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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Collingswood Holiday Parade 2012

video
For whatever reason, copyright, etc. I wasn't able to upload this video to my YouTube channel.  Forget about Facebook, I know better than to try any of my videos with music on there.  So, here's the music video of our 1st trip to the Collingswood Holiday Parade.  Since we hadn't moved to Collingswood in time for the parade last year, I had to wait a full year before I could experience my perfect small town's Holiday Extravaganza.  Well-worth the wait!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Low-Fat Curried Turkey Salad

My Creative Thanksgiving Left-overs with a Twist for Talk Philly CBS3.
I had the chance to do a "cooking demonstration" on Talk Philly - the local CBS 3 talk and news program in Philadelphia.  It was a promo piece for ExtraordinaryEd, the Personal Enrichment Learning Center in Collingswood, where I am an instructor, teaching cooking lessons.   The Spot taped on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 and aired on Friday, November 23rd, at Noon.  It was a lot of fun to do, but it took me DAYS and DAYS of shopping, recipe writing and tweaking and hours of prep and cooking, all for a 3 minute demonstration.  The demonstration wasn't even a demonstration, I barely talked about ingredients in the 2 of the 4 items I had on display.  Those recipes were featured on the CBS3 Talk Philly website, along with a video link of the segment.

What wasn't featured were my other two recipes, one for a whole grain vegetable salad with a home-made apple cider and Dijon Vinaigrette.  The other recipe was a riff on my low-fat chicken or turkey salad, made with Non-Fat Greek Yogurt, a bit of Mayo, and curry powder.  

Herewith is that recipe.  I had a request already for it on my Facebook Page www.facebook.com/TheBicycleChef, so I realized I needed to post this asap.  I typically do not use mayonnaise, since I "TRY" to keep most of my meals and recipes very low-fat.  I gave up mayo 6 years ago and find that non-fat Greek Yogurts, hummus or Dijon Mustard work as well or better for me in dishes that call for mayonnaise.  I used the non-fat yogurt in this dressing, mostly because I thought people would get used to the taste of less mayo and the Greek Yogurt if there was a bit of mayo in the recipe. Omit it if you want.  Lastly, I don't like non-fat mayonnaise, it's too full of artificial ingredients.  I'd rather deal with some fat than a mouthful of fake foodstuffs.

Food Styling for CBS3 Talk Philly
Curried Turkey Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 -3 Cups Cooked/Left-over Turkey - chopped into medium dice or shredded
  • 1 Large Celery Stalk - washed, cut into small dice
  • 1 Large Carrot - washed, peeled and cut into small dice or shredded
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley - rough chopped
  • 1 5 to 6 ounce container of Plain, Non-Fat Greek Style Yogurt - such as Fage, Chobani or Wegman's
  • 1 Tablespoon Low-Fat Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons Curry Powder
  • Pinch of Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper - to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce or 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries

Directions:

  1. Dice the turkey, shred or chop the carrots and dice the celery.  Chop the parsley. Place all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Make the dressing: in a small mixing bowl, whisk or blend together the Greek Yogurt, mayonnaise and the curry powder.  Whisk well to incorporate.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, flavoring with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the turkey and vegetables and fold together to incorporate.  Fold in the cranberry sauce or dried cranberries last.  Serve well chilled.  Makes 4 servings.  Keep covered and refrigerated.  Will hold for up to 3 days.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tweed Ride Philadelphia 2012

The Bicycle-Chef and new friend, Gary, resplendent in our Riding Caps!
 5thAnnual Tweed Ride - Philadelphia: Saturday, November 17, 2012.  Finally! After 4 years, I was able to participate in the annual Tweed Ride of Philadelphia. Between the birth of our son, Nate, and then family obligations, birthdays or other events not allowing me the time to join in on this ride, I've missed the four previous years. The Tweed Ride is a fashionable, olde-thymey ride, where the riders don themselves in their gayest tweediest vintage period apparel, riding velocipede
 and bicycles as modern or truly vintage looking as possible. Tweed Rides are organized throughout the USA, and the biggest, best and most infamously attired ride, is one held in the UK, sponsored by Brompton Bicycles.   The Philadelphia Tweed Ride was loosely organized but well thought out and sponsored by many vintage or vintage-inspired businesses in Philadelphia.

We met at the Waterworks, behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art, at 11 am on Saturday, November 17th.  We pedaled off shortly after noon, riding through the Schuylkill River Trail, down Pine Street, and through Olde City to Penn Treaty Park.  At the park, along the banks of the Delaware River, we picnicked, played an authentic game of 1800's baseball, and showed off our fashions, picnic spreads and bicycles.  After our leisurely gambit at the park, we mounted our wheeled steeds and pedaled our way up Spring Garden Street to Rembrandts' Restaurant, where we imbibed in fine spirits and one anothers' fine companionship, awaiting the announcements of the winners of the day's contests: Most stylish lad and lass; finest millinery;  most authentic period bicycle; most lavish picnic; best moustache.  It was a lively, rowdy day, filled with much merriment and laughter.  It was also one of the more memorable group rides in which I participated in years. The spectacle we made, riding through the streets of Philadelphia must have been a fashionable and joy-filled sight for all who saw us.

These are my top photos from several hundred that I took through out the day.  For a full view of my photos, check out my Flickr feed here.  There is also a lovely set of photos on another Flickr Photographer's feed, Amanda Jaffe's set of Tweed Ride '12 photos.

Father and daughter
 I tried to snap a photo of the whole family, mom, daughter and dad, but this was the one that was the best shot of the day of them.  Nevertheless, it still captures what I was aiming for.
Ross and his lavish picnic spread - winner of the days best picnic
Hard to compete with a man who brings a tweed/plaid blanket and a chess board along for his picnic
Jude and Michael - 2 very stylish and lovely people I met on the ride
 They came all the way up from Washington and Baltimore for the ride! And, from what I hear, Baltimore has an even more impressive Tweed Ride than the Philly Ride.  It's hard to tell from this photo, but Jude's hat was tres chic, as were her silver lame stockings.  Michael was riding a vintage-inspired Panama Jack beach cruiser. I've spied one in town and would love to add it to my collection.
Have goggles and aviator's cap, will travel!
Yes, I did enhance this photo a tad, to make it appear more vintage.  It didn't take much though; the lighting was pretty low-key here and the background cold be from several decades ago.
The Pugilist.
When I saw this fellow, I told him he should be drinking a Yard's Brawler Ale, that he reminded me of a boxer.  He happily struck a pose for me to show me he had all the right moves even if he had a different ale in his hands.
Hats and spirits
I love the way the light is coming though this shot and the shadows that were cast.
Showing off his boulangerie messenger bag.

A dapper don with a bicycle pocket square
 Another one of the New Yorkers.  He won the door prize raffle.  Some people, or groups of people have all the luck!
Fair Fellow.  
 He looks as though he could truly be a character out of Brides Head Revisited or any Merchant-Ivory period piece.  I'm sure his lips were enhanced for maximum sultry pouting.  He was as adorable in person as he looks in his photo.
The Bicycle-Chef's ride.  Resplendent in my Autumnal decor and picnic basket
Yogi Bear - stay away from my picnic basket!  My bike was definitely festive but not quite so vintage. This heavy, steel-frame, modern Schwinn Coffee Cruiser was a heavy bike to haul from Collingswood, NJ to Philly, even if I was saving 5 miles of riding by taking the train to the City.  I could barely swing my legs over the frame since the back basket took up so much room.  I wound up with a sore back (still sore as a matter of fact!) for days afterwards.  It was worth some of my discomfort though.  I'd rather have ridden this bicycle for the day than to take my hybrid and non-vintage looking bike to the event.

The Bicycle-Chef's picnic; Cheese, pate, bread, chocolate, fruit and nuts and a good Pumpkin Ale.
All packed into my vintage picnic hamper, and enjoyed on real plates, silver, and stem ware.  Some influences from Diner en Blanc prevailed here!
 I had many compliments and votes for my picnic spread.  I was so pleased to have people notice me, let alone "Like" my helmet, bike and meal. I would have loved to have won a prize for the day's offerings, but I was more delighted to have been able to partake in the day's events - that was prize enough for me! I brought enough food and drink to share with several people.  While I met dozens of people throughout the day, I rode and picnicked with one woman, Marty, who rode her bright Yellow and Kelly Green Brompton Bicycle, that I believe she has named, Basil.  Marty and I hit it off very well, and found despite our generation difference, we had much in commmon.  Bicycles, Tweed, photography and blogging.  Check out her blog and her version of our picnic and ride at TheBromptonDiaries.com
A captivating couple astride a tandem
A vintage-inspired bike owned by Felix.  His Trek 300 was full of quirky 1930's details and memorabilia,
complete with a Teddy Roosevelt Bear and King and Queen of England stickers.
Tippler

Swami

The Director and Photographer

Coy Couple
This woman's eyes and whole personna so fit the spirit of the day. She was utterly captivating.
High Fashion
 I feel as though this photo truly captures the types of fashion and personalities of the day.  We spanned the looks from the late 1800's though to the 1940's.
He's a dashing lad

Hands on a Hercules Bike with Brooks Saddle

New York Doll
She won for snappiest lass of the day.  She, and her friends, about 5 people in all, won in over 3 categories for the day.  The group hailed from New York. 
Argyles and Saddle Shoes

Allentown 1941 Bicycle

Happy Lad
Of the many photos I took, this one was quite accidental. I snapped it early in the day, not knowing how it would turn out, nor did I realize he'd be so agreeable to the pose.  I like all the photos I took and kept, but I love this one best.
Mr. Dan's Magical Toulson and Son Advertisement Bicycle

Felix's magical Moustache Bicycle

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Thyme and Dill

It's soup season.  And the season for foods in shades of orange and pumpkin.  This past Sunday night I cooked my usual weekly fair of vegetables, starches and proteins, and realized as I was preparing a lot of things that were packed full of carotene.  Carrots, sweet potatoes, beets. I also made pan braised salmon in a soy sauce glaze.  We'll eat well and keep our eyes healthy at the same time, without, hopefully getting the Susan Dey-Glow from eating too many carrots.  

Among the many dishes I cooked, I also managed to make a pot of carrot, sweet potato soup with thyme and dill.  It's completely vegan, souper super low-fat and deliciously good for you.  I've written before that I once cooked/worked for a woman infamously frugal.  The restaurant was well-known for its soups and most of them were vegetarian and/or vegan.  I learned to make vegetarian soups with their own stock in one pot in one pass.  We didn't have time or money to make a vegetable stock base; you did it all at once while the soup cooked.  It was one of many great tricks I learned to appreciate later in my life, years after I no longer worked at her store.  The trick to making a vegetable soup using only water as the base is to add in extra aromatics and spices along the cooking process.  To make vegan soups taste and seem "creamy" you add in an Idaho or Russet potato.  

As much as I love to make soup, because it feels like you're making great food from nearly nothing, I'm not a soup-eating fan.  I often want a fuller meal and soup doesn't quite fill me.  However, when you pair a hot steaming bowl of aromatic magic with some great bread and a bit of cheese, then I'm satisfied.  I'll concede to vegan soup but not to a full vegan lifestyle.  Sorry friends, I can only go healthy so far in my eatie's life!

The soup is pureed, so in addition to a medium or large stock pot, you'll need to have a blender, food processor or immersion blender in order to finish the soup.  I used olive oil, it has more flavor than canola or vegetable oils.  Whenever I use salt and pepper, they are kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Both have fresher flavors.

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Thyme and Dill Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
  • 2 Celery Stalks - medium dice
  • 1 Large Onion - peeled and cut into large dice (about 2 cups)
  • 5 Carrots - medium dice (about 2 cups of chopped carrots)
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Thyme
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Dill 1 Medium Sweet Potato - peeled and chopped into medium dice
  • 1 Small Russet Potato - peeled and chopped into medium dice
  • 5 Cups Cold Water
  • Salt and Pepper - to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add in the celery, onions and carrots and sweat the vegetables until they release their juices and begin to caramelize - about 10 minutes.  
  2. Add in the 2 tablespoons each of the dried thyme and dill, reserving the 1/2 tablespoon each for use later.  Stir to release the flavor of the herbs, then add in the chopped sweet potato, russet potato and the cold water.  
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer.  Cook the soup until the vegetables are fork tender and beginning to fall apart - about 30 to 40 minutes.  Next, season the soup with a few pinches of kosher salt and several grinds of freshly ground pepper.  
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool down before pureeing the soup.  If using an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the stock pot and blend until smooth. If using a blender or food processor, have a large mixing bowl ready and work in batches.  
  5. Ladle the vegetables into the work bowl of the blender or food processor and spoon in some of the cooking liquid to get the vegetables moving in the blender.  Puree until smooth the pour the mixture into the mixing bowl.  Continue pureeing the vegetables until the whole batch is smooth.  If there is any cooking liquid remaining, whisk it into the pureed carrot/potato mixture.  
  6. Pour the soup back into the stock pot, heat the soup back to a boil and then taste and adjust the seasonings, using the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of thyme and dill.  Serve hot.  Soup will keep for up to 4 days in a tightly covered container.  Cool thoroughly before refrigerating.  The soup can also be frozen and will keep for up to 3 months.  Freeze in one or two portion containers.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Photo Finds: Philadelphia Photo Day

Driving to Work: As seen from our car, at Broad and Spruce Streets
I take photos nearly every day.  On my wanders around Rittenhouse Square, on my way home from work and of course, as Liz calls it, my oBLOGatory Food Photos.  Friday, October 26, was Philly Photo Day, sponsored by Phila Photo Arts - a non-profit group dedicated to bringing photography to everyone - especially to people who will not be likely to have access to cameras, photo studios or photography studies - the poor and disenfranchised.  I've participated in the Philly Photo Day last year as well as in ADAY.ORG's photo day back in May.  While I only submitted one photo, I spent my time outside taking photos everywhere I went.  These are almost all of my photos taken on Friday, October 26, 2012, save for a few that were either blurry or just not as interesting as these.  

Bicycle Parking Coral - 19th and Chestnut Street
It's clear after just a few photos, what my photographic vision leans towards: bicycles, street art and architectural details.  I don't intentionally, or consciously set out to take photos only of these things, I just find them the most interesting.  After a few shots, I realized I had a theme.  It's hard to change what you like.  What can I say, I'm The Bicycle-Chef after all!
Old Skool Film Canisters - Photo Store at 19th and Chestnut

The Boyd Theater, aka The Sam Eric.  One of the last of the Grand Old
Movie Houses in Philadelphia

The Boyd Theater - Boarded up with no hopes of a revival
With bicycles in the foreground and I was mostly interested in the building and the street art that's been adorned on the boarded up facade. 
Qdoba door way handle

Workmen's tools
I liked the way the tools and digging implements were so casually, yet artfully laid out on the sidewalk.  After the photo was snapped, I then noticed the bicycle lock-up pole.  Another bike sneaks into the photo!
Steamy Alley
It may be cliched, taking a photo of a gritty alley way, with the steam pouring out of a pipe, but it speaks to me about the other side of life that exists next to us at all times.
Kiosk and Fresh Coffee
I like the angles, the round signs, the tree that looks like it's in bloom instead of getting ready to go dormant.  There's a bit of graffiti on the Kiosk sign and I love the coffee cup angle on top of the meter machine.
Next to Normal - A Girl and Her Dog
The first of my "shooting from the hip" photos. Sneaking a photo of a girl.
Crossing 19th Street
Left of the Next to Normal photo - another shot from my hip photo.
Father and his children
I shot this photo literally from my hip.  I had seen photos taken by someone I follow on Flickr, and her photos were taken without looking.  I liked the idea and wanted to try it.  It works well for taking those sly photos of people when you don't want them to know you're taking their photo.
The grass is so green and the leaves have fallen.
I wanted to shoot most of the day in black and white.  Several photos didn't even need my switching to the black and white mode, the light was so grey and dreary naturally.  Except for these photo - where the green grass was so shockingly green that I had to switch back to full colour. No touch up needed here, it was like seeing the Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day - vibrant technicolour green.
Lone Stroller
I didn't see the family that owned this stroller. It was in the middle of the lawn, set by itself. 
Workman at the Rittenhouse Square House

Shoppers and Strollers

Metropolitan Market - a sweet oasis
My walkabout also included a brief stop to Metropolitan Bakery for a loaf of bread.  The goodies behind the counter were deserving of a photo, even if I couldn't buy or eat them, I could admire them. This store is a little touch of Paris in Philadelphia.

Repairs
I love old neon signs and I especially love old shoe repair signs.  They are so old fashioned and simple.
Sprinkler Stand Pipe study in Black and White

Sprinkler Stand Pipe in Glorious Gold
I've said it before about building details and sprinkler pipes - I find them interesting.  Some are sort of artistic or look like faces or people.  They are there, in plain sight but we never notice them. This one reminded me of a traffic light or stop sign.  I liked that it looks good in black and white as well as in colour.
Street Art/Graffiti Find on an AC Unit
I've seen this graffiti artist's work around before, usually on stickers or tagged onto signs and buildings.  Clever (yet destructive) use of tagging onto a metal surface by "etching" his design on the corrugated metal. 
Street Cross Walk - a study in lines
City Streets with their painted lines in crosswalks make for fun contrast studies.  Of course, the white lines also remind me of piano keys and of the Beatles Abbey Road album. 
Self Portrait in a Bicycle Mirror

Vehicles, Wheels and Frames

Easy Rider


Saints
Clearly, this Saint has been here for a long time, guarding and protecting this building.  I pass by this building several times a week and I'm not positive I've noticed the statue before today.



Heading home on Patco - 15ht and Locust Street
I ended my day like most, taking the High Speedline home to Collingwood.  As I did on my photo walkabout back in May, I took pictures down in the PATCO Station.  Trains are great subject matter.  The lines, the signage, machines, etc, all make for great photo opportunities.  You can make them seem industrial, romantic, gritty and urban, all at once.

Photos I've seen of New York's transportation hubs, all closed due to Hurricane/Storm Sandy, this past week made for some eerie images.  Images of empty buildings that are normally bustling with commerce and activity remind me of scenes out of apocalyptic movies.  These became a little too real this past week with the storms, flooding and power outages all over New Jersey and New York.