon but I would drink the crap out of this drink. (Ew).

Then we went to bed. Because dude, it was a long day.

empire state of mind

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

On Saturday morning, Crockett and I flew to NYC. Yesterday was Crockett’s birthday, and we decided on a trip to celebrate.

Well, theoretically we flew in on Saturday morning. In practice, we flew on Saturday afternoon. We were supposed to land at 2:30 and have plenty of leisurely NY time, but instead we had one plane with hydraulic failure (experienced only on the ground so more irritating than terrifying) and one that was missing the drink cart, and somehow, we ended up landing after 7 pm. Crockett accurately pointed out that we could have had drinks in NY if they’d just taken the damn plane off the ground, but whatever. Thanks, United.

We did make it, though!!

The night before we left, we ran into someone at The Empire who said he made the Carnegie Deli his very first stop in NYC at any given time for the Reuben. Since Crockett loves a Reuben, and the deli was walking distance from our hotel, we hit it up when we were starving, exhausted, and ready to enter the New York state of mind.

The Reuben was literally the biggest sandwich I’d ever seen in my life. Do you SEE Crockett’s face, above? This is is ‘what the hell have I gotten myself into’ face. I had a bite (you know, to help out), and I wasn’t super impressed. However, I hate corned beef, so don’t trust me.

I decided to eat cheesecake. With cherries.

What. I was on vacation. It was good! Except, I don’t really like cheesecake either. I just ate it because I felt like I was in NY and I should and literally nothing else on the deli menu appealed to me. Airplane stomach, I guess. I actually threw in the towel pretty quick after this, but I did carry the rest around in my purse for the rest of the night before it found a home in our hotel fridge.

This is where Crockett gave up. I have to tell you, NY threw us a curveball with this restaurant. We thought we were prepared, stomach-ly, but we absolutely were not.

We walked this off, heading down to Times Square. My purse still smells a little bit like corned beef, too.

This is going to sound like a segueway, but it’s not, I promise. Our seatmate on our flight was a fellow named Thomas Maloney, a fact I remember clearly because he looked like Santa dressed as a cowboy, he had a million and one awesome stories, and he gave Crockett a bright yellow business card that said ‘Thomas Maloney, Capitalist’ on it. He was fantastic, and he was headed to New York because his son, Toby, had just opened a new bar. We were impressed, thinking this kid was making a play for success in the big big city, but no. The younger Maloney is a wildly successful bar-maker dude, and his newest bar is called Pouring Ribbons. We didn’t know about all the amazing press Pouring Ribbons was getting, or that they had the American Bartender of the Year slinging drinks, and we hopped on the subway (whoo hoo, my FAV part of NY) and headed down to the East Village to check it out.

It’s halfway up an empty street, above a liquor store, and when we showed up there was a line of people outside the door and a cranky bouncer. We waited a few minutes, asked if Thomas Maloney Capitalist was still there (he’d told us he was going to stop by Saturday night), found out he was gone, and got sent up the stairs. I don’t know if it was the name dropping or not. Ok, fine, I don’t think it had anything to do with it, I think it was just our turn, but I like to think that we got special treatment. I’m nerdy like that.

You guys, the food on this trip was delicious, but the cocktails? They were consistently AMAZING, and the ones at Pouring Ribbons were nothing but indicative of what was to come.

I had three.

The one above was a Death and Taxes, a gin and grapefruit drink with brandy and… I don’t even know. Magic.

The tall goofy one here is a One Flight Up – you can’t really tell, but there’s a layer of Campari at the bottom. I love the crazy sweet bitter thing Campari has going on – as Crockett said, it’s so gross but SO GOOD. (I think he actually said funnier things than that, but I was on my second drink after a very long day, people. Think of something hilarious and then credit him with it.)

That’s a rye drink of Crockett’s being stirred in the background in a beaker, btw. The actual mixology process here was fascinating. If we hadn’t been making friends, we probably would have just watched our bartender Troy work all night. We were making friends, though – this guy was here for a bartending contest! Turns out he didn’t win, but he was cool. It was easier to chat people up in NY than I expected, y’all.

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At about 1:30, we headed back to the hotel. I’d super casually mentioned that we were in NY for Crockett’s bday when we were checking in, and we were upgraded to a deluxe studio on the 19th floor. Thanks, Hudson Hotel! This was the view from one of our three (!!) windows. I pictured a room with one window overlooking a brick wall, so this was basically the best thing ever.

‘Studio’ meant we had two chairs and a couch, as well as a bed. I took full advantage of the couch the second we walked in.

The interior of the hotel is kind of trippy. You take this green escalator up to a foyer that has a clear roof, covered with ivy. There’s an enclosed but outdoor bar behind the desk, and a big library that’s also a bar off to one side.

The art in the library is all enormous photographs of cows wearing hats. COWS. Wearing HATS. New York is so cool.

Our room really was amazing. This photo was taken from the bed at some point in the late afternoon. The other two windows are to my right, and they both had sills deep enough to sit on. The siding made it feel cozy, like a boat, except without the sea sickness. Best of all worlds.

This is the door, the bed area, and Crockett, looking like he’s trying to hold me up with a remote control. He confiscated it from me because I was manically changing the channels, trying to figure out what show is best to watch on two TVs simultaneously.

This was the terrace below one of our windows. The hotel has a 15th floor bar, but it’s closed for renovations – I suspect that’s what we were looking at. Our room would have been a whole different thing if this terrace had been open. Louder and more full of booze, for sure.

This is another secret terrace that we didn’t find until we were on our way out. Cute, right?? It was only like 50 degrees, though, so we didn’t really feel like chilling (ha) out there.

So, first night in NY? Fab. Hotel? Fab. And it only got better from there.

same as it ever was

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

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Also?

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I went to the dermatologist. Not for anything in particular, just because my mom has been really prone to skin cancer and my skin is starting to look more and more like hers. I have freckles and age spots and all kinds of stuff, so I had someone look.

His basic answer was ‘everything looks fine, but watch this thing and this thing and also wear more sunscreen’.

I think they’re legally obliged to say that.

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The artwork on the wall was nice.

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Also, we went to the opening of a new brewery in Louisville! I love breweries. And Louisville.

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Sadly, I did not particularly love any of these beers.

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The mini mugs sort of made up for it though.

I love me a good mini mug.

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The space is pretty cool too. And there were a lot of people who were very excited.

Maybe they liked the beer more than I did.

 

heat wave

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

When I run in the morning, there are bunnies EVERYWHERE. You can see the two there, who could not have cared less about my presence or picture taking, but there is actually one in that yard further on and two out of the frame to the left as well.

I think they’re going out early to escape the heat, just like me.

When I got home from my run, I did what I usually do. I destroyed the kitchen while packing breakfast and lunch. I don’t know why I needed four containers of vegetables and two containers of yogurt all out at the same time. I do know why I needed an enormous container of blueberries, though.

Because blueberries are delicious! Duh. Also, Stash pomegranate raspberry green tea is slightly more tolerable than Tazo Zen green tea. I’m going to keep drinking it though – I think it’s probably like coffee. Nobody likes coffee at first, they just drink it because this is America and that’s what we drink, galdarnit.

There’s a slight possibility I’m wrong about that last part.

See, this is why I had to make such a big mess in the kitchen. It takes a lot of stuff to put together a salad of mixed greens with  chickpea chicken curry, a bag of mixed veggies, and a white bean basil dip.

(I’m totally lying. All of this, with the exception of the veggies, was already prepared.)

Something that is justifiably messy? A SUPER DUPER ripe peach. I took this picture to show how it the flesh was red like half an inch down from the skin. It was a glorious drippy experience.

When I got home, I found Crockett facing off against the heat – he was in the backyard assembling our new air conditioner! The swamp cooler has done it’s best, I’m not degrading it, but the air conditioner will mean that we can close up the house during the day without worrying about coming home to a … well, a swamp.

I dutifully assisted by sitting next to the window with a book and a glass of wine, so I could hand tools over when necessary.

This is how air conditioners work, right?

When we decided it was too dark to finish, I put together some pork tacos that were FAB. I’ll tell you about the pork and the slaw tomorrow, k? K.

Basil White Bean Spread

I’m calling this a spread because puree sounds sort of blah, and it’s not really hummus because it has a different kind of bean AND no nuts or seeds. SO. Spread.

1 cup dry cannellini beans or two 15 oz cans cannellini
As much basil as you need to remove from your basil plant (this would also work with other soft herbs – 1 to 2 handfuls is probably ideal)
1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
kosher salt (start with 1/4 of  a teaspoon if you used canned beans, 1/2 teaspoon if you cooked them yourself)
2 – 3 cloves raw garlic

If you’re starting with dry beans, you can use my new and exciting bean cooking method. Put them in a slow cooker on low with water to cover and cook for three hours. Test, add salt, and cook for another half hour to one and half hours, depending on how done they were. Don’t soak. DO look for rocks, though. It’s my understanding that rocks will never soften in a slow cooker. (You’re welcome.)

Either let the beans cool or rinse the starch off the canned beans, and put everything but the olive oil into a food processor. Whiz for awhile, scrape the sides, and then turn it back on and slowly pour in the smaller amount of olive oil.

This is where you get to exercise your personal preference. (Again, you’re super welcome). Taste it and add more salt, more olive oil, some bean water or some milk if you’d like it thinner but not more olive oily, and anything else you want. Suggestions include oil packed sundried tomatoes (definitely chop them first), pine nuts, or parmesan. Or olive. Man, now I wish I’d added olives. That’ll move you closer to a tapenade, but that’s ok! That’s why we called it a spread.

Eat on crackers, veggies, or as a sandwich spread. Or off a spoon. Or your finger. No judgement here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*shrug*

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Have you seen this whole ‘shrub’ thing, lately?

Maybe I read too many food and drink blogs, but I swear to god shrubs have been stalking me. Since one was bound to catch me eventually, I caved.

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Basically, a shrub is a liquid made of fruit juice, sugar, and an acid. That liquid is then mixed into cocktails or sparkling water, as above. My stalker shrubs have all been vinegar based, so that’s what I used.

There are a lot of ways to make your shrub. You can cook fruit and sugar together to make a syrup in various ways, OR you can do what I did and make it cold. (Have I mentioned that it’s SUPER HOT HERE JUST LIKE EVERYWHERE ELSE?)

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Basically, I took one cup of my precious frozen sweet cherries (I could have used fresh cherries but that would have involved a second trip to the store after the first, regular one, I took yesterday), and mixed them with one cup of sugar. I could also have chopped them up first, but I didn’t. I used one of my Twist N Sparkle bottles since I’m trying to ween myself off them. You know, because of the exploding.

After a few hours, the cherries had defrosted and were starting to mix with the sugar to make a thick syrup. After twelve hours, the bottle was full of grainy red slush and cherries.

I drained the liquid off and mixed it with one cup of vinegar. (I used half white and half apple cider). It’s as easy as that.

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That’s the shrub (shrub syrup?) on the left, and a mixture of about a tablespoon of syrup and a cup or so of sparkling water on the left.

I get why people have been drinking these for a super long time, y’all. It’s weird, because you can absolutely tell that you’re drinking vinegar, but you don’t really care. The fruit taste really comes through, too.

Next step, cocktails!

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Cocktails are far more romantic than drinking it with breakfast, like I did this morning. And I like romance in my drinks. And alcohol. Romance and alcohol.

If you want to try yourself, here are a couple of good resources. Let me know how it goes!

Serious Eats
The Kitchn

just play it cool babe

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

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This is the recipe I was going to share with you yesterday. However, while sweating my ass off last night:

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Yeah, that’s not a glow. That’s sweat.

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(The fact that a panting dog decided that even in 100 degree weather it was appropriate to sit ON ME didn’t help.)

Where was I? Other than sweating? Oh, right, I was going to tell you about the pasta. The thing is, the magic of the pasta was the jalepeno noodles themselves along with the watochi I got from the farmers market. The watochi is a weird watermelon based salsa thing, which is fab, but honestly? Without those two things? You’d have a very hard time replicating the pasta. So, I basically made a sauce with the watochi, some chicken stock, and some water, then added some ground ginger and salt, and poached/sauteed the shrimp in it, then stirred in the cooked noodles and some thai basil. It was SUPER good, so if you find a watermelon based salsa, I recommend throwing together something similar!

I had it with some Basa Ruedo Blanco, which is one of my absolute favorites. It’s a Spanish white and it’s very bright – tangy, almost. If anything was going to make me forget the 100 degree weather, it’s Basa.

Nothing will make me forget the 100 degree weather.

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While we ate it, Crockett tried to prevent the hops from taking over the world.

Thursday morning (wow, this post is seriously belated), Crockett got up to run with me before leaving. He’s pretty fit, and I ran faster than I probably would have otherwise.

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Plus, his charming attitude really made my day.

Ok, fine, I probably wouldn’t have wanted my picture taken at that point either.

While he was packing his suitcase, I packed this little bowl o’ tasty for my lunch:

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It’s fresh basil, chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, and water packed mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinegar and a smidge of olive oil. And TONS of salt added at eating time. I’m learning to love raw tomatoes, but only when they’re salted to within an inch of their lives.

Also, if the hops plant doesn’t take over the world, the three basil plants we have will.

I packed up and left him to get himself to the airport, which meant leaving his car at a nearby park and ride.

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So my mom took me to pick it up ON HER SCOOTER.

This is the first time I’d been on a scooter. Does my face look like an ‘oh shit’ face? It’s not, I swear. Or if it is it’s because I was pretty sure I was going to drop my phone into the intersection. The scooter was super fun and my mom is a stable driver.

Anyway, now Crockett’s gone again and I’m back to being boring.

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Except this bowl of boring was accentuated with a metric ton of raspberries and wasn’t really boring at all.

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My sushi lunch (Sushi Hana, in Longmont), actually was kind of boring. The salmon was SUPER fatty, which I think is supposed to be a good thing (gosh I know so much about sushi), but sort of muted the flavor. Oh well, for $9.50 I think this was a pretty screamin’ deal.

To summarize: watochi, skinny salmon, and earth destroying plants. Make of it what you will.

I know everyone else is hot too – what do you do, other than lay in your basement and sweat, to deal with it?

on demand

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

People, I’m not going to lie right now.

I’m kind of tipsy.

I didn’t MEAN to get tipsy! It’s my half birthday (no, seriously), and Crockett was like ‘well then let’s have half happy hour!’ and so we did, at The Empire.

Except it was like extra happy hour.

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There were buffalo wings.

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There was wine.

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There was a tiny cheese plate.

For Crockett, there were:

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old fashioned…

me: how do you pluralize old fashioned?

Crockett: olds fashioned.

Ok then. Crockett had olds fashioned. Also a mini calamari salad. And?

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Mini mac and cheese. This was not as good as my cheese plate, which featured a cheese that used the milk of THREE DIFFERENT ANIMALS, but pretty good.

OH guess what. I got my standing desk today.

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It’s super tall. Like, I’m standing on the ground (floor, whatever) and that’s where my elbow is. SUPER tall.

 

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This is not breakfast. I know it looks like breakfast. It’s lunch.

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Look at my cute kitchen at work. It’s in a weird pod thing – there’s a convex wood wall behind me that has soda machines and stuff. Cute, right? This is one of … ten or twelve identical cute kitchens in my building.

Cute cute cute.

Crockett and I just had a conversation about concave and convex.

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Since Crockett doesn’t have a cute kitchen at his office, he had to drink the coffee I made in the am. It was early, but he enjoyed it. Plus, FORESHADOWING with the mug. You know, since we went to Empire tonight. No? Ok, no. Not foreshadowing.

Last night we had bbq again, and it was fabulous. I love Lulu’s so much that when they place an entree in front of me, I forget to take pictures.

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These are Crockett’s leftover sweet potato tater tots and fried okra, though, and I did eat some of these.

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He loves it when I eat his food.

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Listed among things he did not share: his Utica Club beer.

I did do things other than eat and drink yesterday and today, I swear.

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See? This was my run this morning.

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And this was my after lunch walk.

… I have no good questions. I’m sorry. True Blood (season 2) is on – no spoilers, please!

ow

Monday, July 9th, 2012

So today I accidentally peeled off a toenail with a chair leg while moving furniture. It was fun!

Except that it wasn’t. I did take a picture, but I’m not going to show you. Promise.

So yesterday after I posted I did in fact rearrange the living room.

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What I didn’t do was take a ‘before’ picture. Let’s see – the couch that’s on the left used to have it’s back to the window box thing, the kitchen table (that I’m standing next to while I take the picture) used to be on the right… I don’t know. It’s different. I like it. We’ll have to see what Crockett thinks when he gets home. Cloey kept giving me the side eye, but once I’d put her bed in a place she deemed acceptable she settled down.

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I was tired and hungry, so I ate more chickpea tuna salad straight out of the fridge and went to bed.

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So you know Toothpaste for Dinner? No? You should. Write that down. Anyway, Drew, who draws the comic, also has this Tumblr called The Worst Things for Sale, and a couple of weeks ago he mentioned this dehydrated defatted peanut powder called PB2 that you mix with water to make lower calorie peanut butter. It was on a blog specifically listing stupid things – and I bought it anyway. I actually had peanut smoothies in mind, but I’ve discovered that if you mix it with more water than called for it makes an excellent dipping sauce for bananas. I’m not going to lie – a lot of what makes PB so ummy is the fat. However, this is pretty freaking tasty if you’re willing to acknowledge that it isn’t peanut butter.

I especially like the chocolate kind.

Oh, and speaking of buying dumb things?

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This is a mango nectarine.

Ok, there’s nothing wrong with mango nectarines. Apparently they have nothing to do with mangos – they’re just wacky nectarines that some farmer found one day and grafted and it took. They do sort of taste like mangos, but are like nectarines in every other way. The whole thing is odd and overall I just sort of wished I had another mango and some nectarines.

I ate all the above with some iced coffee (2 points total – yay fruit!!) before even getting out of bed (other than to get it, I guess – no breakfast in bed delivery when your man is out of town). I did some writing (novel #2 is underway) and searched for someone to edit novel #1, and then got up to actually eat and fuel myself for the day.

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And fuel I did. This is a piece of toast topped with a dry-fried egg, a wedge of Laughing Cow Queso, and some Morningstar Farms Grillers crumbles things heated with some salsa. Oh, and cranberry juice. Six points total and damn did it fuel me. The girls and I went for a hike, I rearranged our bedroom (and lost the aforementioned toenail), and I went to the Lowe’s and got some plants, then came home and planted them. And then I realized it was 4:30 and I was starving. Whoops. I again ate tuna and chickpea salad out of the refrigerator.

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Our front planter looks pretty nice, though – I like the grasses. (The blue on is a hanger on from last year.)

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Plus, dwarf citrus trees! The meyer lemon one already has some fruit, which I find confusing because they’re supposed to fruit from December to May, but whatever. I’ll take it and make some more of the Vanilla Bean Meyer Lemon Marmalade that I made while I was on haitus. Trust me, you guys want this recipe.

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Anyway, now I’m enjoying my one teeny tiny glass of wine for the night before I shower all the dirt off. (Oh, I also painted my nails a pretty sparkly light purple but I guess you can’t tell here. Yes, I did my nails before a day of gardening and moving furniture. I have no idea what my brain damage is.) (Also, it’s delicious and cheap wine that I will tell you about tomorrow, maybe?)

The one thing that bums me out about today is that I couldn’t find mint! When Crockett went herb plant shopping a few weeks ago, he couldn’t find any, and today I looked again and still couldn’t find any. Yes, I could probably start some from seeds, but arg.

What happened to you today? Good things? Bad things? In between things?