Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beachy Times

I so enjoyed my Delaware camp-escape last year that I knew that I wanted to do it again this summer. So after a little dilly dallying, I reserved a campsite back in June for August. I told L. and T. and C. and J. about this plan and encouraged them to join the fun. In the end L. and Fatty Mcgee couldn't come, but C. and J. brought their own posse, all of whom I met up with after driving down to Cape Henlopen on Saturday. C. helped me put up my tent and then we headed for the beach where the rest of her crew were taking in the sun and waves.
No dolphins were seen, but some jellyfish. At one point I brushed up against one while floating, which resulted in my screaming like a little girl and quickly paddling myself out of the water. This reaction is not all that surprising. Jellyfish stings hurt. But the thing is, I knew they were there and just touching one made me need to get out...but I had every intention of going back in. So, why get out in the first place? Why does being confronted with something unpleasant, but expected, result in an exodus even if you know that you're going to put yourself right back into that position again?
I took my obligatory feet at the ocean pictures.

I asked J. to take a few photographs of C. and me in the surf.

No dolphins were seen (by me) on this day. I was saddened by this because last year my first foray onto the beach resulted in many, many dolphin sightings...including them FLIPPING OUT OF THE WATER OF THEIR OWN VOLITION. I had high hopes. Dashed. Those hopes were dashed.

Craaaab Cakes

So back in the cooler months L. and I struck a deal. The deal was pretty straightforward, she would paint my bedroom in exchange for my making her crab cakes. A definite delay between the completion of the painting and the consuming of crab cakes was experienced, though I tried to lessen this lag by making the clam/salami loveliness last month. The time finally came last Friday, as my trip to Costco also involved purchasing crab meat. I didn't go too creative guerrilla on these cakes...the basic recipe (minus worcestshire because we didn't have any in the house, which is odd because my roommate regularly drowns his dinner in the stuff) plus chopped parsley and a little red onion.
Breaded them with panko and deeeeep fried them in a fair amount of sizzling vegetable oil.
Lying about this will do no good. The crab cakes were delicious. Thanks again to L. for her diligent and competent painting job that has made my room feel far more like home.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Burrata Cheese and Tomato

One of the cheeses I purchased at Costco was a bit of a surprise. I meant to buy just regular ol' fresh mozzarella cheese but I ended up with Burrata. This was a little disconcerting at first, as the cheese may look firm from the outside, but it is, in fact, chock full of cream on the inside...a soupy kind of ricotta/cottage cheese loveliness wrapped up in a mozzarella shell. So, when I went to cut the first of my four balls of this stuff, I was immediately concerned that it had gone bad. But I sniffed, I tentatively took a dollop of the inside creaminess and put it to my tongue...and nothing bad happened. Then I took a closer look at the container to find that the cheese was as it was supposed to be and it was my own set of expectations that needed adjusting. Here is my dinner one night, a fresh tomato, sliced and salted with just a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of the roommate's basil, topped with a hunk of oozy burrata cheese. I am the cheese man, ooze, ooze magoo.

Lamb Rack With Parsley Rub

I went to Costco a few weeks back and returned home laden with cheese and what felt like a neverending supply of seltzer (the seltzer is all gone, though the cheese remains). I also picked up a rack of lamb. I think that's the technical term for it. I made a parsley, lemon balm and garlic rub-type thing for the meat let it comingle for a while and then stuck it in the oven. I have mastered my fear of undercooking things, which meant that the lamb turned out nice and rare, but not raw. I skipped the browning the outside of the meat step and the final product was still tasty, but I think in the future I'll take the time to do this right.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sauteed Mushrooms, Sweet Corn and Onion with Feta and Fresh Basil

Most all ingredients from the Amish at the Thursday Farmer's Market, except the basil, which came from my roommate's basil plant and feta cheese, which came from Costco.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cocktails and Dinner c/o Noble, Darts c/o the Bards

Two Fridays ago I found myself with a weekend in front of me. A weekend without travel or any plan, and I decided I wasn't taking it lying down. Well, maybe I wasn't that militant. I just didn't want to tool around my house wondering what could have been if I actually left a two block radius of my house while staying in Philadelphia. Does that make sense? This summer I have regularly traveled distances to be elsewhere, but when I'm actually in the city I have an impressive tendency not to go anywhere or do anything. I was over it. I wanted to go out. So I asked L. about her plans for the evening and expressed my interest in going to Village Whiskey. She was amenable to joining me, so we planned to meet up and have ourselves some fancy pickled food and bourbon drinks. Unfortunately, Village Whiskey had no room for us, so I still don't know what I think of it. Instead we went on down to Noble, another place I'd been meaning to check out. While more wholesome people can go out without the desire for cocktails, I am simply not at that point in my life. It's debatable whether I ever will be. We sat at their outdoor window area...L. faced out toward the sidewalk while I sat on the sidewalk-side looking into the restaurant. We saw Kevin Nealon walking down the street to the nearby comedy club, but didn't speak to him. I ordered a 'The Check is in the Mail,' which was a combination of vodka, fresh lemon juice, honey syrup, and house-made ginger beer. Refreshing.
For my actual meal I ordered the scallop appetizer: Barnegat Light Sea Scallops with toasted farro risotto, uni, and orange-saffron vinaigrette. They were definitely enjoyable, though they didn't look this yellow in person. They were nice and tender, though I almost wished for just a little more seared-ness on the outside. I have come to terms with the fact that I don't really appreciate the taste of straight-up uni in sushi, but the uni angle of this dish actually worked for me. L. ordered the burger and liked it, though it wasn't rare as she requested (at first she thought it was...but that was just a beet).
We both ordered second cocktails. This time I went with the The French ‘75, a combination of gin, sugar, lemon juice, sparkling wine, lemon peel. It was to my liking, I think more to my liking than the first. It was a good.
L. took this photograph and likes it because of the movement all around me. I like it because I don't look fat. Do not contradict me on this point, thanks.
After dinner we were both up to more of an evening. L. suggested we go to one of her favorite spots on earth. So we went. One of the reasons L. likes this place so much is because of the convivial atmosphere of those who come regularly to play darts. She has actually spent a fair amount of time there, getting better at the sport. I knew I would be awful at the darts, but I like playing games of all sorts and drinking while playing games. I only hope I didn't embarrass L. in my poor playing (we were, with one exception, always a team...and lost every time) nor aggravate her buddies by continuing to play even though it was clear I was no match for their almost-division-1 skills. (I think it went okay, really).
That said (that = I know I was bad) I had a few good throws. This, for instance, was my much as L. wanted it to be hers when she looked at the photographs later.
See? Two bulls-eyes. I am good. I am good. I am good-ish. I am lucky. Whatever.
Then the part of the evening in which we have photographs of ourselves happened.
We put lipstick on together...well, this was actually moisturizing gloss.
L.'s dart buddy J.H. was very patient with my poor playing, and this is the photograph that does not represent that truth at all, but is a very funny photograph.
A lovely evening that completely satiated my need to get out into the world and mix things up a bit. Thanks to L. for being a willing participant and facilitator, even with an apartment move imminent.

Beer and Barbequed Pork Sandwich in Nashville Airport

I had a fair amount of time to kill before boarding my plane, so I stopped at a barbeque-ish restaurant close to my gate. I ordered a big budweiser and the pulled pork sandwich.

Not amazing, not awful. Just so-so.
The coleslaw, however, looked like it would kill you dead with three kinds of salmonella. I didn't try it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Morning Hair and Boat

A result of my mother's extended stay in the hospital was a pretty total loss of her hair. But it has been growing steadily back these last few months. It is very soft. I found myself petting my mother a lot during my visit. She also pointed out that if you pet her in the direction of her hair, she's soft like a bunny but if you go against the grain the sensation is similar to stroking velvet in the wrong direction. I wanted to take a picture of her swirl. So before I left, we got that accomplished.

Then Dad drove me to Monteagle so I could catch the shuttle to the airport. On the way there we ran into a boat with a big problem.

Tomato, Cucumber, Red Onion and Feta Salad and Pizza

I made a tomato, cucumber, red onion and feta salad on my last night in Sewanee.
It was quite delicious.
Mom made pizza, and it was quite good as well.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Another Trip to Cousin's Spread

I wanted to stick my feet in my cousin's cave water before I left, so we got ourselves back into the car later in the afternoon and went on down the mountain in a different direction. My mother took serious precautions against bugs.
My feet mingled with periwinkles and dog.