Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Soup

It's been a lovely Tuesday. I woke up to a purring cat and a boy friend on the verge of a cold which is kind of exactly how I like him... I love taking care of people, especially Adam, so I immediately jumped on the opportunity to make some chicken soup.

The best part about this soup is that all of the ingredients cost $12! It's also enough food to feed 6 or a sick boy for a week. Anyway, with a little guidance from Dawn, I made it through the grocery store in 10 minutes with the following...

-a small chicken (about 2-3lbs)
-1 package of baby portobello mushrooms
-1 large carrot
-2 yellow onions
-1 package of bay leaves
-1 bunch of garlic
-1 bunch of celery
-1 bunch of parsley
-1 box of orzo

When I got home I cleaned the chicken, put it in a pot and covered it with water until it was about two inches under. I quartered an onion, halved three celery stalks and added them to the water along with 3 cloves of peeled garlic and 3 bay leaves. I also added quite a bit of salt and pepper. After the water came to a boil I turned it down to a simmer and let it cook for about two hours. During that time I finely chopped another onion, 3 large cloves of garlic, the carrot, 3 large celery stalks, 6 mushrooms (sans steam), and about 2 tbls of parsley.

After about two hours the chicken should be falling off the bone but still take a fork to it to check out the meat and give it a little taste. With a ladle, fish out every bit of chicken, onion, and celery and put it on a separate plate. All you need is the meat from the chicken. While the chicken is cooling you can add all your other vegetables to your broth as well as about a tbls of black pepper and salt. You'll probably end up needing even more salt and pepper to taste when serving. Once the chicken is cool enough to touch, use your hands to pull all the meat and give a taste to your cat if you want him to love you forever.

When you've added your chicken back into the mix let it simmer for about 45 minutes (the longer the better). In a separate pot boil water and cook your orzo but just enough for the people you plan on serving right then and there. I don't ever actually add the orzo to the soup. It just ends up absorbing too much broth and getting soggy. When the orzo is done cooking I add about 2 tbls to each bowl and then pour some broth and the soup mixture over it. Salt and pepper to taste. A little hot sauce is also a great addition.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanksgiving In The Berkshires

I know it's two weeks late but I had an AMAZING Thanksgiving. Adam and I took the train up to The Berkshires on Wednesday, spent three hours grocery shopping, and made a beautiful dinner with my mom. There were three different pizzas. The first one was covered with sweet potato, carmalized onions and a blue cheese blend. The second, a margarita and lastly one with beets, goat cheese, pecans and red sauce. Dawn (my mamma) made a last minute contribution of mussels which she steamed with garlic and wine. This was a great way to kick off the weekend.

The next morning I woke up bright and early and started prepping for the big meal. I prepared the filling for stuffed mushrooms which I mentioned in an earlier Thanksgiving post, baked chestnuts for the brussels sprouts (also mentioned in that old post) and made the filling and crust for a pecan cobbler that I found on a blog I follow called Homesick Texan (no connection). Some changes had to be made... For starters, to make the brown rice in the stuffed mushroom a little more flavorful I cut the water in half and used a veggie stock , in the brussels sprouts I added some brown sugar to the butter to make it feel a little more Christmas like and I couldn't find sorghum syrup so I used half corn syrup and half molasses. All of theses adjustments were totally successful and I strongly recommend them.

It was a cozy evening. The whole weekend was full of warm meals, family, wine and laughter. Totally the ideal weekend in the country.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We've been having the most amazing weekend! When I get back to Brooklyn I will upload some pictures from this heavenly time spent with the people I love and appreciate but for now I'm keeping cozy by my wood stove in the kitchen of my little Berkshire home.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Something Dear

I LOVE musical theater. I also LOVE the ballet AND the opera. I was pretty much raised in the theater. My mom was a costume designer and I spent every summer at a performing arts camp. Although I never participated in acting classes, I spent the time in dance classes and working in the kitchen. There would be a show every few weeks. A musical, something Shakespearean, and a dance concert. It was AMAZING!

So now I seek solace in the theater. No mater what show I see, I cry. Doesn't matter what it's about. The second the orchestra starts, goosebumps. It's one of my favorite feelings in the world. Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Leonard Bernstein, Noel Gay, Claude-Michel Schonberg, John Kander, Fred Ebb, JEEZ I could go on and on. The pure genius is just fucking astounding.

I have a strange urge to see The Nutcracker this season. The Nutcracker is more popular and has more seasonal productions in America than any other country. EVEN RUSSIA! I haven't seen it since I was like 6. After the show my mom bought toe shoes signed by whoever the ballerina was in the show. They were meant to be kept as a souvenir however that sort of thing would never fly with me. I insisted on wearing them CONSTANTLY.

I digress... I've never seen Madame Butterfly or Swan Lake. These are things I want to do in 2011 or 2010 if I'm lucky. I also want to see Carmen again. I remember studying Georges Bizet in a music theory course. He started studying at a music conservatory before he was 10! I'm so behind.

If you can stomach it, here is a beautiful song from Rodgers and Hammerstein's, "Carousel". The clip is from the movie which wasn't half bad. If you hate musical theater, don't bother.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New York, I love you. Everywhere else is brigning me down.

There is a new social networking page called "Path". Supposedly it's meant to be like a more personal (less impersonal?) version of facebook. Personal meaning you share your deepest thoughts and feelings with 100 of your closest friends as opposed to 800 plus their cousins and co-workers.

If we've already developed the emotional capacity and shallowness needed to update our facebook/twitter status multiple times daily (and keep blogs), is it really necessary to take a step back?

I joined. I have one friend. One person to update with every move I make. One person who is conveniently asleep in the other room that I could easily wake to tell any urgent message I may have.

Moving on, I'm leaving for New York on Sunday at the crack of dawn. I've never been so eager to get home. It could be because of a certain someone waiting for me there or because I haven't been home in 7 months which I think is the longest amount of time I've ever spent away in my entire life.

This whole runaround is getting exhausting. I left New York, a perfect apartment and a great job in September of 2009 thinking that if I didn't leave then, I never would. Now I'm tired and just waiting to put in the rest of my time "trying something new" and go home.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dear Santa

Is it totally awful of me to be thinking about a Christmas list? I know I won't actually get any of these things and honestly I'd rather save and buy them myself (martyr lie). I have nowhere to put them and even if I did my car isn't big enough to move them in 6 months but lets just pretend.

I think that I NEED a fig tree, right? I love how many things you can do with them! Raw, baked or preserved. They harvest twice annually, they're pretty and they're so good for you. Have you every just stuffed one of these babies with cambozola and rosemary then drizzled olive oil? Heaven!

I LOVE SANDWICHES! If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life and it couldn't be pizza, it would be sandwiches. I used to have a sandwich maker and I literally had dreams about using it and all of the different combination's I could try! I think that particular sandwich press is now in my mothers garage somewhere and although she would tell me to dust it off and take it with me, I won't because it's probably gross. What I would REALLY like is to upgrade to a beautiful old cast iron one but after extensive google searches I've realized that's not likely. I think it's one of those things that you spot at tag sales but can't google (if that's possible in twenty-ten). Until then some sort of situation like this could do ...

Let's talk about how freaking amazing this tea kettle is! First of all, it's Le Creuset which is basically the best (and prettiest) kitchen wear money can buy. Second, do you see this color?! Wow. This is one of those items that can be passed down from generation to generation. Don't get me wrong, I love my grandmothers Revere Wear that has been passed on to me but this just brings things to a new level. And, if Santa should take the time to travel all the way to the Le Creuset outlet in South Carolina, it probably wouldn't kill him to pick up one of these. I have casseroles to make this holiday season!Clearly I'm totally obsessed with kitchen items but I need to get real here for a minute. For the past 4 years I have had the luxery/curse of owning a digital SLR. While luxurious because it takes beautiful picture, it's kept me from being able to justify buying a point and shoot and because of it's size I never actually end up bringing it anywhere. So the time has come for me to purchase something that I can put in my bag and actually use. I've been scoping out the Canon G10, G11, etc. for a few years now and up until recently it just kept getting better and better. Suddenly they decided to make it so you can flip the screen out which I'm really not that interested in. More things for me to break. So now is my chance to jump on it and buy last years model.

I'm almost ready to wrap this thing up and ship it off but this list wouldn't be completely without my very favorite thing that I've seen in months. First I have to tell you, I love being in bed. I love eating in bed, watching tv in bed, lounging and buying things on the home shopping network from bed. I'm actually in bed writing this blog right now. I have no need for desks or couches, I just need a cozy bed. That being said, I think it's completely appropriate for me to want to drop $260 on these sheets and an additional $280 on this duvet from Dwell Studios. I'm generally an all white and soft sheet set kind of girl but I saw these sheets on one of my favorite blogs, For Me, For You and I think it they changed me! Maybe just for winter...

Again, the problem with all of these things is that I have absolutely nowhere to put them but I can dream! Someday I'll settle down and go on a mega shopping spree.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Austin to San Francisco

Well! The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of laughter, road trips, beer and buddies!

It started in Austin with my dear friend Amanda who flew in from Portland, ME to drive with me out to San Francisco. We stopped in Albuquerque where I saw one of my oldest dearest, Andy Lyman. After New Mexico we hit Vegas, LA and then arrived in SF.

Once we arrived in San Francisco we had the pleasure of watching one of the world series games at a local bar which was so exciting!
Otherwise, I've been cleaning, organizing and carting my little brother to and from hockey practice/games. I'd be lying if I said I didn't absolutely love it.

For more stories about Amanda and me on the road take a look at her blog, Misadventures in Portland. She's an amazing write. Far better than I could ever hope to be.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

BBQ Hollandaise Sauce Heaven

The other night I made my Mother a white cake for her birthday. Although it looked lovely, I wasn't thrilled with the consistency. Moving on, I had all of these egg yolks leftover and ended up chucking them. Now I know that was a real dumb thing to do because I LOVE hollandaise sauce and apparently egg yolks are the key ingredient.

Today I decided to use some of the leftover pork that we had from the birthday celebration (so much pork) and make pork eggs benedict with BBQ hollandaise sauce and rosemary grits. To my delight it turned out totally amazingly well! So, let me tell you about this hollandaise.

Although from everyone says hollandaise can be difficult I think if you follow these simply instructions (and are mindful of the heat you expose your sauce to) you won't have any trouble.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch salt


Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

Now once you've followed these instructions, heat about 1/3 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce and whisk it in slowly while still over the low boiling water.

After warming up the pork in a frying pan with a tablespoon of butter (mmm...) I piled it on top of some toasted french bread, then topped that with the poached eggs and then hollandaise.

For the grits I just added a half cup of grits to 2 cups of boiling water with some salt then seasoned to taste. They turned out alright but ended up being totally essential in leveling out the meal because the BBQ sauce I used was a little on the sweet side...

Sorry the pictures are so crumby. Hoping to get a decent point and shoot soon!

Directions Courtesy The Food Network

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thanksgiving is just around the corner!

I've been holding out on posting for a couple of reasons. I've been a little busy with company but mostly I've been waiting and hoping that I would get the film developed that I've shot over the past week or two. Now, coming to the realization that it could take days, weeks or months for that to happen, I've decided to just talk about something other than how amazing life has been lately.

Okay wait, that wasn't true, I'm still going to talk about how awesome everything is but I wanted to share some pictures with you that are getting me super stoked about Thanksgiving! I already have 10,000 center piece ideas floating around. Usually I lean towards gaudy, shiny and wood. Sounds like a strange combo but it always works out. I'm considering something a little more simplistic this season with the addition of some sort of fun place card/object. Also, I'm getting excited about all the appetizers I want to experiment with!

Jeez! Okay, there are so many things that I want to talk about at the same time. I'm thinking about brussels sprouts and pumpkin cheese cake and the Berkshires. Isn't Fall just the best season ever? I hate spending it anywhere other than the northeast. Next year!

Anyway, here is a recipe for my favorite brussels sprout dish I've ever had. I plan on making this at least once over the holiday season. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of my own dish on hand but here is an image I found just to give you an idea of what you're going for... Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts
serves 4 as a side
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise (8 cups)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup bottled roasted whole chestnuts (4 oz), coarsely crumbled
  • Bring butter, salt, pepper, and 1 cup water to a boil over high heat in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet, then add Brussels sprouts and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

    Remove lid and boil over moderately high heat until water is evaporated and sprouts are lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cream and remaining 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil, stirring.

    Add chestnuts, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

    Stuffed mushrooms pictured above...
    serves 4 as a side
    • 12 cremini or button mushrooms
    • olive oil
    • sea salt
    • 1 cup cooked brown rice
    • 3 tablespoons feta
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
    • salt and pepper

    Preheat oven to broil.

    Place rice, feta, garlic, and parsley in a bowl, stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

    Remove all the stems from the mushrooms, discard or save and add to another meal some other day. I've found the easiest way to remove the stems is to grab the stem in between your thumb and pointer and middle finger, then give a slight twist and pull up. They come out much nicer than trying to cram a knife into their side.

    Place them stem side down on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt over the top and place in the oven about 4 inches from the top for about 2 or 3 minutes.

    When they are done pull them out and flip them over. Fill with the rice mixture, this can get messy but just push it all in, and broil until the filling is hot, about 2 minutes. Serve warm from the oven.

    Recipes courtesy of www.sogoodandtasty.blogspot.com and Epicurious.com
    Centerpiece inspiration from www.twigandthistle.com/blog

    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    The Design Process from Ready to Start to Finish

    If I'm going to be looking for a place to live and I've decided that I want to surround my self with simple, inexpensive but beautiful and unique things I should start with this mood idea.

    Here are some photos I've found today that set a good tone.

    Things that have kept me from having the perfect space before:

    1. Money: I've decided that, the things I want in my room, I can possess on little to none.
    2. Time: I usually have to rush from one apartment to the next dealing with time constraints but now I'll have a place to stay while looking. I can live with my Dad forever, right?
    3. Commitment: I know that I'll be in San Francisco for at least 2 years to be near my family so I don't need to worry about picking up and moving immediately. That doesn't mean it isn't entirely possible but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    Things that I want from wherever I end up living.

    1. Hardwood floors
    2. Natural light

    I think that all of this is manageable. If anyone cares to lend guidance, please do.

    Art School:Life School:Art Life?

    So, I've lost myself in this blog abyss. It's new to me. Never gave it much thought, mostly due to laziness. After digging around for the past two days, what are most appealing to me are these "mood board" type entries.

    The effect a photograph, drawing or any aesthetic really, can have on your day is impressive to say the least. A picture can make you want to be a better person and though that moment is fleeting, it happens. If only there was a way to feel like that all the time maybe I'd get something done.

    So, the search begins/continues. If I could make everything around me look a certain way (within reason) maybe I'll be inspired to do something/figure out what I want to do with myself.

    I'd like to say that I'll start today but that's just completely unreasonable.

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    Doesn't this just make life look a lot easier than it really is?

    In what world is anything this simple?
    Just finding a way to hang this shelf so it's strong enough to support ITSELF sounds exhausting.

    It's like how I buy Real Simple magazines to simplify and organize my life but the only thing that happens is I end up with Real Simple magazines all over my floor that I don't have the heart to throw away.

    Never the less, a beautiful design.
    I'm sure other people are far more capable of making something like this work.

    If you're one of those people, please call me.