So… Menu-ing can be an interesting thing when life is particularly busy as it has been for the past three weeks or so. I had two very major events on March 24 – Yes, on the Same day.. basically back-to-back. The Senior Class Council, who I advise, does a craft fair every spring that is a fundraiser for the class and the International Student Association (ISA), who I also advise, do a multicultural event called the Taste of Cultures every year – this event involves performers, fashion, and “pot luck” food. Of COURSE they were the same day! Getting to campus at 7:30am (event officially from 11am-3pm) to get things started for the Shopping Bonanza with the Seniors and then at 3pm, as the first event ended and the vendors were working on departing, we started moving tables and rearranging for 140 people to attend the Taste of Cultures (event officially from 6pm-9pm). I don’t know how I would have done it without my Heart and my family, who were pick up / delivery people and who even did some cooking! So, obviously the week prior was crazy with prep and the week following was filled with events for the Champions of Character Week and then I was heading to a conference on April 1.. just in DC but still trying to get stuff together so I could be away a week – logistical nightmare. So Here is how those two weeks worked out:
Monday, March 19 (I feel like this is the LAST time I cooked.. and that is basically true) – Shrimp & Vegetable Lettuce Wraps
– These didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted but I think I know what I will do differently. I just have to not second guess myself on how to make it work.
Tuesday, March 20 – My Heart is amazing… I am just putting that out there! So the ISA needed someone to do a music mix for their dance number for the Taste of Cultures (note this is the Tuesday BEFORE the event) but they couldn’t find anyone who would do it without Charging them (that includes their “friends” who go to the University.. SMH) so my Heart said that he would do it. The ISA meetings are at 9:15pm on Tuesday evenings and we were there until 12:15AM on this night but it got done and he is a gem! To add to it all, we were going to go grab a bite to eat OUT before the meeting but, instead, he made pizza at home – You Know I LOVE Pizza Night! This one was deli roast beef with brie, chocolate cheddar & shredded cheddar plus mushroom with spinach between the top and bottom of the huge pita – YUM!
Wednesday, March 21 – My Heart was in DC for an event and I was at the Chef’s Challenge at the University. I know I should have taken photos but I didn’t have my camera (oddly enough). Anyway – our dining services company is Sodexo and they do a Chef’s Challenge every semester, inviting chefs from other colleges & universities to come to our campus for a friendly competition – this semester’s theme was Movies and the food was everything from crepes filled with ratatouille (the movie Ratatouille) to wings and mac & cheese (The Hangover) to shrimp & grits (The Help) and pit beef (Cowboys vs. Aliens) – I LOVE this event and this year’s competitors really stepped up their game. The winner is by popular vote: The Hangover won but I Totally voted for The Help .. the shrimp & grits was amazing!
Thursday, March 22 – I meet with the Senior Class Council ever Thursday at 8pm so my Heart generously volunteers to make dinner on Thursdays too. We had roast beef left so another pizza was perfect and quick. This was entirely different from Tuesday’s – deli roast beef, stilton, grainy French mustard, and shredded cheddar with spinach and balsamic between the top & bottom of the pita (so we can say we had some vegetable!)
Friday, March 23 – we went out but I have no idea where or for what (sad, I know)
Saturday, March 24 – how to put Saturday into perspective: I walked 23,751 steps (a total of 10.07 miles) and I never left the ONE floor of our building from 7:30am-9:30pm – CRAZY!
The day started with the Senior Class Shopping Bonanza
– The fantastic Senior Class Council totally made this event happen – we didn’t make quite the money we hoped to make (damned weather) but it was still a success.. the vendors were happy and the people who did come out seemed to enjoy the shopping experience!
Next – the ISA Taste of Cultures
which included a fashion show – dancers
and FOOD! Everything from Korean chopchae
(above) to pilau to good old American Mac & Cheese – everything was delicious and the evening was amazing and wonderful thanks to the hard work of the ISA members.
Monday, March 26 – My Heart was in Baltimore for an event – I have no idea what I did for dinner.. which is a little sad.
Tuesday, March 27 – Champions of Character week (Day two) – the Faculty/Staff Volleyball Spirit Night – picked up ChikFilA platters of chicken nuggets and tossed salads (which are really good for the price!) and brownies – not a bad turn out!
Then on to the gym to root on the Mustangs as they won their Volleyball matches before heading up for the Tuesday night ISA meeting.
Wednesday, March 28 – had meetings until about 7:15 and I was wiped out and thought about going out but my Heart whipped up this wonderful batch of nachos using the Trader Joe’s
Pork Carnitas we had picked up to try. Heated a bit in the microwave and then shredded then layered with corn tortilla chips, salsa and shredded cheese – quite the pile of nachos!
Thursday, March 29 – Lobster Night in the dining hall – There was also prime rib and the lobster tails were stuffed with Crab Imperial. You could pick One so my Heart got the lobster / I got the prime rib and we shared – perfect surf & turf – both were delicious and perfect with sides of green beans and roasted potatoes – there was also Bananas Foster for dessert but we had one of my Heart’s fresh made waffle sundaes.
Friday, March 30 – Out to dinner with friends… totally forgot my camera but we went to a pub in Baltimore: The Hudson Street Stackhouse
– known for its selection of beers and the food is pretty good too – we shared several appetizers and had several pints (I Love that they have Crispin hard cider on tap – a winner for me!)
Saturday, March 30 Brunch – Today was the President’s Celebration so I would be at work from 1pm-4:30pm which meant I needed to eat before but not a lot in the fridge because we were heading to DC on Sunday for three days the coming week (conference time for me) and there were a couple things that needed Using so: Poor Man’s Eggs Benedict
We were going to a friend’s house for a party Saturday night so my Heart spent the time while I was at work making this lovely dessert to share – the crust: crushed ginger snaps and M&Ms mixed with butter, pressed into the bottom of the pan, topped with mandarin orange slices then covered with whipped cream mixed with several containers of Yoplait Whips Yogurt (orange cream), Cointreau, and topped with a few more mandarin orange slices & sprinkles. Chilled for a couple hours – it served up in fairly tidy slices and was a huge hit!
Passed these two vintage cars on our way to the party – I LOVE the license plate holder on the maroon car (the thing sticking up behind the rear window)
Our friends live across the bridge from Annapolis and we always stop at Yellowfin Steak & Fish House
on our way to the party for “dinner” (there are nibbles at the party but being gluten-free can complicate what I eat and we really like this restaurant). What a DEAL – they have a 1/2 price happy hour even on Saturdays and the food is excellent! We haven’t been since October and the menu has definitely been switched up – (on the left) Snake Bites: very spicy bites of tuna sauteed in chili oil served with cucumber / wasabi creme fraiche and (on the right) Thai Shrimp Egg Rolls: shrimp, carrots, daikon, cilantro, and nappa cabbage with a hint of Sambel Oelek served with a selection of sauces.
.. (we also had wonderful fries but you don’t really need a picture of French Fries) – (on the left) Tora, Tora, Tora: Ahi Tuna Nori Poke (Poke
is a traditional Hawaiian dish where the raw fish is “chopped” with onions and other seasonings, almost like a salsa), Seared tuna, & Tuna Tartare (this is beyond a doubt my favorite dish.. I Love the Poke!) and (on the right) Crab & Avocado Bowl: avocado halves stuffed with Maryland Crab Imperial (which was really just lump crab with a little sauce.. wow was it good!) served with spicy mustard (this was perfect to have at the very end when our mouths were still on fire from the Snake Bites!)
So the lesson to learn from these past two weeks of craziness? Menu-ing helps because you have ingredients in the house in case you actually have Time to cook (like the Poor Man’s Eggs Benedict & pizzas) and having an amazing Partner makes life so much better!!!