Monthly Archives: June 2011

Bon Iver

do not walk, run to buy this album.

Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) does it again. No it is not recorded in solitude in a cabin in the middle of nowhere in the dead of winter this time. It has both lushness and sparseness, highs and lows, and really makes me reflect on what I’m doing with my life as it plays. I have had it as my soundtrack continuously over the last week or so.

It was accidentally posted on itunes before the scheduled release date because of some faux pas, was then live streamed on NPR for a few weeks prior to its release, and Vernon was on a few late night shows covering Bonnie Raitt and whatnot.

Standout tracks– Perth (the snare drums are spot on); Wash. –which brings tears to my eyes. and Michicant. (what a punny word eh?) The album ends on this throwback 80s soft-rock/quiet storm bit filled with synthesizers. so enjoy.

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Ghanian Adventure

My good friend and former co-worker Karen is from Ghana. Her father was Ghanian and her mother is British….come to think of it, she didn’t come to the states until she was much older. …..I forget this until I hear her talking to people in the dialect she grew up speaking.

At any rate, we live in the same apartment complex, and she mentioned that she would like to take me to eat Ghanian food if I was interested. Which of course, I was. We made a little jaunt out to Northern Philadelphia, to a place that will remain cloaked in anonymity because I cannot remember the name and didn’t write it down.

It is a little mom and pop establishment, slow cooking things throughout the day, so if  a dish runs out, it is gone until the next day.

Below are a few dishes.

Before I share them, one thing. You eat with your hands. Actually, your right hand (to be culturally sensitive). So they even give you a bowl of warm water with soap, to wash your hands prior to eating. I’m a leftie, through and through…..so I didn’t succumb to social pressures. 🙂

that is Kelewele– fried plaintains seasoned with pepper and citrus. quite yummy.

that is an entire tilapia. grilled. complete with its head attached. messy to eat without utensils. but oh so satisfying.

that is Kenkey- cassava that is boiled, then mashed into a paste, and then I believe baked in a corn husk (kind of like a tamale). It has a sour-ish taste, reminscent of Ethiopian injera. the sauce next to it is tomato, pepper, onion, and lime. you’re supposed to break off pieces, mold it into a ball in your hand and then dip it into the sauce.

that is Karen’s meal- Omo Tuo and peanut butter soup. that is sticky rice to the right, and then a savory soup with unsweetened peanut butter as a base….it’s very earthy and has meat in it…i believe it’s beef? I’m not sure.

All in all a very yummy and educational experience. I would go back!

The ladies at the restaurant tried to convince me not to get the kenkey because they thought I wouldn’t like it. (oh the assumptions about American palates!) They were very impressed that I liked it.

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a garden and a penitentiary

this weekend was enjoyable and full despite being on call saturday.

Friday night my friend Karen took me to eat Ghanian food (she is from Ghana) in Northern Philly. Stay tuned for a few pictures from dinner.

This post is about the Eastern State Penitentiary, which I went to see with my friend Ayschia, and a brief intro to my church’s garden.

there is my group’s plot above. and me holding a collard green leaf.

The Pen: apparently the first of its kind ever to exist—-the idea of prisoner reform and being “repentant” or paying “penance” for their crimes. It was designed by a young architect to instill fear in the general public (i.e. the fake castle facade), while being solitary confinement for the inmates complete with their own personal exercise garden.

….these lofty ideas went out of the window when the prison overcrowded…..but I digress. It has been out of use since 1971, when it was realized that the prison was too small and also in the middle of a nervous city, seeing as it was maximum security.

They have Halloween events, are open daily for tours, and even have an annual reunion with ex-prisoners and ex-guards.

There are lots of other fun facts too—Al Capone was imprisoned here for a short time, etc. But I’ll stop while I’m ahead.

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A Little Quiet

So I’ve slowed down a bit on posting. Mostly because I’ve been a bit busy, and I’ve  seen how subpar my iphone is at taking pictures of things.

I’m going to get a new camera today, so stay tuned. While I’ve been away, I have done some baking—a chocolate chip cookie pie courtesy of “How Sweet It Is” and a chocolate cake courtesy of “FoodLoves.”

For now, I leave you with a review of a favorite of mine here in Philly.

Pub & Kitchen: the picture is above.

It is one of those classy Gastropubs with artisanal beer, farm-to-table produce, cheese, and meats, creative and classic cocktails (I happen to REALLY like alliteration).

There are no reservations, you just kind of come up and are seated when there is room available.

It has the romantic mood lighting, and everything is wooden….which isn’t the most comfortable, but it does have a charm.

Definitely a great place to meet with a few close friends for a bite.

My favorites?

The Churchill burger- which is a smoked beef burger with cheese of your choice and broiled onions.

The Mussels

The Cheese Platter

If you imbibe, there are beers galore (including one called the “speckled hen” as well as some summer special that incorporates Gin, cucumber, lime juice, and tonic water.

CHEERS!

PUB & KITCHEN

1946 Lombard St

Philadelphia , PA

*photos courtesy of  “a hamburger today” & “visit philly”

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Robyn

 

My friends, that blurry picture above is ROBYN.  Swedish pop singer extraordinaire.

SUCH a good concert. Pick up Body Talk 1, 2, & 3.

 

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if Mutants existed

Last night I saw the new X-Men. and it was great. I always enjoy the x-men movies….maybe because part of me wishes that mutants did exist. And that there are people who are different but have so much to contribute. And of course the idea of the “minority” that is misunderstood and feared makes sense to me.

They picked the perfect person for each role. I had such hurt in my heart for Magneto (Erik) and you realize that Professor X is actually quite normal and guilty of taking people for granted, being superficial, while still being kind and idealistic.

Great backstory. I just wanted more of the recruitment of other mutants AND the school’s first days.

GO AND SEE IT!

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Strawberries forever

this is why I clearly need a new camera….at any rate, I’m a fan of strawberries. Always have been. I went to the Union Square Market last Summer with some friends and bought them fresh from a farmer’s stand. They were so tiny and sweet, and fragile. A far cry from the jumbo and often flavorless ones you find in the grocery store. I bought two pints from the farmer’s market last Saturday, along with some rhubarb:

to make a pie. I opted for a strawberry-rhubarb crumble Pie.

I made my own crust, because I enjoy doing it—–

the KEY is using cold ingredients—cold butter and ice water, and not mixing it too much.

My friend Telsa graduates today from her graduate program, so I’m taking this little darling over for the celebration tonight.

I hope to make strawberry ice cream this summer as well….but I also told my friend Donnie, that I would try my hand at Shinerbock Ice Cream too.

We’ll see!

And I’ll get a new camera so that I can actually do everything justice.

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB CRUMBLE PIE (courtesy of Taste of Home)

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 pound rhubarb rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces or sliced frozen rhubarb, (about 3 cups)
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, halved
  • 1 unbaked pie shell (9 inches)

  • TOPPING:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed

Directions

  • In a large bowl, beat egg. Beat in the sugar, flour and vanilla until well blended. Gently stir in rhubarb and strawberries. Pour into pastry shell.
  • For topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and oats; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit.
  • Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° bake for 35 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 8 servings.

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