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January 2015: The Month in Tom and Holly

Life in Philly

It’s been cold – not as cold as last year, but still cold. No snow days (off from work) yet, but we were cheated out of a potential one toward the end of the month. Spring can’t come soon enough.

Dining In

Since it’s been cold out, we’ve been staying in and doing a lot of cooking. Some highlights this month included:

  • brie and mushroom strata
  • turkey leg au vin
  • turkey leg braised with gochujang
  • oeuffs en meurette
  • paella
  • lasagna-style spaghetti squash
  • skate wing with brown butter sauce

I’d been wanting to make a strata for awhile but it requires planning ahead. I used a recipe from the Di Bruno Bros House of Cheese book and it was delicious. The recipe had a few different ingredient suggestions, but I went with mushroom and brie. I’ll have to try it again in spring and summer when there are more options for fresh vegetables.

brie & mushroom strata

We bought 2 turkey legs, but then it turned out they were so huge that only one leg would fit in our dutch oven at a time. So we used one leg for turkey leg au vin, and the other leg later in the month braised in gochujang. With the leftover sauce from the turkey leg au vin, I made oeufs en meurette (eggs poached in red wine) for the first time, which was not pretty to look at but absolutely delicious.

Turkey leg braised in gochujang

I had bought us a paella pan (2 person serving) over the holidays, so we made our first batch, and while not perfect, was still pretty darn good.

paella in progress

We continued our spaghetti squash adventures by making a lasagna-style preparation, with ricotta, mozzarella, Italian sausage, and tomato sauce.

Lasagna-style spaghetti squash. Photo credit: Tom Ipri

We took our first stab at cooking skate wing, with a simple preparation of brown butter and lemon, with a dash of white truffle oil.

skate wing in brown butter sauce

Dining Out

The highlight of this month’s restaurant adventures was that we got to design a guest burger for Customer Appreciation Week at Rex 1516. It was a really fun evening, and the burger was a big hit. Jet Wine Bar also participated in Customer Appreciation Week, and our friend Marcus got to pick a food + drink combo (Mac n’ Marcus), so we went over there to support Jet and Marcus, too.


Bitters & DIY

I finished up the carrot bitters I started last month, and started a batch of coconut bitters.

carrot bitters in progress
coconut bitters in progress


After reading Steven Erikson’s Forge of Darkness last month, I started on a full re-read of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. This month, I completed Deadhouse Gates, Memories of Ice, House of Chains, and Midnight Tides. Memories of Ice remains one of my favorite books of all time, one of the few that consistently makes me tear up. I’d previously re-read Gardens of the Moon, Deadhouse Gates, and Memories of Ice at least 4-5 times. However, this may be only my second, or even first, re-read of House of Chains. This time, I found myself really engaged in House of Chains. Knowing more of Karsa Orlong’s character development throughout the series, I find myself actually liking him this time around, whereas in the past I found him infuriating. Midnight Tides was a book I had given 5 stars to the first time around but didn’t really remember very well, but it definitely held up to my initial reaction, an outstanding book even if it’s not quite as heart-wrenching as Memories of Ice.

In order to provide some variety to my reading this month, and make sure I was reading some new things in addition to my re-read, I checked out some library books, mostly graphic novels. I read The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang, which was great, Habibi by Craig Thompson, which was gorgeous to look at but I had some issues with the content, and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson, which was a beautiful novel in verse.

On SuperPlus Eats

This month we finally got caught up with posting a bunch of recipes on our food blog (most of these I had written last summer and just hadn’t submitted). It’s good to clear out the drafts and start fresh for the new year!

On Tom’s Blogs

Last Month’s Update