Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Recipe: Minestrone Soup

1/3 cup olive or salad oil
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1/2 lb. green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
6 cups water
1/2 small head cabbage, shredded
1 16-ounce can tomatoes
1/2 10-ounce bag fresh spinach, coarsely shredded
2 medium zucchini, diced
6 beef-flavor bouillon cubes or envelopes
1 teaspoon salt 1 16-to-20 ounce can red kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1. In 8-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, in hot oil and butter, cook onion, carrots, celery, potatoes and green beans until vegetables are lightly browned, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add water, cabbage, tomatoes with their liquid, spinach, zucchini, bouillon cubes and salt. Over high heat, heat to boiling, stirring to break up tomatoes.

3. Reduce heat to low; cover; simmer 40 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender, stirring occasionally; do not overcook.

4. Sit in beans; cook 15 minutes longer or just until the soup is slightly thickened.

5. Top with parmesan cheese when serving.
(The Goodhousekeeping Illustrated Cookbook; Zoe Coulson; William Morrow & Co.; 1980)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Smart Cookie is an aunt!!!!

Born September 23, 2008 9 lbs. 13 oz.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rambling: Espresso Yourself

...man versus man

It's Saturday, and I think I threw my back out. No, really.  

David and I played tennis this morning, and practically five minutes into the game I was taking all my pent up aggression out on the poor little Penn Championship ball.  After I winced my way through an hour more of tennis, we went to Luca Brasi's (obviously, by the name its an Italian Deli) and grabbed a sandwich--this place will get a posting soon. Lord, the Fogetta Bout It is the best sandwich I have ever had in my life. Seriously.

 ANYway. There is a new coffee shop in Hoboken that seems to be paving the way for delicious independent coffee shops everywhere--well, at least in Hoboken. Dames Espresso Bar opened back in July, on 1st street between Grand and Willow. The first few weeks I walked by there was a small girl with short, dark hair just standing behind the counter. When I would walk home from work, there she would be standing in the same spot in the empty store. When I finally went in one day, I was so pleasantly surprised. The girl behind the counter seemed pleased, too. The store is super small with black and white accents, and they make all of their drinks with a sassy blue espresso machine. She made a four leaf clover with the milk, and handed me the BEST latte I have ever had in my life. It's expensive, for sure. My large latte (that is the size of a Starbucks grande) cost $4.79 today....but still, it's a treat. Given the situation with my back, I thought I deserved an expensive, delicious latte. I rationalize. 

Now, I am sitting in David's classroom in Newark propped up on a pillow on one of the couches watching Kara, the Spanish teacher play Guitar Hero. David and Cheney are not getting any work done right now, mainly because they want to see if Kara can make it through "School's Out for Summer." We are arguing about how they should define "conflict" for 7th graders. 

Looks like we are going on a hunt for the best burger in NYC tonight. Oh wait. David just started "Hit Me with Your Best Shot." We might be here for awhile. Lord.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rambling: Tri This

...Sort of random in plot and structure

The candy jar at work MUST be removed from Ashley's desk. Seriously. I can only have self-control for just so long. It seems that without fail, every morning around 10 I find myself rummaging in the glass jar full of mini candy bars. Rolos are not a nutritious snack. Right?

Fall is coming, which means only a few more days left of the summer sun. I spent this past weekend enjoying the weather and spending (much needed) time in the city. David and I went to see Burn After Reading on Friday night, which ended up being sold out at the theater at Union Square. We hopped in a cab to see if we could make a show in Chelsea, and somehow there was a 10:15 pm showing. We arrived at 10:13--even making the previews. When does that happen? Brad Pitt doing comedy is pretty ridiculous. Brad Pitt, I'll love you forever. Remember when he played Tristan in Legends of the Fall? Geez.

ANYway. Brunch and such on Saturday, and then the usual suspects went to celebrate my roommate Kara's birthday at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Queens. I mentioned this amazing place in an earlier post. I was really just looking forward to everyone hanging out. I feel like we spent most of the day watching crazy little children dance on the stage. I feel like this summer just flew by...it's the 9-5. It does that. Oh joy.

So, no baby yet. Not mine--Erika's, my sister. Technically, her due date was yesterday. However, the doctor told her like the last week of August that the baby was going to come like September 2. No clue about what his name is going to be. The only hint she has given me is that she has only heard it once and it was used as a middle name. mmm. Thoughts? David and I were each sending her a name guess every day for at least the first four or so months she was pregnant. We gave up at some point. I wonder if we ever guessed it? We will find out Tuesday!

This is a picture of dinner at the Beer Garden. Doesn't it look...a bit? I know.

The birthday girl. I love this picture because she was so happy. Well, we were at a beer garden after all.

View from the top.

Stephanie took this shot of the Triborough Bridge as we were waiting for the N train.

Just thought I would say hello. Nothing too foodie, but the holidays are coming. Lord. I love the holidays. Get excited about baking. I am hoping for a fall apple-picking day Upstate.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rambling: Mat bag and blind dates

...Functional and funktional

I'm getting ready to go on a blind friend date. Coffee Shop, 7pm. Maybe we will see someone famous. Last time I was there I saw Smith (Jason Lewis?) from the Sex & the City movie. He was sitting right next to us on the patio. I haven't quite had the star sightings that I thought I would when I moved here. Meanwhile, my boss came in to work one day and was like, "You are never going to believe who I sat next to at dinner last night!" It's true. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. Anyway, my cousin Courtney, who lives in Jacksonville, FL (where most of my family lives) set Katie and I up. So we are going to be girlie and eat and sit and maybe run into some famous people. woo. I'll let you know.

Just thought I would share these pics. My boss Gypsy (the one who had the country house - not the boss who saw Demi and Ashton) made me this FABULOUS yoga mat bag last weekend. I carry one of the black thick mats. They are amazing, but enormous and heavy. I admit, I feel super trendy and funky with this bag.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rambling: Beignets for VP

...the temperature is rising

My beignets were too flat. uuug.

You voted, and I listened. Good practice round for the November election. Vote. Check. The list of dishes I should make was actually compiled with my roommate, Kara. Hence, the random nature of the choices. Some have suggested that the voting was rigged. Chicken Pad Thai was looking like the winner up until the very end--then one vote put beignets in the lead. ooo. They were the Michael Phelps of the food relay. Winner! woo woo. I have such an affinity for fried food. Good Lord, it's certainly different when you are frying it yourself. mmm. Vegetable oil.

Beignets are an indulgence above no other. Served hot, they leave you covered in powdery perfection. The last time I was in New Orleans I found myself at Cafe du Monde at 3 a.m.--with my long, black bridesmaid dress covered in powered sugar. Morning Call in Baton Rouge is also amazing. My oldest (and newly) engaged friend, Johanna, is getting married at St. Mary's in New Orleans on June 6, and she is having her reception at Pat O'Brian's on the river...I'm sure I will find myself eating late night beignets soon...

For now, they are a brunch item in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Honestly, I have no idea why the dough didn't rise more. Maybe the temperature of the oil had something to do with it? The recipe said to heat the oil to between 350-360 degrees, but I tried to move the thermometer on the pot, and instead it fell off and the top of the glass broke. I still haven't found the piece of glass. I can't be bothered to buy another candy thermometer, but it looks like I'm going to have to--that is, if I am going to continue to fry food. Why not?

David was worried I was going to burn myself with the oil, so he tried to convince me to wear my yellow kitchen gloves while I dropped the dough into the oil. Imagine that for a second. No gloves and burn free.

Sundays have kind of become our lazy day. This usually entails us watching episodes of LOST (Season 5 can't come soon enough, Jack I'll love you forever), eating, and well, not doing a whole lot. We are all caught up on LOST, and now we are watching The Wire. I'm still working on getting hooked...

Before I ate 1-2-3 (count em) beignets, David and I pre-burned the calories with a game of tennis (I know it doesn't work that way, but I'm rationalizing). Literally, you would think I had never done an active thing in my life. I was in pain all week.

Don't you just love brunch. I do. I really do.

ta-da. Serve with a deliciousness cafe au lait in an over sized mug.

Recipe: Beignets (French Market Donuts)

1/2 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons shortening

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 package dry yeast (Note: I used a whole package)

1/4 cup of warm water

1 egg beaten

3 3/4 cup sifted flour

confectioner sugar

In a large mixing bowl pour the boiling water over the shortening, sugar and salt. Add the milk and let stand until warm. In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add to the milk mixture with the egg. Stir in two cups flour and beat. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover with wax paper and a cloth, chill until ready to use. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough 1/8 thickness. Do not let dough rise before frying. Cut in two inch squares and fry, a few at a time in oil (350-360 degrees) Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other side. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar and serve hot.

Makes 30 donuts (it depends on what size you make them)

Note: You can also let the dough rise overnight in a greased bowl. Cover the ball of dough loosely in saran wrap.

LA Bonne Cuisine (the Episcopal churchwomen of All Saints Inc.) from the "Best of the Best from Louisiana" (1984)

FYI: This was the original recipe I worked from, but if you need more detail about cutting the dough, visit NewOrleansCuisine.blogspot.com. This guy is great resource for everything New Orleans!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Entertaining Simple

...Style style everywhere

Just a quick plug. Matthew Mead's latest book is releasing on September 29, and his Halloween magazine/book just released in stores. There is some absolutely beautiful photography (by Quentin Bacon) in Entertaining Simple, as well as some great tips for entertaining at home. Matthew's "back to basics" approach, which uses white china and clear glass is accessible to anyone. Check out his website at matthewmeadstyle.com or preview the book at entertainingsimple.com. So far, this has been a great project to work on, and I guarantee I will be using some of Matthew's ideas at home!! Get inspired!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008


...10, 9, 8, 7, 6

Sorry, Erika. I couldn't resist. I can't believe ____ ____ Terry will be here any day. I feel like I just posted that you were having a boy. I'll be home soon! I'm waiting for the call!!