Hello August!Posted: 3 August 2011
Yikes! I realize it’s been a super-long time since I posted an entry and just in case you were worried, I’m not dead. Nor am I giving up blogging. July just managed to be a culmination of a LOT of stuff all at once. So instead of posting a long-overdue recipe, I’ll fill you in on what’s been keeping me busy. Don’t worry, I wasn’t busily making tons of delicious recipes and not sharing either. It’s been too hot to cook which leads me to item one.
Melting. I’ve been melting. Minnesota is generally a pretty hot, really humid summer but we often get big storms coming through that break up the heat for a while. We also spend a lot of time in lakes, cooling off. It’s been so muggy here that lately even grilling outside feels like torture. We broke a bunch of records for dew point and during a five-day heat wave we were the most tropical climate on earth, tying the Amazon rain forest. Rain forest? We are no rain forest people! I love hot summer days and usually just hurtle myself into a lake or pool and I’m all set. There is, however, something disturbing about air so humid that condensation from the air actually gathers on your skin when you step outside. The good news? I have a trusty little window air conditioner in my living room and it keeps all of the rooms of our condo cool and comfortable, even on the hottest days. It can’t combat the oven though. The kitchen gets no direct airflow from the AC. While we have ceiling fans to keep things moving, turning on the oven, stove, toaster or even the microwave would be disastrous and would totally upset the balance of cool air. Thus, I have done almost no recipe creation for the past month. Instead we ate a lot of fresh produce, cottage cheese, yogurt and the occasional (quickly) fried egg.
The good news is, it’s July! Or, rather, August! So I’ve been easily gorging myself on cherries, plums, peaches, raspberries and blueberries. I won’t lie, I’ve been enjoying it rather a lot. Not to mention, a small bounty from our garden! Look at that cute ripe pepper!
Onto the rest of my adventures!
On the 3rd of July, we attended a fabulous pool party with my favorite people, my family. It’s an annual tradition and this year did not disappoint. Senor demonstrated his superb cannon-balling skills along with the other boys while we ladies judged them.
On the 4th Senor had to work but he got done just in time for us to catch the bus into downtown Minneapolis and watch the fireworks over the river. It was extremely crowded but the fireworks were great and it was a lovely night for a stroll. We walked home the 20 blocks and pondered the busy month we had ahead of us.
On July 14 we had a fantastic date night. We took advantage of Restaurant Week, where the best restaurants in the cities offer set 3-course menus for $30. Combining our reservation with tickets to see the touring production of West Side Story ended up being a pretty fabulous night. Oceanaire, a seafood restaurant just six blocks from our house served up a really amazing Restaurant Week menu. I had marlin, topped with caramelized onions and surrounded with a cream sauce. OMG.
Senor had swordfish. His was sesame crusted. It was delicious. Both of the fishes had the texture of steak and weren’t very ‘fishy’ at all. Not that we mind ‘fishy’ fish at our house.
We also had crab cakes, their legendary hashed browns, and delicious desserts. And a few drinks. There’s bacon in those hashed browns. You can’t see it in the picture, but trust me, it’s there.
I got to wear a cute new dress and instead of just wandering back home it was off to the theater.
On July 15 we went to see Harry Potter. Of course we did. Senor and I love those books and those movies and since movie 4 came out we’ve seen each of them on opening night. It was an awesome showing at a theater that takes reservations for specific seats, has a bar and offers adult-only viewing. It was nice…I did get a little annoyed with some of the adults because it was pretty obvious some were only there because it was the ‘thing to do’ in trendy circles that night. For the most part, it was awesome.
On July 16 I went to see HP again, this time with my 7 year old niece. She was so excited. She did cover her face once….when Ron and Hermione kiss. OMG.
When I wasn’t busy going to the Farmer’s Market at 6am on the weekends (the only time it ISN’T busy!) I was playing softball twice a week…and patronizing our bar league sponsor…more or less all month. Our slow pitch team went out with a bang this year. We won our first game of the year, in 8 innings in a spectacular come-from-behind win. Yours truly scored the winning run and it was all quite thrilling. Take that light blue team.
In the third week of July we had friends visit from Scotland and New York. Fabulous people who we always love to visit and see. Fun ensued and Buddy and Oliver fell head over heels for a girl puppy who stayed with us.
On July 20 Senor and I were supposed to run in the Torchlight 5k in downtown Mpls but it was postponed due to the heat. Apparently a heat index of 120 is cause for concern. It was simultaneously awesome that it was postponed but also kind of shitty. We had been excited.
On July 23rd we saw U2 for the first time for both of us. The concert was outstanding. Less outstanding was the thunderstorm that raged for 80% of the concert, leaving Senor and I completely drenched.
So excited…and unaware of the deluge that was to come. Please note that the extreme halo of frizz on top of my head is indicative of the levels of humidity. Gah.
Concert stage, complete with a world clock showing the time in Cork, my most favorite of Irish cities.
I have two blurry cell phone pictures of them on stage but honestly, it was dark by then, my phone was dying and at best all you can see is a blur of a screen. I’ll spare you.
Still, the show was awesome and we’ve sort of been in a U2 stupor ever since. We had gone with my sister and her hubby and beforehand had eaten at Osaka, home of the most delicious fried rice ever. Afterwards we downed (okay, I downed) margaritas in an effort to warm back up since my clothes wouldn’t be dry until the next day.
On July 24th it was back to the pool for swimming. After the deluge the night before we were back into high temperatures and crazy humidity. Nothing new.
Somewhere along the way Senor and I started fishing off of docks at local lakes. We have a lot. Several thousand. So most nights when we had nothing else going on, I was dragging Senor to Lake Calhoun, Harriet, Josephine, White Bear, etc. to try our hand off of a dock.
Finally, the last weekend of July approached. We packed up the car and drove back to Michigan for a quick fishing trip with Senor’s dad. It should have been the heart of the salmon fishing season on Lake Michigan and we were super excited to get out on the lake. Saturday morning was a perfect day for fishing. We got out on the lake around 6:30 in the morning. We came back in around 12:30, without catching a single fish. Bait fish were floating dead on the water too, looking both gross and ominous. I remain firm in my belief that there are no fish in that lake.
I did catch this one, lonely little fish from the banks of the Ford River (a little thing that feeds into Lake Michigan, and a popular area boat launch).
We drove back on Sunday, preparing for the dawn of August. Senor’s birthday is quickly approaching!
Despite our lack of fish, we had a good visit in Michigan. I had a hard time leaving Mitts (Sir Mittens) behind as he is my favorite kitty in the whole world. I had an excellent cuddle with him and there was plenty of headbutting in the morning to get us to wake up and feed him. So cute. I wanted to pack him in our bags but Senor wouldn’t let me. Mitts gets along with Buddy and Oliver (read: he tolerates their persistent attention and they love to lick him) so really, it should have been no problem at all. Alas.
I read aloud from Nina Planck’s ‘Real Food’ on the way there and back. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It’s similar to the Omnivore’s Dilemma, in that it touches on a lot of similar topics regarding real foods. It’s different though, in that you learn a lot about the different kinds of oils and fats, their chemical make-ups and how they affect our health. You also learn a lot about the cholesterol hypothesis and how it was disputed in 1969 yet still we’re taught to fear saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, but are rarely told to increase B vitamins or folic acid to combat high levels of homocysteine. Highly informative and easy to understand, it’s a good one for anyone who’s ever been suspicious of margarine and likes their egg yolks.
Now that it’s August I have a lot less on my pressing social calendar. I do have a few recipes ready to share. They’re all pretty quick and easy and require little to no heat in the kitchen. Always a good thing. I promise a whole slew (what is a slew exactly?) of fresh recipes are coming up, complete with photos that weren’t taken with my phone. Oooh, fancy!