Saturday, April 16, 2011

Asparagus and Leek Quiche

I've changed up my food shopping method as of late. Instead of one big trip every week - I go every couple of days and pick up the things I need for the immediate future. I actually enjoy food shopping and I have noticed this cuts down in a big way on wasting food. Plus it gives me the freedom to decide what we're having for dinner from day to day, instead of planning out the whole menu for the week in one fell swoop.

It's also more enjoyable to go food shopping, for me at least, when you're not picking up a huge cart of items (especially when it comes to my least favorite part of food shopping, unpacking and putting away all of the food!) For instance yesterday I popped into Stop and Shop and picked up one grocery bag full of items - the fixings for Coq Au Vin, San Marzano canned tomatoes (to make a meat sauce for lasagna later this weekend), eggs, asparagus, leeks and Wheat Thins. Easy Peasy.

I have had it in my head to do an Aspargus and Leek Quiche for a while now. The truth is, I am obsessed with Asparagus. I buy it every time I go food shopping (sometimes up to 3 times a week!) and love finding new ways to use my favorite spring vegetable. Sometimes I just pan fry them in a little olive oil with salt and pepper. Or I will roast them in the oven. Or serve them with a poached egg for breakfast. Or the pasta dish I posted about recently. I am sensing Asparagus Mimosa in my future as well (don't worry it's not an Asparagus cocktail though at this point in my obsesseion I would not at all be surprised)

This quiche is a great Saturday late morning breakfast - but would also be darling at a brunch or even a light supper served with a salad.

To save time make the pie crust dough in advance. If you are making it the same day be sure and it an hour in the fridge before rolling it out.. Once you line your pie plate with the dough, pop it back in the fridge to chill while you do everything else. I posted my go to pie crust recipe below - I used to NEVER be able to make a decent pie crust but this simple recipe saved me. I also see nothing wrong with buying pre-made pie crust. That got me through some tough times!

Leek and Asparagus Quiche

1 chilled pie crust* (in a 9 inch pie pan)
1 lb asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into one inch pieces - reserve the tips for decorating
1 large leek (green + white parts), thinly sliced, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp butter
4 large eggs
1.5 cups cream (half and half or heavy cream, whatever you have on hand)
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss (optional)
Salt, pepper, nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350
Cook the asparagus (except for the tips!) and leeks in the butter over medium heat until the asparagus is crisp tender, 5-6 minutes. Use salt and pepper as desired. Let cool.

Combine eggs, cream, 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Remove your chilled pie crust from the fridge and sprinkle the bottom with the cheese.

Pour the asparagus mixture on top and then pour the eggs over that. Arrange the asparagus tips decoratively on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating once to ensure even baking until puffed and golden.

Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. This is great warm or served at room temperature!

*Easy Pie Crust

1 1/4 cup flour 1 stick of butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
5 tbsp ice water
Using a food processor - pulse the flour, salt, sugar and butter together until coarse crumbs form. Dribble in the ice water, a tablespoon at a time and continue to pulse until the dough starts to stick together. It will look like wet sand - To test it pinch some of the mixture between your fingers, if it sticks you are done. Gather the dough together and form a 3/4 inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Or freeze for later use. I find it helpful to make a double or triple batch and freeze what I dont use that way I don't have to go through the whole rigarmarole of making the pie crust everytime I make a pie or tart or quiche.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The End of an Era

Today is my last day at my job. I have been here for what seems like forever. When I graduated from college in December 2003, I started working for a real estate firm on Newbury Street, since I has previously worked part time for a mortgage company while I was in college and learned that Back Bay realtors (at the time) made bank. I worked there for less than a year because it just wasn't for me (though working on Newbury Street was amazing). I switched to property management where I quit after about three weeks there because my manager was a tyrannical asshole and had lied about every aspect of what my job would be, including hours, pay, title, etc. Anyway at that point, November of 2004, I was like, WTF am I doing. I have been out of school almost a year and have little to show for it but an Anthropologie addiection (I DID work around the corner), an apartment with my new boyfriend and absolutely no clue what I wanted to do in life. I decided the smart thing to do would be take a breather and temp for a whille to give myself time to get my bearings and figure out my next step. I met with a temp agency downtown, expecting to find myself situated answering phones at a dental office in Downtown Crossing or being an Admin Assistant for a biotech firm in Cambridge. Instead they asked me if I was willing to work outside of Boston. I decided, why not? I have a car. It might broaden my horizons (also I loathe the T). So they sent me to a construction manageemnt firm in Newton to work as a part time receptionist. I initially worked 11-3 every day, answering phones and filing and such. Then after a few weeks they asked me to start working full time. Then the next month they offered me the full time permanent position of receptionist. At this point, I was still unsure of what I wanted to do in life but the money was decent, the benefits were great and I was really enjoying my coworkers. So I stayed. Within a few months I was being trained on using/creating construction documents, calling subcontractors, putting contracts together. I was promoted within 2 years to Project Assistant and taken off the phones (Hallelu!) and then less than a year later promoted again to Project Administrator. And I have really enjoyed my job. It's fast paced and ever changing. I am forced to think on my feet and problem solve my way out of challenging situations. I continue to love my coworkers and have learned so much from them. It's everything I have seen/done/particpated in/took the lead on here that has made me able to take this next big step to Project Manager at the energy efficiency job. I feel so lucky to have just "happened" into this company 6 years ago and so lucky that it turned out to be such a good fit. I hope for this kind of luck with my new company and am really looking forward to the challenge my new responsibilities will been. I have tomorrow and Monday off which gives me a nice four day weekend to prep for my first day. Tomorrow I have a mani/pedi planned, going New Job make up shopping at Beauty & Main and probably some New Job clothes shopping at the mall. I also have to apply for my passport at some point and do my taxes. Nothing like the last minute, no? This weekend I have nothing but tentative plans which is EXACTLY what I need. My only concrete plans are to garden and make a Coq Au Vin for dinner at some point. I can't wait!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Springtime Shrimp and Asparagus Pappardelle

The thing I love about this time of year is the produce. You can go into the supermarket without any kind of real game plan and just let yourself be inspired by what's in season!

The other day I was in the mood for a light springtime meal. I wandered into Whole Foods and was instantly inspired by the crisp stalks of asparagus. I grabbed a pound of that, a lemon, a pound of shrimp and a package of papparedelle. With that, my dinner was born!

What's nice about this is you use every part of what you're cooking with, from the zest of the lemon to the shrimp shells to the bits of aspargus you break off the ends. Waste not want not!

I think this is best with a wide noodle like a Pappardelle or a Tagliatelle.

If you wanted to be hardcore you could make your own pasta - or "cheat" a little and buy fresh sheets of lasagna , cut into wide pasta ribbons and use that!

Springtime Shrimp and Asparagus Pappardelle

1 lb shrimp, deshelled (reserve shells)
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed (reserve trimmings)
The zest and juice of one lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz pappardelle, cooked
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 tsp corn starch
2 cups water

Place the shells from the shrimp and the asparagus ends in a medium sauce pan. Add 2 cups water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Drain, reserving stock. You will want about 1 cup.

Then add the lemon juice/zest to this and stir in the corn starch. You can also add a splash of white wine, a lovely little touch.

Cut the asparagus into 1 inch sections. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large wide pan. Add the garlic and asparagus.

Cook for 3 minutes until it starts turning bright green.

Add shrimp!

Cook until they are pink - another 3 or 4 minutes. Salt and pepper to your liking.

Add the broth and heat to boiling for 1 minute until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly.

Toss with cooked pasta!

This was a big hit in our house. Springly, satisfying and capturing all the flavors of the season that I love. Not to mention it looked pretty as well.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Drinking Wine, Saving Money

In my endless quest to cut costs, I have taken to buying wine in bulk - when you crunch the numbers, especially when you live in a wine-with-dinner house, it just makes more economical sense to buy by the case or half case. Many package stores will give you discounts of up to 20% if you buy 6 or more! I also have several go to wines that I know I like which makes it easy to commit to a larger amount of them. And since we have access to a basement now, storage is a breeze!

I signed up for a few mailing lists of my favorite local wine stores (Marty's and Gordon's to name a couple) and take note of their sales and specials. I have also joined the email list of a local store - Bin Ends Wine in Braintree that has amazing deals! I get emails every week detailing their "Buy The Case" deal wherein if you commit to buying one case (12 bottles) of the wine they are featuring, you get what I can only refer to as a sick deal. Even better is you can pick up your order in the store to save on shipping. SO basically you get the email, make your purchase online and then swing by on your way home from work and they have the case packaged up, waiting for you. Couldn't be easier!

A few weeks ago I ordered a 6 pack of Hyatt Cabernet for around $45 that was a huge hit in our house - even my brother who is not a huge fan of reds was enamored with it. This morning the Buy The Case deal at Bin Ends featured 2007 "Pillar Box" White Padthaway (Australia) which I have had before and LOVE! Especially for spring! And the kicker is the price for a case of this wine? $48! Even I can handle the math involved to figure out that's $4 a bottle. An absolute steal. However as I was purchasing I made the mistake of only ordering six bottles, though I meant to order twelve. As I was checking out I realized my total was $36 instead of $48 and I was like, oh well six is fine too. A few moments later, my phone rings and it is one of the employees at Bin Ends. He wanted to know if I meant to only order six bottles, since six more bottles would only cost me $12 more. I mean, is that customer service or what? It's like he read my mind.

So he handled my transaction quickly over the phone and now I get to go by after work and pick up my inexpensive case of delicious wine (and pick some beer up for Adam as well, did I mention Bin Ends has a stellar selection of 22 oz craft beer as well?). So this is my special shout out to Bin Ends. Helping me save money and buy wine all in one fell swoop.

If you live in the area I would highly reccomend checking them out and signing up for their email list! Bin Ends 236 Wood Rd # A Braintree, MA 02184-2415

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Reluctant Baker

When I left Joanne Chang's cooking demonstration and book signing last month, I was armed with two things. A signed copy of her famed cookbook - Flour: Spectacular Recipe's from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe , and a determination to get more into baking.

I love to cook. With a recipe, without one, it is a real passion of mine. Baking on the other hand? I tend to find more cumbersome. All of that measuring. The level of attention to detail required. The fact that the amount of wine you drink while baking can actually have an adverse effect (see: The I Mistook Confectioner's Sugar for Cake Flour Incident of 2009). And there is also the pride thing. I am just not GOOD at baking. I endeavor to be. But too often my cookies are burned on the bottom. Too often my bread doesn't rise! But I do love baked goods. I love the way they make the house smell. I love having something delicious I made myself as the end to a great meal. And there is something celebratory about a home baked treat!

So as I have been thumbing through Flour, I started to gain courage in my baking abilities. I mean, she makes it seem so simple and look how delicious everything looks!I kept coming back to her Pineapple Upsidedown Cake recipe and so the other night - that was my first foray into Ms Chang's world of baking.

It was intimdating at first. I have tried to make my own caramel before and it was a scorched sticky mess. And typically my cakes come out leaden and dry even when I feel that I have followed the instructions precisely. But I read and re read the instructions and her conversational way of relaying instructions gave me courage and so - it was on!

Making the caramel was not that bad - I learned my lesson that you really shouldn't walk away from it but should instead just wait for it to start to color. And lo, It did start to color! And when I added the butter things really started falling into place! Once I added the pineapple slices in - I got that feeling. You know the one. The "You know, I actually might not totally f this up" feeling!
I poured those bad boys with all their caramely delightfulness into my cake pan, and then all I had to do was mix together the batter, easy enough. I opted to do it by hand to be honest because I was too lazy to unearth the KitchenAid. But I think this worked out well. It's harder to overblend (something I often do!) when you do it by hand! Then it was poured over the pineapples and baked. While my house filled with the delicious smell of sweet caramelized pineapple, I fought the urge to open the oven door and check on it. Then once it was done I was scared that unplating it would cause an unholy mess. My fears were unfounded though as it slid easily out of the pan and onto my plate! Look at that beauty! The cake was perfect- moist, a little dense but in a velvety comforting way. The pineapples were sweet and the caramel just sealed the deal. Each bite had a little of each and was perfection. I regret to inform you that this cake lasted only 24 hours in the house before it was completely eaten. I can't wait to make this again! And to try out my next recipe from Flour! If you love to bake OR if you are like me, wanting to get more into baking you should definitely check out her book! It's written in a way that even the most reluctant baker feels empowered to try something new (me? I'm thinking of doing the homemade pop tarts next!)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Well I am back from my whirlwind and fabulous trip to Seattle with 124 of my fellow Nintendo Brand Ambassadors! There was so much packed into our 36 hours there. I feel like I was there for much longer than I actually was! I flew out of Boston bright and early on Thursday and after a brief stop in Chicago, arrived in Seattle around 3PM their time. It was funny actually. For the duration of my flights I did not come into contact with anyone going to the summit. Then after a rather bumpy landing into Seattle, once the plane had settled I heard the girls in front of me mention something about "Justine" who is our Brand Ambassador coordinator. So of course I spoke up, excuse me are you guys with Nintendo?" and they were like YES and then a voice from behind us pipes up? "Nintendo?" and We're all like "YES!" and then two girls in front are lke "Nintendo?" and we all yell NINTENDO IN THE HOUSE. We were all so pumped. So we made our way to the shuttle and over to our gorgeous hotel and luckily I had some downtime in my room to relax and wash the plane off of me before the Nintendo of America cocktail reception being held in one of hotel restaurants. One of the best parts of the trip was the other girls. Everyone is so friendly. I mean I did not know a soul there but was able to insert myself into conversations and make friends super easily. Of course an open bar always helps in these endeavors, but I met a lot of fun girls that night who became my go to girls for the trip. After the reception ended a few of us stuck around for a few more drinks and made plans to meet for breakfast in the AM. With that I headed back to my hotel room where I promptly recieved appx 3 hours of sleep becauise I was too amped up to go to bed and then I woke up at 4AM because my body was still on East Coast time. No matter though! I caffeinated myself with some of that world famous Seattle Coffee and met up with some friends for breakfast before heading over to Nintendo HQ with everyone else. Now, before going to Seattle I knew it would be gray and most likely rainy. What I did not know is how lush and green it would be. As we drove to Redmond (where Nintendo America Headquarters is located) I was struck by the vivid greens of the grass and the trees and the moss growing everywhere. It was the brightest shade of green I have seen in so long (especially coming off the end of this drab dreary New England winter). It was so vibrant you were almost glad for the gray sky, a blue one would have been too much. Anyway we spent a really lovely time at the Headquarters, trying out the Nintendo 3DS (which is incredible and the most impressive DS to date) I could not get past the 3D aspect of it. I mean I knew it would be 3D but had never been able to picture it. It literally pops off the screen and adds so much depth, it brings game playing to a whole other level. In the photo above we are playing against each other in Street Fighter and it is INTENSE! Definitely my favorite game of the day. When we weren't playing with the 3DS's we were exploring the headquarters and enjoying a delicious lunch and visiting the Nintendo World Shop. We all had a blast and were really excited to take a Nintendo 3DS of our own home! I wish I could show you photos of the building but we were strictly prohibited from taking photos of anything other than the room pictured above. However the lovely Justine did provide us with this Nintendo sanctioned photo, so you can get an idea of the size of the place. Please note the rooftop gardens - gorgeous! One of the funnest parts of our day at HQ was meeting all of the Nintendo employees and how amped they were about their job, the brand and about making sure we all had a great time. I imagine Nintendo must be one of the coolest places to work! Anyway after our Nintendo Day, we piled back into our busses and headed back to the hotel. I had a little time to get ready and then headed back out for another cocktail reception followed by dinner on the town! When we were initially sent our itineraries for the trip a month back, we could pick from a list of ten Seattle restaurants what our top two choices would be. After doing some research online I decided I definitely either wanted to go to The Purple Cafe! So I was really psyched that that is where I ended up going to dinner (we split up into groups of 15-20 and each group went to a different restaurant). Upon stepping into this restaurant I bet you will see why it was my first choice? Could it be....the enourmous tower of wine??? Nah!! Anyway the food was sumptuous and the company divine! I sat next to new pals Kimberley and Michelle and we had a blast. After dinner there were after dinner drinks at the hotel back and then bedtime and then the next day I went with some ladies to the airport and we hopped our plane to Chicago, and then from Chicago I hopped a plane to Boston and got home late saturday night. So you see what I mean by whirlwind. It could not have been a better time and I want to send HUGE THANK YOU out to Nintendo America and Brand About Town for a wonderful trip. If you'd like to see the rest of my photos please CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Tart of Celebrating

Yesterday I was was in a celebratory mood. Why you may ask?? Because I made a huge decision yesterday. Well it's a decision that has been brewing for a few months now, that I have tossed and turned about and that ultimately I made yesterday afternoon. After months of interviewing for the position, I have accepted a new job at an energy efficiency firm as a Project Manager and will be leaving my current job at the end of April. It is such a weird feeling. I have been here for almost 7 years and I feel that these people are my family. I feel so comfortable here and I feel that I am good at my job here. but lately I have been feeling that this is not enough. That I need to stretch out and see what I can do. That I need to challenge myself and see what happens. Being a Project Manager is a huge next step for me but I am really excited about it and looking forward to what it will bring. I gave my notice today, which was really hard but ultimately my coworkers are really happy for me! And ultimately I feel that this is going to be an adventure and a great stepping stone on my career path! Onward ho!! Anyway once I signed the offer letter I wanted to celebrate but how? I didn't really feel like going out for cocktails (I am laying low this week in anticipation of Seattle). I didn't really want to dine out. I knew what I wanted. A nice bottle of wine and a tomato tart! (Do I know how to party or what?) The former was achieved by a stop at Atlas Liquors on the way home, and the latter was achieved by stumbling across fantastic summer quality tomatoes at the Milton Fruit Center. Look at those guys! This is a recipe that is really easy and also really easily tweaked. It tastes as good as it looks and is a festive little meal if I do say so myself. The perfect celebratory dinner if you ask me! Tomato Goat Cheese Tarts 1 roll of puff pastry (1/2 a package), defrosted 4 medium tomatoes 1 small bunch basil, chopped roughly 4 oz goat cheese, softened salt + sugar Preheat oven to 400 degrees Slice the tomatoes evenly and lay them on a double layer of paper towel. Sprinkle evenly with a little salt and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes (this will draw a lot of the moisture out . Roll your puff pastry out so it's 1/8 an inch thick or so. Cut into 4 equal pieces. Bake for 15 minutes. It will puff up a bit, feel free to press it back down when you remove it from the oven. Take the goat cheese and cut into 4 equal slices. Then smash each slice into a thin patty with your hands. Place the goat cheese on each square. Top with the sliced tomatoes. Place in oven, turn heat to 350 and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with basil. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. You can totally mix this up - use any cooked veggie or you could top it with arugula and cranberries and pecans on top for the goat cheese for a little salad tart. Maybe some caramelized onions? Either way, it's delicious.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catching Up

So I think the theme of all my blog posts lately is "Catching Up' or "Checking In' (or, F'ing Off if we are calling a spade a spade". Life continues to be hectic and filled with events but I am for the most part on top of my shiz and have been enjoying spring, though from the weather you would never know it was spring (it actually had the audacity to SNOW last week). But I have seen my first crocuses (croci?) so I feel good about it overall. So what's been up lately? I promised to blog about the Bailey's Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Corned Beef & Cabbage I made for St Patrick's Day and then what did I do? I flaked on that promise. Here is the recipe for the cookies (I omitted the nuts and coconut, Also I had to add about 5 minutes to the baking time). They were amazing. a little cakey, a lot boozy, and a huge hit at the office. I would definitely make these again, maybe even experiment with the mint Bailey's for a little extra panache. As for the Corned Beef and Cabbage - I used this fail safe recipe. If you have never made Corned Beef before, what are you waiting for? It is really easy (you basically just boil the meat for 4 hours) and comes out tender and delicious. For an extra kick, I took it out of the pot about 30 minutes early, slathered it in mustard and brown sugar and broiled it for 15 minutes. Magnifique! I know haters like to remark on the fact that making Corned Beef on St Patrick's Day is lame because it's not really an Irish dish - but you know what it's delicious and super simple. I think we should have it every month of the year! Mmmmmm. This past weekend I accomplished another feat of wedding planning, purchasing ALL the decorations for the wedding/reception. My future Mother in Law had been raving about this place near her home that she thought would be the perfect place to get everything we needed. So this weekend I went there with her and my future Sister in Law and well, she was absolutely right. Grenon's Trading Company is this sprawling, cavernous extravaganza of floral, candle and craft suppplies that just about blew the mind of this DIY Bride. Like, literally I dreamed up these somewhat complex centerpieces that involve specific candle holders and vases and a mirrored tray and other random elements and this place had EVERYTHING I needed except for the live flowers which arrive the day before the wedding. We went nuts in there and when we left I had the satisfied feeling of yet another part of the wedding falling into place. I want to say DIYing everything has been a lot of work, but I have had a lot of help and I absolutely love that every element of this wedding is "us". I would also like to shout out to my girl Sky, who facebooked me a few weeks ago and generously offered to give me the cobalt blue bud vases and chair ties she had used at her own wedding (her wedding and mine are similar in many ways, what can I say? Great minds!). Anyway Adam and I picked them up this weekend and they could not be more perfect.' And Sky could not be more cute. Thanks so much again! This is one of the reasons I love blogging. Anyway with all that was going on in New Hampshire this weekend - we decided to make a weekend of it and stay in Portsmouth for some good times. We invited Adam's brother and his wife to stay with us in a hotel downtown and we had a fabulous Saturday night, dining at one of our favorite pubs The Coat of Arms, and then doing a little bar hopping down the main street - to Fat Belly's and Ri Ra. This is another reason I love the blog world. A few years ago Adam and I went for Portsmouth for a long weekend for the first time and I blogged about it. Blog pal Stacy recommended The Coat of Arms, which I had never heard of. And now its one of our favorite restaurants in that area! Anyway this is a short work week today because I am going on an adventure. On Thursday morning I fly out to Seattle for a whirlwind 36-hour trip courtesy of Nintendo! To celebrate the launch of the Nintendo 3DS - the good people at Nintendo and Brand About Town are flying all of their Brand Ambassadors to the Nintendo HQ in Seattle for a celebration. It is certainly a whirlwind trip packed with activities. We have a cocktail reception Thursday night, will be at Nintendo HQ all day Friday and then Friday night they have arranged a lovely night on the town. Then I fly home Saturday and luckily have Sunday to recover. I am looking forward to meeting Brand Ambassadors from all over the country and to seeing a city I have never seen before. To keep up with my 36 hour adventure be sure to check me out on Twitter and Facebook. The West Coast hasn't seen me since 1994 - I am not sure if they will be able to handle me! So that's what's up around here. I cannot believe it's April in like, a day. Where did the past couple of months go? Hope everyone is enjoying the "Spring". I will remove the quotation marks when it gets above 50 :-)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oh Hai

Long time no talk, no?

Things here have been madness and mayhem. Between wedding planning (just over 3 months away, eek!), and various other responsibilities and social engagements I have barely had a moment to catch my breathe, let alone update this blog! But as more things come together, I am able to relax. That is not to say there still isn't lots to do but with everything I check of the list (most recently, invitations and a photographer and the cake (well, cupcake tower)) I feel a little more relieved and excited!! The next couple of months will bring with it picking out all of the food, and securing the table linens and making all of the centerpieces/decorations. One of the things I am most excited about is since we are throwing this wedding ourselves, we can handpick the wine and beer served. Adam got some excellent deals from some local craft breweries and I am able to buy cases of actually GOOD wine to serve. Since wine and beer are important to us we are pumped to be able to serve something we actually drink ourselves and love. Oh and did I mention the cheese platters from Wasiks? Shit is on!

Anyway I thought I would pop by here for a bit. St Patrick's Day is coming up and I have committed to cooking a feast for Adam and my brother. The components of this feast are yet to be entirely determined but I know they will at least involve Corned Beef + Cabbage + Turnips as well as Car Bomb Cupcakes. If you are looking for a GREAT St. P's Day recipe check out my Pretty Things Lamb Stew recipe I posted on Pretty Things is one of my favorite local craft breweries and their St Botolph's Town Dark Ale was fantastic in this stew.

Friday night Adam and I went to Ruth's Chris for Restaurant Week. It was delicious and a fantastic dining experience. Great service (Friendly and polished), divine food (filet that cuts like butter), incredible wine list and comfortable but upscale ambience. We couldn't have loved it more. I will comment on this though: there were a lot of people wearing jeans. I know I am old fashioned/a fuddy duddy but a nice dinner out to me means no jeans. I had thought the dress code was business casual but for all I know I am wrong and anything goes, which is fine and I'm really not judging anyone except maybe myself - this is why I should have been born in the 1940s - I am always overdressed! But that is the way it has always been and e'er shall be.

Moving on.

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with my good friend Peter. We went to a book signing at the William Sonoma in Copley featuring the lovely Joanne Chang. I have been a fan of hers for a while now, especially since throwing a birthday party for my friend Meg at her restaurant Meyers + Chang where the food and staff could not have been more wonderful. Anyway on Saturday Ms Chang did a cooking demo and showed us all how easily we could make delightful handmade pop tarts and then signed copies of her cookbook, Flour. I spent a lot of time on Sunday reading this cookbook and it's a fantastic dessert recipe resource. I can't wait to dive in and start trying out the recipes (first, per request of the boys I live with: Pineapple Upside Down Cake).

The month ahead includes a trip to Portsmouth for the night next weekend, and then the following weekend I will be in Seattle for a few days. This weekend the only thing I have on the books is a Partylite party on Friday night when I am actually really excited for. Someone once said that "Candles are the new sad thing" well then color me blue because I love me some candles! And it's perfect timing because all of my "Winter" themed Yankee candles are basically used up and I have not yet bought any "Spring/Summer" ones. Nerd Alert?

So that's all for now. I'm off to take some Airborne to stave off this disgusting cold that I can just feel lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce on me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sarah's Greatest Hits

The scene - my office around 7:45AM. Even though it's balmy outside, inside my office is frigid. My hands? cold and clammy. I sit down, set my coffee on my desk and fumble around for my space heater. I turn it on and wait for it to heat up and envelope me in toasty air.

A few moments later I am still cold. WTF this thing is taking forever to kick in.

A moment later one of my coworkers appears in my cubicle "Why is it so warm in here?", he asks. I whip around to say I wish it WOULD be warm in here. My hands are icicles, I tell him. He gives me a funny look and walks away.

It is about then that I realize that the heater is facing AWAY from me. Blowing all the warm air out of my cube.

Shockingly, turning it around so the warm air was actually blowing in my direction vastly improved conditions.