Saturday, July 31, 2010

Clams, Fingerling Potatoes, Parsley and Tartufo Handcrafted Salami

Years back, in my Chicago days, I received the odd cookbook to review for Chicagoist. That was a different part of my life, and I miss some of it. Mainly the free books and opportunities to attend food events as a press person. In any case, at one point I made this dish based off of Art Smith's cookbook. Haven't made it since, even though it was ridiculously good at the time. So, when I was on Long Beach Island and stopped at a seafood store and saw the option of clams, this recipe jumped to mind immediately. On Monday I went about making it. When I went to whole foods they were out of cured chorizo and the meat counter dude was so apologetic he gave me a salami substitute on the house ($11.99 value!). The substitute, Creminelli's Tartufo Salami, held up pretty well. It had .05% black truffle in it, which added a different flavor profile than Smith's original recipe, which was a little spicier if I remember correctly. The salami also cooked differently than the chorizo, neither of which needed to be cooked. I added the salami after the clams had opened, but maybe I let it sit too long before serving? The discs were just a little more chewy than would have been ideal.
It's a simple thing to do, as you can see from the above link, and it works out well. L. came over and partook and seemed quite pleased.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tuna Fish, Tuna Fish

On my way home I stopped at the Blue Claw Seafood Store (I'm not sure if that's really their official name). I bought a bit of tuna and some clams, then I drove home.
Then I cooked the tuna fish. Is it grilling if you cook it on a cast iron griddle/pan in your kitchen? Or is grilling limited to being outside? I read up on how one can get a little pink in their tuna without risking their health...or something, I mean I eat raw tuna when I have sushi and i don't think too hard about risking my health...well, except for rising levels of mercury.
Anyways, it turned out nicely and I ate it happily.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lunch Before Departure

After the pool time lunch was made for the kids, and J.'s mother made a wonderful caprese salad for grown up lunch.
J.'s mother had a big bowl of tomatoes. Just lovely red tomatoes, some from her garden, some not. Mmm.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More Pool Action

So, I like the photographs I take of J. and J.'s kids. I think they generally give an objective viewer a sense of the kids' spirits. That said, N. may appear slightly more sweet than he always is. Don't get me wrong, I think he's a sweet one...but, like most little boys, he can definitely be wild. Somehow I think this photograph better represents that wild side.
On a sweeter note, N. also found his floating-swimming sense in this weekend. According to J. he hadn't felt overly confident about float-swimming in previous trips to the pool, but this time around he was quite pleased with his paddling ability.
S. could fly through the air like nobody's business.

A lovely afternoon.

Beach Walk

After breakfast I took my ipod, camera and a big bottle of water and walked to the beach.

I picked up a lot of little shiny shells and generally enjoyed letting my feet get wet.

Breakfast, Tattoos and Painted Nails

Sunday morning I made myself a bagel with cream cheese and sliced tomatoes. Oh yeah.
On Saturday evening J.'s sister painted all the kids' names. I had been rocking green nail polish and I think at least one of the two boys requested the color so they could be like me. Does this warm my heart? Yes. Yes it does. Then J.'s mother applied tattoos to the little ones. I think S. ended up with three tattoos on his arm, at least one of which had a pirate motif.
N. went with a bug on one hand, a parrot on the other.

Yoga, Dinner and Cousins (Not My Cousins)

On Saturday evening J.'s mother made a lovely salad of tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, chick peas and maybe something else?

While the other elements of dinner came together J. and J. did a little yoga and yoga assisting. There is no way I could do what she-J. is doing in this photograph. I mean,there is a way, but at this current time I could not do it. Nope. Un-doable. S. treated his mother's leg as a London bridge.

Dinner also involved fresh corn.

The grown ups (of which I don't think I'm really one) decided that the kids would eat dinner first, and then be put in front of the t.v. while the grown ups ate. Wise move, grown ups, wise move. N. and G. wore G.'s father's tee shirts, which was quite funny because he's a pretty big guy and they are pretty little people.
J.'s dad grilled tuna, which put me on my recent tuna fix. You don't know I've been on a tuna fix, but you will. Can you be on a fix?
Then S. led N. and G. in a few spirited rounds of Ring Around the Rosey. Rosy?

And then I tried grappa for what I think is the first time. I'm glad I went with a relatively 'smooth' version.
Then we proceeded to try every homemade liqueur kind of thing that J.'s parents had brought back with them after their last trip to Italy. I should have written it all down. One was supposedly absinthe, but I don't buy it...nor did I like it.
A wonderful dinner, lovely company and a lot of fun. Thanks all for letting me join you!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Jaunt to the Beach

Later in the day J., S. and I went to the beach. S. hung took shovels to the beach, but we had radically different ideas of what a sand castle should be. I think the main thing I did that S. approved of (and requested) was a hole he could put his foot in that would go up to his thigh. I think I got just a little above his knee in depth.
I went in and got strangely intimidated by the waves. I knew I could dive under them and come up fine on the other side, and I knew if I did this two or three times I'd finally get to a point where the waves wouldn't be crashing on me but, for whatever reason, I didn't quite have the confidence to get to that point nor did I have as much interest in riding the waves that could make up for that lack of confidence. This all led to my acting like a big baby (except a big baby's natural instinct might still me to start swimming-ish...which wasn't the case for me). Meanwhile S., who is five, was having a nasty case of skin irritation...and yet he was actually quite stoic in some respects. J. suggested they both look miserable, but S. was too busy eating veggie bites (that's not exactly the name, I just forget it...they were good though). It was a weird thing and definitely misery making for the S.-Man. I never call him that.

I do like the look of the beach. I remember how unrelenting the sun is, and I've become one of those people who become overly aware of their pale skin and the discomfort of a sunburn. In some circles you might call me sensible. In others, neurotic.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


J.'s parents live on the bayside of Long Beach Island. I think. Their 'back yard' looks out on a shared lagoon, and also features their own personal pool of pleasure. I can tell from my 24 hour visit that they log a lot, a lot, a lot of hours in that pool. That particular day was ridiculously hot (though I think yesterday's 99 degrees may have beaten it) so I was quite glad to get into the water, which was comparatively cool to the air's temperature.

Lunch in Loveladies

On Saturday morning I departed from Philadelphia to Loveladies, New Jersey, which is on Long Beach Island, which is the Jersey Shore. J. had invited me to join her and her kids at her parents' house and I very happily accepted. The drive wasn't too bad, though the traffic backed up and pained me as I approached the bridge that spanned from the mainland to the island. Upon my arrival lunch was in full-swing. I ate pasta salad with olives and feta and a few pieces of fruit.

Soon after my arrival N. asked me to take a picture of him doing yoga.
J.'s mother had an awesome collection of cheeses. I wish I had asked her for their names. I just set up shop at that part of the counter and cut off tiny pieces again and again and again.

Heartless Bastards at North Star Bar

My cousin K. gave me a Heartless Bastards CD when I still lived in Chicago and I liked it very much. The hard rocky guitar riffs with country in there somewhere propelled me while I concocted recipes for Chicagoist or simply made dinner for friends. I've since bought more of their music, which is also good for walking down the street feeling tough. So, when I saw that they were playing in Philly I decided that regardless of whether anyone else would come with me, I was going to go. No one else would come, so I went by myself. Once I got to the door, however, it became unfortunately known that the show had sold out. Sadness. Fortunately a guy in the line had an extra ticket, which I purchased for the price it actually was. Funny aside, I had actually met the guy and his girlfriend once before, months back. So we caught up a little and hung out while before the show. When they actually came on I meandered to the front and asked a ridiculously tall man if I could stand in front of him, seeing as I wouldn't block his view but he was certainly blocking mine.
They didn't like me using the flash, so I had to stop.
Somehow I had always thought that the lead singer was an older woman. Her voice makes her sound like she's forty and that she really has lived it. She's actually closer to thirty and has a nice pair of feet sticks (I have decided that legs should be known as feet sticks and I insist that this catches on like wildfire).

Something about musicians' feet during a show is really interesting to me. Plus they usually have pretty nice footwear.

It was hot, hot, hot outside and even hotter inside. Within moments of being on stage all the musicians were awash and glistening.

A very good show indeed. At some point I gave up trying to take good photographs and just did my little hard rocky, sway like dance moves...occasionally being elbowed in the head by the tall guy.