2011 CSA Box 8
1 lb. strawberries
7 Fair Trade bananas
2 red Bartlett pears
2 local Florida Valencia oranges
1 pint local Florida grape tomatoes
1 1/2 lb. carrots
1 bunch celery
4 yellow onions
1 huge bunch curly parsley
4 red beet roots
5 oz. baby spinach
1 head broccolini
1 lb. 8 oz. fingerling potatoes
How I Used My Share
I made jelly with the strawberries and some leftover blueberries.
My DH ate the bananas after running.
I had 1 pear in a sandwich, the other pear I ate as an evening snack.
I used half the pint of tomatoes and half the spinach in an easy orzo lunch with some feta.
The other half of the spinach I ate on sandwiches.
I simmered half the carrots, some of the celery, 1 onion and half of the potatoes and served with chimichurri steak.
I used the broccolini in a simple and light chickpea salad.
My Favorite Recipe From This Box
1 Year Ago
1 lb. strawberries
3 Pink lady apples
3 ruby grapefruit
3 red pears
5 Fair Trade bananas
1/2 lb. local Florida green beans
2 local Florida zucchini
1 bunch local Florida curly kale
1 bunch local Florida celery
4 jumbo onions
1 head Romaine lettuce
1 pint grape tomatoes
5 Yukon Gold potatoes
1 bunch broccolini
What I Made: Mediterreanean Tacos, Quinoa with Spring Vegetables and Pesto, Apple Citrus Salad with Avocado and Bacon, Fresh Potato and Chorizo Tacos, Citrus WIld Rice, Potato Salad with Hummus Yogurt Dressing, Middle-Eastern Inspired Chicken, Sauteed Green Beans and Nutty Meatless Loaf.
This jam is quick, involves no canning, and makes just the kind of jam I like–not too sickly sweet. Since seeing Jamie Oliver make a version of this jam on one of his shows last week, I have made it two ways: with mixed strawberries and blueberries, 1/4 c. sugar and balsamic vinegar; and with straight strawberries, 2 Tbsp. sugar and Jam Jar wine. I like the sugar content of the second batch and the berry mix of the first batch the best. Unfortunately, I was too busy slathering the first batch on everything I came across to take any pictures. The second batch has yet to make it to any serving vehicle but a teaspoon (and a wooden spoon and a serving spoon). This is proving just the thing for the weekly batch of strawberries I get with my CSA. I hate to admit it, but after a year and some change, I’m kinda fresh strawberried-out.
Quick Berry Jam
1 lb. berries
2 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar or fruity red wine
Wash and prep berries; place in a wide pan. Add sugar and skoosh with your hands until the desired consistency is reached–you’re looking for the mixture to look like jam already and the sugar to dissolve.
Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam, 20-30 mins. or until the jam is at a consistency you like. Add the wine or vinegar in the last few minutes of cooking.
Serve with waffles, oatmeal, rice pudding, toast or a spoon.
A series of HDRs my DH took while at Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas.
These images are actually made up of 3-7 separate images taken in rapid succession of the same thing with different exposures. The images are then combined in Photoshop and then tweaked to make sure the colors come out right.
Ok, so these are from Day 2….
The Vegas sign.
Now on to Days 3 & 4
Since the brother hadn’t been sleeping that well and was at his limit of tiredness at this point, he opted for a relaxing hotel day and we headed for the desert.
After a massive breakfast, that is.
Andy’s Sage Fried Chicken & Bacon Waffle Tower: 2 breasts of the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted with 4 impossibly fluffy bacon-studded waffles, a hot maple reduction syrup, the tiniest amount of diced red peppers ever and fried leeks.
Oh yeah, you heard me right. S’mores Cappuccino. As big as my frickin head.
These monstrosities were had at Hash House A Go-Go south of the main strip at the M hotel & casino. This dish was featured on Man vs. Food, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since I saw it on the show. It didn’t disappoint. I abhor chicken skin. I take a bite, and my entire body convulses to eject the offending skin and fat from my mouth without fail, every time. Every time but this one. I actually had an argument with my DH that evening about whether or not the chicken actually had skin–it was so good and cooked so properly that I didn’t even notice it. Even though a little nubbin of bone was left in the handle part of the leg which I picked around without thinking. That’s some powerful fried chicken.
After the feast and 2 days of schlepping our tired East Coast butts all over the strip, we weren’t feeling up for hiking, so we decided to take the 13 mile scenic route at Red Rock Canyon.
We were both in awe of just how amazing the rocky desert landscape looked and just how different it is from home. No palm trees and tropical flowers here. We have much more desert pictures to come. My DH took a ton of HDR setups and I’m willing to be more than not are going to turn out really, really well.
Then we hit up Fremont Street to check out the huge LED canopy and vintage Vegas signs.
To see what the screen is really capable of, check out our whole blastoff sequence on Flickr.
After the desert and Fremont Street, we weren’t up for much more than a little blackjack at Excalibur and then off to a somewhat early bedtime.
Our last afternoon in Vegas was spent jamming in last-minute sight seeing, including a trip to the top of the Stratosphere.
And then it was back to the airport for the flight home. Back to life. Back to reality (or as much reality as one can experience while living in Miami).
Vegas Day 2 started off waaaayyy too early. For some reason, my body thought it would be a great idea to wake up at 5:00 a.m. raring to go.
This is what just before dawn looked like from our hotel room:
Since it was ridiculously early, we decided not to bother the brother. We went on a little picture taking exploration walk instead.
City Center is a pretty cool high-end mall, with spectacular versions of pretty much every luxury store you could want.
With its sparkle and hot pink decor scheme, Planet Hollywood was definitely the sexiest hotel/casino/shopping complex we visited. It’s a pretty nice venue as well, with a connected Miracle Mile high-end mall.
Paris had an interesting feel. Not for us, but worth the visit.
The Bellagio was not our favorite. Kinda boring inside, but with pretty skylight adornments. Also, not our favorite smell–kind of like old men.
The Cosmopolitan was our favorite hotel/casino on the strip and where we definitely want to stay during our next visit. Not only is it freakin gorgeous inside, the floor security was super friendly and helped point out different vantage points for picture taking.
After coming back to the hotel and taking a little nap, it was time for our vow renewal at A Little White Chapel. We opted for the drive-through ceremony, no Elvis (we just couldn’t go that tacky) and on-site picture taking. The woman that married us this time was great. (our first wedding was fraught with drama and the officiant read the wrong wedding ceremony–our first ceremony was spent talking to each other quietly and calming me down). This ceremony was relaxing and perfect.
The photographer wasn’t half bad, either. My DH has creepy eyes in most of the pics, but that’s not the photographer’s fault entirely. That’s just what happens when Chris is forced to smile.
After the ceremony, it was back to the Cosmopolitan for lunch at Holsteins, a totally kick-ass burger & boozy shake joint.
Tenderloin Rossini: Tiny little perfectly-cooked and super tender beef medallions with foie gras, wild mushroom duxelle, baby arugula and truffle mayo on adorable little buns. This was my DH’s favorite dish of the entire trip. And it has mushrooms. I see a glimmer of hope in my future! Not only did he like the pear on the Fleur burger, he liked the mushrooms on this one. So, what have we learned about vacation, class? That it’s the perfect time to spring foods my DH doesn’t think he likes on him in the guise of gourmet. Bwa-ha-ha.
Bratwurst: Baby braised brats with bacon and potato on pillowy little rolls.
I didn’t get a picture of the Black Cow Bam-Boozled Shake my DH had, but it was awesome and if I could eat that much ice cream without expiring, I would have had 2. Black Cow: Coca-Cola, vanilla ice cream, chocolate-covered Pop Rocks and Three Olives cherry vodka.
After lunch, it was just about time to make our way to Caesar’s Palace for dinner reservations at MESA.
Getting semi-lost in the massive Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops complex. Luckily, I was able to pull up a map on my phone.
What we had:
I hate to admit it, but MESA was underwhelming. Maybe it’s because we are fans of Bobby Flay and love watching him battle it out on Iron Chef, but the meal just wasn’t that great. This should serve as a good object lesson, just like Paula Deen’s restaurant: just because they’re on TV and you like their recipes at home doesn’t mean their restaurants are going to be any good. Go by accolades, not air time. Chef Keller’s place was amazing, and he doesn’t spend near as much time in front of the camera (at least not on big budget networks).
What a pair!
And then, the time I’d been waiting for. The show. Both the boys were excited about the show we were going to, and I’m happy to say Circ didn’t disappoint. The show was pretty awesome. Unfortunately (or not), no pictures at all whatsoever were allowed. You’ll just have to go check it out for yourself ;p
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped to watch the Bellagio fountain show, which was every bit as amazing in person as it is on TV.
Upon returning to the casino, I crashed and the boys played a little blackjack.