Limes Are Better Than Lemons

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We’ve been meaning to check out Chestertown, a historic town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that was founded in 1706. And technically Matt and I have. Although I don’t know how much taking the dog to the vet in the city limits and then going to the pharmacy for his prescription counts as “checking out.”

But this past weekend we got more of an opportunity to explore the historic section of Chestertown and see some of the Victorian houses and stop for a bite to eat. We strolled along the brick sidewalks that were being littered with the falling orange leaves of autumn.

Not being able to pass up a bakery, I suggested stopping in the “Evergrain Bread Co.” The baguettes were impossible to pass up. $3.50 for such a nice long crusty loaf that we ate with a pasta dinner for 2 glorious nights in a row. I don’t regret a single carb. Matt suggested getting something to eat and taking it back to the benches facing the waterway. Ham and cheese sandwich for him. Ham and cheese croissant for me. It was hard to choose, with all sorts of french pastries galore, all of them looking picture perfect. But as it turns out I made an excellent choice. As did Matt. I doubt there’s a wrong choice in the place. It’s a wonderful butter-filled, pastry-sated, place.

Still walking along, we headed to Stam’s Drug, a pharmacy and soda fountain that’s been in business since 1886. We thought we were just looking around. But how often do you get a chance to order a milkshake from a historic soda fountain counter? Not often enough. So chocolate milkshakes were bought. They were made with ordinary ice cream and chocolate syrup from this century, and tasted like ordinary milkshakes. But something about being a part of history made them even better.

Saturated fat in each hand, we were ready to lunch. My what a decadent lunch. The ducks thought we were being overindulgent and offered to take some of the food off our hand. But that was never gonna happen. I think you’re charming ducks, but no. This is my buttery croissant stuffed with ham and gruyere. I don’t want to share. And after that was done I snuck a test bite of the baguette. Just to be sure. After the test bite, I was sure I wasn’t going to be sharing the baguette with any ducks. Just Matt. Because Matt deserves baguettes and pastries and milkshakes and running at the track for 3 miles. :) Because he’s the bee’s knees.

'Twas a lovely day and I wouldn't mind going back to Chestertown in the near future. Especially to hit up the Evergrain Bread Co. again. I could eat that place down to the ground if given half the chance.

Beach dunes, 2 ways. Playing around with hue and saturation for the 2nd pic.

Made with love: Anniversary Crepe Cake. With cinnamon and nutmeg crepes, cookie butter icing, and chocolate chip cookie crumbles. Serves 2. I hope he likes it.

I have on a number of occasions (I’m sure of it), waxed poetic over both tacos and kimchi. Maybe I haven’t used the perfect superlatives in the most poetic way. Unless, “It’s awesome! I love it” is poetry to you. But anyway, I had yet to put those two symphonies of messiness together in one meal. Now the two have become one. And what a surprisingly harmonious pair. Here’s the “recipe”:

Shred some store-bought rotisserie or homemade oven-roasted chicken. Place chicken on warm corn tortillas. Place kimchi on top of chicken. Drizzle on Korean hot sauce (recommendation: KimKim, but you could probably also dot with gochujang). Taste completed taco. Wonder where kimchi tacos have been all your life. Devour. Change life accordingly.

PS. I made my latest batch of kimchi with the addition of carrots. I’m a wild one.

Is it possible to love something and be completely terrified of it at the same time? That’s how I feel about the leucistic alligator at the Roanoke Island Aquarium. He saw us admiring his beady yet beautiful blue eyes and his unusual and rare pigmentation. He crept towards us, slowly and deliberately. My alligator, what big teeth you have.

Fish tacos. So easy to make. So hard to resist.

Season grouper on each side with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Grouper is a mild fish, so you can get generous with the seasoning. Particularly the cumin. Place fillet in hot pan over medium high heat with a little bit of oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until cooked though. Fish will start to flake if turned over too frequently. I accidentally did two flips. That was one too many. Let cool for a few minutes, then cut into bite-sized pieces. Serve with warmed corn tortillas and plenty of cilantro and diced white onion. Top with a squeeze of lime and your favorite salsa. Particularly if it’s a salsa verde.

Tastes like the beach. Taste better than the beach, actually. No sand in your mouth.

A beach vacation. Exactly what I needed. The water was cold, splashing at my ankles. The waves got stronger as I waded in further. The water was still very cold, urging me to flee as a big one splashed up around my waist. I saw Matt trudging ahead, a big grin on his face as he turned back to look at me, enjoying every second of being in the ocean. I pressed on, determined to keep up with him. They were reaching higher. I was starting to feel refreshed every time one hit me. I wasn’t even dreading the eventuality that one strong wave would knock me on my rear. I wanted to be in the water. I was even glad of the coolness of the water. It was no longer very cold, it was cool, crisp, and refreshing, like a good beer. With plenty of foam. I yelled to Matt that I was almost over the breakers, to wait for me to join him in the rolling part of the ocean. I didn’t have the best of timing. I was still calling Husband’s name when a wave broke right in front of me, hissing, spitting, and bubbling—and splashing plenty of water in my mouth. Salty, with a smack of fish and kelp. I stopped comparing the ocean to beer in that moment.

I busted through as the last big one crashed all around me, buckling my knees. I was over the breakers. I was bobbing up and down with each of the little waves. Sometimes a big one came and swept me off my feet where I felt I was flying through the air. Then, an instant later, I was firmly planted in the sand, head and shoulders exposed to the outside world, the rest submerged in a watery world. They passed through me. Like a shock wave. If I closed my eyes I could almost feel my body turning into liquid, flowing with the swells and ripples.

Matt was next to me, grasping my hand. It was too loud to talk. We mostly just beamed smiles at each other, knowing the other was thinking the same thing: “Isn’t this amazing?”

Something about battling through the waves, trying to stay on top while still allowing them take you, makes the rest of the world melt away. Stress—gone. All those little worries—no longer a concern. Maybe it’s because you’re now part of something bigger. Something that you can’t control. The ocean forces perspective on you.

Here’s my first batch of photos. More pics, stories and a recipe or two to come. Highlights include: an airshow on the drive, how Sparky likes to sleep in the car (nose in the sun at all costs), local beers on the pier, beach, seashells, flowers and other plant life, and sunsets over the sound.

If you ever get the chance to make Cardamom Vanilla Ice Cream (smoky and delectable), serve it over cinnamon rolls or apple pie. A decadent forkful worth daydreaming about later. The black cardamom pods enhance and amplify the vanilla. And then with a cinnamon-laced dessert? Over-the-moon-spiced-wonderment.

Feed me sesame buckwheat soup and let’s call it a day. View high resolution

Feed me sesame buckwheat soup and let’s call it a day.

If you’re going to have to get up at 6am on a Saturday, a big fat cinnamon roll doesn’t hurt. Don’t mind if I do. View high resolution

If you’re going to have to get up at 6am on a Saturday, a big fat cinnamon roll doesn’t hurt. Don’t mind if I do.

Sandlot and S’mores

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The nephew, though he’s lived on this planet 8 whole years, had yet to see “The Sandlot” or eaten a s’more. (Although he said, and I quote, “I’ve had something like a s’more.” That doesn’t count, kid.) Those two things needed to be rectified. So I told him to wear his pajamas and come over after dinner for movie night. It was a blast. He loved the movie (natch) and we also rectified the fact that Husband has only seen The Sandlot once. Years ago. A little after we were married I realized that Matt didn’t get what I was referencing  when I spoke the word “forever” like Squints (FORE-ev-VUR. FORE-ev-VUUR. FORE-ev-VHUURR.) so I made him watch it. Funnily enough we hadn’t seen it since. It was nice to be back in the world of the ‘50’s, with baseball, the Bambino, the Beast, and summertime and friendship.

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Being the sort of food-obsessed aunt that I am, I knew s’mores had to be involved. Homemade s’mores, more specifically. Having made graham crackers and marshmallows before, I knew it was doable. Graham crackers are actually pretty easy. The nephew even lent a hand. I whipped up this recipe in the food processor, and we rolled it out and cut out the shapes together with cookie cutters. Making homemade grahams is a lot like making pie dough, but significantly less fussy. He’s a great helper in the kitchen. He may not be a foodie—at least not yet—but he has the makings of a great cook. I’m a proud auntie.

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Grahams baked, marshmallow whipped into a fluff, we were ready to rock and roll. Right in time for the “CAMP OUT!” scene. Matt and I took turns using the the kitchen creme brulee torch to the big spoonfuls of mallow resting atop the grahams for some toasty, indoor campfire-esque goodness. Boy did this excite the nephew. And for good reason, blow torching is fun! (Don’t tell my parole officer I said that. haha) So finding a safe and secret place for my wonderfully destructive kitchen toy is something I now have to do.

These s’mores rocked my bobby socks. Matt’s lederhosen, too. The nephew was less impressed. Turns out, he doesn’t like marshmallows. Ah well. He loved the graham crackers, though. Ate a bunch, even scraps of the dough before they were baked. And had a square of milk chocolate. So he was a happy camper. Happy camp-out-er.

My only complaint of the night was that since I had DVR’ed the movie, they played a version where the cut out the s’mores scene! Thanks a lot ABC Family! But we held a flashlight under our chins and hyped up the Beast, played by our own little Beast of a Beagle, Sparky, and told of his atrocities: swallowing berries whole. Not the same as eating a kid, but I works with whats I gots.

Epic movie night, for sure. And look at these s’mores. Ooey gooey awesome.

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Go ahead and say it. I know you want to. My name is Smalls and I’m killing you with that photo right now, right?

Not all swirled rolls have to be sweet or contain cinnamon. The may contain, for example, fresh chopped herbs, almonds, and Parmesan. And then be made into grilled cheeses. And then drizzled with sage oil. And it’s totally legal. View high resolution

Not all swirled rolls have to be sweet or contain cinnamon. The may contain, for example, fresh chopped herbs, almonds, and Parmesan. And then be made into grilled cheeses. And then drizzled with sage oil. And it’s totally legal.

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