Food & Snow

Lou bought me a pizza stone for my birthday last May. I’ve been trying to remember to use it more. I also slightly suspect that this gift was in part for him, since he gets to enjoy the pizzas I make. I smell a conspiracy!
I made a pineapple and Canadian bacon pizza. I’m pretty pleased with it since this is probably the first one that came out mostly round. I don’t know how professional pizza people do it, especially for very large pies. It’s amazing.

We also made a trip to an old hangout spot from college called the Landmark. I haven’t been there in YEARS. Despite the less than stellar Yelp reviews, I thought the food was pretty good and the staff was friendly. Lou got some kind of cheesesteak eggrolls (Isn’t that a cute presentation?) and I got a roast beef sandwich with au jus. I chalk up the bad reviews to being in a college town. College kids love to whine.

A family of birds took up residence in the ceiling of our balcony/drain gutter recently. I counted 7 in all, but you can see a few in this photo. They’re so cute. They look like mourning doves, but they have orange beaks. Why didn’t they fly south for the winter?? It’s so cold out!

View from my office parking lot last time it snowed. The Brandywine River is right over that railing. It’s really pretty in Wilmington when it snows, despite being labeled “Murder Town USA”.

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Italian Food FTW

Recently, a few of us went out to eat at a new Italian restaurant that just opened up in Pitman, NJ – Mannino’s. Our friend is the head manager extraordinaire ring leader? I’m not sure what his title is, but he’s been working his butt off to get everything up and running perfectly. Being Italian, I was really excited to try it since this is my FAVORITE type of food ever in the whole wide world and I feel like we never get it very often!

The restaurant is a byob, and we really came prepared. Probably a little TOO prepared. They were really nice about chilling the beer in the back for us and bringing out some wine holder thingy to chill that too. Also, how cute is that red wine in the front called The Scribbler?? I don’t know if you can tell, but the label is meant to look like a piece of paper ripped from a notebook and scribbled on. I’m a sucker for creative packaging.

We ordered some kind of spicy mussels & clams appetizer, along with calamari, and some freaking delicious sausage and broccoli rabe thing.
My meal had scallops and shrimp in this rich brandy rose cream sauce over linguine. I’m drooling just thinking about it. Lou got a pizza, because he’s Lou. But it was really good too! Very garlicky.

Not like we had any room left in our stomachs, but we all ordered cannolis and espresso for dessert. Unfortunately, now I can’t stop obsessing over buying an espresso machine. It was just so wonderful tasting and a great end to the meal. The owner came by a couple of times to see how we were doing. It was really nice to be in a restaurant where you feel like they care about you being there. If we lived a little closer, I could see coming here very often.
I hope this place does well. It seems to be off to a good start and I’m looking forward to stuffing my face with more delicious Italian noms.

Pickled Jalapeño Watermelon Rinds

Don’t ask me why I decided to pickle watermelon rinds.

Ok, I’ll tell you.  I bought a watermelon the other day and as I was cutting it, I got to thinking how wasteful it seemed to throw away all of that white part of the watermelon.  It was practically edible, if not a little flavorless, bitter and hard….

So I googled.  Apparently pickled watermelon rinds is totally a thing.  Actually…pickled anything is a thing.  People pickle some of the strangest things.  Pickled chicken feet.  It’s real.  Don’t look it up.  Anywho…anyone who knows me, knows I love pickles.  LOOOVE pickles.  I could marry pickles.  So pickled watermelon rinds certainly piqued my interest.

Then I remembered I had a slightly-old-slightly-wrinkled-forgotten-about-sad-and-pitiful jalapeño in the fridge just begging to be used and thought why not, we’ll throw that in too.

So here’s the recipe, with commentary!

 

Pickled Jalapeño Watermelon Rinds

  • 1 c water
  • 1 c unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 c plus 1.5 TBS white sugar
  • 1 TBS salt (It doesn’t matter if it’s table. We’re not putting on airs with that fancy kosher stuff)
  • 1 lb watermelon rind, green skin removed (a peeler works great, cut in 1 inch cubes sliced thin. I didn’t slice mine thin enough. Think the thickness of hmm…pork roll or Canadian bacon.  That’s the first thing that comes to mind)
  • 1 large jalapeño, sliced in rounds (next time I’ll use two more, casually seeded, for more jalapeño pickled goodness without the addition of too much molten lava spiciness)

In a small saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, sugar, & salt to a boil, and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, stirring ever so often to keep the liquid from getting angry.  (Just a minute or two)

Layer the watermelon rinds and jalapeño in a 1-quart glass jar.  (I like Mason jars because that’s what they have at the store)

Let stand at room temperature for 3 hours. (Keep a vigilant watch for fruit flies/gnats. Those crafty bastards love vinegar)

Cover with that handy dandy Mason jar provided lid and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Pickles should last for about 2 weeks in the fridge, without getting too funky.  Sadly, I don’t have a photo of my results…mainly because I keep forgetting and the fridge is so far away.

These might make a nice 4th of July party snack addition too, if your guests are brave enough.

 

I don’t think Lou approves of the watermelon rind pickles.  His face was full of confusion when he tried them.  Sweet, spicy, bitter.  He’s crazy!  They kind of remind me a little of radish kimchi.  The texture and the spiciness.  But just kind of.

 

 

Eating and Drinking Festivities

This past Saturday a group of us went to the Brandywine Food & Wine Festival.  It was pretty fun!  For the cost of the ticket, $15 in advance, they give you a glass (I was surprised it was actually glass and not plastic), a bottle of water and a wristband with a bunch of tabs and as you go from booth to booth tasting wines the vendor tears off one of your tabs for each tasting.  My biggest complaint was the LINES.  We ended up getting doubles, triples and even quadruples of some of the wines just because we were tired of waiting around for each tiny taste.  The nice part was you could also purchase a glass or a whole bottle.  So naturally we bought bottles and chilled on the grass with a blanket and chairs.

The food was killer.  I’m a sucker for food trucks.  There was BBQ, pizza, Korean, Indian, crabcakes, cupcakes, cheese, ice cream, kettle corn, jerky.  The best were these deep-fried kimchi rice balls from the Korean food truck.  Ka-Chi I think it was called?  Little balls of rice with the flavor of kimchi all breaded and crispy on the outside with a drizzle of spicy sauce.  Naturally, there’s no pictures because they were devoured within seconds.  We also ate pork sliders, chicken skewers, bulgogi tacos, and TWO cupcakes – chocolate chip cookie dough and a variation on a snickerdoodle.

The boy also bought one rib from the BBQ stand, which I thought was smart.  Not everyone wants to go all out with a whole rack of ribs, but to casually buy one rib at time.  Sure, why not!  We were stuffed.  I think the food was my favorite part.

I’m not sure if we’ll go next year though.  The lines and the stinginess with the wine tastings was kind of annoying.  I guess I’m spoiled by the beer festivals where the alcohol flows freely like they have a never-ending supply!