Sunday, April 28, 2013

Homegrown green onions - Update!

Well, not homegrown, but home-regenerated?  Whatever.

Here's where we started:

After a slow start [it took about 2 weeks to get good growth the first time], and an AWFUL smell [the entire house smelled like novocaine for 3-4 days during the first iteration], we have quite a yield so far!

Pictured below is the first growth cycle:

I change the water every 2 days just to keep things fresh since the bowl is so small.  After I cut them down each time, I peel the dry layers from the outside stemming from the root.  This seems to have helped the smaller stems survive, since there's plenty of healthy growth underneath.

We've had probably 4 iterations so far, and last night I cut them down again:

Here's our total yield, minus some used for omelettes, baked potatoes, and random meals:

We're gonna need a bigger water bottle!  We're keeping it in the freezer, but it's so convenient to just take out the bottle and shake out however many onions you need.  They thaw very quickly since they're so small so there's no waiting involved.  They're ready to go!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

1964: The Tribute

Our friend Joe is a quiet one, but he sure is thoughtful! :) He took Sharon to a Broadway in Richmond show a few years ago and is still on their email list, so whenever he sees something we might like on the upcoming schedule, he forwards it on.

The most recent one he sent was perfect - a Beatles tribute band! I knew Dave would love it, even though I felt kinda 'meh' about it. Dave has been enamored with the Beatles since he was a boy, has all their albums, and knows all sorts of random trivia about them, so I knew he'd jump at the chance to see 1964: The Tribute. {insert katniss volunteering as tribute joke here}

We had a very fancy dinner at Coppola's in Carytown before heading down to the Carpenter Center (I will not call it Center, ever).

I hadn't researched the show much, so I assumed we were going to see a bunch of hipsters play Beatles songs. I noticed how wrong I was when I saw this concert poster outside the Carpenter Center and thought I was looking at a picture of the Beatles. Nope, that's the tribute band.

The costumes, instruments, accents, hair, and banter between the band members - so authentic! It made it much more appealing to me - more of an experience back in time (cheesy?) than hearing a cover band, you know?

They didn't just play the greatest hits, which I enjoyed. I've heard all the famous songs but less familiar with most of their others. My favorite of the night was This Boy - I'd never heard it before and it's damn good. Paul warned the audience "John's going to scream in the middle of this one, don't be alarmed!" I expected a different kind of screaming, but loved the alternative! My new favorite Beatles song.

Here's a video Dave put together from parts of their performance.

The only negative part of the whole night, which Paul McCartney handled so well, was a groupie in the front row who knew thought she knew their set list, and yelled out the name of the next song while they were introducing it. He talked back to her once, announced he was being heckled and the band made a joke of it, and we all ignored her for the rest of the night! Ha!

Charlotte Grace

Now that she's more than a month old (oops!) it's time to introduce Charlotte Grace!

Eddie and Crystal have been hoping and praying for her for a long time, and she is finally here!  When we went to see her in the hospital (at maybe 36 hours old) she already had strong opinions about being cold and/or exposed and was doing karate kicks from inside her swaddle.  Strong girl!

We played pass the baby for a while, Dave gave her some valuable life advice (like when faced with the choice between The Who and Zeppelin, Uncle Nate will push you toward Zeppelin but don't overlook The Who too easily)...

...and Sharon manhandled her and then took out of her swaddle "to see what we're working with."

What did we learn about Charlotte earlier?  Leave her in the swaddle!  Eddie knew what was about to happen and kept saying "oh no, oh no, oh no" but Sharon kept her happy.  Phew - crisis averted! :)

Welcome to the world, Charlotte Grace!  We can't wait to spoil you :)

Cookbook Challenge: Week 10

Back to the Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker cookbook this week - so far everything out of this book tastes so good!  I love my baker - even though the handle on the lid recently popped off while Dave was washing it.  I got the information to send it in for a replacement, but have been putting it off because I don't know how long I'll have to live without it.  We use it at least twice a week and I will miss it! :(

Anyway - last night for dinner Dave made Easy Chicken Pot Pie.  He didn't think it was easy because it required specific steps in a specific order and he couldn't just throw the ingredients in a bowl, stir, add a crust, and voila!  Next time we make this we can make it more efficient :)

Here's the recipe:

Easy Chicken Pot Pie
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp salt1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup 2% milk

2 cups frozen peas/carrots
1/2 pkg frozen puff pastry sheets
1 egg
1 tbsp water

1.  Preheat oven to 375. Melt butter and flour on stove, whisking until smooth.  Add chicken broth, whisking constantly until smooth.  Add thyme, pressed garlic, salt and pepper.  Simmer, 6-8 minutes or until sauce is thickened.  Remove from heat.  Stir in chicken and milk.

2. Add finely chopped onion, frozen veggies and chicken mixture to Deep Covered Baker; mix well.  Unfold pastry onto lightly floured surface, seal seams and score to make 8 rectangles.  Lay pastry over filling; press edges against sides of baker and trim excess.  Lightly brush pastry with egg and water mixture.

3. Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.  Remove baker from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I think the only time either of us has used puff pastry sheets was for cream horns a while ago, so that added another "new" thing that put him off.  But it tasted awesome and that's what counts!  The filling was thick, hearty, and creamy; the golden crust had just enough crunch - yum!