2/23/13

0 On a rainy Saturday morning

. . . he grabs the kermit-green jacket draped on the chair (mine) and slips on the pair of seventies-patterned rainboots sitting by the front door (also mine). Zelda's tail immediately wags back and forth much faster than my camera's shutter speed. 



He doesn't really think it is a picture moment, but I do. I guess that's not entirely fair though, because I think most moments are picture moments. It's in my DNA; my dad was that dad (thankfully) with a camera nearly always at the ready. 

He doesn't even have to dangle her hot pink retractable leash before she knows something fun is about to happen. I guess that's also not entirely fair though, because in her world, something fun is always about to happen. She knows that, and she usually shows it.



Without a word of complaint, he hooks her up and out they go, down the steps to our parking lot, which is more pond than parking lot today, but then, that's just something that happens to all great parking lots on rainy days in Charleston. Of course, if you didn't know that beforehand, you might be scared. But if you've been here from one season to another, you know that, and you maybe even start to find it strangely charming . . . especially when it is your husband who is walking the dogs, not you. You are warm and dry in your pajamas, taking pictures, and life is good.



Our oldest, she's timid and more sensitive than most. So sometimes we just let her watch her very brave and curious younger sister go first. Birth order be damned. 


And if all goes well, she realizes that if Zelda can do it, so can she. And so she does.



Because as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stated: "The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." 

2/18/13

0 SEWE & eidetic

I mentioned the other day that this weekend was the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) in Charleston. 

After enjoying our Saturday morning tour of Marion Square, Tod and I (and Heidi!) decided to have some more SEWE fun by marking off ticketed event #4 of the year (Project Thirteen) and heading up to Brittlebank Park for Sunday's festivities, which included the dock dog finals and a fantastic petting zoo.
Heidi was excited to be included in the fun. Zelda stayed home and napped.


The dock dogs-- they were a flyin'.


  

It was cool on the Ashley, but it was beautiful. And three jackets did the trick for me. Plus, the dogs didn't seem to mind. All the dogs. Big ones. Small ones. Young ones. Old ones.




And dogs weren't all we saw. Because the petting zoo had a little something for everyone-- lots of sheep and goats, a llama, a zebra, a camel, and even a yak for good measure.




Tod said we could have some sheep one day. I think I'd like that. But then again, what do I really know about being a sheep owner? Not too much as it turns out. 

But here's something I do know, now, at least-- a new word. Tod used it today and I didn't know it. I'd heard of a photographic memory before, but I'd never called it "eidetic." Now I have.


ei·det·ic

  [ahy-det-ik]  Show IPA
adjective
1.
of, pertaining to, or constituting visual imagery vividly experienced and readily reproducible with great accuracy and in great detail.
2.
of or pertaining to eidos.
Origin: 
1920–25;  < Greek eidētikós,  equivalent to eîd os eidos + -ētikos -etic

2/16/13

0 The Rarebit & SEWE

Last night Tod and I tried our first new restaurant of 2013 as part of Project Thirteen-- The Rarebit.




The verdict-- yes, we liked it very much. Honestly, any place that serves breakfast all day pretty much has me at omelet. Although I actually went with the bacon, egg & cheese sandwich last night. 



The pic is dark, but you get the idea. Oh yeah, I also had a side of the breakfast potatoes. Delish. Even better than how great I remember the Waffle House tasting on a Friday night (when I was about 18).



My favorite thing about the restaurant, though, probably had to be the fancy little copper mugs that people were drinking from at the bar. For Moscow mules maybe? No clue. But I loved them, and if I were permitted to take a restaurant souvenir, I'd definitely grab one of those. Because I'm a sucker for anything copper. Plus, hot chocolate would probably taste mighty fine out of one of those.

More news:

This weekend, Charleston is hosting SEWE, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. It's pretty great, and we took the opportunity today--while we were out walking--to wander through the tents in Marion Square.

Despite the gray skies and the cool temps, folks were out and about. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've never seen in one place so many Boykin Spaniels attached to Tory-Burch-boot-wearing ladies and/or Patagonia-jacket-wearing lads. #stuffwhitepeoplelike.

It was a slight change of pace from the usual Saturday morning farmer's market, what, with the boiled peanuts and the wall climbing with a Francis Marion backdrop. 




Tod's in the kitchen now cooking a recipe from the February issue of Bon Appetit-- chorizo and white bean stew with baby spinach. And honestly, on this cold evening, I can think of nothing finer. 

Happy Saturday, folks. Hug your dogs tonight and maybe give your houseplants a little extra love tomorrow. It's winter, and it's cold. But life goes on.

2/9/13

1 The Price is Right & Valentine's Day Brunch

Yay for checking off two more ticketed events for Project Thirteen! 

First, Tod and I attended the Price is Right Live last week, and although the price wasn't exactly right for us, the whole experience was pretty much hilarious. 

From the price tag name tags . . . 



To the screaming crowd, which included a bunch of rowdy, drunk ladies armed with New Year's Eve horns and noisemakers, who were (naturally) seated directly in front of us.




Although we weren't called to "come on down," the sweet and very friendly black lady seated right next to Tod was. (We bonded over eye rolls aimed at the rowdy, drunk ladies with horns.) Marietta was her name--a name I'll not soon forget. Because when that name sounded over the screaming crowd, that little lady started shaking and rocking back and forth, the spotlight headed our way, and then her eyes sort of rolled back in her head. I know I exaggerate sometimes, but I promise I'm not exaggerating right now. I thought she was having a stroke. I thought about CPR. Fifteen compressions to one? Thirty to two? I was not prepared. (What happened to all those years of lifeguarding skills?) So I guess it was a good thing when the little lady's eyes rolled back to the front of her face. The host cracked a few jokes because that's what game show hosts do. And then Marietta slowly recovered; her friend helped her out of her seat, and she walked--totally stupefied--down to Contestant's Row. Her bid on an electric guitar was too high so she didn't make it to the stage, but she did return to her seat a little while later with a Price is Right Live t-shirt and a smile larger than the Price is Right Wheel. I'm pretty sure her year (her decade?) was made. It was priceless. (Totally lame play on words, I know.) 


Oh, and my other favorite part--they showed a reel of bloopers from the TV show, mainly from the Bob Barker days--clips of people falling down as they tried to spin the wheel. And for whatever reason, that's really funny. (Why do people think it's so funny when other people fall down? It makes no sense if you think about it. Unless we're all just terrible people. But regardless, check Youtube if you're in need of a laugh because I'm sure you can find some of these clips and they're funny. I promise.)  

Okay, so I told you we checked off two ticketed events. The next one: thanks to a very thoughtful Christmas present from Tod's sister, we attended a "Valentine's Day Brunch" cooking class this morning at Charleston Cooks. 
The menu:
-yogurt and caramelized fig parfaits;
-baked eggs with tomatoes, herbs, and cream;
-buttermilk biscuits with red berry compote;
-red velvet pancakes with cream cheese drizzle;
-pancetta, sweet potato, and pecan hash; and last (but definitely not least)
-kir royale champagne cocktails (with rasberries and orange zest).

The facilities at Charleston Cooks are great.




When it came time to separate and head to stations, Tod and I played the "which-one-do-you-want-to-do?-I-don't-know-which-one-do-you-want-to-do?" game for a good thirty seconds. Not totally surprising for us, but since he's the better cook of the two of us, at least most of the time, I wanted to make sure we headed to his station of choice. Alas, our "which-one-do-you-want-to-do?" game probably cost us any choice we may have had because we ended up manning the station nearest to where we stood: the parfait station. Of course I loved it because it gave me the opportunity to make lots of Shrek jokes.

If you have no clue what I'm talking about then (1) you need to go watch Shrek and (2) listen for this discussion between Shrek and Donkey:

Shrek: For your information, there's a lot more to ogres than people think.
Donkey: Example?
Shrek: Example... uh... ogres are like onions!
[holds up an onion, which Donkey sniffs]
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes... No!
Donkey: Oh, they make you cry?
Shrek: No!
Donkey: Oh, you leave 'em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin' little white hairs...
Shrek: [peels an onion] NO! Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.
[walks off]
Donkey: Oh, you both have LAYERS. Oh. You know, not everybody like onions. What about cake? Everybody loves cake!
Shrek: I don't care what everyone else likes! Ogres are not like cakes.
Donkey: You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, "Let's get some parfait," they say, "Hell no, I don't like no parfait"? Parfaits are delicious!
Shrek: NO! You dense, irritating, miniature beast of burden! Ogres are like onions! End of story! Bye-bye! See ya later.
Donkey: Parfait's gotta be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet! 


So yeah, I made way too many Shrek jokes that no one else understood except Tod. Again, not totally surprising for us.

Another thing about parfaits: they were quite possibly my most favorite dessert as a child. I'd ask mom to make them for big meals, only I didn't have the word quite right (not totally surprising either), and so I called them par-shays. Although I like to think I would have spelled it "parchets."  Come on, I was probably six. So anyway, in my family, we still call them par-shays. Because that's what happens when you make up a word as a kid. It never goes away. 

Now that I think about it, mom, how did I even know about something like a parfait as a kid? Maybe from the Pink Turtle at the Beverly Wilshire? (My dad worked in LA for a few years when I was little.) Who knows. But the bottom line is that I pretty much felt destined to land at the parfait station, regardless of our "which-one-do-you-want-to-do?" game. And I'll tell you what: armed with new knife skills from our wonderful teacher, Michelle, Tod chopped the hell out of those figs. 



Here's the recipe: 

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling
8 ounces fresh figs, chopped
2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt (we used regular vanilla today; Tod and I think Greek vanilla would be even better)
pinch of ground cinnamon (we used a lot of cinnamon, which I love, but you could use less)
1 cup granola or roughly chopped nuts

DIRECTIONS:

Place warm honey in a medium skillet. Turn heat to low and allow honey to warm. When honey is warm, place chopped figs in the pin and cook, stirring once or twice, until they have caramelized, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt and cinnamon.

Place a spoonful of the yogurt in the bottom of a parfait glass. Top with a spoonful of the figs and a sprinkle of the granola. Continuing layering until the glass is full. 

Top with remaining granola and a sprinkle of honey. Serve cold.

Simple and delicious!






We loved our parfaits, of course, but everything was delicious. I particularly liked the pancetta, sweet potato, and pecan hash, and I think Tod was partial to the buttermilk biscuits, because really, who can resist a buttermilk biscuit? And of course the cocktails were a hit.




One final story: I'm blogging right now while Tod cooks supper for us. We picked up a bag of Florida grapefruit at the store (on sale, of course) and are enjoying greyhounds with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. Such a treat. 

Anyway, my dear husband just walked in wearing the red mesh grapefruit bag as a hairnet, not unlike the lunchroom lady from my high school cafeteria. I have no words.


Happy weekend, folks. And thank you again, Montgomery, for such a fun morning at Charleston Cooks! We had a wonderful time and only wish you could have been there with us. The red velvet pancake station really could have used your expertise as their pancakes, although delicious, ended up looking more like red beet potato chips than pancakes! (No offense, pancake station workers.) 
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