Saturday, July 13, 2013

off to alaska

Off to Alaska for my father's retirement trip! Going to go hang out with my new moose, reindeer, wolf, bear & fish friends while helicopter-ing over and dog sledding on glaciers, eating bunches of food, horseback riding, fishing, and traveling. Peace out contiguous U.S. see you in a bit!

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

the times they are a-changin'

Let's be honest, "The Battle Between Fashion & Domestication" was a super title, and rhymed which is awesome, but was more than a mouthful! To make it easier for everyone I shortened the title to two things I loved when I was little (and continue to love to this day): parsley and polka dots.

PARSLEY: When I was little, no one explained to me the fact that parsley was mostly used as a garnish. At large family gatherings I would collect the parsley off of every single person's plate, pile all of the bits on the plate, and go to town nibbling away. Some would giggle, some would give me an endearing smile, and I was just confused about why I was getting this extra attention, can't they see I'm eating here? Finally, someone must have spilled the beans to me, because one day I stopped snacking on parsley. 

POLKA DOTS: Another young-love of mine was polka dots. Raised by a mother that idolized Betsey Johnson's zany style, I grew up in polka dotted-leggings, fancy dresses, glitter shoes, and cowboy boots. Throughout the years she has continued to try to push some polka dotted-articles of clothing on me, I went through my fair share of white heels with rainbow polka dots, polka-dotted hair-bows, jewelry, and just about every other accessory, but have learned that polka dots have their place and their time.

It's the little things in life or the garnish, like parsley and polka dots, that add a little flair to the ordinary.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

the best potato salad

There are approximately a bajillion of recipes out there for potato salad. This recipe cuts back on a handful of mayo, discards most of the egg yolks, and adds a twist with the green onions to amp up the flavors. For hard-boiled egg haters-- just give it a chance! T HATES hard-boiled eggs with a passion and the first time he had this salad I kept that little ingredient a secret until after he expressed his love of this version of potato salad...and when I broke the news to him he wasn't even angry, he still loves this potato salad and reports that even the biggest hard-boiled-egg-hater won't notice them!

Ingredients (makes 6 side-servings):
10 small potatoes
6 cornichons
6 green onions
1/3 cup of mayonnaise
2 tbs dijon
1 tsp paprika
sprinkle of salt & pepper

1. Cut potatoes into eight equal pieces. Boil, covered, in a pot of water for 20 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. Add eggs to the boiling water for the final 12 minutes.   

2. Strain and let potatoes cool in a large bowl for about 15 minutes. Place the hard-boiled eggs in a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes before peeling.

 3. Chop green onions and cornichons and add to the bowl of potatoes.

4. Peel the hard-boiled eggs, discard 3 of the egg yolks (this is Erin's favorite part), chop and add to the bowl.

5. Add mayonnaise, dijon, paprika, and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Mix gently to fully coat all ingredients.

6. Cover and let chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving!
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Sunday, July 7, 2013

tortilla espanola

I first ran into a tortilla espanola only a few months ago at Toro, and I knew right away I had to try to make it on my own! An easy, crowd-pleasing dish, this would make a perfect entertaining brunch dish. I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures, but when you're making it you'll realize how quick it is and the fact that you don't have time to do anything else!

Ingredients (makes one large enough for 4-6 brunch servings):
6 medium potatoes, sliced thinly with a mandoline to about 1/8" thickness
1 onion, diced
6 eggs
olive oil

1. Add the sliced potatoes to a large nonstick pan. Almost cover the potatoes with olive oil (yes, you will be using a lot of olive oil).

2. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

3. Meanwhile, cook onions in some olive olive in a smaller pan until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.

4. When the timers are done, strain and wipe off as much oil as possible from both the potatoes & the onions, you can reserve the olive oil for the next step rather than using even more.

5. Add 1 tbs of olive oil back into the large nonstick pan and heat over medium heat. While the oil is heating, crack and whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add in the potato & onion mixture and top with a sprinkling of salt. Mix thoroughly.

6. Add egg, potato, and onion mixture to the warmed pan. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, until browned and crisped.

7. Place a large plate or a cutting board over the pan and flip before returning it to the pan. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes to crisp the other side.

8. Remove from heat, slide it out of the pan, and let it cool for about 4 minutes before slicing into portions for serving.
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Saturday, July 6, 2013

june recap

I've been bad at keeping in touch, I know, but I promise I'll make it up to you. For now I'll do a speedy catch up of the past month. Earlier in the month, T & I went home to New York to celebrate my father's retirement! Erin enjoyed the lake...


...and attempted the hammock...

...before calling it a day and napping in the grass.

While the pup napped I made sugar cookies...

...and looked through old photos (most of which are far too embarrassing to share).

We enjoyed some celebratory champagne before heading out to our life-long favorite restaurant.

That Sunday we headed home, driving through more sunsets, before restarting our driving the following weekend, when we headed to Philly to celebrate T's cousin's bat mitzvah.
the professional dog-walker

When we got home later that weekend we picked up some beautiful pink peonies (I really am convinced that Trader Joe's has some of the best long-lasting reasonable day-to-day flowers)....

...before making some lavender-vanilla sugar cookies to bring to my final week at my job.

This week T & I went to a Brasstacks dinner, knowing it would be recorded for Canada's Travel+Escape channel's new series "Illegal Eater", premiering this fall. According to the IMDB page, the series follows Barenaked Ladies' front man, Steven Page "as he embarks on a journey to uncover some of the tastiest, creative, illegal food in a city's unlicensed - secret - underground venues. It's in these places where the food is always fresh, local, and the experience is completely authentic." We arrived to the dinner, which was set at Bondir, and were shocked to see we were two of only twelve seats set. It was truly a delicious & personal dinner, per usual for Brasstacks, and we were lucky enough to be seated at a table of six with Bondir's chef/owner Jason Bond. 

The next day was July 4th (woohoo!), so I made some delicious potato salad, which I will share the recipe for on Tuesday...

...along with a red, white & blue sangria made with white wine, club soda, a splash of cranberry juice, a splash of vodka and grand marnier, lime juice, strawberries and blueberries.

After a feast of grilled chicken, cheeseburgers, and the potato salad, we played some croquet with the antique set we picked up at Brimfield last summer.

As the sun began to set, but the heat was just as intense, we had to find some alternative cooling strategies...

...before celebrating with sparklers!
My last day of my job was yesterday, so now I'll have the whole summer off before heading back to school for my MSW this fall, so I promise I'll be better about checking in with you, okay? Tomorrow I'll finally post the recipe for the tortilla espanola I tempted you with a few weeks ago, and Tuesday you'll be able to see the best potato salad recipe, to use for the rest of the summer.
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