We go big for a few holidays every year, Easter being among them. It’s one of maybe 4 total dinners that we eat in the very exclusive Smarto dining room. In keeping with holiday tradition, we got up early and started making a day-long banquet including the Easter staples like ham, deviled eggs, dyed eggs, and the like. But we threw in some new experiments like coucous with dried apricots and pine nuts, Kate’s special macaroni and cheese and cheese and bacon and cheese, and berry triffle.
Mom was kind enough to get Doug and I a beer brewing stater kit in lieu of a more traditional Valentine’s day kit. I remember a time in my life when she discouraged drinking, and now she’s enabling me to begin making my own. ‘Teach a man to fish’ I suppose…
Christmas is one of our biggest holidays in our house. Trying to organize Christmas between two sides of a family is challenging enough, but throw in a few golden retrievers and a photographer and the hectic nature of our holiday preparations becomes quite an undertaking. With my grandmother finally moved in to her new community, we were very thankful for the flexibility of shuttling her to and from North Versailles compared to the familiar rigor of transit between Cumberland and home. As usual, we decorated our tree in conjunction with some Captain and Cokes and cookie baking:
Of all of the holidays, Thanksgiving is the one that has changed the least for me as I grew up. Christmas, Easter, and Independence Day all seem very different when I was young compared to what they are for me now. But Thanksgiving is as it always was; an opportunity to enjoy food, beer, football with my family. I spent the whole day inside with Mom, Doug, and my grandmother (and some canine companions) shooting photos, making food, drinking wine, and enjoying the freedom from the cubicle. Here are some photos from the day:
After our Sushi Night Extravaganza, we were left with a leftover tuna steak. Since we didn’t want such a fresh cut of fish to go to waste, this is what I made.
Ingredients (for 4 tuna steaks):
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 (4 ounce) tuna steaks
- In a large non-reactive dish, mix together the orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, oregano, and pepper. Place the tuna steaks in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat grill for high heat.
- Lightly oil grill grate (or pan). Cook the tuna steaks for 5 to 6 minutes, then turn and baste with the marinade. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or to desired doneness. Discard any remaining marinade.
I dropped a picture here of when I chose to remove the steaks from the griddle. Since tuna steaks cook like actual steaks, its generally safe and tasty to leave some pink in the middle.
Skivvy is back from Alabama, Valerie is in town, Mom just got a brand new sushi kit, I am taking Japanese classes – all of these factors provide plenty of reason to through a Japanese party.
And so, after an expensive stroll through the Strip District, dawning my robe, and putting on the koto music, we took a crack at rolling our own sushi. The rolls started off a bit… messy (likely, the Sake was involved), but after we got in to our swing, we learned that it wasn’t too difficult. Special thanks to Bober and Father Bober for lending us the rice cooker. Apparently, sushi is all about getting the rice just perfect.
As a treat for Valerie’s birthday last weekend, I surprised her with a Couple’s Night cooking class at Gaynor’s School of Cooking in Station Square (or is it South Side? not really sure… in between I suppose).
The menu for the evening was:
Grabbed some tilapia to make the family dinner today, and tried a new recipe which turned out to be the best fish I’ve had in a loooong time. Try it out
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 pinch garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 pound tilapia fillets
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 4 slices white bread
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
This weekend was the official opening of the Pittsburgh Public Market.
The PPM was heavily promoted throughout the Pittsburgh Blagosphere (Pittsburgh Mom, Living Pittsburgh, Burgilicious, Glitzburgh, Urban Out, and just about every other Pittsburgh food blog worth mentioning), so I was highly anticipating strolling though the array of food and craft vendors.
Valerie heard from a website about West End Live 2010, so we thought we’d take a jaunt down to Leicester (pronounced “lester”) Sqaure to check it out.
The West End Live show happens in an area of London that houses most of the major theaters and shows, and highlights some favorite songs from almost every show playing. It’s a bit of a preview for all the shows, and every act gets about 15 minutes. Wicked, Lion King, Hair, etc, all show up and drop a few songs. This is all for free.