Homegrown Food Challenge—Day 3

October 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

Day 3 on the Homegrown Food Challenge and no fish heads were lopped off on this particular day. But the grill did get lit, and that’s always a fun thing. Here’s how our day progressed.

Breakfast:
Starting to look very familiar. Flat Black coffee with Maine’s Own Organic Milk. Stonyfield yogurt with local apple, honey and a crumbled Effie’s oatcake. We’ll get a bit more creative with breakfast on the weekend, no worries.

Lunch:
Jennifer and I both had big salads with local stuff, similar to the one I had for lunch on Day 2. Local lettuce and red pepper, pickled beets, homemade dressing, etc etc. I even made some homemade croutons from homemade bread.

Dinner:
This is where the grill gets lit—finally! We cranked it up for some pizza made with homemade pizza dough. Two pizzas are usually enough to take care of dinner plus give us enough for lunch the following day.

grilled pizza

Pizza #1: Homemade sauce using slightly green homegrown tomatoes (similar to the roasted cherry tomato sauce I make), grilled eggplant (from farmers market) and locally made mozzarella.

grilled pizza

Pizza #2: Homemade pesto using homegrown basil, grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper (from farmers market) and caramelized homegrown leeks.

Can’t have pizza without beer, right? We had some Whale’s Tale Pale Ale from Cisco Brewers on Nantucket. Pretty tasty stuff!

As I am two days behind in posting, I can hint at what awaits you for Day 4: One of the most fabulous creations to ever have been sandwiched between two pieces of bread. Think I over-exaggerate? Oh. No.

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A Lovely Day in Amsterdam: Part 1

May 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

It may be raining and a bit chilly here today, but I love every minute I spend in Amsterdam. And I love everything about it—the cheese, the beer, the bikes, the people, the canals. The cheese. Did I mention how wonderful Dutch cheese is? You get my point. Oh yeah, and cheese.

This is my third visit to the city – all for business, lucky me – and each time I’ve tacked on at least a day to spend on my own. Each time I’ve tried to add on to my experiences. Even though I’ve just finished an absolutely lovely second day in the city – which I will tell you about in another post – I have a few thoughts about Day 1:
As a rule, the Dutch people are tall and beautiful. I don’t know why or how, but we should be so lucky. I’ll try to provide visual evidence to this affect later this week.

A guy pedaling along with a box full of kids like it's nothing.

I don’t recommend being like your average New Yorker and just walk along the cobblestone streets with your head down and your headphones on. If you do, you will suffer injuries. Someone will hit you with a bike or moped or tram. Pay attention! And I will now put a positive spin on this: It’s terrific that there’s so much green transportation in this town. But seriously, transporting yourself on two wheels – whether motorized or person-powered – is the fastest and smartest way of getting around. Some mommy bloggers would have a fit if they saw how unprotected children are on the bikes, for sure. But that’s the way this society is, and motorists just motor along with bicyclists’ safety top of mind. Again, we should be so lucky.

Interestingly, bars/restaurants serve only particular beers. Like some restaurants in the States have either Coke or Pepsi products. For the bigger beer companies, they’ll serve Heineken or Amstel—that’s regular Amstel, not Light—or Grolsch or whichever other. Oh, and by the way, Holland, you need to have bigger beer glasses. If only to keep around in service for American customers.

For the foodie types out there, I have an interesting food delivery gadget for you. I ordered the largest piece of apple cake I’ve ever seen “to go,” or as they say, to take away. And check out the cardboard sleeve they placed the slice into. It’s not a pastry box, but it still gives support to the baked item. And it uses minimal cardboard. Who knows, maybe these are commonplace somewhere in the U.S., but I’ve never seen it and I think it’s a fabulous way to box up a to-go pastry.

The hotel I’m staying in has the most amazing line of toiletries. I stayed at the same hotel last year—Jennifer joined me at the end of the trip for a few days, too—and we snagged as many of the teeny tiny bottles of shampoo, shower gel and lotion as we could. Especially the lotion. The brand is called Rituals, and I believe it’s made in the UK, but I’m not sure. We’ve been very judicious in our use of our bottles from last year and are constantly on the hunt for it. In fact, I nearly accosted a flight attendant last week because I swore she was wearing the stuff. I slather as much lotion as possible on myself each morning and seriously, I should be a little worried about this obsession. I wish smell-o-vision was possible, but until then, here’s what the bottle looks like:

Rituals body milk, shampoo and shower gel.

This is truly a beautiful city. Picturesque beyond words. I don’t have the best photography skills but I think this might capture just a bit of what makes Amsterdam so special.


Day 2 coming up next.

Twitter, Union and Craft Beers

January 25, 2011 § 3 Comments

I work from home. Alone. All day. My interactions with in-the-flesh people are minimal. E-mail, Facebook, Twitter – those are the check-ins I have during my daylight hours. Needless to say, it’s good to get out.

And I do make it a point to get out during the day. I signed up for a 1/2 marathon in March, which is compelling me to get to the gym on a regular basis. But the confines of home were a bit much last week—think it was the weather?—and by 8 a.m. on Friday I was already planning ahead to post-5 o’clock. I tweeted something like “I know it’s early, but already thinking of grabbing a drink @UnionBoston.”

Now, I follow a few restaurants on Twitter. Neighborhood joints are the ones I pay particular attention to, definitely if they are within walking distance. If I can find a local place that tweets, I’m definitely following for menu updates, specials, news, etc.

So, last Friday—remember last Friday with that 7 in. of snow?—so last Friday, post 3.5-mile run, I call Jennifer to make sure she can meet me at Union, then tweet to the world that I’m on my way over to grab a drink.

“Hi! Welcome!,” the host says.

“Hi,” I say. “I’m just gonna grab a drink at the bar.” I make to walk in that direction.

“Be sure you tweet about it!” the host says.

I stopped in my snow-boot tracks. “That’s funny, because I just …”

“I know,” the smiling host says. “I’m in charge of Union’s tweets. I recognized your photo.”

Because I follow @UnionBoston, I learned they are big into craft beers, so I chatted with Justin about that while I settled in. He recommended a few he seemed very excited about, and I ordered up a Bear Republic Racer IPA. Excellent recommendation. And yes, I did tweet about it.

By the way, do try Union’s bluefish pate. Bluefish too fishy, you say? Don’t even say that until you try this. Seriously good stuff. And it goes great with IPA.

Union’s Craft Beer Event

Now, I do enjoy craft beer, although I typically order a Heineken or Amstel Light – what can I say? I love the Dutch. I’m hoping to gain an even finer appreciation for craft beer during Union’s Craft Beer Meetup on February 1st from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Is there a better way to spend a Tuesday?

Who’s going? What are you guys looking forward to? Justin, what craft beers can we expect to see in frosty mugs lined up along Union’s famous bar?

Hope to see you there, folks. And do please leave a comment!

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