Thursday, June 30, 2011

Homemade Ginger Soda, Exploding Peeps, and The Longest Scrabble Word. ever.

If you read my last post, you know we spent some time in WI with Karl's sister going to the Rendezvous, etc... We also got to have a fun time with food! Deciding to have a porch picnic, we had a delicious, healthy lunch. We had.................

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, and Beets with herbs

Fresh mixed greens from the Sarah and Nick's garden (mostly arugula YUM!)

A modern coleslaw with julienned carrots, oNiOns, broccoli stems with a apple cider vinegar and herb dressing.

Roasted cauliflower 

aaaand...Homemade GINGER SODA with orange wedges (the how-to below)

Our little picnic on the landing. We also had the local hamburger specialty which was boiled, yes BOILED hamburgers on a flat top grill. Mine was with horseradish. (Shake Shack and Culver's are better)

Soooo, for the ginger soda, you pulverize 1/2ish pound of fresh ginger and then heat it in a pot over the stove with some sugar (?) until it pretty bubbly and melty. Then you press it through a sieve and use the juice. Placing a 1/4 cup of the concentrated juice in each glass, add ice and club soda. Garnish with fresh miNT LeaVEs and enjoy!!!

We didn't have fresh mint readily available (it was in the garden about a mile away) so we used fresh orange wedges instead! 

Later that night before a game of Scrabble, we made S'mores with peeps in the microwave. (you have to watch them very closely or else they WILL explode!)

After a couple interesting rounds of quick Scrabble, we started getting ridiculous and started spelling the longest word "Antidisestablishmentarianism" and then started adding all the suffixes and ended up with "Antidisestablishmentarianismeshinglyesque."

What is YOUR favorite game?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rendezvous in Praire Du Chien, WI

What's a Rendezvous you may ask? Well I certainly did ask! We drove up to Wisconsin to visit Karl's sister Sarah and stay at her place for a couple days and the Rendezvous was in town! explain: it's basically a tradition that started a couple hundred years ago when the French would go to the mouth of the Mississippi and meet with the Indians to trade. Mostly fur and items of that sort. Then they would head down the river and stop at different points and rendezvous with the Indians and continue to trade all summer long. The tradition is continued to this day, with people living in old fashioned tents and teepees for the summer and traveling to different towns. Although there are some people with furs and trade items, it's mostly fOOd, fuN, and trInKetS. The thing I like most is probably the feeling you get walking through the village. It's like stepping back in time with people wearing period clothing and some men in moccasins and loin cloths, children running around in trousers and barefoot, and the visible lack of technology. (minus the port-a-potties, but that doesn't really count) I had some of the best fried catfish I've ever had in my life and even got a henna tattoo! Ok, enough of the talk and more of the pictures!

Real root beer! (I didn't get to try some though :/   )

This is the typical kind of tent that we saw everywhere. People lived in  these all summer long.

One of the food vendors. There were all sorts of little tent cafes you could go in to and get all sorts of food.

My fried catfish and chips. I didn't eat all the chips because it would have been grease overload, but the catfish was delicious! It didn't taste fishy and wasn't dried out on the inside.

Sarah's Indian Taco. Basically a regular taco, but on FRY BREAD!

My HENNA TAT!! Pretty cool...this is it in the wet stage. The lady drew it on and then said it had to dry. When it got all cracked, you wash the paste off and are left with a more brown tattoo. (see below picture)

Yes, I am proud of my tattoo! So fun. 

The final version. It was supposed to last 2-3 weeks, but alas, mine did not. 

A little old fashioned eating station.

More tents. I would not want to live like this for 3 months. I like my daily showers too much.

They even had teepees-I would like to see them set this thing up....

And that's all for now, but stay tuned for my next post featuring homemade GINGER ALE!!!! and the LONGEST SCRABBLE Word ever.

Gray's Papaya Hot Diggity Dogs and Papaya Juice!

While in the city, we of course have to eat some good food. When we go to Queens (to see my mom) there's a couple places we go to that I'll have to blog about some time: the curry place and the pizza place. Of course we have a couple meals cooked by my mom (whose food is better than most you will have a restaurants. You can listen to me go wild about her roasted leg of lamb, salad dressings, vegetable dishes, roast chickens, quiches, soups, beans, almond milk, talapia, oh, really anything she cooks is amazing).

But I digress....this time we went to Gray's Papaya (Karl didn't have a dog the last time we went) and I tried their famous Papaya juice!

Outside Gray's- it's just a tiny walk-in joint on the corner, covered with signs and sayings.

Inside Gray's. Behind the counter they have all sorts of fresh juices: Pineapple, Papaya, Orange...I really don't remember all the kinds they had. The dogs are cooked under this big hood with the stickers. Notice the paper fruit hanging from the ceiling: this is not a romantic date place.

Karl's first bite. Yum.


My Papaya Juice. It was more of a papaya drink with a kind of yogurt blended with the papaya. I will be drinking this again.

Me enjoying my Papaya Juice. Yummily delightful! If you are close to Juilliard  or Lincoln Center, Gray's Papaya is within walking distance.

And like I've posted about before, we stopped by Levain's Bakery for a Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie. 


Shakespeare In The Park

One of our favorite summer traditions is Shakespeare in the Park. (the park being Central Park in NYC) If you read some of my earlier posts (or maybe just saw pictures on facebook), you know that we have waited up to 22 hours in line for the tickets (which are free). We've seen Anne Hathaway in Twelfth Night,      Al Pacino in Merchant of Venice and the Mitch from Modern Family in a couple plays.  (see pictures below)

Yes, that's us with Al Pacino (he played Shylock in Merchant of Venice)

And Mitch from Modern Family (gotta say, that's one of the few shows worth watching). He played some minor characters in 2 of the plays last summer. 

We usually wait in line a minimum of something like 15 hours. Along with literally 1,000 or so other people we slept/camped outside on Central Park West until 5 am when the park opens and an official line guide takes us inside the park and patrols the line until ticket distribution at 1pm. In this picture, Karl is indicating that this is hour number 10. (this is the year we waited 22 hours, so not even 1/2 way done)

This is at 5 am when everybody in line packs up their stuff and prepares to move inside the park. Lots of people bring air mattresses and sometimes tents, but always some chairs and a sweatshirt. It's actually quite interesting talking to and meeting the people near you in line. After 20 hours, you're officially friends.

Some of the people filing into the park. There was a line from 85th street to 96th (at least) and here they are, filing back into line. There are really strict rules about the line- you can't leave line at any time, you may only use the park bathroom, you cannot leave the park to get food-they have a couple restaurants who you can call and then they send the delivery guys on bikes to bring you your order.

Sometime during the day, I took a stroll down the line and found these folks, who came with a table and candelabra. (they were waaay too far down the line to get tickets, showing up that day)

And yes, things can get violent. Last year, 2 people in line were arrested for getting in an argument about the line and then the cops had to arrest them. 

THIS year, we got smart and went to borough distribution (a new form of distribution in addition to the Central Park line. You can read about it on the Shakespeare in the Park website if you're really interested). We waited only 1 and 1/2 hours for tickets. The first one we went to was Measure for Measure and my mom came with us!

People say we look alike, but I think she's prettier.

And here's all of us!

The next night we went to All's Well That Ends Well with some friends (eating at SHAKE SHACK yUUUUUMMMMMMmmm before) and that was probably my favorite of the two this year. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures inside the arena. They're really strict about it and have employed countless teenagers and put Staff shirts on them. These buggers have their eyes on you and if you take a picture, they come running up to you and tell you there's no photo taking allowed and that the must see you delete the photo that you took. They are so adamant about it and keep on repeating that they need to see you delete it until you realize this is NOT a joke. (but it really should be) So no photos, not even of us in the arena during intermission. So I guess you'll have to go yourself!

Yo-Yo Ma Concert

While staying in New Haven, CT, we were able to get in on a free, yes free, Yo-Yo Ma concert. He was performing with the Silk Road Ensemble and it was great! We were coming from playing at a wedding about an hour away and made it in time for the last 45 minutes or so. The weather was rainy and the night dreary, but not in downtown New Haven! Hundreds (maybe thousands) flocked out on The Green for the the concert, braving the elements. We snapped a few pictures to remind ourselves of the amazing music we heard that night.

The performance was part of an Arts Festival that was being held that week.

There were about 10 or 12 musicians playing all different kinds of instruments- some I had never seen or heard of!

Mo's Midtown, Hartford's Best Breakfast

These past few weeks have blown by. Lots of traveling and no internet makes for a very boring blog...until catch-up time!!! I have lots of pictures and stories that I'll separate into different posts. So let's see...I'll start with Hartford's Best Breakfast, a close by diner that we ate at on our last day in Hartford. We had heard about it from a lot of people that it was actually very good (we pass by it almost every day on our way to school and work) for a tiny little joint. Mo's Midtown, it's called and run by a family. We were served drinks by the grandma, food by the son, and paid the bill to the daughter. And I suppose the father and some uncles were cooking and prepping. (Who knows, I could be making all of this relative stuff up, but that's what it seemed like to me. Can anyone else verify this?)

Even though it was a rainy day, and we went fairly early, the place was packed and we waited about 15 minutes for a table. (worth it, though)

                                         The little joint....very "Drivers, Din-ins and Drives-esq"

My breakfast: bacon, home fries, feta omelet, whole wheat toast and summer berry pancakes. 

The omelet was feathery light (which is perhaps not my favorite texture for eggs) but very good none the less!

The pancakes were out of this world!!! Whole wheat with wheat germ! Soooo good! I thought they would taste 

grainy, weird, and perhaps even a little "off," but they were better than any homemade or ihop pancake I've ever 


I can't wait to go back and try more things off their menu. But I will have to. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Anniversary Dinner

Last week was our 1-year anniversary! Wow, does time fly! I think we only realized we were coming close to a year of marriage a couple days before our anniversary. To celebrate we, went out to have a greek dinner at a restaurant in New Haven, CT called Istanbul Cafe.  I had been craving lamb (my all-time favorite meat) and this place was perfect to subdue my craving.

I loved the tables- they all had these moroccan tiles with bright blues, reds, and yellows!

My entree- 5 lamb tips with rice pilaf, salad and roasted veggies. mmmmmmm.....

Karl's entree- lamb kabobs with rice pilaf, salad and roasted veggies.

Our table- we also had a traditional lemonade called "Limonata" which is a traditional drink made from mashing ENTIRE lemons to a pulp, straining them and thinning it with water. I thought it yielded a much stronger lemon flavor than regular lemonade.

The cafe! Inside it was so beautiful! Covered with intricate fabrics and lounges with pillows and bright colors. 

Us at home after dinner. We actually found a piece of our wedding cake that someone must have kept for us. It was quite a surprise to look in the freezer and find a container labeled "Karl and Jessica's Wedding Cake." I'd have to admit, it tasted pretty bad, but it was fun to find!

That's it for now, but look for a new post coming soon on some things I've been working on for my etsy shop!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pasta Aglio e Olio

If you read my last post, you know I got a heavy duty garlic press for my birthday. I decided to put it to good use and make aglio e olio. The recipe I use comes from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Which, may I add, is the most valuable cookbook you will ever add to your collection. 

Aglio e Olio is a simple and fast dish and although the ingredients are few and simple, the flavors are surprisingly big. You want to start with a pot of boiling and salted water and cook your linguine until al dente (reserving 1/2 cup of the water). The rest of the recipe is as follows:

So you start with 12 minced cloves of garlic, 11 of which you put in a skillet with 2 TB of olive oil. The key is to cook it over medium-low heat until it's golden and sticky, about 15 or 20 minutes.  Any higher fire and the garlic will burn and get a bitter taste. 

All the ingredients besides the pasta: red pepper flakes(1/4 tsp), chopped parsley(1/3 cup), lemon juice (2 TBS), garlic (12 cloves), and salt (dash or so).

After the garlic has cooked down and is golden and sticky, remove it from the heat and add in the rest of the ingredients. Then toss it with the linguine and add any reserved pasta water if necessary.

What are some of your favorite pasta recipes?