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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oxfords and Oysters



I cannot wait to go to this event which is hosted by Sky Blue Events! I am busily trying to figure out a way to get up there and possibly stay the night. I love the cause, as my major is doubled in political science and environmental studies, and I have a few aquaintances who are tied to the organization - Oyster Recovery Alliance - that Oxfords & Oysters supports. The VIP gift bags are just fabulous and they are "worth the trip alone" as @GroveGalk (http://www.pineapplegrovegifts.com/) put it! One major item in the VIP swag bag is the new True Prep book. Recently, the ladies at Sky Blue Events mentioned a portion of the text which had this hilarious quote:

"High-heel rule: You must be able to run in them - on cobblestones, on a dock - in case of a spontaneous footrace."



Well, if you have ever been to Baltimore, you know many sections are cobblestoned. Do I need to tell you how many times I have almost DIED from my heels getting stuck in cobblestones while taxis raced toward me? Or running down the street with an ex at 3am from the old Wharf Rat off of Ann Street, in the pouring down rain, for whatever reason at the time it seemed logical but because the rain was freezing cold in February I was screaming and people thought I was being mugged? Or in one instance, the Light Rail train looming towards me as my brand new heels were stuck by Pratt Street. If I hadn't been with a certain gentleman who pulled my shoe loose while I remained on the phone WITH my FATHER, who knows if I would even be around today? HA! I had to get my shoes re-cobbled while living in Baltimore about 3x a year. I wore them out from working at Nordstrom on the floor as well as being a rambunxious early 20-something. What a fun time. That quote really made my day...

Anyway, back to the fundraiser.

Included in the swag bag is:

Boatman Geller

Knot Belt Co.

Miller Ribbons

Nico and LaLa

Obagi Medical Products

Orbit

Peter Blair

Popchips

Preppy Monogrammed Gifts

Red Door Spa of Cross Keys

solixir

Southern Point Co.

Southern Proper

Stephen Bonanno Sandals

True Prep

Vineyard Vines

More to come!

It seems like every week as the event gets closer another piece of swag is added!
The event is Saturday, September 18, 2010 in Baltimore, MD (my 2nd hometown as I call it). From 3-7pm there will be an open bar, live band, oysters, and food to enjoy. In advance, VIP bags are $125 and general admission are $75 per person. It is sure to be a gorgeous evening and event, as September in Baltimore is beautiful and temperate. It'll be waterfront at Little Havana at 1325 Key Highway. Check it out!: http://blog.skyblue-events.com/oxfords-oysters

Again, it's for a great cause, the sustainability of the Chesapeake Bay Oyster population!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Anniversary


Some of the family with Grandmama and Grandpapa in the Victorian Writing Room at the Greenbrier during Thanksgiving 2008. For those who care, the floral pattern is called "Fudge Apron" by Dorothy Draper, and not even Carleton Varney can tell you how she came up with that name. Kappa Prep aka Hopsy has a great photo of herself in the room as well (yes, I do need to do a Greenbrier post).



Grandmama and Grandpapa posing with my parents as Mom and Dad were about to leave on their honeymoon, July 1979.


Today is the 59th wedding anniversary of my Dad's parents, Mr. and Mrs. JAJ, III. They were married in Panama City, Florida at 8:00pm. She wore a dress seven or eight girls in Panama City society wore, which was in the height of fashion at the time: heavy white satin with a fitted bodice, maquisette yoke (which I think is nylon), and sweetheart neckline which was traced with pearls. Her long sleeves were outlined in pearls at the points (at the wrists) and skirt, gathered from a tapered waistline. She wore a fingertip-length veil which was borrowed from my great-aunt Boots, as she and her husband couldn't attend the wedding due to her due date for my second cousin Stephen. The veil was attached by a coronet of seed pearls and she carried an arm bouquet of white roses.


Some of the family gathered at Grandmama and Grandpapa's house in Christmas 2004.


The song below was performed by a family friend, Leonard Geiger (who sadly died last month), at their wedding. This version is Mario Lanza doing "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life":


Other songs performed on that day were:

"Oh, Promise Me":


"At Dawning":


"Because":


The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi:


Romberg's Serenade:


"Liebestraum" by Liszt:


"I Love Thee":


While they exchanged vows during the ceremony, "Clair de Lune" was performed.



Aren't all of these songs beautiful? They pull at my heart strings for sure! Happy Anniversary Grandmama and Grandpapa, I love you both very much!


This photo was taken at Boar's Head Club with Grandmama and Grandpapa earlier on this year:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quick Grilled Pizza from Cook's Country magazine

My blogging colleague, Hopsy @ Kappa Prep, and a new friend, Wears With Heels saw me post my dinner on Twitter and wanted the recipe, so here is my information on it!



Tonight, M and I each got to have our own 12-ish" pizzas, based off of recipes for dough and sauce, from Cook's Country magazine (the same people who do America's Test Kitchen on PBS on Saturdays). The issue is their August/September 2010 edition, which may still be on newsstands (I always see it most prominently displayed at Whole Foods), but we subscribe to it.



This recipe says the dough makes 4 nine-inch pizzas... but we like our dough a little on the thick side so keep that in mind.

Sauce:
2 (14.5 oz) cans of diced tomatoes. We like the brand San Marzano, or Cento if we are in a bind.
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons of EVOO
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt (not sea-salt, unless ground up finely)

Pizza:
about 2.5 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of water, at 110 degrees
1 tablespoon of EVOO, plus extra set aside to brush dough on the grill (we use a silicone brush when brushing dough since it is so sticky at first)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 envelope of rapid-rise, or instant, yeast (1 envelope = 2 1/4 teaspoons). We tend to use Fleischmanns. Also, make sure the date on it is good, otherwise it is a waste!
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of salt (not sea-salt, unless ground up finely)
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Make sauce: combine tomatoes, basil, oil, garlic, and salt in medium bowl. We like to place it in a small saucepan on the lowest setting to warm it up.

2. Prepare dough: Whisk water, 1 tablespoon of EVOO, sugar, yeast in large liquid measuring cup. Let it sit 5 minutes (this prevents the need to use baking powder, lightens the crust and prevents dough from being gritty). Pulse flour, Parmesan, and salt in food processor until combined. With machine running, slowly pour in the water mixture and process until dough starts to pull away from the sides and forms a shaggy/hairy ball (normally takes us about 1.5 minutes). If your dough is coming off sticky, gradually add flour in. Flour a clean work surface and take out the dough, kneading it 3-4 times until it becomes cohesive.

3. Shape pizza: Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour. Wax paper is okay, but know that the dough will stick to it if not floured enough!!! Divide dough into 4 equal pieces (M and I did, again, two pieces). Work with one dough piece at a time, using a rolling pin, pressing dough into a small circle, and stretch out. Transfer to a baking sheet and dust with flour. Repeat with each dough piece, and you can just stack them on top of each other, divided by the floured paper.

4. Heat grill: Meanwhile, heat your coals. Or turn on your gas grill. We use a classic charcoal Weber dome grill. Just be sure to set your grate in place, and heat your grill -covered- with lid vent open completely for 5 minutes. You want there to be a cool spot on the grill and a hot spot for cooking. Also, be sure to scrape and oil cooking grate so dough doesn't develop burn marks too charred, and prevent sticking.

5. Grill pizza: Brush tops of dough lightly with EVOO. Peel off of parchment and place, oiled side down, onto the cool side of the grill. Grill pizza covered until sides are spotted with a golden brown, which may be easily found by lifting the sides and finding firmness with your tongs. The tops may develop bubbles, which is normal, but be sure to poke the larger bubbles (but not enough to tear all the way through the dough!!). Brush the uncooked side facing up with EVOO and flip with tongs. Top each with sauce to taste, and the mozzarella cheese. If you want additional garlic like I do, this is where I added it. I added the sauce, then the crushed garlic, then the cheese. Cook for at least 1.5-2 minutes. At this point, feel free to move pizza over to the cool side while adding your toppings. Then you can move it to the hot side to crisp up to taste.

Enjoy!

Tips from our experience:

*It is better to have a thicker pizza than a thin pizza when grilling. You can completely destroy a pizza in less than a minute if it was too thin when placed on the grill. Likewise with fire temperature. If cooking with coals, feel free to cook down the coals to a fine gray ash on the tops of them.

*M likes Boar's Head pepperoni, which comes in 6-ounce containers. He got about 3 ounces on his pizza, because he likes to layer the edges together.

*Don't move the dough until it starts to firm up on the grill, or it will tear, and then you have to deal with charring.

*I kept my pizza dough warm in the microwave. But for a crisp crust, a warmed oven may be a better bet.

*Make sure you have a plate, platter, or cookie sheet to set a finished pizza on while outside grilling, otherwise you may burn it just by running in to grab something!

*I enjoy my pizza with prosciutto, pineapple, crushed garlic, bacon leftover from this morning's brunch, oregano and heirloom tomatoes.