Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On Food and Cooking

Hardcore foodies will recognize the title as the book by Harold McGee (I recently acquired a practically free copy that was to be discarded by a public library), but it is a pretty accurate description of what the past couple of weeks have been like for me.

Let's take this morning for instance. I woke up, starving as usual, and excitedly ran out to get the paper. It is Wednesday after all, the day that the Washington Post publishes its food section. Next I made my usual hearty breakfast - eggs, hashbrowns etc and ate while reading about the latest local food news and watched the Cooking Channel.

As I cleaned up, the phone rang and it was a family friend who had invited us over for dinner. As we discussed the menu, it transpired that she would very much like us to bring dessert. My brain had to quickly switch gears from the roasted vegetable cous cous I had been planning to bring. Maybe the panna cotta that I had been wanting to try? On second there are kids in attendance and a cheesecake might be more kid-friendly. Of course I'll make a blueberry coulis to go on top.

Next on the agenda was watering the garden on our deck, a modest selection of flowers, herbs, and tomatoes. My mind wandered to my recurring day dream of converting my grandparents' estate in Newport into a bed and breakfast. I have already planned the vegetable garden and chicken run for fresh veggies and eggs, and today I add a wood burning cob oven made of recycled material where I'll turn out fresh bread and pizza.

So here I am currently, putting off going to the grocery store because writing is much more fun. Maybe I'll make something easier and more fool proof than a cheesecake. A cobbler perhaps? I'll have to do a little research before I go to the store.

The memory of last night's dinner is still lingering in my head. I grilled some beautiful spice rubbed heritage pork chops from a local farm that tasted more like a juicy steak than the porkchops I'm used to, alongside some local zucchini and corn. Oh and local potatoes roasted with some rosemary and thyme.

 Maybe I'll have the leftovers for lunch? Now my thoughts are turning to lunch and I'm hungry again. These days the phrase "I'll go get lunch" often means going around the side of our house to pick some gorgeous tomatoes lovingly grown by my young neighbors, and supplementing with fresh basil picked off our deck.

Suddenly I am reminded of the crab cookout that we will be having on Saturday. I can't forget to call the crab company today.

What a life. I move seamlessly from one meal to the next. I know that it won't last, but I am enjoying every minute of it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Guess the Plant (Day 9)

Notice the different shapes of the leaves.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Guess the Plant (Day 7)

Per the instructions that came with the seeds, I replanted when they were 3 inches high.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Guess the Plant (Day 1)

I am very excited. While some people have children or even pets, I have seedlings. Something about taking some tiny seeds, putting them in dirt, and watching them grow seemingly overnight is nothing short of miraculous to me, and I have taken to documenting their progress each morning.

I leave it up to you to guess what variety of plant it is. Yes, I know the answer and no, there are no prizes. Unless you count my undying love and appreciation for reading my blog. I will admit that this first photo was taken 2 days after planting, but every photo hereafter is taken in 24 hour increments. If you click on the link "Guess the Plant" on the right hand side you will be able to see them in order.

Without further ado, here she is.

Beer Week (and vegan eats!) at Rembrandt's

It was Philly Beer Week that brought me to one of my favorite restaurants in the Art Museum district. I don't often make it to that neighborhood but when I do and I'm hungry I head over to Rembrandt's. And I always order the Tuscan fries.

I give full credit for the discovery of Tuscan fries to Fred. As he tells it, he's been going for years, always orders Tuscan fries, and never shares. And each time as he watches his fellow diners reaching for a bite he tells them that next time they should order their own. Because they are no longer on the menu, if you ask nicely for some Tuscan fries it is a secret code that you are a regular and should be treated as such. I think it's the balsamic drizzle that makes them so addictive. Or maybe the roasted vegetables.

All of their food is consistently good. 

And while I may not always partake, I always appreciate bars that make an effort for the few vegetarian bar goers. Because the food is always so good here, I decided to go out on a limb and order one of their specials, tofu skewers with coconut rice and a red pepper sauce. Kudos to Rembrandt's for having an elegant, original and delicious vegan offering on their menu.

My one gripe is that although the beer selection is good, it's rather pricey. Still, I mostly go just for the food so it doesn't really matter.
Rembrandt's Restaurant and Bar
 741 N. 23rd Street
 (Corner 23rd & Aspen Sts. in the Art Museum Area)