Friday, June 26, 2009

Explosion of green

The vegetables are loving all the heat. The tomato plants are HUGE! I am especially proud of them because they are so tall, green, and plentiful. The feeling of attachment I have for them runs deep because I started those suckers from seed. I nursed them with water, sunlight, and the most foul smelling organic fish fertilizer liquid that you can imagine. They were just tiny little seeds and now look at them. Ah, the miracle of life. The plants are full of flowers and I've read that it generally takes 30 days from flower to ready-to-harvest fruit, so I'm pretty excited. There are even two small fruits that are growing-- they must be one of the earlier varieties that I planted. I planted all heirlooms, but I forget which kinds. Oh well-- I'll find out when I eat 'em!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baltimore Bound

Chad and Andrew came down to Baltimore to spend the weekend with us. They drove down Friday night and we all went to Mezze, our favorite Baltimore restaurant. Mmm, tapas. On Saturday, it rained (of course-- it does not but rain lately), so it was a low key day. We went to a yarn store, a vintage furniture store, H-Mart, and out to brunch. We spent the afternoon at home relaxing-- we played Phase 10, chatted, and drank hard cider. After our enormous brunch, no one felt like having a real dinner, so we went to the diner at 10pm to get some food. Our waiter looked a lot like my brother and it freaked me out! On Sunday morning, we woke up to head over to the farmer's market. It's always so nice when we get to spend time with Chad and Andrew-- we've all known each other for so long that it is really low-key and comfortable. We're looking forward to seeing them again in August when we go camping together in PA.

Reading Terminal Market

We spent the night at the Downtown Marriott in Philadelphia, which is directly across from the Reading Terminal Market. After we checked out of the hotel, we went over to the market to check it out and get some lunch. We got lunch from DiNic's, which is famous for their pork sandwich. Words cannot describe how juicy and delicious this sandwich is-- the pork is tender, the hoagie roll is fresh, the provolone is sharp and aged, the broccoli rabe is garlicky, and the pork juice drips off the sandwich. So so good.

Andrew is a Master!

After I don't even know how many years, Andrew graduated with his master's degree in Environmental Engineering. YAY! To celebrate, he invited some of his friends and family out to Yakitori Boy in Philadelphia for karaoke and dinner. Luckily, we were able to make it up there to join in the festivities. It got off to a rocky start, with Andrew's Mom falling on the street outside the restaurant and dropping the cake (by chance it landed flat on the ground and still in the container, so all was well), but after that slight misshap it was smooth sailing. The songs people chose were great, the company was fun, and the food was tasty. I was really glad that we were able to take the time to come up to Philadelphia to be there.

(From the top: Matt singing "Paint it Black", Andrew singing I forget what, Erin and Rich (Andrew & Erin's dad), and Steph and Chad.

Monday, June 15, 2009

She's my cherry pie...

Since practically the first day of Spring, Steph has been asking me to make her a cherry pie. It's her favorite pie. I keep telling her that she needs to wait for sour cherries to come into season, which usually happens in early July. But all the heat and rain we've had lately must have made the season come early, because I found sour cherries at the farmer's market this past Sunday. I was quite excited and I called Steph at work to tell her the good news. I made the cherry pie today using a combination of recipes. I use my mother's pie crust recipe, but I cut the water in half and substitute the other half with vodka (a trick I picked up from Cook's Illustrated). The vodka evaporates during baking, so the crust is still flaky and not tough at all, but the added moisture before baking makes the dough MUCH easier to roll out. For the filling, I used the recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Baking Guide. The pie turned out beautifully and it was super tasty as well.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Erin's blog makes me hungry

Erin posted a photo of an omelet she made for breakfast on her blog the other day and ever since I've been craving an omelet of my very own.

I'm not a big breakfast eater, so I made an one for dinner this evening. Having breakfast food for dinner is always so fun. I made my omelet with a sharp local cheddar, local spinach, and tomato. It was freakin' delicious...really hit the spot. I also had a piece of pumpernickel toast (I got the bread at the Amish market last week) with peach jam (local, and good, but not as good as Andrew's jam), and a thinly sliced radish.

In slightly related news, do you see how fabulous and natural the light appears in this photo despite the fact that I took it at 10pm? It's because I bought a speedlight flash for my camera. Not only is the flash superior to the built in flash on my D80, but it also gives me the ability to bounce the flash off the wall or ceiling, thus making the light appear more natural. It has vastly improved the quality of the pictures I take in low light. I will have to post comparison photos so you can really see how much of a difference it makes.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A belly full of food and a heart full of happiness

Today was a relaxing, rainy day. I like rainy days because I don't feel guilty about not getting out into the garden to do work! We went to the Pennsylvania Dutch Market, which was awesome. We had never been there before, so it was a new adventure for us. They have raw milk butter!!!! If only they had raw milk as well... The quest continues.

We ran some errands and then came home, and I made dinner while listening to Jeff Buckley. I roasted leg of lamb and asparagus, and Steph made a delicious salad. The greens came from our garden, and the asparagus was local. I feel like the asparagus at the farmer's market has been especially good this year. I think this may be the last week for it though, so I will need to stock up on Sunday and freeze some.

And yes, we let Winston sit at the table with us when we eat. He's so cute about it. We put that plate in front of him for the photo opportunity, but after we finish eating we usually give him a couple of small pieces of our meat or a bit of cheese. He is a spoiled little Prince.