Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Weekend: Part II

I'm continuing a little weekend recap here...we left off on Saturday after crepes...

We couldn't check into our rental house until afternoon, so we took a drive up to Big Sur, made a stop or two, and went on a little jaunt/mini-hike to Pfeiffer Falls.


Post-hike, we didn't want anyone getting hangry (yes, hungry + angry = bad) 

Boyfriend says I grow fangs and hiss when I'm hungry, but he has no hard evidence. 

We stopped at a little store for a snack, picnic style.

Organic fruit. 

Post-snack, we checked into our house. I felt like a tiny kid getting really excited about a hotel room when we walked in, but this place was seriously excellent, and a very short walk from downtown. 

But let's talk about some important things yes? 

Afternoon brought a group outing to the grocery store, actually two grocery stores - what kind of Safeway doesn't have arugula and runs out of basil? Jiminy christmas. We set about making tapas for dinner. Eating this way was really fun and we got a lot of tastes of several things. And a huge thank you to my friends who adapted their ideas so that I would have more options. You're stars.

Boyfriend handled the bruschetta.

We had a delightfully full kitchen. Very little makes me happier. 

I did some greens chopping.

Tomato Arugula Bruschetta

Drew made Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. Delicious.

Spicy potatoes from Eric and Arisa, who also made...

Jalapeno Artichoke Steak Bites, and Artichoke hearts with Hummus.

Joe and Becca made those adorable Pigs in Blankets, as well as pita chips and hummus and baby oranges, which mostly disappeared while we were all cooking. 
Also in this picture is Tomato Basil Soup from Evan, which everyone loved.

And finally,

Pumpkin muffins. I love this recipe. There are many things for which I do not yet have a go-to recipe, but I very much doubt I'll ever use a different pumpkin muffin recipe. I actually made 24 the first night, and another 24 the second night (though we didn't finish all of them.) It turns out they make a lovely and easy contribution to breakfast, or a pre-breakfast snack if you typically wake up before the group, as some of us do. 

The recipe is from The Post Punk Kitchen, (again the genius of Isa Chandra Moskowitz) here.
And having made these a few times, here are my notes:
1. You definitely don't need to change anything, these are awesome exactly as written.
2. However, due to ingredient availability, the following changes have all worked:
  a. Omitting yogurt
  b. Omitting cloves
  c. Any kind of non-dairy milk, even flavored, will work. 
  d. If you're short on pumpkin, you can toss in some applesauce.
  e. If you like pumpkin pie spicy-ness, extra spices certainly won't hurt. 
3. The bottom line - these are pretty flexible. 

The other bottom line - I had a wonderful Saturday.

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