Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Balmy weather and lots of food

Back to just enjoying the great weather and relaxed lifestyle here. It's still full blown season with traffic to match.

On to food which is what this post is mostly about. I went gallery hopping last week with good friends Andrea and Andy followed by dinner at a new restaurant The French. Lovely bistroish interior with indoor and outdoor seating. Really good food, very crowded, but worth another visit.
Mark and I went to our newly joined club to check out the regular menu as we have so far only been for a couple special events. Not so good for me anyway, at least the meat temperature - first raw and then overdone. Ewww. Oh well, we'll try again.

On the home front, I've tried a couple of new recipes that were outstanding both, interestingly, not from a regular cookbook but a memoir/recipe book: A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.
I've done her slow roasted tomatoes which sound so nothing but they are fabulous. You can use them in all kinds of things. You cook halved Roma tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, salt, and Italian seasoning in a 200 degree oven for 6 hrs. Yup, you read that right. It puts the tomatoes in a sweet, juicy leaning towards sun dried tomato taste without the high cost.
Next, her ground chicken, pine nut, cilantro meatballs with lemon yogurt sauce. I served this with spiralized zucchini, Yum. She had a follow up book which I will probably read where her husband opens a restaurant. Naturally.

I finally made it to the Purple Spoon Culinary, a true organic farm to table part time restaurant,part time cooking class, and farmer's market owned by chef Kristina. The farmer's market is only on Wednesday afternoons and it's quite the hike from my place, but soooo worth it. Veggies, farm eggs, cheese came home with me.

Out the door to go get Heather at the airport. She's here for a short visit for a little r & r. So excited!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Playing tourist in the Everglades

White Pelicans
I'm baaaack! For a series of reasons I did not post last week but all is back to normal, kinda. I have a lot of photos to share as I went with Maryland friends Nell and Jennifer on an all day Everglades tour. Yes, I've been there a number of times before, but never explored some of the areas by water which involved two boats yesterday. Lots of fun!

First up: the airboat. These are crazy loud, flat bottom boats with aircraft propellers that can maneuver through the narrow waterways of the mangroves. You wear ear protection which, as you can see, is very fashion forward. Saw a couple manatees and tropical birds while zooming through. Worth doing for the novelty definitely..

There was some alligator holding as well and notice the mouth band. Don't think I would have done it otherwise. Much softer than you might imagine, as least this young one.

growing a coconut
Lunch was included in this adventure so we ate at a seafood place of course, and had fresh grouper. Ted Smallwood store and museum was next, a historic trading post from the early 1900's. We picked up our boat ride there to explore the Ten Thousand Islands. Despite the name they number in the hundreds, not thousands, and are a national wildlife refuge.

White pelicans - shy and elusive, eat by collective herding
Osprey nest with two juveniles 
Roseate (Rosy) Spoonbill
So many birds from the white pelicans to the rosy spoonbills. Amazing sights on our hour long ride.

This one was flipping over
Ohhhh the dolphins. They played, cavorted and followed our wake, coming right up to the boat as you can see. We could have stayed there all day. We saw a ton of manatees as well, but I couldn't catch a photo of anything that didn't look like a brown blob. Ironic since dolphins are usually so hard to stop in mid action on camera.

On our way over to Big Cypress, we stopped at Ochopee Post Office. It's the smallest post office in the U.S. Gosh I thought Almont, CO was small. There's a person jammed in there working believe it or not. None of us had something to mail too bad.

This is a close up of the alligator above - he was slowly heading towards Nell
Mobs of alligators at an area I've been to before. These are big boys folks and how old is unknown. Alligators live to about 50 and w e kept our distance for sure. What a great day and fun adventure - thanks Nell for organizing it!