You might not know this about me, but I’m something of a local celebrity in these parts.
I wish it was because I made the best apple pie in town or because I could skip really fast or something cool like that. Instead, my fame extends only to the sweet Korean and Vietnamese women I live near and their astounding interest in my translucent skin.
I started noticing my star power when I would go to the local dry cleaners to have my pants hemmed (short ladies REPRESENT!). The sweet woman who would measure the hem would always say things like, “You are so fair!” and “Your skin is like milk!” while gazing admiringly at my bone-white legs. I knew right away that she meant these to be compliments, but in a society where tanner is better, it’s a little disheartening to have other people LOUDLY exclaim that your skin reminds them of “the snow.”
Obviously, I had to ask a Vietnamese friend about my new-found popularity. She promptly pointed me to Shiseido’s skin bleaching line and told me that I’d be “big in Vietnam.” With information like that, it’s hard not to let this fame go to my pasty white head.
But until I can save up for a one-way ticket, it only makes sense for me to keep on keepin’ on here in the Condo’s kitchen. This week, I decided to stick with the alabaster theme and bring you fat, fluffy, and perfectly white vanilla bean marshmallows.
Taken directly from Jessica of How Sweet It Is, this recipe is awesome because a) it’s really easy, and b) no candy thermometer is necessary! WOOT. I’m a HUGE marshmallow fan (I could eat a whole bag of the things, the s’mores-sized kind being my favorite), and these do not disappoint. And hey, speaking of s’mores, can you imagine one of these beauties in between two graham crackers with a couple of rectangles of a Hershey’s bar melted in the center? Because I can. *Drool*
You know what’s annoying? Trying to type a blog post when your cat is grooming herself in front of your keyboard.
You know what’s annoying-er? When said cat decides to stop grooming and instead starts batting at the mouse arrow sweeping across your computer screen. Sigh. Sometimes I think she doesn’t understand that she’s totally blog-blocking me. Other times, I think she knows EXACTLY what she’s doing (“La la la, groom groom groom, you should probably just pet me, since you can’t reach around me to type, la la la…”). Touché, kitty cat. Touché.
Luckily, other than occasionally getting under foot, this cat hasn’t figured out how to slow down my groove in the kitchen. Which is good, since I couldn’t possibly try out (and share with you) AWESOME recipes like Alicia’s No-Knead Bread from Posie Gets Cozy without my uninterrupted kitchen time.
For a long while, I’ve been on the hunt for a quick and easy, no frills but still delicious, loaf bread. The stuff from the store is so blah and thin, and I just knew that there had to be a better way.
Alicia’s bread takes only a few minutes to go from ingredients to dough. It rises for just 50 minutes. And thirty minutes of baking gives you TWO (I split my dough up, since my pans are in the 8″x4.5″ size range) loaves of buttery, flufferly, loverly bread. That’s a huge ROI (Return on Investment, for those of you who don’t speak in office jargon all day).
Make this, eat this, love this. And while you do that, I’m going to try to teach this lazy bum cat to blog.
Her posts will probably be very fish-focused, but they’ll also be exceptionally cute.
This past week, for the first time in months, I have been able to go without my puffer jacket, woolen beanie, and leather gloves. It’s been warm in these parts. In fact, it’s been downright hot, and I love it.
My joy over the ushering in of spring/summer after a long winter can’t be overstated. My toes are painted, my sun dresses are out in full force, and–perhaps best of all–I can drive around with the windows down while blasting my favorite tunes. Sidebar: Do you also secretly hope that someone will drive up next to your car when you’re blaring your 90s alternative mix and think, “Wow, I am totally impressed by this stranger’s musical selections and can tell that she is unquestionably, effortlessly cool.” No? Just me? Okay, moving on…
I bought the ingredients for this risotto when it was cold out. I made it when it was 90 degrees. So I speak from experience when I say that this dish is awesome in any weather. It’s hearty and flavorful and everything a risotto should, nay, must be. And this is coming from a risotto aficionado.**
**Just so we’re clear, in my world, “risotto aficianado” = eats a lot of risotto. But you probably figured out that for yourself.
Make this, okay? You won’t be sorry.
There’s a restaurant where I live called Casablanca. And as you might imagine, it serves Moroccan fare. But what makes this particular restaurant extra awesome is the kitschy decor (so much fake gold leaf!), the giant pillows that you sit on instead of chairs, and the belly dancers that shake and shimmy around you.
I’ve been to Casablanca a bunch of times–it’s one of my favorite places to take guests, since it’s so over the top. Better still, the food is actually really good. My favorite starter has always been the B’stilla, which is essentially a savory chicken pie covered in a phyllo dough topped with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. It may sound a little strange, but It. Is. Awesome.
I found this particular B’stilla recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. And while it’s not the simplest recipe around (nor is it the quickest), it is really, truly delicious. Better, I think, than its nearby counterpart. Maybe it’s the soupçon of love added in? Or perhaps it’s just the honey. Either way, yum.
A couple of weeks ago, when I was home with a relentless cold, I started watching all sorts of health- and food-related documentaries on Netflix. I figured that if I couldn’t feel vibrant myself, at least I could watch other people cutting carbs, eating green, and generally feeling like a million bucks. I’m also a sucker for transformation stories, and these documentaries always deliver.
At a friend’s recommendation, I checked out Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. In the film, Joe Cross goes from being 100 lbs overweight and a slave to all sorts of daily medications to keep his autoimmune disease in check, to a healthy, active guy. For Joe, the key was replacing his meals with green juices made with fresh produce he picked up at farm stands across the country.
Now, there is no way I could make it through a day (let alone 60, like Joe) on juice alone. One time in college, I tried the South Beach Diet for A SINGLE DAY, and I was so nasty that my roommate begged me to stop. But adding a juice a couple of times a week, especially when I could use a natural boost? Yeah, I could do that.
So I bought this juicer from Amazon, and got to juicing. My first attempt consisted of me throwing any vegetable I could find into the juicer, and ended with me trying to choke down the bitter, godawful result. I quickly got smart and picked up the ingredients for Joe’s Mean Green Juice (the one he touts in his movie). With celery, cucumber, ginger, lemon, green apples and kale, this drink is filled with nutrients and tastes delicious and refreshing. I love it as an after work pick-me-up and can’t wait to enjoy it on our porch this summer.
Have you seen Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead? Are you on the juicing bandwagon, too?
I’m afraid my doctor thinks I’m a hypochondriac. What’s more, I’m afraid I am a hypochondriac.
Today I went to the doctor. My throat’s been all owie and frowny-face, and I’ve been hating it. Mainly because anything even a hair outside of normal gives me the palpitations. So, I spent part of my day off sitting in a waiting room, listening to Kenny G’s sweet, sweet sax playing on the office’s radio, and sizing up my competition (i.e. the other patients).
Some of them clearly had me beat (like the lady with the walker–i.e. the waiting room trump card). But I still felt like I had some clout, considering I was pretty much positive I had strep throat or some other condition that Web MD assured me could potentially lead to death.
In actuality, I have nothing. I mean, I do have a sore throat that needs some time to heal. But you know it isn’t all that bad when your doctor says, “Gargle with salt water,” and, “Take a Tylenol.”
The funny thing is, I was kinda bummed out that I didn’t have anything real. Mostly because I had to report my prognosis to Nate, and I knew I could no longer use my “condition” to garner pity. So I decided to baby myself by making a major comfort food favorite of mine, banana bread. But since I’ve made all sorts of “standard” b-breads, I knew it was time to try something new. Something like Shutterbean’s Maple Olive Oil Banana Bread.
This bread is great. It’s delicious. If your standard banana bread is the theme, this is the best variation. It is different, but in a fantastic way. A little less sweet that what you’re used to, it’s a comforting treat and exactly what my battered throat (and ego) needed.
That’s the sound I made when I woke up on this, the first Monday after “Springing Forward.” My typical day starts at 5 am. Due to the time change, it really started at 4 am. Which, to me, is the equivalent of being mauled by a bear while simultaneously being dunked in ice water.
Then, after nearly crashing and burning during my entire morning routine (including somehow sandwiching my earlobe between the plates of my hot straightening iron), I arrived at the metro to find a crowded platform and 20 minute delays.
So, yeah, the best way I can describe today is, “Auuuuuuugh.” That is until I got home, opened the door, and was smacked in the nose with the awesome smell of a spinach lasagna cooking in the crock pot.
That smell (and the subsequent dinner)? Heaven. I had my doubts about the quality of a lasagna made in a slow cooker, but it was really, truly delicious. The lasagna (courtesy of Real Simple) is super cheesy and flavorful, and holds its shape like a champ.
Next time, I’m going to brown some hot Italian sausage to throw in with the layers of cheese, spinach, marinara and noodles, but this version is a fantastic starting (and ending) point.
Today I had a good ol’ fashioned Snow Day. And, if I’m being honest here, it felt GOOD. There were no snowmen or igloos in the front yard (or, in my case, in the street in front of my condo), but it was still pretty awesome.
I slept in. ON A WEDNESDAY. I decided against washing my hair and wore it up instead. PJs weren’t a luxury, they were a must. And I got the chance to try my hand at something I’d been interested in baking for a long, long time. Today, I made bagels.
The first step was choosing a worthy recipe from the hundreds available online. I went with this one from Emeril Lagasse because it didn’t require dough proofing overnight. Also, the reviews were generally glowing, which is always a good sign.
I’m going to be honest with you here, because I like you: I had some difficulties with this recipe. BUT, I don’t think it was the recipe’s fault. You see, though my dough rose beautifully, it just didn’t hold it’s shape all that well in the water bath. My theories are 1) I should’ve added extra flour to the recipe (might have avoided bagels too sticky to hold a “hole”), considering we were having such a humid day here in the DC area, and 2) I shouldn’t have let the bagels rise as long as I did for the second rise (the recipe calls for 20 minutes, but due to cooking times and other factors, some of my bagels got 40 minutes or more…yikes!). But they still tasted great–chewy with that distinct, yummy bagel flavor. That’s why I think you should still try this recipe. I know I’ll be giving it another go! I’m just waiting for the next snow day…
How is it still winter?
I not asking you to explain seasons or the Earth’s proximity to the Sun or anything like that. I just want to know how in the heck is it still winter? Haven’t I suffered long enough? My nose is always numb. It’s still dark when I leave for work in the morning. I have to wear TWO PAIRS OF PANTS for chrissake.
I’m over winter. And I’m rebelling by making comfort food in hopes that it will comfort me in my time of need. Or at least put me into a sugar coma until Easter.
The recipe comes from a blog I just started following, Butter Me Up Brooklyn. This is the first time I’ve baked anything from this blog but I’m going to go out on a limb here and call her a COOKIE GURU. Because seriously, these things are fantastic. I mean really, truly fabulous. And very, very easy.
You start by browning butter. Throw in some brown sugar, vanilla, espresso powder, and an egg yolk. Fold in flour, baking powder and soda, roll out balls of dough, and bake. You don’t even need your mixer!
Eight to nine minutes later you have a completely unassuming but absolutely great dessert. It’s wonderful with coffee, vanilla ice cream, and as a midnight snack. These cookies will make you forget about your frozen toes and lull you into a state of pure bliss. They are Prozac in cookie form. So don’t forget to take a dose!
I’ve always considered myself something of a brownie connoisseur. In fact, back in high school I would make big batches of them to share (this was significant considering my only other culinary accomplishment was boiling water for hot dogs or Kraft Mac & Cheese). Everyone LOVED my brownies, and I felt no need to tell them they were courtesy of Mrs. Betty Crocker.
Since then, I’ve become a bit more adventurous, making brownies from scratch and trying out all sorts of add-ins (with a brownie base, you really can’t go wrong). On this blog alone I’ve shared FOUR recipes. And I wouldn’t bring you another one if it weren’t different (better?) than all the rest. Behold, The Baked Brownie (via Pink Parsley).
If you aren’t familiar, Baked is a bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn with a reputation of having some seriously ROCKIN’ sweets, especially brownies. And while I’ve never tasted their version, this recipe has made me seriously rethink my whole delicious brownie criteria. I mean, they have the requisite deep chocolate flavor and amazing fudginess, but they also showcase the instant coffee and salt in a way that is both surprising and delicious. They are the sophisticated brownie lover’s brownie, and they are wicked good.