Wednesday, November 30, 2011

so much food: round 1

pre thanksgiving. (Girl) Casey and Gordon hosted this amazing event last year and decided to repeat the epic performance again. Basically the UNC public policy kids get together with the Duke law kids and eat a bunch of food. It's a good time.

What did I make? Cranberry sauce and GF V Chestnut Dressing.

Chestnut Cornbread Dressing, GF & V
1 Recipe Cornbread with GF flour, cubed (see previous post)
1/2 Loaf GF bread, cubed
1 stick butter
2 c chopped onion
2 c chopped celery
3 T minced fresh sage
1 T minced fresh thyme
1 T minced fresh rosemary
1 t salt
½ t pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c GF veggie broth (play around with this, may need more or less depending on bread)
1 ½ lbs chestnuts whole – boiled and peeled, chopped or 1-2 cups pre-peeled and chopped chestnuts (we'll get to this)

1.     Preheat oven to 350. Spread both bread cubes in one layer on 2 large baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes until cubes are slightly crusty and browned

2.     Allow bread cubes to cool. Add bread to a very large bowl.

3.     In a saucepan over medium/high heat, melt the butter. Add onions and celery and sauté for about 10 minutes veggies are translucent.
4.     Add herbs and seasoning to veggies and sauté 2 minutes.
5.     Add veggie mixture to bread cubes and then add lightly beaten eggs, mix.
6.     Stir in the chestnuts. We used to deal with these by hand - x-ing them, boiling them, etc. and it was a pain but a tradition.  I gave up on tradition this year and went for the bagged pre-peeled and cooked chestnuts from the store and chopped them right up. It was amazing, tasted just as good and saved hours and cut fingers. 
7.     Add gluten free veggie broth and stir to thoroughly combine all ingredients. If the dressing is still dry, add more broth.
9.     Transfer to a 13x9 inch baking dish and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Turn oven up to 425 and brown top for 2-5 minutes.


Cranberry Sauce
12 oz bag cranberries
2/3 t0 3/4 cup raw sugar
1 cup water

1.     Over medium high heat bring water and sugar to boil.

2.  Add cranberries, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Move to a bowl and let cool.


Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving

Part of the feast

The Turduckin
Yes that's right we enjoyed a deboned chicken stuffed in a deboned duck stuffed in a turkey with layers of stuffing between each. Absolutely delicious in every way. 

My plate, round 1. Yes I went back for some seconds and dessert. After I felt like I was going to die. 

One of (Boy) Casey's old fashioned's making a smiley face

Hope y'all had food filled thanksgivings!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

adventures in gluten-free cooking

(Boy) Casey, as he's called, has to try out a gluten-free diet. A sad time for us all. But pre-thanksgiving thanksgiving was coming and this meant some adjustments had to be made. I make some veggie dressing (no not stuffing because you don't stuff it in anything, stay with the program northerners) so I just had to make it gluten-free to meet everyone's dietary complications. 

What did this really mean? GF Bread and Cornbread.  Dets on the dressing will come next, but for now let's just focus on the important things: 
Cornbread, GF style

So what does this entail? Nothing crazy actually, just substituting the flour for GF flour in my usual recipe. Yup they have all sorts of things for these poor peeps now.  

Ashbash gave me a cup of GF flour and then I just followed my recipe

So what is it?

1 cup corn meal
1 cup GF flour
3 T sugar
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup oil

It's real complicated. Mix it all together - dry first obvi. But first, preheat the oven to 450 and pour a teaspoon of oil in a cast iron skillet. Put the skillet in the oven while it's preheating.  

Once it's all mixed and the oven is hot, pull out the skillet (with a mit)

Pour the batter in and bake for 20 minutes

and boom

delicious every time.


Monday, November 28, 2011


Recently, we went to Vimala's for some delicious indian to celebrate Ashley L.'s birthday. It was awesome of course but more importantly they had a whole cart of huge gourds on display! 


Sunday, November 27, 2011


duh. no one is surprised by the gourd centered in this recipe. Zucchini is really one of my favs. 
As is cake, so putting the two together makes me pretty happy.

Why Zucchini cakes? because they are awesome for starters, and real easy and real cheap. 
winner winner (no) chicken dinner.

1.) Put that cusinart to use with the shredding blade and shred (or grate) one large zucchini

2.) In a bowl combine:
the zucchini
1 egg
some parmesan, let's say 1/8 cup
a few grates of nutmeg
1/2 t old bay seasoning
1/2 t cavenders seasoning 

3.) Mix it all up and then add some panko bread crumbs, enough to make it form into cakes, probably around 1/2 cup
Meanwhile, heat up some oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat

4.) Mix again and divide into 4 equal portions

5.) Fry those puppies up, about 2 minutes per side until golden brown and delicious

And they are delicious. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

box cox-ing it at fox

So Jonathan took me here a while back and it was good time, as mentioned before, Fox Liquor Bar does good things with ice. 

We went back last weekend with Ashbash and Casey. So much goodness, so many types of ice and glass:

Casey had the Negroni with the giant ice cube:

Jonathan had the Greenpoint, no ice:

Ashley had the Champ, which tasted like a caramel apple pop, but not too sweet. 
And look at all that crushed ice!

Also note Ashley's lovely nails. 

Top shot of the ice

And I, shockingly, got a drink without gin, the Queen's Park Swizzle:

It was awesome, similar to a mojito.  

It was a good time of course, filled with economics, due to the high concentration of economists.


Monday, November 21, 2011

lunch these days

This is the semester from hell. 
We are all about to pull our hair out and cry, and we aren't ones to cry, promise.

Lunch is often filled with many mini containers of things. You know how I love a mini. 
There is usually ranch and some veggies, cheese, bread and some protein.  Here it was hummus.

Please note my reading glasses, a recent addition.  Too much to read in this place.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

back. for a moment

Ben was back for a hot second. Really for his review, which went well. 

We had a drink at the lovely Crunkleton
I spend a lot of time at that place.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Rant/Rave: Mug Cake

I saw this on pinterest earlier this week. I had come home from school and was procrastinating work.  I had just finished dinner but had no dessert (ridiculous I know). I had wanted to try a mug cake since they have been all over pinterest lately and I decided it was time. 

The recipe (from babble, see above link) was simple enough:

Salted Caramel Mug Cake
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg – beaten
3 tablespoons skim milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 salted caramels
1. Into a small bowl add: flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, egg, milk, and vegetable oil. Mix to combine.

2. Pour mixture into a regular sized coffee mug. Drop caramels into center of mixture one at a time.
3. Microwave on high for one minute and 30 seconds. If needed {if cake batter is still gooey}, microwave on high for up to an additional 30 seconds.

So I gathered the ingredients

Mixed up the dry ones

Added the wet ones (I added vanilla, obvi)

Poured it into the mug, along with some chocolate chips (another addition)

And then some salted caramel sauce from TJ's (that stuff is pure heaven fyi)

I followed the directions like a good girl and 'baked' it in the microwave

All of the above looks and sounds delicious, no? 

So why the rant? Because it's crap. Utter crap. Disgusting terribleness. The simple truth of the matter is that you cannot have your cake and eat it to...if the cake you desire is to be quick and delicious. 

Nope. This cake is certainly quick, easy to make too. But it is far from delicious.  
First off it cooks in a mug in a microwave. Think about what happens when you reheat something in the microwave: the top gets warm while the middle is still cold. Now let's apply this to cake: the top cooks quickly the middle still gooey. So what do you do? Cook it a little more. 
And then what do you have: overcooked cake.  

The flavor is off too, slightly burnt but also bitter, like the baking powder didn't fully cook. And the texture is the worst - rubbery. Finally, the concept is off: a mug's worth of cake is actually a lot of cake, probably like two proper slices, not a single serving like you would suspect. 

The whole thing is bad news bears. Try if you like, maybe you'll have better luck, 
but I have settled on the simple truth: you can't rush a good baked good. 

They are one of life's small joys so take the time to make one properly, and you will be rewarded.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Living in color

Everyday I walk by the museum store. And everyday I quickly glance in the window, just to see if anything catches my fancy. 

Recently, I did a double take because I saw this:

Yes people that is a pantone folding chair. They also have one in green.  
The same green that Ashbash sent me on a postcard

I've loved pantone ever since I was a little girl. I know that sounds strange, but really it's true.  
My dad had their color books for his work and I would always look through them, amusing myself with all the pretty colors, thinking of things to paint.

When I have reason, I will definitely be purchasing a few of these. 
Too perfect for words.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

never enough

I know  I know. I write all the time about zucchini and pizza together in some form or another. But I love it. And TJ's makes it so easy with their dough all ready to go. 

This time it was the usual ricotta base, pepperoni, zucchini, and sun-dried tomatoes. 

Yummy in my tummy. 

And it provided me with a few good lunches. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

for my future child

So, some might see this as wrong. But it's just amazing:

Yup, that's a three piece seersucker suit, for a little boy. With a bow tie. 
I saw it in Savannah on a 24 hour trip to see Megan and J-hat run in the marathon. 

Clearly my child will wear this one day. 
And I will have the most adorable boy at Easter service. Obvi.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Sweet Treats

Porto's is probably my favorite bakery.  The cubans do it well.  I'm not going to lie.
Though they have many tasty treats that make my mouth water, like their potato balls (yup I said it), I recently had a bad craving for one of their sweet treats: the cheese roll.

Let's just say it's amazing. No exaggeration here fools. But seriously, what's a girl to do when she is 3,000 miles away from a decent cheese roll?  Clearly, I needed to give it a homemade go.

So the real thing is basically a pastry dough that is a cross between puff pastry and a croissant filled with a delicious cream cheese filling.

I worked with what I had: puff pastry, sugar (raw and white), cream cheese, and vanilla.

I was low on puff pastry - down to just a third of a sheet so this was going to be a small batch.

1. Let the dough come to room temperature and then roll out slightly. Follow directions on package and preheat oven to ~425.
2. In a small bowl, combine ~1/4 cup of cream cheese with 2 T white sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.
3. Cut pastry dough into 8 even slices. Scoop 1/4 of filling onto 4 pieces of dough.  Top with remaining pieces and pinch the sides with a fork.
4. Place on baking sheet and spray or brush with a little canola oil, sprinkle with raw sugar.
5. Bake (following package directions) for ~ 10-12 minutes.

When these bad boys come out of the oven get ready for a bite of heaven.
It's not the real thing, but it's pretty delicious.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

My food-mate

Recently, we were graced with the presence of Nelson. A fellow so-cal kid with a love of food. I love this boy, he is basically my soul mate of food, hence the title.

While he was in town, we did a lot of eating. He did a lot of searching and then we would eat. It was awesome. The boy loves baked goods as much as me (which is actually quite difficult) so I benefited quite nicely as he would wonder off in search of fabulous things and bring me back various treats, like pumpkin bread, cookies, and blueberry muffins. I died.

But we are in the south let's remember, so we needed to make sure the boy got enough BBQ in his system before heading home.  In one of these efforts we went to the pig. Which was awesome.

I had the pork (obvi) with mac and cheese and fried green tomatoes. Friggin' amazing.

Don't worry, he got his fix of bojangles too with sweet tea and bo-biscuits. 

Next we will be eating our way through LA in just 3 weeks!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rant/Rave: And we're off

So it should be no shock to anyone that I do not approve as tights as pants. It's a well known fact really.  And though I approve of tights underneath shorter dresses, people need to remember that you cannot just wear any pair of tights with any piece of clothing, even if you have had the basic decency to not wear them as pants.

Recently, in the great state of Arkansas, I saw this woman: 

Um, excuse me? Really people. Let's just focus on the worst possible component: the tights. Floral? Really. Let's draw attention to our legs with a giant floral print and then, because that isn't loud enough, let's accent those bad boys with some brown boots, a tight purple dress and black jacket.

Winner? No. I don't think so. 

As previously discussed, the UNC girls have incorporated tights into their standard outfit. Apparently some of them have decided to get a little bold with their choices as witnessed by Lisa:

Love you Lisa. Thanks for concurring on the ridiculousness of these terrible terrible choices.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Rant/Rave: ice ice baby

There is always a trend. For everything. Cocktails are no exception. And apparently the current trend is...


Yeah, this has already hit the big cities but NC is right in the midst of it. You may recall the Lewis bag post regarding a tool to awesome crushed ice. We are great fans of it. 

So upon a recent outing to a bar in Raleigh, I was happy to see at the top of the menu, a guide to both glasses and ice for your chosen cocktail.  Adorable. 

But no matter your glass, you should remember that crushed ice is always best.  
What? You think that's ridiculous to have a favorite form of ice? Nonsense. 

Think about your love for Sonic. I know you love Sonic. And why? Well one of the main reasons is the delicious delicious drinks you get there. Drinks filled with amazing crushed ice.
This crushed ice ensures that your trip to the drive-in will produce pleasuring results.

Yup, it may sound ridiculous, but wait until the next time your slushing around your crushed ice and take note of all that enjoyment.  

Clearly, the superior form.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When an economist buys jell-o

We recently had our housewarming party, which was epic...
Like any good house party we had jell-o shots. These turned out, interestingly...

I found the recipe for the strongest jell-o shots -- which allows you to have 8-14 ounces of vodka in a basic batch.  We did 12, and yup, they were like straight alcohol. Maybe we'll go for a more reasonable level next time...

But before the shots were made, supplies needed to be purchased. There are soo many jell-o options out there. It's pretty ridiculous actually:

I'm pretty sure my boss would cry if he saw this.  Is demand really this high for jell-o?  Did I miss the epidemic that is only cured by strawberry jell-o? But wait, I really want melon fusion jell-o, but I want it in sugar free, why can I not get this?? What kind of world are we living in people?

But back to jell-o shots. More were made for the murder mystery party.  But this time we classed it up with shots from this awesome website. We made a halloweeny one, appropriate yes. 

They tasted delicious, much better than they looked, but that's the point. 

So the next time you're planning a party please include a jell-o shot on the menu. It can be strong, weak, pretty, or funky, just so long as it's there. And don't be overwhelmed by the jell-o selection, just do some yoga breathing before marching down the aisle...