Late spring potato salad with lovage

Last weekend Dan, half-moon and I ventured up to the square to go to our first farmer’s market of the season. I really had an ulterior motive, which was to go to Field Table for doughnuts and iced coffees. I was never much of a huge doughnut lover, but when visiting my cousin in Brooklyn a couple of years ago, I kind of fell in love.

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The doughnuts at Field Table were crazy good. We got one of each- Raspberry, Miso Butterscotch and Maple Bacon (that was just Dan’s.) And then one more Raspberry. I can’t stop thinking about that frosting.

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After a quick stop for cheese curds from Bleu Mont Dairy (the best, in my opinion) we ducked in and out of the crowds to grab some spinach and organic potatoes from Driftless. Later that day we were headed to a get-together and I wanted to make potato salad. So this is the potato salad I started to write about the other day, when half-moon decided to bang some club soda against the floor and then I told you about rhubarb shrub.

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While I didn’t clearly state this in my last post, but  may have seemed obvious, I love vinegar. I prefer it to mayo in salads any old day. I also had some lovage that I wanted to use; it was the lovage that my mom gave me after she had waved it around in half-moon’s face while the two were sitting in her yard. Waving leafy green things (dandelions, chives, etc.) in his face is one of her favorite activities and he likes it, too.I also threw in some capers for good measure. I could have cooked the potatoes for two more minutes, but it was a hit, and it was a lovely afternoon in our friends’ backyard. Half-moon ate cheese curds for the first time, had his first apple juice box (straws are tricky!) and we lingered into the evening. Welcome, summer.

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Late Spring Potato Salad with Lovage and Capers

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds organic potatoes (I used a combination of fingerling and yellow)
One handful of lovage and garlic greens (the shoots that come up before the scrapes), chopped (I think chives would be good here, too)
1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons capers
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Wash and cook the potatoes. Cover the potatoes with water in a stock pot (I don’t peel them) and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart (I guess if they are falling apart, it’s too late… I don’t claim to be a recipe writer.) Drain the potatoes and allow to cool. If you are in a hurry, run cold water over them and let them sit in some cold water.
Mix the remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper) in a large bowl. Adjust the amounts of vinegar, olive oil,mustard and capers to your liking.
When the potatoes have cooled, cut them into bite-sized chunks and toss them into the dressing. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper, if you like. Take it to a party, or eat it all yourself.

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Happy long weekend.

Fun with Pets : Dixieland Jubilee edition

(Guest post by Dan Walkner)

Ah, pets.  Are they truly everywhere? What about the southern United States? Are Southern pets as cute as, say, pets of the Northwest or Midwest? I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and walking shoes and walked to our rented car and drove down south to answer these ever pertinent and burning queries.  Join the Jubilee!

Our journey took us to Asheville, NC.  While there, we were looking for the art district that we would ultimately find a week later, which upon finding the brewery that we HAD TO GO TO OMG, IT’S SOOOOO AWESOME wouldn’t serve me, we got lost(ish). As we puzzledly scratched our respective noodles and gazed about, I saw a poodle holding a cat as though it were a baby doll.  For real.  Erica slammed on the brakes and reversed the half block to the scene of the whatever-the-opposite-of-crime-is place, and we got out and captured some of the magic.  Dig:

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That’s love.  These pets show what teamwork is all about.  What sport you ask? Hmm, I’ll have to think about that.  While I do, here’s another gem of these pet diversity acceptors:

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Yeah it’s a little fuzzy, but maybe, just maybe, tears of joys fell on the camera-look-at-stuff-glass-part-thingy of the camera.  Sorry for the science jargon.  Moving on.

We arrived at our cabin and immediately found a crafty sasquatch in the hot tub! Scary, right?!?

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He quickly calmed our nerves by creating a mini snowman mascot for us. Crisis averted.

Our cabin was on a darling little farm.  There seemed to be a lot of dogs around.  How did I know you ask? Well, barking was happening a lot.  We decided to investigate further. Here are the findings:

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AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Intruder alert! Oh wait, it’s just a little yellow dog who ran up the hill, took a leak on a snowy shrub, licked my face, accepted some scratches, and ran away. Ok, back to the pet search:

You know what? All this pet stuff made me want to go get some vintage western wear. (This is a common symptom of pet searching, or, well, me leaving the house.)  Tum-te-tum, Dum-de-dum…

BOOSH! This just happened:

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I forget this little cuteness nuke’s name, but he tricked me into buying a $30 shirt.

Then he wanted to do a Sam Kinison impression, so I figured what the hay?  Let her rip, buddy:

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Impressive.

Farms need pets, too.  Some to work, some for morale building, and some for both. Our tour of the farm led to all of the above of these aforementioned and viable pet vocations.

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What dear reader? Those are only stupid sheep a.k.a. non-pets? Look again my skeptical friend. Eureka! You see it now? The white wookie-esque friend?  That is one hard-charging pooch!  Sleeps outside for the love of her sheep homies. Dedication makes a farm go.

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You’re probably wondering if that dog has a sibling that also has a best cat friend that hangs around, aren’t you? You were? I know. Yup, it’s kind of a gift I have. As promised:

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I know, I’m way ahead of you. How much does the cat weigh? This many:

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See Big Whitey’s paw? Yeah, the one that trudges around in, well, grody farm dirt all day? He played a little joke on me right after this photo and stuck his paw in my mouth! Heyyyy! Here’s a shot of me not barfing but spitting a lot as he retracts his soil smasher:

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Silly new friend, oh how could I stay mad at you? Answer? Can’t!

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Donkey!

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All this pet stuff made me thirsty and wondery. I put on my Minocqua, WI thinking cloak and got some delicious beers at Wicked Weed Brewing.Image

Then I started thinking about my own pets. They can be weird at times. Are other people’s cats as weird as mine? Do they eat tape, too? Lick the sides of LP records? Get their head’s stuck in kitchen chairs? Climb cacti? Then P. McMahon’s time machine from 1997 pulled up.

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What a whirlwind tour of a single southern city that I’ll be basing all of my fact-finding on! What did we learn? Lots, duh! First, southern pets may bark a little slower and more confusedly, but they still get their point across. Don’t forget to look closely: southern pets are masters of disguise! Keep your mouth closed when tormenting an enormous dog’s best feline friend or be prepared to test the pH of the farmstead soil. Of course, when thrift shopping, fall for the canine wiles and just buy the damn shirt! It’s green and it’s awesome. Finally, no matter what color a pet is, or what part of the world it comes from, he, she, or neuter just wants to spread the love and maybe get a little scratch on the ol’ pet tums. These are jubilous pet times we live in: embrace them or eat dirt.

Thirsty Thursday: Campari cocktail

It’s August hot outside, I’ve been in professional development classes all week and I have a job interview tomorrow morning… All of this is making me very thirsty. I’m getting nostalgic for a drink that my mom made for me earlier this summer, and although I won’t be having one this evening, you should. Have another for me.

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Campari Collins

This recipe originally appeared in The New York Times 

2 ounces Campari

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

4 ounces chilled seltzer

3/4 ounce simple syrup

Pour the seltzer into a highball glass filled with ice and set aside. Pour the Campari, lemon juice and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into the glass with seltzer.

Yield: 1 drink.

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Cheers.

Wyoming or bust

Greetings from the equality state, where Dan and I have been visiting our dear friends in Cheyenne and letting them spoil us with meals like salmon burgers and spinach naan pizzas (recipes and photos to follow). We celebrated the fourth of July with a traditional meal of paella, lobster tails and sangria (isn’t that what everyone has on America’s birthday?) When we haven’t been watching this fascinating program that Derek introduced us to about looking for sasquatch (‘squatch’ as it’s called in the industry), we have been enjoying our meals and evenings in their lovely backyard.

Backyard Cheyenne

If you are looking for a special way to celebrate something this weekend whip up a batch of Sangria and play the Wisconsin game, which Dan and I invented on I-80 (minus the drinking part) and played last night with our Wisconsin ex-pat hosts: Sit in a circle and name off as many cities/ towns in Wisconsin until you can’t think of anymore, take a drink if you repeat one that has been said. Cheers the person who comes up with Trego, Chicag or Rio. Wisconsin fun this exit.

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Fourth of July Sangria

This recipe comes from the PBS site for Everyday Food

Ingredients:

2 juiced oranges

2 oranges sliced

2 lemons thinly sliced

2 limes thinly sliced

1/3 cup super fine sugar

1/4 cup brandy

1 bottle red wine (we used a Yellow Tail shiraz/ grenache blend)

2 cups club soda

Directions:

In a large pitcher stir together orange juice, sugar and brandy. Stir well. Add wine, fruit slices and club soda. Stir. Fill glasses with ice. Pour, serve, yum.

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Our Wyoming adventures continue to Casper and then my old stomping grounds, Jackson, where I can’t wait to sit outside at Teton Thai and order the chocolate bread pudding at Rendezvous Bistro… Stay tuned.

Tips for winning the summer

When Mr. Obama gave his state of the union speech last winter he discussed winning the future. I love this. I mean, who doesn’t want to win the future? It reminds me of the time that I was an archery instructor (?!) at a summer camp and a young man named LaTroy declared in a boastful voice: “I won archery.” You know what LaTroy? You did. So let’s win obscure things today, shall we? Here are a few tips for winning the summer.

Tip #1: Enjoy a delicious lunch. One with cheese, sauteed kale and a sliced tomato with sea salt. Yumtown. Population: you.

Tip #2: Avoid swimmer’s itch… I lost at this one.

Tip #3: When the temperature hits the 90s, chop four inches off of your hair.

Tip #3 part 2: Go to Thorps on Atwood for said haircut. They give you a can of pbr upon your arrival.

Tip #4: Sit close to the fridge.

Tip #5: Meet up with some friends and enjoy a tall glass of iced tea from Mermaid Cafe.

Tip#6: Take a road trip. And if you find yourself on Highway 20 in eastern Iowa on a Sunday morning, take the exit near Dyersville and visit the field of dreams before anyone else arrives. Run the bases. Yell, “Go the distance” at a father and son playing catch as you flee the parking lot.

Tip #7: Make beergaritas. My sister and I made them for the first time last summer after our cousin told us about them. Delicious.

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Beergaritas

Ingredients:

1 can frozen limeade

1 1/2 cans pbr

1 limeade can full of tequila

2 limeade cans full of club soda (or Squirt)

Directions:

Mix ingredients in a pitcher. Serve over ice. Cheers to winning stuff.

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Bonus points if you see fireflies tonight… Happy July.