Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sun salutation

The cat in the garden, soaking up the warm rays of the sun ...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Pineapple Fried Rice

The weather has been getting progressively nicer, which means we've been grilling our dinners more frequently. If you're like us, and looking for something simple and flavorful to go with your grilled meats and/or to complete your meal, why not try making some pineapple fried rice? It's really quite easy and quick too.

2 tbsp coconut oil
4 oz peeled shrimp, or chicken sliced thinly
1 tsp tumeric
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp pineapple juice
3 shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp shrimp paste (you can find this in Asian grocery stores)
3 cups of cooked rice, refrigerated overnight
2 cups diced pineapple
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 small Thai chili, seeded and cut into small pieces (optional)
1/4 cup roasted cashew nuts

Heat coconut oil in wok, cook shallots and garlic until golden, then add shrimp paste and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
Add bell peppers, carrots, and pineapple and cook until soft.
Add shrimp (or chicken) and chili pepper, stir fry until just cooked.
Add rice, tumeric, fish sauce, and pineapple juice and stir until the rice gets evenly coated in the sauce.
Stir fry for another couple of minutes, then serve topped with cashew nuts.

thai pineapple fried rice

Springtime Magnolias

Zach and I spent Easter Sunday at his parents' in Portland. The day was perfect, and the magnolia tree in their backyard (that we got married under!) was in full bloom. I couldn't resist breaking out the camera to capture some shots ...

The weather was beautiful. We sat outside for hours, enjoying the light spring breeze and some great conversation with family.

Mr. Kitty and Sam dog hung out with us too!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Garden Update: April 2014

On the last day of March, we planted a whole bunch of seeds.

But the spring in Indiana is always unpredictable. We had to wait for 2 whole weeks before we spotted these wee little signs of sprouting ...

radishes. we also planted a box of turnips. 
dwarf teddy bear sunflower sprout!
a zinnia seedling
pea shoots

The fruit tree and shrubs are also coming back ...

dwarf mandarin peach tree
blueberry bushes!
raspberry shortcake bush
We also have beets, herbs, and a whole host of Chinese veggies growing, and trays of peppers and tomatoes still waiting to sprout. Can't wait for the warmer weather to usher the garden along!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

ah ... home!

4 days, 3 nights, 1300 miles, 60 gallons of gas, a baseball game, a belly full of crab and other yummies, a mix of sun, rain, and snow later, we're home!

This little fellow greeted us enthusiastically with a "hi! hello!" wave of the paw! It's obvious we were mutually excited to finally be reunited!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

second day in baltimore

we woke up to rain today.  it was the kinda rain to make noah worry.  so instead of scouring the streets for art, we decided to stay inside today.  we headed to the national aquarium to check out the fishies.  it was absurdly crowded in the fish jail and it was not the best experience.  in fact, i would say that the aquarium in both singapore and in bangkok make the US National Aquarium look like a shitty public pool.

after that shit experience, we made our way to lunch at jack and zach food off of charles st.  now we're talkin'.  they have a simple breakfast and lunch menu supported by only the finest local ingredients and all in-house made items from the sausages to the pickles to the jar of hand-ground mustard on the old-school diner counter.  it was really delicious and really cheap.  about $20 for the 2 of us......including a milkshake for desert.

after lunch we hit up a local bookstore and then wandered around a bit more.  for dinner we splurged.  after searching around for good restaurants that source local foods, we were led to woodberry kitchen.  the chef was nominated for a james beard award last year, and the restaurant features a huge wood-fired oven.  the building is an old foundry that has been repurposed into something amazing.  there are artist studios (where we picked up a few new hand-blown glasses for our kitchen) and just lots and lots of interesting textures.

everything at woodberry is made in house.  all the meat is butchered and cured in-house.  there is row after row of pickled veggies lining the stair case and piles of oak logs for the oven.  what a great dining experience.  despite the fact that our waiter was a bit rushed and messed with our pacing a bit, the food was top-notch outstanding.  the nuanced flavors were in everything they brought out.  the pickled wax beans were a salty tangy and crunchy fried little bits of deliciousness.  the charcuterie plate was incredible in the different flavors that they brought out.  mindy ordered a blackberry teetotaler that had so many layers of flavors that it was nearly impossible to stop drinking it just because it was so interesting.  our entrees (steak and stew) were both good, but i was much more interested in the small plates they offered.  we had mac and cheese from the wood oven that carried this subtle smokey overtone.  oysters are always a favorite, and they came with 4 different sauces, including their 1 year aged snake oil hot sauce.  the usual franks red hot sauce is what?  who cares.  AGED SNAKE OIL HOT SAUCE.  damn damn good.  damn good.  at the end of the night i thought we'd racked up a pretty pricey tab, but it turned out to be quite reasonable for one of the best places in the city, and lets face, the atlantic region.  eat there.  it's worth your time and money.

Monday, April 14, 2014

hello from baltimore

i'm writing from baltimore this evening.  this has been my first chance to sit down and think about the past few days.  yesterday we hopped in the van and hit the road for a 10 hour drive to baltimore.  we came with the intention of picking up a cooler load of crabs to bring back to the landlocked midwest.  this morning we hit the tourist district along the harbor.  blech.  we ate at some shitty place called miss shirley's.  it had great reviews, so we waited, but also watched what was being delivered to tables.  food products.  puke.  not only that, but there was a hair on my napkin and silverware.  and when i complained the manager said she would let her supplier know that she is disappointed.  my response was, maybe having a 'supplier' is your problem.  you can't launder and fold your own napkins and silverware?  ugh.  bad start.  then we walked over to the MARC train at camden yards hoping to catch a train to DC to see the cherry blossoms.  again, no dice.  the train we were trying to hop didn't leave until 3.  so that was out.  we could have made our way to penn station and got to DC, but it was way much time to spend getting there and back and not enough time there.  so we nixed the idea of DC.  oh well.

we were both disappointed and annoyed with baltimore.  so we got the hell out of tourist town and headed the neighborhoods where Open Walls Baltimore is.  we parked.  walked around aimlessly for a bit, and then ran into a guy doing a chalk drawing on the window of his corner shop.  he told us where to go find some of the murals, and that there was a free wall and a place called the graffiti warehouse.  

ok.  i'm interested now.  we wandered some more and found some more murals, and then in the 80° heat we needed something to drink, so we stopped in a cool little shop.  the owner was there.  it was a new place, only open for the past few months, but he chatted us up for a while about graf and street art. he gave us such a good vibe that it made us forget about our earlier shit experience in tourist town.  then we stopped in an art shop, picked up a few cans, and headed to the free wall/alley.  

i started by pasting my new crow print, then painted the cell phone guy.  some guy and his daughters came down to paint (and for the girls to practice their skills [they were probably around 10 +/-]).  that was one of the coolest things to see:  a place where you can freely interact and teach kids to paint, and give them access to space to actually paint.  i then went on to add a cat to the wall.  and when i was about finished and totally disappointed with what i had created, one of the managers of the space came up with some guy in a neck tie.  i chatted them up a bit, then added a neck tie to my cat.  that seemed to get break some walls down, and we chatted and laughed a bit.  everyone we met in the station north neighborhood was awesome.  down to earth.  good people.  for real.  

after that i was so excited about baltimore.  fuck all that tourist shit that people want to see.  we went to where the people live, and they invited us into their neighborhood and treated us like they wanted us there.  magic.

we headed back downtown to go to the orioles game.  o's v. tampa bay rays.  the ballpark at camden yards was so cool.  it is quite a small park, and we wandered all through it before the game.  we found our seats, i grabbed a beer, and we settled in.  the game was a blowout, as tampa pitcher chris archer, seemed to be serving up meatballs from the get go.  mindy was so happy to get to see former reds catcher ryan hanigan on the lineup card for the rays.  and i was too.  hanigan has been a favorite player of mindy's (and mine) since he came up with the reds a long while back.  but now he's with the rays, and we were lucky that he was starting today.  the o's won the game.  and we had such a great experience at camden yards.  now, i need some sleep.

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