Hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day (belated Happy Birthday, Kathy!)
I had a mystery invitation early in the month to clear the night of February 14th. Yesterday I walked out of work to a waiting car, where I was whisked away to the city to Twins, an entirely awesome jazz bar, for drinks (too many, on a Monday. Eek!) and banter and Ethiopian food. A fantastic night.
Buttt dim lighting and yknow what? Who blogs Valentine’s night?
So let’s rewind to Saturday, a day filled with sunshine, that magical thing far too lacking this time of year that incites neurochemical goodness: an upsurge of feel-good hormones in my brain.
Steve and I visited Bull Run, to take in the monumental site of the Civil War with the appropriate amount of reverence.
(to make absolutely clear, of COURSE he did a complete handstand. I just was too slow with the trigger finger to catch anything but the dismount).
It was a totally beautiful day, one that made you go “… it’s FEBRUARY?!”
Admittedly, a recent series of windy storms meant that the trail in places seemed a bit… haphazard.
(stolen from Steve’s blog about the same topic, in which he rhapsodizes about the same day very sweetly and posts a picture of me that I find, to be honest, pretty unflattering)
But we clambered atop and under the beautiful Old Stone Bridge (it’s apparently some tourist site, so here I am this girl canoodling with my boyfriend while out of town visitors take pictures hahahahaha). Down underneath we got to see some seriously awesome icycles (bad-ass-cycles, we called them.)
But but but you know the best part of sunny days?
(I realize that it’s slightly silly that there is snow in that picture, but I’m telling you, it was a beautiful day! Even I, the perpetually cold girl, thought so!)
Since Steve handled the planning and transportation of this voyage, I insisted on catering.
I made a delicious trio of sandwiches (though really I should’ve made four since I usually eat one sandwich and Steve eats three times as much as I do).
On the left, one of my favorites, apple slices, cinnamon, and almond butter; center, a newbie and oh so colorful and delicious, avocado and leftovers of what I’ll dub cheesy butternut chili (must remember to post about that!); and finally on the right, a Kath classic, cheese and jam: sharp white cheddar and lingonberry preserves for my Swedish-obsessed boyfriend.
Halved the sandwiches for maximum sharing; grabbed a hard-boiled egg and a bag of carrots for meal enhancement/fridge cleaning; and brought a farmer’s market apple for Steve and half a grapefruit for myself (cannot. stop. eating. them.).
In what I considered a stroke of genius, I grabbed a plastic spork that was randomly in my silverware drawer to eat my grapefruit.
Honestly, it was not all that successful. But fun in theory.
But seriously, butternut spiciness and avocado! So delicious! So beautiful in the sun!
Then there was quality lounging/staring at things.
Blue sky, daydreams of the future.
Thennnnnnn we returned to Steve’s via a circuitous route of grocery stops, all set out on an ultimate goal: DUMPLINGS!
We began with Whole Foods, to buy ethical pork. Cause pork dumplings are the besssssst. And then I had to just sort of wander through Whole Foods, obviously, sampling wine and cheese, ogling beautiful things, etc.
Then Food Star, the awesome awesome SO AWESOME market near Steve’s where they have every kind of tortilla on earth, gorgeous produce, and very very very few English speaking people. But no tofu or wonton wrappers.
So yknow then we just went to Giant.
And, thus successful (and at this point STARVING), we got to assembling.
Ground pork, ginger, garlic, finely minced mushrooms, finely minced carrot, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce.
Steve showed me his dumpling rolling technique (rather than moistening the wrapper with water, like a WIMP, he just rubs it all over with pork filling, hahahaha). We made us some dumplins.
He has a very intricate technique which involves stuffing all the dumplings into a pan together…
And then flipping them en masse..
They were magnificent.
(I ate 5, he ate the rest, which according to the above pictures is somewhere like.. 23?)
Meanwhile, he got to making his specialty, something I really have yet to adequately document: fried rice.
His method is noteworthy for being adorably OCD about keeping ingredients on one side of the pan, and also using tons of butter. This picture illustrates both!
Sauteed onion and tofu; sauteed then steamed peppers, carrots, and broccoli; sauteed mushrooms; an egg beautifully fried with scads of pepper…
BROWN rice (I love having a healthful boyfriend), cilantro (what MAKES it, I’m telling ya!)
And everyone all together, with soy sauce and teriyaki sauce and oyster sauce and cumin and chili paste and then scads of Sriracha just for good measure.
My whole fried rice experience is inexorably altered by virtue of having Steve in my life. I never knew what it could be.
Glo. ri. ous.
We sat ourselves down for another picnic, this one indoors :D
Hope everyone else’s past few days have been filled with sunshine :D