Sep 192014
 

You are forewarned…this post is picture heavy!

Wednesday

I am really glad I took most of this week off from work! Not only was I recovering from being sick, I had a lot to do. Wednesday I slept in a little bit and then went to the Warrior Room for a morning workout. I hadn’t worked out in 7 days. I’d been sick for 5 of those. I was on the mend and the sinus infection cleared up but I still felt tired. I probably should have taken one more day off but oh well…I went. And realized about half-way through the workout that it was going to be a struggle! I just didn’t have the stamina or endurance. I took a lot of breaks.

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The rest of the day was spent cleaning the house in preparation for guests and doing laundry. I felt okay and then the afternoon came and I could use a nap!

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Wednesday night I met Michael and his dad at Trifecta for dinner:

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It was the epitome of Portland Hipster but the place was great and the food was outstanding! To start, we got the bread plate with homemade churned butter. Probably the best butter I’ve ever eaten. Michael asked me if I would start churning our own butter after we get married… :P

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We shared two appetizers. The first was the homemade pickle plate. It was pickled asparagus, pickles, beets and cauliflower. I loved it. Michael and his dad thought it was too sweet. The cauliflower and beets had a very smokey flavor, though, so they liked those. I’m a fan of anything pickled. :)

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We also shared the deviled egg plate. Two deviled eggs topped with smoked salmon–probably the best deviled eggs I’ve ever had–and two that had an eggplant tapenade on top. I wish the photos had turned out a little better because the food looked like art!

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Since I’d been sick all week I’ve had zero appetite but have been eating because I know I need to, whether I want to or not. I ordered the house salad with buttermilk dressing and their cheesy grits (one of my favorite food groups). The portions were pretty small, so that was good.

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Even just having a salad and some grits I was stuffed. I ate half of the grits and took the rest home for breakfast. :) Michael and his dad both got the double burger with pimento cheese on it. I had a bite of Michael’s and it was good! The fries were crispy and salty and perfect, too.

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What a cool restaurant. Casual, hipster vibe, several patrons with handlebar mustaches (no joke) and great service! This place was definitely a winner and I will be back for sure. Michael dropped his dad off at the hotel and I was home and in bed by 9pm. I could not wait to sleep!

Thursday

Unfortunately I tossed and turned until 2 am when I finally fell asleep… :( I was very tired on Thursday! Thursday morning I hit the gym for a quick workout. It was short and I took it easy, even though I was feeling better. I did 40 minutes on the elliptical and then spent the rest of the time in the sauna and steam room trying to sweat out my illness!

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Then my brother and his wife and my parents arrived! Most of the day was free. We had some last minute wedding stuff to finish, so they helped with that. Then we just hung out for a little bit. Played with Bella, took them to Powell’s Books. :)

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Thursday evening we took them to Podnah’s Pit for dinner. My brother and his wife live in Philadelphia and he’d seen the restaurant on TV (maybe Diners, Drive-ins and Dives?) and asked if we could go. I was happy to oblige considering it’s the best BBQ in Portland and almost as good as Franklin’s BBQ

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I got the brisket, coleslaw, cornbread with honey and collard greens that were cooked in bacon fat. To die for. Thankfully there was a ton of leftovers so that was going to be my lunch on Friday! Everyone had a great time and enjoyed dinner.

They all went back to the house and I met my friend Christine. I hadn’t seen her in a few years, not since Michael and I went to Tucson on vacation and I was able to meet up with her. She and her fiance met me at Bailey’s Taproom for a drink after they flew in to Portland. It was so good to catch up! Especially before the wedding when I knew I’d have limited time to spend with everyone.

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By Thursday evening I was feeling a lot better and getting my appetite back but I was still not 100%. I had a half pint of the IPA on tap and called that good. I ended up staying at the bar almost two hours catching up with them. It was so great! Bailey’s Taproom was a cool place and had a humongous rotating beer list that was on a big screen TV. Like super digital. Impressive!

Friday

Friday morning I slept in (thankfully) AND slept like the dead–apparently I needed more rest still, then I went for a short run/walk in the neighborhood with my brother and his wife!

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It was nice to spend the morning with them and catch up a little. :)

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Next up: mani/pedis! My mom, my sister in law and cousin/bridesmaid Anna went to the spa and got manicures and pedicures (they were desperately needed too). It was nice to just relax and be pampered. Then off to the venue for the rehearsal! So that was my week. This time tomorrow I’ll be a married woman. ;)

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Sep 032014
 

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I had some free time and our garden was exploding…I decided to make good use of my time and take care of all those jalapenos! We planted 18 plants this spring. I know, that sounds like a lot, right? Yeah, it kind of is a lot. Michael panicked though. Last year we had a bunch of jalapeno plants and we ate poppers and pickled the jalapenos and gave a bunch away. Mid-winter we actually ran out of our pickled jalapenos (which has never happened before). So Michael was determined not to run out this time. Hence the 18 plants (and the one random plant that turned out not to be a jalapeno).

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I picked a bunch of peppers and a few of the ripe tomatoes. I learned my lesson from last time I cut up the peppers. I used latex gloves this time! I ended up using the following recipe as just a guide. I think I tripled it because I had over 2 pounds of peppers. And that’s not even all the peppers! There are still tons out on the plants. Here is the recipe:

Pickled Jalapenos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
From: http://www.simplyscratch.com/2013/05/easy-homemade-pickled-jalapenos.html
Ingredients
  • 15 large Jalapenos, stems trimmed {discarded} and sliced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 cup Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1 cup Filtered Water
  • 4 tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium sauce pan combine the garlic, water, vinegar, sugar and salt.
  2. Heat to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Once at a boil; add the sliced jalapenos pressing them so they are submerged under the pickling liquids. Remove the pot off of the heat and let them sit for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Use tongs to transfer the jalapenos into a clean jar. Ladle the pickling juices over top until you've reached the top of the jar. Let cool at room temperature before securing a lid and popping them into the fridge.
  4. I personally, would treat these as I would any opened jar of jalapenos. They should last a long while if kept refrigerated in the airtight jar.
  5. Enjoy!

I’m excited to try these jalapenos because I think doing it this way (instead of just putting them in a jar with vinegar in the fridge for months) is much faster. I imagine these babies will be ready to eat soon! Look at these–the color was already different than the way we usually pickle them. I used a ladle to get the liquid and pepper rings into a big jar.

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In the jars with the liquid and peppers are some peppercorns and crushed garlic cloves. I tried to put as many of the jalapeno seeds in there as I could. I let the jar cool before sealing it and putting it in our spare fridge. I planned on testing them every week or so until I know they are ready to eat. Who knows, maybe they will be ready right away. We’ll see!

The peppers didn’t take much time so I decided to try my hand at pickling some other things. Next up: red onion. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. I absolutely LOVE pickled things. No matter what it is, if it’s pickled, I’ll like it.

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The recipe I found was for quick pickled red onion–which was perfect because I didn’t want to pickle it and can it for real, I just wanted a quick version that could go in the fridge and be ready soon. This recipe claims to be ready within a few hours of making them. I doubled the recipe for the onions because when I weighed them on my food scale it was closer to 12 ounces instead of 5 ounces like the recipe says.

Quick Pickled Red Onion

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2 cups

From: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-quickpickled-red-onions-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-193247

Ingredients

  • 1 firm red onion, about 5 ounces
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • Flavorings (optional):
  • 1 small clove of garlic, halved
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 3 small springs of thyme
  • 1 small dried chili
  • Equipment
  • Kettle for boiling water
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Sieve or colander
  • Clean jar or container

Instructions

  1. Slice the onions: Start 2 or 3 cups of water on to boil in a kettle. Peel and thinly slice the onion into approximately 1/4" moons. Peel and cut the garlic clove in half.
  2. Dissolve the sugar and salt: In the container you will be using to store the onions, add the sugar, salt, vinegar and flavorings. Stir to dissolve.
  3. Par-blanch the onions: Place the onions in the sieve and place the sieve in the sink. Slowly pour the boiling water over the onions and let them drain.
  4. Add the onions to the jar: Add the onions to the jar and stir gently to evenly distribute the flavorings.
  5. Store: The onions will be ready in about 30 minutes, but are better after a few hours. Store in the refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks but are best in the first week.
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I’ve never par-blanched something before but it was super easy and I could tell the difference in the onions immediately after pouring the boiling water over it. After it cooled, I put the lid on tight and then shook it up a little to mix the peppercorns and garlic slices around in the liquid. I also added a little bit of red pepper flakes, but not tons.

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For dinner that night I made bratwursts with some sauerkraut (from Trader Joe’s–which is awesome) and I tried some of my pickled onions! I also roasted some zucchini in the oven with a little grapeseed oil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.

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My pickled onions were AMAZING. They were so good I couldn’t stop eating them! I even had some with a snack of crackers, cheese and tomatoes the next day at work. Love love love these onions. I will definitely be making more and will can them so I can make a bunch of store it in the pantry. Seriously, make this recipe!

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