Thursday, April 29, 2010

a hipper hippie

Back in January I found a post on Shabdi's designs on Ready Made Blog and the images are absolutely stunning. Sadly, I can't pay $100 for a tshirt. Over Earth Day I ended up dieing a tank top but it came out more stereotypically hippie while I wanted the soft colors and empty spaces of the first photos. I also love the bottom two images that are more vibrant. How would I achieve these effects? A commenter on Ready Made Blog mentioned Shibori, which I looked up on Wikipedia. I'd like to learn more about techniques for dieing. Anyone know of resources?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

cupboard cleanse: quick stir-fry

Last Thursday I started my CSA and I still have a healthy amount of veggies in the fridge. I don't have a totally normal CSA in that I still get to pick out what I want but I'm challenging myself to get vegetables I haven't cooked frequently. A stir-fry isn't the most original or challenging but this simple dish was incredibly statisfying and simple.

Stir-fry with Broccoli Rabe, Kale and Cashews
Broccoli Rabe
Minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
Red Pepper Flakes
Handful of Cashews

1. Blanch Kale and Broccoli Rabe in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until bright green
2. Heat oil, saute red pepper flakes and garlic.
3. Toss kale and rabe into the oil, cook briefly
4. Add cashews, let become coated with oil

I don't have amounts but I used about half a bunch of kale and a third a bunch of broccoli rabe because that was what I had.

Serve over rice.

quick pic: new jewelry

I've been wearing this necklace nearly every day since I made it last week.
I can't decided if I'll list it or keep it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

happy earth day

Working for an environmental nonprofit, I went to several of Earth Day celebrations. I'm not really the hippie-type (see: this blog) but Saturday I lived it up dancing to bluegrass/ old time mountain music (which I love love love all the time), getting henna on my foot and tie-dying. Sunday I headed to DC for brunch with friends and a good time on the Mall for the Climate Rally. I finished the day off with tapas at La Tasca, eaten before I could even think to take photos. Papas bravas y gazpacho- yum!

My contribution to the brunch (on the right.)
Raspberry butter. Aka raspberry jam and butter, blended.
Inspired by Cupcakes and Cashmere's strawberry butter.

Mimosa= brunch requirement.

Art on the National Mall.
Wind Power Earth, designed by Karen Ami.

Another Earth statue, this one with no plaque to inform me of the artist.

And chilling with the whales!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

two minute lunch: the village

I've been to The Village a few times but never for lunch before since I work downtown. A canceled event at VCU left me hungry before heading to the office so I decided to stop in and grab lunch.

The Village is a classic college restaurant/ diner. Sit at the bar or seat yourself, service has always been fairly fast and the giant 'boots' of soda mean I don't need constant refills. The Village has a full bar, which is nice, though I've never gotten a drink there. I was there at 11:15 but I saw a lot of folks ordering breakfast, which isn't really my thing. (My favorite breakfast foods? Hashbrowns and bacon.) The french toast with banana and peanut butter that went past after I ordered was really tasty looking and a future possibility.

Most of my meals at the Village have involved forms of cheese and potato. My first visit I got the potato skins with bacon, which were solid. Today I had the loaded baked potato with chicken and cheddar. (In my head, the chicken made it a healthy option.) This is the type of food that rarely is shocking but when it's good, it's oh-so-good.

Blackberry photo, apologies.

What has transcended from good to sublime at The Village is the "fried cheese," essentially balls of delicious mozzarella fried and served with marinara. My friends insisted we share these on our first visit and I find myself craving them at odd times. Just don't, as I tried to do, get them to go. Like most delicious fried items, being shoved in a box and being allowed to cool create unfortunate situations. So take the time and grab a booth. Enjoy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

dinner from the cupboard: polenta with sausage and spinach

My bank account is a little tight right now and so I'm trying to clean out my cupboards when I don't have meals planned instead grabbing dinner out. Tonight I was really down to almost nothing- no fresh veggies, almost no protein, lots of carbs. I'm defrosting some meatballs I made a while ago so didn't want pasta since I'm having spaghetti 'n meatballs tomorrow. So I whipped this together.

Sausage and spinach over polenta

Made with just these ingredients.

I took two sausages and cut them in half, just slightly still connected, and sauteed them in a pan.

Problem is my spinach was super freezer burned. I boiled it and then put in the pan the sausages had been cooked in to soak up their flavor. I tossed in some red pepper flakes too.

Sausages and spinach keeping warm while I cook the polenta.

I sliced it into rounds.

Pan fried, it had an amazing texture to play with in the pan. It took a while to warm through and I should have done this step first so it could crisp more.

The end result.
The spinach was actually really bad. I wish I had some fresh vegetables and will be keeping frozen veggies for stews and casseroles only. But the polenta and the sausage were great and super simple. It definitely felt better to have a dinner where I tried something new then just the same pasta and butter.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

gold rush

Last night I meet up with a friend at The Belvidere at Broad. As I sat at the bar to wait for my friend, I heard a man two seats down ordering a drink that had whiskey, lemon juice and honey. The bartender recommended using the bar's homemade ginger-honey syrup. I immediate asked to be in on the experiement. Whiskey double gingers are my favorite drink to make, and the honey/lemon added new complexities. I will definitely try to make this drink on my own, and be back at The Belvidere to have it again. An appoximation of the recipe is below, based a recipe I found online and the changes we made.


Juice from half a lemon

3/4 oz ginger-honey syrup

2 oz bourbon

Spritz of club soda

Combine first three ingredients in cocktail shaker. Fill ice and shake hard, about 6-7 times. Pour into a rocks glass and top with club soda.

A quick note about The Belvidere, I really liked this place. It was nicely decorated and very friendly. The food was tasty, I had the roast chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries. The fries were great, though they didn't come with aoili which would have been nice. I just asked for mayo and was happy with that. The roast chicken itself was the standout, very juicy. The bartender was very attentive throughout the night so I'll definitely be back for food and just for drinks.

weekend review: part two, the country

After a late night out Friday, Saturday I got back to nature and went camping in one of the most beautiful places in the world- Shenandoah National Park. Just driving along Skyline drive was incredibly calming and absolutely something I recommend visitors to Virginia do.

On the way back home Sunday, I stopped by a barbecue place that had multiple types of pickles and barbecue sauce, along with a variety of meat options. I chose pulled pork, ribs, mac and cheese and garlic pickes (most of the other varieties were sweet pickles.) Of course I had to go with the Carolina style sauce, I'm a vinegar-based girl all the way. They also had Sweet, Hog Fire, and Colonel Bacon. Colonel Bacon almost temped me.

weekend review: part one, the city

Wine dinner at Olio. $30 for four courses, each with a perfectly-paired half glass of wine. I had the pleasure of dining with's own Holly Gordon and we were seated at the largest table, with six others. I believe, there were about four tables in all, most seating six though there was mention of other wine dinners being larger.

Course one, grilled vegetables and flatbread.
Paired with .A. Prum "Essence" Riesling, Germany
Possibly my favorite course because I had just not expected to love this course so much. The vegetables had a great smokey flavor that I don't think I've ever experienced with vegetables.
I loved this wine and bought a bottle for myself, along with the second course's wine. Partially due to the low cost of the dinner, it was nice to have such excellent wines to taste but to have those be ones that I could still afford to bring home.

Course two, Vegetable/Potato Samosa Dumpling and Tamarind Chutney Sauce
Paired with J. Lohr Vineyards "Wildflower" Monterey County, CA
While the puff pastry isn't 'traditional' the samosa was still delicious and the filling was very complex. I don't know much about wine, but the Valdiguie grape that composes most of this wine is apparently less common. I liked the 'softness' of this wine and am looking foward to sharing the bottle with friends tonight.

Course three, Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan
Paired with Edmeades Zinfandel, Mendocino County, CA
A great, flavorful dish with a good amount of spice but it didn't completely overpower the wine.

Course four, Green Tea Cheesecake with Fortune Cookie Crust
Paired with Michele Chiarlo "Nivole" Moscato d'Asti, Italy
Holly and I were relieved that fortunes did come with out fortune cookie crust and I loved my fortune. (Can you read it in the photo?) Moscato is definitely a dessert wine and I wouldn't drink it other times but this choice was the perfect way to finish our meal, particularly with the slightly-savory dessert.

After the dinner, we met up with more friends and did some bar hopping in the fan. This is how the night ended:

"Lime Birdies"
Makes a PBR taste like a Corona.
Whether that is good or bad depends on your feelings about PBR and Corona.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

a new springtime favorite

I spent about $20 on all the initial goods. Huge bag of sushi rice that will last all year, seaweed wraps, rice vinegar (went ahead and got the 'sushi' kind with sugar mixed in,) pickled ginger (YUM!) and already had the soy sauce. Didn't feel like spending money on wasabi but may pick it up for the next round.

So simple to make. I believe I boiled 1.5 cups of dry rice and had just a little left over for 4 rolls. I had cut up a whole avocado, cucumber and carrot and also had about 6 stalks of asparagus, which was way more veggies than needed. I basically followed directions on the rice to cook the rice and the directions on the wraps to make the sushi. I don't have a bamboo mat to help with the rolling, but it really wasn't an issue.

I don't know if I'll get brave enough to make sushi with raw fish. I think I'll leave that to the experts!

Wrapped up and ready to take to lunch the next day! Still tasted great after a night in the fridge, but don't cut into pieces until you are going to eat.

Easter weekend

Driving to my grandmother's down 17, most amazing drive in the country.

Lots of great antique stores along the way

My kind of antiquing

Not my kind of antiquing (see $600 price tag)

My one purchase

Mini-golf with the fam

Flowers from grandmother's yard

Little cousin hunting for eggs

Thursday, April 8, 2010

music of the day: lay low

According to NPR, she's called the "Patsy Cline of Iceland" so it was pretty much guaranteed I'd love her. The comparison is apt and Lay Low (Lovisa Elisabet Sigrunardottir) is now on my music-to-work-to rotation.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

alphabet search

This project by Marc Oliviers, featured this week on Design Sponge, reminds me a of a project from a freshman design class. We had to assemble the alphabet through photographs. Some of Oliviers' images, though beautiful, would not have passed our Professor's standards. We were banned from using actual images of letters, letters that required cutting off the image or 'incomplete' letters. On the other hand, my photographs were not nearly as beautiful. Oliviers has mutliple images per letter and they are on sale individually or as a poster.

Friday, April 2, 2010

music of the day: anais mitchell

Anais Mitchell; Hadestown. A Folk Musical

This CD is so beautiful that I used an iTunes card I had been holding on to for a while to buy it. You can hear 5 songs free on Anais Mitchell's website which I did over and over before buying the whole album.