Friday, April 22, 2011

avant garden

 this past weekend becky and i ventured to the treme to check out avant garden, an arts market hosted by constance, a local new orleans arts organization. the wares ranged from vintage clothing and records to stationary printed on recycled paper and furniture made from salvaged wood (see the coffee table below? those etchings in the wood are actually old termite tracks. eeps!). my favorite vendor (also pictured below) was jewelry artist nailah ricco, whose etsy shop you just have to see. i'll just go ahead and add it to the list of totally-unique-and-badass-things-you-get-to-do-in-someone's-backyard-in-new-orleans.

Monday, April 18, 2011

just a few things from the weekend...

 slow-cooked carnitas tacos (i used this recipe with a few edits - namely, more chicken stock!)
 chopped onions for homemade onion dip
 hilarious new sunnies at crawfest 2011
blast from the past: brought out my old box full of embroidery thread (friendship bracelets, hello!?) for an ambitious project 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

how to can pontchatoula strawberries*

so i had to do something with my abundance of strawberries. chocolate-covered? been there, done that. on top of pancakes? already used a container for that over the weekend. i don't have a waffle iron, so strawberry belgian waffles were out. other than freezing some, eating some with cereal, and having some in a bowl sprinkled with sugar, i still had about 10 lbs of strawberries to tackle. so, like any self-respecting polish person, i called my grandma and figured out how to can those babies. it was surprisingly easy and will be gratifying if i can wait long enough to eat them. wanna know how i did it?

not everyone raise your hands at once, please.

i learned how to sterilize jars here. unfortunately, there is no such convenient link to my 20-minute conversation with my grandma, so here goes:
  1. you need fresh strawberries and sugar** (seriously, that's it)
  2. wash the strawberries thoroughly. important: do not cut off their stems until after they've been washed! otherwise, they will soak up way too much water
  3. cut off the stems and dab the berries with a paper towel. place all the berries in a bowl and add enough sugar so that each strawberry has nice little comfy sugar coat. cover the bowl and put it in the fridge overnight
  4. the next day (i waited approximately 24 hours), place the strawberries along with their juices in a pot and cook over low heat, while you sterilize the jars. let the berries cook down a little (see the "before" and "after" photos below!)
  5. while the jars and strawberries are still hot, fill each jar to the top and cover right away. flip the jars over (this is really to see if you've closed them properly), cover with a dishrag or towel and let them cool. DONE!
note: if, down the line, you notice the berries have become puffy or the cover of the jar has puffed up, do not eat them! they've gone bad. have a berry funeral and move on.
*please note: strawberries other than festival strawberries will work just fine, i guess
**try your darnedest to ignore that little voice in your head saying, "use splenda! it'll taste the same!" it won't. trust me. and you shut your mouth, little voice.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

oh, the places you'll go!

before i begin, let me first apologize for the lack of human subjects that you actually might know or recognize in my posts (namely, me, marty, becky, etc). the heat has arrived and outdoor activities and restaurants such as the one featured in this post just aren't conducive to attractive picture taking. that said, i think the photographs in this particular instance might speak for themselves. on our way to strawberry fest, my friends amanda and rob and i stopped at middendorf's for lunch. we had some delicious, super-thin fried catfish, cornbread hushpuppies, stuffed crab, oysters and shrimp - and we got to enjoy it all on a deck on lake maurepas (and i got to dip my toes in the sand, even though it wasn't a real beach!).

Monday, April 11, 2011

pontchatoula strawberry festival

festival season is definitely upon us! i spent the weekend eating and sweating my way through two festivals - french quarter festival and the pontchatoula* strawberry festival. i didn't take any photos at the french quarter fest because i was concerned about injuring my camera with the gallons of water that were pouring from my face and hands. in pontchatoula the situation repeated itself but i'd never been so i couldn't not photograph the experience for my mom. i walked away with some delicious pepper jelly, a tray of 12 cartons of strawberries (jarring adventures to come!), and some lovely tan lines.
*good luck pronouncing that, chicagoans!

Friday, April 8, 2011

gone crawfishin'

liz - my and becky's beloved crawmama - introduced us to fisherman's cove in kenner this past weekend (following our little adventure outside the law). i cannot even tell you how many lbs of these delicious little crawfishies we ate. yes. there were multiple lbs.
ps - nola friends: crawfish boil this saturday for a good cause

Thursday, April 7, 2011

wednesday at the square!

my favorite weekday new orleans activity has returned! after work today becky and i headed to wednesday at the square to see trombone shorty, eat some crawfish queso and relax a little after a long day. the weather was perfect, the music was amazing (we'll definitely be going to see trombone shorty again this weekend at french quarter fest!), and it was just what we needed to get us through till friday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

and the award for the coolest thing i've ever done in new orleans goes to...

a few weeks ago, marty and i had the pleasure of getting an invite to a tiny courtyard concert. it all started with an email from my friend cheryl, who is a huge fan of pearl and the beard. the band played sxsw in austin and they were supposed to stop in new orleans on their way back up north (they're originally from brooklyn). when suddenly new orleans disappeared from their website, cheryl emailed them to ask why?! apparently the venue had fallen through, so cheryl offered to find them a place to play. what she found, through her incredible network of friends, was the most beautiful, dreamy courtyard on tchopitoulas street. chef aron made red beans and rice, collard greens and rosemary cornbread (!!!), and the gals and guy of pearl and the beard shared their talent and music. neither marty nor i had ever heard of pearl and the beard, but as soon as i heard key words such as "intimate outdoor concert" and "our chef friend will cater" and "new york times-acclaimed band...," i was sold and so was mart. we were thrilled. it was, as the title of this post suggests, the coolest thing i've ever gotten to do in new orleans, if not my life (yes, i went there).
check out pearl and the beard on their website, facebook, youtube, and see their sleepover shows here, here and here.