March 2016: The Month in Tom and Holly

Life in Philly

It took awhile, but it’s finally Spring. In fact we had a few days that were way TOO warm, which gets annoying because neither at home nor at work does the AC turn on until mid-April. The warm days were offset by a few cold days and rain (but thankfully no snow). Also, there’s definitely no spring veggies yet. So, we’re fully tired of winter, but it just doesn’t quite feel like Spring yet – not until we see some asparagus!

We did at one point take a lovely spring walk up to Northern Liberties, rewarded at the end with beer at Heritage.

Movies

We had two very cool movie experiences this month. The first was seeing 9 to 5 as part of the Philadelphia Film Society’s BYO series at the Roxy. I had actually never seen the movie before, but it very much resonated with my own work experiences (the movie was made in 1980 but I experienced the same secretary treatment in 2005). I loved that so many in the audience already knew the movie so well and added their own element of audience participation. This was the 3rd BYO movie we’ve seen so far at the Roxy – they’ve all been a blast, but this might have been my favorite to date.

The other movie we went to (also at the Roxy) was the Philadelphia premier of City of Gold. Of course anything to do with Los Angeles and TheJGold is very close to my heart. I thought it was a great food tour of Los Angeles circa 2014, as well as a good insight into the human being that is Jonathan Gold.

Dining In

I did not do so great with making lunches this month, partially due to being at a conference the first week of March.

However, there were a few lovely things we made that turned out to be great either for dinner or lunch or both:

kale & bean quesadilla

For dinner, some highlights at home this month included:

Beet & goat cheese pappardelle

For Easter brunch, we made a lovely Persian frittata, with parsley, walnuts, and rose petals.

Persian herb-stuffed frittata with walnuts and rose petals

To round out the month, Tom tried his hand at homemade pizza! I look forward to more of his experiments!

Dining Out

After one of our movie nights at the Roxy, Tom had the great idea of trying out newly-opened Suga for drinks afterwards. We both enjoyed our cocktails as well a a dumpling sampler.

“Some Like it Hot” cocktail at Suga

The dining out highlight of the month was our date night at Samsom Kabob House. We didn’t take any pictures, but it was a tasty night of simple Afghan food. It made for a fairly inexpensive date, especially being BYOB, and it wasn’t too crowded on a Friday night, so I’m sure we’ll be going there again.

DIY

Last month I had started a batch of radish + onion pickles from Ferment Your Vegetables. They were finished this month, and I used the onion rings as well as the pickle juice to make a Pink Gibson cocktail. Besides the cocktail, I haven’t found much use for the pickled onions, but the pickled radishes have been good to much on.

radish & onion pickles -> Pink Dirty Gibson cocktail

As a next experiment from Ferment Your Vegetables, I wanted to try a sauerkraut, and ended up picking one of the most unconventional recipes from the book, the sauerkraut “satay”, which includes peanut butter, soy sauce, and sesame oil, among other ingredients. I got a nice cabbage from Highland Orchards, and it came out very spicy & flavorful. We’re thinking of trying it on top of a burger next month.

Sauerkraut “satay” ingredients

Once the weather starting warming up, I wanted to start a ginger bug and make ginger beer in time for the official first day of Spring. Well, it turns out the bug is pretty temperamental when it comes to temperature, and the on-and-off again weather hasn’t been helping. I did go ahead and make the beer but it didn’t carbonate, so I started a new bug to try again. There were a few warm days when it really got bubbling but otherwise I haven’t had much luck. I’ll keep trying.

Meanwhile, I made a new batch of pickles, this time the “banh mi” pickles from Ferment Your Vegetables, which is a simple pickle of carrots, daikon, and jalapeño. I made them in sticks rather than shredding, since I just wanted to snack on them rather than actually use them on a sandwich, and they came out well. I love how easy the vegetable ferments have been.

“banh mi” pickles in progress

One weekend I bought some raw goat milk at the farmers’ market in order to make some fresh goat cheese to put in our morning omelette. It came out fine, but it was a little bland. I think it’s time to take the next step with cheese and start aging/fermenting it rather than just eating it fresh.

homemade goat cheese -> omelette

Books

I read so many good books this month!

  • Station Eleven – Tom had read this book a month or two before and actually cried so I knew it would be good. It definitely felt like speculative fiction but not fantasy or scifi per se. It was certainly post-apocalyptic in an inventive and emotionally engaging way, with a great plot twist.
  • Ancillary Justice – this had been on my to-read list for awhile and I finally borrowed it via interlibrary loan. I absolutely loved it, but not necessarily for the reasons for which it has received critical acclaim. Unfortunately, can’t say much more without spoilers, so read it now! I expect to read the rest of the trilogy next month and finish it soon!
  • Americanah – Tom had bought & read it last year, and I picked it up while waiting for another book. I knew to expect good things, but wow, this book was fantastic, one of the best I’ve read in awhile.

 

Last Month’s Update