Saturday, July 31, 2010

CSA weekend

I am in luurve with our CSA share. Each week it just increases in variety, color, and deliciousness. This week I'm making Alice Waters' ratatouille, from her book "The Art of Simple Food." I have made several recipes from this book, and I have to say it is my favorite cookbook. The recipes are all laid out in a step-by-step manner, with the ingredients in bold as you go along. It is also a great book to have on hand for those who are beginner cooks and want to understand the importance of specific ingredients in your food and what roles they play.

Alice Waters is also the owner of Chez Panisse, the local foody's dream restaurant in Berkeley, CA. Check out my post at my older blog- when I was in California last year, Salman was able to grab some amazing seats at Chez Panisse for the two of us after my cycling trip. ooh, just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

Classic Ratatouille

Serves 6-8

Adapted from “The Art of Simple Food”

(Do this in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cut ALL vegetables into ½ inch pieces.)

3 Italian eggplant, sliced, salted and left to drain 20 minutes
Large can San Marzano tomatoes
2 chopped, red onions
4 tbsp olive oil, divided (plus more if necessary)
6 diced cloves of garlic
20 basil leaves, divided
1 tsp red chili flakes
2 chopped peppers (red, yellow, green or orange)
5 summer squash or zucchini (mix and match as you choose)
Additional herbs of your choice


Sauté eggplant in 2 tbsp olive oil until tender and golden, about 10 minutes.
Use juice from the canned tomatoes to deglaze pan, scraping brown bits into the eggplant mixture as you cook them—chances are they will start to brown the pan before they are cooked, and you don’t want to burn them or lose the flavor of the brown bits. Once cooked, transfer eggplant to a bowl.

Pour remaining tablespoons of olive oil into the pan to sauté onions. Cook until golden and translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add garlic, about 10 basil leaves and red chili flakes to the onions and stir a few minutes.

Add chopped peppers and cook until just softened, stirring constantly.

Add zucchini, and cook until golden and just softened, stirring constantly.

Add remaining tomato juice and tomatoes.

Season with herbs of your choice (or just salt and pepper) and cook another 3 minutes.

Add eggplant and cook another 10 minutes until vegetables are soft, but not insubstantial. If some remain too al dente, cover pot and simmer a few extra minutes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

bikes and legs

I love my bikes...right under my boyfriend, family, dog and friends, my bicycles are my greatest loves. They have endured more than some people have within their lifetime, and they are probably the only material possessions I have that I would go crazy without. When times are better, I look forward to investing in a little basket for the front of my "beater" bike (that's what the hipsters call it around here, apparently), so I can ride it around like this:

{via here}

I love this picture, by the way. This woman is not afraid to have killer, solid legs while riding around in her oh-so-stylish and strong at the same time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Falling Behind

Blah. I'm sick this week...and in an effort not to stoop to the low I was at back in December, I'm staying home from work and drinking more fluids than humanly possible without drowning my organs (this is actually a very real thing that people have done before, who knew?) Oregon is sleeping on her pillow, shushing soundly while her leg muscles twitch all over the place and dreams float in and out of her head...probably dreaming of chasing squirrels up the trees that she otherwise cannot climb in real life...though she may try.

I am also looking for a new place to live! Anybody know of a good place in Baltimore City that is cheap and doggy friendly? I have my eye on a couple places, but nothing is definite yet. Sometimes I find myself concocting various images of what I want my new apartment to look like. Usually, when I want to dream big, I turn to my latest Anthropologie catalogue. Other times, I cannot help but admire the minimalist approach to spaces- it's clean and fancy at the same time. Plus, it's a lot less expensive to maintain ;)

{via here}

{via here}

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Animal Kingdom

Place: Animal Kingdom

This was, by far, my favorite park at Disney World. I am an animal lover down to the very fiber of my being, and seeing elephants (see the baby elephant above, too?) and giraffes up close inside the Disney wildlife reserve was pretty amazing.

And here we have the wild Oregon. This is her sleeping in her cave (i.e. under the bed), waiting to attack her prey (i.e. her stuffed animal fox).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Responding to my Comments

You will hear me say this on many occasions... I am always beyond grateful to receive comments on my blog. Salman even likes to tease me and say "oh! you have comments!" sending me into an hysterical jubilation, only to then realize that he is joking and just loves to see my reaction each and every time for his own sick amusement.

The other day on my "Waiting for Superman" post, I received the mostly lengthy, well thought-out comment ever to appear on my blog. As a rather opinionated person myself, I was immediately drawn into what this reader had to say about the school system in the US and the importance of teachers' viewpoints, and the lack thereof in the film's trailer.

Let me first say this: Kudos to those who have the guts to say what they believe is right! I enjoy posting on this blog for what it is- a place to tack up my amusements, inspirations and everyday thoughts. When another person takes the initiative to look hard and deep into what I've written or portrayed, I am very honored and thankful.

Specifically regarding the reader's comment in relation to the trailer: I agree that the teacher's role is not adequately portrayed within the film's advertisement- that is not to say that it will not be within the film itself, but I do understand where you are coming from. I hope that the film gives a much more accurate and well-rounded portrayal of the US school system in comparison to the trailer's attempt at a summarized version. I also believe that you are wholly and without-a-doubt correct- teachers need to be a part of the revamping of our public school system! They are, in fact, the only adults present in the classroom day in and day out, along with the children. They are the ones who see the gruesome truths that come in and out of those classrooms in a daily basis...not to bash school administrators or those in the upper-echelons, but it is simply the hard fact that teachers do a lot of the dirty work for the least amount of payback (and I'm not necessarily talking about salary, but "payback" in terms of having a heard voice within the system's administration).

I am not a teacher. I have, however, spent the past 5 years living in Baltimore City, where drugs, crime and overall negligence have taken a toll on the most innocent of the population: children. When you see the hunger in a child's eyes for the ability to read and write at the level of his classmates and peers, you realize that administration and the rights of teachers and parents are all important, but what is the bottom line of it all is the fact that children need THEIR rights heard and addressed. They need to have the right to dream and turn their dreams into actions. When a child is asked "what do you want to be when you grow up" and they answer "a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, a policewoman," you want to be able to tell them that they have every opportunity to make that happen. With Canada's appearance in the trailer (the man, not the country) there is a sense of realization that the education the children within his school are receiving is not cheap and available to all, but it SHOULD be.

From the point of a film director, I think the purpose of asking a child "what do you want to be when you grow up" and receiving those answers filled with passion and determination is to draw the emotions out of your audience. That being said, I do believe that teachers can also give very raw, emotional and provocative answers to questions if they were given the chance to speak their minds; part of the reason there aren't many teachers speaking up in the film trailer may be simply because they are not being given the opportunity due to the politics surrounding their position. However, if you are a teacher and you have something to say that could change the face of education in this country, then by all means, please say something! Children, as much as they should have a voice, do not. They are seen as "immature" and "naive" when in fact, they are quite mature in their wisdom and will amaze you most of the time. Since this is not a well known fact, apparently, you (as the teacher) are their key to a voice within this society. You have the power to give a voice to what can otherwise turn into a lost generation. "Be the change you wish to see in the world," said Ghandi.

Again, I love to receive comments on both the pretty and the not-so-pretty things I post, so please feel free to speak up!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Magic Kingdom

Pictured above: Cinderella's Castle
Address: Magic Kingdom, Disney World
Location: Orlando, FL
One word: Amazing.

Some things at Disney World were, well, eh. Most of it is created for children that are slightly smaller in stature than myself and are pretty astounded by the sheer size of a lifesize Mickey Mouse. I, on the other hand, was caught by surprise on other more magical occasions. One of these was Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom park. During/after the nightly fireworks extravaganza (yes, they set off a parade of fireworks every single night. I don't want to know how much that costs. My sister claims it just happens because "it's magic.") the castle changes colors until the park closes. I thought this was genius and couldn't help but take gobs of pictures.

In other news, I just ran my first 10 mile run in forever in preparation to train for the Baltimore City Running Festival! My legs feel like jell-o and my tummy is rumbling at a disturbing intensity after I practically inhaled a chocolate-peanut butter brownie from Carma's immediately after my run...they say that you burn the most calories right after you work out, so that is my reasoning...makes sense, right?

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Waiting for Superman"

I'm praying that everybody sees this film and understands the priceless value of a quality education...and that every child DESERVES it.

p.s. I am still in unpacking mode (for some reason, unpacking takes a lot longer than packing for me). Once I have everything in it's rightful place, I will be sure to post pictures from the Magic Kingdom and beyond!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wedding Protest is Bliss

{via nytimes}

I thought this was a very unique marriage announcement: New York City Manhattan borough president, Scott Stringer, and his fiance have chosen to marry in Connecticut in order to protest the illegality of gay marriage in New York. Despite his loyalties to his state, the man has guts, and I thought that was extremely admirable. If I had any political clout, I would do the same!


{via here}

I'll be in Florida this week spending quality time with my sissy-poo and parents...and yes, we're going to Disney World. Despite being at the ripe old age of 23, I have yet to go to Disney World. Hopefully it's the magical place I've always imagined it to be ;) Anybody out there going somewhere special for the summer?

I'll make sure to post plenty of pictures and highlights upon my return next week! Till then, have a wonderful week/weekend and stay cool.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


{via here}

Soooo, I've had this chocolate bar in my desk drawer at work for the past week, and it's gotten me through some pretty rough times. Therefore, I felt as if I should share this little piece of heaven with you all and highly suggest you treat yourself to some chocolate therapy of your own. (note: you must love dark chocolate and the taste of rosewater. It's very fragrant, and very delicious.)

Knipschildt is the company that produces these fine specimens. I've also had the burnt caramel and Hawaiian sea salt bar, which rocked my taste bud world. Other flavors are Fresh Mint and Mocha Coffee (which is next on my list).

summer chic

Ah, to look this effortless.

I'm going to Florida next week with the family...hopefully some Sartorial inspiration will come to me in the next few days while I consider what to pack. Ideas?

{image via The Sartorialist}

Friday, July 2, 2010

Oregon begs for ice cream

We had cardamom and salted caramel ice cream at Puffs and Pastries in Hamden last night. Oregon had her first taste of the cardamom ice cream, and she liked it very you can tell by her attentive gaze at the ice cream spoon.

Friday Find: Mac&Cheese&Chocolate

Okay, so it wasn't so much of a "Friday" find as it was a "last Sunday transformed to Friday find for the sake of my blog." Nonetheless, the Macaroni and cheese and chocolate dish from Jack's Bistro in Baltimore was phenomenal. I've never had such a simple, yet unique dish before. Five cheeses + perfectly al dente shells + Belgian chocolate shavings. Magnifique.

Aside from spending the evening with a delicious dish, we also shared our feast with friends Rob and Nicole...both are foodies in their own right. (Nicole and I share a love for all things sweet, which helped our friendship blossom immensely while biking together across the country last summer.)