Blossom and bloom

After a cool start, summer has arrived in Wisconsin. Things here continue to move at a pretty slow pace.


Hanging out in the mornings with Half-moon while he pulls up a stool at the milk bar, I have been observing summer perennials and a neighborhood romance bloom (watching white-haired, tank-topped Gordy pedal back and forth by our other neighbor’s house on his turquoise bicycle, I started to get suspicious… One day I got to text Dan, “they smooched!”) While the days feel pretty lazy, I also like to play a game called, “What can I get done in the two minutes it takes Dan to change Half-moon’s diaper?” Then I go into turbo-charge: I turned a calendar page (eleven days late)! I made diaper spray (1 cup water + 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 teaspoon soap, like Dr. Bronner’s)! I found the key to the garage in the washing machine! It’s a lot of fun.

We’ve also been experiencing some “firsts.” On Wednesday, Half-moon attended his first gig with his dad. It was at Cress Spring Bakery for their pizza night. Located in a valley outside of Blue Mounds, Cress Spring Bakery is an idyllic place to lounge with a wood-fired pizza and a cold can of beer. Their chocolate chip cookie/ Sassy Cow vanilla ice cream sandwich might be my favorite thing I have eaten this summer.


This morning we took Half-moon to his first downtown farmer’s market. Yesterday, he met his first donkey at his first music festival, and a couple of weeks ago I actually followed a recipe to make marinade for the first time. And it was really f*$#ing good. The recipe came from my new Thug Kitchen cookbook, and if you don’t know Thug Kitchen, you need to.


(Disclaimer: I didn’t actually make the marinade for the baked tofu- Dan did- but I called out the ingredients from the milk bar.) I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but my favorite way to eat tofu is baked. Not me, the tofu. While the Thug Kitchen cookbook didn’t say this, I like to bake tofu on parchment paper- I think I learned this from Mark Bittman– when you only have two minutes to clean up, this makes it really easy (first press the tofu before marinating, then bake tofu for 10-15 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in a hot oven-  400 or 450 degrees.) We followed the recipe for the ginger-sesame marinade and ate it with the Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad. Here is the recipe for the marinade for the tofu:


And the noodle salad:


Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

From the Thug Kitchen cookbook 


1 package (6.75 ounces) thin rice noodles
1/2 head of lettuce, chopped (or other greens)
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped
Lime wedges, for serving
Toasted sesame dressing* (or other Asian dressing)


Cook the noodles according to package directions. When they are done, drain the noodles and run them under cold water until they are cool to the touch. Set aside.While all that is going down, get all your veggies and herbs ready and make your dressing.To serve, pile a large mound of noodles in the center of each plate. Arrange the lettuce, veggies, and herbs around the mound while leaving a good amount of the noodles exposed. Drizzle the dressing on both the noodles and lightly around the vegetables. Sprinkle peanuts all over and serve with lime wedges.




We are now off to our first neighborhood block party. Happy Saturday, my friends.