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August 2015: The Month in Tom and Holly

Life in Philly

It was HOT and steamy most of the month, though it did cool down and start to feel a little autumnal toward the end.

Travel

Sadly, it had been exactly one year since the last time we took a trip together. Last year, it was to Baltimore for my cousin’s wedding. This August, we took a very short trip to New Haven, CT for a friend’s engagement party. Neither of us had been to Connecticut before. On the way there, our train broke down and we were stuck on the tracks for about 3 hours. Other than that complication, we had a nice visit, and the party was lovely. We didn’t have as much time as we would have liked to explore New Haven, but we enjoyed staying at The Study at Yale. Amusingly, The Study is building a new hotel in Philadelphia right near where I work, so now I have a better idea of what that will entail. The hotel restaurant, Heirloom, was excellent, and we got to try some local food for breakfast.

New Haven, CT
Blueberry pancakes with Connecticut maple syrup at Heirloom

Farmers Markets

We are still digging on tomatoes and all the other colorful summer vegetables.

We are especially enamored with a new vendor at the farmers’ market, Happy Cat Farm, which sells these delightful baskets of mixed cherry tomatoes:

Dining In

This was another month with a LOT of home cooking and trying new recipes, so it’s hard to decide what to highlight!

First of all, it wouldn’t be summer without caprese:

A big win in terms of recipes was Roasted Cherry Tomato Carbonara with Burrata:

Roasted Cherry Tomato Carbonara with Burrata

On a similar note, we also really liked Baked Eggs on a Bed of Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

OK, OK, it’s not all about tomatoes. It’s also about corn!

I made a Cheesy Corn and Kale Soufflé, which was much easier than I thought it would be:

I also made some gnocchi with corn, lemon cream sauce, and arugula. This was kind of a recipe mashup. It was inspired by Gnocchi, Sweet Corn, & Arugula in Cream Sauce, but I didn’t like the cream sauce part of that recipe, so I used a Serious Eats recipe for both the cream sauce and the homemade ricotta gnocchi.

Last but not least, I made chilaquiles for the first time! I baked my own chips from corn tortillas, and made my own roasted tomatillo salsa, with tomatillos from Z Food Farm. I’ll write a post about it for SuperPlus Eats next month.

Photo by Tom Ipri

Dining Out

We finally made it to Rex 1516 for their Sunday night Pit Beef special. It was amazing!

Another highlight was going to Brigantessa for date night. Everything was amazing, but especially the Stella pizza (there is an awesome video showing the Stella as well as other rare pizzas at Brigantessa). We loved it so much we went back a few nights later for dessert and flights of amari.

Bitters and DIY

I made a new batch of groundcherry bitters this month. I didn’t take any pictures this year, but here’s a picture from last year:

IMG_3300

Books

Last month I got on a crazy Robin Hobb kick, and that continued through August. First, I read all four books of the Rain Wild Chronicles. It’s kind of a continuation of the Liveship Traders trilogy. I liked all the books, but books 2 and 4 were especially strong. It really does read like two books that were each split in half. I can see how, at the time, readers would have been disappointed in what amounted to half a book, having to pay twice as much and wait twice as long to finish the story. But since I read the whole thing in one go, I didn’t mind so much. I do recommend that any Hobb fans read this quartet, as it fills in some essential pieces of information that is relevant to the new Fitz and the Fool series.

Midway through August, the new Fitz and the Fool book came out, Fool’s Quest. I loved it so much! There were several scenes that made me so emotional, I sobbed out loud. I don’t know how on earth this series is going to wrap up in one more book, but I just love this character and this story. I’m sure I’ll re-read this several times between now and when the next book comes out.

To round out the month, I read several books via interlibrary loan: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and Loving Day by Mat Johnson. I liked them both more than not, but I don’t have the energy to review them in more depth right now.

On SuperPlus Eats

On Tom’s Blogs

Last Month’s Update