Sunday, October 23, 2011

Walking Dead

I was a zombie this weekend.

No, really.

Zombie Pub Crawl is my favorite holiday

Again, the lack of recipes is due to not a lot of free time for bopping around the kitchen. My play opens soon, so most nights I'll be home too late to make anything lest I wake up the household.

The holiday season is soon upon us, and you best bet I'll be cooking up some good stuff.

I feel like I make these posts a lot... I really really need my own kitchen. I'd be up til midnight doing recipes if I could. But living with the 'rents, you gotta go by the house rules. Oh well! I just like to inform my little gaggle of followers that I'm still alive, and in a week or two I'll be back :)

See you all as soon as I have some free time!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Things I've Been Eating -- Portland, ME

The weekend following my trip to NYC was equally special--I met up with two of my other college roommates (from the dorms, whereas the NYC former roommates were from my Brookline apartment) for a fun-filled weekend in Maine, where Jill is currently living. She had been raving about the food to me for months so I was excited to try some!

We had a midafternoon snack at Gorgeous Gelato while we roamed the quaint streets and popped in and out of the many adorable souvenir shops. And, holy cow. This stuff is AMAZING. I've only had gelato a few times, less than five definitely, with two of those times being in Italy, and I have never had anything so amazingly decadent. This gelato was to DIE for. I scarfed down my little cup in a matter of minutes.

The decor is beautiful too. I chose the pineapple with a scoop of caramel... something. I can't remember what the actual flavor was. The creamy caramel with the tart pineapple was just the perfect flavor combo--like a classy orange creamsicle except with pineapple. I wanted to stay and just try every flavor, but we had

That is probably the most desk-top-ish picture I've ever taken.

We didn't really have the time (or, truthfully, the money) to sit down for dinner more than once, but I'm glad we got to share some amazing appetizers at Nosh. Next time I'm in town I'd like to eat a full meal here, the offerings look absolutely amazing. I'm a huge fan of the whole concept of "gourmet pub food" and Nosh has got it down to a t.

Not as "loaded" as other nachos out there, but the flavor is spectacular. Just enough toppings to taste delicious but not soggy and weighed-down.

The northern US and into Canada love a silly-sounding little snack called cheese curds. I've sampled fresh, non-breaded ones before and I describe the taste as "high quality string cheese"--they're good. Deep fried and tossed with hot peppers with a chipotle mayo dip? Fantastic.

The salt and cracked pepper fries were our final pick. Somehow these just tasted like the best fries ever. More chipotle mayo for dipping, but there is a LIST of options and I cannot wait to return and try some more. I really wanted to steal that little bucket...

We continued our college tradition of "pre-gaming" before a night out at the bars by making mulled apple cider. We're very classy ladies. We found "real" recipes online but since we were just boozing this thing up we made do with what we had: apple cider, spiced rum, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange juice. It worked beautifully and we all had a nice, warm buzz before hitting the bars.

Finally, at 2 am (bars close around 1 in Portland) we found ourselves at Five Guys--the "In-n-Out of the East" as I've heard it called. In truth, I was a little too tipsy to really give a good review of this burger. I also forgot to ask for ketchup and mustard and instead just ordered it with mayo and pickles. Everyone at the table thoroughly enjoyed their burgers, despite the long wait. I've heard there's a Five Guys near here though, so I'll be sure to give a more accurate reading next time.

I missed my old buddies dearly. I'm happy we got to meet up again, and took less than a year to do it this time! Hopefully we'll be up to Portland again soon. It really is a beautiful place.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Things I've Been Eating -- NYC

So last weekend, I gave myself a birthday present: 

From left to right: My two former roommates, my friend from
my study abroad program, and me!

I met some lovely friends from college in NYC.

It was a great time. Though I did not succeed in seeing a broadway musical like I wanted to, I had a ton of fun--the weather was GORGEOUS and in the 80s!--and it made me remember how much I love that city. Some day, I need to live there. Preferably before I'm 30.

Obviously, I took pictures of everything I ate and drank. It was all magnificent. Here are some highlights.

I met my old roommate at Port Authority and we went to her apartment in Queens. Since it was pretty late, we decided to go to a bar called Dutch Kills nearby. My friend described it as "kind of a speakeasy"--and it definitely had a 20s vibe to it! From the decor to the piano in the back to the way the cocktail servers were dressed. First I got a house drink (The Ultimate I think it was called?) and for my second drink, I told the bartender I was in the mood for something "fruity and girly." He didn't suggest things like I thought he would, but rather wasted no time whipping me up a Strawberry Cucumber Rickey--EXACTLY the kind of drink I was craving! It was sweet without being too sweet, definitely did not have a strong alcoholic taste, and was pretty strong. The drinks are pricey (though I'm not sure what the NYC standard is), but worth it. And the atmosphere alone is worth it. If you find yourself in Queens, I highly recommend Dutch Kills!

The next day I met my other former roommate for lunch. We were aiming for a true NYC brunch, but we both slept in for a bit too long and ended up having lunch instead. After wandering around what was either the Upper East or Upper West (I totally forget), we stumbled upon The Columbus Tavern. My friend and I ended up getting the Avocado BLT with fries and a few glasses of white wine. The sandwich was a great way to start the day and fuel up for all the walking we did! Since it was my birthday weekend I didn't mind being a little tipsy with the sun still out, but I think I'll stick to wine as an evening beverage from now on.

Avocado BLT at Columbus Tavern

After lunch we went shopping and met up with the friend I was staying with and my friend from the study abroad program I did in college. In lieu of a show, we went to the movies. We got our tickets for 50/50 and since there was a bit of time left before the movie started we decided to get some dinner nearby. I can't find a website for it, but near the theater was this Italian restaurant called Luca (in Yorkville). Originally I had wanted to just get something light and cheap, but once I realized the menu was pretty expensive for just about anything I decided to just go for it and get something fancy. Seriously glad I did. I got the Papardelle with Duck Ragu. It was fantastic. I've decided that duck definitely makes my list of Favorite Foods. If you can find Luca, I highly suggest it. The dipping oil for the table bread has roasted red peppers in it too, so fancy!

Delicious gourmet meal at Luca!

Finally, on my final full day in the city, I got to experience a New York Brunch! I got up before noon and met a friend who happened to also be visiting the city, and we got brunch at Agozar Cuban Restaurant in Greenwich Village. Their brunch special is fantastic: you get unlimited Sangria and a brunch entree for about $20 (can't remember exact price, between 20 and 25) from 12 to 4. I opted not to do this special (realizing from the day before that me and day-drinking aren't the best match) and just got the Huevos Rancheros, which came with one complimentary sangria. It was seriously one of the best breakfasts I've ever had. So flavorful, and just the right amount of spicy. If you're in NYC, go here. Be sure to make reservations if you're going later in the day--it was empty when I got there but packed when I left.

Blurry, yet awesome Huevos Rancheros at Agozar.

All in all, a successful and delicious weekend. I spent far too much money--seriously only I would spend time shopping at the same stores I can find at home, oy--but it was my little birthday present to myself and I had an excellent time. Someday I WILL live in NYC, but for now I'll be content with visiting my amazing friends. And I won't wait another whole year to do it, that's for sure!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Birthday to Meeee...

Hey guys! New post forthcoming--or two, really. One about all the yummy things I encountered in my recent trip to NYC, and another with a recipe.

However, since it IS my birthday, why don't you celebrate and make some cupcakes in my honor? I think it's a splendid way to celebrate--since everybody wins!

Here are the ones I've posted so far:

Flourless Chocolate Beet Cupcakes
Chocolate Coconut Rum Cupcakes
The BEST Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Graham Cupcakes with Lime Frosting

Today I turn 24... wow! I've begun to wonder... what shall I re-name this blog once I'm out of "quarter-life"? Looks like I have another year or two to figure it out, so I better start pondering! :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oh, Hello!

Aw, what sweet comments on my last post. Thanks! I didn't mean for it to come off as me tooting the wah-wah-wambulance horn but I appreciate the support.

Just wanted to pop in and remind you all that although I've been following the one-post-a-week model here due to my lack of kitchen and budget for ingredients (and that camera situation, oof!), I am posting fairly regularly over on my Facebook Page for Quarter Life (Crisis) Cuisine!

So if you haven't already, go check it out! And if you already have... well, thanks! :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Feel (Kinda?) Pretty -- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

(Another post where I talk about personal stuff for a bit
then end with a recipe--yay!)
I have a serious love-hate relationship with my body. I feel like this has been amplified since becoming single, since I feel like I need to constantly look my best so that if 1. I run into my ex I can look so intensely attractive they will regret ever wronging me, or 2. Happen upon my next potential soul mate I can look presentable enough for them to fall immediately in love with me at first sight. Or, y'know, they'll ask me to get coffee or something.

This makes me highly self conscious, and I'm generally a self conscious person and for some reason that critical little voice in my head has been chattering louder than usual lately. It's also made me very very aware of what I'm eating--or rather, what I've eaten, after I eat it. I start calculating calories and mentally hitting myself. Now, I'm lucky enough to have a fast metabolism, but in recent years the scale numbers have inched ever so slowly up and it's starting to freak me out. Then there's the constant battle with my hair--hopelessly frizzy, crazy thick, curl-wave-monstrosity--that even when I flat iron it for hours still won't do what I want it to. Then I start to freak about my freckles...

One of my "ARG! Look How Tiny (and blonde?) I Used to Be!"
God I feel like the next line should be "Ugh, my nail beds SUCK." (ten points if you get the reference) It's so bizarre though, I feel like exactly 50% of the time I look at myself in the mirror and think "oh my GOD I must have gained 20 lbs! EXCLUSIVELY IN MY THIGHS AND BUTT. When did I become Medusa? And what is WRONG with my skin today??" and 50% of the time I think "Oh, hey, I guess I'm still kinda skinny. And I got an okay face." It's like my mind is playing some insane game with me, and my butt is in cahoots. 

Older and more brunette. I can see the difference.
Anyway. Noted: heartbreak makes you a crazy person. Acceptable, yes?

This is the point where I have to slow down and have a little chat with myself. I'm still thin, I probably won't ever be obese, but the scale IS a little wake-up call that I'm getting older and probably should start exercising regularly. Drastically changing my diet is probably not something I can do--I am loving food way too much these days--but portion size and not over-doing it every day is perfectly reasonable. That and the gym, and I'll probably have nothing to worry about.

Oh hey freckle-face, what's up.
We all have insecurities, and I shouldn't let fluctuating weight bother me unless it becomes an actual health problem. I can use crazy makeup and hair tricks to make the other stuff feel better, but it shouldn't be in order to snag a new male--it should be for me. If spending an hour on my hair makes me feel confident and pretty, then so be it. I will spend an hour on my hair. I will glop on makeup and blend in those sun spots.

And maybe someday I'll be confident and comfortable enough to be my frizzy-haired, freckle-faced self. But I'll get there on my own time.

And I accept that my body type will never be right for a romper. But in my defense, I don't think anyone over the age of 5 should wear a romper anyway.

Someone help me with my food styling.
This has absolutely nothing to do with these amazing pumpkin muffins--it's just something that's been on my mind lately.  These pumpkin muffins are worth the indulgence. In fact, they're probably more cupcake than muffin, but because they're called a muffin they are clearly an acceptable breakfast, right? My old roommate, Lizz, would often surprise us with these little treats, and they rarely lasted more than a day (couldn't find her recipe, so I used this one I found instead). They're so deliciously fall. Enjoy them warm, with a little bit of butter or cream cheese, or however you'd like, really. They're hard to beat.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins
  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

-In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat together pumpkin, eggs and water. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture; beat until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips.

-Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

 *I happened to have a lot of leftover batter, and not enough muffin cups left, but a tiny bread pan. It came out just fine, but add at least ten minutes to the bake time (or more!) if you go the way of the loaf.

Post Forthcoming...

Sorry again for the delay...

But do not worry, those puppies are worth waiting for!

Stay tuned for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins :)