Tag Archives: winter

beaufortwater

Southern Snow and Beaufort, South Carolina

I thought I would drop in and let you know that I am, indeed, still alive.  Unfortunately, some new health concerns have arisen to put a damper on culinary enthusiasm (and life in general. . . boo, no more whining, I promise).  Here is a little of life lately. . .

If you live on the East Coast of the U.S., you may have heard that we have another winter storm on.  Right before the last one, J. and I made an impromptu trip to Georgia.  We got there just in time to enjoy a little “family bondage” (a cousin meant to say “family bonding”, but this alternate version now has a permanent place of honor in the Baird family lexicon!).

treedown A lot of ^this^ happened, which resulted in a lot of this. . .

Ispy It is amazing how long kids will play “I spy, with my little eye”!  Jason, his superhero dad, and a cousin spent the next three days keeping 4 houses afloat with two generators,  my mother-in-law kept twelve people fed three times a day despite a nasty cold, and I colored, “I spy-ed”, and hide-and-go-seeked my heart out!

After a visit further south with my folks, Jason surprised me with a mini vacation on the way back to D.C.  We spent a morning wandering around it the sunshine in Savannah, browsing Broughton St. and people watching in the park before heading just an hour upcoast to Beaufort, S.C.  We attended a festival on the waterfront there during college, and came away with the impression that it was a hidden treasure.  Twelve years later, and  a few days of down time: it is a really comfortable, relaxing, FRIENDLY place to pass some time.  The waterfront is lined with rows of porch swings,  truly amazing homes spread for ten blocks back from the water, the food is good, and the views are lovely.  There is nothing fancy happening: this is not a shopping mecca, nightlife seems fairly non-existant, the beach is not easily accessible, and away from the waterfront the town becomes a bit run down, shut down, fast-foodie.  So, if you are a mover and a shaker who doesn’t care for an extreme change of pace, you might want to keep going up I-95 until you hit the Charleston exit.  But if you are looking for a pleasant place to pass a weekend, keep Beaufort in mind.

Jason caught this little guy having a rock star moment in his own private fountain.  So sassy! cardinalfountain Then we spotted this beauty. . . streetcat which made this inevitable :) (cannot pass by furry fabulousness!). rubme

lighthouseslick The sheltered warmth of Beaufort made me long to see the ocean: inland warmth is deceptive, and sunshine is fleeting!  It was plum cold down at Hunting Beach State Park. scarethewolf Scare the wolf!  If this reference means nothing to you, disregard.  Otherwise, greetings from the lost boys in Neverland! shylighthouse Yep, did I mention. . .Plum. . .Cold.

Places we tried and enjoyed: Blackstone’s Cafe– great atmosphere, super friendly service, plain ol’ diner breakfast food, but with surprising gluten-free options (if you spend time traveling g.f. in the South, you will understand what a pleasant find this was!). Lowcountry Produce Market Cafe– really good food, lovely building, and fun browsing of local food and artisan goods.  Panini’s Cafe–  usually we skip places with enormous menus, but this one had the little “gf” symbol all over it (again, rare) so we had to give it a go.  It was great, and the waterfront side completely undersells what is waiting within.  Brick pizza oven and prep area out in the middle of the dining room, soaring ceiling, huge deck overlooking the waterfront, and solidly good food.  City Java and News– good hot chocolate and latte.

While in Beaufort I recommend: strolling through the neighborhoods, and don’t ignore the overgrown, dead end streets- they are the best!  A visit to Hunting Beach State Park- a bit of a drive, but well worth it on a warm day.  Grab yourself a waterside swing, or a bench, or a hummock of grass and just enjoy the view.   beaufortwater Have you ever been to Beaufort, South Carolina?  I’d love to hear about your time there; leave a note in the comments below.

 

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Baby Steps

Today is the first day I’ve been able to get out with collapsing into a coughing, wheezing heap of sick.  This is my third case of bronchitis this year, and by far the worst of the lot.  It has also been the most contagious; at last count we infected five family members (both families over Christmas) and one co-worker.  This afternoon I hauled my pale-as-a-sprout self over to the colonial area to walk around in the sun, and work with the camera a bit.  One of my favorite things about Colonial Williamsburg is the gardens.  We are here for work about twice a year, every year since 2008, and I still tour the gardens every time:  I am a dirt dauber!  They have formal English style gardens, working, educational vegetable gardens, and even a gorgeous estate size garden/park.   DSC_0323

Aren’t these cloches stunning.  The vegetable garden across from the church has an enviable display of winter greens, onions, and some hidden pockets of cheerful pansies.

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Also, here is my first attempt at a knitting project.  I chose to start with a scarf for Jason done in rick rack stitch; I found the pattern on Purl Bee.  I’ve learned that I cannot keep up with stitch count from one row to the next.  I can’t even put counters on every other row yet.  I ripped everything out three times before I finally started marking each row!  Okay, enough of my fiber frenzy (seriously, I’m going to have to start another craft blog so that I don’t have to keep apologizing for talking about this stuff :) ).

Look for more pictures and some of my Williamsburg restaurant recommendations coming soon.

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Brown Butter Cookies, Q, and a Merry Christmas to You!

Feliz Navidad, mes amis!  I know, I know, I’m mixing my languages, but those two phrases are each so lovely, they should be together once in awhile.  Jason and I are back in Georgia for the Christmas holiday, spending quiet, happy time with family.  My dad gave us an astoundingly tasty welcome with some homemade bbq.

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Say hello to Frank’s Smokin’ Hot Butt!  After 17 hours of smoking and baking, we gorged ourselves on this porky pulled goodness.

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Add homemade sauce, green beans, “cracked taters” and coleslaw, and it was a very nearly perfect meal.  And while I’m not allowed to share the secret recipe for that beautiful butt, I can slip you a little sugary Yuletide cheer.  What would you say to a gluten-free brown butter, chocolate-chip oat cookie?  If you are smart, you are saying, “Yes, please!”.

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This recipe is an update of last Christmas’s gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookie

Gluten-free Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 c. gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats

½ c. brown rice flour

2 c. tapioca starch

1 c. amaranth flour

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

2 ½ sticks butter, browned and cooled slightly

1 ¼ c. brown sugar

1 c. + 2 Tbs. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla

9 – 12 oz. chocolate (I use 70% or higher), chips, chunks or chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

In a large bowl whisk together flours, starch, oats, baking soda and powder, salt and sugars.In a separate bowl, mix browned and cooled butter, vanilla, and eggs.

Stir wet and dry ingredients together until fully mixed. Finally, add the chocolate and stir until evenly distributed.  Allow dough to rest in refrigerator  at least one hour, or up to three days, then bake .

Bake cookies in oven for 8-15 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Note: cookies may appear lighter in color than wheat flour cookies when done.

Aside from eating and cooking, I’ve spent just a bit of time finishing up my last sewing project.  This is an unflattering photo of my badly ironed new shirt (I’m blaming my mother’s iron, which I am pretty sure predates the last ice age).

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It is an ivory silk/cotton blend that feels amazing!  I love this fabric so much, this is the second time I’ve used it.  Anyway, enough about my boring-to-you shirt.  I really just wanted to take a few minutes  before Tuesday to say Merry Christmas, and may God bless you as this year comes to a close.

Merry Christmas

 

Black Rice Jewel Box Salad via www.oneishungry.com

Black Rice Jewel Box Salad

For a whole host of reasons, we are not having a Christmas tree in our condo this year.  First, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, we only have half a floor.  Second, we are making a long visit home to the land of cotton blossoms for the holidays.  Third, there is a distinct possibility that I am allergic to them (usually that would not be a factor for consideration, but this year, as my doctor put it yesterday, I’m already behind the eight ball!).  Finally, all of our Christmas decorations are in storage, as we eagerly anticipated the possibility of having sold our condo by now.  By the way, yes, the whole losing our floor bit really put a damper on our plans to get this place on the market in a hurry.  On the plus side, we know we will be passing on a mold-free, beautifully re-floored and re-doored apartment to the eventual owners, and that is a nice, cozy feeling!

Because we don’t have any holiday decorations up, my soul has been longing for some traditional seasonal color and sparkle.  Say hello to Christmas on a plate!

Black Rice Jewel Box Salad via www.oneishungry.com

Aren’t the colors gorgeous?  We had a bit of black rice left over in the pantry from the last time we made Broiled Salmon with Spicy Greens and Black Rice, and green beans that didn’t all make it into this fabulous dish.  Tiny clementine segments and small diced red onion are fantastic, but the star on top is the pomegranate seeds.  Breaking into the luscious, glimmering interior of a pomegranate is an aesthetically satisfying experience for me.  You can see why some scholars believe the fruit in the  garden that tempted Adam and Eve was not an apple, but this glorious jewel box of an hundred rubies.

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A light vinaigrette to pull all the flavors together, and your salad is complete.  We had ours with garlic crusted lamb chops; how would you serve it?  Do you have a food that sings “Happy Holidays” to your soul?  Leave a note in the comments below, and tell me all about it!

This recipe is great for those on the Allergy Elimination Diet. IF you are testing for citrus (i.e. have eliminated citrus from your diet) be sure to substitute another fruit or veg. for the clementine slices!  Fresh carrot slices would give the same beautiful color and a fantastic crunch to boot!  This salad opens itself to a world of easy substitution; play around and make it your own.

Black Rice Jewel Box Salad

serves 4-6 as a side

Salad

2 cups of cooked rice, cooled slightly

1/4 of a small red onion, small dice

2 clementines (or carrots), segmented (or slices)

handful of fresh green beans, sliced on the diagonal

pomegranate seeds

Vinaigrette

1 Tbs sherry or red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp maple syrup

2 1/2 Tbs olive oil

Assemble salad. Place vinegar and salt in mason jar or bowl, and agitate until salt has dissolved.  Add mustard and maple, and shake or whisk to combine.  Now add oil, and shake it like a piggy bank!

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Allergy Elimination Diet Baked Apples

Happy Friday, my friends!  Before we all slide gratefully into the weekend, I want to share one last recipe for the week. These luscious baked apples are designed with allergy elimination diet participants in mind, but they are really a gorgeous treat for anyone.  So haul out those left-over cranberries (and if you are feeling a little naughty, grab the caramel or homemade whipped cream as well. . .not you a. e. d.’ers) and add these to your weekend breakfast/brunch list.  These apples can be prepped and stuffed the night, or several days, before baking.  Peeled or not, it doesn’t matter, just be sure to rub the naked bits with lemon juice or brush them with maple or agave to keep them from discoloring.  To make your cavity, you may use a corer, melon baller, spoon, or, my favorite, a sharp edged 1/2 tsp. measuring spoon.  You are not going all the way through the apple; leave at least a 1/4 to 1/2 in of flesh at the base.

If you are not on an allergy elimination diet, or if you are, and you are not avoiding oats, by all means throw a handful of gluten-free rolled oats into the mix.

Allergy Elimination Diet Baked Apples

make 2 med/lg apples

2 apples (I always prefer pink, but use your favorite, so long as it is firm and good for baking)

(2 Tbs. g.f. oats optional)

2 Tbs. chopped cranberries

2Tbs. pumpkin seeds

2 tsp. flax seeds

1 tsp. chia seeds

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

1/4 heaping tsp. ground cinnamon

pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 1/2 tsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 tsp. + maple syrup (extra to brush over outside as desired)

lemon juice

Hollow out cavities in apples, being careful to remove very hard core areas.  Rub exposed apple flesh with lemon juice. Mix all remaining ingredients and divide evenly between apples.  The size of your apples could change the amount of filling needed.  If using apples immediately, preheat oven to 375.  Place apples in baking pan lined with tin foil.  Bake until knife blades slips through apple flesh with a bit of pressure, but still solid (you don’t want stuffed applesauce).  Remove from oven and serve immediately.  If making ahead wrap apples individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 3 or 4 days.