First, there are pictures in this post, so just keep reading!
With last week’s family visit, things here were just too crazy to blog. Saturday morning we hit the Charlottesville market to pick up produce for Sunday’s Easter Brunch, and it was great to see all our old friends. Double H was there, as was Babe in the Woods, and there were some new vendors, too (including this bakery that makes the yummiest artisinal bread!). Produce was, of course, scarce given that it’s only April, but greens, flowers, and starters are all there in force. Twin Oaks was there, so we stocked up on 10 lbs of their tofu, which is without a doubt the best tofu EVER! If you haven’t had it, even if you don’t like Tofu, I recommend it.
VA Beer & Wine Country
We did get to do some wine tasting, and once again Lovingston was top o’the heap overall. No more Pinotage, which makes me sad since there’s has been the only one I’ve liked thus far, but they did release the new bottling of their Petit Menseng, which is quite fabulous. The other new release on the menu was their Wahoo White, which I immediately fell for. Those of you who know me may be surprised by this, since I’m normally not a white drinker; but, it’s a perfect compliment for a great plate of cheese or just for drinking on the back deck (which we now have).
We hit some other wineries, as well, and they all had at least a few good choices. I’ll be blogging about those on my “by the bottle” page as we open them up over the next several months. We even got to hit Burnley Vineyardsfor their vertical Cabernet Sauv tasting, which was a lot of fun with our friends and a picnic lunch. The 2001 was the favorite for Thadd and I, and next time we’re there (when we haven’t already blown our wine budget), we’re going to grab a bottle.
We also hit the Devil’s Backbone Brewery, where everyone–including myself–was surprised to learn that I apparently love double bach beer. Since I barely like even pilsners, Thadd thought for sure the darker beers were just not going to happen, at least for a long time. As with everything else, it seems I am backwards and will go from darker beers to lighter, with the exception of wheat beers which I’ve always liked.
Thadd got the deck planters built this weekend, and Erin graciously put in the starters we’d purchased from both Appalachia Star Farm and Radical Roots. So far, they’re growing well. The planters hold mostly herbs and lettuces, things you want right outside your door for cooking. There’s also two golden cherry tomato plants, which will be great for summer munching.
The deck planters won’t be our main sources of produce, though. We’ve got a CSA to Sausser Farms that starts in a few weeks, and our main garden will be shared with two of our friends and their children in community-garden style. We’ll be finishing out beds and planting later this week, after the dirt arrives; so, be watching for more pics!
I’ve been stuck on roasting veggies lately, everything from broccoli to cauliflower to spinach.
Broccoli stays super green and yummy looking when roasted, and develops a wonderful nutty flavor. I toss mine with a bit of EVOO and some sea salt, which is what I did above (same with the cauliflower). Then I coated eggplant in some seasoned Panko crumbs and roasted it, too, and covered it in a roasted red pepper and tomato sauce. It was heaven.
This week’s menu has some carry over from last week.
Sunday: Tofu stir fry over brown rice. We’d just gotten the tofu, and we really wanted some. Plus, after a week of mostly eating out (despite our best efforts not to do so), we were both really in the mood for veggies.
Monday: Thai salmon patties with lime & basil sour cream sauce, with cheesy grits and salad. Canned salmon has lots of great vitamins and minerals, plus it tastes fantastic when seasoned with lots of basil, garlic, and chives. I served them with cheesy grits to use up some of the cheddar cheese in the refrigerator, and a salad.
Tuesday: Tortilla Soup. Tonight, Thadd’s cooking because I have to teach from 6-7PM. He makes fantastic tortilla soup, and since he’s also had a long day it’ll be perfect.
Wednesday: Venison & Wild mushroom stroganoff. I was supposed to cook this for Thadd’s family. That didn’t happen for a variety of reasons, so it’s on our menu instead. Why? Because I have 3 things of sour cream to use up, and we rarely eat sour cream. Honestly, we’re not going to come close to eating all this, either; so, I’ll probably end up tossing the sour cream into the house groceries as a free-for-all, or it’s going to spoil. The stroganoff sauce has brandy in it, though, which makes up for a few things.
Thursday: Chicken Tagine. We’ve got some chicken thighs to use up, so I’m making a Morracan stew. This is one of my current favorite dishes, right up there with miso chicken and Laotion eggplant.
Friday: Black Bean & Banana empanadas. Thadd’s been nagging at me since the first (and second, in the same week) to put these back on the menu; so, here they are. To be fair, they’re fabulous. They just take more time than we often have to cook together because they’re made with this awesome applesauce crust recipe (which sound bad, but is delicious).
Saturday: We’re out of town at a friend’s baby shower, so we’ll have to figure it out on the road.
And, that’s it! You can find out what I’m up to on non-foodie related fronts on my occassionally-updated personal blog Climb High. Hike Long. Pack Light.