On hold

Just for a little while.

My husband and I have been caught up in our relocation to Milwaukee. Vaughn was recently hired to work at a home brew store that is opening a new location in the Milwaukee area. For the past couple of weeks we have been taking trips up there and scouring the area for apartments. We finally found a second floor flat in a very nice neighborhood. And the kitchen! Very nice compared to the other apartments we have lived in and looked at. Here's a photo...

Plenty of cabinets and counter space. Newer appliances - big side by side fridge with handy ice/water dispenser. Glass top electric stove, which will take some getting used to. At least the heating element in the oven is at the top...the gas stoves in other rentals I've lived in had the heating element on the bottom, so browning anything was a nightmare and broiling took place too close to the floor for comfort. Ick.

We move in on Thursday (huzzah!), so I can't promise much in the way of posts until we get set up. Perhaps a few blurbs here and there.


This weekend we are visiting our friends in Athens and will be eating at our most beloved restaurants and drinking at our usual bars.

We headed straight for the Union when we got into town late last night. The Union has a newly renovated bar downstairs for those who just want to hang out and drink, and a bar upstairs in their venue space so you don't have to run downstairs for a drink and miss a band's set.

When I first came to Athens, the Union was filled with burly biker punks up to their necks in tattoos with cigarettes dangling from their lips. The scene has changed over the years and is now a popular haunt for the "hipster" kids to hang out, listen to bands and drink pitchers of PBR. This is probably a result of ACRN, the university's student run radio station, hosting numerous shows at the Union. That's alright by me though, the burly biker punks can hang out at the Smiling Skull Saloon, which has the reputation of being a biker bar anyways.

Later today I will be meeting friends at Jackie O's (formerly O'Hooley's and still sometimes call it that). They are proud to be Athens' only brewpub and offer a wide and ever changing assortment of craft beers, as well as delicious food including their beer batter fish and chips and handmade pizza on spent grain crust.

Through the back there is a beer garden, perhaps the best in town because it's filled with locals and a laid back crowd instead of frat dudes and sorority chicks. It became one of our favorite spots this past year for post-class lunch (or dinner) and beer outings. Post-class...I swear! Especially wonderful after my 1pm-10pm days of back to back art classes. No break for lunch, or dinner, and I was quite frazzled by the end of the day. Beer me!

That reminds me, Jackie O's bought the space next door, where Skippers Bar and Grill used to be, and have begun working on the space. This is great because Jackie O's currently has eight booths outside and four booths, two tables and a handful of bar stools around a tiny bar inside. The are installing a long bar with many taps (20 maybe? not sure) and a lot more seating. It will be much more comfortable, especially on nights when there's a game on.

That's all for now, but probably another post later this weekend. Stay tuned!


Summer Berry Trifle

Got day-old French bread? Make something other than French Toast...

Fresh pint of heavy cream from Blue Marble Family Farm...purchased that morning from their booth at the Evanston Farmers Market.

Vaughn didn't want a traditional cake for his birthday, so he decided on this Summer Berry Trifle from Fine Cooking Magazine. Best thing is...you don't need to turn on the oven.

Summer Berry Trifle
Serves 10-12

1-1/2 quarts mixed fresh berries (hull and quarter strawberries), plus extra berries for garnish
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
4 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 lb. day-old French bread, crusts removed, crumb cut into 1/2 -inch cubes (5 to 6 cups)
1/2 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1-1/2 cups heavy cream

Heat the berries and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to release juice but are still whole and intact, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger and pour the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the bread with 5 Tbs. of the liqueur. In a chilled metal bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream with the remaining 3 Tbs. liqueur and 1 Tbs. sugar to almost-stiff peaks.

In a 2- to 2-1/2 -quart clear glass bowl, layer in the following order: 1 mounded cup of bread cubes, 1 cup of berries and juices, and 1 cup of whipped cream. Repeat 3 times—you should have 12 layers total. For the final layers, use all the remaining bread, berries (and their juices), and whipped cream.

Cover and refrigerate until the juice has completely softened the bread, at least 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with fresh berries before serving.

Enjoy with good friends...