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Re: Wanderfood Wednesday: Epicurean despot (by mark at 5/09 2:16 PM)
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31 March 2010
WanderFood Wednesday: DC Foodies Do Good at Miriam's Kitchen
as seen on TV!

It's no secret that I'm both a foodie and a do-gooder, so I was really psyched to find a group that combines both of these pursuits. Started by acclaimed cookbook author Robyn Webb and fellow foodie Line Storgaard-Conley, DC Foodies Do Good gives folks a chance to sample the finer things in life *and* give back to those who have much less. Mark and I helped out at their January event serving dinner at Miriam's Kitchen, and also enjoyed a fabulous chocolate tasting in February. Good times.

DC Foodies Do Good were at Miriam's Kitchen again this week, serving breakfast, and I am so proud to show off the coverage they got on Fox's morning news! Check out my multi-talented man, who not only answers Holly Morris's questions with impressive aplomb, given the ungodly hour, but also pours and flips pancakes like a pro. Is he a keeper or what?

DC Foodies Do Good on Fox

Congrats, Robyn & team, for a great segment! There's also a lovely writeup and link to this video on HuffPo. I hope this inspires people to get out and volunteer, either with DCFDG or another group.

DC Foodies Do Good next events:
* April 7 - red wine & chocolate tasting
* April 25 - lunch service at New Endeavors by Women


Hop on over to Wanderlust & Lipstick's WanderFood Wednesday for more fantastic foodie posts.

RELATED LINKS:
* DC Foodies Do Good
* Miriam's Kitchen
* WanderFood Wednesday: chocolates around the world
* Holly Morris: DC Foodies Do Good
* Huffington Post: DC Foodies Do Good: Social Club Gives Back, Inspired By Love Of Food


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 2 comments


28 March 2010
Celebrating Joan at the National Cherry Blossom Festival

blossomtastic
blossomtastic

This year, I decided to celebrate my mom's birthday by volunteering at the National Cherry Blossom Festival. It was a beautiful, if slightly chilly, day to be downtown on the Mall.

The Cherry Blossom Festival lasts two weeks and tends to be one of those things Washingtonians do once or twice and then cross off the list. It marks the official start of tourist season, wherein legions of fanny-packin' clueless zombies invade the National Mall and clog up the Metro by not standing on the right side of the escalators. That being said, it's also a wonderful time to celebrate the classic beauty of our Nation's capital.

NCBF volunteers and our new Park Service friend
NCBF volunteers and our new Park Service friend

The focal point of the Fest is the Tidal Basin, where thousands of cherry trees frame the Jefferson Memorial. (These trees were presented in 1912 by the mayor of Tokyo, to replace the original batch, which all died of disease a few years earlier.) However, this year the organizers moved the performances, and the info booth, to the Sylvan Theatre Stage. You may remember this stage from such memorable gigs as American Giant's May 2009 show. It's at the base of the Washington Monument, which is a pretty kickass setting. There are plenty of cherry trees at this site as well, so even though the volunteers spent our time at this location we were able to see lots of blossoms.

Kyo Daiko troupe from Philly
Kyo Daiko troupe from Philly

All in all, it was a great way to commemorate my mom while doing some community service and getting some fresh air. Happy Birthday, JEZ!


RELATED LINKS:
* browse all Cherry Blossom pics
* Celebrating Joan with the first seedlings of the season
* I'm with the band
* Celebrate Joan, a site to celebrate the bright & shiny life of Joan Zamborsky
* National Cherry Blossom Festival official site | performance schedule


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments


17 March 2010
WanderFood Wednesday: I <3 kale

kale veggie stirfry
kale veggie stirfry


This is the perfect time of year to wax poetic about kale.

Still with me? (You're a hardcore bunch of readers and I LOVE you for it!) Allow me to 'splain. We all know that kale is a superstar veggie, ridiculously chockfull of vitamins and minerals and sooooooo good for ya. It's one of the world's healthiest foods. But it's not all that celebrated in its raw form, most notoriously known as salad bar garnish because of the rigidity of its leaves.


nagoya kale
nagoya kale seedlings

Well, I'm excited to be growing several kinds of kale in the garden this year. So I did a bit of research and found some fabulous recipes befitting this fabulous vegetable. One particular recipe, a sausage & kale soup I found in an organic seed company's newsletter, has become my new favorite food and I've been singing its praises every chance I get. The recipe is pretty simple -- spicy turkey sausage, fat-free chicken broth, a ton of kale & garlic, and some cannelini beans, with a dash of your favorite spices to kick it up a notch -- and is really easy to make. It freezes well too. Everytime I eat this soup, I feel like Popeye! It's been a truly awesome tool to battle the nasty colds going around in this season of transition. And the massive amounts of garlic have helped keep vampires away. :)


lacinato kale
lacinato kale seedlings

We'll see how my two types of kale -- a purplish nagoya and an heirloom lacinato -- do in the garden. So far the seedlings seem to be pretty robust, and I've been hardening them off for a few hours outside each day, but I haven't had the chance to actually put them in the ground yet. They'll definitely go in soon, as kale (like fellow brassicas broccoli and cauliflower) flourishes in cool spring weather. I am *so* stoked about the possibility of lots and lots of fresh kale coming straight from my front yard! BTW, the pic at the top is from a kale-barley casserole recipe. It was a bit bland the first time around, so I'm going to experiment with it some more. The stirfry was just gorgeous, though.

If you have any favorite kale recipes, send 'em my way!

Hop on over to Wanderlust & Lipstick's WanderFood Wednesday for more mouth-watering pics.

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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments


09 March 2010
Requiem for a sassy gal
RIP Nana Zamborsky, 9/4/10 - 3/7/10

sassy, and way ahead of her time
sassy, and way ahead of her time

When someone is just a few months shy of hitting 100, you pretty much expect the call to come any day. But, secretly, we thought  somehow she'd outlive all of us.

from her early nursing days
from her early nursing days

On Sunday, March 7, the Zamborsky family lost our matriarch and grande dame. Nana Z was just a few months shy of her 100th birthday. Zs will be gathering from far and wide next week to pay tribute, and there will be many stories and much homage to this strong, sassy, amazing woman. Here's my two cents. I'll try to keep it short, since she wouldn't want anyone to make a big fuss over her. 

an early Christmas with Pop-pop (check out the stash of booze!)
an early Christmas with Pop-pop (check out the stash of booze!)

with Barb and Ed and a fabulous fur!
with Barb and Ed and a fabulous fur!

She wasn't the cookie-baking, kiss-your-boo-boos-away kinda grandma. And that's exactly what we loved about her. She was a tough lady, no doubt about it, most notorious for getting us to shine all the doorknobs in the house whenever she came to babysit. But we could ride our bikes over any time to visit, and she always had a Hershey bar ready from her stash. Perhaps even a forbidden Diet Coke. And she bailed me out of a tough spot on more than one occasion, with practical advice or a safe harbor to come vent or perhaps sometimes even a little white fib, if that's what was needed.

McDonalds with Nana was always a special treat
going to McDonalds with Nana was always a special treat

stories around the dining room table
stories around the dining room table 

Nana was way ahead of her time with notions like "fish is brain food" and "get out and exercise every day!" She was a celebrated storyteller, a guardian of Zamborsky family lore, and her sense of humor was legendary. The last time we visited her, one of the nurses made a point of telling us how much he enjoyed her wit and how she cracked him up. She always cracked us up, and herself too, with her knee-slapping cackle. I sometimes find myself cackling like that too -- although I haven't gotten the knee-slapping thing down -- and can only hope that a small piece of her indomitable spirit lives on.

everyone's favorite cackle
everyone's favorite cackle

Nana Z, role model and ultimate sassy gal, we will all miss you. I hope you're enjoying an excellent hand in that Great Bridge Game in the Sky. And I bet by now you've got 'em shining up the Pearly Gates until they can see their faces in the reflection!

November 2009
November 2009... still telling stories and keeping 'em laughing

Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 1 comment
05 March 2010
Photo Friday: Batu Caves

exported Western culture at its best
exported Western culture at its best

addiction to high-fructose corn syrup, a family affair
addiction to high-fructose corn syrup, a family affair

During our 2008 trip to Southeast Asia, we spent a short time in Kuala Lumpur and visited Batu Caves. The cave complex, filled with monkeys and tourists alike, has a bit of a tacky tourist trap feel to them, but there's still plenty to explore.


god and moneychanging, a classic pairing
god and moneychanging, a classic pairing

The first thing to confront visitors is a giant gold statue of the Hindu deity Murugan. And then it's up the steep numbered stairs to the cave entrance. During festivals like Thaipusam, devoted pilgrims supposedly crawl up all 272 stairs on their hands and knees. We opted to walk.

hi-ho, hi-ho, it's up the stairs we go
hi-ho, hi-ho, it's up the stairs we go

oktapodi is proud to make it to the top
oktapodi is proud to make it to the top

Inside the cave complex are ornate Hindu shrines where worship still takes place. There were a few ceremonies going on while we were there. Mostly, though, the caves are brimming with tourists snapping pictures of and feeding snacks to the abundant monkeys, who know a good gig when they see it.

Batu Caves complex
Batu Caves complex

second set of stairs to the upper chamber
second set of stairs to the upper chamber


Our visit to KL was one of those "best of times, worst of times" experiences, as you can see if you check out the original blog post (link below). But in retrospect I'm glad we took the time to check out this extraordinary site. It was a bizarre combination of natural wonder and wonderfully cheesy.

For more great travel photos, be sure to visit Delicious Baby's Photo Friday.


RELATED LINKS:
* browse all KL pics
* original KL blog entry
* Indie Travel Podcast has a great "travel talk" episode on Batu Caves and a thorough KL city guide

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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 1 comment
03 March 2010
WanderFood Wednesday: steamed small meat buns

steamed small meat buns
steamed small meat buns, Shanghai style

Every once in a while, it's fun to go back to an old recipe you haven't made in some time, just to see if your chops have improved. Back in the day, when we were just wee fledgeling foodies, the dish we'd bring out when we really wanted to impress someone came from the "China the Beautiful" cookbook. Steamed small meat buns, while having the added bonus of a kickass name, seemed pretty advanced to us back then. The recipe involves several steps of preparation and assembly, and requires a bit of organization to execute properly. It generally elicited a satisfying chorus of oohs and aahhs from guests, except for that one time our friend Jeannette busted us out for serving Safeway brand duck sauce. D'oh!

assembled and ready to be steamed
assembled and ready to be steamed

Well, I'm tickled to say, we made this dish again recently, and were pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to pull off! I actually made it nearly singlehandedly while Mark was preparing another dish. OK, we cheated a bit by using store-bought wonton wrappers, rather than making the dough from scratch. But the resulting dish was just as oohh-and-ahh-worthy as ever!

the finished product
the finished product

Shiny and aromatic and fresh from the steamer, the biggest challenge is to wait until these little beauties are cool enough to eat without burning your fingers! This time around, Mark mixed together some soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper flakes for a tasty dipping sauce. No Safeway duck sauce... we've learned our lesson there!

China the Beautiful cookbookThis dish is from the China the Beautiful Cookbook.


Hop on over to Wanderlust & Lipstick's WanderFood Wednesday for more mouth-watering pics.

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please help us spread the word!
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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments