Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Left My Heart...

Thought I should publish some photos from our recent trip to San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge

Alcatraz (Con los Alcatraces!)

The Hills!

Swing and a Miss - Barry Bonds at the Plate vs Oakland

Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Last night was supposed to be the coolest of nights this week, so I decided to run the oven to cook some pecan chicken. (Frustratingly, our new charcoal grill arrived yesterday, but required both assembly and charcoal!) I've gotta say, this recipe comes out perfectly every time, and was well worth the heat.

Having a fridge full of greens (and accumulating soil), turning every meal into a salad is becoming a healthy necessity. I think this particular green was chinese cabbage. Maybe?

I am really enjoying making simple vinaigrettes for our daily salads, and have avoided using any bottled dressings for weeks. Last night I made a tangy maple vinaigrette (pure maple syrup, ketchup, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper) based on a Rachael Ray recipe, that was perfect for this salad - or any other!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Holy Mackerel, it's Cod!

"Grilled Halibut with Artichoke and Tomato Broth" has been on my to-make list for a while. Though it clearly calls for halibut as the main ingredient, the local Stop & Shop and I are rarely on the same wavelength, so I decided to try cod in its place. Neither of us had ever had cod, and it proved to be a really mild, almost buttery tasting, easy-to-cook fish.

I sort of unintentionally made soup on a hot summer evening by serving this dish in our cereal bowls. (We have lovely wide, shallow bowls...in storage. There's just not enough room in our cabinets, and I didn't feel like locating and dusting them. Maybe it's time to make space, as this recipe is a keeper!)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Brookfield Farm Stir-Fry

Our second farm share delivery arrived yesterday with many of the same veggies as were delivered last week, along with some new ones. Though I had had plans to make chicken tacos for us, I reappropriated the chicken in a stir fry, using the scallions and bok choy from our farm delivery. Delicious!

Grandma's 80th Birthday Book

Sadly, this project had been on the back burner for over a year. I am very happy to have finally crafted this photo album for my grandma, who is now 81, featuring the invitation and photos from her surprise 80th birthday party at the fabulous Pittsfield Elk's Club.

The birthday invite:

The lovely coordinating album:

Admittedly, I have 5 other albums on the "backburner" - none so late as this one, though! Hoping to cross off that list one-by-one.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Make Way for Turklings!

A lucky photo opportunity presented itself on some back roads in Cheshire this past weekend. I think there were 13 baby turkeys in all - the responsibility!

Just for fun, here's the "Make Way for Ducklings" sculpture in the Boston Public Gardens (not my photo):

Made By the Earth

Last week, we received our first box of produce from our farm share in Amherst...and apparently vegetables are more foreign to us than we anticipated. We managed to figure out which of the 5-green assortment was spinach (huge leaves!), and we also identified and ate the radishes and spring turnips, both of which had surprising bite. We have a few remaining heads of lovely green leafy stuff that we'll tackle until our next delivery. I had no idea this would be such a learning experience!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A difference, I hope!

I walk part of Boston's Freedom Trail each morning on my way to work. Several months ago, it appeared someone had backed into a street sign, damaging the pole to the point that only its severed base remained. I regret not taking a "before" photo of this pole (the "after" picture is shown below). It was so sharp and dangerous! I reported it online to the mayor's constituency, and nothing happened. I waited and reported it via phone to the Mayor's Constituency. I waited. Nothing happened. Finally, I wrote a letter to the Metro for their "Metro Moments with Mayor Menino" column and I got an immediate verbal and action response.

Of course, now there's a "No Parking" sign where there once was none. Oops. Still, I hope I have saved some poor soul from ankle wounds and tetanus.

Steamed steak, no more!

Apart from the smoke that fills our apartment each time it's used, our cast iron grill pan is seriously awesome. I was able to exchange the cast aluminum pan (which simply never got hot enough due to temperature limitations with aluminum) for our ultra-heavy iron one. Big thanks to our local kitchen store, Different Drummer's Kitchen (a plug!). Check out the tasty grill marks!

What My Dad Made!

Lucky John! A few weeks ago, John finally got to sample a Burke household specialty: my dad's famous "Super Duper Sandwich." (After I made this photo the desktop image of my work computer, I found myself explaining the sandwich to my coworkers as "Irish panini.") As a child who would eat nothing, somehow this sandwich has always mysteriously appealed to me: bologna, ketchup, and fake cheese melted on a toasted English muffin.

Mustard Glazed Salmon

So easy, so quick, so healthy, so good!

Meatballs, plain and simple. And plain.

I am on a perpetual quest to find the perfect meatball recipe.

This was not it.

Unfortunately, I made this meal of sauce and meatballs about a month ago (I'm a bit behind on the blog!), and I honestly don't remember what recipe I used! Actually, I never seem to use one recipe when I'm trying to create something so common as a meatball. I read through a bunch and usually combine two or three recipe ingredients and ideas. I should really come up with a scientific method for testing such recipes to avoid self-confusion. I do know that my next meatballs will be made with Alton Brown's recipe, for sure.

Even my marinara sauce came out weird. I used a different brand of canned tomatoes, which seemed to have a huge effect on the outcome. Who knew?

Napa Wedding Accessories

I made a guest book to go along with the invitations I designed for the lovely wedding we just attended in Napa Valley.

I also created a seating poster for the reception - rather than table numbers, each table was named "I love you" in a different language.

Placecards were created to match the chartreuse-based theme, held in place by corks, with wedding favor charity donation information Gocco screenprinted in gold ink on the back.

My friend, Kala, did a wonderful job with the table names and settings!