Rainy Sunday Morning Greetings from D.C.
For the past twelve years of my wanting a respite from Aspen’s high-alpine and occasionally bone-chilling winter climate, I’ve escaped for four months to warmer winter destinations.
This winter I’m in Washington DC, renting a one-bedroom condo in nearby Bethesda. While DC doesn’t promise Colorado’s 300 days of sunshine and hangs between a humid 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit in winter, it’s immersed with cultural and historical charm. Flying, as I did, during the weekend of January’s major snowstorm, there were issues. Instead of flying non-stop from Denver to DC, I was re-booked to Orlando with the Disney World crowd.
Miraculously, in my two days of travel with cancellations, delays, packed airports and horrible weather, I only witnessed good behavior. United was doing its best. Its customers weren’t complaining. When United personnel kept apologizing because of the extra time needed to de-ice planes, I was not the only one who said, “Take all the time you need.”
My landlord had recommended using a small, locally-owned shuttle service to meet me at Dulles. Landing in a strange city, after dark, at 9 pm, 4-5 hours late, was not a good look! But I had kept in touch with my shuttle service driver throughout the day and could only hope this meet-up would work. As I walked out of the airport, having collected my bags, voila, there he was. It was snowing, the roads were slick and our drive took twice as long, an hour, to get to Bethesda. But the house was lit up, Erika, my landlord, walked out to meet us and Gerald, as relieved as I was to be there safely, carried my bags to the door. The End
LIFE in BETHESDA
Although I’ve been in Bethesda for two weeks, I haven’t visited DC yet. Next week I plan to visit the International Spy Museum, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and weather permitting, walk to the Vietnam Memorial and other outside statues and monuments. There are 21 Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo.
During my first five to six days here, the weather was brutal. In between snowstorms, I had lunch at Jose Andres’ “Spanish Diner” with Betsy, my French Fridays with Dorie colleague, shopped at Trader Joe’s, purchased my Metro SmartTrip card, registered for a library card and joined Home Chef Meal Delivery Service, a top meal kit delivery service.
A meal service??? These services are reputed to be time-saving options for an over-scheduled public and are more than a 5 billion dollar business. Since I’ve always been curious about them, this is a opportune time for me to sign up and easy to cancel.
For those of you unfamiliar with how these services work, I make three meal choices every week. Once a week Home Chef delivers three meal. Each choice, packaged with all the measured ingredients, takes about 30 minutes to prepare. For me, whose cupboards really are bare, this is an opportunity to choose, prepare, make and eat a variety of meals I normally wouldn’t. This first week I’ve already prepared Souvlaki-style Chicken Breast (delicious) with Crema and Arugula Feta Salad. (pictured above). Today I’m looking forward to pulling together Turkey Meatballs and Lemon Crema with Garlicky Spinach Orzo and will finish off my first box early next week with Creamy Pesto Chicken Flautas and Tomato and Green Onion Salsa. I always have leftovers.
Below is my own recipe for Chimichurri Dry Rub. A favor, please? Make this meal.
CHIMICHURRI DRY RUB, The Spice Train
4 teaspoons dried parsley
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried lemon zest (see notes)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Makes 2 TBS.
Pat, dry and rub 2 6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast with the Chimichurri Dry Rub and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place on medium non-stick pan over medium heat and add 2 tsp. olive oil. Add chicken to the hot pan, SEASONED SIDE DOWN. Cook until browned, about 6-7 minutes PER SIDE. Remove from burner, transfer chicken to the plate and tent with foil. While chicken continues to cook under the foil, make the rest of your meal.
This recipe works with 5-6oz. sirloin steaks as well.
CREMA, Recipe by Lisa Bryan, Downshiftology
8 ounces sour cream
1 lime or lemon, zested and juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Combine and mix together until creamy. Use immediately or tightly cover and put in refrigerator overnight. It will thicken overnight.