Pardon The LONG Absence

Well, it certainly has been quite some time since my husband or I have posted. Apologies :) So heres a verybrief synopsis of the past two years…

Travels to…NYC, Puerto Rico (delayed honeymoon for the win!!), Toronto and probably other places that I’m temporarily drawing a blank on.

Oh yea, and my promise to you is to relive those experiences and tell you about all the good tidbits that i’ve temporarily have forgotten, with the help of some memory joggers such as pics of course.

Some other things during the past two years that have happened are:

  • Me (Jillian) completing my Nursing degree (BSN-RN), passing my boards, and continuing on to further my education with Doctoral studies in Nursing. Yes, in 2016-2017 I will be Dr. Jillian! After that, no more school for this girl. Whew.
  • Tom and I became an aunt and uncle to our adorable little niece Riley!
  •  Tom spending the past two summers creating an AMAZING backyard oasis for us, complete with an outdoor kitchen!! Hopefully it’ll be done this summer. Lots of blood sweat and tears into that project.

So from here on out, I promise to deliver on “foodcrafting” stories in addition to other elements that contribute to enjoying a well crafted life.

Cheers to a great start to 2014!

Jillian

Mini garlic scape tarts for breakfast!

Mini garlic scape tarts for breakfast!

JulyPA! (Taken with Instagram at Pizzeria Paradiso)

JulyPA! (Taken with Instagram at Pizzeria Paradiso)

Taken with instagram

Taken with instagram

Enjoying a true buffalo breakfast about 1000 yards from where the cheerios are made!

Enjoying a true buffalo breakfast about 1000 yards from where the cheerios are made!

Garlic Scape Pesto

Who knew you could make pesto with garlic scapes? With almost 3lbs left from this week’s CSA share, this seemed like the perfect project for a Wednesday night.

Yea, I know I posted a photo of these yesterday, but they are just too cool looking not to post again. 

Recipe from Dorie Greenspan:

GARLIC SCAPE AND ALMOND PESTO

Makes about 1 cup

10 garlic scapes, finely chopped

1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)

1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you’d like)

About 1/2 cup olive oil

Sea salt

Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle).  Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese.  If you like the texture, stop; if you’d like it a little thinner, add some more oil.  Season with salt.

If you’re not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juiciest.

I used cashews and walnuts in place of the almonds and it seemed to work out just fine. The taste is surprisingly complex, and delicious. It definitely has that sharp garlic kick to it, but should mellow out when heated in a meal. 

Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Garlic Scapes & Mushrooms

Yesterday, we were looking to make something fast and easy, using some of the things we had left over from last week’s CSA Share. With Asparagus, Mushrooms and tons of Garlic Scapes (more to come on that later), I immediately started thinking spring pasta. 

Happy little Scapes (says Jillian)

We started by rough chopping a small bunch of Asparagus (15 or so), and about 10 Garlic Scapes

Then added to some hot oil and local butter, and cooked on medium high until browned, but not overdone. I threw in a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes at this point as well. 

Simultaneously, I put a pot of water on to boil, and cooked up a small package of baby bella mushrooms. I cooked them separate in order to brown them up nice, and as Julie Childs would say, “Don’t crowd the mushrooms!” 

Just before removing from heat, I added a splash of Lavender infused balsamic to the asparagus and scapes, hoping it might add some nice complexity. The smell of that stuff is just incredible. 

Once the pasta was drained, we tossed everything, added a healthy drizzle of EVOO, and shredded some local aged bier gouda on top. We garnished with some fresh sliced scapes and a pinch of grey sea salt. 

Usually I’m the kind of guy to seek out interesting recipes and either combine several, or follow a good one verbatim, but it felt good to just go off on a whim and throw something together than ended up working out fantastic, and is probably one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had in a very long time. 

Pusser's Rum Pisses Off New York Tiki Fans, Forces Painkiller to Change Its Name

This is ridiculous. “irreparable damage”? Give me a break. The entire craft cocktail community thrives on sharing information and recipes. Great way to get a ton of passionate spirit enthusiasts and bartenders to bash you publicly, Pusser’s. 

Review: Pusadee’s Garden (Pittsburgh, PA)

During our weekend in Pittsburgh, we had a few meals, but none that really impressed. Shortly before we headed home, we decided to stop by a little Thai place called Pusadee’s Garden, in the Lawrenceville area - which was said to have one of the nicest outdoor dining areas in Pittsburgh. 

Upon entering, we were warmly greeted by a woman who would turn out to be our server, and I believe was part of the family who owns and runs the restaurant. The interior space was refreshingly modern, set in an older building with some nice original detail, like the tin ceiling. 

Being 80 degrees and sunny, we were hoping to sit outside, and were excited to see that the entire outdoor dining area was infact, a beautiful garden, and most of it was nicely shaded by a vine covered pergola, and an old growth tree. 

Pusadee's Pergola

As we were sitting there soaking in the surroundings, we both commented on how beautiful and relaxing this place was. The chairs were sturdy, clean and comfortable, especially so for outdoor dining chairs. There was also a nice vegetable and herb garden area attached, and we noticed women repeatedly coming out of the kitchen to grab herbs, lettuce and other items for each order. This alone made both of us smile. 

The pergola was covered in various vines, and the entire outdoor area was enclosed by an asian inspired slat and bamboo fence. The gardens were really nicely taken care of, and the plant selection was perfect for outdoor dining, as there were no major bee or insect issues. 

Pusadee's Herb Garden

Jillian ordered the Panang Curry, and I ordered the Street Noodle #1 on the advice of our server.

Street Noodle #1: 

Street Noodle #1

Panang Curry:

Panang Curry

Both of these dishes were incredible. Fresh, perfectly seasoned, and we ate every last bit. Our only regret was that we weren’t hungrier, as we both would have liked to try some of the appetizers and/or desserts. Another item of note is that the restaurant is BYOB, with very reasonable glass/corkage fees. This is a huge plus in my book.

Jillian Enjoying her Curry

Overall, this is probably one of the best dining experiences we’ve had in a long time. Our server, and the service in general was excellent. She made us feel like we were a valued guest in her own home. 

We give Pusadee’s Garden 5 out of 5, and will be back here upon our next visit to Pittsburgh!

Healthy Animals Need Antibiotics: Baloney

Great article on one of the many screwed up things in the US food system - the (over)use of antibiotics on farm animals. via Huffington Post