Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Future Inspiration

Time to buckle down. More on that later, but here are the random thoughts of motivation for the new life plan that will be fully executed in 2009!

Parentals in Town

The end of last month brought a visit from good ole Mom and Dad, who happened to be in Philly for work and made a little stopover in DC on the way home. They hadn't been here since Christmas 2003, and it was the first time they've really seen "my life:" where I work, where I live, what I do, meet my friends, etc.

Friday afternoon they toured work, then we met up with SAM and had dinner at Cylde's in Chinatown. Considering that I NEVER introduce my parents to the latest man in my life, that was kind of a big deal, but it went over just fine. On Saturday the weather was PERFECT, and I took them to Eastern Market for breakfast, assuring them that the long line was worth it. Boy, was it ever! I'm especially glad they got to experience the pancake goodness before the fire tragedy. My dad ordered the Mexican omelette - best one I've ever had. I can't wait til the Market Lunch gets back on its feet and I can smother more eggs in that salsa. Delish! We browsed the goods after eating, and I even guessed the location of a mystery photo from a DC area photographer, winning 50% off a purchase. We spent the afternoon at Mount Vernon, which I have surprisingly never visited in the 8 years I've lived here. I loved it! Much better than I expected, and I'll have to return soon. We took the riverboat tour, checked out the farm, the big house, and the river view was just lovely. After that we hopped on the road to Annapolis, only to find every restaurant totally packed; we didn't want to wait 90 minutes for crabcakes. What's there to do in that situation? Call in the family back-up plan, Carrabbas. Sunday morning we hit church, said goodbye, and then they were off to the airport. Even though my dad hates city traffic and always says he's never coming back, he gave DC a good report and wishes he could come back soon. I hope so, and not just because I got free food all weekend!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Time for Pie

***Update***
Dinner was really, really good, and pretty easy to make. Whip up a ham and tomato pie for your next dinner guests!
***

JO and I saw the darling movie Waitress last night - go see it! But take a napkin cause you'll drool over all the yummy pies. I've been inspired to look up many pie recipes and here is tonight's dinner.

Ham and Tomato Pie
1 (8-oz) pkg diced, cooked ham
1/2 c sliced green onions (about 4 onions)
1 (9-inch) frozen unbaked pie shell
1 T Dijon mustard
1 c (4-oz) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 medium plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 large egg
1/3 c half-and-half
1 T chopped fresh basil
1/8 tsp pepper
Garnishes: fresh basil sprigs, tomato slices
1. Saute ham and green onions in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, five minutes or until ham is brown and any liquid evaporates.
2. Brush bottom of pie shell evenly with mustard; sprinkle with 1/2 c mozzarella cheese. Spoon ham mixture evenly over cheese, and top with single layer of sliced tomatoes.
3. Beat egg and half-and-half with a fork until blended; pour over tomatoes. Sprinkle evenly with basil, pepper, and remaining 1/2 c cheese.
4. Bake on lowest oven rack at 425 for 20 to 23 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Cool on a wire rack 20 minutes. Cut into wedges to serve; garnish, if desired.

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Pie

36 gingersnaps, finely ground (about 1 1/2 c)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (real chocolate please, at room temperature)
3 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 (12 ounce) package frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
9 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup orange juice
chocolate curls, for decoration (optional)

  1. Mix the butter and the gingersnap crumbs.
  2. Press onto the bottom and sides of a 9" pie pan.
  3. Freeze 15 minutes or until ready to use.
  4. Place the chocolate in a bowl.
  5. Bring 1/2 c of cream to the boiling point.
  6. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
  7. Pour the chocolate mixture evenly over the bottom of the pie crust.
  8. Freeze at least 20 minutes.
  9. Cook the raspberries and sugar over medium heat until the raspberries soften (3-4 minutes).
  10. Strain the raspberry mixture to remove seeds and return to pot.
  11. Set aside.
  12. Sprinkle gelatin over orange juice, let stand 1 minute.
  13. Put pot with raspberry mixture over medium heat and stir in genatin mixture until completely dissolved.
  14. Remove from heat and pour into medium bowl.
  15. Refrigerate until mixture is the consistency of egg whites (approx 20 minutes).
  16. Whip 2 c cream with 1 tbsp sugar until stiff peaks form.
  17. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the raspberry mixture.
  18. Add the remaining whipped cream until just combined.
  19. Pour raspberry mixture into crust, mounding towards the center of the pan.
  20. Refrigerate 1-2 hours, until the filling is set but still soft.
  21. Whip the remaining cream and sweeten with the remaining sugar.
  22. Use to decorate the edge of the pie.
  23. Decorate with chocolate curls if desired.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

As Usual

*****Update*****
So it turns out I temporarily got what I thought I wanted. But I don't think I want that anymore. Confused? Yeah, me too.
**********

I got what I've been wanting for a little while. Let's hope this is really what I wanted and I didn't just make a huge mistake.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Tear for George

I'm finally back from the crazed travel. Lots of stories to tell, which I hopefully get around to in the next few days. But for now, the saddest story ever, from CNN. I shed a tear at work - sniff!


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A plucky Jack Russell terrier named George saved five children from two marauding pit bulls, but was so severely mauled in the fight that it had to be put down, its owner said Wednesday.

George was playing with the group of children as they returned home from buying sweets at a neighborhood shop in the small North Island town of Manaia last Sunday when the two pit bulls appeared and lunged toward them, Allan Gay said.

"George was brave -- he took them on and he's not even a foot high," Gay told The Associated Press. "He jumped in on them, he tried to keep them off.

"If it wasn't for George, those kids would have copped it."

One of the children, Richard Rosewarne, 11, was quoted in the Taranaki Daily News on Wednesday as saying George fought with the pit bulls to keep them off his 4-year-old brother, Darryl.

"George tried to protect us by barking and rushing at them, but they started to bite him -- one on the head and the other on the back," Rosewarne said. "We ran off crying and some people saw what was happening and rescued George."

But George was so badly mauled that a veterinarian had to put him down, Gay said.

South Taranaki District Council official Graham Young said the two pit bulls had been impounded, and likely would be put down because of the attack.

In New Zealand, owners of dogs judged to be too aggressive can be required to have them neutered and dogs involved in attacks are destroyed.

Back to Bulgaria with some Amsterdam

After a long day of driving we made it to Plovdiv. We had booked an Airbnb place with a Bulgarian guy - took us a minute to find his apartme...