Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kitchen Breakfast

The next morning I thought long and hard about stoking a fire and making another glorious and hard core egg sandwich, but between having to break down the tent and another damp morning, I decided it against it. Instead I closed out my camp site, gathered all my things and went on over to the G. family house. It was too early for M. to be out and about, but others were already awake. I took some of the farm eggs I brought with me from Pennsylvania and made myself a similar breakfast, only with a few slices of bacon and salsa.
Cheesy egg center.

Dogs, Sardines, Hummus, Meat and Goodness

Another day at the lake was spent in one fashion or another. At some point Arthur the dog took up residence in this chair. I found it worth a photograph.
This night's meal was prepared by A.'s portion of the family with assists from others I think. V. and A. were in charge of creating a massive amount of grilled pita bread to complement the sardine, anchovy, olive, hummus and feta spread that preceded the dinner.
I liked the sardines more than the anchovies. This was in large part due to the tiny anchovy bone that lodged itself in the roof of my mouth.
And I was also surprised by the chipotle hummus's surprising tastiness.

This canoe and I had a very unfortunate time together on my last night at the lake. I may write about it. I may not.
Good stuff this. Couscous, lamb, sausage. Also homemade harissa that had a very pleasant kick.

Oh yeah. Another lovely night and meal.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Egg Sandwich Made Over an Open Fire

At some point in the days leading up to this trip, I became mildly fixated with the idea of cooking myself breakfast over an open fire. Nothing too taxing. No hash browns or sausages. Just eggs and an English muffin. Due to the slightly damp evening I found the task of gathering kindling to be a bit of a challenge, but I eventually got my fire started and stoked. After that I sprayed a little olive oil type stuff onto my cast iron skillet and placed the muffins on the fire as well. The eggs took a little longer to firm up at first, but after prodding the fire a little it was all fine and dandy.
 As a final step I placed two slices of smoked ham on top and called it a success.
I was inordinately pleased about this. Next time I go camping I'm going to try actually cooking a few more things. Cast iron skillets man, they're the tops.

Fish, Rainbows, Dip and Dinner at Silver Lake

After my morning duck time I headed over to the G. compound, where I spent my day swimming, lounging and generally taking it easy. I think at one point that day M. and I took a walk around the entirety of the lake, which pretty neat. We saw a number of interesting mushrooms and it was lusciously green and mossy along the treeline right by the shore of the lake. A good outing. Others took longer hikes. In fact three intrepid G.s went on what was supposed to be about a 20 mile hike....except that they took the wrong loop at some point and added at least another five miles to the whole journey. While they were making up the difference, many of us sat at the lake idly wondering where they were. Others went fishing. I really need to get into fishing more...only I would want to cook the fish I caught whenever appropriate.
This fish's fate was not a dinner plate.
The hikers return and we all sit in a circle around beer.
The days were generally warm, but not necessarily consistently sunny. On this day, this led to a rainbow.
The four brothers G. and W. in the foreground.
A cheesy delicious artichoke dip.
Just very beautiful. It's funny, you almost get accustomed to it when you're there. The light changes from moment to moment, the surface of the lake is still or ripples. But it's all just so perfect.
I insisted that I get a few purposeful people shots.
We both look kind of weird but kind of good at the same time. I believe M. is doing a serious eyebrow arch.
I've found it challenging to take photographs of M. when she's not making a funny face.
Sometimes she's helped.
Dinner started with a green salad with tomatoes.
The main course was a tender stewed chicken, sweet carrots and rice.
Thanks goes to the Rhode Island contingent for the meal! The rest of the evening was spent lounging. Children were tickled. I retired back to the campsite at a reasonable hour.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tent and Ducks at Cranberry Lake Campground

I bought a sleeping bag in preparation for this trip, as I remembered just how ill prepared and cold that one night's sleep was back in 2009. So now my tent is totally tricked out with air mattress, sleeping bag and foyer. This is what it looked like on Monday morning.
That morning one of the lakeside sites was unoccupied, so I walked down and perched on a rock and interacted with some ducks. Interacted isn't quite the word. I sat on a rock with my feet in the water and the ducks paid me no mind, neither in terms of fear or curiosity.

I liked the secret bit of blue they had going on in their tail feathers. I wonder what purpose it serves.

Salmon and Salads on the First Evening at Silver Lake

The morning after LW's birthday festivities found me a bit worse for wear, but still capable of generally pulling myself together and getting on the road so that I would make it to Cranberry Lake to meet up with M. and A. and A.'s extended family. This will be the third year I have been lucky enough to meet up with this family for their annual reunion. The first year I stayed in the main activity house, owned by A.'s uncle and aunt, B. and W.  Last year M. and A. rented a cabin also on Silver Lake, and that is where I stayed as well. This time around I thought I would revisit the campground at which M. and I spent one night after our epic Crystal Lake adventure. So, when I first got to the booming town of Cranberry Lake, I drove on by the main G. family hub and drove another three or five miles to the Cranberry Lake State Campground. I had looked at the campground website a few times in the weeks leading up to the trip, thinking about reserving a spot. But I never actually got around to it, so I first drove a good number of the loops with a list of campsites that were free. All the sites directly facing the lake were taken, but there were a few very close by that I found appealing. Once I found and paid for my specific site, I set up my tent while there was still light to do it by. Then, and only then, did I get back into the car and go on over to G. family central. Preparations for that night's dinner were already under way. Soon enough there were all sorts of salads on a table while salmon was getting cooked. Below, behold.

I hadn't seen M. since our weekend in March with the Modo Mio and Sampan meals. And I probably hadn't seen A. or his parents or brother since ringing in the new year together. It was nice to see them all. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Birthday Barbeque

LW turned the big 3-0 in early August, and hosted herself a lovely barbeque/birthday extravaganza the following weekend. One of her college friends put sausages and burgers on the grill, which we all enjoyed.

It was a lovely deck party, which was then followed by a trek to south Philly for a raucous (and hazy) evening of darts.
Happy birthday LW!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Extravagant Sushi Lunch c/o Doma

A Friday or two ago I took the day off from work. It was one of my last vacation days before my office life gets very, very busy. Lots of editing all of the time. Reminds me that I am generally competent and have a brain. In any case, I was using my vacation day to prepare for my next week's vacation in the Adirondacks, as I would be departing on Sunday and had LW's 30th birthday to attend on Saturday. Preparations included a trip to south Philly for camping supplies and cat food.  On the way back north I thought I'd detour to Federal Donuts, thinking it wouldn't be too crowded in the middle of the afternoon. I didn't actually go in, but it looked crowded from the window and I was feeling weird about crowds. So then I thought I would finally (finally!) get myself a Paesano's sandwich. That's a date I've certainly been meaning to make. A date with a sandwich, that is. In any case I didn't have any cash and Paesano's is cash-only. So on home I went. But now I really felt like I wanted some lunch treat. So I settled on Doma. I think they lowered their chairs, which makes me very happy. I feel like I've gone there twice and both times I was perched in these uncomfortable tall chairs. Or I'm just an unwitting sufferer of chair vertigo amnesia. Who knows. I know I can't remember.

I ordered the hand roll lunch special, one eel and cucumber hand roll, one salmon and avocado hand roll and one spicy California hand roll. In addition to that I also ordered ikura, wasabi tobiko and monkfish paté.
I was quite pleased with my selection. Uncouth as it may be, I enjoyed sprinkling a little of the wasabi tobiko on the salmon avocado roll. They were all well constructed rolls and I thought the eel was nice and sweet, and the salmon fresh. The spicy California roll could have packed a little more punch, but I just infused some of my bites with a wee little bit of wasabi tobiko and straight up wasabi. 
Monkfish paté is just its own special thing. I've only ever seen it except on the Doma menu. It is the 'foie gras' of the sea according to this blog. The liver of monkfish is salted and then wrapped up in a cylindrical shape and steamed. Then disks are cut from the larger roll. This little disk has a definitely firmer and denser texture than actual foie gras. But there is some similar thing going on. The liver part, obviously. But they're very different animals, geese and fish. Additionally, I've always found foie gras to be really sensual thing. Not sexual mind you. It's just that when I eat foie gras I enjoy it with my whole body and brain. It fills me with a sense of satiation and contentedness while also alert. Perhaps that is the nature of all luxury foods.  It's just one of those taste/texture/tongue things for me. The monkfish paté doesn't have quite that brain rocking mouthfeel or flavor, but it has its own mojo. If you're a sushi fan and you haven't tried it, you should. Then we can talk about it.
Ikura, a long time favorite of mine. Just salty pearls of wisdom, each and every one of them.
A very nice lunch spot.

Seafood Times

I could have sworn that I wrote about these meals yesterday and posted it successfully, but it seems as if I have lost my mind or that Blogger is suffering some kind of technical brain fart.In any case, here's a quick summary of what I wrote yesterday: On my way back from Delaware I stopped at a farm stand and seafood market, picking up a nice variety of things to enjoy over the days that followed. The first meal I enjoyed was rockfish with a cherry tomato, garlic, caper and lemon compote type thing, along with littleneck clams steamed in white wine and with some leftover salsa fresca I had made the week before. I overcooked the rockfish accidentally, but on the whole each dish was to my liking.
A day or two later I made this pasta feast for me and AS to enjoy. AS recently departed Philly so she can pursue graduate studies in NYC. This is a sad loss of a friendly face in Philly, but I'm excited for what this educational opportunity/change of location might inspire in AS's larger life. In any case, to get a bit of face time with her before she left, I invited her over for dinner. This dinner was: fettucini with a similar cherry tomato/garlic/caper/lemon element with the addition of fresh corn, jumbo shrimp, a drizzle of truffle oil, a liberal amount of parmesan cheese and just a dollop of heavy cream.
I will not lie to you, this was an absolutely delicious dish. All the ingredients were fresh and I did very little to any of them, letting them really just speak for themselves as far as flavor was concerned. Oh yeah. Tasty stuff.
A nice final evening of conversation and camaraderie with AS before her departure!