I spent the day working with Dorothy today. She’s been clearing a tree/fence line that’s about a quarter mile long. She has finished cutting out the brush and small trees and I came today with my chain saw to cut some stumps down to the ground so they wouldn’t be a problem when driving a tractor over them. Meanwhile she pulled out old fence wire and piled that up It was tiring work but we got quite a bit done and she’s nearing completion. Before I left for the day, she gave me 30 eggs. Egg prices have been crazy lately, although they have come down a little since their high a few months ago. Regardless, I’m always happy to get free food.
Christmas with Margaret
We had Christmas breakfast with Margaret today. Last night after we got home from the Christmas Eve service I made a quiche. This morning we took that, as well as croissants, orange juice, sparkling cider, and a few other things to Margaret’s room. We put a recording of a fireplace on her television and hung the stockings from the dresser, with presents laid out under them. It was a very festive and enjoyable time. David and Darius called shortly after this photo was taken and then after we ate, we opened presents.
Beef, Kangaroo, and Camel
When we were in Lititz, Pennsylvania for a wedding in June (see Friday, June 3, 2022) we went into a little shop called The Savory Gourmet. I bought two one-pound packages of frozen meat. One was kangaroo, the other was camel. They had more, but I thought that was enough for my first try. They’ve been in the freezer since then, waiting for an opportunity to give them a go. I thawed them yesterday and this evening I made three small burgers, one each of beef, kangaroo, and camel, accompanied by onions and oyster mushrooms. The kangaroo is definitely the gamiest of the three and I loved the flovor but it also had an unpleasant grittiness to it. There seemed to be small pieces of gristle that hardened up when cooked. The camel was easily my favorite of the three and I’d be happy to do that again. On the other hand, there are more meats to try, so who know what I’ll get the next time I’m there.
The Savory Gourmet (https://www.savorygourmetlititz.com/)
After yesterday’s wedding and a good night’s sleep, we headed back towards the airport this morning. Our flight was not until mid-afternoon, however, so we had a bit of time to do some things. We went to the Bass Pro Shop just off of Interstate 20, east of Birmingham because Dorothy had asked for a Carhart jacket for Christmas. After driving into downtown Birmingham, we started to look for a place to have lunch. We got ourselves relatively near the airport and then Dorothy found this place, called Ampersandwich at 4124 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222. If you’re looking for a good sandwich from friendly folks, this is a good choice and if we ever find ourselves in the neighborhood again, we’d revisit them. Tell them Henry sent you. It won’t get you any better service. There’s no chance they’ll know who I am. But it might be a good for a laugh.
Still Life with Mango Lassi
We went to Fourth Presbyterian this morning with Dorothy and after church decided to go into Bethesda and walked around a little while before stopping for lunch at Tikka Masala, a very nice Indian restaurant on the north side of Elm Street, a half-block from Arlington Road (https://tikkamasala.us/). I took this photo of a bottle of cold water, a small vase with pretty (although fake) flowers, an interestingly textured water glass, and Dorothy’s mango lassi, against the open window to the street. I also took photos of the food, but that’s overdone (even by me) so I decided to skip that. I had lamb saag. Saag, for the uninitiated, is a creamed spinach which in this case had very tender chunks of lamb meat in it. I consider it a good test dish, although that’s risky because it’s sometimes very bad. I’m happy to say that at Tikka Masala it is quite good and if you like that sort of thing I highly recommend it.
Deviled Eggs and Veggies
I was asked to take photos at the missions banquet at Fourth Pres. this evening. I took quite a few photos of people but they won’t be all that interesting to those who don’t know them and of course picking on out of so many that’s representative of the evening is nearly impossible. So, instead, I’ve decided to punt and post a photo of some of the food prepared for the evening. These trays have deviled eggs and vegetables and are, I think you’ll admit, quite festive looking. And who doesn’t like deviled eggs? Although I do wonder about the propriety of serving deviled eggs at a church dinner.
We met Dorothy, Nadia, and Lexi for Korean BBQ this evening at 9292 Korean BBQ in Annandale. It was a lot of fun and the food was terrific. With my diet being so protein heavy and carb light, it was a good meal for me. At the same time, even as it is, I need to control my portion, especially now as I’ve lost 50 pounds. So, it’s not like I could eat here with impunity. But once in a while it’s nice to have a real treat and the food was really good. I was surprised by the pork neck, which I’ve never had before. Very good flavor. Recommended (but not cheap).
New Year’s Day Fondue Party
After finishing up year eleven of my photo blog (and the first year NOT to have a picture taken every day), I got a bit lax about posting. I’ve taken photos on twelve days in January but I’m only getting around to posting them now, on February 2. They’ll continue to be dated the date the photo was taken, of course.
We had our annual New Year’s Day fondue party today, ringing in the new year with good friends and good food. Due to concerns about Covid among some of our regular crowd, we had a slightly different group of attendees this year. It’s always good to mix things up a bit and it was a really nice time.
Margaret’s Birthday Dinner
I’m nearly a month behind in my posting but here’s a picture from September 23. For Margaret’s slightly belated birthday dinner I made qaubili pilau and chicken. The chicken was in pretty huge pieces (as you can see on my plate on the right. I made a big batch of pilau which is flavored with a spice mix with equal amounts of the five Cs, which are cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamom, and coriander plus a half measure of black pepper, and a pinch of saffron for color (and if you have both green and black cardamom, that’s even better, but I only had green). It also has thinly sliced onions and carrots plus golden raisins and my version has barberries, as well, which may not be traditional but it’s a nice addition, I think. Slivered almonds and pistachios finish it off. Anyway, everyone agreed it turned out pretty well. We had a really nice dinner and a good time celebrating Margaret’s birthday.
We went to Rocklands Winery this evening with a couple friends, Krystal and Mike. I took a few pictures of them but they aren’t crazy about having their pictures taken and even though they turned out well, I decided not to post them here. We ran into two young women that knew Krystal from her days as a first grade teacher and I took pictures of her with each of them. We were also fortunate enough to have Greg the Elder join us for a bottle of wine and a wonderful evening of laughter and reminiscing. If you’ve never been to Rocklands, I can recommend it quite highly.
After Albert died, Brady asked if I would like the gooseberry that he had planted. I took it and it’s doing really well in my back garden. It’s having a particularly good year and I went out and picked a quart of berries from it today. That was nowhere near all the berries, although because it’s situated against the fence, it’s a little hard to get to the far side of the bush. It’s also pretty well protected with spines and I think it might be worth actually pruning some stems off to get at their berries as well as to make room for new growth.
In the evening I made a crust and baked a gooseberry pie which I served with freshly whipped cream. I think that good vanilla ice cream would have been better, but I can’t say the whipped cream was bad.
Easter Eggs, Part 2
As seen in the post from yesterday, Dorothy dyed Easter eggs using natural dyes. This is what they looked like after soaking in the dyes over night, being allowed to dry, and then being rubbed lightly with a little vegetable oil. The colors were really very intense. I especially like the blue, which came from boiled red cabbage leaves. The other colors were from beets (the red), turmeric (yellow), and onion skins (a mixture of red and yellow onions, producing brown).
Dyeing Easter Eggs
I bought a dozen eggs specifically for Dorothy and Abba to dye for Easter this evening. Dorothy wanted to try using natural dyes. She used onion skins (a mix of yellow and red onions) to make a brown color, beets to make red, red cabbage to make a surprisingly blue color, and turmeric to make yellow. They turned out quite well. Here you can see two of them, the turmeric and the onion skin dyes. She left the eggs in them overnight and when they came out, they looked amazing. When the dried they lost some of their intensity so she rubbed them with a very light coating of vegetable oil, which made them look remarkable again.
Like many families this year, we had a very small Thanksgiving meal today. I’m not fond of turkey and with only four of us, it seemed like a waste to bother with one. So, I roasted a 5.5 pound chicken, stuffed with a pilau with onions, currants, pine nuts, lemon zest, and allspice. We were meant to have green bean casserole but somehow I forgot. We did have a salad, though, as well as two cranberry sauces, the jellied version out of a can and one made from fresh cranberries and an orange, blended together with a little extra sugar.
I already shared a picture here from the surprise party we had for Cathy on Sunday. I figured I’d share a picture from her actual birthday dinner, as well. I’m afraid I didn’t fix anything fancy for it. In fact, it’s about as unfancy as they come—frozen pizza—although there was a little leftover Thai, as well. Dorothy came over for dinner and we had a nice evening together. Dorothy, Margaret, and I all gave her a few presents and it was what passes for festive this year.
I’m trying to cut back on the carbs but it’s hard. If I were cooking only for myself it would be easier, of course, but I’m cooking for three, so I try to make meals that satisfy everyone’s needs. Rice is popular and I vary that by cooking plain white rice, whole grain brown rice, and a few more exotic rices, like a red rice that’s quite flavorful. I also cook potatoes and these little multi-colored potatoes are my favorite. They keep pretty well and they cook easily. Sometimes I simply cut them in half and boil them but what’s even better is to put a little oil and salt on the boiled pieces, pour them onto a tray, and put them in a hot oven for a little while until they are crispy on the outside.
Asmar’s Rose Water
I was looking around for something to photograph this evening and I happened to see this bottle of rose water. I have no real recollection of when I bought this but I’m assuming it must of been called for in a recipe I was trying. Either that or perhaps Dorothy asked what it tasted like. Anyway, it’s been in my cupboard for a long time and I’m actually pretty unlikely to use it. I’m not really a big fan of the taste. I looked up Asmar (Asmar’s Mediterranean Food) and they are a “family run business incorporated in 1997 dealing with international ethnic food products.”
I’m not sure what I can write about today’s photograph. It’s orange and they are oranges. My understanding is that the fruit was named first and the color was named for the fruit. Oranges are something of a tricky fruit. They can look perfectly delicious on the outside and be dry or mealy on the inside. Alternatively, they can look pale and unappetizing and be juicy and delicious. The only way to find out is to peel them open and give them a try. These look good and are, in actual fact, pretty good. You might say they have appeal.
Black Bomber Cheese
I don’t often do commercial photos in my blog and I have no financial connection to the Snowdonia Cheese Company other than the money I spend on their cheese. We had a little, black-was coated round of Black Bomber cheese at some point and really enjoyed it. I don’t know where we got it and we haven’t seen it in stores locally. Today I found it in the new Giant grocery store in Olney. I don’t know if they have it regularly or not but I naturally bought some. It’s actually a creamier cheese than many aged cheddars but it has a really nice, deep flavor (or flavour, since it’s from the British Isles). Recommended.
Lunch with George and Carmela
Cathy and I drove up to George and Carmela’s today for a short visit. We had no trouble with traffic and we made pretty good time. We didn’t stay long but George had prepared a really nice lunch with homemade sourdough bread with robust olive oil spread on it and then covered with ripe, fresh tomatoes and sprinkled with feta cheese and Sicilian oregano. Obviously there are a lot of good flavors but fresh, very ripe tomatoes, served at room temperature, have to be right up there. These were wonderful and the corn on the cob as good, too. Of course, the visit was the main thing, and it was nice to have a few hours together before we turned around and drove home.
Not much of a picture today, I’m afraid, but here are some Jordan Almonds, almonds coated in sugar with a pastel colored layer on the outside. These are often served at weddings, with—I’m led to believe—the “bitter” almonds and the “sweet” sugar symbolizing the bitterness of life and sweetness of love. I love almonds and adding sugar to them can only make them better. Frankly, I prefer the less pretentious (in my opinion) Nuql (or Noghl in Iran), the Persian sugared almonds that are just sugar without the smooth coat or colors added. But I’ll rarely turn these down, if that’s what’s offered.
Mango and Sticky Rice
Dorothy got home yesterday and this evening we had the rest of the local family over for Indian carry-out. That’s one of our go-to meals and it doesn’t disappoint. For dessert, though, we went further east and I made mango with sticky rice. It’s actually pretty easy to make, although it’s taken me a while to get the proportion of coconut milk to sugar to rice where I want it. Having the right rice is fairly important, but in this area there are so many good Asian supermarkets that’s not a problem. And I bought a box of mangos. Each person gets about half of one but there are more in the box, if they care to cut one up.
The forecast for last night and all day today was for rain. That didn’t happen and it was a gorgeous day. After getting home from church (see previous post on the Easter Sunrise Service) we took a little time to rest, as we were a bit sleepy. Then I started getting the food ready for the Easter dinner we had with family. I had bought a ham and made biscuits, Tsai-Hong brought a really nice salad as well as fruit. Other side dishes and dessert rounded out the meal. Margaret and Cathy made a lamb cake yesterday and it turned out pretty well, although they had trouble getting the eyes and nose to stay in place. Eventually we had to use a toothpick to keep the nose from falling off. Also, we only had golden raisins, so the lamb has light colored eyes, which is a little different to what it normally looks like. It cooked well, though, and was tasty.
Later in the afternoon Iris asked if I’d take a few pictures of Silas and of the three of them out in the yard. It was cool and at first Silas wasn’t sure about sitting on the grass but he got used to it pretty quickly and I got what I think are some pretty nice pictures. It’s no surprise that Silas is growing up and gaining his own personality, of course, and it’s really nice to be a part of that. He’s a happy little boy (for the most part) and is pretty easy going. This will be tested when Iris has to be away for a little while for work, but I’m sure they’ll get through it (not to say they’ll enjoy it, though).
We missed having Kai with us (and Steve and Maya, too, but you know it’s really all about the kids). Nevertheless, it was wonderful to have who we had and we’re really thankful for family. We missed Dorothy, too, and really look forward to seeing her in two weeks. She spent Easter with her friend, Katie, on the New Hampshire / Vermont border. It’s not like being at home and she missed the music that we got this morning, but she’s doing well and finishing strong. We couldn’t be more proud of her.
At closing for Margaret’s house last Friday, Mary gave her a box of Belgian chocolates to celebrate the deal. She often gives this sort of thing away but thought that maybe this time she’d keep it for herself. With Dorothy and her friends coming on Friday, she thought maybe she wouldn’t even offer to share, as if she did, they’d disappear pretty quickly. I took a few pictures of them this evening for my photo of the day. Not the most inspiring picture I’ve taken, but they do look good. I can’t tell you how they taste, of course, because she’s not sharing. Actually, she offered me one but I declined. They belong to her and it’s her celebration.
I’m not particularly proud of this photo, taken in my kitchen this evening, but at least it keeps up my unbroken streak of taking a photo a day. You might be thinking, “if you’re going to be posting pictures like this, then I’m not sure how significant it is that you post one for every day.” There’s a part of me that’s very inclined to agree with you. On the other hand, if I had to say, “I’ve taken a photograph every day for over eight years with the exception of one day when I couldn’t find anything interesting,” well, that would just be annoying. So, here you are. Hopefully things will pick up from here.
Roast Pork Shoulder
A while back the local supermarket had pork roasts on sale for $0.98 per pound. That’s about half what they normally run (and even $1.99 is a pretty decent deal). I bought three and froze them. This is one of those, thawed over about four days in the refrigerator, and the roasted. It’s about 12 pounds and so cost about $12 and will feed us for a few days, at least. There are bones, of course, but it’s still a bargain price. After slicing the skin and rubbing in some salt and a fair amount of pepper, I roasted it for about four hours. The first 45 minutes are at 450°F and then I turned it down to 325°F for the rest. That was just about perfect. Of course, the best part are the strips of crispy, salty, peppery skin, but the meat was pretty juicy and tasty, too. A little mustard and some cabbage cooked with apples and mushrooms rounded out the meal (although the cabbage didn’t turn out as well as it sometimes does—I used the wrong apples).
Meat and Potatoes
I confess to being a meat and potatoes sort of man. I like to cook meat, as well, but of course I’m not cooking for myself only, so I cook try to prepare a balanced meal with vegetables and some sort of starch, at last most of the time. I’m trying to eat fewer carbs myself and have lost 20 pounds or so since late spring, which is a good start, anyway. Cathy and her mom took me out for dinner this evening, though, and wanted to treat me. We went to Outback and I ordered a rib-eye steak and baked potato with a bloomin’ onion on the side. As you can see, we’ve already made a pretty good dent in the onion. It’s good but since it’s mostly batter, not really all that healthy. But, you have to live once in a while and I really enjoyed this meal.
I’m not a huge fan of turkey, as a meat. If cooked right, in can be tender and juicy but the white meat generally has little to no flavor even at it’s best. The dark meat is better but there is relatively little of it. We eat turkey on Thanksgiving, nevertheless, and (I guess because we hosted and I cooked it) we ended up with a significant amount of leftover turkey. I pulled just about every scrap of meat off the bones, from the back, the wings, and the rest of the carcase, and made soup. It turned out well and we had that for three nights. Then I made this batch with the leftovers from what had been carved from the bird, mostly white meat but a little from the legs. Instead of pasta I put barley in this batch, and also mushrooms. It turned out quite well and was a hit with the fam.
Baronessa’s Pizza Oven
There was a time, not really that long ago, when pizza wasn’t a known thing to many Americans. When my dad went away to college in the mid 1940s, he had never had pizza before. But New Haven had a Neapolitan community and he was introduced to what was called apizza (/əˈbiːts(ə)/, with the final vowel basically silent). Now, of course, there are many different pizza chains and generally Italian restaurants have pizza on their menu, even if pizza is not their main thing. There is an Italian place called Baronessa not too far from where we live and we’ve gone there off and on for years. It changed ownership a while back and the new owner installed a wood-fired pizza oven. The owner is rightly proud of the oven and enjoys taking diners back to the kitchen to see it. I’ve seen it before but having taken a good picture of it so I asked if I could do that this evening. He was happy to let me get a few pictures. It’s a bit hard, because the light levels are pretty extreme, dark except for the fire, which is very bright, but this one shows the pizza cooking on the left pretty well. If you’re looking for a good pizza, you could do a lot worse than visiting Baronessa on E. Gude Drive. And ask to see the pizza oven before you leave.
Rockville Town Square
Our anniversary was last Saturday but Cathy’s mom was out of town then so she took us to dinner this evening to celebrate 34 years. We went to the Thai place on Rockville Town Square and the place was hopping (the square, more than the restaurant). There was a concert going on and the place was fairly crowded. We had a nice meal but decided to eat indoors so we could hear each other talk. Cathy broke from tradition by getting panang curry, which is what I generally get, except she got chicken while I usually get beef. Then I broke with tradition, as well, and got pad thai, which Cathy usually gets, except I got beef while she usually gets chicken. After dinner we walked around the square once and I took a few pictures, including this one (obviously) from the east end of the square, looking towards the stage.
We drove home from Massachusetts today. I don’t like driving through New York City and the traffic westbound towards the George Washington Bridge is generally ridiculous. Going by way of the Merritt Parkway and across the Tappan Zee Bridge is my preference, even if it’s a little longer. At least we’re moving the whole time. This was our first time crossing the new bridge, which has officially been named the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. We’ll see if that sticks. I know what I’ll be calling it. We also stop at Rocklands Bakery in Nanuet and pick up a couple hot out of the oven bagels. There are plenty of other styles of bread from which to choose, of course.
Mango and Sticky Rice
When Dorothy was here with her friends for spring break I made mango and sticky rice. At least I tried. I had checked a recipe but then didn’t consult it when I was actually making it. There are really only four ingredients (plus a little salt and the sesame seeds sprinkled over it) so you’d think I could have remembered all of them. I remembered the mango because it’s pretty obvious in its absence. Likewise with the rice. Without that it would just be mango. But I forgot the sugar in the coconut cream. It tasted nice but wasn’t very sweet. Tonight’s version was much better. It’s quite simple. Sweet, short grained rice is steamed for 20 to 25 minutes. Then you mix it with coconut cream combined with sugar. I made it a little runny this time, but it tasted as good as you could hope for.
“Are you born a lover or a hater?” That’s the question the folks at https://www.marmite.co.uk/ (a.k.a. Unilever) are asking. It does seem true that people either love or hate Marmite. I’m a lover but I hate the fact that it’s hard to find around here. Some Giant stores carry it, as well as World Market and Rodmans, but generally you can only get it in the titchy 125 gram jars (on the right in the attached photo), which is maddening. Online shopping has been a thing for a while now and this is an item that’s worth the wait. I just bought two, 500g jars (on the left in the photo). That’s 2.2 pounds of the wonderful, aromatic, slightly salty, ambrosia. But is someone really going to spend £89.99 (roughly $125) for a DNA test kit to find out if they are predisposed to love or hate Marmite? Not when you can buy a little jar and simply try it. And when you discover you’re a lover, then you’ll happily order it by the kilo (for less than $30 in the USA and including shipping).
For more than two years now I’vebeen meeting regularly with a group of (mostly) young men. For over a year we met most weeks. Starting last summer we switched to every other week and during the holidays it was hard to organize. Three of us finally got together this evening for dinner. Mellow Mushroom sounds a bit sixty’s but the food is honestly pretty good. The decor is very much comic book colors and it makes for a good picture. There were not a lot of patrons there this evening, but a Tuesday in the winter isn’t likely to be busy in general.
Old Wine Bottle
My great grandfather Robert was born in Cumbria in England in 1837. He immigrated along with his parents and at least some siblings to a town on the Canada bank of the St. Lawrence River and served in the Canadian Army during the American Civil War. It was here that he met his future wife, Matilda (whose family we think might have been loyalists who moved across the river during the American Revolutionary War). In 1872 Robert traveled by ship to Panama, crossing the isthmus on horse back. From the west coast of Panama he took another ship to San Francisco. Finally, he traveled inland to Nevada, where he began mining copper, silver, and lead ore. He wrote to Matilda, who joined him there after the railway was completed and they were married circa 1882. Robert and Matilda had three children, Ada, Robert, and Ralph. We have visited what remains of the town in Nevada a few times and on a trip there in 1974 I found this unbroken wine bottle. It’s doubtful that there is any direct connection between the bottle and my ancestors but it reminds me of the place, and that’s important to me.
Mom sent me a text this morning (that by itself is pretty remarkable) asking if I wanted to go to Eastern Market with her. She was looking for local figs, particularly brown turkey figs, and heard that there might be some down there. We did find a farmer’s stall that had about 2.5 pounds of them. She bought those. We were also able to buy about six pounds of black mission figs. They are sweeter but for making preserves, that isn’t really necessary. Their flavor isn’t all that different, though, so I suspect they will be quite good enough. While mom was buying her figs, I took some pictures of peppers. These are habaneros and I sort of think this might make a nice jigsaw puzzle. That’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.
As an acquaintance of ours once said, after biting into a pepper thinking it was a green bean, “Wow, that’s hot!”
With a very few exceptions, I like pretty much all the seafood I’ve had the opportunity to try (but ask me about Kæstur hákarl sometime). This includes pretty much any sushi and sashimi I’ve had. I particularly enjoy sashimi because of the delicate flavors of the various fish. I think my favorite is mackerel (although I’m not sure ‘delicate’ is the right adjective for the flavor of mackerel) so that’s the star of this plate. The salmon and salmon roe were both good, too. This was our second plate of three and all the food we had was delicious. As for Sushi Damo as a restaurant, I’d say that while the food is as good as you’d expect, it isn’t necessarily better than places that are a bit less expensive. So, not my new favorite for sushi, but still good.
Corned Beef King
Have you seen a pictures of people with their fathers on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media outlets? They are fairly ubiquitous. I could dig out a photo of me with my dad from back in the day. Or I could post a picture of Dorothy with her father (that’s me, of course). But instead I thought I’d show you where she took me for lunch. We see these trucks around town quite often. I’m a dedicated meatitarian, of course, so they sound pretty good to me. They are based in Olney and in addition to the trucks, they serve from a counter inside the Exxon on the corner of N. High Street and Georgia Avenue. If you like corned beef (or ham, roast beef, turkey, etc.) then you could do a lot worse than having a sandwich at Corned Beef King, either from their fixed location (as we did) or from one of their trucks. Thanks, Dorothy.
These guys, Steve, David, and Juan, (plus me and a few others from time to time) have been meeting regularly for over a year and a half (since October, 2015, I just looked it up in my journal). Mostly we meet at the church office but now and then we go out for dinner. This evening was such a time and we mat at the Old Town Pour House in Downtown Crown. The food was quite good, although I’d say it was overpriced. I had a duck Reuben and it was really tasty but $14 for a sandwich? Really? The beer was good and there is a pretty broad selection to choose from. I went with a beer called Bivalve Saison brewed by Evolution Craft Brewing Company of Salisbury, Maryland. Nice. As usual, we talked about life. That can keep us busy for a while, as you might guess.
Grace and Emily
I enjoyed taking pictures of these two having fun in the kitchen this evening. Grace did most of the flipping. They both did a lot of laughing. Grace posted a picture similar to this shortly after I got it off my camera and shared it with her. I’m a little late getting to it but I also have taken the time to make a few changes. First, I cropped the image a bit. Second, I replaced the image of Emily with one from a different picture that I think is better (her eyes are open, for instance). Getting the timing right so I could get the pancake in the air was the trickiest part, of course. It was much easier after she got more height on them, as in this image.
I do most of the cooking at home and in general I do a decent job of it. At least for the most part I don’t get too many complaints. Of course if you complain about the cooking, you better be prepared to do your own after that. I don’t do a lot of baking, though. It certainly isn’t that I don’t like baked good, but I am trying to limit my carbohydrate intake a bit. Nevertheless, when Maggie made scones (English toffee yesterday and these blueberry scones today), I happily enjoyed them. This evening was a bit of a bummer on other fronts and by the time I got around to taking a picture for today, I really didn’t feel like it, but these scones were delicious and made a good subject. We had them with Devon double cream.
I did some grocery shopping this evening, picking up a few essentials as well as things I’ve been wanting. You know the drill, I’m sure. Anyway, I had my camera with me. Although I usually have my camera with me, I often don’t take it with me when I go to the grocery store (or any store, for that matter). When I’m outdoors, especially in the woods or even walking around the neighborhood, saying I’m have it to take pictures of what I find sounds perfectly reasonable. But in the store, what am I going to find? Well, I might find a bin full of wonderful, bright red, bell peppers. I don’t eat them myself. Bell peppers are one of a handful of things I’d prefer to avoid (but it’s sometimes hard). But I agree they are lovely to look at.
Sous Vide Pork Chop
For Christmas, I was given a sous vide appliance. It’s a small device with a heating element and a mechanism for circulating heated water. The device is placed on the side of a deep pot and filled to the proper depth. The desired temperature and cooking time is set and the water is heated to the requested temperature. The pork chops are placed in sealed bags and the air is suctioned out (which is where sous vide gets its name, from the French for “under vacuum”). It’s a fairly slow method of cooking but the meat retains its moisture. A quick sear after its done and its ready to eat. Pork chops with sauteed apples and green beans.
A Snack With Appeal
Usually I peel a clementine by starting at one end and spiralling around until I get to the other end. That produces a nice, s-shaped piece that looks something like the integral symbol, ∫, used in calculus. This evening I tried something different. One ray of the star is longer than the others because it includes the opposite end. I suppose with a little effort I could do this so that they were all the same. Maybe next time. For now, I’ll just enjoy the fruit.
I brought an assortment of cheeses to a small get together this evening. I had planned simply to put them out on a cutting board but Hope wanted to label them and had a black board and a piece of chalk. We arranged them (roughly) from mildest to stinkiest (right to left, although the Swiss should have been on the far right) and put them out with crackers and some slices of salami. Together with Theresa’s salad and a carafe of wine, it made a nice meal.
With appologies to Martin Denny and Leon Pober (and Don Ho, I suppose). Cathy and I went out to dinner this evening with our young friend, Julia. I happened to order a beer, Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA. With it sitting on the table in front of a small lamp, I was mesmerized by the tiny bubbles floating up through the amber liquid. This photograph doesn’t really do them justice but it’s the best of the few I took, so it will have to do. The bubbles show up here as find lines as the bubbles rise through the beer during the 1/6 second exposure (f/16).
I admit to being something of a foodie, but certainly not fanatically so. I do enjoy a good steak. There were bone-in, strip steaks on sale at Safeway the other day ($6.99 per pound) and I bought a few. I know they’re better cooked on a grill over charcoal or even cooked under the broiler of my electric oven, but this evening I cooked them in a pan. Well seared and still red in the middle, they’re not at all bad prepared that way, seasoned only with salt and black pepper. Cathy isn’t a fan of even moderately rare meat, needs to have no pink left, so I cut her steak off the bone, divided it into four thinner pieces and removed most of the fat around the edges. I cooked hers the same amount of time as my much thicker steak. That way, we’re both happy.
Dorothy and I went to Latte Plaza in Aspen Hill this evening. In the two weeks since I was there last, it’s undergone a fairly significant transformation from a mostly Asian supermarket to a mostly Hispanic supermarket. There’s nothing wrong with that, unless you are looking for Asian foods. The produce, fish, and meat departments have changed less than the rest of the store and this picture of frozen, cleaned fish is emblematic of that. We also went to the Great Wall Supermarket in Rockville, which is very much a Chinese grocery and has a terrific produce department.
Dorothy’s tastes have expanded quite a lot since she was a little girl. When she was seven we were in Italy and all she would eat was pasta with butter. If we had gone to Japan, she’s have stuck to rice. Now, she likes sushi and asked if we could go for sushi one evening while she’s home. So, we went to Niwano Hana in Rockville and had a good assortment. Cathy ordered sweet potato rolls (nearest to the camera) and Almendras rolls (shrimp tempura with almond and avocado, the four in the middle). Dorothy got Alaskan rolls (smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber) and Volcano roll (shrimp & crab stick tempura, avocado, cucumber, smelt-egg, ao-nori flake, spicy mayo, the mountain on the left). I had Salmango rolls (avocado, tobiko, salmon and mango) and Rainbow rolls (and assortment including tuna, white fish, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, crab stick, cucumber), which are the two rows farthest from the camera.
Cathy and I went to work together today because our second car is on loan temporarily. That did complicate the evening a little because I have my men’s group on Tuesday evenings and Cathy has indoor soccer. When we have two cars, I come home, fix myself dinner, and then head back into town for the meeting. This evening Cathy dropped me off and I walked to the Plaza to pick up something to eat. I took a few pictures, mostly of the Christmas lights and then went into Five Guys to buy a burger. While I was waiting for that to be made, I took this with the camera sitting on a table. It’s a 1/2 second exposure at f/9.9.
Today was the annual Christmas Bazaar at Washington Christian Academy and Cathy and I spent a good while there, mostly visiting with people we don’t see as often, now that Dorothy has graduated and been gone from the school for more than two years. Of course we enjoyed our annual oliebollen. These, if you are not familiar with this Dutch treat, are deep fat fried dough balls coated with sugar. I prefer the granulated sugar variety (pictured here) and Cathy goes for powdered sugar. They are generally available with or without raisins but the without variety had sold out by the time I bought ours. I prefer with, anyway.
Once again I don’t have a lot to say about today’s picture. The title really gives you all the information you need. These are apples. I believe these are ‘Gala’ apples, to be more specific, and I bought them at Latte Plaza for $0.69 per pound, which is about as good a price as you’re going to get apples. Recently our local Safeway has started carrying ‘Envy’ apples, which I like quite a bit but which seem to vary in price quite a bit from one visit to the next.
This pepper has been sitting in our kitchen and started to dry out. I threw a few other away but kept this one to let it dry a little more and today I took a few pictures of it. I don’t really have a lot to say other than that. It’s red, it’s got texture, and it’s shiny. Actually, it’s not terribly dry yet and after I took the picture, I threw the pepper away. In any case, here you are. It’s enough to keep my streak alive. Only four more days until I reach 2,100.
Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant
For a little over a year our family has been having what we call Thursday Night Dinner (TND). It was initially ever week for a while but life gets busy and now it’s now and then, when people are available. This evening there were seven of us, Tsai-Hong, Ralph, Dot, Seth, Steve, Cathy, and me (not in the picture, because I was behind the camera, as I prefer). We had talked about going to a Thai restaurant. There is an Ethiopian restaurant next door and we figured we’d go to both on different weeks. Iris suggested we do Ethiopian tonight because she’s not fond of it and she couldn’t come tonight. She wants to go the Thai restaurant, when the times comes.
We had samplers with all sorts of dishes, ranging from mild to somewhat spicy. None of it was terribly hot. The best flavour, I think, was in two beef dishes. The first of those is kitfo, which their menu describes as “Ethiopian style steak tartar, seasoned to a rich flavor with our special blend of spices, spiced butter and mit’mit’a.” They will sear it for you, but we decided to go for the original.
The second that I really liked was tibs fitfit. “Tender beef cubes sautéed with onion, tomatoes, awaze and jalapeño mixed with injera.”
Actually, all of it was good and I ate more than I should have. Even so there was a lot left over.
Some Serious Loafing
When we drive to or from the Boston area we often stop at the Rockland Bakery in Nanuet, New York for a bit of bread. Because we’re driving most of the day and it’s not a good idea to take pictures while driving, this is one of my few opportunities to take pictures on those days (I guess I could take pictures at a service area, but somehow…). In the past I’ve tried to come up with bread-themed jokes to go along with my picture (e.g., Home For The Challahdays). Today I’ll just feature a picture of some huge loaves of bread. I have to assume these are a special order item, being too long even for the shelf trolley they’re on. We settled for soft pretzels (which were just coming out of the oven) and a couple rolls. It’s a fascinating place and worth a visit, even if you don’t buy bread (but we always do, of course).
I’ve already posted a picture from today (two, actually) but I thought I’d post one more. We had a fairly long day of sitting in offices and then driving around, we saw some interesting things, and while at the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm we got a call from Dorothy saying she was fine, in spite of what was going on in the city where she is living. We sent text messages back and forth until fairly late (which for her became fairly early the next morning). With all the running around, we never managed to stop for lunch.
So, in the evening, after the Historical Farm and a short stop back at our hotel, we went to the Trackside Station Grill & Bar in East Stroudsburg for dinner. I was pretty hungry and decided to go all out. I ordered the Eastburger, which is described on their menu as “Two 8oz Black Angus burgers, grilled cheese sandwich center, layers of lettuce, tomato, & beer battered onion rings, on a pretzel bun, served with house made honey mustard.” You had me at a pound of ground beef with a grilled cheese sandwich center.
To answer the obvious question, yes, I cleaned my plate.
Mothers Day Meal
Sorry for the delay in posting this. Cathy and I took our mom’s to Bombay Bistro for Mother’s Day and had a very nice visit and, as usual there, a great meal. This is my plate, featuring (clockwise from left) Aloo Gobhi, Lamb Rogan Josh, Chicken Madras, and Chicken Tikka Makhani. In the upper right is a piece of Naan and there are two sauces in the middle. The darker one is sweet and the greet one is spicy and has cilantro. We also had some raita, a sauce made with yogurt and cucumber.
Dogfish Head Alehouse With The Guys
I met with the guys (or “the guys”) this evening for dinner at the Dogfish Head Alehouse. Between the five of us we ordered four different beers. Ben and David had the beer on the right in this picture, which is the 90 minute IPA (if I’m remembering correctly), an Imperial India Pale Ale. The one in the middle is mine, the Indian Brown Ale. I don’t actually remember which one Juan had, on the left. I’m thinking it was Palo Santo Marron, but that may be totally wrong. Anyway, both beers and burgers were excellent.
As if being in hospital isn’t bad enough, you have to suffer with hospital food. We were at Montgomery General this evening visiting a friend who has been there since Wednesday and this is the dinner they sent him. Doesn’t it look wonderful? No? I agree, it’s pretty sad. It brings back memories of junior high and high school lunches. Bleak. As Terry was ordering it for him, Marc said, “Order whatever you want, I’m not eating it.” The cherry tomatoes don’t look too bad.
Pork Chop and Sugar Snap Peas
One of my favorite meats is a cured pork chop from the Lancaster County Dutch Market in Germantown (https://www.lcdutchmarket.com/). I love the rich, salty flavor of cured pork and they don’t dry out when cooked as plan pork chops tend to do. Of course, I brine plain pork chops so they won’t dry out, bu these don’t need that treatment. This evening I pan seared them and topped them with a smokey apricot sauce and served them with sugar snap peas. It turned out very well and was a very satisfying meal. I could have eaten two of them, but that’s another story. One was god.
My Goose Is Cooked
We had Jean, Maria, and Lexi over for dinner this evening and I roasted a goose. That’s something I’ve never done before and I was a little worried it wouldn’t turn out well, but it did. I may have overcooked it slightly so the meat was a little tougher than it should have been but the flavor was great. It released a serious quantity of fat, in which I cooked some potatoes and beets. The potatoes were creamy and rich and the beets (if you like that sort of thing) sweet and luscious. Better than the meal, however, was the company. What a nice evening we had. There was much merriment and laughter.
Oh My Darling
After all the pictures from the trip downtown yesterday, I have much less to show for myself today. It was a quiet day and I did a little shopping but mostly stayed around the house and had a quiet day reading. In the evening I started to peal a clementine. After pealing it, which I almost always do in this fashion, I laid the pieces out and took a few pictures. It got me wondering, because I never really thought about it before, how a clementine relates to a tangerine. Turns out that a tangerine (Citrus tangerina) is closely related to, or possibly a type of, mandarin orange (C. reticulata). The clementine (C. x clementina), on the other hand, is a hybrid between a Mediterranean C. × deliciosa and a sweet orange (C. x sinensis) which in turn are BOTH hybrids (but different hybrids) of a pomelo (C. maxima) and mandarin (C. reticulata). It’s complicated.
We’ve made the trip to north of Boston twice now. That means four chances to stop at Rockland Bakery in Nanuet, New York. We have taken advantage of that opportunity all four times. It is becoming ‘a thing.’ I posted a picture from our second visit, on the way home from our first time up to school (Sunday, August 23, 2015). If you happen to be heading to or from New England and crossing the Hudson on the Tappan Zee Bridge, the bakery isn’t going to be very far out of your way. It’s worth it for the smell, alone. They, if you buy nothing else, pick up a hot bagel off the conveyor and buy some cream cheese butter to go with it. You won’t regret it, I promise (unless you have celiac disease, I suppose, in which case, maybe not).
Well, the grapes arrived after 11:00 PM last night, long after we had gone home. We went back today and helped for a little while. Cathy and Dorothy both jumped in with both feet. I fished out stems and took pictures. We were only there a relatively short while but they were nearly done with all 5,000 pounds when we left.
In this picture, Cathy and Dorothy are crushing grapes while Anna, Greg, and Greg remove stems before carrying the bins to the basement.
The pea variety, that is.
Dorothy and I stopped at Latte Plaza on the way home from Laurel today. I took a few pictures there, including this stack of sacks of rice, definitely our favorite form of starch.
Shades of Hotness
Peppers — ranging from the merely hot to the scorching.
Rocklands Farm Produce
Purple and orange eggplant, potatoes, a cucumber, various peppers, zucchini and yellow squash, assorted tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, green and purple basil, and a leek — most of my vegetable share from Rocklands Farm this morning. Now, doesn’t that look good?
Strawberries and Cream
One of life’s little pleasures.
Kielbasa and Cheese
These are some cheeses (from England, France, Holland, and Maryland, along with some “fresh” Kielbasa (can you even say that?) from the Kielbasa Factory in Rockville. I love aged foods. Perhaps I should have added a glass of red wine to this. Actually, I served four of the cheeses but substituted soppressata for the kielbasa, which is better heated.
I didn’t have time to go out to take pictures today because I needed to pick up a car from the shop and drop off another. I grabbed a carry-out order of sashimi. Some people, my wife and daughter, for instance, will find this about as disgusting as the pictures of the dead deer from a few weeks ago. It’s made worse, I suppose, by the fact that I’m going to eat it. I did and it was delish.