Beets and Garlic Scapes

Weekends have pretty much been a bust for us lately. And what with work, chores and taking care of the dogs, the weekends are really our only opportunity to actually get out and do something or experience a new part of this awesome city.


Unfortunately the past few weekends Ivan has been on-call and spending twelve or more hours a day at the hospital. So we haven’t had the opportunity to get out and check out the Met, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, The Zoo, Broadway, Rockefeller Center, The Statue of Liberty, etc.


It’s sad, I know; here we are living in New York City with no time to visit the sights!


Luckily, Ivan’s weekend on-call shifts are tapering off and we look forward to having some free time to explore!


In the meantime, around the homestead, we’ve discovered a new favorite thing: beets. Do you eat beets? Because, holy crap, how have I never bought and cooked fresh beets? They must be one of the most fascinating vegetables. Alone they have a ridiculous amount of flavor, not to mention an enticing color (which led to one of our most colorful salads, including avocado and butternut squash).


I know most of you are thinking, Is she serious? Whether you’ve already discovered the magic of the beet (yeah, apparently my last few weekends have been that boring), or just don’t care, please excuse my enthusiasm.



Anyway, suffice it to say that I am taken with a vegetable that costs a lovely $0.89/pound, is simple to prepare and tastes a-MAZ-ing by itself. So I looked up some recipes and made the obvious one: borscht. We have only had the traditional soup one other time; when we were in England, our Russian friends made a huge pot of it for dinner. It was splendid.



I grabbed a vegetarian recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook (how could you ever go wrong with Moosewood?). The soup lasted us for two days and I can’t wait to try it again! Seriously, if you’re into beets and/or eating healthy without sacrificing flavor, you’ve got to give this one a try!


On the topic of new and fantastic recipes—I got my hands on a couple bunches of garlic scapes (not something I was expecting to find in the produce department) and used them to make some pleasantly pungent pesto. I had a basil plant that was pretty out of control, so I gave it a haircut and made the sauce the other night to be tossed with some shredded chicken breast and Amish noodles.



It’s been seven months since we left the Caribbean for good. When we were in Grenada, I missed a lot of the produce that I was accustomed to back home (that is, the States). It was either unavailable entirely or simply unaffordable on the island.


When we got back in the States at the end of December, I went a little crazy eating all of the fruits and vegetables I’d been dreaming about in our sandy home.


Now, seven months later… I’m still going nuts for all of the delectable produce I could never get my hands on in Grenada. I’m still in heaven here! I mean, sure, I miss the beaches and having an unbeatable view of the Caribbean Sea from my breezy balcony, but, if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t have the slightest interest in going back. If I could go abroad right now, I’d head to Europe, or Asia, or South America, or Australia… Well, I wouldn’t head back to the Caribbean. At least not yet. Check back in about 10-15 years.


Between my work and Ivan’s rotations, I haven’t had the opportunity to advertise my (now weekend-only) photography. It’s really disappointing since I love photographing people and pets and would welcome a couple appointments here or there, but I just can’t seem to find the time to get my name out and aggressively pin down some clients.


Since I still need to sate my need to photograph now and then, I’ve set up a couple impromptu shoots for me and the dogs when I’ve had a couple hours here and there.



After receiving a care package last week for the dogs which included, of all things, a ram costume, I knew it was time for a shoot. Before passing too much judgment my way, keep in mind that I didn’t purchase this ridiculous and embarrassing ram costume. It was a gift from a couple weirdos back in Erie who have had an affinity for dressing up Babe ever since fostering her for a time (strange, I know). Not wanting to offend, I withheld my immediate impulse to dispose of the costume and, instead, put it on a thoroughly bemused Ajax. Since Babe was already in possession of a pig costume (no idea how she acquired that bit of fashion), I figured I’d immortalize their moment of shame with a quick photo shoot.


The dogs (as you can see) behaved wonderfully, thanks to many tasty treats and were mercifully stripped of the barnyard getups afterward to go play (or sleep, more likely). The ram costume was, as you can only assume, slated for the incinerator after the shoot. But… since Ajax did seem rather attached to the look, I decided to stow it away with the pig costume (still no idea where that one came from…).



On the topic of the dogs—and you’ll forgive me for speaking of them often, but as this blog is named after one of them, you can probably guess that I am, as it turns out, de facto the crazy dog lady—Ajax has been seeing the vet here recently.


After his initial brush with death in January when we were lucky enough to return to the States in time to remove an extremely aggressive cancerous tumor, Ajax seemed to perk right up and revert back to his healthy and happy self. Recently though, we’ve been running into problems with sudden muscle wasting in his hind legs and wanted to get him checked out, given his recent health history.



The vet didn’t deliver the best news, but Ajax is now on pain management and feeling more peppy. He continues to enjoy his weekend playdates at the dog parks and meeting new (and sometimes old) friends on walks. He and Babe are now on a first-name basis with the local King Charles Spaniel puppy and ginormous Chow Chow mix. They’ve mastered tormenting the landlord’s bulldogs through the glass door downstairs and Ajax has made “special friends” with another fathead at the dog park on a few occasions.

Best Friends 2

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