Monday, November 21, 2011

Running, Cooking, Chilling and For the Long Haul!

This is going to be a long post, but bear with me!  So much has happened since the last post, especially since it takes so long for me to get to writing new posts.  Julia has been keeping up with her running blog girls, a batch of women with enviable running habits and often impeccably neat lawns and houses.  On the plus side, Julia really enjoys running, and she's getting really rather good at it.  It started with a 5k here and there, a 10k, and then the decision to run a 15k.  Well, then the Annapolis Half marathon was delayed due to hurricane Irene, and it turned out that it lined up well with a half marathon training plan That she could run. 

(That's Leah, her partner in running crime.)

One of the most awesome part of being an adult is cooking things that are delicious.  Julia is really good at it, especially with her new found love of making breads, and pulling things from our garden to make things that are healthier than I would ever eat on my own.  I still get to make some awesome chili

From my mom's recipe that she's been using for a couple years.  I need a bigger recipe book, although I just keep putting printed out recipes in it too instead of writing them down.
But some tips, like Grandma's tip of putting vodka in the crust instead of part of the water to make it crispier is awesome.

But Julia's breads!!!  Sooooo.  Gooood!  A little bit of Foccacia

Some delicious yeasty bread rolls!

Fall has started to reach its claws into our house.  I finally turned on the heat, I'm still finding reasons  to run the dishwasher and the dryer (free heat!).  Rowdy has the benefit of a thicker coat of fur than I do, and he still gets a sweater now and then.  We also got a bit of an early snow, in october!

We had to protect the last remaining veggies from the frost for as long as we could, so I got out the tools, got some old casement windows from the parents, and spent a while screwing some wood together to make this great little cold frame.

And of course, Rowdy got to wear his sweater.  And Julia got bangs!

Not only did Julia get bangs, but I had to find somewhere in the house to hide this for a while:

Until I could give it to her, on her birthday, after she finished her half marathon, and before we had family and friends over that night for a party.  I'd say it was a great day!

So happy fall everybody!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Catching up on the Summer

It has been a busy summer.  There have been weddings, sailing, gardening, house work, camp, Rowdy, traveling, a birthday, parties, dinners, an earthquake, and now... ... a hurricane.  We're going to try and catch you all up!

Two days after our last post, the weddings started.  Julia's best friend Mary, and her husband Dan, got married at the church where Julia and Mary grew up.  Julia was the Maid of Honor, and I tried to take pictures at the wedding.  The reception took place at a Vineyard outside of Salisbury on the water, and it was a great night, thunderstorm and all.

Then, My brother married his high school sweetheart, with Julia and I as the Maid of Honor and Best Man.  It was an awesome wedding, at an awesome location, with so many of our family around.  Nick, Mark and I went golfing before the wedding, and I feel like we got the easy part.  We bought the ties the same time, waiting until the absolute last minute, in true brotherly fashion.

 I think the girls had a lot more work to do, between all the prep, makeup, setting up, flowers...  Still, it was an awesome day.  

Most of the summer, Julia lives at camp, but I tried to reap the rewards of the garden while she was gone.  It has been a hit and miss success with the garden, but I think we really enjoy doing it, and will do even more next year!  Basil, tomatoes, romaine, spinach, swiss chard, rosemary, oregano, strawberries, blackberries, carrots, beets, green onions, green beans, snow peas (now that I list them all, it sounds pretty good)!

Then, I took a little break down in Virginia visiting the grandparents, eating crabs, and teaching Rowdy how to swim.  Saw my (little?) cousins read some book (a rarity) and some straight up relaxing.

Then, we had some visitors from out of town. Way, way, way out of town.  Julia's favorite little person stopped by with his parents (Julia's brother and sister in law).  There were boat rides, swimming, dinner out, hanging out at Camp Wright, and a double ear infection... which didn't slow any of us down much. It was so good to see them all!

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Then there was an awesome race down to Solomons Island with the family, beating upwind the entire way, and arriving at sunrise and the finish in second place!  

Well, this has ended up being a pretty long post of pictures, and since I'm afraid of losing power and or internet at any moment, there will be more to come!

Good luck to all our hurricane buddies!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Inch by Inch, Row by Row

Some delicious treats from the garden have been making appearances in Rowdy's kitchen lately.  

Snow peas, fresh herbs, and giant green onions that survived the winter.  (How adorable is that tea towel?  I have a strange affection for tea towels.)
Just barely steamed and shocked in ice water.  This makes them sweet and still crunchy.
We've had a pretty serious romaine harvest this year.  We've been enjoying lots of salad and lettuce wraps here.  I made a quick potato salad with all the above ingredients for Liz's graduation dinner.  The snow peas were so delicious in the honey and mustard vinaigrette with those herbs.  

Because I couldn't help myself I pulled out one (just one) of these:

We planted RAINBOW CARROT seeds!  And they grew into real carrots!  This one was yellow, not orange.
Rowdy loves carrots.  He spent some time checking it out.  Unfortunately, he didn't really want to snack it.  I guess he prefers carrots from the grocery store bag.  Kids these days.  Sheesh.
Yay! Carrot!  I planted carrots several times when I was a kid.  I never remember actually getting a carrot out of the ground.  Can you tell that I am thrilled by this tiny harvest?  I can't wait to see the purple ones!

I had a pretty serious weekend.  Lots of good food and good drinks-- I needed some comfort food and green vegetables so Matthew and I (mostly Matthew) worked on a couple of new recipes.  I was excited to eat some swiss chard from our garden! We cooked it up with some garlic, sesame oil and sesame seeds. 

Matthew used an Alton Brown recipe for a quick and easy baked mac and cheese.  We both agreed my Mama's traditional mac and cheese is better.  Still, nobody was complaining at our house.   

Rowdy was much more interested in the m&c than he was in the garden fresh carrot.  Yes,  I photographed this meal on the floor.  The light is really good down there.  

More news on Rowdy house projects is next.  Maybe Matthew will share how he really feels about my painting the bathroom Tang orange.  I've been wondering....

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Recipe for Curing a Bad Mood

(This is Julia's first post!)

Matthew does LOTS of work outside. I help.  I do most of the cooking inside. Sometimes, cooking is more about the act of putting something delicious together--thinking of the recipe, cutting the ingredients, tasting the progress, and watching the ingredients change before your eyes.

And sometimes, I come home from work grumpy.  In my world, there is a recipe for that.   Allow me to share:

First, gather what you need.
Two adorable assistants:

(Rowdy loves to help cook!  By "help" I mean wag his tail, wave, make cute faces, and scavenge for delicious bits that fall from the counter.)

One delicious craft brewed beer.  (Amount of beer required is directly related to grumpiness.) Onions.
 Oh, and farmer's market butter.... MMmmmmmmmm..... butter.

Start by turning on your iPod.  Play something you like.  This recipe goes really well with the newest Iron and Wine album. 

Cut your onions, heat up a skillet.  Add a drizzle of olive oil, a hunk of fresh butter, throw in the previously chopped onions, turn the heat to low....

Salt and pepper, add the tiniest pinch of cayenne pepper, if you're feeling crazy.  And  wait, stir, wait, sip your beer and sing along.... watch what happens:

Caramelizing onions is a spiritual experience for me.  I like them super sweet, I never add sugar, and I'm willing to wait up a long time over low heat for them to be absolutely perfect.  Dark brown, almost jellylike, sweet as candy and a little smoky.  Absolutely perfect. 

Once you are finished caramelizing, ask Matthew to wash spinach from the garden.  Meanwhile roll out some whole wheat pizza dough and preheat the oven and pizza stone

 Use your onion pan to cook some mushrooms.

This is process is an homage to Ross and Calley-- who have a pretty serious aversion to canned mushrooms you often find on restaurant pizza.  Can't wait to make pizza and drink beer with you guys in July!

Then, throw all the things you've been working onto the crust, on the hot pizza stone.  Put it in the oven and wait a bit...

By the time your pizza looks like this, you really shouldn't be grumpy any more.  If you're still grumpy, crack another beer and see if Rowdy wants to snuggle.

More eats from the garden coming soon!