Thursday, September 27, 2012


The last two nights in a row the Wombats have slept for six straight hours. This is pretty remarkable even if last night's sleep-a-thon came after an epic three hour fussfest by our friend Martin.

The world looks a lot different with six hours sleep.

Pears with Sunflower Honey, Cambozola, and Marcona Almond

After returning home tonight I started using up all our leftovers. I started off with this Cambazola, sliced pear, Marcona almond, and sunflower honey.

Chiogga Beet Carpaccio

For the second leftover dish I made a carpaccio of Chiogga beets with lemon, mustard, honey, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Spaghetti with Breaded Veal, Broccoli, Olives, and Eggplant

For the main course I cooked up some crushed garlic, farm onion, farm eggplant, leftover veal schnitzel, farm broccoli (all four florets!), and sliced olives. I tossed it all together with some butter, spaghetti, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Left Hand Brewing Company Oktoberfest

In our continued Oktoberfest celebration we enjoyed these Oktoberfest Marzens from Left Hand Brewing Company. This was another in a line of very nice Märzens. While I'm not a huge fan of lagers the Märzen style is generally one I enjoy quite a bit. This one had a very nice caramel malt character and a little bit of a grassy taste from the hops. Sadly there is only one Märzen left after tonight. I think I had far too many Oktoberfest beers last year and I'm running out of new ones to try this year. Let's hope that more breweries jump on this exceptionally tiny bandwagon next year!

Elliott with PB&J Ice Cream Cone

After dinner we enjoyed what would probably be our final walk to Longford's Own Made Ice Cream of the year. This is our favorite ice cream place and Jen's father's least favorite place on Earth. They had some new flavors so I tried this PB&J flavored ice cream. It was delicious. Jen and I had been discussing PB&J sandwiches earlier in the evening which caused her to claim that they were "disgusting." That caused me to claim that I didn't believe she actually knew what the word disgusting meant. Does this really disgust her?

Apparently Canadians do not like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This fact is the source of much marital strife for us. It's hard to know how two people from such wildly different lands can possibly make it work but somehow we do.

Love is just that strong.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Our time to go apple-picking this year is seriously limited. As Jen has not gone back to work yet and I had the day off we decided to take advantage of going to an orchard on an overcast Wednesday afternoon with the threat of thunderstorms hanging in the air.

Dr . Davies Farm Stand

As with any year picking the right orchard starts with Googling and poring through scores of terribly designed websites. Apple orchards have notoriously poor websites. Their lackluster appearance is usually only matched by their lack of useful information. I had narrowed it down to two orchards: Dr. Davies Farm in Congers, NY; and Stuart's Farm in Granite Springs, NY.

I picked the former mostly on the strength of the history of Dr. Davies Farm link on the site. This history of the farm is interesting in that there are seven paragraphs about the history of the farm and nine paragraphs about the song "Happy Birthday to You" which was purportedly written by the farm owner's grandmother's first cousins.

Pretty impressive.

Apple Price List (Yikes!)

Hobnobbing with celebrity at this level comes at a price: $39.00. The price of $37.00 to collect a bag of apples was shocking enough. There was an optional $3.00 charge if you wanted to rent a pole to collect apples off the trees with $1.00 being refunded upon safe return of the pole. I figured if we were spending this much money for some apples we may as well get the pole. I also figured we should just keep the pole in protest of the outrageous prices.

In pre-Wombat days we would have found an alternate orchard after learning these prices but the guys had been fed and this trip was being carefully timed so we were forced to give in to their apple tyranny.

Unexpectedly Crowded Apple Orchard

Our plan to go on a slow rainy Wednesday to avoid crowds was a miserable failure. I have never in all my life seen as many people on an apple-picking expedition as at this place. Clearly the price structure was not driving away business. Every tree in this orchard was swarming with people and the chatter filled the air like a giant communal dining hall. There were certainly a lot of people there but it was made worse by the fact that this was the smallest apple orchard I've ever seen. I'm not sure how the word orchard is defined. If it is defined as two or more apple trees then yes, technically, this was an orchard. However, I usually expect there seemed to be about eighteen trees in this entire orchard and walking the complete perimeter took in the neighborhood of ninety seconds.

Nate and Jen at the Apple Orchard

But it's all about the experience. The Wombats will never remember this expedition. However there will be reminders in the form of pictures, stories, and the fact that they do not have college funds.

Elliott and Mum Enjoying Post Apple Picking Nap

After returning home and nursing my sore arms from using their uneven reclaimed tree branch picking poles we had an unexpected family nap which was a lot of fun and completely threw off all of our afternoon plans.

2012 Stone Ledge Farm Share (Week 16)

Yesterday Jen picked up the farm share. This week we got Lacinato kale, Carnival winter squash, garlic, red cabbage, beets, broccoli florettes, thyme, munchkin pumpkins, hot peppers, Gala apples, Fuji apples, and Red Bartlett pears.

When I heard we were getting "four florets" of broccoli I assumed that it was some sort of mistake in wording. I was surprised, and slightly disappointed, to find out that this was no mistake. We got four florets.


Kale and Chiogga Beet Salad with Marcona Almonds and Feta

I finely chopped the Chiogga beets, Lacinato kale, and tossed them with lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper then topped it all with feta cheese and Marcona almonds.

Veal Schnitzel with Roasted Carrots

The other day I threw away the remainder of a baguette that had gone completely stale. When I came home from work I saw that Jen had removed it from the garbage and made it into bread crumbs. I was pretty upset about this as I found it to be disgusting. She had a George Costanza type explanation as to how it was on the top of all the other garbage and I was not willing to accept that.

Tonight, as I decided to make schnitzel in continuation of our Oktoberfest celebration, I realized we had no bread crumbs and suddenly the bread crumbs in the freezer weren't looking so bad. I breaded up some nice veal scallopini that with flour, egg, and the garbage bread crumbs. After frying it up in a pan I drizzled it with lemon juice and served it with roasted carrots from the farm.

Victory Brewing Company Festbier

For a drink I poured this Festbier from Victory Brewing Company. Of all the remaining Oktoberfest beers in the fridge this was the one with the highest average rating on beer advocate.

It was probably the best Oktoberfest beer we've had so far this year. After a long day of Wombat wrangling and large apple expenditures it was a nice way to relax after a great meal.

If you notice pop up ads on the website going forward it's just an attempt to cover some of the expense of today's apple-picking adventure.

Today's blog entry is sponsored by Ford now with Ford Sync technology! Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Drive a Ford today!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Today, as I worked Jen worked twice as hard on enriching activities for the Wombats. Partly this was to give them lots of stimulation and entertainment. Partly it was to make me look like a jerk when I take over Mr. Mom responsibilities in a couple of weeks.

Silk scarves and cotton sweaters

Before I left for work she even picked out some different fabrics to drape them in to give them exciting sensations. I would never think to do something like that. The best I would be able to come up with would probably be something like having a detailed discussion about Cobra Commander's role in G.I. Joe: The Movie.

Woonsocket Style Dynamites

Since we already had the "authentic" German style Oktoberfest dinner on Saturday night I opted to go for a meal from my hometown of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. My mother had brought over some dynamites on a previous visit. This is a traditional Woonsocket meal consisting of a grinder or dynamite role filled with a mixture of cooked onion, pepper, celery, ground beef, and tomato.

Narragansett Fest Lager

To go along with the dynamites I served up Rhode Island's own beer Narragansett Brewing Company. While probably not an original variety we enjoyed their Fest lager. This was a very nice Marzen, far better than I'd expected. While it would have been more authentic to enjoy it with regular Narragansett lager it was nice to try one of their different offerings and I have to say that this was probably my favorite Narragansett beer to date.

After a night of enjoying my hometown favorites I was sadly unable to come up with a traditional Woonsocket dessert. I'm not really sure what that would be. There's that ice cream dish our family friend (and my first grade teacher) made that looks like watermelon. Then there's just a brick of Neapolitan ice cream. Or I could have made a doughboy but that is pretty much just fried dough and has a different name any place on earth that you go.

Instead we enjoyed some quiet time with the babies and watched Northern Exposure episodes to relive our high school years, and the years when we first moved to New York. This was a nice reminder of a time when I first left the fertile crescent of the Blackstone Valley and moved nearby another river on the tiny island of Manhattan. Things had changed a lot at that point and they've changed even more since then.

Vani tass, vani tatum, et omni i vani tass
Only when we understand all is vanity, only then, it isn't.

Sorry. We've been watching an awful lot of Norther Exposure these days.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Yesterday was a cause for much celebration. As the first day of fall came upon us the boys were invited to their first ever birthday party.

The Wombats Ready For The Party

This resulted in what is probably my new favorite picture of the two of them. Elliott is clearly saying, "Awwww, yeah!" While Martin is says, "Yeah, that's right. Birthday party."

I'm assuming they must have inherited this love of parties from their mother. When they are older if they enjoy staying indoors and meticulously cataloging and organizing their toys then we'll know they got that from me.

As it was the first day of fall it was also the first day of Oktoberfest! I know, in America we like to think that Oktoberfest is simply a celebration of the month of October but that's not entirely the case. In fact, it's not even partially the case. Oktoberfest is actually a German celebration which is held each year to celebrate one's ability to drink mugs of beer the size of one's torso and to generate enormous amount of garbage which are cleaned up at great expense to the tax payers of Munich.

Pretzel Dumplings with SweetSmoothHot Mustard and Cornichons

This year I decided to try something a little new and made these pretzel dumplings. I was really weary of trying this as I'd never made anything like this before but the end result was amazing and far more delicious than I'd imagined. I started by buying a soft pretzel last week and letting it grow stale for seven days. Then I chopped it up, sauteed some onion and parsley in butter, combined the two, then topped with just enough scalding milk and beer to soften. I let that sit for a bit and cool then added an egg, mashed it all together, rolled it up in plastic wrap then a layer of aluminum foil to create a tube. I boiled it in a pot of water for 30 minutes then let it sit before cutting it into slices and serving it with mustard and cornichons.

I will definitely be trying this again as it was fantastic.

Beer Brats with Stewed Cabbage and Kielbasa

For the main course I cooked down some onion and a head each of green cabbage and red cabbage from the farm.

Stewed Cabbage and Kielbasa with Ayinger Marzen

I had purchased a couple of bottles of Ayinger Märzen to have an authentic accompaniment for dinner then realized we'd had this during last year's Oktoberfest. It would be crazy to think you could have the same beer twice! Instead I used this to cook down the cabbage and later the brats which I seared in a pan first.

Beck's Oktoberfest

For beer I had this Oktoberfest lager from Beck's. I don't think I've ever had their Oktoberfest before and it was actually pretty good. I'm always leery of Märzens as they sometimes tend to have a slightly sour taste and smell of wet dog. This particular Märzen was easy drinking and didn't make me think of a soggy canine even once during our meal!

And that, my friends, is the key to any successful Oktoberfest meal: no wet dogs!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Caught in a Marsh

The great thing about being ten weeks old is that there are so many firsts. Yesterday the boys took their first trip to New Jersey, the third state they've visited in their short lives. While many would not consider a trip to New Jersey much to celebrate it has still been a very exciting time for the Wombats.

Jen and Martin at the Marshlands Conservancy

Daddy and Elliott at the Marshlands Conservancy

Today they took their first trip to a marshlands conservancy, something that took me nearly two thousands weeks to do!

Elliott Chillin' in the Trunk

After a nice romp around the marshlands, observing some ragweed, walking by the shore, and observing some wild turkeys we returned to the car where I took Elliott out of his carrier and he laid in this crazy position for about ten minutes. Who can blame him? It looks so comfortable!

Avocado and Feta on Bread

After queuing up another seven loads of laundry I put out some avocado slices on bread with feta cheese to tide us over until dinner was ready.

Personal Pan Spinach and Mozzarella Pizzas

On a walk the other day Jen mentioned how when she was little she used to read a ton of books over the summer and was rewarded by the school with a personal pan pizza. While this sounded like a great reward (particularly for something she was going to do anyway) it struck me as amusing. I decided that as today was the last day of summer I would reward her for a long summer of child rearin' with a personal pan pizza of her own. I used the spinach from the farm share to make this happen.

Personal Pan Spinach and Mozzarella Pizza with Egg

For my pizza I decided to go Italian style and top it with a cracked egg at the very end. Unfortunately our oven is not exactly level so most of the egg ran off the pizza which ruined my pizza and made plumes of burnt egg smoke fill our apartment. The Wombats didn't seem too bothered by it even when it set the smoke detector off.

Beaulieu Vineyard Coastal Series 2010 Sauvignon Blanc

In a rare turn of events Jen had a beer and I had a glass of 2010 sauvignon blanc from Beaulieu Vineyard.

Adirondack Creamery Whiteface Mint Chip Ice Cream

For dessert we had some mint chocolate chip ice cream from Adirondack Creamery as we watched The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. to relive the days when we first moved into this place. Martin seemed very enamored with the show and Elliott seemed very enamored with the inside of his eyelids.

We've been taking turns lately as to who picks what we watch each night. Jen's last two picks: Sneakers and The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

With Jen making picks like this I feel I don't even need to take my turn.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jersey Boys

Today was another first for the guys: their first trip to New Jersey! Everyone remembers their first trip to New Jersey. The stench of the Garden State often lingers in the nostrils long after the first visit. After time this generally fades as olfactory fatigue sets in and then trips to New Jersey become a bit more tolerable.

The Wombats and Mummy in the Quiet Room

It's a little strange taking your small babies to work and then changing their diapers but they seemed to enjoy it or, at least enjoyed it as much as they enjoy a diaper change anywhere else. That is to say not at all.

Martin Can't Take His Eyes off of the Election Coverage

The guys hadn't gotten out in a couple of days. On Tuesday the mother of all storms was predicted so we stayed in. We parked our cars up on a hill, got out candles and prepared our emergency radios and flashlights. What proceeded was an hour of wind and one of the lighter drizzling events we've ever witnessed.

2012 Stone Ledge Farm Share (Week 15)

Today we got our weekly farm share. We got carrots, acorn squash, garlic chives, green cabbage, spinach, eggplant, mint, habaneros, Gala apples, Bartlett pears, and Concord grapes.

Pear and Parmigiano with Balsamic Glaze

I started off by slicing up some of the farm pears with a little Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic glaze, and black pepper.

Lamb Hodge Podge with Elbows

Jen made a lamb stew (or 'hodge podge' as she calls it) with onion, potato, carrot, and wax beans. I was in charge or watching it while Jen fed the babies and I sort of let it burn a little bit. The stew was good but it probably would have been a bit better without my inept supervision.

Green Flash & St. Feullien Friendship Brew

For beer I cracked open this Friendship Brew from Green Flash Brewing Co. in collaboration with Brasserie St-Feuillien in Belgium. I must have misread it because I thought it was just a light saison which Jen would have loved. As soon as I poured it out I saw there was something wrong and realized that I was an idiot. It clearly said "Black Saison" on the label. After tasting it I realized that Jen would not like it and, indeed, it was not my favorite offering form Green Flash or St. Feuillien. There was a very harsh bitterness to it like raw cacoa nibs. While a darker beer complemented in the stew well I would have cared for a less bitter beer. It almost tasted like it was a little burnt.

I love both these breweries so I'm just hoping they get together and brew another beer soon that is a little more representative of how good their beers can be.

Comanzo & Co. Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

For dessert we had these chocolate crinkle cookies from Comanzo & Co. in Smithfield, Rhode Island. I only bought these because they were from right near where I grew up. Whenever possible I like to support small town Rhode Island. Even though I was doing this out of loyalty to my home state it also helped that these cookies were delicious. For all my peeps back home I'd highly recommend seeking them out.

It's always good to see Rhode Island do something right.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Poopsplosions™ & Soupsplosions™

Days off have been pretty eventful as of late. Today we had a lot on our agenda. Luckily having two babies leaves little time for sleep so there are a lot more waking hours to potentially get work done. Most of that time is not spent being able to get work done but instead is used for the care and feeding of babies.

Good morning II

Luckily there is also a good amount of time spent playing which reminds us about how great it is having babies.

After the poopsplosion

Then the unthinkable happened, another Poopsplosion™. This one came only minutes after we had finished bathing, drying, and dressing both babies in anticipation of a meeting with prospective nannies. There's a point during the Poopsplosion™ where one contemplates the possibility of cleaning a baby simply using wipes. Jen was going strong with this philosophy until I stepped in -- after hearing her howls of disgust from the other room -- and strongly lobbied for a hose down. I won and Elliott got his second bath of the morning.

Broccoli, Sunchoke, Cheddar, and Ale Soup

For dinner I made this soup using the broccoli from the farm. I rendered a little bacon, cooked down some onion, chopped up sunchokes, and broccoli stems. When it had cooked down I threw in the broccoli florets, some chicken stock, a little milk, and added in some shredded cheddar before pureeing it. It made for a very tasty soup but, unfortunately, not very photogenic soup.

River Horse Hop-A-Lot-Amus

I looked for something malty to serve with the soup but I didn't really have anything around so I opted for this Hop-A-Lot-Amus from River Horse Brewing Co. While hoppy it ended up being far maltier than expected and went better with the soup than expected. This beer was way better than it needed to be with a name like Hop-A-Lot-Amus. If I was running a brewery and I came up with a name that good I would totally half-ass the beer with cheap ingredients for maximum profits. Let's face it, with a name that good you're going to push a lot of product regardless of quality.

Chozen Coconut Macaroon Ice Cream

To wrap up the evening we had a little Coconut Macaroon ice cream from Chozen. It was tasty but not quite as good as the Chocolate Gelt flavor from last night. It matters little how good the ice cream was because a few episodes of Psych could make dirty dish water ice cream taste heavenly.

Sleeping Elliott

Sleeping Martin

Now it's just a waiting game. Last night, after waking every two hours to eat, they went over five hours in the evening pushing our bedtime past midnight. Now the clock is ticking as we watch these little angels strike their silly cute poses in their sleep. Only time will tell how long they sleep tonight and when the next round of feedings shall begin.

Game on!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ten Weeks Down

Today was a big day. The Wombats turned 10 weeks old. Also, Judaism turned 300,196 years old. A pretty big day and cause for some measure of celebration.

Elliott Loving his Sheep Mobile

Martin Loving his Sheep Mobile

Apparently at ten weeks old the Wombats finally realized their mother had purchased them some badass sheep mobiles for the first time. While I was at work they spent a chunk of the afternoon marveling at their splendor.

Beet and Grapefruit Salad

When I got home I through together another in a long line of half-assed Rosh Hashanah dinner starting off with this beet and grapefruit salad with parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Smoked Trout Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Honey

I also made up a smoked trout salad with the leftover salmon sauce from the other night, mayonnaise, whole grain mustard, celery, red onion, and chopped fresh dill. I served it up with some slices of apple from the farm, chopped walnuts, and a drizzle of honey.

Apricot Horseradish Glazed Quail with Brown Rice Salad

For the main course I browned up some Texas quail (or is it quails?) and made a glaze for them with apricot preserves, honey, water, and horseradish. They say everything is bigger in Texas. Apparently this does not apply to tiny, tiny birds.

I served it over a brown rice made with browned onion, grapes, and cinnamon. Quail is probably not the world's most traditional bird to serve up for Rosh Hashanah but since I was making a has of the whole thing anyway I figured, why not?

Shmaltz Brewing Company He'Brew hop Manna IPA

For beer I cracked open this Hop Manna from Shmaltz Brewing Company, another in a long line of Jewish holiday appropriate beer. This was a very nice IPA with a comparatively low ABV that went down very nicely. It looks like a bottle but being the lightweights that we are we split it. That's eleven ounces of beer each!

Honey Almond Cake with Chocolate Gelt Chozen Ice Cream

For dessert I brought home this honey cake and served it with some Chocolate Gelt ice cream from Chozen.

Ten weeks. It's pretty hard to remember back to how much simpler and easier our lives were ten weeks ago. You know, apart from the constant doctor's appointments and trips to the hospital. Yes it was much easier, much more restful, and nowhere near as entertaining.

And to think . . . only 926 weeks before they leave for college!