Potluck, Summer Nom-ing

So some of my friends were awesome and came over to potluck one weekend in June. I didn’t make it easy, changing the location 80 billion times before the actual date ’cause of all this lovely rainy June weather (oh, Albany). We ended up doing it at my place, and I thank everyone who showed up.

Les Tanners brought a delightful array of charcuterie. Slices of mac & cheese loaf, olive loaf, & pistachio loaf; and a spicy saucisson (?… cured meat thingy. not unlike salami) on a pretty platter.

Couldn’t peel the covering off of this one fast enough. So good.

R & M brought FILIP PEANUTS!! And pickled carrots! R, these peanuts are like crack. >_< Too dangerous to have at a house. I also place at least partial blame on R for all of my festiveness. You are like the big sister that I never had in the sorority I never joined! And I loved every single minute/cocktail of it.

My buddy in the military & his chickie brought these bangin’ roasted potatoes. Well, she made it. So good! Thin & slightly crisp skin on the outside, and creamy insides. Mmm. Potatoes are so tough for me to cook sometimes – I either undercook them or overcook them into a gummy mess.

My girlie A made chickpea salad! Yum! Chickpeas! I freaking love chickpeas, so creamy and gooood. Beantacular!

The aforementioned potatoes, sausage salad from C & J Tanner, and a fruit salad from one of my other girlfriends. And a peek at the chickpea salad.

The fruit salad was so refreshing & welcome. Great combo – strawberries, watermelon, blueberries… Mmmm. And she put it in the bowl! So cute with the presentation!!

I didn’t know that a salad made primarily of sausage (2 kinds), and minced pickles & onions was possible. I’d have found myself a salad eater much earlier in life if that were the case. BTDubs, Chris made all of the sausages & charcuterie himself. Natch. Making friends with a Chef-Prof who specializes in the curing arts is deliciously AWESOME. I’d probably give myself botulism trying to cure meat, but as Albany John said “Thank you for letting me put your sausages in my mouth!”.

Silvia brought an angel food cake with her famous Meadowbrook Farms hand-whipped cream. Oh delicious berries and whipped cream on fluffy cake. I love you so.

Sil also brought me a pink princess crown. Haha, yay! Sil, you are the best!

Sebastien brought some beautiful & freshly plucked strawberries from Samascott Farms. They were so juicy and ripe! It reminded me of why strawberries are one of my favorite berries – because when they’re in the throws of summer ripeness it’s like licking a little bit of heaven.

Oh, and then after stuffing ourselves we headed over to the Biergarten to drink boots of beer. Thank Matt!
Cuke salad! $2.95 – big bowl of salty cukes in yogurt sauce with dill. I want this every freaking day.
Dudes, their fries are awesome. A crunchy/crispy coating, so good for only $2.95.

Oh, I made Jell-O shots and force fed them on everyone because I am a very classy host like that.

Phairhead Gets Married

Congrats to my blogging sistren Phairhead, who got hitched to her main squeeze, SexyBeast!

She was generous enough to invite Albany John and me to their nuptials.
At The Stockade Inn in Schenectady. Nice location, and even a non-Schenectadite like myself could easily find the location.

It was a fun ceremony – short and sweet, with awesome colors and decor. The Stockade is a multi-use facility, which meant for a very short commute to the reception 馃槈

Pretty flowers! Awesome appetizers, too! I loved the table set-up, so you could mingle with other people (Alb John & I are minglers), and how it passed the (deliciously open) bar.
Phair, I forget what you called these things, but they were like M&Ms, only a bit larger and flatter and tasted like mint! Albany John opened his chair-shaped box as soon as we sat down and was like “OH. OH. These are GOOD.” He made sure I remembered to bring our boxes home when we left. I think the man’s got a new addiction.

Oh, and her mom made ALL of the desserts. And they were awesome.

Prime ribbity rib for dinner! Alas, I was bested by this sizable hunk of beef, but not for lack of trying.

Oh, and P was awesome at sat us at a table with some other local bloggers, haha! I was so happy to be included in P’s special day – I never thought that when I first met her I’d one day be at her wedding! I’m so amazed at how having a little blog can make such great friendships that allow me to meet such wonderful people.

Congrats you two, many wishes for a long and happy life together!

Another One Joins the Fam

Welcome to the family, Maka! The woman I call my “sister” is now officially my sister. Maka and my bro-in-law CVS were married this past weekend in an awesome ceremony.

They’ve got a good sense of humor, no?

We went to Catherine’s in Goshen, NY for a rehearsal dinner Mama & Papa Amherst threw on Friday night. (Dear waitress, thanks for putting up with one of the fussier groomsmen). Shitty pics on my part, but tasty food. Coconut shrimp. I ate an entire platter of them myself. SO THEY WOULDN’T GO TO WASTE!

Albany John and I sat with Maka’s friends from Miami, an awesome couple with an equal eye for food. I liked them. I cannot match their espresso love, but I can admire it from a distance.


Maka’s hair looking awesome. Girlie time: She’s got enviable hair. It holds a curl like nothing else. And very voluminous. Beautiful bride, from the hair alone. Hands down gorgeous from the face side.
“What’s up with the deodorant in the picture?” Albany John asked.

I don’t think you can see my face in this picture. If you can, sorry for turning your face to stone. I took a semi-cocktailified faux artsy pic of the pretty dress Maka picked out for us bridesmaids (Or, as Albany John kept reminding me “Honey, you’re the MATRON of honor. Not a maid. MATRON”), which evidently made the camera look like a stick of deodorant.

Nommy cake, pretty flowers! Oh yeah, the ceremony was nice too. Even though I’m married in to the groom’s side, I sat on the bride’s side because of the whole matron of honor thing. Rather ironic considering I have very little honor. Any way, one of her uncles was behind me for the whole ceremony who was a laugh a minute. Maka wanted a sage burning, and her uncle was like “Yeah, yeah Rev, breathe it in, it’s great!” Maybe you had to be there. But it was funny.

P.S. Maka – Aunt Cali and I totally tried a wee finger of icing before you served it. Quality Analysis, I assure you. And it passed. Yes, I have the control of a 2 year old.

Lemony vanilla-y cake.

I also found a plate of dessert on each table. Which I totally commandeered for myself. Plate of tasty desserts, HELLO!

You know you’re in a fun wedding when the bride’s father chides at you for going to bed (aka bitching out) at 2 am. What can I say, I am a sleeper.

Also, the next morning I had a breakfast of bacon, sausage, 2 poached eggs, perfect hash browns, and another plate of bacon & sausage. And OMG, I love Hilton hotels. It’s going to make it REALLY hard to stay in Motel 8s from here on out. Then then Albany John and I drove the bride, groom, and a groomsman down to Queens. OMG, craptacular traffic! But it was so fun to spend more time with them! And show one of the groomsmen NYC traffic. And NY driving (hey, I didn’t hit anyone or give anyone whiplash). I also learned that I need to limit myself to one 5-hour energy drink per day, otherwise I will have a 3 day energy drink hangover. Oof. I am not good with stimulants.

Congrats CVS & Maka! And now I have a whole other set of inlaws^2! Yay for inlaw-inlaws!

Gus’s & Snowman w/DerryX!

It was the illustrious celebration of 1 year of DerryX that brought a bunch of us to Gus’s one Saturday morning. The lovely Cassie and others were there, and he is a much nicer person to link them all on his page. (Go read his well-written description). If you want more spazzing and meaty money shots, keep on reading.

Mini dogs! They’re like $0.65 each, or something like that. For an extra $0.25 per dog you can get them slathered with cheeze sauce like Albany John did. I would go that route. It puts the mini dogs at nearly $1 (gasp), but it’s such good greasy food.

I’m not a big fan of their meat sauce, but like all meat sauces, it’s easy to become addicted to. I just think it’s a little cottony-textured. Maybe the meat is a bit too finely ground, lean, or overcooked. But these are minor gripes. I really like that they load up on the raw onions.
I got three hot dogs with “The Works” (meat sauce, onions, & mustard), and three mini dogs with mustard and onions.

A can of diet Pepsi is only $0.90.

The Profussor was more mustard and meat sauce than man that day.
And then it was Snowman time for ice cream. Cassie was talking up their sundaes, so Albany John and I split a small Reese’s PB Cup one. SO GOOD! And under $5. Maybe just under $4. It was epic. And oddly unfilling. Unfilling in the “Oh crap, I have just eaten 9000 calories and 5 cups of food, and why do I still have space left in my stomach?” kind of way. Personally, I look at it as an opportunity for sundae #2, but Albany John said no. Kill joy.

Strawberry Picking at Indian Ladder Farms

This weekend I celebrated my mom’s birthday by taking her to Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont for their Pick Your Own Strawberries. My sister mentioned she wanted to go, so we planned on Saturday. Except it rained and poured and almost all morning long Saturday, and all of the farms were closed. I got confused since I was up at the ass-crack of dawn (I.E. before 10 am) and thought Indian Ladder was closed when it was actually Altamont Orchard that was closed. Either way, my mom and sister called them up and they were open.

And we. were. going.

In the rain?? But it’s raining.

Yes, in the rain.

Ok, mom.
Here’s a picture of my sister hopping in the fields. It wasn’t raining when we got in. You buy the quart containers at the farm shop ($2.95 for this season) and go out to the strawberry picking area and… pick strawberries. And presumably gorge yourself on nibbling strawberries while picking them, too.

Goodness, you would have thought my mom and sister were professional strawberry pickers because they were out there like it was their job, and it was busy season, and they had a quota to meet. I was a total wuss and hopped in the car after pouring rain poured harder and soaked through my raincoat and all over my clothes. BBrrrrr… cold wet Albany Jane!

Here is what the strawberry plants look like. They are a lot smaller than strawberries you get at the grocery store. I’ve never picked strawberries before, and only really seen them decoratively in other peoples’ gardens. They’re about the size of a cotton ball. But they’re rather sweet and delicious. And when you get one that’s redder than a ruby it’s perfectly sweet, floral, and tart all at once. How have I gone my whole life not eating strawberries like this ALL OF THE TIME?

Strawberries were my favorite fruit growing up. There’s a VHS somewhere of me at my 2nd or 3rd birthday party. My mom made some kind of cake and this massive strawberry that was bigger than my toddler-sized fist was slapped on top of the frosting in the front (as a centerpiece I suppose). I wanted that strawberry. I NEEDED that strawberry. You KNOW I threw a fit until I got that strawberry. To be honest, I can’t say I wouldn’t behave similarly now.

So twee! So perfectly cute and warm and summery. If my body were made out of food, I think my heart would be made of a strawberry. I implore you to go out and pick some strawberries if you get a chance this season. I think some orchards (Altamont?) are going to be open some weeknight evenings, and they’re all open on the weekends. Some charge by the pound, and some charge by container. Usually around $2-3 per pound or quart. It’s totally fun and DELICIOUS! It’s also mom-approved.

Cherries are next!

Oh, and HAAPPYYY BIRTHDAY, MA! (She hate it when I call her Ma, ha ha)

BBQ and Such by Big HaHoona BBQ

Got word of this event. Check if if you’re free:

Class茅 Catering is introducing a new line of mouthwatering barbeque cuisine, Big KaHoona Barbeque.

Award-winning Chef Jeremy Kane has created a menu that combines the best of classic American barbeque tradition and will sample:

24-hour Smoked Pulled Pork

Smoked Beef Brisket

Skillet Cornbread

Big KaHoona Burgers (grilled onion, pineapple, jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, remoulade )

Hous-made Chili

Zesty Jumbo Chicken Wings

Chef鈥檚 Mac N鈥 Cheese

BBQ Baked Beans

Creamy Cole Slaw

Sliced Watermelon

Assorted Soft Drinks 鈥 Iced-Tea, Lemonade, Soda

Beer, Wine

This launch party will feature live music by Robanic with the Caribbean Sound , a special fire show by The Incredible Larry, BBQ/beer pairings, entertainment and giveaways.

WHEN: Thursday, June 16

4 to 7 p.m.

WHERE: Pruyn House

207 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham

Proceeds from the suggested $5 donation will benefit The Food Pantries and Friends of Pruyn House.


Event Producers | Class茅 Catering is an innovative Capital Region-based corporate and social event firm that is renowned for distinctive cuisine, memorable guest experience, exquisite presentation and inspired design. For 18 years, Class茅 Catering鈥檚 elite event team of more than 100 professionals has delivered flawless results as the exclusive and/or preferred caterer at more than 60 unique and historic sites across Tech Valley .

Matt’s Cape House

Grabbed a sandwich from Matt’s Cape House (1663 Route 9, Clifton Park, NY) when I was in the area relatively recently. I’m not sure why I didn’t order a lobster roll with double the lobster meat (for only $17!), but I wound up getting a chicken sandwich. It was like $5. Maybe $5.25 or something like that with tax. Bring some change with that fiver.

It comes with lettuce, tomato, and onion, but mine was all naked and such and I didn’t really feel like going up and bugging them for the rabbit mix. They had a little condiment area where one could get some mustards, hot sauces, and other such accoutrements to dress up your stuff.

It was a fine sandwich for the price. Juicy (almost too juicy in a brined kind of way) breast. It made me wonder if corning chicken would be a worthy effort. But it had a nice sear, and I like it when they’re on the juicer side than the dry and leathery side *shudder*. Tasty pickle, too. Roll was buttered, and a little heavy, so I only ate half and just ate the other with a knife and fork. OMG, what is going on with me?! I’m off my carb lust!

I must have been possessed to not order seafood. But most of it was fried, and I wasn’t in a fried or mayo-y (seafood salad-y) kind of mood. Next time, my dears. I promise I will get something fatty &/or lobstery.

I think this is a nice place to go in Clifton Park. I’m not quite used to the area, but on first impression it seems like there isn’t that much in some parts, or at the least that there are a lot of chains. Clifton Park will have to be my new exploration territory. I will find something rave-worthy! (Also, please let me know if you like something in CP!)

Gardening Trials & Tribulations

Blogger is being fussy about loading my pictures, so you just get to deal with some Albany Jane griping and bitching.

Oh, gardening is not going so well in Albany Janeland.

So Albany John got this black stuff. It’s like a fabric sheet that you put over your plants, and cut holes in for the seedlings. I think we were supposed to cover it with more dirt, which we didn’t do, so most of my hard-grown seedlings died a thirsty and shrivel-y death. Three tomato plants lived. We got some more from our gardening neighbor. She didn’t have any more room for her tomato seedlings. Yay for generous gardening neighbors!!
The remaining seedlings aren’t doing so well though…

My first semester in college I had this bio class that had a plant-growing requirement. Seriously, it was part of the class. Something about life cycles. And photosynthesis. You know. Any way, you had to grow the thing from seed, and then create a whole report on it. Hypothesis, observations, etc. Measurements. You know. And then a mass spec on the stuff at the end. Any way, anyone who’d ever taken the class before (which was everyone on campus) was like “Oh, that is such an annoying study you have to do. It’s way more work if your plant actually lives, so just leave it in the dark and kill it and then just do hypothetical research.”
I figured “No problem, that plant doesn’t stand a chance around me any way.” but the seed I had grew like crazy and it was the only plant I’ve had that didn’t meet some depressing fate, at least for the first semester. I have no idea what happened to it after that, although I wish I could tell you it’s still living in a window of my apartment. I probably threw it out because it wouldn’t die or flower. Any way, yeah… so I’m not very good at growing things.

Out of the 20 or so seeds of romanesca zucchini squash that I planted, a whopping two grew. So Albany John picked up a 4 pack of already grown zucchini seedlings and we planted those in between the growing ones in the zucchini row. I have no idea if my parsnips are growing, but some carrots are popping up. But holy cow, are my weeds doing really well. I’m gonna have one heck of a bumper crop of weeds, that’s for sure. I should have intentionally planted them, ’cause there is no way they’d have grown as much already 馃槈

Also, I may not have watered them as often as I should have.

I think next year I’m just going to buy all of my seedlings. Or buy a house that has a backyard or more windows I can keep cat bellies out of. Yeah, it was the cat bellies… that’s what it was. Nah, but really I think that the trickiness rumors around heirloom plants is correct, so maybe if you’re a novice gardener like myself, maybe just buy your seedlings. Or at least realize that you might have to supplement half of your garden with purchased seedlings after the seeds turn out to not… grow.

The black thumb of death still rules my garden!

Garden fairies, keep your fingers crossed and send some good vibes my way. Goodness knows my plants need it.