Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I'm feeling especially grateful for a warm home today.

Deeply grateful that my husband made it to work safely this morning.

And grateful for the people that tirelessly work to keep our roads as safe as possible.

Stay safe out there, friends. 


Update on my progress on the 30-day plank challenge: I've been working at or around 2 minutes the past few days. Almost halfway to the five-minute mark. Not too bad for a few days' progress, as I started the challenge pretty late in the game. And I got A. to join me in the challenge - yay!

as of January 27th


Last Saturday we had dinner with some friends at Crostata's, a nearby restaurant that serves Neopolitan pizza. I've been wanting to go for a long time now, except that we've been loyal to this restaurant for the past couple of years when we have a pizza craving. Lately it seems that A. and I have been into researching and trying different Neopolitan style pizzas like it's our job, going as far as Toronto's Pizzeria Libretto upon the recommendation of this friend. There's just nothing like the simplicity of a really thin crust, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil quickly baked in a 900-something-degree wood-fired oven.

But with all the snow we've been getting, we decided to stay closer to home. I now regret taking this long to try this restaurant. In the spirit of research, I memorized browsed through the menu and Crostata's uses 00 flour and San Marzano tomatoes, so I trusted that they take their pizza seriously. We sampled the burrata (can't resist) to start, and for pizza we had the Margherita D.O.C. (D.O.C. is a designation or standard for Neopolitan pizza) and Amalfitana. Both were excellent, and so was the ravioli. I love that the food here has as its foundation good quality ingredients. Everything we tried was uncomplicated, fresh and delicious. The tiramisu and cannoli we had for dessert were excellent as well. The tiramisu was so flavorful yet light, like you were eating a cloud -- a cloud of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and creamy mascarpone. The cannoli was up there with one of the best cannoli we've had so far, which is from Mike's Pastry in Boston. If not for it being in the evening I would have had affogato as well, but I'll reserve that for when we visit again, and I'll make it a lunchtime visit.

I don't have pictures, but I'll direct you to their website.

I'm glad we went, snow and all. Not just for the pizza but also because I was able to get this:

Agrumato. Or what I call liquid gold.  All for the low price of $11. I know, it sounds like a lot for a small bottle of olive oil. But olive oil is just my thing. And this kind of olive oil makes my heart skip a beat.

I've been intrigued about this ingredient ever since I tried an appetizer at Michael Symon's Lolita restaurant that used agrumato as a finishing oil. When I spotted it at Crostata's last Saturday, it was a no-brainer. I had to buy it. I was like a kid in a candy store.

The things that excite me...

It's not the more commonly found "olive-oil-infused-with-lemon-flavor." This is actually olives and lemons crushed together. Olives and lemons married to produce this bright, citrusy finishing oil that I've been adding to almost anything - including avocado toast, white bean and vegetable soup, salads...

Avocado on toast, drizzled with agrumato

(I may or may not have eaten mashed avocado with agrumato directly from the bowl, with a spoon.)

"In Abruzzo, on the Adriatic Sea, at the end of each harvest, farmers create a special oil for their family and friends. In their "frantoio" (olive mill) on the farm, the farmers crush and press small amounts of hand-harvested olives with fresh citrus fruit to create oils such as Agrumato. Agrume means "citrus". The crisp freshness of Agrumato is achieved by the whole-fruit crushing process, which cannot be duplicated by the more common infusion method of other citrus flavored oils. By crushing the olives with the citrus, the purity of each fruit flavor is maintained. The resulting oil is an exquisitely versatile condiment." (description from here)

Doesn't that sound amazing? And trust me, it is.

I did a quick search, and it's available online as well. You need to try this.


In other news... so I wrote about taking the Krav Maga Level 1 test this year, right? So as if on cue, I get an email with news that the next test is on February 22nd - that's less than a month away, and realistically, I know I'm not ready yet. So I'm aiming for later in the year.

To get there, I really need to meet my sub-goals of increasing my classes from 2 per week to 3 or even 4 per week. Some weeks I've been able to do 3 classes a week. But this snow and sub-zero weather has not been on my side lately and I just don't want to be out there driving right now. I'll try to stay at 2-3 classes a week for the month of February and if the weather subsides in March, I'll increase to 4 classes. I am really, really, really hoping the training center opens in their new east side location in May, which I believe has been in the works. The potential location is 10 minutes from where I live, and A. jokingly worries that I might start living there. He started calling me a little ninja.


Speaking of little ninjas. If I could be a cartoon character, I would be this:

Source unknown

She's not exactly a ninja but she does look like a fierce little character, doesn't she?

I wish I knew where this came from so I could credit it appropriately, but it's a picture that's been passed around among A. and a few other friends after I jokingly said that I'd like to go around with a spatula when eating out so I can scrape every last bit of food (if it's life-changing food, that is). They all joke that no one should mess with me lest the spatula comes out from my purse. So the "five spatulas of fury" has been a running joke for a while now.


How's that for a random list of updates and stories. Stay warm, wherever you are!

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