Monday, June 25, 2012

He bakes, too!

I love that Joe is a bit of a secret renaissance man. He's a smart professional businessman, who works hard from 8-5 (or 6, or 7...), but when he's not at work, he's keeping busy with so many hobbies. He's learning to play guitar, enjoys riding his bike and working out, and, obviously, loves brewing beer. He is also a great pizza maker, thanks to a college job at the best pizza place in Columbia!  And when he has any extra free time, he likes to play around with baking projects. He doesn't bake all that often, but when he gets the urge, it's always for a big project. This week's baking experiment... cherry pie!

The recipe was Deb's Sweet Cherry Pie, from Smitten Kitchen

Buttery, flaky crust, and lots of sweet cherries. Basically summer in a pie dish.

Obviously, this pie NEEDS ice cream. A nice big scoop, to complement a nice big slice of pie.

I hope he gets a baking urge again soon! I could get used to this!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Life Off the Web

This post is for my sister. She pointed out today that since I've broken up with facebook, I've been pretty quiet on the internet. I needed a break from status updates from a hundred random high school classmates that I could care less about, so I decided to deactivate my profile for a while. Most likely not forever, but for the moment it's a really nice break! I am pretty weak with things like that, so I knew the only way I could curb my addition to checking facebook every few hours was to cut it out altogether. I already know that when I do get back on, I'm going to unfriend a lot of the random people that I don't actually care for. It's very liberating!

I don't have any beef with blogging, though, and my slow posting rate lately is only due to one major issue... laziness! Oh, and I've been pretty busy, too. I'm running a 10k tomorrow, so I've been running and working out a lot to get ready for that. I've been doing some acupuncture, too, which ate up one night a week for the last three weeks. Add to that a haircut, book club, volunteering, and a little social life... not too much time left to sit on the computer! But life is good, whether I'm documenting it on this blog or not :)

I do have a few pictures to share, from our visit to the Morton Arboretum a couple weeks ago. We met Joe's parents for a little wilderness adventure just outside the city, and spent a few relaxing hours "hiking" through the beautiful forests. It was beautiful, but also made me long for the true wilderness that was right at my back door growing up in Colorado. The weather was perfect, and it was a fun activity that was really different from our usual weekend to dos. It was also a great excuse to pull out my new camera!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Foodie Projects

I used to have a food blog, and cooking was something I considered a hobby. I did a lot of experimenting with interesting recipes, trying new techniques and creating beautiful meals for Joe and I to enjoy. I’ve made fresh pasta, homemade sushi, paella, crème brulee, and many more memorable dishes. But cooking exciting dishes became a chore after a couple years of recording my kitchen exploits in a food blog, and I stopped the blog in an effort to just enjoy cooking for myself again. I still miss the cooking blog occasionally, though, and Joe and I like to challenge ourselves to little cooking “projects” every once in a while.

These pictures are from our most recent cooking trials. I can take very little credit, though, because Joe cooked pretty much everything while I was at work! What a treat to come home to braised pork shoulder in a beer and bacon sauce. Pork shoulder is one of our favorite meats to cook, and this recipe was so tender and flavorful. I’ll take a little credit for the polenta, though, which was my contribution. The combination was to die for, and I had to stop and document the beautiful plate before we started eating. I’m lucky to have such a kick-ass husband!

(I added butter and Parmesan cheese)

Also, these are some of the first pictures I took on my new camera, a Nikon D3100. It’s a digital SLR, and once I get comfortable with it, I’m going to take a few classes to get the camera off automatic mode. I took a summer school photography class back when I was in college, but I’ve forgotten everything I once knew about aperture, shutter speed, and all those other fancy photo terms. Even on the automatic setting, these pictures turn out way better than our old point and shoot. Do you like the action shot of pouring the vodka into our lemoncello? 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gone Fishin'

Last Friday I had a totally out of character experience… I went fishing! I joined a couple of my coworkers for a little road trip up to Wisconsin, to visit Rushing Waters, the trout farm where Whole Foods stores in my area source trout. We all planned to have the same day off work, and went up to tour the farm and learn more about the whole process of raising trout. I was surprised by how beautiful the place was… I had pictured lots of huge plastic pools of fish, and a much more industrial vibe. In actuality, it was a lot of small ponds full of trout, on a farm surrounded on three sides by national forest. It was so interesting to hear about the process of raising fish, and to see the in-site facilities where they process and smoke the fish.

We got a guided tour of the farm, and then had the chance to try to catch some fish for ourselves. The demo pond, where people are allowed to fish, was full to the brim with trout, making it really simple to catch them. The harder part was getting some of the fish off of the hooks; they must have been hungry! While the guys in back processed the fish into nice clean fillets, we sat outside enjoying the spring weather and some awesome trout spread and smoked fish. It was a relaxing and interesting day out of the city, and I left feeling good enough about the whole experience to consider suggesting a fishing trip idea to Joe. The pan fried trout we made for dinner the next night sealed the deal—there just might be another fishing trip in my future! 

The harvest pond. So pretty, and not at all what I expected for a fish farm!

They start out in the hatchery, when they're little baby fish.

Look what I caught!

Rushing Waters processes and smokes all the fish on site, so it's incredibly fresh.

We got to sample smoked trout whole and in a spread and two kinds of smoked salmon.
It was delicious!

At home, we pan fried the trout, and made a simple lemon and caper sauce.
Simple and so fresh tasting.