Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chinatown

We went to Chinatown today. We took the gold line train, took photos and ate dim sum. Fun!






















Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Random things

I guess I just like lists. Lists of things I am doing, have done, want to do. This weekend, I did some homey, good-livin' type stuff. And there's still half a day to do more. I:
• took a pilates class
• got inspired to load up my itunes and listen to some bruce springsteen
• went out two... nights ... in ... a ... row!
• drank lots of red wine
• made crockpot chili (new recipe)
• went for a river hike with friends/neighbors/and dog-friends
 cleaned out the freezer
 made a new recipe for pasta salad
 made home-made chai tea
 drafted up the finishing touches of our seemingly never-ending front yard landscaping project, made a specific list of what is left to buy or plant. there is light at the end of the tunnel
 finally watched my netflix movie that has been sitting around for over a month
 signed up for a photography class that involves a train ride, chinatown and dim sum
 talked myself out of buying the ipad2... AGAIN... Still thinking on it 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Edamame and Cauliflower Pasta Salad

I made this pasta salad yesterday afternoon (thanks Mona for the recommendation from the Kitchn blog), then got invited to an impromptu barbecue. Just  before I threw in the feta, I remembered that some vegan friends would be there. Up to that point, it was vegan. So I put the finishing touch of cheese in a baggie on the side, and showed up able to please we omnivores and the vegans.
I'm trying to work on my food styling. What do you think?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stool!

I got the stool I've been coveting. Gumbo-making will be a breeze!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lebanese Joint

Last weekend I got to eat at my favorite Lebanese joint in San Diego, located behind my favorite bar. Ah, I miss that combo...

Mama's

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More juice... it had been awhile

I just love the old-timey look I can achieve with Hipstamatic on the iphone! It just.... makes me want to eat more fruits/vegetables and snap more pictures!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A lamb lamb

Last night's dinner was refreshingly good! I've never been a huge fan of lamb, but my husband made a delicious marinade for it and grilled it on our new BBQ. It was lovely! I just love Mediterranean flavors - I happened to be making a lentil/spelt/vinaigrette salad type thing last night, and it went perfectly! We also had broccoli and cauliflower on the grill with merely a little olive oil drizzled on top. So delicious. I think one of the best inventions in the world is a BBQ grill basket.

less is more

It's a busy, busy summer. I have been eating, cooking, traveling, reading food blogs and cookbooks, and sampling friend's specialties at backyard barbecues. But, I haven't been so thorough on blogging about it. So, I am taking the pressure off of myself to craft a post with wonderful photos, thought provoking, descriptive entries full of discoveries, research, successes and failures. Instead, I'm saying it's A-OK to blurt out a little something, one line perhaps and throw in a so-so picture if that's all I have, or not. Always keeping the focus on good food and its pursuit, just not stressing out about the documentation. Less is more. Right?
Now that I got that off of my chest, here's a long blurb about the gumbo I made last weekend...
Though the photos don't show the final product, they show the preparation, and frankly, the roux is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING! And most time-consuming. The last photo shows the clock at nearly 85 minutes. I learned that my clock stops at 99 minutes. In the end, I stirred this roux for approximately two hours. And it still wasn't chocolate brown! I was tired, hot and ready to be done with it and go on to phase 2: the rest of the gumbo cookin'! The final result was pretty good, not great. I brought it to a southern friend's bbq, and I heard someone comment that it tasted like gravy. I think that was a good thing (?) Everyone seemed to really like it, and it was tasty the next day too. I just know I've made better, and I know that it starts with the roux.
Last time I made it so successfully, I definitely achieved that dark brown color, and it was thin, liquid-y. This time, I gave up too soon because I couldn't stand it - and the result was much thicker, and not as tasty. Two things to try next time: 1) slightly higher heat, especially if I have a fan on in the kitchen. And 2) BUY a proper stool- geez! I sat for two hours on two phonebooks on a kitchen chair (low rent). I love gumbo, thus I need the proper tool to make it- a stool. Will post pictures when I find the perfect one!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Portland

I love this photo.. and Stumptown Coffee!


We went to Portland to attend our friends' 10-Year Wedding Anniversary Party. We have many friends who relocated to Portland- it was fun to see everyone at the party. It was held at McMenamins Edgefield, which is also a hotel, so we stayed there. Edgefield is like summer camp. Gorgeous grounds, several bars and restaurants, rock venue, distillery, winery, gardens, soaking pool, pitch and putt golf course, movie theater, glass blowing studio, etc. With all of this at our fingertips, we spent most of our time at Edgefield- it almost didn't feel like a trip to Portland. The last day, we did get in to downtown, to hit up some food carts. The trip was (as usual) too short - so many places to eat were missed... Anyway, here are some photos.





the vineyard at Edgefield

A couple of other shots of the grounds, I took while wandering around.



Some pipe-work coming down from the ceiling at the first bar we went to, adjacent to the distillery.

One day we drove up to the Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. The outside of the lodge was shown in the movie the Shining. They had this axe for tourist types like me who asked about it. Pretty sure this is not THE axe, but still, it was kinda funny. My husband had his good camera and was taking lots of pictures, so I really didn't try too hard with my phone pictures, and that is fairly evident by these very average photos. See his blog for better pics..





The last day, we hung out a little in downtown Portland. The most important goals: get coffee, eat from food carts, and go to the Pendleton Store. We accomplished all.



The Ace Hotel.. I WILL stay here one day



The River!

Every year we head to Bishop, California for Independence Day to camp with 50-150 of our old friends. It's a tradition I look forward to every year, a perfect way to kick off the summer, and a great way to stay in touch with our friends back home . We float down the Owens River at noon on Saturday of the holiday weekend, and we've done it for the last 15 years! We had a great time, mellower than past years.. Hotter, it seemed than past years. And didn't take many pictures at all. Regarding food: we cooked breakfast and dinner at camp both days, nothing terribly groundbreaking: hotdogs, tacos, eggs and bacon. But there is something so nice about making do with your tools and surroundings, and preparing and eating a meal entirely out of doors. It just makes things taste better.
Another tradition within the tradition, is to say a last goodbye to the river, for another year. After packing up and leaving camp, before hitting the road, we go to the place along the Owens where we usually put in for the float. We open up a final, very cold mexican beer, squeeze a lime into it, and stare at the river, appreciative for a float well done, that icy water, that cold beverage in hand. This is the only picture I have from our trip this year, saying goodbye.