Friday, May 29, 2009

cape cod!

Here's what we did for the long weekend last week: Road trip! On Thursday night, Colin and I got out of work, packed up the car and hit the road for the Cape. We were so excited because we were invited by our friend Courtney's mom to stay at a gorgeous house on the water in downtown Provincetown. Courtney & Spencer were going to be there. And Mark was coming over the pond from Liverpool (Kathleen had to stay home for work. Boooo!). Here's us in the car on the way down:

It took us a LONG time to get to P-Town. We arrived around 1 in the morning. Spencer had waited up. So we had a drink and Spencer showed us around the Sandpiper. (That's the name of the house where we were staying.) The house was amazing. There were lots of pretty shells and corals decorating the place. Lots of Victorian fixtures. It was right on the water. Right downtown. We finished up the night with a quick trip down the street to Spiritus Pizza. What a scene! Then we crashed pretty hard in this amazing room:

The next day was gorgeous. We hung out on the deck. I had an insane veggie burger with salt & vinegar chips, avocado and Frank's red hot-marinated onions, among other things. Mmm!

Later we moved to the front porch and watched people walk by. All afternoon. And into the evening. There were a lot of people to watch. Lots of them had dogs. There were lots of knee-length plaid shorts. A few drag queens. A few dramas. It was great entertainment. I love P-Town. The whole time we were there, we felt so lucky and so happy. Thanks Carol and Linda!!

The next day we headed to Falmouth to meet up with Mark & Chip and stay at Mark's parents' house for the rest of the weekend. The weather took a turn for gray and cold. But we still went to the beach. And we went bowling. I was really bad at it. Everyone else was pretty good. Colin was really good. He scored a 191. I can't remember what my score was, but it was bad. Spencer had fancy footwork every time he bowled, so I took a picture.

Here are more pictures from the weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

rhubard & custard, kippers & knickers

I got some mixed reaction to the blowout business. My friend Isaac mentioned that mine is a food blog and some people coming to the site looking for recipes might be put off. While I was not aware that this was solely a foodie blog (I rarely post recipes, except for today), I am sorry if I did in fact put any one off. I thought it was funny! And I want to remember that moment forever.

Any-who. Back to the subject at hand. And this one IS about food.

When we were kids, any time we'd go over a covered bridge (or was it any bridge? I can't quite remember) we would roll down the windows and yell at the top of our lungs, "Rhubarb and custard! Kippers and knickers!" I'm pretty sure it was my mom's idea. Where else would we come up with such rubbish? You should try it some time; it's really liberating.

Well, despite how silly it sounds, rhubarb and custard is indeed one of the best things in the world. They seem an unlikely combination: tart and grassy; sweet and creamy. But when they get together there are just fireworks happening.

Well, now it's rhubarb season. (Did you know that rhubarb has fiber, vitamin C and potassium and is good for your heart too?) I got some at the market last week. I had some girlfriends coming over last night for dinner and one of them was bringing vanilla ice cream, so I decided to make a rhubarb sauce to pour on top. At first the gals were hesitant at the idea and made me put the sauce on the side. But once they tried it, they just couldn't get enough! This sauce goes so well on top of vanilla ice cream, mixed into plain yogurt or as a fruit base for rhubarb ice cream. It's so easy to make! I like to add lemon, cause it brings out the flavor. Start with about this much rhubarb:

Rhubarb Sauce
About 4 cups of diced rhubarb stems (don't eat the leaves)
Juice of about 1/2 or 1 lemon (if you really like it tart like I do, otherwise you could just skip the lemon and just use less sugar)
About 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sugar
Vanilla is optional

Cook the rhubarb, lemon and sugar for about 10 minutes on medium low till the rhubarb starts to break down. Turn heat to low and cook for another 10 or so minutes till some of the liquid has evaporated and the sugar has turned a little syrupy. Remove from heat. At this point you can add vanilla, but you don't need it. Serve hot over vanilla ice cream or cold mixed into yogurt. Yum!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

robot room: before & after

Just as modern time is referenced by B.C. and A.D. so our kitchen is now defined by B.R. and A.R.—Before Robots and After Robots. It's the Robot Room now.

You see, my boy loves the clangy tin thing-a-ma-jiggies. When we go to New York, to Paris, to London, to Hong Kong, to anywhere, we inevitably return with at least one boxed-up gem complete with working innards and gears and a metal key to wind it up. Some of them play drums even. You could say Colin's like is somewhat of an obsession actually (the hard drive on his Mac, for example, is named ROBOTO).

Since we moved into our new place, however, his cherished friends have been relegated to a forgotten shelf in the basement. Gathering dust and rust. Never to see the light of day. Until now.

While Col was away, I decided to surprise him and not only finish painting the trim in the kitchen, but also to find a way to display his robot collection in full view for everyone to enjoy. I got this great idea from a picture on Apartment Therapy. I decided to mount a display shelf above the sink (maybe he would enjoy doing dishes then!). Emi and Kevin gave me some shelves. They're the perfect size.

Of course, being my father's daughter, I couldn't keep the secret till he got home and ended up showing him the shelves over video chat. He was thrilled. So here are some pictures B.R. and A.R.

Before Paint (before we even bought the place actually—so plain!):

Before Robots:

After Robots:

Monday, May 18, 2009

the doc & baby's big blowout

I absolutely adore my sisters. Did you know that? They're just so amazing, sometimes I can't even believe it. It was a big weekend for Emi-lou. After years and years of study and research, she officially received her PhD on Saturday. We went to her graduation ceremony and watched her being hooded. We were so proud!

Afterwards we celebrated at their place. Not even the rain could spoil our jovial business. Not even a flood (thanks to Kev's speedy work with the sump pump)!

Indeed that sister of mine has accomplished much in the past half-year. Not only has she become a doctor, but she has also become a mother—and a great one too! Yesterday, I spent much of the day with her, Kev and Sapphire. I was in a glum mood when I arrived, but immediately felt rejuvenated by their warm, uplifting energy.

Emi was so excited to show me Sappie's new dress. But almost as soon as she put it on her, the babe let out a genetically-correct air bubble from her nether parts (Papa Roger would've been proud). It turned out to be slightly more than that and I was so thrilled/appalled to witness my first baby blow-out. I just had to take pictures.

At first, it looked like a little French's mustard spilled on the back of her onesie:

But on closer inspection...

It was a little more serious. After a slight panic we managed to strip off the soiled clothes without soiling anything else. I hoped the dress wasn't spoiled, but Em already had yet another cute outift to put her in. At that point though, Sapphie's nerves had caught up with the moment and she started to fret. But she quickly found her thumb and self-medicated for a while (like mother, like daughter)...

Through it all, Emi remained graceful and pleasant. What a gal! What a mom! Pretty soon we were all fresh and giggles again!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

the eater

When Colin's away for weeks on work trip, it seems I'm never lacking for company—or things to do. Just this past week, I had four dinner invitations. Sunday was a Mother's Day dinner with the family at the Bearded Frog, Monday was dinner with the girls at Elisa's, Tuesday was me myself and the Housewives of NYC, Wednesday was a fantastic Moroccan meal at Vanessa's and tonight I went over to hang with the sis & fam.

I think I take it for granted sometimes, all this good food and good company. I am taken care of.

Do you realize that when you offer a meal to someone, it's absolutely the best gift in the world? When you nourish a person you give them so much more than physical sustenance—though that in itself is a noble gift indeed. When you feed a person you nourish their spirit and their sense of self-worth. You keep them healthy. You make them feel cherished. The table sphere is a safe place where amid the candle glow and the dinner din grows family and community. There is much joy in that kind of gift—joy to be given and joy to be received.

I can't wait to return the favor.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

twigs & herbs

Last weekend, I went to the first summer farmers' markets in Burlington. It was a gorgeous spring morning and I couldn't believe all of the produce that was already available on the first day (isn't it usually just seedlings and prepared food?)—there was asparagus, rhubarb, spring onions, spinach, greens, bok choy, fiddleheads, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, cheese, eggs, meat, bread, pastries, maple syrup, honey and SO MUCH MORE!

Since it was just me in the house, I only allowed myself a few perishable items: a pound of rhubarb, a bunch of asparagus and some shallots. Then I also bought several herb seedlings for my garden. I took my purchases home and made a spring risotto right away. It was so good! I still haven't done anything with the rhubarb yet, but I think I might make a tart or rhubarb ice cream (that was a favorite last year).

As soon as I started working on the garden it started pouring and didn't let up all day. But that didn't stop me. I dug up a spot for my herb garden and transplanted some shrubs to make room. Then I planted everything. It took all day and then some on Sunday too. It looks lovely! Next we might try and build a stone patio next to it, but who knows when that will happen.

Being in the gardening spirit, I've also started thinking about flowers for our wedding. Because it will be in winter, I've been so overwhelmed by the whole idea of planning the bouquets & arrangements. But now I'm getting really inspired by new life all around me and pictures of colorful twigs—red & yellow dogwood branches are gorgeous! Maybe even some herbs will make it in there. We'll see...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

mind dump

I dropped Colin off at the airport yesterday morning. Yup, another trip to Asia. This one's not so bad though and already I can tell the time is just going to whiz right by.

I'm still running (in case you were wondering). I got a new pair of sneaks from my special secret Nike connection (thanks B.F.!) and it's funny, but it's the sneaks that keep me inspired to hit the pavement day after day. I just love putting them on—they're so cushy when I run!

Hung out with the gals on Monday. We've been doing it each Monday now for a while. I think the female companionship is good for all of us.

I'm reading Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzergerald for bookclub. I picked it. Even though I'm pretty sure I read this one before. But I can't remember any of it...

Work is chugging along. EatingWell won a James Beard award this past Sunday. Yay! (That's like the Oscar's of the food world.) I'm trying to be more mindful of my days and the passage of time in general. Sometimes I tend to go on auto-pilot.

The Burlington summer farmers' market starts up this Saturday. Think maybe I'll buy some herb plants from that lady on the corner. I'm starting an herb garden this year. Did I mention that? A kitchen herb garden! Here's my list so far:

in garden:

in pots:
lemon verbena

Sunday, May 03, 2009

before and afters: dining room

We did a little painting this weekend. This is Harbor Gray with white trim. Still haven't figured out the decorating yet... I kind of want to do lots of purple and yellow accents. And I think Colin is going to let me have my way. Yippee! Not sure when that will be though. Decorating is expensive. But painting's the hardest part and now it's done. Here are some pics. We're actually not quite finished in the kitchen yet (that crown moulding is insane!), but I'll post some pics later when it's done.



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