- Grilled Pork Chops w/ Radishes, Bacon & Arugula, Sauteed Mushrooms
- Grilled Chicken Thighs w/ Peri Peri Sauce, Green Bean Salad
Friday Â Happy 4th of July!
- Something Grilled from This Place, An Awesome Side Dish
Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this week:
Dan’s mom had a milestone birthday (rhymes with schmeventy) last week, so her family and friends gathered together in central Pennsylvania to celebrate with a pig roast, as one does. It was a great party, and the birthday girl had a happy day indeed.
Of COURSE we took a picture of the pig and posted it here — have you met us?!? It’s rather humbling to see the face of your foodÂ before you eat it, and it remindsÂ us to more often think about the origins of what we’re eating.
Speaking of which, some of our food is going to be coming from our very own terrace soon! Our patio tomato plant is doing well, and we have a bunch of little tomatoes that should be ripe in the next couple of weeks. We’re looking forward to making these scalloped tomatoes with our first harvest.
Â Who’s watching World Cup soccer? Quite a few people at Dan’s office, it seems. They put yesterday’sÂ USA vs. Germany game on the big screenÂ in the common area,Â and people brought their laptops so they could work whileÂ cheering for Team USA. Patriotism and productivity, for the win!
A new craft brewery just opened in town, dangerously close to our condo. Smylie Brothers Brewing Company is also a smokehouse where they make their own BBQ. They also have a wood-fired oven for pizza. And they have a hip-yet-rustic, two-story indoor space that includes a big fireplace in the lounge area. They also have a spacious patio where we sat last night and watched the cool, misty fog roll in from the lake as we finished our delicious dinner. It’s good to live in Chicagoland in the summer.
Apparently, it’s also good to be working at Kraft Foods, where all the employees were treated to lunch and an acoustic performance by country music star Brad Paisley this afternoon. Tough day at the office!
When we think lentil soup, we usually think Christmas. Not only because itsÂ delicious-ness is a gift, but also because this soupÂ isÂ the perfect way to use up every bit of the Greenberg smoked turkey that Dan’s East Texas colleagues generously sent us for the holidays. My parents make their own holiday version of lentil soup most years too, using a ham bone and ham, which is what I grew up eating for Christmas dinner every year. The smoked turkey version (with homemade turkey stock) will probably always be our favorite, but this recipe from the cookbook “Slow Cooker Revolution” is also really good, takes less time and effort to prepare, and does not require the use of a smoked turkey or a ham bone. So realistically, we can (and will!) make it more often than once per year. Â Although the list of ingredients is rather long (onion, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, dried porcini mushrooms, thyme, chicken and vegetable broths, bacon, carrots, portobello mushroom caps, lentils, bay leaves and Swiss chard), the slow-cooker does most of the work, and the nearly vegetarian result (the bacon is just for flavor) is a lighter, yet still robust and earthy take on our old holiday favorite. Merry
Continue reading “Slow-Cooker Lentil Soup”
Â Our first harvest from our jalapeÃ±o plants!
Â Last weekend we found a really nice bike trail that runs parallel to the train tracks.
Â Delicious pizza from a new-to-us Italian place.
Â Brand new restaurant just around the corner from our condo hasÂ amazingÂ crispy potatoes.
We’re in Dan’s hometown for his mom’s birthday (Happy 70th E!),
which means a quick stop at Texas Hot Dog for a chili dog snack.
We took a quick trip to visit family in Amesbury last weekend. We had a wonderful time thereâ€”as we always doâ€”with fun outings, great food, and most importantly, quality time with some of our favorite people. The weather couldn’t have been better, as evidenced by the un-edited photo above (and the still-pink sunburned backs of Dan’s legs.)
Â Two of said favorite people are becomingÂ quite skilledÂ at climbing trees.
Dan and I have a running joke that his brother J can do pretty much anything, and he usually does it better than most other people. (It’s funny because it’s true, and because it makes Dan jealous.) Grilling pizza is no exception to this rule. (But our lovelyÂ sister-in-law C deserves all the credit for presentation.)
Our nephew (second one on the right) is following in his dad’s footsteps of being good at a lot of different things, as he expertly played the steel drums inÂ his ensemble concert on Sunday. It was quite entertaining, and we’re so glad we got to be there.
Â A sentence I never imagined I would write: We have a new favorite vegan lunch!Â This brown rice salad takes some time to prepare, but it’s well worth the effort, and it can be made ahead. Start by sauteing some onion and red bell pepper in olive oil until the veggies begin to soften, add a clove or two of garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add shiitake mushrooms (we also added eggplant, since we had some leftover from a different dish) and cook until the mushrooms release and reabsorb their juices. Season with soy sauce and sriracha to taste. The mushroom mixture provides the “meaty” flavor and texture of the salad, to which you can add whatever raw vegetables you like, in addition to cooked brown rice. We added carrots, radishes, green onions, cucumber and steamed edamame. Bring all the flavors together by tossing the salad with a tiny bit of an Asian style vinaigrette (we used the dressing from this noodle salad recipe.) Serve the salad at room temperature, on its own or as filling for lettuce wraps. If you make the salad ahead of time, store each of the components (cooked mushroom mixture, brown rice, chopped raw veggies, and dressing) in separate containers in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this week:
We discovered a wonderful garden center last weekendâ€”one of the largest we’ve ever seen, with a huge selection of every variety of plant you could imagine. We don’t have much outdoor spaceÂ and bought just a few plants, but it’s a beautiful place to visit and stroll through, even if you don’t buy anything.
We planted flowers and a couple of jalapeÃ±o plants in the small bed that runs along the windows to our bedroom. It’s amazing how bigÂ a difference even a little bit of colorful nature can make in daily life.
We are slowly eating our way around our neighborhood, building our catalogÂ of favorite places and dishes. The meatball appetizer at Trattoria Demi has officially earned its spot on our top 10 list so far. Their arancine (crisp, breaded risotto balls) aren’t bad either, especially when dipped in the sauce from the meatballs.
The traditional gifts to commemorateÂ the ninth year of wedded bliss are pottery and willow, and the modern gift is leather. We decided to go with bicycles because nothing says “happy anniversary!” better than a potential trip to the emergency room. I am neither coordinated nor athletic in the least and can’t even remember the last time I rode a bike, so I was pretty nervous about our first ride. Turns out it’s true what they say: riding a bike is just like riding a bike. Once you’ve learned how, you truly don’t forget. Here’s to us, and many many more rides, and years, together!