Following the opening ceremony on Thursday, I headed to the farmers market several Metro stops away from The Mall and came out of the ground into this surreal and beautiful area of DC that I, being a tourist, never knew existed. Across from the Reagan building, surrounded by cement parks and fountains and those short plump dense buildings DC is known for, I spilled into the streets headed toward the White House where I knew stood an organic market that Michelle Obama recently helped to create. I felt giddy.
Audrey, another decathlete, helped in the kitchen and prepared apple crisp while I served our appetizers on the beautiful back deck table. Dinner went off without too many hitches, although the kitchen looked like a murder had occured there as we are not allowed to use the sink or dish washer while competing (produces too much gray water). Shengyin (student team leader that you have seen on much of the TV and news coverage) and I hosted 6 guests from our neighboring quad (including California, Illinois, and Puerto Rico). The decathletes from Puerto Rico charmed me to no end.
Following the dinner party our students who had dined at other houses started wandering into the ICON house with tales of their dinners. Puerto Rico were hands down the party central house! They had all of their lights on (we are constantly doing what we can to conserve energy in the homes), fried whole fish, played wildly fun games, and hosted a grand party that went half and hour too late. PR is Team Congeniality! Fabulous!
After cleanup, I walked out toward the Metro. The 20 little houses were quiet and mostly dark, but on either end of the Mall lights from the monument and the capital lit up like halos against the navy sky. It was quiet and beautiful and for just a moment it belonged completely to me.
Appetizer recipe from the Minnesota Harvest Menu follows.
Tomato Marmalade (served on toast points with "Buffalo Bites")
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoon basil, chopped
1 large scallion, chopped
1 Tablespoon capers, drained
Chopped hot chilis to taste
Heat quartered tomatoes and sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients, stirring frequently, 20 minutes or until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly.