Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Cooking and Recent Outfits

During the week preceding Thanksgiving, everyone had turkey on their brain.  All around the hospital people shared their plans of cooking, travelling, and taking time off.  As her roommate approvingly listened in, one of my patients told me her recipe for stuffing.  She said that even her daughter's boyfriend, a chef for a prominent restaurant, praised it.  I asked if she would write it down for me. No need, she said, it's super simple.  She listed the ingredients, no measuring cups, just instinct.  Never the same each time but always a Thanksgiving highlight for her family.  Luckily, I discharged her from the hospital in time to work her kitchen magic.

Vegetables dusted with spices.

My patient's stuffing recipe developed into my first Thanksgiving dinner, cooked by me! Hosted by me! I had to emphasize the fact that I cooked since it rarely happens except for on this blog, where it seems frequent due to publishing bias.  But note that I haven't posted for a month and during that time I definitely was NOT cooking.

Hey look, what's that?! You guessed it---MATZO BALL SOUP.  Yummie.
 Please refer to this post for the recipe and similar pictures (minus the Cutco knife and new polypropylene cutting board).
On this particular early Thanksgiving morning, I used chicken wings and drumsticks, you can see them peeking out
from underneath the lovely veggies.

Believe it if you will, I woke up at 6:30 AM as if it was any other work day and set out to chop celery, carrots and onions with my new Cutco Chef Knife.

Ok, then I baked an unplanned cake.  But you know, I had to bake something since I am the proud new owner of a Kitchenaid Mixer.  I had to bake something impressive.  No credits to me please; that Mixer is the Boss.

Extra points if you spot the cookies.
They are special Arrested Development cookies.
I had made the batter for them in a massive quantity earlier that week

I only own 1 cake pan so I had to wait before baking the 2nd cake.  But this provided time for the cakes to cool and prepare themselves for

nb: cake made with shortening, icing used margarine in lieu of butter

One day, I'm going to tell the gory tale of my buttercream icing failures.  In my misadventures, I learned about emulsifying oil-based and water-based products.  I learned of the importance of using metal/glass bowls over plastic bowls.  I learned about the bain-marie.  I learned about the sugar ball in water test.  I learned that there were Italian, French, and American schools of buttercream frosting.  In spite of all this knowledge, my buttercreams had a paltry success rate....that is until the Kitchenaid Mixer intervened.  That and I patiently let the stiffened egg whites sit in the fridge for a good 1 hour until their temperature equilibrated with the butter.  Let's just say that there were now 10 egg yolks leftover between the cake and the delicious perfectly-executed decadent phenomenal exquisite buttercream icing. 

And then it was time for the Famous Stuffing:

Is it weird that writing about the stuffing caused me to go prepare myself some leftover stuffing?

And onto the dinner party.....!

Mike made the matzo balls! They are buoyant and delicious.  The soup was light and flavorful with lots of veggies.

My friends endured my cooking and agreed to spend Thanksgiving evening at our humble little home, complete with 2 card tables pushed together to become a dining room table + a sheet masquerading as tablecloth.  Alas why am I so honest?

Clockwise on my plate: turkey breast, cranberry sauce then mashed potatoes made by Shana, mashed yams by Mike, stuffing.
I am thankful! And full!

Not too full for a little cake.
See the baked pears? Mike made them!

And as promised, a smattering of recent outfits! **Thanksgiving hostess outfit

1. Top: JCrew, JCrew pixie pants, Bandolino shoes
2. Sweatshirt: JCrew, Tshirt: from Gabe's, JCrew pixie pants, shoes: from Vietnam
3. Top: unknown gifted, Skirt: Anthropologie, Necklace: gift, Devil Horns for Halloween
4. Top: Free People, pants: from Vietnam, shoes: Banana Republic
**5. Tank top: F21, Sweater: KensieGirl, Skirt: from Vietnam.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Love my Anthropologie Trench Coat Skirt!

Ok, so I've coveted this skirt for MONTHS, specifically in navy.

Shirt: J Crew Factory
Skirt: Anthropologie
Necklace and shoes: Urban Outfitters
 Do you know how many times I've checked the Fresh Cuts on Tues in fits of desperation? Then, I had a birthday and around the same time the skirt finally went on sale.  It was an auto birthday present from the heavens!  The scary thing was that the olive color was sold out and even the navy didn't have many sizes was time to act--QUICKLY.

The inside of this skirt is so adorable and meticulously made I could die.

The weird thing is I'd never tried it on before purchasing it online.  The first time I wore it was right after I tore open the package and took these pictures immediately.  When I saw it in the store back in August, I fell in love with its buttons and the soft but structured fabric. Then I put the regular size 0 up against my body and just KNEW that I had to have it.  I ended up buying the 2P size because the reviews suggested that it runs too long and too tight for some.  On me, I think I could still probably size down.  The 0P would be nice and fitted since the fabric is stretchy.  On the other hand the 2P looks good on me and you can't even tell that it's a little loose fitting. Besides I can tuck in all sorts of sweaters and thicker tops which would be good for impending wintertime.

That's all for now! 

My DIY Save the Dates

We sent out the save the dates recently! (3 weeks ago) Wow, now we really need to have this wedding. I was so nervous to send them out, thinking that they will all get lost, or worse, dumped into a creek. Luckily, our US Postal Service colleagues came through, and at least 5 people have received their save the dates, I know because I harassed them about it. I loved each and every one of them so much that I took pictures of them so that they'll always live on in pixel form on our majestic world wide web:

Behold some close ups.  I wish I could close up each card since they are all different but here are a few:

Who is Sivan, you ask?
This is Mike's middle name/Hebrew name.

Completing this little project was pretty rewarding. The highlight occurred when the postal worker lady gave us stamps in denominations of $.05, $.04, and $.20 so that we had to put no less than 3 stamps on each save the date to add up to the $.29 required to send them.   

All in a day's work!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wanted: Pearl Necklace

Woah, blogger keeps on changing! I have been in a perpetual state of the rug being pulled from underneath me.  No, I am not falling down a lot...except for in the figurative sense. Attending: what are the 5 most common causes of brain farts? Me: uh, 1. Ingestion of too much cheese, 2. uh...Iron deficiency? 3. Infection....
Please feel free to substitute all that for actual medical terminology.
At least I dressed myself to go to work.

1. Dress from Vietnam (it randomly fits me better now!), grey tights unknown brand, booties unknown brand
2. Ann Taylor top, Loft pants, Calvin Klein shoes
3. UO dress and hat, Target cardigan and necklace*, Calvin Klein shoes
 *sad: I am mourning the breakage of this necklace.  Necklaces are not meant for brandishing. Nor for striking Mike with. Nor should I end sentences with prepositions (get out of my head, Mrs. Maloney from 10th grade English!!)

I just think its funny that I have THE SAME EXACT expression in #1 and #2! haha!
1. H&M blouse and pants. Banana Republic wedge booties. F21 necklace.
2. Dress from Vietnam, tights from Target, BR wedge booties
3. Tshirt Charlotte Russe, Aeropostale tank, Target leggings, shoes from Vietnam, thrifted necklace

1. "French" outfit: shirt from Gabes, Anthropologie San Pedro skirt, Gap belt, J Crew flats
2. Shirt from Vietnam, Old Navy skirt, Gap belt (the brown one's sister), UO tights, unknown brand oxfords
3. Target cardi and dead necklace, UO dress worn as top, Charlotte Russe earrings, JCrew double serge pencil skirt (1st generation), Calvin Klein shoes
 Sometimes, I loooove my clothes and think that they look like sheer genius (like the UO dress worn as a shirt in combination with the mustard yellow skirt).  I love playing with colors and feel elevated and giddy when colors unexpectedly complement one another.

Other times, I get frustrated and break my necklaces.  Sigh.  I was on the lookout for another one, but there is none exactly like it, with its little glass beads as spacers and accent bead with the rhinestones.  Therefore, I have been crawling on the floor gathering all the beads.  Alas, I looked everywhere around the site of the incident (the crime scene) but could not find the accent bead.  Then, yesterday, my dad picked it up under the kitchen table! Huzzah! Soon, you will meet Pearl Necklace, the Reincarnation, muahaha.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Agenda for today: chocolate chip cookies to bring to my friend's birthday party.

1 1/8 cups of butter = 2 1/4 sticks
2 1/4 cups of flour + 1/2 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 unicorn hairs

I love chocolate chip cookies.  When I was in high school, I loved fat chewy cookies.  Then, I had a change of mind and craved thin crispy cookies.  I have two chocolate chip cookie recipes in my archive: a soft chewy version and a crispy version (involves adding water to thin out the dough).  This crispy cookie recipe worked like a charm the last 2 times I made these.  But lately, I've been at odds with Mr. Oven...for some reason the cookies JUST WON'T CRISPEN.  Arg.

Yummy butter.  I usually try to adapt all recipes toward non-dairy containing so that Mike can enjoy too.  But sometimes, it's nice to follow a recipe the whole way through without having to substitute.  And that's why 2.25 sticks of butter ended up in this cookie dough.

Welcome to your new life as cookies!

Then, I put on a snazzy pair of pants and went to the party with my little cookies in tow.

T-shirt: Charlotte Russe
Tank top: Aeropostale
Pants: Target ("lamé")
Shoes: precious shoes from Vietnam. See reference here.
Necklace: thrifted

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Peach and Mango Pie (3.141592653589)

I am eating pie as we speak.  What pie, you ask? The pie that I made last night!!!  Wait, I made a pie last night? From SCRATCH? There are many questions, I know.  It started out with 3 peaches from 2 weeks ago that just wouldn't go away (translation: get eaten by Mike).  I think peaches are ~ok~ but I secretly wished that I had bought nectarines instead.  I'm sorry, little peaches, I love your non-fuzzy cousins more.

Strange digressions aside, I had a really nice experience mushing together flour and shortening with my hands.  Initially, a fork kept me from experiencing the nirvana until, frustrated at the lack of mixing, I shoved my hand into the bowl.  All of a sudden, I was transported into a space-mobile-drifting-through-a-cloud-of-pink-rainbow-plasma as the soft, cold shortening infused an unbelievable silkiness to the smooth flour.    Oh, I seem to have digressed strangely again.

I followed the recipe on Crisco's website for a single "flaky" pie crust, though next time I will make the double crust.
1/2 cup cold shortening
1 1/2 cup flour + 1/2 tsp salt
Add 4-8 Tbsp ice cold water to the mixture, one Tbsp at a time until it is moist and a marble of dough will not crack when squished.
Flatten these and wrap them in plastic or wax paper then refrigerate.  I chilled them for 30 minutes.
Then roll out! Roll out!

I was slightly alarmed when I discovered that 1 Tbsp of shortening = 12 g fat.  (I used 1/2 cup which is 8 Tbsp).  Then I looked at stick of butter and it told me that 1 Tbsp of itself = 11 g. And I call myself a doctor.  I'm disgusted! And yet my appetite is whet!
For more sources of gooey disgust, please refer to my fruit filling:
1. Aforementioned peaches
2. an unripened mango (beggars can't be choosers)
3. 1/2 cup each of brown and white sugar
4. Haphazard dribbling of honey
5. 1/2 cup flour to absorb the moisture

My Crisco-derived pie crust calls itself flaky as opposed to Crisco's "classic" pie crust which I suppose is not flaky.  Anyway, did I mention how much I love squishing flour into Crisco?

I apologize, no pictures were taken during the squishing of the dough and the moulding of the crust and lattice pie top.  I was too focused and ecstatic that things seemed to not be a disaster.  Imagine my surprise when 45 min later in a 400 degree oven...

Before and After

A Pie is born!!

Are you surprised that Mike and I ate pie last night, this morning, AND this afternoon?  I can't believe I ever led a pie-less life.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Island of Lost Outfits

I wanted to share some recent unposted summer outfits before the weather becomes inappropriate for them and I end up dressed like this:

Coat: Anne Klein (returned)
Scarf: H&M
Hat: Mike's

Top: Free People
Skirt: Express
Purse: Forever 21
Flipflops: Old Navy

Top: Free People
Jeans: Gap
Shoes: errr can't remember but you can't see them anyway
Coat: Express (old)
Necklace: gift from Mike!
Purse: Mango
This weekend, we got new beds.  I had been quite obsessed with redecorating our bedroom.  I can't seem to find a single color scheme so suffice it to say, it looks like a rainbow in our bedroom.

Lemon Olive Oil Weekend

Wow, blogger is so different! I have forgotten how to post....

Once upon a weekend now almost at its ebb, an avocado chocolate cake died at my hand. I was following a recipe for a vegan cake but then some foolishness came over me and I added eggs to it, destroying the balance between dry and liquid ingredients, thereby birthing a monstrosity.  But in the aftermath, there was some avocado lemon glaze that survived.  It was supposed to go on the cake, but now it lay alone in its bowl waiting to meet its cake-mate.

Now when I show this to you, you can't yell or run away (Primer quote!).

I know. This looks like emesis. 
But it is composed of 2 ripe avocadoes, 1 POUND (I said POUND) of powdered sugar, and lemon juice. 
That is how it has retained its yummy greenness.
Now, I wanted to do something other than eat that with a spoon. Three spoonfuls of avocado glaze later, I found a recipe for lemon cookies that had everything I was looking for (use of olive oil instead of butter).  I thought it sounded interesting so off I set to make these delectables.

1. Lemon zest meets sugar.  Then I zested a clementine that was lying around too.  Zest makes the kitchen sing!
2. Flour and baking powder and salt.
3. Eggs, almond milk (instead of regular milk) and vanilla extract.

Hmm let's take a closer look at that zesty sugar.

Mix Mix Mix

Welcome to your new life as cookies.

Avocado glaze finds her new soulmate.