Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pork Chops, Summer Squash and Boursin Potatoes

This past weekend, I seriously scored at the Farmer's Market, mostly at Dave and Christin's Federal Point Farms booth.

Hey Christin!

They had squash, sugar snap peas, fresh basil, and potatoes, among other things, including gorgeous flowers.


I bought so much, I decided to once again hand it over to a pro to help me make the most of my vegetable greed so it didn't all just turn into brown mush in the crisper drawer. So I asked Tony Rosenfeld what to do with the snap peas, the squash and the cukes. He had some excellent ideas, and posted them on his Cook Angel site for me.  I really suck at vegetables - I need all the help I can get. His suggestions are all simple and fairly quick.

I decided to start with the squash. I had some nice thick pork chops and potatoes from Dave and Christin to go with the squash.


And some Boursin cheese.



Which honestly probably would have served me fine for dinner, but Pootie wanted a protein and I did have that squash...


So I diced it, added a couple of cloves of smashed garlic, and simmered it in salted water for about 6 or 7 minutes.


Then I drained it, added a couple of grinds of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, and presto-chango - done!


For the pork chops, I just rubbed them with salt, pepper, paprika and oregano and grilled them.


Perfect dinner, and nothing took up oven space, which was a bonus, since it's been in the mid 90s for three days running here. (Why, yes, I AM ready to go to Canada now. Dinky is too.)

Dinner was great, but that squash really was outstanding. Coming from someone who is truly not crazy about vegetables that don't start with "potato", I would have been happy to settle for that and nothing else for dinner.

Fortunately, I didn't have to.


Here are the printable.pdfs of the squash and the potatoes, if you want to take them for a test dip. And if you have some stuff in your fridge and are wondering how on earth to craft that into a meal, head on over to www.cookangel.com and let Tony hook you up.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Salmon Over Watercress Salad with Grilled Vegetables


Despite the fact that the weather hasn't warmed up as much as we're used to down here, (you'd think we were in Canada, or something), I've still been getting my grill on almost every night. 

We picked up some nice salmon from Mott's Seafood, and gathered up some pretty vegetables and some watercress that really wanted to go home with me.  And Christin brought me some dill from her farm last time they were here, and it's kept beautifully.


A lovely celebratory lunch with Marc and Sara on Monday involved a lot of grilled veggies, so I decided to follow Marc's lead at home.

You don't really need recipes for this dinner. Just slice the vegetables - whatever you've got - I had eggplant, red pepper, zucchini, tomato and avocaco - brush them with some olive oil and sprinkle them with a little kosher salt and pepper. Put them on a medium-hot grill.



Cook them until they're softer and browned on one side. I like mine slightly firm. You can cook yours longer if you like them mushier. While they're cooking, you can get the salmon ready.

I sprinkled my salmon filet with some kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, lime zest, and a pinch of brown sugar.



I did my usual - cover a broiling pan  or heavy-duty baking sheet with foil, then top with parchment and cook the fish over high heat on the grill. You'll want to get the fire hotter than it was for the vegetables.

If you're as lucky as I was, and manage to find some pretty watercress, wash and dry it, and toss it with a little olive oil and salt and lime juice.

Serve the fish over the dressed watercress with the grilled vegetables. I also added those nice smashed crisped potatoes. Go heat up your grill and get outside!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Andie's Big Adventure


See my sweet little house? I'm preparing to say goodbye.

Late last summer, Pootie applied to a maritime history PhD program at Memorial University in St. John's Newfoundland. Canada. Many, many miles away. April 29, we received word that he was accepted with full funding.


The requirements for the degree are that he spend one school year (two semesters, which equals about 7 1/2 months) on campus taking a couple of seminar courses. And when I say "he", I mean "we". That means us, folks. Yes, we are relocating TEMPORARILY to St. John's, Newfoundland.



Someone send smelling salts.

A few of our friends, when given the news, have had the immediate (and highly appropriate) response of "OH MY GOD!! DON'T LEAVE!! WE'LL MISS YOU TOO MUCH!!" And to them, I send my deep affection and gratitude. And reassurance that we will be back soon. Some have responded, "Congratulations! What a great opportunity for P! You're going to have a wonderful time, and and Dinky will LOVE it!" To them, I say you're absolutely right. Thank you. And some have been all, "Oh really? Cool. Let us know when you get back." To them, I say "THBBFFFFFTT" (not really).

But ALL of them have said "SERIOUSLY? Andie! You JUST GOT YOUR NEW KITCHEN!! How can you leave it? Are you going to just cry and cry??"




Yes. Actually, I am. Thanks for asking.

I am handing the kitchen of 305 over to trusted hands for our lengthy absence, so it will be well cared-for and loved. But the timing... yeah, it's killing me. Then there's the fact that extracting me from my nest always takes a crowbar and a sedative. And I'm going to be over 2000 miles away. For several months. We'll be gone from September to mid-April, and given how pricey flights are, we probably won't be home for Christmas.


 I don't know if you understand fully, so allow me to illustrate. This is me:

Thanks for designing the perfect graphic for me, Natalie Dee. Yes, I own the t-shirt.
Couple this personality trait with the fact that I work at home and rarely leave the house (look up the word "hermit") and maybe you'll understand that I'm having a little difficulty coping right now. For the past couple of weeks, I've spent my share of time like this:




Pootie has started carrying a tranquilizer dart gun with him everywhere.



You know that wonderful WWII British chin-up thing?




Yeah. Well, this is more fitting for me.


Sad, but true.

But in an attempt to reframe and pluck up my courage, this is what we'll be calling it on the blog.

Someone send help. And a therapist.

Now, the positives.

1. We have procured a lovely furnished rental house from one of the kindest people I've ever met. (With high speed internet, so I won't miss a beat with work.) Truly, if I have to have landlords at age 43 (almost 44), at least I got the nicest one. It's a vacation home in Portugal Cove, about 15 minutes away from the school, right on the water, and it will be perfect.

2. Everyone with whom we've been in contact up there has been beyond helpful, encouraging, understanding, and gracious. And people we've talked to who know anything about Newfoundland and especially St. John's have said the inhabitants are warm, welcoming and wonderful. (WWW!) So if I've got to give up my shiny new kitchen and peel myself away from my home and my loved ones, at least I'm headed to a friendly place.

3. This:


Someone at 305 is really going to dig the weather up there. The paltry dusting of snow above will pale in comparison to the winter this guy is about to experience.

Frankly, I won't be gnashing my teeth over heading North in late August either. That's around the time I start getting professional about whining about the heat and humidity. (Oh, who am I kidding - I start as early as July 1.)

Of course, there is a kitchen at our rental place, and I will make full use of it. Meanwhile, I'll be trying to utilize my new digs to the fullest before we have to pack up and make the arduous journey North. So now that I have my balance and my bearings again, (at least temporarily), stay tuned.

And to keep my hyperventilating to a minimum, kind words of encouragement are welcome.

Seriously.





Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Breakfast


Mother's Day. Such a lovely holiday. I don't have human offspring, and my furry one didn't so much as make me a card. Ingrate.

Hi! It's all about me! Uh... hey. You gonna eat that?
My brother and I have a long-standing tradition of trying to beat each other to the punch with phone calls for our folks' birthdays, mother's day, father's day, etc. I almost always win because I live in EST and he lives in Denver (PWNED, beotch!!!) But it's OK. Because he's the baby and he's the favorite anyway.


Oh, it's OK. He's my favorite, too. And, good lord, he was ADORABLE! Do you BLAME them? (He still looks JUST like this. Except he has less hair.)



Unfortunately, I called a little too early and woke both my parents. (Sorry, guys! But hey, John? Still...POWNED, beotch!) I suspect I may have lost points this year.


Yeah, see? Me? Adorable? Not so much. Obviously, I liked cookies. (My dad did my hair. Isn't it lovely?) Seriously, Mother, couldn't you at least have pulled my shirt down?


So I paid her back for this lovely ensemble by waking her up 40 years later for Mother's Day. (Check that outfit. And she wonders why at 43, I buy my clothes at Costco.) I also paid Dad back for stretching my scalp and slanting my eyes with his "ponytails". I woke him up first. HA!

"Hi! It's 6:30 on Sunday there! Happy Mother's Day!" I had a nice, short chat with Dad, then a nice, long chat with Mom, then I had to run to the grocery. Phillip's parents were coming over for Mother's Day Breakfast and I didn't have egg one. I'd have loved to have my own parents here, but they're 800+ miles away. And they probably were back in bed anyway, after having been woken up at the crack of dawn. (Did I mention I won?)

The menu wasn't all that impressive. There was fresh fruit sprinkled with a little sugar:





 Coffee:


Thanks for the teapot, Leigh!


Smoked salmon and cream cheese for bagels:




Scrambled eggs with chives and turkey bacon and bagels.




I tried to keep it on the healthy side. Multi-grain bagels, uncured turkey bacon, fresh fruit. It was a gorgeous day. We ate outside and talked and talked.



OK, well, Pootie talked.



His parents listened.

You don't need any recipes. You can all make scrambled eggs and dribble some chives in there, and you can all toast some bagels and cut up some fruit.

So do it. And invite your mother and father, or your mother and father-in-law over, and spend a lazy Sunday enjoying some family time.