Friday, June 29, 2012

helloooo heat!

First off, this song has been stuck in my head for a week. I was humming it to myself in NYC all last weekend when it was blazing hot, and it fits this DC weekend as well.

And let's all admire the album cover together, shall we?

Today was a scorcher. At it's hottest, the temperature in DC was 104 degrees with a heat index of 112.  Ouch!

But it's Friday, my house is cool, and I can't complain. Fun fact: my AC isn't even on! I expected it to be hot when I got home, but since I'm on the first floor, only have a few windows, and keep my shades drawn, the house is really comfortable. I'm not sure how long I can keep the AC off, but if it isn't hot at 104 degrees, I might be able to make it through the summer AC free.

But that doesn't mean I'm going to turn on the oven to have a weekend bake-fest like I originally planned. No ma'am, my oven and stovetop will remain in the off position for the near future.

So dinner was quick, easy, and cool. Very refreshing as well.

One cucumber, some grape tomatoes, a container of feta and some olive oil. Delish! Also, a glass of chilled white wine in my souvenir Zarkana cup.


Yes, the green plate was not the appropriate choice for photographing this dish....I hope you can still see the magnificence
This dish reminds me of the breakfast that Tom and I had every morning in Turkey. Tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese. We thought it was an odd breakfast at first, but it is so fresh and healthy that it really grows on you.

What do you "cook" when the mercury rises? I need some suggestions, stat!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

summer is here, dear

This morning it was 72 degrees in DC. "Soak it in, Self" I thought. Our weather is looking quite scary for the weekend, as we - along with the entire East Coast - get ready for the weekend heat wave.

But lest I be accused of dwelling on the negative, lets spend some time discussing the glories of this season upon us. Fresh peaches from the farmers market, fresh plums from my neighbor's yard. I was walking by my neighbor's house with Barley when their dog Katie ran out to play. They were picking plums from their tree and asked if I wanted any - apparently there is an abundance of plums right now and "are becoming a nuisance." So really, I considered it my neighborly duty to swipe these three plums here.

Anyone else spy a little dog nose in the far left of that picture up there?

The fruit couldn't keep her attention for too long, and I think she was secretly wishing she lived next door with the guy who grills meat every night rather than with the mostly-vegetarian who tries to feed her potato peelings and eggplant. Just look at her attention span:

Happy Summer! Happy Almost-4th-of-July!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

NYC Love

This guy is pretty awesome.

Hates cities, doesn't like traffic or noise. Country boy at heart.

And this weekend, because I wanted to oh-so-badly, he came to New York City with me.

He flew from Atlanta to DC. We took a Chinatown bus from DC to NYC and a Bolt bus from NYC to DC. He walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, navigated the Subway, walked through Times Square (3 times), booked us a room in the middle of it all, walked to Central Park, accompanied me to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, stood silent with me at Ground Zero, stood under scaffolding with me during a rainstorm, waited for 1.5 hours to get to the top of the Empire State Building, survived on five hours of sleep a night, walked everywhere, took me to Cirque du Soleil, and treated me to the most amazing three-course Italian dinner last night.

I know you wanted trees, the beach, or a quiet local bar. I know you wanted to shut out the traffic and the bright lights and just go to sleep. But you didn't complain even once. You treated it like the adventure that it was, and kept a smile on your face.

Thank you Tom, thank you a million times over.

It all meant so much.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Little Things (DC)

First off, Happy Summer Solstice!

I've always wanted to celebrate this day in style, but for some reason I've never really celebrated this very long day.... there is always next year.

DC is turning out to be quite a dream. Every day, something new worms its way into my heart. The rowhouses, the friendly people (yes really!), the tourist on the metro today who realized for the first time that all of the Smithsonian Museums are free (hallelujah!), a new flower, a new happy hour spot, friendly neighbors.... my list is one of those neverending ones, and I am truly happy to be here.

DC Brau is the only brewery in DC, and this pale ale is very tasty! They also can their beer rather than bottle it - such hipsters we are!

Yesterday on my way to the supermarket, the flower vendor on the street insisted on giving me this flower. I told him I didn't have any cash and that I had zero intention of buying anything, but that I would come back another day to buy a bouquet. He was insistent that I take the flower, and I was equally insistent that I couldn't take it. His face fell, and asked "you don't like flowers?" Very often the nicest thing that we can do is to let someone else do something nice for us. That has been very hard for me to learn in my life, but I can see how good it makes the other person feel when I allow them in - let them help me.

We shook hands and introduced ourselves. He didn't push me to buy a bouquet - he just wanted to give me a flower. "Don't pay - I have enough money. Take this flower, please." People are genuinely good - sometimes we refuse to see it.

I also happen to love this rug - $20 at Ikea

Somewhere in DC (Georgetown), someone posted this sign on their door. LOVE.

"Nobody gets in to see the wizard/Not nobody, not nohow"
I have a fireplace. I am so insanely excited. On this first day of summer, I look at my fireplace and dream of that chilly day when I can finally test it out (sacrilege I know). 

My commute is the best in the world. I map out where to sit on the train so that this is my view in the morning and going home.

Those are just a few of the things keeping me happy today. How is your day shaping up? And do you have any summer solstice celebration suggestions? {say that three times fast}

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Let's talk about how amazing this is....

Every Tuesday, I stop by the farmers market after work on my way to the train. I like filling up my purse with fresh goodies - strawberries, kale, bread, cheese. I overload myself with produce, and then merge into the rush hour crowd on the metro with my arms full of food. Today I held a huge pile of leeks and chard in my arms - a fun contrast to the suits and cell phones all around me.

As I was riding the train, I imagined up a lovely meal and decided to try it tonight. It was yum, amazing, perfect. Here it is.

**But let's first discuss my poor photography skills. I bought a wonderful camera, but I haven't yet learned how to use it. So all of my pictures have a tiny area that is in focus, while the rest is blurry. You can't fault Canon for that, really. You should blame me. But I think you'll still get the main gist of the meal.**

1. Buy a loaf of bread, some greens, and some cheese. The highest quality and the freshest that you can afford - you will be rewarded! I used a loaf of kalamata olive bread, some chard (mixed red and yellow), and some buffalo mozzarella I picked up from the supermarket.

2. Put some butter in a pan, and let it get all melty. {Nope, it's not a word. But it fits.}

3. Put a couple of slices of bread in your pan to toast.

4. Tear up your chard and put it in the pan as well. You can eat the chard stems (I wasn't sure either so I looked it up). The stems will add some nice texture to the dish, but all the nutrients are in the leaves.

5. After one side of your toast is golden brown, flip it over to toast the other side.

(I really wish this photo had come out. The golden brown-ness was so perfect.)

6. Put your chard on top of the bread after it becomes a bit wilted. Top with slices of the mozzarella.

7. Cover your pan with a lid to steam the greens a bit more and melt the cheese.

8. Oh look!! My chard got charred!! Haha. When you live alone you can make these jokes to yourself and laugh at your wit.

9. Enjoy!! The kalamata olive bread, the mozzarella cheese, the earthy flavor of the chard - this was an amazing combination. I'm so glad I had time to dream about dinner whilst on the train. Quick, easy, and delicious.

{I ate this by picking it up with my hands, but I'm assuming you could go all proper and use a knife and a fork if that suits you.}

My patio is pretty phenomenal. My apartment is tiny, but my patio is ginormous. Outdoor space = happy Dana

PS. Would you like a sneak peak of my kitchen? It is tiny, but it suits me just fine. It is nice to have a place of your own - a small sanctuary in which to escape.

And since it is so tiny (this goes for my whole apartment, really), only my favorite things are allowed to take up permanent residence. My cork collection (to make a cork board some day); the Yorkshire tea towel I got in England; the cutting board Tom's mom and sister got me for my birthday last year; Kermit (a gift from Tom), who sits atop my fridge (you can see his little foot at the top of the frame).

These days are good days, aren't they?
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