Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cranberry Sauce: tart and delicious

2 (12 ounce) packages fresh cranberries
1 orange, zested
5 cinnamon sticks
2 cups orange juice
1 lb. brown sugar

Zest orange, set aside. Cut off the remaining white skin and then slice the

In a food processor chop cranberries and orange slices. In a medium
saucepan, combine cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon, orange juice, and
brown sugar.

Add enough water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately
reduce heat, and simmer for several hours, or until the sauce has thickened.
Taste for sweetness, and adjust with additional sugar if necessary. You can
not overcook, so continue cooking until you have a good thick consistency.
Let mixture cool, then refrigerate in a covered container.

~optional~ garnish with more orange zest

This year, I've added cloves and a dash of port. Of course I quadrupled the amount of cranberries for the recipe 'cause I love the tart fruit. I think I might try my hand at canning this delightful fruit concoction.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Centurions Program


Would you know if you were staring at the world upside down?

We live in a skewed culture, where lies are called the truth and truth is called a lie.
Where some people are killed in the name of life and others live a walking death.
Where injustice is rewarded and justice is forgotten.

...but what if you had a chance to turn the world right side up? Would you take it?

Accept the challenge. Become a culture shaker.
Become a Centurion.

Apply for BreakPoint's Centurions Program.

BreakPoint: 44180 Riverside Parkway, Lansdowne, VA 20176.
® and Prison Fellowship® are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship Ministries

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Food Discoveries: Halva and Basil Ice Cream

I have made two fantastic food discoveries this year: Halva and Basil Ice Cream (thanks for the idea, Corrin).

Megan bought a package of halva at a Greek Orthodox Festival this spring.
I have a vague recollection of buying a similar tasting something from a small Italian import store while in PA last year for my cousin's wedding. But that's beside the point. The sweet, sticky goodness from the festival came in an unassuming clear plastic bag, but oh that taste--strangely appealing and oddly addicting.

As for the basil ice cream. The idea was introduced while commiserating with Corrin about the pine nut ice cream that got away (more on that later). Corrin mentioned her experimentation with an unusually flavored ice cream. So that night, an inspired Megan bought a small vanilla ice cream and added some of my basil then refroze. Not bad.

She made a second batch this past week. This time pureeing the basil so that the herb and ice cream mixed more evenly this time. It is downright tasty. Not to mention fun to flavor one's ice cream with herbs from one's garden.
As for pine nuts, I have a theory about them. Pine nuts raise the bar. They just do. By adding a just a few to a dish. It is transformed--tastier, fancier, and down right more enjoyable. And if they're toasted...well, taste buds should sit up and take note. These little morsels deliver pizazz to every dish they greet. So, once we caught sight of it on the Gua-Rapo's menu, Megan and I were tantalized by the prospect of the pine nut ice cream, but it was no longer available. Sad.

Between the herbal frozen treat and the Middle Eastern staple, two quirky sweets have quickly climbed this year's notable "like" list.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sequoia: a restauant week score?

Sipping on a tall glass of "Pierre Perfection." Pamplemousse Rosé on the rocks with a few raspberries for color--who said sugary, high-caloric or alcoholic beverages had the corner on the floating fruit market anyway? Simple. Delicious. Refreshing.

This post isn't about fizzy water at all. I'm simply writing with the companionship of this sparkling delight and was distracted (what's new?). Instead, this post will weigh my first stop on my DC Restaurant Week tour. I was invited to join a group of friends at Sequoia.

Most of the evening was quite enjoyable. I, like so many other patrons, was memorized be the LED light strings forming a row of eye-catching chandeliers. Caught myself and others unabashedly craning my neck to inspect them throughout the evening.

Prefix menu: Lentil soup, scallops, dessert.

Beluga and Puy Lentil Porridge with root vegetables toasted cumin croutons. The lentils were pureed so the texture was not my fav (the 'porridge' part should've given that away to me). Their flavor was both savory and hearty, as lentils should be. The seasoning was subtle enough so as not to overwhelm my next course, Atlantic Seared Scallops. The scallops were small, but tender. Drum roll. For dessert, Lavender Creme Brulee. Oh, my. The sensation of savoring a creamy desert infused with floral notes: bliss, I tell you. And who doesn't enjoy the crunchy, caramelized sugar on top of the smooth, velvety goodness?

Evening report card:
(A) Ambiance
(B) Food experience
(C+) Service

Why was the service lacking you ask? Everything was going well until...they brought the check. Low and behold... no refills. This classy joint apparently doesn't understand what third world countries and every fast food chain does, soda is dirt cheap. Or maybe they do. Each glass of coke tacked on a $2.37 charge. Can you say rip-off?

Also, did I mention the note on the menu indicating, or maybe warning, that Sequoia will not split checks. A mental scramble ensues: "Ok, how many of us have cash?" "Should one person just foot the bill and collect cash from everyone later?" We decide to use credit cards and just indicate on the bill how much to charge each card. The bill makes it's way 'round the table. Then there is a mathematical fluke. In a group of 9, we have too much money (as you may know not the typical problem when big groups split checks). I mean really TOO much money, three folks haven't even figured in what they owe. Something is wrong.

I joke with one of the ladies that our good looks charmed the waiter, so we weren't charged for our meals. Come to find out, I was right. No charge. Three of the restaurant week prefix menus weren't on our bill. Sweet. Wait, let's be honorable and make sure our waiter doesn't lose his job for leaving off a third of the order.

After we explain the situation, he says it'll be on him, but just asks us to "take care of him." What does that mean? Pay him for the dishes we weren't charged for? Another round of discussion as to how to split the bill and the appropriate tips. He was duly overpaid, especially because his efforts were sufficiently lacking throughout the evening. He squirreled away our coordinator's dinner plate, scaring her half to death. When he took mine, he was already reaching for it as he asked if I was done. Then hit my shoulder with the plate as he took it from the table.

Finally, we free ourselves from the calculation nightmare and head off into the night with one more DC dining experience under our belts.

I'll commandeer some photos from friends for a visual soon.

After an evening dining in Georgetown, I miss the fine dining that went hand in hand with my time at USO-Metro. Maybe another visit to Washington Harbor would be year. Next stop for my short restaurant week tour: Cafe Promonade.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nectar in the nectarine

After enjoying a delicious nectarine today, I've have a new theory:

Eating a good piece of fruit is the best way to picture what it would've been like to be in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. One bite into a ripe fruit's juicy-goodness and you can picture paradise or at least taste it. Ah, summer fruit--making me long for heaven.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Something is afoot

There were clues. First the missing petunias this morning. Then this afternoon, the wee tomatoes were scattered on the ground. I've been eagerly watching on the vine each afternoon and today they weren't there. Noo...I want vine ripened tomatoes! Started from seed, these plants were a generous garden gift from Mary.

Following the clues, I believe I have narrowed my suspects. Although rabbits frequently run around at dusk, I believe the culprits are the deer. The deer, in fact, that seem ever present in our back yard. Bambi's descendants probably found their way to the front and has a garden sampler.

Darn deer.

I've picked up the wee fruits and brought them inside. I'm just hoping that the cute little 'maters' will turn red on the kitchen window sill.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bermuda or Bust

Heading for the British territory for a bit of poolside relaxation. In hopes of sharing the fun, I sent an email tickler welcoming friends to join us: "So my roomie, Megan and I are gonna do it. Bermuda July 23-26. Got your passport? We're inviting folks to be crazy spontaneous with us."

Sarah's Dinner: Breaking Bread Together

Romans 12:15
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

It is wonderful to rejoice with friends. To not just be happy for them, but be able to participate in their joy. To join forces in their celebration. To savor God's goodness together.

Sarah's Dinner was a triumph--3 Tweets worthy!

Tweet 1: Sarah's dinner celebration starts in ten min. Congrats on your new position, girl, God is faithful!

Tweet 2:
A beautiful evening of thanksgiving and honor to our good God of perfect provision. Sarah, the Lord's hands is on you. He goes before you.

Tweet 3: Sarah's dinner: scrumptious steak grilled on baby weber, fancy salad, mashed red skin potatoes w/ rosemary & tiramisu peppered w/ good convo

(written while listening to George Winston's Thanksgiving...always makes me nostalgic).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Walking, just keep walking.

Twitter synopis: Patting myself on the back for tonight's 10 mile walk into DC w/ my #pinkprayer teammate. Another 6 in the morning

Ten miles. Sweet, I just walked 10 whole miles. That's pretty far. It took almost 3 hours.

Nicky or should I say my teammate and personal "slave-driver" kept me going.

While we were on the trail looking at DC over the Potomac, the Lincoln Memorial beckoned, so off we went over the Memorial Bridge. I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever crossed it as part of the foot traffic. We enjoyed the sun setting behind the memorial (I love Lincoln). The bustle of kickball teams and the sounds of the Marine Band playing big band tunes made the stretch near the memorials quite enjoyable.

Ooh, we also saw this guy being arrested. There were no less than 5 cop cars and one undercover vehicle as well. I wanted to gape, but Nicky reminded me of our goal--MILEAGE.

It's sorta fun--all this walking. You never know what you'll see.
My hamstrings might need a little more stretching, but there will be six more miles tomorrow morning to loosen 'em back up.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Parks & Pretty Pallea

To grab a bit of milage, Megan and I explored Theodore Roosvelt Island this afternoon. Hot and sweaty, we grabbed a slurpee on the way home. Love a good slurpee, especially the fruity Crystal Light versions--so refreshing!

Off for a "gastronomical adventure" with Meg and Megan, our prize: Jaleo's Paella festival...

First we warm up our appetites with some oh-so yummy chorizo and jamón. Our paella is delivered, beautifully served with edible flowers. Explaining the inspiration of the dish, our waitress noted that our paella was named for the elements earth, water, and air: the vegetables from the land, the shrimp from the sea, and the scent of the flowers for the air. Summer sangria with tart pieces of granny smith apples refreshed our pallet, a nice contrast to the nutty rice of the paella.

Full of delicious spanish cuisine, we're off to the theatre for a musical rendition of Jane Eyre. Meg's take-away from the evening, "I'm not the secret, crazy wife!"

To top off our festivities, Megan and I can't help but watch another episode of Veronica Mars.

More of my Saturdays should be this good.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pink Prayer: Physical Training & Spiritual Trusting

Mama was diagnosed with cancer then I cut my hair. She's started chemo and I started training. Training forThe3Day-DC. Nicky and I are in it together.

Our Team Name: Pink Prayer
Team Members and Co-Captain: Nicky & Me
Money Raised so Far: $10 each (the tax-deductible portion of our registration fees)

First we stopped by Pacers, where we were each personally outfitted with shoes for our new endeavor. Our personal salesmen/foot outfitters watch our gate and then offered a variety of shoes that might work for us. Nicky's are pink and mine well not pink. We're gonna give them a test run to see if they are comfortable, supportive and worth buying a second pair...we'll be putting a lot of miles on our shoes over the next few months.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Training Day 1

Nicky is gonna be a good coach. We will make a good team.

Averaged 19 min miles.

Good ideas from the day:

-Map out the roads we cover with our training walks
-Walk the azaelea route
-Continue to count our blessings

Drive home with Allison Krauss was nice. Feeling pretty content and settled. A welcome change to recent anxieties.

Of course after a day of success what do I want to do, but shop...Pink merchandise watch out!