Thursday, July 24, 2008

no time like the present

Tick, tock...

I love presents. Getting them is swell, but I especially love giving them. My only problem is, once said present is in hand, I have an awfully hard time waiting until the appropriate moment (day, or even month) to give it to its intended recipient. Case in point, I divulged P's grand birthday scheme after a lovely evening drinking wine, including plans for picnicking and race track visiting. I have managed to conceal the place we're staying, but that is about it. So, that happened in February, and P's birthday is in August. You see? I have a problem.

To try to correct a bit for this indiscretion, I have found a supplementary present for P's birthday. However, now that it is wrapped and sitting on my night stand, it is only a matter of time before I hand it over. I feel bad for P! It's not very fun to not get any presents on your birthday because you've received them already.

What to do, what to do....?


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

the art of the emergency meal

Most who know me know that I need to be fed regularly and often, or I go into emergency-no-food-shut-down mode, which is not pleasant. P usually follows me around with granola bars to make sure I do not accidentally descend into this state. He also helps me identify when I'm actually hungry through strategic questioning.

Me (Suddenly, in the middle of getting ready to go out on a date): I'm depressed.
P: Have you eaten?
Me: Ah! I'm not depressed, I'm hungry!

Me: Rude and irritable comment.
P: Have you eaten?
Me: No, I'm sorryyyeeeee!

You get the idea. So, as much as I like to spend a long time preparing a meal, there are those times during the week when I don't want to think, and I don't want to spend a lot of time making dinner. P and I have developed a small arsenal of weeknight meals. I thought I'd share a few here and ask you to please let me know your go-to meals, as I gotta eat.

Quinoa and Edamame Salad
I make this in my rice cooker instead of following the longer directions.

My simplified process:

1 cup quinoa
2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed (10 ounces)
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried (super convenient)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup drained and diced jarred roasted red peppers (3 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, preferably toasted

  1. Rinse your quinoa in a sieve. Put it in your rice cooker with 2 parts water (I sometimes add some no-salt boullion). Take your edamame out of the freezer and let them sit on your counter.
  2. In large bowl make dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt/pepper, tarragon (fork whisking). Chop up your red peppers and throw them in the bowl if you'd like.
  3. Watch your quinoa. When it looks like it's almost done, but there's still a little water left to go, throw the edamame in the rice cooker. Again, watch it and when the edamame look heated and the quinoa looks done, throw it in the bowl with your dressing, mix it up, put your walnuts on top, EAT IT IMMEDIATELY.

Last night, we used our grill pan to make the extremely delicious
Pan-Grilled Tofu over Wilted Asian Greens
(This is also a very cheap recipe to make; get out yer grill pan.)
Original recipe here.

Block of extra firm tofu (press the water out of it and cut it in whatever size pieces you want)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger (or use ground dried if you don't have fresh)
1 small garlic clove, minced (I put mine in the garlic press, which I think is great for marinades)
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco or dried hot red pepper flakes (Tabasco is better for this, I think)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
5 heads baby bok choy (or whatever greens you want, these were delish)

  1. Stir together soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, Tabasco, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add tofu slices in 1 layer and marinate, turning over every couple of minutes, 8 minutes total.
  2. Heat yer grill pan and grill your tofu until it is hot and has toasty grill marks. Make sure to save the marinade.
  3. Heat the rest of the oil in another pan and start sauteeing your greens. Add the rest of the marinade when they just start to wilt. When they are all wilty, take them out of the marinade, put greens in two bowls and top with grilled tofu.
  4. Go outside to your yard/porch/balcony/open window and eat it in your flip flops and pajamas.

It was so good! Other emergency meals we go to are homemade tomoato/basil pizza; my Mom's "little pizzas" which are English muffin pizzas under the broiler; spaghetti with garlic, lemon, hot pepper flakes, spaghetti squash with olive oil and Parmesan....

I would love to hear about your emergency meals! I need more ideas. I need to protect my husband from Hungry L....

Thank you!

Monday, July 14, 2008

happy Bastille Day-a-go-go-no-go

Claude Monet

Happy Bastille Day, all!

P and I spent the weekend reveling in francophile-ness in honor of France's national holiday. Mostly this involved eating a lot and talking about making an appearance at Bastille Day-a-go-go, a celebration we stumbled upon several years ago, but have yet to re-visit despite an awesome Edith Piaf cover band, free cake, and a 6-ft+ tall man dressed as Napoleon leading a New Orleans party band. In spite of our best intentions, too much charcuterie and kir thwarted our plans. Next year, I swear.

Culinary adventures included:

According to Netflix, La Vie En Rose is on its way, so the celbration may be extended one more day in honor of the fabulous Marion Cotillard.

Until next Bastille Day, bisous.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

best way to "kill" a Saturday

Get it? "Kill" time? Like, Peekskill? Ok, ok, please give me a break, I'm having a tough time in the clever department today and was at loss for a witty title. Much discussion has revolved around what exactly a "kill" is (a la Peekskill, Fishkill). I have learned that is from the Dutch meaning a stream/creek/channel.

After our pleasant train picnic and arrival at Penn Station, P and I met up with S to head out to her home in Peekskill.

Trains are so civilized...

Saturday, we spent the afternoon wandering the town. We went to a farmers market where P&S sampled locally-made fare.

S&P with pickles-on-a-stick

Then we headed into Treat Station where we regressed a bit.

P likes trains

Retro conductor dress-up

The highlight of P's afternoon is when we finally let him go to the used bookstore he's had on his mind since our last visit to Peekskill (which was, like, a year ago). S said she had never gone in before because disorganized stores are not her thing (nor mine), but what we found was far from disorganized. Besides having the best name for a used bookstore ever, it was super-organized, funky, and interesting. Both S&P made out quite well. S even got a book signed by the author, right on the spot...

Bruised Apple decor detail:
Who doesn't read better in a fez?

A perfect Saturday afternoon... Friday P&A went to the Sox/Yankees game. While I'm sure it was amusing, I was not there, so may have to ask P to submit a guest entry here...

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, July 7, 2008

a tale of two cities

First off, today was a vacation day! A perfect way to end our weekend trip down to NYC/Peekskill to visit S,A&PAC for the 4th of July. There will be more to come, including a comparison of pickles, tiny trains, a fez, and perhaps S in a conductor's cap. Who knows?

For now, I would like to leave you with this photograph below. It illustrates the possibility that World Peace could exist.

Boston + NYC = love

Go Sox,

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

dancing queen

You spin me right round, baby, right round,
like a record, baby, right round, round, round

On Sunday, P and I headed out to Scituate to visit with T&R and their daughter K. P&R had plans to wach Spain vs. Germany, and T and I had plans to drink Sangria and chat.

All went according to plan. An added bonus was the endless amusement provided by tiny K. Having spent the past 6 weeks or so in Japan, she has developed some very Japanese habits that somehow become hilarious when performed by a 1 1/2 -year old. For instance, when you say "konichiwa" to her, she will IMMEDIATELY give you a little head-bop bow. No matter how many times you say it, she'll do it. Seriously, I must have "konichiwa-ed" her 50 times that afternoon.

She also has some mad dancing skills. Check out the mania in her public dancing debut above. I like when she spaces out around 27 seconds and the head-bop ending...

Thanks for another great time T&R. Can't wait for our "city outing" together...