This weekend has been a veritable maelstrom of good food.
It started Saturday with my mom coming to my apartment and telling me to pack my bags; she wanted to kidnap me for the weekend. After I threw some clothes in my old high school backpack, we spent the afternoon shopping with my two sisters, my Aunt Dina, and Aurelia.
One of the stops was Once Upon a Child so my mom could find a bouncy chair for Aurelia .My sister Moriah and I started browsing all the adorable kids clothes, and I knew I had to buy Aurelia this dress.
How could I resist? I am weak when it comes to this little moonbeam.
Earlier last week, I invited my parents out to dinner at St. Brendan’s, an Irish inspired restaurants that has become one of my favorites due to its classy, yet cozy, setting. Life has been a little strange for me lately, and they have been so supportive. Dinner out was a great way to thank them for being their wonderful selves. My sisters came along as well, and it turned into a family affair.
St. Brendan’s has a fantastic selection of both drinks and food. This was a Seattle Stout: Guinness mixed with a shot of coffee liqueur. The liqueur was a great addition to the beer, just a hint to sweeten the deal.
For dinner, I ordered the Seafood Medley: a blend of scallops, shrimp, mussels, cod and salmon sauteed with asparagus, shallots, and garlic over pasta in a tomato herb sauce.
The mussels were so overcooked they had pretty much evaporated, but the rest of the meal was fabulous. The smoked tomato sauce had a great flavor, and the combination of the seafood was much more cohesive than I expected.
Dad and I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to recreate a Friday night tradition we had growing up: huge bowls of ice cream topped with hot fudge and peanuts during our movie. Dad picked out Moose Tracks, and I opted for Mint Chocolate Chip.
One thing that has changed since I was ten is the size of my ice cream bowl. Not true for my Dad–I think his bowl contained about 1/2 a carton. We ate our bowls of ice cream while watching The Hunger Games, which had been purchased earlier that day. My parents seemed to enjoy the movie–it kept them up until 12:30am! That didn’t stop my Dad from waking up at his usual 5:30am, so it was an early morning for me as well.
After coffee while watching the sun rise, my Mom and I headed back into town to get ingredients for an experience we had been planning for: cheese-making!
We decided on three soft cheeses to fit our (lack of) cheese-making knowledge: cream cheese, mozzarella, and feta.
It was so…well, cool, to see the warm milk set into hard cheese that could be cut into cubes.
While the mozzarella turned out splendidly in cube form, we had a bit of trouble with the stretching process, which turned our cheese into a stringy ball instead of a smooth, shiny form.
We tried it warm, and it was very flavorful. I guess we’ll just have to work on the stretching process.
Boy, does the country offer better food lighting than the city. We took a lunch break, and I assembled a salad with spring greens, tomatoes, grapes, craisins, and swiss cheese.
The cream cheese had to drain in the fridge, and the feta had to be hung from the ceiling.
Really, my parents have the perfect house to have cheese hanging from the pot hanger on the ceiling.
Feta, the most complicated cheese to make, has to sit for another 24 hours after the cheesecloth was changed, then has to sit in brine for one to four weeks before consumption. I’m eager to see how both the feta and cream cheese have turned out.
In our down time, we decided to make pesto.
Then basil salt. Then a caprese salad with fresh tomatoes from the garden and our new mozzarella. Then a zucchini pasta salad with fresh pesto. Then Baba Ganoush. And then eggplant burgers using a recipe I had seen on peasandthankyou.
Dinner was so fresh and delicious. We all agreed that the eggplant burgers were phenomenal–Mom said they were the best veggie burgers she had ever eaten. I always have trouble coming up with new and interesting ways to use eggplant, but this recipe is definitely a keeper.
When I finally arrived home last night, I was exhausted but wanted to keep up the foodie weekend: I settled down on the couch with Julie and Julia. If Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Julia Child is even half as close as the real deal, I wish I was friends with her. The movie had me eager to start cooking again, and left me with a burning desire to create Boeuf Bourguignon.