Thursday, March 22, 2012

Try This Tuesday: Thursday Edition

One thing I've been known to do is open up approximately four million tabs in firefox with every righteous intention of "getting back" to whatever it is: articles, new blogs, amazon links, and, particularly, recipes. There's a chance this drives Sam batty. I've been trying to cut back-- deal with tabs within the same computer session in which they were opened. I've noticed a big difference; Sam has not. Truth be told, I have six tabs of recipes open right now, all waiting to be scheduled into our weekly menu plan. This is, apparently, a good way to use Pinterest-- to keep track of all these things without having to actually deal with them right away. But I'll admit I'm just not that into Pinterest. I get the appeal, and I have pinned a dozen or so things, but I just find the whole thing overwhelming. Plus my world is too small, in that I see the same thing pinned over and over and over (and not even just within the same social circle). So, I'm still figuring this out. How do you keep track of recipes and things you want to try?

I have tried some new things lately (though none from any tabs left open for days or weeks on end). Nothing in my dinner repertoire was sounding tasty last week, and among the several things I tried, this pasta with hashed brussels sprouts and pine nuts became the ultimate fighting champion. I read some recipe recently that bemoaned the now-outdated trend of hashed brussels sprouts, and I felt a bit silly, having never even tried it. But this recipe changed all that! It's a very simple and easy recipe, and Sam immediately declared it a necessary staple in the dinner rotation (Bria also ate three heaping helpings). I've made it multiple times in the last 10 days, and will continue to do so until the very last sprout disappears (I'm surprised to still be finding them at Trader Joe's). Do take note, the recipe says to hash them in a food processor, but I did mine by hand, which just takes a little extra time, but is nonetheless effective.

For pie day, I decided a banoffee pie would be the best piedea, but it came to late. After boiling the cans of sweetened condensed milk the requisite 3+ hours, it was already 8pm. Sam had a Irish-themed potluck at work the next day, and I ran out of time to make my original idea, so I sent the pie with him. Luckily I had a bit of filling and crust leftover, so I made a couple mini pies in our muffin tin for me and Bria. They didn't turn out as beautiful as the big pie, but they were just as tasty. It's so worth the work of boiling those cans.

I sampled Trader Joe's Dubliner cheese last week and was smitten. Nestled into a warm slice of their take-and-bake baguettes, it's just the perfect afternoon snack.

We babysat Sam's niece and nephews this weekend, which is always an adventure. They love the food I make for them, but their youngest is an especially picky eater, so I have to rack my brains for things that are either simple or easily adapted. Quesadillas fit the bill for both, and cooking them on the panini grill just made it a little more exciting. The picky kids ate plain cheese, and the rest of us ate ones filled with sauteed peppers and onions, shredded rotisserie chicken, and the cowboy caviar from costco. Served next to avocado with lime squeezed on top and a heaping pile of cilantro, I hardly think you can call this dressed up thing a quesadilla. I foresee this being a recurring cast member this summer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

richmond nourishment

We took a little getaway to Richmond last weekend for a bit of a breather from real life. We were there for about 24 hours and enjoyed two main meals (and a ton of junk food).
So, first of all, it's funny what a difference it makes between DC and Richmond-- Richmond was the capitol of the Confederacy, but up in Alexandria I do not feel like we are a part of the south. And I just have no authority on what that ("the South") even means. Anyway. On our first day, we went to Buz and Ned's for barbecue. I'm not really into all the specifics surrounding "real" barbecue (I think there is a lot of talk surrounding weather or not the meat is served in the sauce?), but for this barbecue novice, I declare it tasty. Bria was very excited to "eat farm animals." And demanded that her dinner include "chicken from a pig." I kept telling her it was pork, and she just fought back saying she wanted to eat a pig. I'm not sure where these carnivorous tendencies are coming from. I enjoyed what little I ate of our pork-- the right amount of sauce and not too spicy. And the mac and cheese was flavorful and smooth. I probably could have eaten my weight in hush puppies-- again, not an expert on this southern gem, but I thought they were awesome. I think Sam was just so happy about his spare ribs because he never eats meat anymore. It just made up for all those vegan experiments I serve for dinner lately. So I feel like this is a real Southern experience. 

And ice cream at gelati celesti was the best way to end our first night. 

For lunch the next day, we ate at The Urban Farmhouse-- a completely different experience from the barbecue. This is my absolutely favorite type of place to go: a seasonal menu based on offerings from local farms. My ultimate dream is to open a place like this some day. After the barbecue and eating all sorts of junk for snacks, my light salad and sandwich was practically perfect in every way. The carrots that came with my meal were the freshest carrots I have ever eaten. They were so crisp-- not crunchy, actually, but crisp. I had no idea carrots could taste that way. This was the type of meal you eat and wonder why you ever eat anything unhealthy. When it's so fresh, tasty, and satisfying, why would you want to? Alas, I forget quickly (I am eating brownies made from a box right now.) Sam had a simple caesar salad and Virgil's real cola. We've long been fans of Virgil's root beer, but had never had the cola-- this is what a soda should taste like. You can taste the vanilla and cinnamon; it tastes like a drink concocted from real spices and ingredients as opposed to chemicals. So even if you're not a big soda drinker, it's definitely worth it to invest in tasting some high quality sodas on occasion. Or at least steal some sips from your soda-drinking husband.