June 6, 2013

crime scene

I have never set foot in a home depot, don't know the first thing about growing vegetables and certainly have never gotten my hands dirty planting anything. Unless you count planting my foot in the barneys shoe department (for the record, I do). 

She's got the right idea...

Well, that girl is possibly a thing of the past (with a little lot of help from some green thumbs, notably brian & 'the model-maker'). He happens to not only be a talented artist, but he successfully grows over 70 varieties of plants & could live off the land were World World Z to become a reality

Every year he generously offers heirloom seedlings and every year I refuse for the good of the plants. This summer though, I accepted, meticulously writing down his advice & dragging Brian all over creation only to discover that 'fabric smart pots' & organic fresh compost aren't as easy to find as you may think. Ignoring Brian's point that his 6 year old plants happily thrived on 'whatever soil & cheap pots they sell at home depot', I had my vision of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes happily thriving on my deck with their 'companion plants' and nothing was getting in the way. Ultimately we got them planted & my dream was well on its way to becoming a World War Z reality.  

© Brian Sorg
And then this happened. Sophie: 1 Habanero plant: 0...Rachel's control: minus 10 (per usual). Life. 

May 28, 2013

this dog.

Happy Birthday to our sweet Soph who is 3 today!

© Mutts Comics
In spite of this depicting each morning we'd be lost without that wet nose in our lives!

also. this:

May 24, 2013

words for the future.

© Bill Amend
Hopefully your experience is less like above and more like below...unless you're into singed eyebrows* & **. Once I thought it would be smart to grill corn in the husk by myself,*** ignoring the advice to soak them first, predictably lighting said husks on fire.**** All this while barefoot. It turns my talents are not of the pyrotechnic nature. I can open a bottle of wine with the best of them though. 

Photo © Brian Sorg
Lately we've been hooked on grilled veggies in the pan...toss whatever you have on hand with minced garlic, soy sauce, toasted sesame seed oil & your hot sauce of choice, and grill for 10-15 min. Ours are always any of the Bill Kim line...for these we used Belly Fire. Bill Kim doesn't mess around with heat so use accordingly!

© Gary Varvel
Many thanks & remembrance to all the veterans who have served & died for our country, and those who continue to serve & sacrifice each day to keep us safe.

© Seinfeld
*Uncle Leo. That is all. 
**Today I learned that a search on google images for 'singed eyebrows' is not something you should do. Ever. 
***Girl power.
****Girl power fail. 

May 22, 2013

a soggy outlook

© Bill Watterson
This morning I was Calvin. Metaphorically speaking, but only because it is Wednesday & I am not a small human. Last night Brian and I got into an argument over butter (truth) & my plan to swing by the farmers market before work and pick out the vegetable & herb plants we'll be growing was cruelly taken from me by what I consider my #1 enemy in life. 

via tumblr
It's as though this artist got into my head and depicted me perfectly. Except my hair would be in a ponytail... 

Not the 'ponytail' Gwyneth executes with ease, but the kind that happens when your hair refuses to cooperate in light of the rain, humidity & fact that you have no A/C because you just found out you have to replace the entire thing which is super cheap on opposite day. 

This is what popcorn looks like popped off the cob when it's soldiering around with Brian's pride and joy fully stocked bar. Cob popcorn is totally fun & awesome & delicious, especially with butter & not olive oil & I call that a compromise. Why, you ask? Let me recount the events:
Rachel: "I don't want any butter" as Brian is pulling out the butter from the fridge.
Brian: "Seriously? Who eats popcorn without butter?? What are you going to do then because I want butter." I would describe Brian's demeanor at this point as incredulous.
Rachel: "I want olive oil. I'm not eating butter, we can have separate bowls." It goes without saying that I am cool as a cucumber.
Brian: "You're not eating butter?? Since when?? A little butter is not going to clog your arteries. This is getting ridiculous." At this point we have reached disbelief & annoyance.
Rachel: "Since a while. It's not about my arteries, it's about the factory cows being abused and I can't support that." I'm in the chill zone because I know I'm right.
Brian: "Rachel, we never cook with butter. Except when we make popcorn. Which happens maybe every 6 months. I refuse to have separate popcorn bowls and I know you like popcorn with butter. I understand your point, but I also believe in moderation and living life." He's right. Per usual. Which isn't annoying at all. 
Rachel: "Fine. Make it your way* and tomorrow I'm buying butter at the farmer's market where they are good to their cows**." Which I did this morning. 
The point to this story besides how awesome I am at compromise? Life is short. Too short to let rain ruin your outlook***, too short to be so rigid & strict that you miss the big picture & too short to live without appreciation. I'm fortunate to have access to one of the best farmer's markets in the country & while I prefer my food animal-product free, there are farmers who treat their animals with respect, humanity & kindness & that is something to be thankful for. And something worth getting behind & supporting.

© Gary Larson
It could happen...

*Brian used 1/4 the amount of butter he would normally use, commenting that the popcorn 'tasted like the paper bag we cooked it in' but that he was compromising. Upon a few handfuls, I announced that I was fine if he wanted to add some more butter, which he refused on principle. And they say I'm the stubborn one...

**In an ironic twist, it was an old college friend that sold me the butter as he works for the dairy farm. I never would have run into him otherwise. 

***A special thanks to the boys behind the counter at Elaine's Coffee Call (who also support those farmers) for making it impossible for me to start my day wrong. Even if they do charge me an arm and a leg for my almond milk latte. 

May 21, 2013

a saturday story

In my quest to be more spontaneous (blue nails instead of black...which will never happen again) & go with the flow at the request of one certain photographer, we set out with no set itinerary besides the farmer's market. After wandering wrestling through throngs of strollers, I had no trouble loading up my backpack with produce & italian sausage for said photographer so we decided to wander escape to Old Town. We lunched at Old Jerusalem (round 2) with the lovely owner filling soph's water bowl when she ran out. Unfortunately, the strollers wandered over stalked us down, but fortunately I can glare all I want at unruly children when hidden behind massive Celines. Phoebe Philo must share the same aversion to small humans.

Brian wanted to check out North Avenue Beach which I assumed meant cruize the ladiez but turns out that was the case on opposite day. Instead, this group of pale bros caught his eye instead...and I'm okay with that. 

I call this 'There's Something About Mary, the G-Rated Version'. 

Next stop: a stroll through Lincoln Park where the brilliant least intelligent decision ever was made to let Soph run around, despite there being a flock of geese/ducks/babies in the vicinity. And a pond. I think you can guess what happened next...

 Yep, that's right. My herding, hydrophilic labradoodle chased the flock into the pond then proceeded to swim out and interact bark a foot away from the hissing geese until she got them in line. Completely ignoring Brian & my frantic calls, she was in the zone, herding that motley crew. I was borderline hysterical thinking she was going to get murdered by angry goose mothers, drown, or be taken by animal control. Brian was about to strip and go get her as it became clear after 20 minutes that she would need some prodding (to I'm sure the delight of the crowd that had gathered), when she finally turned around and swam to us. All with the flock of 40 that she had commandeered paddling right behind her. I've never been so relieved and angry in my whole life. I guess that must be what those mothers of those stroller children feel. Except my dog always behaves perfectly.

"This is my best day ever. I didn't even get the top of my head wet since I can doggy-paddle like a boss"

Photos © Brian Sorg 

After all that excitement, mom & dad decided they needed one many drinks. Kids these days.  

May 13, 2013


I posted a photo of this exciting purchase a few weeks ago and was recently able to put it to serious use at the Green City Farmer's Market, also know as a magical place to do local food shopping. One thing that should be apparent by now is that I excel at shopping on all levels. 

'Geeking out over lettuce' at Growing Power's stand. Little does Brian know that that is a total compliment as an intense discussion over the various subtleties of lettuces with the farmer who brought them to life them basically constitutes my best conversation ever .

Photos © Brian Sorg

Admiring my goods while soaking up the sun over a bowl of lentil soup & garlicky fava beans at Old Jerusalem...now this constitutes my best day ever.

sunglasses x celine, backpack x FleaBags + VPL via p45

May 8, 2013

all up in your grillz

Photo © Brian Sorg

The Green City Farmers Market's long anticipated outdoor season is here! For us that means one thing: vegetables on the grill. They're easy, quick & there are a million ways to prepare...but when you're fortunate enough to get farm produce so delicious on its own, simple is best. I eat vegetables by the bucket load & thankfully Brian is happy to partake, especially if the grill is involved. We always stop by Mick Klug Farm's stall to pick up whatever they have that day; in this case they had gorgeous purple asparagus (the thinner the better, in my opinion). 

Spears x Sorg
1 bunch asparagus
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lemons, zested & juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
Hearty amt of salt & pepper, coarsely ground

Trim bottom stems, throw above ingredients in a plastic bag and let marinate for an hour in the fridge. Heat grill, put asparagus directly on the grill, tossing every couple minutes, 5-7  minutes. 

Instructions from the grill-master:
- Eat these spears with your fingers, not a fork.
- Pair with Crooked Tree's 'Tilted Smile Imperial Pilsner' (*or a glass of sav blanc)