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Gone camping

I didn’t post yesterday, and don’t have the patience to post much today because I’m posting from my phone. We are camping this weekend– good food! Good friends! Good fun! A recap awaits when I rejoin civilization.

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Just got PAID.

It’s PAYDAY, which means I want to spend with wild abandon! Which is NOT a realistic urge, but I think I can get away with one splurge…

so folks, do I plunk down my card for the Between the Lines Maxi dress from Anthropologie that I’ve been ogling?

OR do I go for the massage special on Groupon, for the newly opened Aveda salon in my neighborhood?

Decisions, decisions, decisions….


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Reds, yellows, and greens

We participate in a farmshare. This is the 4th year we’ve done it.  The first three years, we did the full share from early spring all the way through November.  We took the year off last year, and when we re-joined this year, we opted instead for the share that does not start until June.  The first half of the full-season share is greens and greens and more greens and even more greens, it’s not until June that you start to get much variety in the offerings, anyway.  We’ve got two messy birds that love to chomp on leaves, and I could always blanch and freeze the greens, but both of those things take some preparation time that I never seem to have.  With the later-starting share, there are still a lot of greens, but at least I don’t feel like they are taking over my life.

So last night we had 3 bags of swiss chard in the fridge (not to mention the spinach and lettuce), and more chard on the way today.  I was in the mood for a veggie snack, so I decided to clear out two of those bags of chard with Food Network’s incredibly easy and incredibly good Sauteed Swiss Chard recipe.

It’s so easy, you don’t really need a recipe for it.  All you do is wash the chard, and chop the stems off from the leaves.  Put about 2 tbsp of butter in a large pan, and as it melts, toss in the stems.  Cook for a few minutes, then throw in the leaves.  Cook until they are wilted and tender (but remove from heat before they get completely goopy).  Add some salt and pepper, and a little balsamic vinegar, and voila! Delicious swiss chard!

I also use chard in stir frys and in vegetable soups.  What are your favorite uses for leafy cooking greens?

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Allegro Hearth and Soba. In One Day. Insane.

My Sunday was so overwhelmingly full of decadence and deliciousness, that I can’t even handle it.  My dear friend Christine and I had plans to do brunch, but since Mr. Beez was still in the middle of the-weekend-of-never-ending-work, Baby Beez was going to tag along.  I didn’t have it in me to fight that thrashing beastie again, so we decided to take it outdoors and have brunch in Mellon Park with Bach Beethoven & Brunch.  There was a fun klezmer band playing, and there were tons of other little kids there, so when Baby Beez stole all our plastic spoons and started running all over the place, it was no big deal.  Fun brunch with a toddler! Who would have known!

For our brunch, we had a delicious feast from Allegro Hearth bakery.

The pastries were photogenic, but the real star of brunch was the baguette (which we devoured with brie/honey/apples, and with prosciutto).  The baguette wasn’t too crusty, wasn’t too chewy, but was just right.  I can’t wait to go back and pick up a sourdough, or a raisin walnut loaf!

Allegro Hearth Bakery on Urbanspoon

Little beastie playing in the park.

A gluttonous morning was followed by an even more gluttonous evening.  I ventured with my pals Sandy and Ben to Soba, for a grown-up dinner in celebration of both of their birthdays.  In my experience, their small dishes are unfailingly delicious.  I had the yellowfin tuna sashimi appetizer, which was exceptional, but it was nearly all devoured before I remembered my camera.

My luck with Soba entrees has been hit or miss, but this visit I got an entree that I was so impressed with, that I’d probably make it my “regular” dish there (to the extent that going there once a year entitles me to have any kind of “regular” dish.)

Ben was more than a little frightened, because my dinner was staring at him, but I was pleased as punch with my whole battered and fried bronzini.  (Full disclosure: one factor in my selection of this dish was that the fish is called “bronzini” and that made me think of an old-timey circus ringmaster, and that was too amusing to me to pass up.)  It came with delicious vegetables and rice, and a red sauce (hidden here from view) that was just a smidge too spicy for me, but would give the dish a perfect kick if I was a little less enthusiastic in mixing it with my meal.

I’ve heard that the cheeks are the most tender part of the fish.  I did eat them, but didn’t find them to be appreciably different in taste or texture than the rest of the fish. Maybe it was because this fish had teeny tiny cheeks.  I did not, however, eat the eyeballs. I don’t do eyeballs.

For dessert of course I had the cashew terrine. I LOVE THE CASHEW TERRINE.  The menu describes it as: “frozen cashew terrine; chocolate ganache, mango-raspberry coulis, candied cashews.”  OMG YOU GUYZ, I love this dessert so much.  Even more than cheesecake.  Possibly more then creme brulee. Well, maybe not more than creme brulee. But I do love it a whole lot.  I was actually so full from my day of pigging out, that I could not even finish it.  Woe is me.  But the 2/3 of it that I could eat was, as always, blissful.
Soba on Urbanspoon

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Bills, Bills, Bills (P-G Article featuring yours truly!)

The Post-Gazette interviewed me a few weeks back for an article on billable hours, which was published today.   Of course, the minute the interview was over and I hung up the phone, I panicked over whether I said anything stupid, but it looks like I did a-ok! Yay!

Related thought on billable hours:  I spend 1-2 hours a week just writing up my time.  Not working, just summarizing what I’ve been working on.  That comes to about 50-100 hours PER YEAR of time just spent writing up time.  That’s 1 to 2 weeks of full time work! GAH!  My method is that I keep a time diary throughout the day of what I’m working on, but since it’s such a mish-mash of my own notes, afterward I have to go back and summarize it, which is the real time suck. So if anyone has any BRILLIANT timesaving ideas for writing up time, I am ALL ears.