Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'll Be Back!

Sorry that I've been MIA these past few weeks. I'm hibernating this month, but I promise I'll be back in February. In the meantime, happy eating!

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Five Best Meals of 2010

Reflecting on the many delicious experiences we've had this year, I have a hard time choosing just five meals as being "the best." But there are a few that stick out - not only for the food, but for the company and the experience as well.

So here they are, in no particular order:
  1. Anniversary brunch with Topher at Bistro 110 in Chicago - I wouldn't have guessed that the most romantic meal of the weekend would've been brunch, but it was
  2. Birthday dinner for Heather and Ally at Tautog's in Virginia Beach - a fun night out with good friends
  3. Dinner at A Chef's Kitchen in Williamsburg with our friends Randy & Kim - like watching a Food Network show live
  4. Birthday dinner for Anne at Union Square Cafe in Manhattan - the bacon ice cream & squash bread pudding was to die for!
  5. Dinner at Stove in Portsmouth with Randy & Kim and Mike & Jane - so much fun that Topher requested to go back for his birthday in December

(Honorable mention: my birthday dinner at Sushi Aka in Suffolk.)

As I wrote earlier this year, the quality of a meal depends a lot on who I share it with. Eating a gourmet meal alone can be a forgettable experience; sharing a meal with friends and loved ones can elevate the memory of that meal to something really special.

Here's to more delicious meals with good friends in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sick People Food

I've been sick most of this week, and I finally went to the doctor yesterday. His diagnosis: mild bronchitis. At least he didn't say strep throat.

Topher has been a wonderful nurse. He's been giving me lots of tea - Yogi Throat Comfort and Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat - and he made chicken noodle soup again.

Tonight's "get well soon" meal is creamy roasted tomato & carrot soup (a Bobby Flay recipe - my new favorite) with a grilled cheese sandwich. It's not the greatest picture, but it was the perfect meal for a cold day when you're sick in bed.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Vittles

Let's just say that, despite the snow, we didn't starve over the holidays this year. We were blessed with three consecutive days of delicious meals, followed by a week of yummy leftovers.

On Christmas Eve Eve (December 23rd), my parents arrived from Georgia, and we celebrated with my dad's side of the family at my cousin's house in Norfolk.

What We Ate:
  • for starters: marinated goat cheese with French bread
  • beef burgundy (or "boeuf bourguignon" as Julia Child's would say)
  • greens beans with garlic
  • to drink:
  • for dessert: cheesecake topped with cherry compote & rosemary (thanks, Topher!)

On Christmas Eve, Topher's parents drove up from North Carolina, and we had a casual, buffet-style lunch-dinner ... eat what you want, when you want, graze your way through the afternoon ... you get the idea. Afterwards we went to the candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church.

What We Ate:
  • chili with a choice of topping (cilantro, scallions, corn chips, shredded cheese)
  • homemade corn bread
  • salmon log with crackers
  • sriracha & wasabi deviled eggs (a Food & Wine recipe)
  • Waldorf salad
  • apple cake
  • chocolate peppermint pinwheel cookies (an Alton Brown recipe, but we left out the crushed candy canes)

On Christmas Day, all six of us - my parents, Topher's parents, and the two of us - were together again to open presents and share a meal (which I forgot to photograph - oops).

Topher gave me three amazing gifts: an incredibly warm & comfortable merino wool jacket (it kinda feels like wearing a blanket, and I didn't want to take it off), all seven of the Harry Potter books on CD (for me to listen to while I'm driving back & forth to work), and bound copies of The Strand magazine from 1892 - the original publication of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories!

What We Ate:
  • bourbon-ginger ham (the one that he practiced last week)
  • creamed spinach
  • three-cheese macaroni (with parmesan, mozzarella, & fontina)
  • to drink: Shoofly viognier (Australian)
  • for dessert: leftover apple cake and chocolate peppermint pinwheel cookies; creme de menthe brownies (thanks, Jinks!); sugar cookies (made by my mother-in-law); dark chocolate-covered almonds (thanks, Randy!) ... clearly we weren't short on sweets
And then it snowed, and I mean really snowed. We got 8-10 inches on the day after Christmas. Topher & I were scheduled to play on the worship team that day, so we dutifully got up early and drove the un-plowed roads to church. About two dozen people came to the first service; another two dozen showed up for the second service; and the third service was cancelled. But it was beautiful to see our church all blanketed in white.

I hope you and your family had a joyful, relaxing, and delicious Christmas as well!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Isaiah 55

1 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.

2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.

3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.


10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it ..."

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

This past week we had quite a bit of winter weather in the Hampton Roads area. The snow "storm" that came last Thursday only left 1-3 inches of powder, but it clogged up the highways and interstates for hours. My regular one-hour, 40-mile commute turned into a 3-hour saga. But when I got home, our neighborhood sure looked beautiful all covered in white.

On Saturday night, Topher & I went had dinner with a bunch of our friends to celebrate one of the guys' birthday.

Aren't we a festive-looking bunch? Even the lampshades got in on the color scheme. :)

What We Ate:
  • tomato, mozzarella, basil leaf, & balsamic vinegar - I could have eaten 10 of these
  • lobster risotto - creamy & delicious
  • green beans with roasted walnuts & goat cheese - if this is the way I'd had green beans as a kid, there's no way I'd dislike them!
  • steak with chimichurri sauce
  • for dessert: chocolate swirl cheesecake
There's nothing better than sharing meals during the holidays, and I'm so thankful for our friends & their amazing skills in the kitchen!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Determined Not to Get Sick

This morning I woke up with my throat burning - not cool. It's a week before Christmas, and I'm determined not to get sick!

So today I'm sucking on Halls honey-lemon cough drops, sipping Yogi Throat Comfort Tea, and eating the most delicious homemade chicken noodle soup ever. It's chock full of carrots, celery, and mushrooms (there's some evidence that mushrooms help boost the immune system).

For a week's worth of immunity-boosting dishes, check out WebMD's "7-Day Menu for Cold and Flu Season."