Archive for Food

Catching Up

After some radio silence on my end, it’s time to play catch up!

Every since my mom, my aunt, my sister, and I went for tea in December, we’ve made a habit of having tea together every couple of months.  We got together in March and again a few weeks ago.  This time, we had tea in Brooklyn.  More specifically, the first floor of my Aunt’s apartment rental where the family nuns live.

Yes, we have nuns in the family.  If you don’t believe me, check out this angel sculpture they have hanging over an archway.

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Side note: It’s probably safe to blink around it… but don’t hold me to that.

The nuns were traveling so it was just my mom, sister, aunt, nanny, and me.  Fascinators were mandatory again (no joke – my mom and aunt made my sister swap her headband for a fascinator).  It’s nice to know that the fascinator I purchased for Dave & Rose’s wedding had been put to good use.

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As usual, we pay a lot of attention to the food.  My mom picked up some petit fours and scones from a local bakery/restaurant while my sister grabbed some Baked by Melissa cupcakes.  My aunt even got clotted cream for the scones.  These were the centerpiece of the table.  I guess when I say that we pay a lot of attention to food, I should specify that we pay a lot of attention to sweets.  That’s normal, right?

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When it comes to the savory, we stick with standard finger sandwiches (smoked salmon, cucumber, roast beef, and egg salad) but dress them up a little bit.  For example, we used mint in the cucumber instead of watercress – which was perfect since it felt like it was 100°F.  There was talk about maybe swapping one sandwich for another but that was quickly vetoed.  To be fair, we are open to introducing a 5th sandwich.

We’ll see how that pans out.

Anyway, it was lovely day filled with ladies catching up and gossiping.

And a whole bunch of food.

And champagne.

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Have you started a new tradition lately?

Posted in Food, Fun | 5 Comments

Garden Update!

Well, hello there!  It’s been a week since my last post because I have the plague have been under the weather.  Last week, I thought I was suffering from allergies thanks to the daily  warnings of high pollen levels but I’m fairly confident that I was actually sick.  This in combination with the weather bouncing all over the place has kept me from being productive in any way.  I’m still trying to shake the last bit of whatever this is and I’m hoping to be done with it soon.

Anywho, today I’m here with a garden update!

After my intro to garden 2.0, things got… interesting.  Turns out, there were some party crashers in our indoor garden.  These little mushrooms just sprouted out one day and after some Googling, I figured out that 1) they were harmless, 2) there were probably spores in the soil I purchased, and 3) I had been over watering.  I sort of wish I had snapped some photos with our real camera but I quickly removed them with tweezers (they’re all very tiny) as soon as I spotted them in an attempt to prevent future mushrooms.

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I think the big difference between this garden and last year’s is that I haven’t found a particularly sunny place for these herbs.  Whenever I’m home I let them sit in the window, which is sunny, but the rest of the time they’re in a not-so-sunny place.  I’m hoping to pick up a planter stand so these little fellows can soak up the sun and grow big and strong.

On a happier note, after I let the planters dry out a bit, the garden is really starting to take off!

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The basil is still knocking it out of the park.  They are easily the most tolerant of my herbs – which is a nice treat since I plan on using basil as much as possible this Summer.  There are a lot tall seedlings – some of which are getting ready to sprout leaves.

20130521_herbs320130521_herbs2The oregano is working hard to catch up with the basil.  It’s clearly got a ways to go but it’s nice to see that the seedlings have all popped up.  I saw an oregano plant at the farmers’ market and it had crazy large leaves, so I’m hoping that these guys grow like that, too.

20130521_herbs4Last but not least is our rosemary plant.  This one was the one I was most excited about, and I’m happy to say that one of the seedlings has finally sprouted!  I’ll admit to you all that I popped a few more seeds into the soil (I can’t help myself!) so I’m hoping those appear shortly.

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So, that’s the news on the home front.

Have you started your gardens yet?  How are they doing?  Did you get any unexpected visitors?

Posted in Food, Garden, Nature, Seasonal, Spring | 5 Comments

Indoor Garden 2.0

About two weeks ago, I decided to finally start planting some of the herbs for our indoor garden.  I still had five of those square fiber pots I picked up from Home Depot last year, as well as basil and oregano seeds.  Rather than try again with parsley or lettuce (neither of which did well), I decided to go ahead and try rosemary.  I’m excited for this trio because I think I will actually use all three.

Rather than stuffing each pot into their own Tupperware or container of some sort, I used a rectangle bamboo box we have and lined it with tinfoil to keep it from getting any water damage.  It doesn’t look pretty, but it’s been working well.  I’ve been maintaining that ‘water from the bottom’ approach my aunt recommended to me and the tinfoil keeps the water from escaping.

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As you can see, there’s some greenery starting.  The basil was the first plant to make an appearance, followed by the oregano.  Sadly, the rosemary hasn’t shown up to the party yet.  I’m trying really hard not to plant a million more seeds (seeing as that was one of the things I learned last year) but it’s not easy.  I figure I’ll give it another week before going back in and planting a second round.

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Next to the seedlings, I have our shamrocks and a basil plant I picked up from the grocery store this weekend.  Why on Earthy would I buy a basil plant when I’m beginning to grow to myself?  The grocery store had no packaged fresh basil anywhere so I had to grab a potted plant version – which was the same price as the dried basil.

Regardless, the seedlings have to healthy, full-grown plants to look up to.  I like to think that plants talk to each other (don’t knock it – it’s legit) so hopefully these to will motivate those seeds to grow their hearts out.

Have you started gardening yet?  Anyone else keen on indoor herb gardens like me?  Are you lucky enough to have space outside to garden?  What would be your dream team of herbs & fruits/veggies?

Posted in Food, Garden, Nature, Spring | 6 Comments

Strawberries

Last week made my heart sad.  Unexpected, tragic events have the ability to make you focus on all of the negative in the world – sort of that “when it rains, it pours” mentality.  There are so many questions and there is a struggle to understand why, but there will always be unanswered questions.

I think Patton Oswalt said it best when he said “The good outnumber you, and we always will” (If you haven’t already, you can read his whole response to Boston here).  This is something I whole-heartedly believe: that good will always win.

In the hopes of keeping things light today while I get back into the swing of things, I thought I would share something delicious with you all.  This isn’t so much a recipe as something you should try.  I only tried this a few weeks ago at my in-laws’ house but since then, I’ve been hooked.  I come home with strawberries whenever I find a good batch at the grocery store.

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So… about once a week.

Now that it’s sort of strawberry season, I think this would be the perfect time to share this ‘recipe’.

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Directions:

1)  Cut up strawberries into quarters (or smaller if they are large strawberries).
2)  Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of sugar on top of the strawberries and then drizzle a little bit of water over them.
3)  Place the strawberries in a sealed container.
4)  Wait two days before eating.

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You can eat them the next day, but it’s definitely worth waiting until the second day.  By that second day, there will be some wonderful strawberry juices at the bottom of the container.  If you can make it to the third day then you’re pretty much golden (and you’ve totally impressed me because we cannot make it that long, although I bet it’s worth it).

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The great thing about this is that it makes a great snack or dessert – and it’s something everyone can enjoy.  It’s also a wonderful treat to bring when you’re going over someone’s house.  We usually eat it right out of the container or drizzled over chocolate cake.  I believe this would also be delicious with some homemade whipped cream.  One day, I intend to have it as an ice cream (so, probably this weekend seeing as it’s finally sort of warm out).

So, let’s hear it: how do you prefer to eat your strawberries?  With chocolate?  Ice cream?  Do you hate strawberries but love strawberry flavored treats?  Anyone contemplating giving this ‘recipe’ ago with other fruits?

Posted in Food, Recipes, Vegan | 10 Comments

Updating an Old Favorite

Before I went away to college, I was fairly hopeless when it came to cooking.  No joke, I had to ask my mom how to boil an egg.  Safe to say that the kitchen was not my domain.

For my Junior year, I moved off campus and into an apartment with an actual kitchen.  Gone were my days of dining hall food, only to be replaced by my concoctions.  Not everything was a success, which is weird since the majority of my meals were pre-made items that you only had to add a few ingredients (like pancakes or those Knorr (Lipton) side dishes).  Like I said, I was not a natural-born chef.

The year I moved off campus was also the year Joe and I got together.  He and I ended up cooking together often (which is one reason why I ended up being a decent cook).  This was also the year I got my first cookbook: Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis (which is the other reason why I got it together in the kitchen).

One of our favorite recipes from the book was the farfalle with turkey sausage, peas, and mushrooms – which you can check out here.  I highly recommend it.  Not only is it delicious, but it’s a quick and easy meal to make that’ll give you plenty of leftovers.

Sadly, I won’t eat this anymore since I don’t eat turkey but the other night, Joe was able to create something very similar.  Instead of using sausage, he used tofu ricotta (recipe found here).  I loved it so much that I ate it for dinner, brought some in for lunch, and ate the rest at dinner.

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If you’re interested in making the vegan version, it’s pretty simple.  All you need to do is chop the mushrooms and cook them in olive oil until the water has evaporated, add the frozen peas and let them cook together.  When that’s done, add the tofu ricotta mix in and then mix it in with the cooked pasta.

Next time, Joe and I are going to play around with different seasonings, like fennel, in hopes of giving it the same flavor as the original recipe.  Either way, it’s nice being able to add a new updated recipe to our repertoire.

Have you played around with recipes as your tastes change?  And when did you learn your way around the kitchen??

Posted in Food, Recipes, Vegan | 13 Comments
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