Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hurray! is just one letter away from hurry

I was so wrapped up in projects yesterday that I never even made it out of the house — not even to check the mail. So this morning, the first day of spring, I thought I would go for a nice long walk. When I emerged from the cocoon of our apartment, however, I realized immediately that spring may be here, but it is certainly not in the air. I headed right back inside and grabbed my winter hat and put on a warmer jacket. Not cheered by this fact, I changed my plans to a quick walk. As I came out of the little wooded path into the neighborhood behind ours, I saw this:

I have never seen a tree tapped for sap before other than in pictures. And this jug had some liquid in it, but quite thin murky-looking liquid that I thought was quite possibly rain water. (I was told later that this was, in fact, how sap looks straight from the tree.) Nonetheless, it made me chuckle and break out the camera that I often bring on walks, but that usually remains forgotten inside my pocket. Then down the block from the sap gatherers, I found this:

Hopscotch is surely a sign of spring. There were many more welcome signs around the neighborhood, despite the snow flurries in the air:

This house had a whole hedge of forsythia — I can't wait to come back to see it in bloom. I was tempted to snap a piece off to force at home, but my conscience won out on that debate. And then I was happy to see these reminders of Long Island gardens and the beach:

And, of course, my squirrel friends were out and about. I often talk about how aggressive and crazy the Michigan squirrels are, and today was no different. This fellow stayed put as I walked right up and snapped three shots. I was sure he would jump on my back as I walked away.

And last but not least:
How great is this entry? A white shag/feather wreath — I'm not sure if it's a holdover from the December, or a spring wreath — but either way, I love it, along with the colors and great house numbers. So, my walk did in fact turn into a long one and I saw many welcome signs of spring — hurray!

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's never too late…

… for a new calendar! I'm very picky about calendars and this year I just couldn't find the right one for tooo long. And then, I found paper + twine on Etsy through poppytalk. I don't know if it was the rock bottom sale price or the lovely delicate drawings or the superb styling in her photos that got me first, but I love this store. I ordered the gocco printed 2009 calendar ON SALE HERE NOW and it has arrived. It is even more charming in person (can a calendar be "in person?" In my world, yes.) So petite and the ribbon is just right.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

To Do List

Here it is 1:15pm and I'm still in my pjs. How did this happen, I find myself asking once again?!? Here is a recreation to the best of my ability:
7:30 AM — Crawl out of bed
7:32 AM — Brush teeth, wash face
7:35 AM — Make coffee
7:40 AM — Sit down at computer
7:44 AM — See that Etsy treasury is almost open
7:44.05 AM — Search for lovely peacock items
7:55 AM — Coffee refill
8:40 AM — Nab treasury

8:43 AM — Finish filling in items for treasury
8:46 AM — More coffee
8:47 AM — Clicking through treasuries, post to forum, etc
9:00 AM — Start printing new prints on fabulous new Epson R2880 printer
9:17 AM — Begin swearing profusely after ridiculous numbers of paper jams resulting in not one print
9:40 AM — More coffee

9:50 AM — Still swearing; add pounding fist on desk to temper tantrum, still no prints
10:01 AM — Break down and call support (I never do this. This is bad sign.)
10:48 AM — Hang up with support with newfound knowledge that properly feeding paper into new printer is slowly honed skill only mastered by Epson employees after years of training. Surprisingly calmed by this bit of info.
11:01 AM — Brew more coffee. East some toast with PB.
11:15 AM — Feebly continue printing away
12:05 AM — Gather fresh prints on dining table and admire glowingly with coffee in hand

12:08 AM — Bust out new frames to reshoot new prints for Etsy shop
12:55 AM — Upload new photos
1:00 PM — Wonder where the morning went?!?!
I haven't even gotten to item two on my list of things to do today. I think it's time for more coffee…

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What I love about a college town

Yes, those are all staples. And at one time each one secured a flyer of some sort: bands, garage sales, lectures, etc. Gotta love a college time with so much activity! I know I do. Here's to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mama's BEST Chicken Scallopine

When I went off to Australia for a year during college in 1992, I had never ever cooked for myself before. My mother put together a little book in which she wrote all my favorite recipes. I still have this book and use it often. The spine is completely demolished and the pages constantly fall out, but it is truly a treasure!
One of my very favorites is a recipe for Chicken Scallopine. It's so easy and versatile. I will share it with you here in case you can't read it in the picture above:

Chicken Scallopine

• 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 Tb butter
• 1Tb lemon juice
• 2 Tb chopped parsley
• 2 Tb choped chives or scallions
• 1/4 tsp marjoram or thyme
Pound cutlets out between foil until 1/4" thick. Sprinkle with salt. Melt butter over medium heat in large skillet. Add chicken. Cook about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Turn, sprinkle with lemon juice, parsley, chives and marjoram. Cook about 10 minutes or until tender.

I made it last night with Heidi Swanson's Spring Asparagus Puree on fettucine from Super Natural Cooking and it was a divine combination! As you can see above, I beefed up the amount of herbs. I enjoyed the asparagus puree greatly and had planned to write about that recipe, but quickly realized that the little book from my mom was as worthy a topic, if not more so. I plan to share more from it with you in the near future.

You must try this — it's so good and so quick and easy!

Monday, March 16, 2009

edibleWOW now!

edibleWHO? edibleWOW! That's the name of the publication that I recently started contributing to and the new spring issue is available now! It focuses on seasonal, sustainable foods, food producers and the bounty of Southeastern Michigan. I knew of the Edible Communities from the Edible East End magazine on Long Island and am very excited to be involved here. They are still working on getting their web site up to gear, so rather than a link to the articles I contributed, here they are as scanned directly from the pages… so if you are interested in reading about shrimp farmed in Okemos, Michigan or an extraordinarily green, sustainable restaurant in Rochester, scroll down and click on the images for a larger view…

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Keeping tabs

I haven't written about much cooking activity lately — mostly because I have been sticking to tried and true recipes in the recent weeks and not branching out into new territories. It's been a busy time and I've gone for the routine rather than new out of convenience, surely not for lack of enthusiasm. As always, I have a stack of glossy mags lurking on the coffee table with too many pages turned down and recipes marked just waiting for me to try. As an incentive and an easy reference I decided I would make a small-ish list of recipes toward the top of my "try this soon" list:

Tandoori Chicken, Dal Makhani and Naan (Saveur, May 2007)
Wasabi Flank Steak and Miso-Glazed Potatoes (Food & Wine, March)
Sake-steamed Halibut with Ginger and Cabbage (Food & Wine, March)
Monte Cubano Sandwiches (Gourmet, March)
The WHOLE Korean feast layed out in Gourmet this month, but most especially: Soy-pickled jalapenos, cucumber-apple pickle, short rib and vegetable stew, Korean-style Romaine, warm tofu with spicy garlic sauce, sauteed oyster mushrooms, brown rice & barley (and then some!! Yum!)
(Gourmet, March)
Glazed Chicken with Porcini and Crisp Potatoes and Creamed Broccoli with Parmesan (Gourmet, March)
Beef Tenderloin with Aromatic Thai Spices (really interesting technique simmering steaks in water in a plastic bag)
(Food & Wine, April)
Garlic-rubbed Pork Shoulder with Spring Vegetables
(Food & Wine, April)
Lamb Pita Pockets with Tomato-ginger Compote
(Food & Wine, April)
Grilled Merguez Sandwiches with Caramelized Red Onions
(Food & Wine, April)
Warm Spaghetti Squash Salad (Food & Wine, March)
Farro with Green Onion Sauce, Toasted Walnuts & Asparagus (Super Natural Cooking, by Heidi Swanson)
Otsu (Super Natural Cooking, by Heidi Swanson)
Gnocchi alla Romana
(Super Natural Cooking, by Heidi Swanson)
Fettucine with Spring Asparagus Puree
(Super Natural Cooking, by Heidi Swanson)
Stir-fried Bean Sprouts (Saveur, April 2007)
Green Goddess Dressing
(Saveur, May 2007)
Ginger Shandy (Food & Wine, March AND an old Saveur I was flipping through today from 2007. Definitely calling my name for spring)
Molasses-Gingerbread Cake with Mascarpone Cream (Food & Wine, April)

There. That's the most pressing of the recipes, I think. (Ask me tomorrow, of course, and I would compile a wholly different list, right?!) I'll keep you posted on my progress through the list.