What with all the excitement of having Smucky here, I haven’t had a chance to post anything, which is okay because I haven’t really cooked anything spectacular. I figured I’d pop in and say hi this evening, though I still haven’t cooked anything spectacular, so you don’t forget about me. Food-wise, I am still recovering from the party last weekend. For example, I ate so many leftover chips with salsa as a snack late this afternoon that it wasn’t until 9:30 tonight that I even bothered asking Mark what he wanted for dinner. He told me not to worry about dinner, but I offered to make him some rice, his favorite food. He expected me to throw some sushi rice in the rice cooker and call it a meal – and he’d have been perfectly happy with that – but I simply can not serve a meal that consists entirely of rice. I am compelled to at least serve something on the side and include more than one vegetable. So here’s what I did:
I made the sushi rice as normal: sprinkling it with salt and sushi vinegar when it was done cooking, then mixing them in. Then I slivered about a cup of the yellow baby carrots I had leftover the party, as well as about 2/3 of an orange bell pepper. These I sauteed together with about half a cup cooked frozen edamame. Then I tossed the veggies with a sauce that consisted of 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons mirin, 2 teaspoons chili garlic paste, 3 drops stevia, and a splash of rice vinegar, thickened with a pinch of xantham gum.
I had much of a head of iceberg lettuce leftover, purchased to alleviate a party guest’s falafel craving, so I threw together a very simple salad of lettuce, carrot, cucumber, and celery. For the dressing I combined 3 tablespoons olive oil, a 1-inch piece of ginger, grated, 1 tablespoon mirin, salt and freshly ground pepper, and 3 tablespoons of a batch of kombucha tea that had turned to vinegar. The latter is a very mild, sweet vinegar which I wouldn’t expect anyone to have (it’s a mistake I even have it); to substitute for it, use 1 to 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (or sushi vinegar).
Mark entered the kitchen, perplexed. “I thought you were just making rice. There’s an awful lot of food here for ‘just making rice’.” I know. I can’t make anything easy. Sue me. Or eat the delicious results and shut up! Not counting the rice, which was just made in the rice cooker anyway, this meal took about 10 minutes to throw together.
Yesterday Mark and I drove up to Baltimore to go to Artscape, at the beckoning of Fortinbras. Despite the fact that I for years lived about a mile and a half from the area Artscape is held, I never managed to attend it while I lived in Baltimore. I discovered why yesterday. It’s full of people. Which isn’t to say Artscape isn’t cool or anything – it is – but it was very, very crowded and I just do not like crowds.
I was absolutely famished when we arrived, and I get very cranky when I’m hungry, so the first thing we needed to do was find food. Fortunately this was easy, and there was even a vegetarian food stand at the first food court we encountered. I was carrying a huge camera bag containing several lenses, the camera itself slung around my neck, as well as the lemonade I purchased to go with my meal, and the two “veggie chicken” kabobs I bought, yet I still managed to get a picture of the kabobs for you. Mark asked me what the heck I was doing, as he thought I was crazy. It was a bit crazy to stand in the middle of an extremely crowded festival wearing a heavy camera bag, holding a lemonade, and take a picture of two kabobs I was holding in one hand. Please enjoy the results of my insanity:
The kabobs were very good, but not filling enough. I had to return ten minutes later and get a veggie wrap. Then we started exploring the festival and trying to find our friends: in addition to Fortinbras, we were looking for our friends Brad and April. The Charles Street bridge near the Jones Falls Expressway was festooned in streamers and various sideshow booths. It was extremely crowded. You can see Penn Station in the background of this photo:
There are several art cars in Baltimore, many of which were at Artscape. Here’s my favorite, although I couldn’t get far enough away from it to show that there is actually a car under all those hands.
I noticed that what I had previously taken to be a bizarre but exclusively Northern Virginia phenomenon – teeth whitening and dental services at street festivals and county fairs – has migrated to Baltimore. Here’s an inflatable dental spa, because nothing says “I like art” like a dental spa:
Artscape is a free event. It encompasses three days, several square city blocks, and offers performances by nationally known bands such as Cake. I think Etta James performed a few years ago. But all of this is free, and you just sort of wander around and immerse yourself in the wackiness that can be Baltimore (wackiness is what I love about Baltimore). So I found this interesting:
Instead of actually walking around looking at the displays, listening to the music, and participating in the games, you can pay $25 to stand on the top of a parking garage and look at the tops of peoples’ heads. Um, no thanks? The crowds did get to us, though, so Mark and I sought refuge at our favorite bar, then skipped over to The Yabba Pot for dinner.
And finally, I just wanted to share this extremely cute picture of Smucky and Brachtune playing Uno:
I’ll have a real post for you this week, I promise!