There is a local dairy farm here called Crescent Ridge. My first encounter with them was through work actually. They deliver milk and cream to us weekly in old fashioned glass milk bottles. They rattle together in the truck and it’s an amazingly nostalgic sound.
My second encounter was when John & I made a special trip to Sharon, MA to go visit the cows and get some ice cream. What an awesome time it was: a perfect summer night, warm, dusk, watching the dairy cows, and cooling off with some of the tastiest ice cream I’ve ever eaten.
My third, and now ongoing, encounter took place via a local store in Davis Square called Dave’s Fresh Pasta. I almost squealed with glee when I saw that Dave’s carries Crescent Ridge ice cream in their freezer.
We stopped in tonight to pick up some homemade handcut whole wheat pasta (drool) and saw that they now carry quarts of Crescent Ridge chocolate milk. We looked at it, then at each other, and made a grab for it at the same time. We walked out and took turns swigging the cold, creamy, chocolately milk on our walk home. Another perfect summer memory.
So that is my guilty pleasure, dairy style. Crescent Ridge, I salute you.
My aunt gave me her tried and true banana bread recipe years ago. I don’t think I’ve actually ever followed the thing BUT I riff on it every single time I made a fruit/veggie bread.
My baking style is to have a really good outline but to experiment. It’s just food. If it’s awful, there’s always next time and if it’s awesome well booyah! (That’s also what I tell myself whenever I get a haircut.)
John and I have been in loaf mode for breakfast for the last 3 weeks, switching between banana and zucchini, with alternating sidekicks like walnuts, coconut, poppy seeds, molasses, etc. So I slap it together on Sunday, we keep it in the fridge, and voila: instant breakfast all week! When I get to work I warm mine up for 30 seconds and have it alongside my morning cup of tea.
Which leads me to a small digression: Comfort food is comfort food is comfort food. I don’t really believe in seasonal. I could have a toasty slice of banana bread and tea in the midst of summer (which I’ve been doing) and enjoy it just as much in the winter. I don’t like equating hot food with cold months and vice versa. Seasonal produce is a different story but, like I said, I digress.
On to the recipe!
Like I said, I riff, I dabble, I never follow a recipe. So here’s the approximate version of this bread:
1/2 cup Smart Balance
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup (packed) wrung out frozen zucchini, shredded before it went into the freezer
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. wheat bran
1.5 tsbp. ground flax seed
1.5 tbsp. poppy seeds
handful of oats
handful of coconut
2 handfuls of walnuts
1.5-2 cups vanilla soymilk
a few sprays of grapeseed oil
Bake bread at 325 degrees in a greased pan for roughly 30 minutes.
Frozen zucchini (it got a little deformed in the freezer). You really gotta wring all of the moisture out before using it. Paper towels work just fine.
Dry ingredients I just eyeball going in – oats, wheat bran, flax seed, coconut, poppy seeds:
Dry ingredients I measure – cinnamon (I like a TON paired with zucchini), nutmeg, baking soda, and whole wheat flour:
I stir everything together, knowing it will be dry. I like to add the walnuts and then add enough soymilk to wet the batch but not soak it.
Mmm walnuts. Munch munch.
Add enough soymilk (or regular milk, almond milk, whatever) just to get a batter-like consistency:
I spray my pans with grapeseed oil. Use whatever you have though.
Batter. Look at all those delicious bits in there (oats, zucchini, poppy seeds, flax seed). I like seeing what’s in my bread.
Done bread! I let it cool for 5-10 minutes then get it right out of it’s pan. I read somewhere that keeping bread in a hot pan will lock all the moisture inside the bread and make it gross on the inside. I flip them out on to a wire rack and let them fully cool on there.
I spent 6 hours today walking, shopping, and snapping photos downtown. It was my first outing with my new camera, my Canon Rebel T1i.
Enjoy and comment if you like them!
Newbury Street, the Boston Public Library, and Copley Square:
I stopped in to the delicious, yet crazy busy, Parish Cafe for lunch. It was really good. No wonder John Mayer’s favorite sandwich is from there. The bartender recommended I try the Ephemere Apple beer which is brewed with granny smith apples. It was so delicious. An excellent lunch place to sit, nom, and recharge.
Onward to the Public Garden:
People were getting wedding pictures taken! Exciting!
Last stop was Savenor’s, the best meat shop in Boston. They have all kinds of treats too so I got this little Cornflake Ritter Sport chocolate square. It was yummy! Knusperflakes!
I walked across the Longfellow bridge which I always love to do because the views of Boston are spectacular.
And here’s a couple of new things to show off:
1) My bike has a rack and a basket now! I’m so excited. I brought it to Ace Wheelworks for my 90 day tune up and they put these things on for free! Wahoo!
2) I bought this beautiful new bag at Anthropologie today. It was on sale which is awesome because evvvverything there is so pricey. Worth it though! I haven’t bought a new bag in almost 2 years. The last one was also from Anthropologie, just for the record, and I loved it so much I carried it for that long without even thinking about getting another one. Time for a change though!
Planning a wedding is an unpaid part time job
Focusing on all the details will make you lose sight of the bigger picture (y’know, love)
You should (you have to) celebrate the small stuff throughout your entire engagement
OK, sweet, I know these things now halfway through. So John and I really do try to celebrate and enjoy the mundane tasks of contacting vendors, constantly reviewing our budget, hand stamping favors, fretting over letterpress vs. lithography invitations, etc. but sometimes it’s tough. I guess it can’t all be cake tasting and dress twirling.
One thing that seemed like just another duty (at first) was getting our engagement pictures taken. We knew we weren’t going to put them in the paper and generally looked down on portraits of us that couldn’t possibly express who we are or our personalities. Since it was included in our wedding photo package we started to try to brainstorm better alternatives to jumping on the beach! or a shadow of us holding hands!. Blech.
We’re total foodies so I contacted the Boston Center for Adult Education to see if we could rent out their kitchens. Long story short – we could! (And for free might I add! All we have to do is send them our pics and provide a testimonial to them. Awesome, right?! I’ve always had dreams of being the new face of the BCAE…)
We planned a day with our amazing, amazing photographer, Kristin Korpos. We made a huge feast (RJ’s avocado and corn salsa, chicken, pineapple, and pepper jack quesadillas, and ice cream sundaes). The whole time we laughed and chatted and joked. It was awesome. Just when I thought I was getting too caught up in the wedding machine and all its forced tradition and consumer stupidity, I get to have this super fun photo shoot! It made all the other stuff totally worth it.
When John and I went on our cross country road trip this past June I finally found it: The Perfect Beer.
But let’s back up shall we?
I’m not a big drinker so when I enjoy a beer it’s gotta be a damn fine one. Despite not being huge booze fans, John and I are big fans of breweries and the beer making process. We’ve been on breweries tours all across the US. And this June I found my favorite one: the Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, NY.
So pretty, right?
Ommegang pride themselves on brewing their beers in the classic Belgian style with earthy and exotic spices. On the tour we tried five different kinds of Ommegang beers but my favorite was the Rare Vos. Spicy but slightly sweet, a smidge bitter, no aftertaste, summery, pairs well with comfort food – the perfect match!
We loved the brewery, the people, and the beers so much we went a little crazy with the merch we brought home (magnets, hoodies, etc):
Cut to last week, I’m in Downtown Wines & Spirits in Davis Square picking up champagne to celebrate with the girls the night before Rachel’s wedding. I was just perusing the beer section too when I see that they have Ommegang! They have the Rare Vos! GASP! So naturally I bought myself some for a fridge stash.
After a long day today I was ready to go home and eat a brie and pickle smothered turkey burger. And I remembered the Rare Vos. What an excellent way to end the day.
(That last picture is pretty obnoxious: new favorite beer discovered at the Ommegang brewery tour, Magic Hat glass from their brewery tour, and Harpoon church key from their tour. Yikes.)
I’ve been thinking of starting a blog for some time. Scratch that, I’ve had a blog for almost 10 years over on Livejournal. But that thing has been friends-only for some time.
I decided I needed a new space. That’s public, more open, and (quite frankly) a little happier. I want to share thoughts, photography, recipes, etc. all in one place.
I got the name for my blog from my favorite Dismemberment Plan song (and one of my top 5 favorite songs of all time). It’s called Following Through (listen), and the message captures exactly how I feel about life and grabbing it by the horns. Following through is important to me. I’ve only ever gotten anywhere in life by finishing what I started, even when I didn’t want to. Enjoy!
“Now I see that these are cards we drew some time ago, so if you don’t know:
I can do it anywhere with anyone at anytime
Don’t you forget this is my life and it’s gonna to be good, don’t you know
Not a promise or a threat or an ultimatum, though I can do those too
I’m just telling you, I’ve got this life I’ve got to live
I’m just following through…”