Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chowhound

Hubs and I went to two new (to us) places this weekend.

Friday night, we packed up little man and headed to Giovanni's in Brandon for some pasta. The restaurant is small and tucked into a strip mall on Lakeland Drive.

I think one waitress was handling the entire restaurant, so service, while very friendly, was slow. Also, I think that she was on duty busing tables. As a result, there were quite a few dirty tables around.

I got the cheese ravioli, and hubs and little man both got spaghetti and meatballs. Both dishes were very good, with lots of tangy tomato sauce and tons of cheese. Both entrees also came with a dinner salad, and the house dressing was a tangy vinaigrette. Both hubs and I got iced tea, which tasted like it had been sitting in a pitcher for a few days.

Prices were reasonable, and the turtle cheesecake was gooey, creamy and delicious.

Verdict: I probably wouldn't return to dine-in at this restaurant. However, take-out would be a possibility.

I heard through the grapevine that Ding How, which has relocated to Old Canton Road in Ridgeland, serves dim sum on Saturdays and Sundays. You may be aware of how I love dim sum. In every city I travel to that has a Chinatown, I head over there and track down a restaurant that serves it. Now, I have a local fix!

The restaurant opens at 12 noon on Sundays to serve dim sum. However, I recommend that you show up at 11:45 a.m. or so, because when we showed up at noon, the restaurant was already filling up, and we had to wait for a table.

We loved the crab dumplings (delicious dressed with a bit of soy sauce), the edamame dumplings (something I'd never had before), the jasmine dumplings (with lots of garlic - YUM!), and, of course, the PORK dumplings. (Nom nom nom!) We also tried a shrimp and eggplant dish, as well as a chicken and sticky rice concoction wrapped in lotus leaves. We finished up with a coconut dumpling, so Clay could have a little something sweet. (Incidentally, I wasn't sure if he'd like dim sum, but that little rascal was scarfing down dumplings right and left! That kid makes me proud!)

Again, the staff seemed a little thin for the number of people that were in the restaurant. I'd also note that this was some of the most expensive dim sum I've ever had. For hubs, myself and little man, we spent about $35. (For a similar meal in a large city, we probably would have spent at least $10 less.) However, since Ding How is (to my knowledge) the only dim sum game in town, they can probably get away with it.

Verdict: I will most likely be back, but EARLY this time!

Fall yumminess

Clay is learning about apples and the letter "A" at daycare. I try to mirror classroom activities at home, so we've been reading Johnny Appleseed and getting ready for fall. We decided to make apple pies, and it was so much fun!

I got a little heart-shaped pie mold at Williams Sonoma, and We made four delicious hand pies. They lasted less than an hour at the house. Here's how we did it.

Crust
(This is the crust recipe that came on the pie-mold box. We halved it to make four pies instead of eight.)
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 sticks butter, cut into small dice
6-8 Tbs. ice water
1/2-1 cup pie filling (We made our own; see below.)
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water
In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and 2 Tbs. sugar. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and pulse just until a dough ball forms. Refrigerate at least two hours.

Pie Filling
We peeled and finely chopped three apples, added cinnamon, a little sugar, some allspice, a dash of vanilla extract and a few handfuls of dried cherries. Mixed well, then threw in a bit of flour (for thickening) and cooked in a small saucepan until the apples were getting soft. We ended up with way more pie filling than we needed for four hand pies, but we've been topping waffles with it and eating is up in a variety of ways. (It is soooooo gooooood!!)

After rolling out the dough and making the hand pies (a couple of spoonfuls of filling go in each one), we baked for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Voila!! They were absolutely delicious, and I love that the portion size is reasonable. We will definitely be making these again!!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Streak

Over the past couple of months, I've picked my running back up. I go really early in the morning, because it's the only time the temps aren't sky high. Even so, it's pretty muggy out some days.

I remain insanely jealous of the male runners, who can throw on just a teeny pair of shorts and jog along to their heart's content. We women have to wear sports bras, and they literally go over the HOTTEST part of your body, where all the blood flow is concentrated.

I mentioned to hubs the other day that it wasn't fair how guys could run around in almost nothing and enjoy the cool breeze, while women had to layer up just so they wouldn't get locked in jail.

He asked me if I'd like to run topless.

I told him that it wouldn't really be practical for women to run without sports bras, because they are functional athletic clothing.

There was a pause.

Then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me. Women should be allowed to run bottomless.

That way, everyone's dangly parts are secured, and everyone gets to enjoy the morning breeze. Now THAT would be equality.