My kitchen had a brief stint with a wasp nest this past weekend. Our landlord came over to do a quick patch up job on the ceiling in the far right corner of the kitchen. Water has been leaking into the kitchen every so often over the last … year or so? It’s only happened a few times but the water and falling paint has ruined some chocolate that we were storing in that back corner. The five minute patch up job evolved into a 6 hour project that, at one point, revealed that wasps were leading a cozy life just under the roof.
In the cartoon version of this scenario, our Landlord (wearing overalls and a big grin) knocks on a tiny door in the ceiling that opens up to a wasp in a wife beater with a Jersey accent and a comb-over. Behind him, his 25 wife wasps with baby wasps chilling on a tiny wasp couch watch re-runs of wasp Soap Operas ignore the large human with a curious face. Our landlord serves the wasp in a wife beater (lets call him Bob) a teeny-tiny notice of eviction. Bob looks dolefully down, furrows his tiny insect brow and shrugs his shoulders. He walks over to his wife wasps holding their wasp babies and tells them the news. “Thank the Wasp Gods! This place is practically a slum!” They buzz back. Apparently they’d outgrown their digs and were looking for a move anyway. They pack up their bags (tiny wasp sting-brushes, wing sweaters, flight goggles) and get really drunk before they bumble through the kitchen and outside to greener trees or bigger roofs.
The real story is that our Landlord sucked them all up with a vacuum.
So, in lieu of hanging out while wasps were being sucked up and drywall was flying, we went out to eat at Mas for the first time.
Mas is a Spanish tapas place. THE Spanish tapas place in Central VA. It’s expensive, always packed, and the service is slow by American standards (fast by Spanish standards). Who cares. It’s easy to forget your kitchen is filled with drywall dust and poisonous bugs when your mouth is full of Sangria, smoked tomatoes in olive oil, and goat cheese artichoke spread. Crispy, salty patatas bravas with a homemade, yolk-heavy aioli and a thick Spanish egg and potato tortilla rounded out the meal. Mas is not a vegetarian restaurant by any means. But they take the extra step to source ultra-local veggies, meats, and spices and use the best quality olive oil and salt I’ve ever had at a restaurant. I was giddy that they had a handful of tapas and raciones that were either naturally veg and gluten free or could be eaten without the (completely delicious looking) house made wheat bread.
We liked Mas so much that Logan and I have decided that instead of spending money a couple of times a month on eating out at so-so spots, we’re saving up our money to go to Mas every month or two. It’s worth it.
And eggplant! Is eggplant under appreciated? I feel like it is, mostly. I mean, how do most people eat it? Eggplant parmesan, right? Babaganoush if they live near some Lebanese folks with a restaurant. And yet eggplant is SO easy to prepare at home. And all it needs is a rub of olive oil, salt, and garlic and a splash of a good sauce to make it a meal (at least in my house).
There are foods that remind me of Summer adventures in the mountains, along beaches, close to bonfires that snap and wing embers up into darkening night time. Recipes that ghost flavors on your tongue, that flash images behind your eyes. Burnt, sweet, sticky, the smell of charring pine branches and sweat, wet smoke curling and clouding up. Watching milky white marshmallows blacken and catch flame, searing, expanding. Scraping them off of your stick with your teeth. Seeing that we’re now caught in the wave of heat and humidity that brings stone fruits into fullness, I think of camping and farmers markets. I sit in memories of dusty-hot, side-of-the-road farm stands eating unwashed peaches and letting the fuzz spread over my hands and itch against my lips. I see the memory, feel the thought, taste the fruit. Thought catching me up like a wave, tossing and submerging me. I sink in it, tumbling, scraping bottom. And then I pop up above the snapping water, watch a couple of gently rolling thoughts wash by, and submerge again.
And that’s the rub. We sink and rise, sink and rise. We watch the waves pass even as we get tossed along. And then I’m back, sitting on a cat pillow on the floor in my living room writing with my computer propped on a coffee table. A sparrow passes by my window. The rain’s just cleared up.
Filed Under: Chocolate, Dairy Free, dessert, Gluten Free, Vegan Tagged With: chocolate, coconut oil, dairy free, dessert, ghee, gluten free, graham cracker, honey, low glycemic, low sugar, marshmallow, peach, potluck, smeach, soletspigout, summer, sweet, vegan
My week, in food & drink.
A bottle of white wine, a tub of hummus, and chips absorbed over giggle snorts and heart sharing with Lauren Stonestreet of Elle Effect post a sweaty bike ride uphill to her house.
A pan of brownies plus an unmarked bottle of Michael Shaps Odette 2013 yet-to-be-released-officially noshed and sipped between me and my band mates during practice (we’re prepping for a gig at Pippin Hill on Sunday). I had to hide the brownies to keep Logan from eating the half-pan of leftovers for breakfast.
Logan roasted green coffee beans for the first time on Tuesday. Ultra light roast. The brew tastes like peanut butter.
A massive bowl of lentil kale pasta salad with the most badass red pepper dressing (coming up on the blog soon) that Logan, our friend Steve and I happily ate while they played Super Smash Bros after work (ritual male bonding + nostalgia + decompressing + badass salad = happy doods).
A giant jar of gluten free graham crackers I made for a special post coming up tomorrow but that also got eaten with almond butter, honey, and blackberries. They made a great snack plain during a long drive to pick up some new chocolate equipment in Jersey, too.
Sunny side up eggs with heirloom tomatoes and toast with ghee as emergency refuel after 4 hours of sleep. Then we did some moving of furniture. Then we slept all day and watched the last season of The Mentalist.
And now on to the booze! This kiwi prosecco cocktail is about as easy as a blended cocktail gets. It’s got the whole fruit in it, not just the juice. So you might even be able to tell yourself it’s kind of healthy. It’s green, right? Just don’t sub it out for your morning smoothie (do sub it out for your mimosa). To get the recipe for my Kiwi Prosecco Cocktail head over to Cocorrina‘s blog. Enjoy!
The humidity seems to lean into the city as we all stretch into August. It’s almost its own person as its half of everyones conversations. It digs itself into our town like heels into wet sand. It wraps around me like a wool coat as I leave the house, mount my bike, and cycle out to grab avocados from the closest grocery or pick up thank you cards from a little letterpress studio. We’re in the thick of Southern Summer now, AC turned up, white wine and beer chilling in the fridge to help escape the memories of heat in the barely blue-dark evenings. A time to seek out swimming holes and pick-your-own berry farms and shady spots for picnics.
And yet I hang out in my house, editing photos and taking pictures of food and (lazily) planning a wedding. My wedding. It’s 3 months out and I’m realizing that I’ve barely done anything wedding related in almost two months. I went to the venue with my planner (an awesome friend who happens to be an artist, florist, gardener, and professional event coordinator!!!) and Logan, organized some stuff with tent and lighting rentals (it’s an outdoor wedding), and bought maybe one or two decoration things (some baskets I’ll be filling with bread and fruit and laying out on the long farm tables).