Last week, I posted about my favorite nail color for spring, Come Here! by Essie. Well, I have a new favorite one. In the comments, my friend Osane commented that she liked light jade colors. Instantly intrigued, I decided to try it out for myself, and settled on “First Timer” by Essie. Done and done.
Also, that picture is deceptive, because I took it last Friday, when it was quite bitterly cold (like, 40 degrees and windy), and I was all bundled up, thinking it was a real shame for being mid-May and that bundled. But now it’s not cold. Now, it’s all 70-80 degrees for the next week! Por fin.
A couple weeks ago, I had panna cotta for dessert out at dinner one night. It was delectable: served in a glass cup, with a cherry compote top, I dug in and said to myself, I must make this. Every time I have panna cotta, I think it is so delectably good, but it never occurred to me to make it, because I thought it would be hard. Well, I made it the other night, and I am here to say it is one of the easiest desserts I have made in quite a while.
I think panna cotta just entered into my repertoire…
I found the recipe in The Italy Issue of Bon Appétit from May 2011. Yes, I have been saving it since then (it’s stocked with good recipes, and I am ashamed to admit it’s only now — May 2013 — that I’ve taken it upon myself to make a couple). Anyway, without further ado, here it is. Make it. I promise it couldn’t be easier or more worth it.
Lemon Panna Cotta
recipe from Jimmy Bannos, Jr. The Purple Pig, Chicago
from the Italy Issue of bon appétit, May 2011
Note: This recipe originally appears as “Lemon Panna Cotta with Lemon Marmalade” in the magazine, but I omitted the lemon marmalade in mine. I think it is good enough without it (and much easier to make, to boot).
1 cup whole milk, divided
2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
2.5 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
Peel from 1 lemon (removed with a vegetable peeler)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Pour 1/2 cup milk into a medium bowl and sprinkle gelatin over. Let sit until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine cream, sugar, lemon peel, and remaining 1/2 cup milk in a large saucepan. Scrape vanilla seeds from bean into saucepan; add bean. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
Bring cream mixture back to a simmer. Add gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved. Strain. Divide among six 3/4-cup ramekins. Chill until panna cotta is set, at least six hours, or up to two days.
Using a small sharp knife, cut around edges of each panna cotta. You could also loosen it by dipping the bottom of the ramekin in boiling water for a few seconds. Place a small serving plate atop each ramekin and invert, allowing panna cotta to settle onto the plate.
Or, you could instead serve it straight from the ramekin or little glass cups, and skip that last step.
Last week, I decided I wanted to re-read the Great Gatsby before going to see the movie in theatre, so that is what I’ve been doing. My Friday night activity included a glass of wine at the Coffee Studio (they serve wine & beer there during evening hours) with Heather, reading the Great Gatsby. And oh, it is lovely. I read it once in high school, but haven’t read it since, and I see it different now. I am very glad to be rediscovering it all over again. The prose itself is practically poetry, and I have this vision of F. Scott Fitzgerald trotting around Europe with his expat crew — I think it’s time to revisit Hemingway next.
[Daisy's] glance left me and sought the lighted top of the steps, where Three O’Clock in the Morning, a neat, sad little waltz of that year, was drifting out the open door. After all, in the very casualness of Gatsby’s party there were romantic possibilities totally absent from her world. What was it up there in the song that seemed to be calling her back inside? What would happen now in the dim, incalculable hours? Perhaps some unbelievable guest would arrive, a person infinitely rare and to be marvelled at, some authentically radiant young girl who with one fresh glance at Gatsby, one moment of magical encounter, would blot out those five years of unwavering devotion.
Who’s seen the movie? What did you think? I’m looking forward to it!
Spring time means it’s time for a new nail polish color. I was wearing black & navy blues during the winter, but now, it’s time for a pop of color. So now I’m wearing “Come Here!” by Essie… cute, no?
What’s your favorite nail polish color for the summer?
Goal #9 on my “Wish List for Life“, “Run a 5K (to accomplish something quantitative with my sporadic and uninspired running).” is soon to be checked off. I was not a runner in any way, shape, or form prior to December 2012. But I started small: two ten-minute runs buffered by walking a few minute in between. I’ve been doing this all winter, running on the treadmill at the gym, climbing up in speed and time with each month. And it’s been hard; not in the way you might think, but because it’s been winter, which in Chicago means getting dark around 4 p.m., and otherwise having snowy, slushy streets to walk through to get to the gym. I have things I’d rather do in the winter after the work than go to the gym; things that involve a nice dinner, reading, or watching a movie, but hey… I persevered, and look at me now! About to run a 5k!
This week, now that’s it May, I pushed up my run to the big goal: 30 minutes on the treadmill straight through. And I quit my gym membership, too, now that it’s summer (kind of — it’s still raining and 40 degrees today… oh yeah… have I mentioned that yet? That brief 80-degree spell was just a spring tease. Not that I’m surprised or anything.) In any case, my last day with the membership will be May 15th, and after that, it’s time to take this running outside…
So, we have arrived. And I registered for my first race, a fun, colorful, non-competitive 5k at that. Three weeks to go!
I took the first photo on March 1st, and the second one today, May 1st. What a difference two months makes! Spring has finally arrived, for real this time. Actually, it’s a little too hot (we Chicagoans have a way of complaining about the weather no matter what it is). Today it’s 80 degrees, just as it was yesterday, but that meant dinner on an outdoor patio at an Irish pub in my neighborhood, drinking in the good weather. I mean, Chicago just seems like a different city in the summer. And I feel different, too. More joyful. I haven’t been posting as often the past couple weeks because I think the cold weather was just plain wearing on me. One wonders what one is doing living in such a miserable climate…
But let’s save those thoughts for another day! Spring is here, so it’s time to forget winter, as I always do.
As mentioned, we did a lot of eating in San Antonio. So I wanted to share some of my favorites.
The picture above was taken at the Original Donut Shop, where I had the best flour tortillas of my life: warm, fresh, and flecked with salt, packaged flour tortillas (the only kind I’d had before) are a far cry from them. The Original Donut Shop is in a very unassuming location on the west side of San Antonio (apparently the fresh donuts are also amazing, hence the name, but I’ll have to wait till next time to try those). This place is no frills, no frills at all (the coffee wasn’t so great, served in a styrofoam cup accompanied by powdered cream), but you’re not there for frills or coffee: you’re there for the best breakfast tacos in San Antonio. I had bean & cheese and egg & potato tacos, and they were amazing. Enjoy.
When we arrived in San Antonio, Heather’s friend Marina picked us up from the airport and took us to the Luxury, a newer place on a quiet stretch of the River Walk. It’s a casual, hip, outdoor cafe, with more of an Austin vibe than old-school San Antonio. We all had the crispy fish bahn mi (crispy battered fish on a bun with shaved carrots, and a fried egg on top… yum), and some of the best housemade fries of my life.
That night, Heather and I went to the Sandbar for dinner, in the Pearl Brewery. The Sandbar is known for its fresh fish and oyster bar. The iceberg wedge salad with blue cheese was crisp and refreshing, and the key lime tart was delectable. The interior itself was rather sterile feeling, but I’ll be back… the food was amazing.
Friday night, we had dinner with Heather’s parents at Casa Rio on the River Walk. Casa Rio is very touristy, the food isn’t all that good, and we waited an hour just to be seated. But, as Heather’s parents said, you don’t go there for the food: you go there for the location. It’s really lovely to have dinner right on the River Walk, on a warm April night in San Antonio. Again, it’s a busy place, very popular with the tourists. There were also some rather intrepid ducks who bit us so that we’d feed them!
(For much better Tex Mex food than Casa Rio, try Los Barrios, old-school favorite restaurant of Heather’s grandparents.)
So, that’s the run down of where we ate in San Antonio. Can’t wait to go back to revisit them!
It’s fun to escape just for a weekend.
On Thursday, Heather and I took off for San Antonio — 7th largest city in the U.S., and Heather’s hometown. The weather was perfect there: 80 degrees, with a comfortable breeze, sunny, and not a cloud in the sky. Apparently, we got there just in time, though: in a few weeks, it’ll start to get insufferably hot.
We also ate a great deal: bean & cheese and potato & egg tacos for breakfast; puffy tacos (I thought I could handle it, but it turns out I couldn’t); fish tacos (basically, lots of tacos), sopapillas (basically, lots of Tex Mex). Things that surprised me: Their enchiladas are stuffed with cheddar cheese! Definitely interesting….
Saturday was more eating. We had lunch with her grandparents at their favorite restaurant, Los Barrios. And that night, we went to a wedding, and more eating ensued.
I was feeling a little sick by the end of the trip… Tex Mex is not the lightest fare in the world…
And Sunday it was back to Chicago! San Antonio was beautiful: lovely weather, friendly people, and an interesting and visible history. Looking forward to my next trip there.
It has been raining all this week here in Chicago. As I type this, I hear the pitter patter of rainfall outside my window.
The skies have been pretty grey as of late, too. Spring has finally arrived, and it brought a whole lot o’ rain with it. But April showers bring May flowers… right?
This weekend, however, I’m escaping all that. Heather and I are headed to her hometown of San Antonio, TX. I, for one, am looking forward to escaping this dreary Chicago spring weather, to leap fully into summer-like weather in San Antonio (80 degrees!), eating lots of good Tex Mex food, and exploring the city.
And I’m not bringing my computer along, either, so I’ll see you next week — back with pictures & stories!