Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chicken Nuggets and Home-Cooked Baltimore

Last week was super busy. Not only did I take a trip to the Goshen Fair with a friend (and had a lovely strawberry mojito after leaving), but I also got a chance to hold a precious little chicken nugget in my hand. Of course, we did the other usual things at the fair: rode the ferris wheel, watched my brother make a fool and a pig of himself at the pie-eating contest, ate delicious funnel cake to support the Goshen fire company.. overall, a great trip and a perfect treat to reward me for skipping out on vacation this year (I'm moving to L.A., but I haven't been to the beach yet this summer). 

Though I can legitimately complain about my complete lack of tan, I certainly can't whine about last weekend's awesome mini-trip to Baltimore to visit some great friends (TheBoy's best man and his wonderful wife, along with his brother and our mutual buddy). Because "TheWife" is a vegetarian and I am aspiring to renew my veggie-vows, I had a great 
vegetarian weekend: frozen veggie burger lunch (great with salsa on whole wheat bun), gazpacho of delicious Doom (homemade by TheWife as a chilled, perfectly suited-to-Baltimore's-glut-of-humidity soup), cardamom ice cream (are you kidding!? it was so amazing! like cold, creamy chai with a cone and fat and dribbles down my hot little hand). She made the gazpacho without tons of spices to account for varying spice-love, which made the final result that much more exhilarating when we added some fresh cayenne directly from their garden. Oh. Yes. 

We had more food, of course, but I thought I'd split the posts into Home-Cooked and Eaten-Out food (though the cardamom ice cream was purchased at the ice cream shop). 

Easily the best dish of the weekend was the delightful homemade paella. This was my first journey into yellowy-looking rice + veggies, but I will never regret it. She again left out most of the spiciest bits in favor of letting us spice our own dishes with fresh cayenne -- do I have to point out that I love the interactive idea of cutting my own pepper from a good friend's garden? I love the wholesome idea of knowing exactly who raised it and how they did it, 
and there is absolutely nothing tastier than fresh produce -- especially when the produce comes from only 10 yards away. Of course, we accompanied our classy meal with some red wine -- Gnarly Head (I brought down some Funky Llama Shiraz as a housewarming gift, but that was set aside to age more... even on the wine rack that MyBoy and I gave them a
s a wedding present. I felt so appreciated!) 

Now, that fuzzy looking green stuff on the plate is a licorice-smelling garnish of fennel (the bulb went into the paella) and that cute placemat came the same day from The Village thrift store (go if you can -- 40cents for placemats? uh, yeah!)

So, the food... wow! I've never eaten such a yellow food that I love so much. For such a quickly prepared and fairly simple and inexpensive dish, paella is beyond delicious and so filling. Arborio rice + turmeric + canned diced 
tomatoes + fennel + artichokes (not a lot, though) + magic (um, the stove) = the amazing, creamy-starchy, healthy dish that you see in the picture. Recipe to follow, when I finally get it. 

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