Archive for July 2012

Recipe: Bourbon Peach Ice Cream

As part of his efforts to woo me, Keith took me to Hermosa Beach in California for our first Valentine's Day together. While out there we visited one of his college buddies, who told us how he and his wife received an ice cream maker for a wedding gift. They envisioned making ice cream with their family and building all these wonderful memories, when in fact they've made ice cream once and stashed the ice cream maker away in the back cupboard. 

So when Keith and I were registering for our own wedding, he was pretty opposed to an ice cream maker given his buddy's experience. Imagine how funny I found it when the first wedding gift received was the ice cream maker! I've now promised to make ice cream at least six times a year to justify keeping it in our tiny kitchen. 

Since I had such a great experience at the Hill's Kitchen pasta class, that I jumped at the chance to enroll in their ice cream class. I had made ice cream before, but it just wasn't as creamy as I had hoped. I should have known it's all about the quality of ingredients. We sampled strawberry ice cream made with farm fresh milk and cream and farmer's market strawberries. One word AMAZING! Lesson learned go with farm fresh dairy.

This past weekend I was determined to make ice cream. I acquired farm fresh whole milk and cream from Trickling Springs with plans of simply making vanilla. Thankfully, the genius idea hit me to add fresh peaches and bourbon. Now we're talking, right? Again, it was AMAZING. This was one indulgent treat worth the work. 

Homemade Bourbon Peach Ice Cream

3 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
3 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 c. sugar, divided into 1/3 cup and 2/3 cup
1 c. whole milk
2 c. heavy cream
1 t. vanilla extract
3 T. bourbon

1. Macerate the peaches by combining the peaches with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup of sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. 

2. Create an ice bath in a large mixing bowl. Place a smaller bowl, preferably a metal bowl, in the ice bath. Whisk together the remaining sugar and milk until the sugar is dissolved in the bowl over the ice bath. Add the cream, vanilla, and juices from the peaches whisking until well combined. 

3. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions, adding the bourbon and peaches during the last five minutes of freezing. 

4. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe storage container with a lid and harden in the freezer for several hours. Note: it will not become solid frozen as the bourbon will prevent that. 

5. Enjoy!

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Just business as usual

I wish I could share stories about our great adventures from the past week and explain that’s why we’ve been absent. Sadly, that’s not it. This past week has been another hot one that’s left us just trying to stay cool. I guess you could say we’re still taking our cues from Sammy.

It hasn’t been terrible. We’ve managed to enjoy lots of fresh salsa made with farmers’ market tomatoes. Who knew three large tomatoes would equal a mixing bowl worth of salsa? I was down with that because it was awesome. 

All that salsa left us thirsty so there were a few cold ones. And to say I was super excited would be an understatement when I found Boulevard Brewery’s unfiltered wheat out here. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wanted one of those beers since I moved out here eight years ago. Thinking we might have to go back this weekend with hopes of snagging another six-pack.

One of the best wedding gifts we received was the Super Deluxe edition of Scrabble from my sister. I cannot begin to tell you how many rounds have been played. When Keith and I first started dating there were many nights playing Monopoly since that was one of the few board games we had, so I’m relieved the collection has expanded.

This weekend we plan to continue this pattern of lazy. I’m planning to put another wedding gift to use and make ice cream. And maybe we’ll mix it up a bit and switch up the board game or perhaps I’ll tackle the pile of books on the nightstand since I’ve made several new acquisitions.

Do you have any big plans? Or is the heat just getting to you too?

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Recipe: Nicole's Meatloaf

After asking a few times, I’ve learned Keith never wants any kind of a party for his birthday, but he does want me to cook mashed potatoes and meatloaf for dinner. One of the first meals I cooked for him when we had first started dating was meatloaf and mashed potatoes; I had no idea this would become one of his favorite meals. And even more it was a risk at the time given not everyone shares a love for it, and I’d say it was a risk that has paid off given we’re now married.

Thankfully before cutting the cable cord, I was able to watch an episode of Barefoot Contessa featuring turkey meatloaf. This is my take on Ina's turkey meatloaf. In case you want her version, you can find the recipe here.

I will warn you this recipe makes a small loaf that will feed about four people, so if you want leftovers for sandwiches you need to plan accordingly.

Turkey Meatloaf

1 lb lean ground turkey (I don’t use all breast meat for fear it would be too dry.)
1 medium yellow onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1 egg beaten
1/4 c. old fashioned oats
3 T. milk
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine the oats and milk in a small bowl and set aside. You may need more or less milk. Use enough milk to cover the oats, but not so much that they’re sitting in a pool of the milk.

3. Add a good swirl of olive oil to a sautĂ© pan. Once that’s hot, add the chopped onion. Cook until translucent, before adding the garlic. Continue cooking for an additional minute or until you smell the garlic. Remove from heat and stir in the tomato paste and Worcestershire. Let cool.

4. In the meantime, in a large bowl mix the turkey with the egg, oats mixture, and parsley with your hands. Add in the onion mixture and continue to mix.

5. Once everything is well combined, place on the baking sheet and shape into a loaf. Top your loaf with Ketchup. I like a lot to develop a nice sweet crust, but use as little or as much to your taste.

6. Bake for 30 minutes or until done. Once you pull it from the oven, allow it to cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

7. Enjoy!

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Virginia Day Trip

Just when I thought we couldn't top last Saturday, I think we did this past weekend.

Since learning Catoctin Creek Distilling Company offered a bottling workshop, Keith and I were convinced this would be something we needed to check out.  Yes, Keith ventured out there two Saturdays in a row. And trust me when I say I don't think he minded at all.

The workshop started with signing labels with any personal message. So if you see any of their Watershed Gin referencing the Mavs or asking if you "Got tonic," then you're quite lucky to have acquired a bottle we labeled.

There were several stations that allowed you to actually bottle, insert the cork, or seal up the bottles before they were handed off for labeling and then packing. I'd estimate that at least half the group simply stayed put with the labeling like Keith and me. The work was followed up by a tasting and pizza as a thank you for helping them bottle about 2,000 bottles of their gin.

Rather than stick around for the pizza, we slipped out and ventured over to Leesburg for lunch. We both love French food and with Saturday being Bastille Day it was a given we were going to properly celebrate. I've learned to let Keith's sense of adventure be our guide because lunch was simple but phenomenal at the little Eiffel Tower Cafe.

Keith enjoyed plump moules and I had an unexpectedly light shrimp salad free of any mayonnaise Deviating a bit from the usual drink selections we shared a bottle of rose' wine and,  of course, had to finish off with desert. Desert was also delicious. I'm still craving that light lemon sponge cake with fresh berries.

It's not often that venture outside of the Beltway, or even the District for that matter, that we had to make the most of the trip. I have wanted to explore the Virginia wineries and Keith was open to the idea. We visited two that were near our closet location. One was a solid winery and one was a bit off to say the least. I'd highly recommend checking out the North Gate Vineyard. I found several of their wines to be quite enjoyable and was disappointed to learn they haven't made their way into the Whole Foods in DC yet. There was something romantic about their vineyard...the haze from the earlier rain, the vines, and just being out with my handsome husband.

The second winery was the Notavia Vineyard. This place just started on a sour note for us. You don't tell us that you knew nothing about wine when you started and that you purchased the land on a whim. That definitely didn't impress us. Secondly, this vineyard's unique selling point is their pairing the wine with music over food. Didn't really work for me. It must have worked on Keith because he purchased the bottle that paired with the Dropkick Murphys. For those not familiar with the band, let me introduce you. 

Don't worry, if you hadn't heard of them before then. We had to find them online while driving away from the vineyard. It was almost decided to head on over to Charleston, WV for the casino, but reason stepped in and we headed back to the District.

Are there any vineyards in Virginia that you recommend? Or maybe there's a distillery near by you would suggest instead? Hopefully, you're weekend was awesome too!

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Let's Get Physical

Remember how Keith and I thought we could become more like vegetarians? I think that lasted for almost a month…this girl just loves a bloody steak.  That and I realized we were eating a great deal of cheese and bread, which is a lot of extra calories and in many instances fat. Because who can eat just a plain slice of bread, when you can spread a rich and creamy European butter over it?

When the goal was to shrink the waistline, I learned I was actually increasing it. Instead, we have switched to a weekly box of fruits and vegetables along with farm fresh meat and eggs and the occasional dry good like beans. I love the colors of Mother Nature.

We have also gotten serious about tracking our calories using the My Fitness Pal website and app on our phones. This little app is also awesome in tracking the calories you burn as well as consume. I find that just a bit rewarding and not completely all doom and gloom.

Considering we have been faced with a weekend in Texas that started with Whataburger and an amazing French dinner last weekend, things are looking up. I think we’re on the right track. This past week was quite successful. Keith and I both managed to stay under our calorie goals and spend some quality time at the gym. Now let’s just hope we don’t derail over the weekend.

I plan to share fun apps, healthy recipes, and other get fit tips with you as we conquer the pants. Even more I’d love to hear what secrets you have. If someone could help me beat this craving for ice cream, I would be forever grateful.

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Book Review: Epilogoue

I never seemed to fret over growing old alone. I have a solid network of friends and family, so I was never really interested in finding a soul mate. Honestly, I thought it was a bunch of total BS. Then I met Keith and well, I guess you could say I got all soft. The thought of not having him by my side through all of life’s adventures just seems unfathomable.

So when I read a review of Epilogue: A Memoir by Anne Roiphe over on Joanna Goddard's blog, A Cup of Jo, I was intrigued to see how one woman coped with such a loss. Ms. Roiphe suddenly lost her husband of 39 years to a heart attack. Epilogue was one of her methods for coping with that loss – by writing about her daily life.

There are moments that are completely heart wrenching and others that bring a giggle or smile of understanding. Her memoir resulted in a true love story and how sometimes following such a magnificent loss the survivor simply tries to find a way to keep going on.
“I do not have my soul mate,” Ms. Roiphe realizes, “and most likely will never have another, but I will be fine…I will be sad often but not always."
I would best describe the writing as a stream of consciousness, which did take me a bit of adjusting too. However, this made it a great book for commuting back and forth – I was able to easily put it down and pick it up after short periods of time reading. This book is definitely worth the read; just make sure you have a tissue or two within arm’s reach.

Do you worry about losing a spouse or loved one? Do you have suggestions for a book to add to my list?

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A Really Nice Little Saturday

Last Saturday, the 7th of July, I had a pretty damn good day.  First thing in the morning, I drove out to the South Riding Golf Club to take a golf lesson that my lovely wife purchased for me as an early birthday gift.  Within five minutes my instructor, Kevin Hamluk, had me hitting the ball farther and straighter.  After bombing about 50 drives, we cut the lesson short because it was nearing 100 degrees.  I was okay with this because I had already sweat through my golf shorts.

Since I was out in "Real America" (Nicole and I don't go outside the beltway terribly often), I decided I'd pop over to Purcelville to visit Catoctin Creek Distillery.  This was a big day for Catoctin, as they were releasing 100 bottles of a cask strength version of their excellent Roundstone Rye.  There were about 50 people in line, which was fortuitous because they limited each customer to 2 bottles of the cask strength rye.  I was about 30th in line so I secured my allotment with no problems.  While I was at the counter I decided to pick up their Watershed Gin and a bottle of their barrel aged maple syrup.

Since I was out in Virginia anyway, I decided to stop at the local VABC store.  As luck would have it, I was able to find the latest rye release from Jim Beam, Knob Creek Rye.  So it was sort of a big day for booze purchasing.

When I got home, I was fairly tired (I hadn't driven that far in one day in over a year), but I pushed through and sampled the Cask Strength Roundstone Rye.  It starts grassy with a little mint at the end and is a seriously spicy rye--it is the purest form of rye I've ever tasted.  I very much enjoyed my first pour, and I'm looking forward to spending some more time with it in the future.

After a brief nap, Nicole and I got dressed and went over to Citronelle, which is widely regarded as one of the best restaurants  in the city.  It. Was. Phenomenal.  We both had the 10 course tasting menu with the wine pairing.  Everything from the lobster sandwich, to the halibut, to the foie gras (which I usually don't like) was fantastic.  We both agreed it wasn't as good as Komi, but far better than  CityZen

Anyway, Saturday was one hell of an enjoyable day.

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July 4 in the AC

The Fourth of July is by far my favorite holiday of the year. Apparently, I have a hidden pyromaniac just waiting to burst out. Unfortunately that has been repressed after moving to Washington, DC. At least, we call the nation’s capital home and are never short on things to occupy the time.

The heat wave mentioned on my prior occasions seems to be around for the remainder of the summer. Talk about putting a damper on most plans. Somehow we have found a way to power through and enjoy ourselves. Yesterday we hosted friends for grilled burgers and hot dogs along with fresh salads and watermelon. And because life is short there were Rice Krispy treats, blueberry crumble, and of course a little bourbon thrown in for good measure.

It was sweltering hot so we passed on the National’s ballgame, the neighborhood parade, and even the fireworks on the Mall. Instead we hunkered down with board games – you know they’re that much better when you have a group – and settled in on the sofa in the AC for the show.

Trust me. I never thought the day would come where I would forgo the Mall and the spectacular show. But when it was still 95 degrees at 9 pm, I learned there is a moment. Here’s to hoping next year is much more bearable. I’m not asking much maybe 89 degrees at 9 pm.

Hope you had a fun and safe July 4!

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There and Back

Monday has been a little slow moving for us. It felt like most of our weekend was spent with this as the view.

We flew out of Baltimore early Saturday morning for one of Keith's high school buddy's wedding in the Texas Hill Country. The trip was pretty quick as we flew back to Baltimore yesterday. This was my first trip to Texas with Keith and it was an adventure. But then every trip with Keith is an adventure. (Even to the grocery store.)

He's convinced the first thing one does when they are in Texas is stop at Whataburger. I think I may have made a mistake ordering breakfast rather than a burger. I just couldn't wrap my mind around a burger without having had breakfast first. Can you believe he wouldn't share?

The more I think about it, the more I feel like the trip revolved around food. We napped and then found our way to Phoenix Saloon, which I have no doubt was a pretty happening place come that night. Again I should have followed Keith's lead when it came to my order. That Frito pie looked really good and the smile on his face was priceless.

Let's not forget the real reason for the trip was the wedding. It was held on the River, which I had no idea was such a scenic view. I'm sure they will have gorgeous photos with this as the backdrop.

The groom was beyond happy to see Keith. It was like watching a high school reunion unfold. I enjoyed meeting so many of the guys I had heard about. All in all, they were a good bunch of guys. The evening was gorgeous and who would have thought that the weather in Texas was going to be cooler than what we left behind in Washington, DC?

It was short, whirlwind trip. I kind of wish we had more time to enjoy the sights. I hear the BBQ in Texas is something to enjoy. I'm just not so sure it's better than Kansas City, though. Guess, we'll just have to wait until another time.

What did your weekend bring?

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