August 2016: The Month in Tom and Holly

Life in Philly

This month, we got things off to a good start by going to First Friday. We hadn’t been in nearly 5 years, when we first moved here. We went to dinner in Chinatown first, then walked through the art galleries in Old City. We finished up with a drink at Good King Tavern on our way home.

Other than that, ugh, it was the hottest August in Philly ever, so we stuck to air conditioning when we could.

We did go on a nice walk after a rainstorm, up and down the Schuylkill boardwalk, and got some good pictures of reflections.

Farmers’ Markets

The best part of August for sure is summer produce. We’re still getting lots of tomatoes, corn, zucchini, and peppers.

Dining In

We made some really good lunches this month. Some of my favorites were corn panzanella, Mexican quinoa, tomato & corn salad, peach panzanella, french lentil salad with blue cheese, and 3 bean Israeli couscous salad.

After getting some hot green peppers from the farmers’ market, I ended up improvising a fish curry.

One weekend Tom improvised a scallop dish with roasted corn, white beans, and tomatoes. Another weekend he improvised a clam dish with farro, corn, pepperoni, and shishito peppers.

We made polenta with roasted cherry tomatoes, corn, and pesto:

We also made a delicious chicken cacciatore:

One weekend Tom made slow cooker carnitas tacos w/peach salsa

We tried a new recipe for harissa salmon (a week later we did the same recipe with cod, too):

I also remade a favorite from last year, summer chilaquiles

And toward the end of the month we tried a new recipe, summer bolognese:

Other recipes without good pictures include:

Tom also made another round of homemade pizza!

Dining Out

Speaking of pizza, the best thing we did this month was finally order Mexican pizza from Rosario’s Pizzeria. I stayed home each Friday this month to prep the class I’m teaching in Fall, and that first Friday I ordered myself a La Mexicana pizza with chorizo, roasted corn, tomatillo sauce, poblano peppers, and fresh avocado (pictured below). The next week we ordered a chicken tinga pizza. All the toppings and the crust are delicious, so it’s my new favorite pizza place.

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, we ate in Chinatown on our way to First Friday – specifically, we went to Vietnam Restaurant. Tom had been there before, but I’d never been. We had a great meal and especially enjoyed the sausage and vermicelli.

Later in the month we had a nice date night at Audrey Claire.

DIY

I made a few more pickle recipes from Ferment Your Vegetables: zucchini bread pickles and pickled peppers. The zucchini bread pickles used black tea and spices and were really interesting. The pickled peppers used oregano and are straight up delicious.

I tried the fermented hot sauce recipe from Ferment Your Vegetables, but this one didn’t work for me any better than past recipes I’ve tried. I don’t know what it is, I just don’t seem to have a knack for this (yet). (On the bright side, I finally got over my Tapatio vs. Cholula issue and have learned to embrace Cholula hot sauce, so it’s fine if I don’t have homemade hot sauce.)

The fermented tomato salsa I made last month turned out great so I made some more. I also made more hummus and harissa for snackies.

I hadn’t made bitters in awhile, but after finally acquiring some more cayenne pepper I did make a new batch of healing bitters.

I hadn’t made cold brew coffee in awhile, either, and since it’s been so hot, I made a few batches this month. I tried a new (to me) ratio based on Food in Jars and it worked really well. This is way less concentrated than what I’m used to but I think that’s a good thing.

Finally, my favorite DIY project from this month was peperonata – definitely a keeper!

Books

Tom bought Saga v.6 so I’m caught up on that series for now.

I heard a recommendation a few months ago for Planetfall, I think via Mary Robinette Kowal on Writing Excuses, in which the recommendation was something to the effect of “I can’t explain it, just read it.” I’ve been in a bit of a rut after I finished Dancer’s Lament last month, so I requested this via interlibrary loan and burned right through it. I really liked it and would pass on the same recommendation – just read it!

Tom shared an article with me on Pocket, 8 Parts of the Star Wars Expanded Universe That Should Have Stayed Canon, that I finally got around to reading in the wee hours some night when I couldn’t sleep. As a result, I ended up buying the Star Wars Dark Lord Trilogy, which is my first entree into the Expanded Universe (Legends). I have now leveled up like 100x in Star Wars nerddom. So far I’ve only finished the first book of the trilogy, Labyrinth of Evil, which takes place after the Clone Wars animated series and leads right up to Revenge of the Sith. (In the meantime, we’ve made it up to Season 6 in Clone Wars so this is good timing.) So the writing is complete shit but the storyline is really interesting. I’ve been supplementing by cross-referencing in Wookiepedia, now I know more than I ever wanted to know about things like the 7 lightsaber forms. But I’m also worried about how reading non-Canon stuff might be messing with my brain. Oh well. Rather than going deeper down the non-Canon path, if I’m gonna read more Star Wars novels, next time I’ll try to pick something next that is in Canon, though there are still a few more Expanded Universe books I want to check out.

I started reading Throne of the Crescent Moon, which is great so far, I’ve just been distracted by other things. More on that next month!

Last Month’s Update

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