As a (very) picky eater in my childhood, I know it amazes my parents that I go out of my way to eat vegetables on a fairly regular basis. While I love being able to buy veggies from the vendors at Eastern Market on the weekends, it’s also nice to have the option for vegetable delivery on the weeks that I may not have a chance to visit the market.
In the past we have been members of a CSA (community supported agriculture), but the commitment of paying for May through October in advance as well as having to figure out the pick up just wasn’t working out for us anymore. Last summer when we knew we were going to be gone for more than a month, we decided we couldn’t participate. Why pay for veggies you can’t eat?
Then we stumbled upon the Green Grocer which offers a variety of fruit and vegetable options — all local, all organic, and a mixed box that is part organic and part not — in a number of sizes that can be ordered on demand. It’s perfect! Once or twice a month, depending on travel and what’s in the box, I place an order. I typically go for the small organic box.
This week the veggie fairy left me red leaf lettuce, red potatoes, corn, blueberries, green beans, cucumbers, grapefruit, and vidalia onions. What I love (apart from the fact it comes to the door) is that you can swap out items. While I have gotten a lot better there are still some things I do not want (squash and mushrooms) and some things I can’t have (melon), so I am able to customize the box to be just items I know I will eat. You can also add additional veggies, herbs, and a wide range of other products to the order, but I usually stick with what’s included.
Now my fridge is stocked with healthy options and I can plan my menu for the coming week. I have to say that with all those potatoes I’m glad the weather has cooled off quite a bit so I will be able to cook them. Maybe someone will invite me over for a Memorial Day BBQ — I can bring the potato salad!
My hubby and I love to eat and due to his recent drought of anything decent for dinner (or breakfast or lunch) because of his stint in Afghanistan, we did our best to make up for it during our recent travels. Throughout our time in Turkey and Greece we found ourselves saying, “This will be our nice dinner,” (as if we that would only happen one time) more often than not. Of course, we hadn’t had any dinners together in 3 months, so we had reason to celebrate daily.
Our first night in Istanbul, we sat down to dinner after our long, sleep deprived day of (separate) travel and I proceeded to order 4 mezze before B chimed in, “Um, we are at a restaurant known for it’s grilled meats… Maybe we should order some meat?” Oops. So we added a meat dish to our order to share and I’m pretty sure the waiter thought we were a little bit crazy, but we ate everything. It was during that first dinner we discovered a mezze that became our favorite throughout the trip — Ezme. Ezme is a spicy tomato spread and it was delicious. For every meal afterward, if Ezme was on the menu we ordered it.
During our stay in Selcuk a few days later we enjoyed two wonderful dinners at Hotel Bella‘s roof top restaurant. The first night the weather was perfect for eating outside where we could enjoy the view of church ruins, a nearby castle and a few storks. The food we had — cacik (basically tzatziki), ezme, white bean salad, and green bean mezze dishes along with spicy kebabs for me and fish for B — was all delicious. A bottle of local Turkish Syrah rounded out the meal so nicely that we went back the next night. For our second dinner we dined inside due to a rain storm, but the meal was still delicious and we enjoyed the decor of the room and the company of our fellow travelers as we ate on long, low sofas.
We had a number of good dinners out in Greece as well, but our favorite spot (and a place we also went to twice), was Nireas in Rhodes. We headed there knowing we were in for a fancy dinner (the Lonely Planet mentioned lobster pasta…) and enjoyed our meal and the owners so much we had to go back the next night, despite the price tag. And the price tag was really only high since we had a starter, salad, two mains, dessert and a bottle of wine. A person could dine at Nireas without getting so much, but I don’t know why you would want to! We savored the evening’s special fava bean spread appetizer, a salad, calamari and shrimp stuffed with crab meat, and a delectable dark chocolate cake the first night and the second night had spicy cheese (warm feta with a spicy tomato concoction on top), pasta with shrimp and crab cakes as the main course, and cheesecake with strawberries for dessert. Each night we enjoyed a bottle of Greek wine (both were fabulous) as well as the complimentary limoncello the restaurant’s owner had made. What made this place so fun (apart from the fabulous food and very friendly owners) was that the second night almost everyone in the restaurant had been there the night before and liked it so much that — just like us — they came back!
Throughout the trip we tried to take pictures of our meals, but more often than not when the dishes arrived they looked so tempting we just dug right in. But even without images of everything, I’m so grateful that on top of all the gorgeous sites we saw during our two weeks together, we were able to share so many memorable nights out.
I’ve been back in DC for a little over a week and am starting to get settled in my new routine. The key change is that I have to make dinner for myself, something that my husband would normally take care of while I am at jazzercise. Alas, I’m on my own and despite not being very excited about cooking, I do love food and am trying to make healthy choices (most of the time) without the chef around to guide me. Because I usually can’t get started cooking until 7:15ish most nights and tend to be a hungry hippo when I arrive home from class, I’m also leaning toward meals that are relatively quick.
My first home cooked meal was veggie curry. Thanks to my hubby, the sauce — a delicious concoction of tomatoes, onions, fresh ginger, garlic, jalapenos, garam masala, and tumeric — was in the freezer, so this was a great choice for a post-work out dinner.
Step 1: I thawed the sauce (yes, we freeze our homemade sauce in recycled store bought curry jars… Easy to identify that way), pulled out the small le creuset, and cleaned some red potatoes and carrots.
Step 2: After chopping the veggies up, I sauteed them with some olive oil for about 10 minutes so they would start to soften up.
Step 3: Then I added the sauce and let everything simmer for about 30 minutes (okay this may not be the fastest option, but it is so good it was worth the wait).
Step 4: Once the veggies were soft, I topped my dinner portion with some nonfat sour cream et voila! Totally delicious (and healthy)!
In less than two weeks my husband will begin working in Afghanistan for a period of six-ish months. Although I have to admit I am not jumping up and down in excitement over here, it is a wonderful opportunity for him. One that he has been anxious to take on for quite some time and, because of that, I am happy that he will have the chance to embark on this adventure.
For me it means a few things in my routine will definitely have to change. Beside not seeing my favorite person at the start and finish of every day, I’ll have to make some other adjustments as well. I will definitely have to work harder to incorporate face-to-face human interactions into my daily life this winter. Between working from home and, well, living here if it wasn’t for jazzercise and my love of pastries made by other people I’d probably never speak to another human being. Thankfully we have lived in DC long enough that I have many lovely friends who won’t let me turn into a complete hermit — right everyone?
While my husband prepares to leave he has a lot of things to take care of on the work front, but he also is making his way through a very lengthy list of projects around the house. My favorite part of this list is the food portion. That’s right, his list has a food category. As readers may recall from previous posts, my husband typically does the cooking so getting used to making dinner for myself on a regular basis will also take some getting used to (and I am sure you will hear all about it).
Thankfully my darling spouse has filled our freezer with a variety of meals I can eat while he isn’t here to cook for me. He’s pretty much completed this section of the list based on how full the freezer is of soups including carrot ginger, french onion, leek and potato, and split pea, as well as with curry, hummus, and a few containers of chicken and black bean enchiladas. Can I just say that my husband totally rocks for doing this for me? Knowing that I will be able to eat a meal that he has prepared will help me feel a little closer to him despite the vast physical distance that will be between us. Now let’s just hope I don’t empty the freezer out during the first month!