Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday lesson #1, cheesy morning

He is the nicest. I am sitting on the floor (despite all the cushioned options) wiggling my toes and typing away. This is Friday, husband is cleaning up my many dishes and I am sort of refusing to get out of my pajamas while considering attending a yoga class this afternoon. I can do yoga clothes, as long as I don't have to really commit, jeans are out of the question.
I was not a clean cook this morning. But if you are pitying "the help" turning his hands to prunes, you needn't worry. Today's lesson was homemade peach cream cheese (take that Philadelphia), homemade mozzarella, fresh butter and buttermilk. All of which originated from the same, unique, local raw milk source.

I am worried I am posting the typical cliche late summer harvest posting of a Caprese salad, but I promise it isn't. and so what if it is. There is a reason that each year we come back to this, the seasonal praising of those large unique heirlooms, pink, yellow, and rich red. Classics are and remain classics for a reason, and even more exciting this year I made the mozzarella from scratch.
check it out
First I woke up in such an excitement for lesson Friday, I usually hate mornings. I don't like to talk, be talked to, hear anything except maybe birds. It takes a few hours for me to defrost. But this morning was like Christmas I immediately skipped past all that cranky and launched straight into elated. The night before I wrapped my cream cheese in cloth and hung it up to press out the liquid. This cheese has been culturing on our counter for three days, It felt like I had a pet at home. During work I would think, "Should I have someone stop by and check on it"
Oh all so new and exciting.
So this morning I whipped up the cheese with a soft peach a bit of maple syrup and enjoyed a slather on some Popeye Pancakes (German Pancakes). I die. so good. more sour than the traditional kind. but perfect with a bit of honey as well.
Second lesson and task of the morning, Mozzarella. Definitely a bit more confusing for the first time, but very rewarding, check it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here I am burning my fingers in the water stretching out the cheese hunching over my computer scouring the instructions for something I might be missing. Moments after this I screamed out,
 "Jer! Get the camera. It is working!"
I know I know, why am I stretching mozzarella outside. Well the lighting was better. So in the middle of burning my fingers off we dashed outside to take pics. 
The cheese turned out great, and I have such a new appreciation of cheese. We seem to take for granted the things we get so quickly and easily in our modern life. This also made me want to search out some local artisans, those people who really love and care about their craft. Perhaps I will become one of those. 

After my mess making, we popped two thick slices of tomato with a bit of cheese under the broil for just a minute, finished it with fruity olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil. Plated it up on my new plate I got from anthro.  check out the lizard graphic that was hiding under the tomatoes, he came out after a few bites.
Thinking of making lesson Friday a regular part of my week. I like the thought of finally getting around to all those skills I would like to learn that I have been mentioning over and over.
I may or may not post about lesson Friday. I pretty much give myself permission to change my mind.
Does anyone out there have cheese skills they would like to share with this newbie?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

bare footing it

my favorite photo of husband, taken by Dustin Butcher 
I am surprised no one said anything. Running down out of the trail with naked tops our shirts tied together in a make shift shoe cover for Jeremy. We sort of looked like we were coming down out of a really wild adventure lost in the woods, not just a short 4 mile run on the trail that runs right by the town.
My husband gets these fantastical ideas that he is some sort of half man half furry creature. Also inspired by his reading of Born to Run and the barefoot runners he decided on this particular morning that he was going to run completely barefoot.
The last year or so we have been running off and on in the vibram five fingers but a combination of mountain creature fantasies and his reading got him and me into this shirtless scenario.

The first part of the run wasn't so bad - paved for a little bit, then into a fairly well packed dirt trail. We ran up the dirt trail passing one runner who shouted out,
"wow, now the vibrams I can understand but totally barefoot that is so bad ass"

"Oh great," I thought, "don't encourage him."  Next thing I know he is going to move us into the woods to hunt and kill wild animals with our bare hands gnarling into the flesh with the beautiful canines that both our parents spent some good modern dental care to perfect.

So we continued up the mountain, running our usual dirt path looping up and curving around ready to come down when the trail turned a bit too rocky for my barefooted man. He also had a bleeding toe from an accidental stubbing. So we stripped down and wrapped our shirts around his feet to make a little padding and coverage for the rest of the run. We really only had less than a quarter mile before the trail hit pavement again and I could get my dirty shirt back.
So here we are, one grown man in short shorts, shirtless, with one red shirt wrapped foot and one blue wrapped foot sort of running, really kinda just hobbling. And his curvy partner in a bra and running shorts that cinch a bit too well, creating a fleshy tire around the mid section that usually can be covered with a shirt.  I am not really the type that should be running through town in a sports bra, definitely too much movement with the girls no matter how tight and restricting my sports bra is.

Maybe this is why no one commented on us two as we ran down out of the mountain, pasty, soft and all that bouncing around might be too alarming for words on a serene morning. We did pass a few morning hikers who acted like this was completely normal for a Thursday morning giving us the typical polite hellos, beautiful morning and such.
We eventually made it home, all toes included, to quickly shower and get out the door to join the shoe wearing world for a day of study and work.
As I sit here tonight folding our fresh laundry, those shirts included, I can't help but smile and glance up at the creature reading on the couch and get excited for what may be next.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Graffiato Review


I am sitting in my workout clothes, shoes on, i pod in hand, water bottle ready and dreaming of the moment when I was devouring a nutella chocolate cookie at Graffiato, Mike Isabella's new digs in D.C
Word is his wife makes them and he brings them in all adorable style in the mornings. I picture a basket, but I am sure they have something more efficient.  Got me thinking... Rather than opening a place maybe I have a future in sourcing some sort of edible to a local restaurant.

 I loved the look of the place, clean, simple, woodsy but with modern metals. Small dishes Italian style, not pretentious just good. I loved the desert like plant in a tin can. simple detail.

The bread isn't included, and I wouldn't order it again. Good but you know it is bread. Must order the gnocchi, this gnocchi ruined any other experience I may have with gnocchi ever again. It was light and cloud like. Usually gnocchi is good because it is paired with a creamy great sauce, but even then it just ends up being way too heavy. This gnocchi was the tops.
Also order the chicken thigh with the oh so famous seen on Top Chef sauce that Gail Simmons was all giggly about. She was right.

Make sure to share the cookies and order the off the menu "secret" dessert zeppoles. A fluffy donut ball rolled in sugar that is good but not as good as the special feeling you get ordering off the secret menu. Really quite genius adding this element to a restaurant, the average eater like me can feel like bff's with a Top Chef.

does this look like an inappropriate relationship to a cookie or what. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

this is my journal

I am the worst person to share ice cream with. I treasure out all the good chunks of brownie or cookie dough and leave just a swarm of cream. But this guy totally shares with me. and doesn't complain.

This was at big brothers wedding, it was beautiful, packed full, and went by so fast. I only have around two weeks left in this sticky city. I don't mean sticky as a judgment it really is just sticky. I find relief in ice cream. and spending a relaxing day pajama clad doing four loads of laundry watching inappropriate amounts of Dexter. I keep waiting for Dexter to jump out behind my closet with a syringe to stick into my neck but I don't really fit his profile of victims so I should be safe. My week tends to go like this- day out touring about, day in pretending I am busy. Is it creepy I have a crush on a tv character serial killer?

I have enjoyed the break but am really excited to get back to work. My tear ducts have been strangely loose the last few weeks, maybe the progesterone shot I had to get (which didn't work). I cried during a cooking show when the contestant got a good critique from the judge. Yesterday I started crying at the Smithsonian Imax about orphaned baby elephants and baby orangutans. And then on the metro coming home I cried to my husband and shouted out, "I miss Cafe Gratitude". I am sure he misses my job just as much as I do seeing how sane it keeps me. I miss a good sit down with my family at Cafe G.
the creepy part is most tearful moments end with a hearty chuckle because I am so alarmed by the tears.

what am I doing tomorrow? It is going to be 100 degrees. I will search out the cool in one of the many museums in this fabulous city (feeling bad for calling it sticky). I recently checked out at the Smithsonian a shiny diamond and blue stone clad diadem that Napoleon gave his first wife. Check it, I have been fantasizing about wearing it about, wearing it while I search recipes online in my over sized stained t-shirt, while I brush my teeth, talking on the phone. Remarking to my neighbors while on the elevator "oh this silly thing..." might I add this adoration of the gems is coming from a girl who barely gets a bra on by 4pm. 
 I am a master of the day dream. 
It may be hindering my focus.
Confession: my favorite parts of my educational summer has been seeing the diamonds and stones at the natural history museum and the first lady dresses at the american history museum. Especially Michelle Obama's  white Inaugural ball gown designed by Jason Wu, they even included the Jimmy Choo shoes she wore.  Don't worry my loose tear ducts were moved by this as well. 

 How is my training I ask myself?  oh crap. I am scared I am going to end up like some large squishy dork among all the skinny triathletes. Really though who cares about that, can I survive and finish in a less than embarrassing time... Husband is tired of having this conversation where I whine and he feels like he has to tell me I am crazy.  
i don't blame him. It is unattractive. and boring.
about 8 weeks..
 tonight I Googled pot roast, i know what it is, but I don't really know what it is. I got a really great diagram of a cow and where parts come from. I find it fascinating. 
Did i say we have this really silly distant dream of being farmers. Jeremy has been reading Joel Salatin's book, "The Sheer Ecstasy of Being  a Lunatic Farmer". Now he is all pumped on the idea. 
I think we should start small. 
maybe keeping a potted plant alive. or maybe not moving back and forth every six months....  
just saying.
this is my journal

Friday, June 24, 2011

bored much

 this is the result of a whole lot of time on my hands.

shower, exfoliate, shave, air dry hair, lunch, read, moisturize, makeup, lite blow out, straightener, play with bangs, martha, camera time, a little bit of self talk, and phone convo with mom.
pretty much my skin is going to look great at the end of this summer with all the time I have spent dry brushing and moisturizing.
 this schedule isn't me. I may be loosing it just a little bit.
I took the day off of exercise today. couldn't sleep at all last night. maybe even had a dream that I was in a singing competition against Gwyneth Paltrow. she won.

the rain here is strange, it doesn't do what rain is supposed to do. rather than shower the summer air and cool off the sidewalks it sorta just makes everything sticky as if the dryer didn't fully finish it's cycle and we are all just proceeding with the day a bit moist. moist is a gross word.

I made a reservation at Graffiato, Mike Isabella's new restaurant in d.c. Mike was on Top chef and I always kinda liked him. I am really excited because it doesn't seem like it is going to be ultra stuffy or anything, it is more moderate as far as price and a simple menu. We couldn't get in for a few weeks and it was either eat at 530 with the elderly or 1030 with the hipsters, I picked 530.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


whats under all that delicious mess of banana, blueberries, chia seeds, almond butter and jam?
a delicious higher protein oatmeal pancake. I love this recipe because it keeps me full for like 5 hours. I used to love this meal before work because I usually didn't have much time to take for lunch.

so yummy. woke up early with husband today for a run down to Teddy Roosevelt Island, we ran on the trail around the island twice and then back home for around 4.5 miles

when we got back, husband was rushing around trying to get ready for work fast so I made him a quick oatmeal topped  with all the goodness my pancake had. 

i finished his oatmeal with a good drizzle of honey. I have been eating every meal possible on my new plate. I don't think I will grow tired of it, every other plate option in our temporary housing is a bit drab.
I like to glam out my food with a pretty backdrop. 

the run this morning felt really great. I took yesterday a bit easy, I may have been over training myself lately. I just start to get panicked when thinking about the races I have signed up for and tend to go out and over do it on a run or ride. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

birthday, battle with Pro Bar, ingredient love

I am cross legged on the couch watching trashy tv and feeling ridiculously full of Brioche, Macaroons, Panini, and bites of cupcake. not much green in all that.
but hey its birthday day. and it has been really fun. workout in the morning, a trip to the spa, a massage, lunch at Patisserie Poupon and now a afternoon snooze in my P.J's gearing up for dinner tonight.
On my way home from lunch I figured it would be fun to pick up some treats for dessert later tonight but
I couldn't decide what cupcake flavor to get and ended up with five different massive cupcakes from Baked and Wired in Georgetown. It is a shame all our friends are across the country because I have some serious sweets to share.
tonight husband and I are going to 2 Amy's for fancy pizza and then depending on my tummy space gelato and cupcakes back home.
all in all a fun day. I missed my mom and sister today. I thought of some of my favorite birthdays I have had and they usually involve family dates. I am so glad to have Jjana here she has really taken care of us. but I miss my siblings.
happenings lately,

Flowers from our sweet sister Jjana, and a big mixed pot of my homemade raw nut bar spiked with spirulina. My ownership in the kitchen has been threatened lately because husband has been buying these packaged bars called Pro Bar, and he loves them. Which is great except that is my place so I say step off Pro Bar.

I am just impressed with myself for busting these out in this tiny studio apartment kitchen, total broom closet.

I have been on this whole woe is me bit lately, it is really unattractive and I am recognizing it and snapping out of it. Sometimes just creating something and using my hands helps, to be able to make something so pretty and nutritious and for someone else I can't help but be present with the smells, the color and texture. This is why I love cooking so much, especially when it is for someone I love. Cooking has this magical quality to snap me to present moment. If I ever try to cook or create in the kitchen while stuck in some other story or drama it usually doesn't turn out very well. love just tastes better.

this plate is the product of a few tears followed by a walk through Georgetown with husband and a stop in at Anthro. I love how pretty it is
I should cry more often.