Saturday, September 29, 2012

Apple picking

Today Andrew and I drove to Millington, TN to pay Jones Orchard a vist and pick some apples.  The only variety they had available to pick was the Arkansas Black, but its a sturdy apple and good for cooking, so I was pleased.  Our picking was a wonderful adventure, we had the whole field to ourselves and spent about an hour picking fruit and having fun with each other.  The best Saturday afternoon I've had in a while.

Stay tuned for some apple pie, apple cobbler and applesauce pictures!  That might be a bit ambitious, so don't hold me to it.

Our apple picker, first time using one of those!

Attempting to pick apples

So happy

Impromptu date night

Tonight we had a spontaneous date night.  The best kind.  And usually these dates revolve around food...
Well we love pasta, so we decided to make some more from scratch, as if we did not have enough a week ago at our pasta party. We had a lovely dinner on our porch and then tried to stay up to watch SNL, which starts at 10:30. Epic FAIL, we both fell asleep before then.

Rolling out pasta

Andrew cutting the pasta

My meal, red sauce and basil

Andrew's meal, with meatballs and cheese 

Anthro Finds

I went into Anthropologie the other day and spent less than twenty dollars!  I purchased a darling little blue votive along with two heavy planters/pots...not exactly sure of the right name (above picture).  Each item was five dollars!  Cheapest trip to Anthro ever!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Diaries of a Fruit Maiden

The only pitfall of my job as a baker is that I work on Saturday mornings, meaning I miss the big farmers markets on Saturday.  On the contrary, I have found a way to make up for this devastating loss that I weekly mourn.
I love local fruit, and anything local for that matter.  At the bakery we always try to incorporate as   much local as possible.  Well I felt like we could do more of that, so I took on the task of going to  the Wednesday farmers market each week and buying any produce that needed.  Another upside to this responsibility is that I get to write blog posts about my trips on the bakery website.  Here is the link, I hope you enjoy the first entry!

Pasta Party

Last Thursday night Andrew and I decided to throw a big pasta party!  We have been so busy the past few weeks, that we have not had a chance to see many of our friends.  So we invited a whole bunch of friends from church and work to come over on Saturday evening.  Being Italian, and also loving anything Italian (obsessed is probably the better word), means I always revert back to Italian cooking when I am in a bind. Since this party idea was so last minute, it seemed only normal to make it pasta themed.
Something that I have really come to love over the past few years, is making any sort or carb from scratch.  Pasta, flatbread, loaf breads... you name it! One in particular, from the pasta category, is gnocchi.  Yep, potato pasta.  It is one of the delightful Italian dishes that I enjoy most in life.  Well since I love it so, I decided to make some for the party! I bet right now you are thinking to yourself, what else was on your menu this weekend Meghan?  Well let me tell you....

-Red sauce (I guess this would be marinara sauce, but for some reason I call it red sauce)
-Pesto sauce
-Meatballs and red sauce
-Gnocchi (not truly a pasta, more like an Italian dumpling)

We made the party somewhat of a buffet style.  I made all the pastas separate from the sauces and let people mix and match.  It actually turned out pretty well and feed about 20 people...I guess nothing compared to Jesus feeding 5,000, but it will do. With all these delicious Italian components and great friends, we certainly had a wonderful time at the pasta party.


Cutting gnocchi...

Rolling out more gnocchi...

Dan, Agound and baby Anniah. Some of my co-workers

More co-workers. Janine and Tyson

Close up of baby Anniah

Boone acting as bouncer for the night

Brother and sister, Justin and Gloria

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Honeycrisp Apples

This short post is dedicated to my second favorite food, the honeycrisp apple.  You may be wondering what my favorite food is, well its a chocolate chip cookie, but I'll post about that later.

The most wonderful thing happened to me yesterday.  Some background first.  I love apple season.  And when I say love, I mean lovvvvvvvve.  Nothing makes me happier knowing that I have an in-season, glossy, sweet apple waiting for me in the fridge for a snack. On the contrary, nothing makes me more unhappy than biting into an apple and having that nasty mealy texture all in my mouth (click the link, this is how I feel).  Ew.  Actually I can think of one thing worse than a mealy apple...Andrew eating my honeycrisp apples!  How terrible of a wife am I, I can't even share an apple with my husband?  Ahh tangents! Anyway, I used to go apple picking every year in Ohio when I was little and started going again while living in North Carolina. It is a tradition that I love, but have not been able to do the past few years from living in Memphis, we just don't have apples like the NC mountains. 

For any apple lovers out there, and I mean seasonal apple lovers (there is a difference), you will know that honeycrisps are in season now, and maybe even started selling late August since most crops have been coming early this year from the heat.  Knowing this, I have been going to four different groceries the past two weeks on a hunt for honeycrisp!  Well I finally found some yesterday and spent way too much money on them.  For the next three months, you will rarely see me without an apple.

Beautiful apples waiting for me in the fridge

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ireland: part 2

Were you on the edge of your seat just waiting for my next post??  Good, well here's what happened on the second part of our trip...

We arrived in Dublin late Thursday afternoon and went straight to The FitzWilliam Hotel to check in.  Our room was incredible.  The decorations were trendy and modern, but very comfortable. We overlooked Saint Stephen's Green and could walk ten steps and be on Graften St., a convenient location.  That evening we went to dinner and headed to The Duke, a local pub, which was the starting point of the literary pub crawl we were scheduled for.  The pub crawl was hilarious.  Two local actors facilitated and told stories of Irish poets and other authors (such as James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift) who walked the streets on Dublin daily.  The stories were fascinating and comical, but sitting in pubs where these Irish authors went regularly was truly and experience.

On Friday morning Andrew and I woke up early, grabbed a coffee and walked around the city together.  Normally the city is bursting with people, but in the morning, it was calm and relaxing. In the early afternoon we met up with the rest of my family for a historial walking tour of Dublin. We started at Trinity college and walked through the city, hitting most political and historical buildings.  Honestly, I felt overwhelmed after the tour.  Ireland has such a new and current history, and a great deal of it was sad.  Learning about the Irish revolution that took place in the early 1900's, it was Irishmen fighting other Irishmen.  In American history, I have never been alive to experience any real political confrontation, and in Ireland, so many people see daily reminders of their family's past struggles.  Knowing that my family, two and three generations back, where very much affected by everything going on in Ireland was somewhat emotional.

Sorry for the historical blurb.  After the tour, we went to lunch and then the boys and girls split up.  The guys went to the Guinness factory, while the ladies headed to tea at the Shelbourne Hotel.  Because I love tea so much, and the Irish love tea so much, my sweet mother thought it would be fitting for us to experience a proper tea.  I tasted the most delicious teas in my life, partnered with delicate tea sandwiches, scones and desserts.  If only we had not just eaten a huge lunch, I would have enjoyed it more.  Once we felt like true Irish women, my mother and I went back to the hotel to rest before dinner. As usual, all my family does on vacation is eat.  Continuing with that trend, we met up with one of my father's friends and his family at the famous Shanahan's steak house. Since I'm not a big steak eater, I had the seabass which was excellent.  The food was incredible, and the company as well.

Saturday, the big game.  The Notre Dame game was starting at 2pm, and my father and brothers wanted to go to the pep rally and watch the Notre Dame band play, so again we split up.  Andrew, my mother and I decided to explore the historical side of the city a bit more.  We started by taking a picture in front of the Newman House, which is part of the University College of Dublin.  Then we walked over to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells.  Once we gained some more Dublin intelligence,  we met up with the dad and brothers, only to find that they had lost theirs due to the early morning Guinness drinking at the tailgate.

So my mother and I sneak away to eat a healthy lunch, as we so ofter do, while the boys grabbed a burger, then together headed to the game.  Well we almost missed the kick-off, but luckily we made it to Aviva Stadium maybe two minutes before the game began.  The game was fun, we had awesome seats and Notre Dame won which put all the men in my family in a great mood!  After the game, Andrew and I packed since we had to get up early for a flight out the next day.  And we were off to one final family dinner at Fallon and Byrne.  As always, my mother picked another outstanding location for dinner.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel so that we could get a good nights rest before traveling.  We said goodnight to my family and good bye to Ireland, the beautiful country that we had fallen in love with.

Trinity College

I think this was the old parliament building...

Guinness factory

Getting their pints on the Guinness tour

View from the top of the Guinness factory

Greg looking very pensive before dinner at Shanahans

At the Newman House

Being artistic

Waiting in line at the Book of Kells

Greg playing drums at the tailgate in Temple Bar

So Irish

Aviva Stadium from the outside

from the inside

Notre Dame band