Playing tourist with the Grandparents

It’s always fun when family come in from out of town; we love to play tourists and being hosts.  The season they come during and their personal interests determine which types of activities and locations we get to share with them.

This past week my grandparents (dad’s parents) came into town for a visit on their month long travels. They started from their home in California in their camper-van and are on their way up to Maine and back again. The last time I’d seen them was at my brother’s wedding last August (see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/snapshots-halvorson-wedding-behind-the-scenes/)

So I was thrilled to get some time with them.

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My husband took off work on Friday so we were ready for them when they rolled into town that afternoon. We took them downtown Market street on a walk after some much needed catching up. While downtown, we stopped in the Crystal City olive oil store. My grandpa took samples of everything and enjoyed talking to the store workers since we had the place to ourselves. Luke and I bought a bottle of lemon basil white vinaigrette we thought would go well on both salads and for marinades and my grandmother picked up some very early christmas gifts for a few friends.

For more on Corning’s Market Street see:https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/my-new-hometown/

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We came back to our little rented house and made them our traditional Greene pizza with a twist. Instead of the usual ingredients we used artichoke hearts, olives, crushed fresh garlic, grape tomatoes, onions, and spinach with an Alfredo base instead of tomato. And for meat? Chicken breast pan fried in olive oil and oregano. It was extremely delicious and a great experimental sucess.

For more on our homemade pizza see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/pizza-a-la-greene/

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The next day we took the grandparents on a hiking/nature tour. We stopped by their beautiful campsite with my homemade quiche and fruit for a picnic lunch (see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/a-good-spring-quiche/)

Then we took off in our car to Walkins Glen to hike the Gorge Trail. Although the parking lot was crowded the trail was not too busy and my grandparents had not problems keeping up on the incline of stairs (which is pretty great since my grandfather turned 80 this year!) It is just as beautiful as last year when we first discovered this amazingly breathtaking view.

For more on Walkins Glen state park see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/walkins-glen-state-parkgorge-ous/

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Next we drove up to Ithaca passing by one of the finger lakes (Seneca) on our way to the base of the other (Cayuga) through beautiful country. We stopped by the Ithaca Farmer’s Market where we split off: grandpa and Luke sampling cheese and other foods and Grandma and I tasting local ciders and wines.

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We left with some local maple syrup and hard cider and headed to another state park: Buttermilk Falls. We chose not to conquer two gorge trails in one day but instead enjoyed the view from the picnic tables at the base of the falls.

For more on the Farmer’s Market and Buttermilk falls see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/an-ithaca-birthday-adventure/

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We drove back towards Corning a different route to show more of the country-side then ended up in Horseheads for dinner and dessert. We took my grandparents to our favorite little mom-and-pop sushi place where we enjoyed our delicious sashimi, miso soup, and traditional rolls while my grandparents enjoyed yakisoba  (although they did try a shrimp, avocado, and egg roll). And for dessert? We went to sweetfrog; the local frozen yogurt joint where we could all get a variety of topping and flavors for our unique personalities.

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On Sunday after church we went to lunch at one of my favorite spots: Walker Cake Co.: Barn Owl Cafe where we got breakfast for lunch: breakfast burritos, gluten-free breakfast sandwiches, and traditional two egg breakfasts all with coffee.

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After a hearty brunch we took our grandparents to the Corning glass museum (how could we not?). They were concerned that we would be bored since this was our fourth or fifth time in the museum. We assured them that we weren’t; the contemporary art exhibit had completely been changed out; the demos were being done by new people which always means different information, each live glassblowing creates new and unique items, and the main art display always has a changing/rotating exhibit.

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So although we had taken my parents  at christmas we were far from bored. We also did a very early christmas gift ; the grandparents made a sculpture at the art-glass studio. Much like what we did from my parents; grandma chose the colors and grandpa made the sculpture. Since they are traveling they chose to have it shipped to my parents place where they will end their travels.

For more on the glass museum see:https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/a-corning-christmas-present/

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After a long tour day at the museum we headed back to our house for another Greene dinner: fish tacos. My grandfather tries every fish taco place in California when he has the chance and gave ours a thumbs up for approval

For more on our fish tacos see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/greenes-tilapia-fish-tacos/

We finished our last night together enjoying the thundering rain storm on our porch while eating some of my homemade popsicles.

See some of them at: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/tropical-banana-creamsicles/

As a parting gift as we took my grandparents back to their campsite I gave grandma one of my swedish rye loafs (will be my bread of the month post) and little horseradish cheese from our trip to Ellicottville.

For more on Cuba cheese see:https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/wine-tasting-in-ellicottville/

It was a great weekend playing tourists and hosts. It was also a fun overview for us of what we have explored, learned, and discovered in the past year living in the Corning area. Can’t wait to see what we will explore and discover the rest of this summer and into next year as we transition into a new location (but more on that later).

Do you enjoy hosting friends and family?

What are some of your favorite meals to cook for them?

What local restaurants/tourist spots do insist showing them?

 

A good Spring Quiche

With Easter less than a week away, I thought you might appreciate a good spring brunch recipe. This quiche requires a little prep time but it can be done hours or even a day ahead of time and left overs are great for lunches.

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You will need: 

3 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup chopped mushrooms (or more)

1 cup chopped fresh asparagus

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1 (8 inch) unbaked pie shell (or make it yourself)

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup parmesan

4 eggs

1/4 cup heavy cream

(you can use sour cream or cottage cheese instead-but be aware this may change the baking time)

½ cup 1% milk (or skim)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1- ½ teaspoons pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1-2 tablespoons oregano

olive oil and /or cooking sherry

Preheat oven to 400 degrees then start with the crust:

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*Whether you are using a pre-made/homemade crust or no crust at all (gluten-free) make sure you butter the pie pan.

Tip if you are making your own crust: Stick your pie crust dough between two pieces of parchment or wax paper then use a roller. Once it is rolled out, take the top paper off, flip the crust over the pan, peel off the other piece of paper ,and line the pan with the crust. This way you do not have to use a floured surface, your rolling pin never has to be washed, and best of all-you can reuse the parchment paper!!!

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Now for the veggies:

-Heat olive oil and/or little cooking sherry in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chopped onions; cook and stir until onions begin to brown (with sherry) or translucent (only olive oil). (The cooking sherry caramelizes the onions/mushrooms adding a sweet taste to your savory dish). Reduce the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender.

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-Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Wash and trim asparagus then place them in the boiling water. Let them cook for about a minute and a half .  (If the whole stock is not submerged in the water then flip them over and repeat.)  Immediately after, drain the hot water and run under cold water to cool-let it sit on stove unheated.

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-When cool, chop the asparagus into ½ to ¼ inch pieces.

After veggies are done:

– In a small bowl, whisk together the 3 eggs, heavy cream, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano until smooth.

-Then place the onion/ mushroom mixture, and asparagus, into the bottom of the pie shell.

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– Next sprinkle cheeses over the vegetables.

-After pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cheese.

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– Sprinkle the top  with more oregano and parmesan cheese.

And last of all:

-Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned on top.

Let cool before serving.

Want a slice?

Want a slice?

Although I am posting this right before a very typical brunch holiday- I myself make this quiche about once every 2/3 weeks (yea it’s that good).

Do you have a favorite spring dish?