Thursday, September 18, 2014

Esso and Etto. Play it right.

Sylvan Esso at The Howard Theater. Phenom. 


Burrata and lemony kale salad at Etto on 14th. 
Some marvelous rye cocktail and pizza with anchovies, dandelion greens, and a runny egg. I mean, come on. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

and if there's anything good about me - I'm the only one who knows


I seem to have caught some kind of bug—perhaps developed a ragweed allergy, summer to fall season change malady, who knows—I've been sleeping on and off all day and, save for water I drink when I take cold meds, I haven't had anything to eat or drink today. I know I say this all the time (at least whenever I get sick which, thankfully, is rare) but I am all kinds of whiny and pathetic when I'm sick, like why isn't someone at my bedside mopping my brow with a cool washcloth? Who do I have to sweet eye to bring me soup and Florence Nightingale me into health? Come on, I make good pancakes. 

This was my day: ughhhhhhhhhh, ok ok ok work times, what should I wear today? Should I go to work? I feel absolutely weary. Maybe I'll stay home. If I stay home then I can take it easy. Ok, I'll let them know I'm not going in. Maybe I should do laundry and clean. Sleep for three hours. Oh, goody, 15 text messages. Sleep for an hour. Oh, Todd Thrasher calling me now. Hiiii, Todd! No, I'm not at the Fair, I'm sick today. What? You need a cocktail sign for that benefit at Volt? I gotchu! Design sign, sleep for next three hours. Oh, Castle's playing, I've never seen Castle, maybe I'll watch Castle. Fall asleep during Castle. You had dinner with Lynne, Justin? I miss Lynne! No, I haven't eaten anything all day. Ugh, because I don't feel like it. Let me hop on a computer, I haven't really checked the things all day. Jack White singing in a French ch√Ęteau? Done. 

On the upside, the "sick times" tag on Lemonade Lists can be quite hilarious after the fact. I should retitle it, “the ramblings of a madwoman on cold meds she probably doesn't need to be taking.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ta-Da! Society Fair's new Demo Kitchen flyer!


I'm a fairly decent designer when I want to be. 

While I can't speak for most graphic designers, I tend to toggle between “HEY YO BOO, I DID THAT! I DID THAT!!” and “ughhhhhhhh I'm the worst designer in the worldddd”. 

It's a vicious cycle for sure. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Be a citizen of the world, and at least attempt to know a little something about life outside of your own InDesign files. Be aware that, in the end, when all is said and done, this thing we do, design, is a kind of joyous little game, and we are lucky to be paid to play it. Meanwhile, others watch stock tickers or change bedpans for a living. Have some perspective and be grateful. Engage in something that matters to you more than your latest project. Some perspective and a modicum of circumspection will improve your mood, expand your horizons, and improve your design work.

sunday dinner menu

  • honey/thyme/lemon chicken and oyster mushroom gravy
  • goat cheese mashed baby red potatoes
  • roasted green beans with balsamic glaze
  • corn on the cob

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hello (Kitty), President Obama

me: I just sent you this great piece by a Canadian writer about America's disrespect for President Obama.
Justin: Thanks! I just posted on Facebook about Marvel superheroes dressed in Hello Kitty gear and therein lies the difference in our lives.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chef Larry: This weekend I’m going to pull my pork and jerk my chicken. Those are barbecue terms, Miss vina.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fried green tomato & shrimp sliders. Time to throw in the towel because this is as good as it gets.

Seriously, this may be the best thing I've ever cooked, as in I might as well pack up and never cook again because it's not going to get better than this slider. Hot fried green tomatoes, spicy seared shrimp, sweet bread & butter pickles, tangy remoulade, and vinegar-y Crystal hot sauce on buttery mini Kaiser rolls. 

Y'all. Don't. Even. Know. 

I'm in a slight slider haze, but I'll try to pull it together and share some highlights of my day: 

The Dale City Farmers Market was a complete cluster this morning. I've never seen it that busy in all my years in the area. Apparently eleven in the morning is the golden hour of the farmers market. 


There was a Celtic violinist playing classical and contemporary music next to the big peach stand. She started playing “Let It Go” from Frozen and a lady with two young children rushed past me saying, “Oh dear lord, I need to get out of here before these two start singing.” I laughed so hard I knocked over a pile of peaches. 

Fried green tomatoes

The older gentleman from whom I bought the green/heirloom tomatoes asked what I was going to do with them. I told him I was going to fry them up. He said he missed fried green tomatoes, that his mother used to make them, and that he hadn't had any in such a long time because his wife didn't like fried green tomatoes. 

“My grandmother, she lived in southern Virginia, she had eleven children. Eleven children! Times was tough back then, especially when you had to feed eleven children. She baked a mess of biscuits three times a day. Four of them never moved away, probably because of those biscuits.” 

I could have stayed there and talked to him for ages—he probably would have been just fine with that—but the lady standing behind me looked harried and grumpy. What kind of crazy lady gets grumpy at eleven in the morning holding a pint of baby eggplant, I'll never know. 

Green tea with mint and seared Carolina shrimp

me: I'm at the farmers market. I'm going to make fried green tomato and shrimp sliders. 
Justin: That sounds very southern. 
me: I love me some southern food, y'all. 
Justin: Ok, Paula Deen. 
me: AND I'm wearing my big sun hat. 
Justin: Ok, JLo Paula. 

Damn. Just, damn. I'm going to marry myself and cook this on my wedding night.


Fried Green Tomatoes and Carolina Shrimp Sliders


for the tomatoes:
3-4 green tomatoes, sliced in half-inch slices
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
1 cup of all-purpose flour, or Korean frying mix
2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk
S & P
Paprika
vegetable oil for frying

1. Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat. 
2. Blot tomato slices with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, or Korean frying mix (which is basically flour + cornstarch) and shake off excess flour. Dip in egg mixture and then roll in panko bread crumbs with paprika. 
3. Fry in batches, about two-three minutes each side, until brown and crispy. 
4. Let drain/dry on wire rack until all tomatoes are fried. 

for the remoulade:
1/2 cup of mayonnaise. I use Duke's, it's the best. 
1/4 cup of spicy whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp. pickle juice - I used bread & butter pickle juice, but I imagine a spicy dill pickle juice would also be tasty. 
1 clove of garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1 Tbsp hot sauce. I used Crystal hot sauce. Tabasco would be good. 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside for flavors to come together, like a Beatles' song. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge until needed. 

for the shrimp: 
1/2 lb of large shrimp. Mine were South Carolina shrimp. I don't really have a preference of shrimp origin, that's just where they were from. 
1 Tbsp olive oil
S & P 
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1. Peel & devein shrimp and place in bowl. Add other ingredients and use hands to mix until shrimp are well seasoned. 
2. Heat a stove-top grill pan over medium heat. Grease with oil or butter. Once hot, sear shrimp on each side until just cooked. Try not to overcook the shrimp. They're like eggs, they'll cook a little bit more once you remove them from the heat, so it's ok if they're slightly translucent when you take them off the heat. Set aside until slider time. 

for the sliders: 
mini Kaiser rolls, buttered and toasted in oven
bread & butter pickle slices
lettuce (which I forgot to get, but would be good shredded on slider)
all above components

To assemble, starting from bottom: Bun. Remoulade sauce. Fried green tomato. Shrimp. Pickle. Lettuce. More remoulade. Finish with hot sauce and top bun. 



Enjoy with mint tea, cider, or a cold beer. Weep a little bit because it's so delicious. Text everyone in the inner circle proclaiming that you'll never cook again because it's never going to be as good as this. 

Contemplate afternoon nap. 


fried green tomato sliders playlist

Brenda Lee | Sweet Nothings
Julian Lennon | Too Late for Goodbyes
Sylvan Esso | H.S.K.T.
Eagles | Witchy Woman
Ray Charles | Unchain My Heart
Phantogram | Fall in Love
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles | The Tears of a Clown (Hotsnax remix)