Here in Philly, Irene wasn’t really all that bad. Of course, the rivers are still rising, and the commute tomorrow may be a nightmare, but we kept our power, our basement stayed dry and the plants seem to have survived.

peppers from the garden

We picked all the ripe and ripe-ish peppers of the plants in the back, in case the winds blew them down. Not sure what we’re going to do with this many hot peppers… I tried to plant a bell pepper and a pablano plant, but they turned out to be a jalapeno and a cherry red hot, both plants I had already planted. Damn you, Home Depot, and your poor labeling. Oh well. The largest ones are cow horns. The first one we picked was frighteningly spicy. The rest of these aren’t nearly so bad. Not sure if its the season or the fact that the plant has more fruit on it now and needs to spread out the spice (does that even make sense) but I’m glad we’ll be able to cook with them without fear. We seem to have two kinds of jalapenos, the small red ones and the fatter green ones. I think they’ll be good in all sorts of things. Mmmm.

The rest of our hurricane preparedness was a little lackluster. I filled up our water bottles, filled the tub, bought a candle from my favorite bee guy at the farmer’s market. We stocked up on fruit and got some bread from the bakery guy at the market. (We were out of bread, it wasn’t a particular hurricane purchase.) As the rain started we headed out to Ippolitos to pick up some fish for dinner and grab lunch (they have The Best Fish Tacos Ever!). Of course, we got completely soaked. But being full-bellied-later was totally worth it.

oysters to bake

Chris’ old room mate is back in Philly, and bunkered down with us for the hurricane. We planned a feast. Four each of four different kinds of oysters, to bake with butter, garlic and cheese for an appetizer. We forgot to get french bread, so toasted up some naan to soak up the extra sauce. Next up- hurricane stew. We’re pretty backed up with our farm share usage, a soup/stew seemed like a pretty good way to use a lot of it up.

hurricane stew

The other benefit was that if the power went out, we could easily re-heat the soup with my camp stove. (Although, we have a gas stove, so Chris thought it would still work without power. I was skeptical, but turned out to be moot anyway.)

We paired the soup with swordfish loin steak sandwiches. So good. Food coma. Mmmm…… We have tons of soup left, which is going to be great for lunch this week.

We spent the rest of the night watching Doctor Who and trying to watch other cheesy tv, but being thwarted by the Irene news-takeover. Tornado warning. Lots of really dramatic maps. Nutter saying people could be without power for two weeks.

At the end of it all, we survived. I won’t be snarky about how freaked out everyone was, because some areas were really hard hit. But we emptied the tub and got on with our weekend. I made cookies. It was lovely.

oatmeal raisin cookies

My favorite local bar (Lucky 13) used to have the best samosas. They weren’t traditional style, by any means, but they were tasty, and one of my favorite go-to-meals. They’ve since switched chefs (a few times since then I think) and I’ve been craving good ones ever since. The ones at work (when Indian is the ethnic food of the day) aren’t bad, but they keep them pretty mild.

home made samosas

I picked up some won-ton wrappers a bit ago, with the intent to make some ravioli. But when we ended up with some leftover mashed potatoes this past weekend, Chris suggested I use them in some samosas. Brilliant! What a great re-use. I bought some canned peas, since I didn’t want a whole bag of frozen ones and the store didn’t have any fresh of the right kind. Honestly, they kinda freaked me out… canned vegetables are pretty gross. But mixed in with the rest of it, not too bad. I combined a few recipes I found online (this one and this one, mainly) but majorly upped the curry and red pepper. Perhaps a bit too much… I started out sauteing some garlic and onion, threw in the peas and some spices, stirred it around a bit, added some more spices, threw in the potatoes, kept stirring, added more spices… you get the idea. I had some trouble with the wrapping bit, I kept over-stuffing them. It was fun though. And the result? Rather good I think. Would definitely be better if I had made a good curry to go along with, instead of the fish and couscous that made up the rest of the dinner, oh well. Still tasty, no matter what they were paired with.

 

Cornish Hens, waiting to be roasted

Tasty Hen

I don’t have very much experience roasting chickens. It seems like a pretty classic meal, but until a few months ago, it really wasn’t on my radar as something to make myself for dinner. Then through some over-buying of chicken breast for jambalaya (we buy chicken for the jambalaya from a Reading Terminal Market vendor, so it isn’t the prepackaged chicken breasts I’m used to using) we ended up with some extra chicken needing to be cooked. Chris suggested we try roasting it…. so tasty! It is surprisingly easy, too. I can’t believe its taken me this long to figure that out. So last time we were at the market, we swung by the folks we bought the chicken from, and saw these Cornish hens. The last time I ate Cornish hen was at Medieval Times, in grade school (the time of the Orange Incident, as all Woodglen students I’m sure will remember). It was dark, we ate with our hands, it was pretty fun. But this time it seemed like a better idea to try for a more adult meal.

demolished that bird

Chris made some sort of spiced concoction for the skin (either though neither of us eats the skin, we decided next time to go simple with just some salt and pepper, cause the flavor didn’t really get past the crunchy outside) and we made a mission fig, crushed cashew, onion, garlic and spicy pepper stuffing. We put basil under the wings, too, though I’m not sure how much taste that added. While the flavoring outside didn’t really do much, the stuffing did a good job permeating the meat, and was even better once I figured out how to get it out of the hen and mix in with the rest of the meal. To go with our Cornish Hen experiment- tomato rice made with chicken stock, stir fried peppers and snap peas. What a tasty meal! Although, the one down side is that the small bird was a lot of work to eat. Pretty worth it though. The good side about a meal you need to work for? You don’t end up over-eating because it’s so tasty. Definitely going to try this one again.

Well, quite a full weekend.

DMV, impromptu BBQ, wedding, shopping, knitting, work on my tribal costume, a life-sized felt whale…. I love having a nice Monday off.

One of the highlights from the weekend that I don’t have photos of  was swinging by the Fabric Workshop and Museum to check out the giant felt whale. Its amazing. A huge life-sized whale made out of industrial felt…. apparently they’re working on a felt cave. I can’t wait. I highly recommend checking it out.

shrimp from Ippolitos

shrimp from Ippolito's

Its that time of year again, when Chris comes back from Louisiana with a cooler full of fish. We’d never be able to get through it all by ourselves, so we had a bunch of friends over to help us out. Of course, we always end up with too much food, but that’s never a bad thing. The menu this year: jambalaya (my favorite), grilled fish, grilled corn, bread with Gorgonzola and anchovies, and grilled shrimp (with their heads!). We had also planned to make burgers, grilled veggies, and turkey dogs, but we never made it that far. (Another call is going out today… come one, come all and help us use up our leftovers!!)

Ugly Ugly Ugly!

Ugly Ugly Ugly!

The other team won.

The other team won.

As bellies got fuller and the coals died down, the games came out. First a hearty round of the Ugly Doll game. Its meant for little kids, and I only bought it because I think the dolls are cute, but I think it must be one of the best liked games we have. Very simple in concept, everyone sits around the cards and takes turn flipping them, slapping the cards when three of a kind are revealed. It gets riotous, ridiculous and real fun. Some Tumba next, which never lasts too long and finished off with a good game of Outburst, a copy from 1988. I haven’t played a modern release, so I don’t know if its so bizarre because its dated or if that’s just the way the game is. One of the cards (things you put on your face) actually reprimanded people for soap. The card read “soap (shame, shame).”

The best thing about fish fries- using the leftovers to make breakfast in the morning….mmmmmmmmm

(*update*)

yum.

redfish and tomatoes from the garden

i love my apron

i love my apron

I didn’t get very good pictures of the actual grilling from the fish fry, but here are some from the next day. Chris and I had an amazing and relaxing dinner. I always forget how great it can be to fire up the grill when cooking for two.

so good.

so good. Best zucchini ever.

so good

so good

I made so much food! The best, by far, was the strawberry bruschetta, from a recipe in Grid magazine. I also made rotini pasta with stir fried veggies (zucchini, broccoli, carrots and a red pepper) and pesto. My favorite salad ever: tomato with fresh mozzarella and basil. Blueberry mint cupcakes with blueberry vanilla frosting (from coconut and lime). Fruit salad. Angie brought over fresh lemonade, Kahlua brownies and roasted veggies with garlic. Also had cheese and crackers, and chocolate….

cupcakes

cupcakes

Ended the night playing with sparklers in the backyard. Lovely gathering. And I have tons of leftovers for lunch this week, as well as fresh fruit for smoothies… mmmmmm….

I don’t think I’d make the cupcakes again. As tasty as they are, I don’t think they are amazing enough for the effort. That could be partly my fault. I filled the cups too high, and they kind of exploded. Also I think I added too many blueberries, so they didn’t puff up as nicely as I think they were supposed to. The icing was very sticky and messy. Good, but a little too sweet for me.

Also, while getting supplies for the party, I picked up an amazing hippo planter. A woman was selling things on her stoop with the help of her adorable daughter. He immediately caught my eye, and I knew I’d be walking away with him. And when I found out he was 50 cents- sold! I walked away laughing, he’s just so silly! He sits on the window staring at me. I love it. I bought a plant for him while picking up cut flowers from the guy who sells plants in Passyunk square. It fits the hippo perfectly.

amazing hippo

amazing hippo