This weekend Mom graced DC with her presence. We had a great time making some truffles, shopping around the MidCity area, and eating some yummy buttermilk pancakes.
Saturday evening Mom, Adam, Michael, and I had an early dinner at Filomena before heading into Crystal City, Virginia home to Synetic Theater. This unique theater company does what it calls “physical theater”. It is essentially a mix of modern dance, stage combat, and pantomime. That’s right, there are no words. Well, some performances have some dialog, but the majority of productions are about physical the physical interpretation and telling of stories. Previous productions include Hamlet, to Faust, to Dante.
This production of King Arthur was fantastic. Guinevere was a fierce warrior woman, Lancelot a big lug, and Arthur epitomized masculinity, at least when he was in possession of the sword. Either Merlin or Morgan le Fay or both were on stage at almost all times manipulating, observing, meddling. The performance is stunning. Oh – and the stage is covered in three inches of water. Each battle, each dance, basically each time someone moved, water was splashing. Those in the front rows wore ponchos. Needless to say I will be heading back to Synetic as soon as possible for its next production.
I hopped on the train last Friday afternoon and headed up to NYC to visit my old roomie, Laura.
Since I got on an early train, we were able to plan a dinner for Friday night. We enjoyed some wine at the bar before eating at The Red Cat. The food is New American with a bit of a southern twist (all the rage these days). The shrimp corn cakes came highly recommended by our waiter, and we could see why – they were delicious. This app was easy to split. We also ordered the sauteed cod and the grilled pork loin. We both loved the cod but I’d have to say (and I can’t believe I’m going to) the pork dish didn’t need the pork on it. Ah!! All in all though it was an excellent meal.
Saturday was brunch at Good…it was good. Ok I take that back, it was GREAT. Its name does not do it justice. If you go here for brunch, come hungry, the portions are large and their homemade breads are sinfully good (there’s that word again!).
From there we headed to the Flatiron District to meet up with Steve. We wandered into Union Square through the farmer’s market that had an amazing display. I snatched up some local honey and we sampled some good old Pennsylvania sourdough pretzels.
Our next stop was Eataly. The weekend crowd meant a bit of a wait to get into the actual store, and lots of people inside. The selection was abundant and mouth watering. Laura and I picked up some cheese and hot soppresata to enjoy later. I grabbed some dried garbanzo beans after hearing they are basically incomparably better than canned beans. I will soak and cook some later this week. Steve’s basket slowly filled with the fixings of what looked like a delicious Italian meal: prosciutto, freshly made dried linguine, pasta sauce, and a crusty loaf of bread to top it off. The sauce is worth going back for, so I hear.
Later that night Laura and I wandered through the newly renovated High Line, now a perfect oasis in the middle of the city. It was a beautiful night for a walk.
This weekend, Meredith and I, along with Andy and Torre, took a short trip up to Tahoe for a fun fall adventure. The adventure included horseback riding along the mountainside! Horseback riding is something all of us had wanted to do before & was a first time for both me & Meredith.
Luckily we had perfect weather and found a horseback riding place open for its last weekend of the season. Each of our horses had a lot of character, though they were all very well-behaved. Meredith rode on “Annie,” a sweet and friendly gal, Torre got “Hazel,” an old and rather tentative horse (but the most beautiful), and Andy got “Ace,” who brought up the rear but wanted to be in the front. My horse was named 3 (yes, the number), who wanted to be right behind the leader! We rode up and down hills, through creeks and mud puddles, in a totally picturesque forest for about an hour. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful. Though we were all a little saddle-sore the next day, we all agreed it was worth it!
I wonder how many fall centric posts we can squeeze in this year. Here is yet another. This soup is a delightful accompaniment to a crisp evening, perfect for sipping from a mug on your balcony. Carrots and ginger are a very yummy, somewhat asiany combination. When I made this, I was half way through the cooking process when Adam came home. Before he was one foot past the door, let alone in view of the kitchen, he greeted me by saying “It smells like good things are happening in here!” Well he was right.
- 2 lbs carrots
- 2 yellow onions
- about 2 tbsp peeled fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp sweet cream butter (option to use olive oil or vegan butter for those on a nondairy diet)
- 6 c chicken stock
- heavy cream or milk (optional)
Prep all your veggies first. Chop the onions, peel and roughly chop the carrots. You want the carrot
pieces to be about the same size so they cook at the same rate. Then peel the ginger. Over medium to high heat in a large stock pot, melt the sweet cream butter. Add the onions with a healthy pinch of a salt and sauté until they are golden. Add the carrots, ginger, and chicken stock. Bring the pot to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
The next step is to puree! Transfer the soup in batches to a food processor or blender, or use an immersion blender. Get each batch nice and smooth and then return the soup to the pot and some high heat. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. I like to use white pepper here so that you don’t see it in the soup. Add some heavy cream – this is an optional step. It basically helps to make the soup look a little smoother and of course adds just a bit of richness.
You’re ready to serve! I like to serve these in a small mug, its a hearty rich soup. You can top the soup with a dollop of sour cream, or some chives. On this particular night we served it simply with a steak salad. Dig in!
Yesterday I was digging through my Williams-Sonoma Cookies cookbook. I had that baking itch and was feeling a little ambitious about it. I chose the black and white cookies. I had all of the necessary ingredients, including the Dutch-process cocoa, thanks to a recent trip to Penzeys (maybe the best store ever). This recipe has a couple steps that require chill time in the fridge so if you tackle this, be sure to have a few hours free. The chill time is, of course, perfect for dish clean up, or football watching, or both. Let’s dive right in.
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 c cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large whole egg; 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
Break out your food processor (yes, you’ll need one for this). Combine the flour, sugar, and salt with just a few quick pulses. Next, add the butter. I added this in a few batches, pulsing the mixture with each addition. You want it to be coarse and crumby. After you have the right consistency, add the egg yolk and the vanilla. Pulse the batter until the dough starts to come together. Since you have your sharp blade in the food processor, you might be inclined to think this will not work. Not to worry, it does. Just keep pulsing and the dough will start to clump. Next is the fun part. It is also the part that is not easy to get perfect so don’t worry about trying. Split the dough in two halves. First work with the dough that will remain the plain shortbready type flavor. On clean surface lightly dusted with flour, form the dough into a rectangle. Williams-Sonoma recommends a 9″ x 3″ (at about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thickness) rectangle is best.
I focused more on getting the thickness right here rather than getting it to be exactly 9″ x 3″. As long as the other half is the same size, all is fine. Use a rolling pin for this, but don’t press too hard, remember you want it to be at least 1/2″ thick. Set this aside on a cookie sheet. Now for the second half that will be chocolate. With the dough on the floured surface, kneed in the cocoa. You will get messy and the surface will have chocolate everywhere (this is why I did this second, so that the counter did not have to be fully cleaned before rolling out the other half of the dough). Once that dough ball is good and chocolatey, shape it into about the same size rectangle as the other half. Both dough halves on the cookie sheet now go into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
And now I will textually mimic the passing of time.
Ok, now that 30 minutes have passed, take out the dough. Cut each half into four strips and alternate the strips between the chocolate and the plain. In a bowl, beat a whole egg. With a brush, egg wash the sides of the strips and gently press the strips together into a checker pattern, two strips on the bottom and two on top. Cut the ends of each block so that they are even.
I did a final egg wash on the outside of the blocks, just to be sure they would stick.
Wrap each block in plastic wrap and put them back in the refrigerator for at least 30 more minutes. (I froze the second block).
…more time passes…
Preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the dough blocks from the
refrigerator and cut squares about 1/4″ thick (this makes about 4-5 dozen cookies). After a few cuts, it helps to give the block a quarter turn so that the cookie squares stay even. Bake for about 15 minutes. Cool for 2.
These cookies are excellent with a glass of milk or even with a dip into whipped cream. Enjoy!