Friday, January 21, 2011

Majolica Birthday Extravaganza

My 30th birthday is tomorrow!  It's crazy, I can't believe I'm already 30.  I feel like my 20s disappeared really fast.  But, my 20s have been pretty awesome.  When I look back on the things that I've done in the last 10 years, it's kind of a lot.  Anyway, that's not the point of this post.  The point of this post is the incredible birthday gathering my mom put together for me this past Wednesday night.

My mom organized a great group of people for a tasting menu dinner at my favorite restaurant, Majolica in Phoenixville.  Andrew put together an amazing selection.  We started off with mortadella puffs, which I forgot to take a picture of, but they were lovely little puff pastries filled with mortadella.

Next came a lovely chanterelle mushroom cappuccino soup with nutmeg foam and thyme.

I forgot to take the picture until after I'd already eaten a bit, so you can't see how lovely the foam looked and the little bit of fresh thyme that was on top, but you can imagine.

Then we got a very tasty citrus daikon salad.  Slices of blood orange, grapefruit (I think), daikon and some wonderful blue cheese.


After that came this fantastic swordfish with israeli cous cous and saffron aioli.


 Then we got sweet potato agnolotti (little ravioli-like pastas) with royal trumpet mushroom and piave cheese sauce, so yummy.  It even prompted Rachel to remark that the tasting menu was mean cause it was teasing her with these yummy things, but not enough of them.


 After this we got three flatbreads to share amongst ourselves, the escargot flatbread, scallop flatbread and a pear gorgonzola flatbread.  I only got a picture of the one piece that I took of pear gorgonzola flatbread.


 After the flatbread we got a tasty palate cleanser of cucumber sorbet.  This is my absolute favorite of the various sorbets that Andrew makes.


 Following this was the main course of duck confit with fazzoletti pasta.  Fazzoletti pasta is handmade large squares of pasta.  The pasta was amazing.


 After all this finally came dessert, raspberry sorbet with basil, fresh raspberries and a chocolate sliver.  Mine came with a candle, which was very nice.


And then Rochelle wondered why I was taking the picture instead of being in it, so she took this very nice photo of me.


So, that was my incredible birthday gathering at Majolica.  I'm eating at Majolica again tomorrow on my actual birthday, which I am also really looking forward to.  I will try and blog that one too.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Farmer perspective

I'm not doing very well with this blog, but I'll work on getting better.  Things continue to go really well at the farm.  My brother did so well while he was working on the farm as a day laborer that they invited him to be an intern.  It's working out surprisingly well.  He's doing a really good job and he's got a very positive attitude about it, so it looks like being a farmer might stick.  I think it's fantastic that he's found something that he enjoys so much and does well at.  We're getting along well, which I hope continues.

The weather has been really wacky.  It goes from extremely hot days, to more mild, typical spring-like days to cold, ugly, rainy days.  As much as I can tolerate the crazy weather, I'm learning how much the various plants do not like the crazy weather.  I came into this with very little prior knowledge of gardening even, so it's all been fascinating.  There are veggies that the farm grows in the spring specifically because they like, or at least can handle, the cooler weather.  Also apparently the cooler weather protects some of the plants from a variety of pests that strike as it gets warmer.  But, with the unseasonably warm days we've had, those pests are striking early.  The turnip and radish greens are getting attacked by beetles and other bugs as are the roots (which are the vegetables we hope to harvest).  The greens which should have had more freedom to grow are being overrun by grasses and weeds that should be held back by cooler temperatures.  I'm so curious about all this stuff and luckily our farm manager doesn't seem to mind my questions (or at least I hope he doesn't).

I've been officially appointed 'mistress of the wash' (although the title is my own), which means I coordinate and do most of the washing and sorting of the veggies and greens for the markets and stand.  We have a huge salad spinner that we use as part of the process.  We take tubs and tubs of spinach, spring mix, Asian greens, arugula and more and gently rinse them in a sink of water, spin them dry and then bag them up.  During each step of the process we are sorting out any grass or weeds that may have snuck their way in during the harvest.  Because of the weather I mentioned earlier, the sorting process is sometimes time-consuming since there is a lot of weeds that aren't supposed to be included in the spring mix that you want to buy at the farmers' markets.  I actually really like this process and am quite happy to be coordinating the cleaning because I think I'm pretty meticulous and I like making sure things look good for our customers.

This Saturday Jake (my brother) and I worked the Phoenixville Farmers' Market with the farm owner.  It went really well and was a lot of fun.  We have to work very fast to get everything loaded into the van to get down to the market and get set up and we have to work very fast to get everything unloaded at the market.  But, once we are all set up it's easy to get into the rhythm of helping customers and restocking.  There was a good pace of market shoppers this weekend and I got to see a lot of people I know, which was a lot of fun.  Some friends stopped by just to say hi and other people I know from around town just happened by as shoppers.  It's been neat to see people I know from around town and be on the producer side of the market.  The Phoenixville market has a great group of regular shoppers (I used to be one of them) and it's fun to see the other side of that from the farmer perspective.

Speaking of the farmer perspective, I still haven't worked on my writing assignment.  I'm having trouble deciding on a thesis.  What's my point?  What do I want to tell people about all these different sides I've now seen to the local food market that will hopefully be interesting to them?  Suggestions or thoughts on that are welcome.

On a non-farming note, last night I went to the wedding of one of my ex-coworkers.  I didn't get to go to the ceremony, which was a bummer since I heard it was really beautiful.  But, the reception was also beautiful and the food was great.  The bride looked amazing and they did a great job putting together a really fun party.  It was nice to see a bunch of my ex-coworkers again and catch up.  My great friend Sarah was kind enough to loan me a dress, so my outfit for the evening cost me a whopping $20 in accessories from Target.  They had a live band playing and they were really good at doing covers.  It was a fun night to dress up and leave my hair out of a ponytail and curly for the first time in about a month and a half.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Let's begin again....

Well, I'm already behind on blogging, haha. Better late than never, I guess.

I'm a farm intern!!! I love it so far. It's been two whole weeks and they've been really interesting weeks. I've already learned a lot and gotten really dirty, bruised, sore and cut myself. But, I end my day feeling like I really accomplished something, and there are physical, visible fruits of my labors...or vegetables really...haha.

I got a bad sunburn on my first day on my lower back, which was the only place I forgot to put sunscreen. My shirt kept riding up as I was working, kneeling on the ground transplanting swiss chard into the field. But, since then I've been really good about sunscreening all over and I'm not getting burnt. I am still getting a little tan though, which is nice. The weather has been great, all except for Tuesday of this past week. We had three people show up to work for the day to help, apparently from an ad on craigslist. It was chilly and drizzling off and on all day. One of the day laborers quit before noon, but the other two came back. My brother came up Wednesday through Friday then, which was cool for him and luckily worked out well. It's been great to have the extra help to plant potatoes and transplant onions. A couple of the guys actually came back this week to help out some more.

I'm kind of jumping all over the place, but this would be a ridiculously long post if I talked about all the cool stuff I've done. I've gotten to drive the tractors quite a bit, which is a lot of fun actually. Apparently I'm a natural at it. The tractors aren't really big, the back wheels are maybe 3 feet in diameter. One is really easy to drive, it's kind of like an automatic transmission, but the other one is much more complicated. We've been using the one easier tractor with a trailer on it to spread mushroom soil on the fields for fertilizer. The other tractor has been used to load the trailer with mushroom soil and till the soil after the mushroom soil has been spread. I didn't get to load the mushroom soil, but I did get to till the fields.

Last Saturday I worked at the next to last winter market of the Phoenixville Farmers Market. It was so much fun to work at the market. I got a writing assignment that I really need to work on about my perspective of shopping at the market, working at a restaurant and working on a farm now. The winter markets are short, only an hour, but the weather was great for this one, so it was really busy and the hour went by really quickly. I'm really looking forward to working at the farmers markets throughout the season. I like the social aspect of this job and telling people about the veggies and good ways to eat them and how they taste.

I'll try and keep posting, but it's hard to sit down and take the time to think about what to write in the evenings.  Lame excuse, I know.   

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Wanna buy a house?


Thankfully this is the neighbor's house, not the house I'm house-sitting at. Also thankfully, one of the people I'm house-sitting for is home this weekend to help handle the rising water. Obviously it got a little wet down here along the Schuylkill river this weekend. There are a lot more pictures up at my Flickr account. It's been an interesting day. There wasn't too much to move at the house, so it was mostly just watching, waiting and taking a lot of pictures. I got some fun pictures of various strange goings on. A couple people that live in two houses down the street a bit were out canoing and kayaking in their back yards. You're only supposed to be able to canoe in the front yards here (the front yards being the river).
Outside of all this, I know I haven't posted in forever, I'm sorry. I'm not good at posting when I'm just back in normal boring life mode. But, there is something exciting, I found an apartment I really like right on Bridge street in Phoenixville. It's the main street in town, even though there's also a Main street. I will get the keys May 1 hopefully. The landlord is planning on doing a couple things to the apartment. Not really much else to talk about. Enjoy the flood pictures.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I am not a city girl

Okay, obviously I failed at NaBloPoMo. Oh well. I kinda figured it wouldn't last, but I was going to try anyway. But, that's not the point of this post. The point of this post is to state how much I truly dislike cities.

Tonight I took the train down into Philly (because driving on the Schuylkill Expressway would have made me want to jump off one of the buildings downtown). I went into the city on a mission that I can't get into because it's a surprise. But, suffice it to say I had to go to a store that only exists (locally anyway) in center city Philadelphia. The train ride wasn't too bad, except there were more people than I'd like, meaning I had to share a bench seat with a total stranger. I'm not comfortable with that, because I feel like I'm imposing greatly on this other person. But, I survived and got down to the city. I made my way up to street level and then had to figure out which way to go. The one thing I REALLY loved about Salt Lake City was that there were reference points for directions. The really big really close mountains were to the East, which gave me a reference point for every other direction and made getting around really easy. There are no reference points for me in Philly. I get up to street level and generally head the wrong direction first and get to the first corner and have to turn around and head the right direction. Tonight I got lucky though and headed the right direction first. But, the streets are too crowded, I don't like all the noise (honking, shouting, more honking), I am very uncomfortable with all the people begging for handouts and the whole experience just stresses me out and makes me neurotic. But, obviously I survived. I also had a very successful shopping trip. Well, actually, the success of the shopping trip will be proven or disproven later this week. I'll try and update then.

For now a song quote... "oh give me land, lots of land and the starry skies above"

Thursday, November 09, 2006

PSA-for-the-day, etc....

I just have to rant momentarily. The problem I was having yesterday with the travel booking site at work turned out not to be a problem with the program, but a problem with my computer. ARGH! My computer is old and defective and has an old and defective operating system on it. I have troubles with creating FedEx labels and troubles with the travel site and it's stupid. Stupid company and their stupid lousy cheapness. BAH!

Someone posted a comment to my request for ideas with a couple suggestions and a couple of things one should never blog about. I would just like to tell the internets that I promise you I will never blog about bodily functions of any sort, particularly not anything specifically feminine. I will also never blog about laundry, because I don't mind doing it and therefor it is not something that I would ever feel the need to write, or complain, about.

As for the suggestions, I would like to take the one regarding a funny story from my childhood and use this moment as a PSA. With winter coming in most parts of the country I would like to warn everyone against the dangers of kerosene heaters. Okay, honestly, I'm not so sure how many people even use them anymore, but personally they scare the daylights out of me. The reason for that is, that when I was 4 or 5 I had an incident with a kerosene heater. At that time I was being babysat quite frequently by a really awesome woman named Marilyn who had two kids. One was several years older than me and the other was my brother's age, two years younger than me. We all had a lot of fun playing together, her kids, my brother and I. One chilly afternoon we were playing and, I don't remember why, but I was in the living room backing away from one or all of them. I distinctly remember the backing away part because of what happened next. So, of course, to protect myself in case of a fall, I had my hands behind me as I was backing up. Well, I managed to slowly back my hands right onto the top of a kerosene heater. Those suckers are HOT. I don't remember anything about what happened next, or the obvious trip to the hospital, but I most definately remember the thick white bandages wrapped around my hands for quite a while afterwards. My hands are fine now, no long-term damage. My recollection of it is entirely amusing, because it was a pretty stupid thing to do. But, it's also made me very wary of kerosene heaters. I won't go anywhere near the things. So, there's my PSA for the day, don't get kerosene heaters when you have kids that might, for some completely unknown reason, back into it with their hands. :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Funky Lil Kitchen

I went to Funky Lil Kitchen for dinner tonight. It was incredibly yummy and I was reminded of how I love that restaurant so. I had incredibly yummy scallops that came with a spinach goat cheese oatmeal. I know it sounds wierd, the oatmeal, but it was amazing. I love that place.

Anyway, other than that, still not much exciting. The travel purchasing program at work today was being hateful. I tried 8 times or more to book travel for my boss, but it refused to cooperate. Then the one time I almost had it cooperating, it died on me when I was ALMOST DONE! Evil hateful internet based bastard program. I really hope it cooperates with me in the morning.

Today I had Trader Joe's organic vegetarian chili for lunch. It was good, but I really don't like how Trader Joe's frequently insists on using tofu to substitute for meat in lots of things. There was tofu in this chili substituting for meat. There are much better ways to make vegetarian chili than using tofu as a meat substitute. If I'm going to be vegetarian, I don't want meat substitutes, because I've obviously chosen NOT TO EAT MEAT! I don't need fake meat. It's not good. Creative vegetarian chili is much better than tofu vegetarian chili.
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