30 December 2011

Okay, guys

As we get to the New Year I'm all about thinking about refocusing my life, or my habits I guess. I need to exercise more, I need to eat more veggies, I need to be more frugal, I need to maintain my follow through on things I say I am going to do and I need to be more and more creative....create the pace of life I wish to live as one of my girlfriends put it so well the other day.  These are things I hope.

In the meantime, check out this Bon Appetit "lucky foods" list.  I love it!  Found it here.

If you'd like to get yourself some good juju for 2012, here are ten ways to eat for luck on New Year's Day. 

1. Eat twelve grapes at midnight. The Spanish and Portuguese eat twelve grapes as the clock chimes twelve times for midnight, to symbolize the twelve months of the new year. Incidentally, eating grapes this quickly is not as easy as it may sound.

2. Seek out ring-shaped food for breakfast. Consider bagels or doughnuts for breakfast (don't you always?), which represent not only carby deliciousness, but also the year coming full circle.

3. Down some pig. Lots of people consider pork to be the luckiest of all foods to eat on New Year's Day. Why? Pigs are rotund, which represents prosperity (not, as it turns out, weight gain). They also "root forward" with their noses, which is supposed to symbolize progress. You can choose to eat your lucky pig any which way, including ham, sausage, whole roasted suckling pig, ham hocks, bacon, pancetta...sorry, where was I?

4. Smash a pomegranate on the floor. (And waste a perfectly good piece of fruit?) In Greece, when the new year turns, a pomegranate is smashed on the floor in front of the door to break it open and reveal seeds symbolizing prosperity and good fortune. The more seeds, the more luck. 

5. Roast whole fish for lunch.  Fish are lucky in three ways: their scales resemble coins, they travel in schools, which represents prosperity, and they swim forward, symbolizing progress. This option has the added benefit of complying with whatever New Year's dietary resolutions you've likely made.

6. Slurp soba noodles without breaking them. In Japan, long buckwheat noodles symbolize long life, and are therefore lucky--but only if you eat them without chewing or breaking them. So get your slurping technique down.

7. Nosh on greens. They resemble paper money, and who doesn't want more money next year? Everything from cabbage to kale to your Mesclun salad mix applies here.

8. Whip up a batch of Hoppin' John. This dish of black-eyed peas and rice is customary for New Year's Day in the American south, where black-eyed peas are considered auspicious based on their resemblance to coins.

9. Cook some lentils. Can you guess what lentils resemble? Money! Yes, these coin-shaped legumes are lucky in Brazil and Italy, and are said to have been eaten for luck since the Roman times.

10. Bake a coin into a cake. The second Greek tradition on our list, this involves a special lemon-flavored cake called a vasilopita baked with a coin inside (again with the money!). Whoever finds the coin gets a year of good luck. That, or a chipped tooth.

06 December 2011

DEEE cember

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Do you like to try to guess your gifts ahead of time?
I do. :( I feel bad about it. I try to put it out of my head but I do try to guess...even if I don't tell you I think I know what I am getting...I try guess what it is the person is giving me. I'll admit it, along a similar line, I have fantasies about my fiance coming home and surprising me just to hang out. He's on the road a lot so I think that this is a way that I express my missing him. I create these elaborate things in my brain and hope they happen...even though I know that they won't it still makes me really excited. 

Monday, December 5, 2011
What was the first gift you ever made another person?

The first gift I made had to have been born of my father genius to do what all children should do on Mother's Day - make brunch! I'm sure that was the first "gift" I made. I also have a tendency to make my family cards. One year I even made a work of art for my family. They each had a similar drawing of a building from from France, then I found quote approprite to each member of the family and painted it on the canvas. Not terribly creative but I think everyone liked them.

Tuesday, December 2, 2011
What was the most disappointing gift you received as a child?

I don't remember every having a gift disappoint me. Especially as a child, they were presents. And no - this was not a cop out.

Monday, December 1, 2011
What was the first tangible gift you remember receiving?

The first tangible gift I remember getting, hmm. Wow, my brain initially told me to tell you about my little yellow chair I received on like my 4th  birthday but I can’t remember actually “receiving” it, you know? I don’t remember opening the box.  I know I said “just what I’ve always wanted” because I’ve been told, at that birthday party, that was my response to everything. We had just moved to Scottsdale, AZ, I had no friends my parents knew a handful of adults so they invited them over to our house so that I could have a birthday party.  Everyone played along and brought gifts and I was ecstatic, hence the “just what I’ve always wanted” response to everything…I mean, I was four and had a houseful of adults looking at me as I opened ever gift there was. And, I’m sure after the first time, someone laughed and I loved the response so I kept doing it.  Attention hog much, NO WAY.

That was my gut reaction but when I thought about it, the first gift I remember holding in my hands and feeling that overwhelming feeling a child gets when they open a gift they never knew they wanted but it was the best thing ever.  I think it was like 1987 and I was 6 or something and my dad’s parents had come up to CT to celebrate Christmas.  My family had a tradition of opening one gift of our choice on Christmas eve, I think we’ve since dispelled that tradition as this 30yr old didn’t do it last year, or the year before for that matter. Anyway, it was the night before Christmas and all through the house, everyone was waiting for me to pick a gift...because it takes FOREVER it has to be the right gift. Finally I settled on the gift from my grandparents, it wasn't too light and it wasn't too heavy, you could hear something moving around in tissue paper. Not LITERALLY moving around, I was shaking it a little. I opened the box, there was no wrapping paper, just a dark green box with a white ribbon. I opened the box and slowly pulled back the white tissue paper to reveal a beautiful china doll. She was gorgeous, she had pale skin, lightly pinked cheeks and lips and a plain dress. I loved her and hugged her. I was so happy. She was so delicate. That't it.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I just decided to make whisky vanilla extract.  I used two big Madagascar vanilla pods split in two then a cup of Irish whisky and popped it all in a jar.  Shook it once or twice and stored it under my sink, I'll be back in a week to check on it but it's supposed to take a month or so...so, we'll see.

Ever made home vanilla extract?Better luck with vodka or bourbon?


22 November 2011

Comfort Food

Before we get to the deliciousness that is below, know that if you decide to make this pot pie - it takes some time, and having that time is really really nice because you don’t feel like you’re in a rush.  Albeit, we made it fast and it was still amazing.  But slow and steady really wins the race...I may have felt rushed b.c I was also making chocolate chip cookies for out dessert. That’s my own fault for reaching for more...I could have bought cookies.

Also, totally random side note, when I cook for myself I don’t go fancy nor do I always go awesome...like I just make a quesadilla with really just cheese and that’s it.  If I have greens, it’s greens and an egg. And, even if its gross, I’ll still eat it because I took the time to cook it! Terrible, right?

This recipe calls for shredded chicken.  I assume they don’t sell shredded chicken so you have to cook and shred your chicken.  I poached chicken breasts in milk and water until they were done, barely let them cool then pulled them apart.  I then just started chopping it up because my hands were burning and like I mentioned, I was in a hurry.  These biscuits are also awesome and really easy.  I’d make them on Saturday morning for a homemade brunch.

Enjoy this! And thanks to Joy, she really does know how to make amazing food...can’t wait for her cookbook, which I pre-ordered!

Chicken Pot Pie with Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits
Makes one 9×13-inch dish with 12 biscuits

For the Biscuits:
  • 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t granulated sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 t coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 C (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 4 oz (half of a brick) cream cheese, cold
  • 3/4 C buttermilk, cold (if you don’t have buttermilk, take a T of of white vinegar and then enough milk to make a C and let sit for 10 minutes, then get 3/4 C from it.  So easy! You can even use lemon juice)
For the Filling:
  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 C whole milk
  • 4 oz (half of a brick) cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 t fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3 C shredded chicken meat (I used 3 decent sized chicken breast - might have been too much)
  • 2 T butter or olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 C thinly diced carrots
  • 1 C diced zucchini (optional)
  • 1 1/2 C frozen peas, thawed
Make your biscuits first, really simple, really quick.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, black pepper, and chives.

Add butter and cream cheese to the dry ingredients.  Use your fingers to quickly incorporate the butter into the flour.  This is one of those, use your hands add the love type recipes, it’s really the best way to get the best results.  Break up the butter and cream cheese with your fingers until there’s some the size of oat flakes and some the size of small pebbles.

Make a small well in the center of the fat and flour mixture.  Add the buttermilk.  Using a fork, combine the wet and dry ingredients, make sure you get everything moistened.  Dump the biscuit dough onto a lightly floured work surface - at this point you may think the dough’s a little weird it’s okay, just go with it.  Knead together until dough forms a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Use a round, 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuits.  Gather the dough scraps, knead a few times, and cut out more biscuits until no dough remains.  Place biscuits on a small cookie sheet and place in the fridge until ready to bake.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Dice onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini, and thaw the frozen peas.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in the flour, this will be really thick, heat for 1 minute.  Turn heat to low and add the chicken stock.  Whisk until no flour chunks remain now, whisk in the milk and add the cream cheese.  Turn your heat back to a medium/low temp, stir often until cream cheese has melted and the mixture is the consistency of warm, thick pudding.  Add chicken, lemon, and nutmeg, stir then add salt and pepper to taste.   Remove mixture from heat and set aside.

In a medium pan over medium heat, melt butter.  (I added all of the veggies at once, you could do it like Joy and go layer by layer I think this is better but remember I was on a time crunch.) Add onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add minced garlic and saute for one minute more. (At this point, if you wanted to kick up the heat, you could add a few shakes of red pepper flakes.)  Add carrots, zucchini, and peas.  Cook for  about 3 minutes.  The vegetables will not be entirely cooked through do not worry!  Remove from heat and add vegetable mixture to the creamy chicken mixture, stir to combine.

Spoon filling into a 9×13-inch pan.  Remove the biscuits from the fridge and place them on top of the filling.  Brush the tops of the biscuits with heavy cream, buttermilk, or egg wash.

Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until biscuits are puffed and golden, and the sides of the pot pie are bubbling.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Chicken Pot Pie will last, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days...if you can make it that long, we for sure didn’t.

Enjoy this so much … treat yourselves to it! xo

08 November 2011

on a whim

I decided to make granola.  I looked at a few different recipes from sites I love (shutterbean & big girls small kitchen) and made an easy bastardized version of their granolas.  It smells great.  I hope it tastes good and that I can wait until tomorrow morning to eat it.  I really think this is the kind of thing you can put anything crunchy in. Walnuts? Pumpkin seeds? Other fun crunchy grains? Whatever.

Fall is the time for baking, so get on it.  I recommend some explosions in the sky blasting in the background and, this might sound dumb, but as you mix an bake have an intention.  Are you making this to help you be smarter about what you eat?  Is it because you love your partner and want to make the something yummy?  Is it for that friend of yours that is going through a rough patch?  Whatever it is (it could even just to celebrate you - we don't do it often enough) just think it while you work.  You'll end up putting so much love into something so simple you will be able to taste it. Enjoy!

Tuesday Granola
bastardized from here and here

3 C rolled oats
1/2 C slivered almonds
1/2 C raw sunflower seeds
1/2 C (+ more) mix of raisins, dried blueberries, cranberries, and cherries (what, what trader joes!)
1/2 C raw millet
1/2 C honey
1/2 T cinnamon
1/2 C canola oil (you can probably use olive oil to give it a more savory quality)
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix all of your dry ingredients in a big bowl. Once mixed add the honey and the oil to coat.  Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, set your timer for 10 minutes and bake.  Take out and stir around, then do this 2 more times.  Once your granola is a nice even toasted brown color, you're done.  Let cool completely before putting into air tight containers. While its cooling - continue to stir it around to keep it all broken up. (The other recipes said they made about 6 cups...I think thats what I got?!)


03 November 2011


I don’t know how to convey how wonderful this past weekend was.  I know I’ve talked about family dinners and my roommates from college and how very special and important everyone is but how exactly does one put into words that feeling.  That comfort one finds in friendships that will last forever?

We were in Athens, GA this past weekend to celebrate one of my best friends, Josh and his new bride, Erin.  Josh is one of those guys who, I’m sure, everyone feels comfortable with.  He’s sincere, he’s genuine, he’s real, he’s raw, he’s emotional, he’s hilarious, he can get serious, he gets mad, he’s passionate about everything that is important to him.  I love him dearly and value his friendship so very much. I rely on Josh probably more than he realizes and maybe even more than I do.  We’re both busy adults, I mean Josh is in Grad School and working a full time job and fixing his house and making pots and playing soccer and always finding time to spend with Erin. We all know I work too much.  But when the two of us actually have 10 minutes to reconnect – it’s instant.  We weave back and forth between life questions and jokes about the fact that we’re “adults” like it’s nobody’s business.  This past weekend was for him and I am honored I was able to participate.

Josh and Erin have so many important people in their lives, so many people who value them and cherish them – this led to a wedding full of incredible company.  Myself, two of my best girlfriends and former roommate (Sliz & Scare) and two of Erin college girlfriends (Ellen & Neha) were asked to be their usher-etts, it was great. We were able to say hello to every single person who came through the school house doors.  Ellen, the night before had struck up a conversation with her husband Ben and Rory and I by telling me that we were being too Wittenberg centric, which I totally appreciated and really enjoyed their company.  Josh asked me to do a reading for the ceremony, from Kahlil Gibran’s the Prophet, on Marriage.  It was so beautiful.  As I was reading, something compelled me to turn towards Erin and Josh and deliver the passage to them – to connect to them because this day and this reading was about and for them.  Not that I didn’t want to include everyone else, but this was important for me to say to them.  I want to share the passage because I think it's so true for relationships.

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. 

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. 

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
The reception was awesome.  I can’t wait to send you to their photographer’s website so you can see the venue.  BEAUTIFUL.  More than once Rory and I were like – this is our reception.  This is what we’ve already talked about.  It was rustic and classy. There was a Bluegrass Band playing.  There was mac ‘n cheese, there was BBQ, there was pie.  PIE, guys.  I want pie instead of cake.  It was the rustic simplicity.  I also, want to make strawberry jam for everyone, Josh made fig preserves.  It was great.

All is all it was worlds colliding in the most beautiful way possible.  College friends, camp friends and Rory.  I was so happy to be able to introduce him to so many incredible people.  And, it was kinda nice to see a wedding similar to how we want ours to go – funny that one of my best friends would give us a test run. :)

How was your Halloween?  Anything exciting? Also - the best chicken pot pie I've ever made is coming soon. ! 

10 October 2011


Things be movin.' 

What if I talked like that?  I mean, apparently I do because I just did but seriously, like all the time?  I'd hate me. A lot.

But seriously. I got a new job, October is going to be a little crazy and will end with awesome...

I feel good. I feel like all things moving are moving in the right directions. 

Yay! xo

22 September 2011

I made 'em again

I pickled.  I pickled carrots and green beans.  I don't have the proper pickling stuff....so I improvise!  I have tongs, I have a deep pot and I have old pickle jars (yes, I see the irony).

I haven't eaten dinner yet, I wanted to make pickles and I had a late snack, no worries though, 'bout to heat up left overs and poach an egg. 

Pickles.  Here's what I did:
6-8 medium carrots, cut into spears
a good handful of green beans, ends cut off
1 1/4 C white vinegar
1 1/4 C filtered water
1/2 T kosher salt

about a palmful of:
crushed bay leaves
yellow mustard seeds
whole black peppercorn
coriander seeds
fennel (much less than a handful)
red pepper flakes
magic spice - if I could tell you what's in this, I would...but I don't know

Put everything in a pot, bring it to a boil.  MEANWHILE, put the chopped veggies in your sanitized jar let it hang out.  When the mixture comes to a boil spoon over the veggies, leave yourself 1/2 inch head space.  Put your lid on, tight. Then fill your big pot with water again, bring it to a boil, place your jar of veggies into this boiling liquid, let boil for 5 - 15 minutes. Use tongs to remove the jar, place it on a flat surface and DO NOT TOUCH it for until tomorrow.  Then when the jar is cool, push on the lid a little, if there is give and it makes a popping noise, you can't put these on your shelf, they have to go in the fridge.  They'll still be good and will keep for about a month.  If your lid has no give, you've done it!  You can put these babies on your shelf for up to 6 months (I think...any other picklers out there disagree with me?) If you can't wait to eat your creation - I understand - just give them like 3-4 days before you pop 'em open.
my picture is so small. :( Enjoy!

19 September 2011


Where'd I go!? Sorry.  Busy is busy is busy is busy. (I'm sure some of you have eagerly been anticipating this return of sorts. :) ) Ugh. Sorry.  Not much to say about it, I've been making things and eating things and watching things and thinking things and shooting things.

A friend sent this to me, so I thought I'd share.  And, I'm going to pickle some carrots and green beans later, maybe I will fill you in on the process. :)

02 September 2011

10 Days

I've been asked to compile meals for 10 nights for a family of 6, I was given a binder FULL of delicious recipes. I love it. I love the organization aspect of the whole thing.  And when have I ever denied loving food?!

While I am excited about this, it's organizing someone else's life - not mine.  I keep coming back to what exactly is it that I want and how do I want it.  And the answer never ceases to be difficult to muster up all I know is that I have to keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other.  And maybe, like I always try to do when I am seeking something from someone else and they can't seem to find an answer, ask it a different way.  Come at this whole thing from a different angle.  We shall see.

On another note, I think I've eaten more corn this summer than I've ever eaten in a summer!  I love corn. :)


01 September 2011

the return - of sorts

I made this the other night.

It was so good. AND so simple.  Boil salted water, throw in your pasta (I almost got bucatini but opted for these guys).  After you've put the pasta in the water, start the sauce.  Melt some butter in a pan, throw in a few spoonfuls of capers, add chili flakes, saute for a bit.  Then squeeze half a lemon into this, add some parmesan cheese, stir, stir, stir.  Get yourself a cupful of that pasta water, be careful not to burn yourself!  Add it bit by bit to the sauce - not all of it yet.  When your pasta is al dente, drain, then put the pasta directly into the pan with the sauce to coat.  Add the reserve pasta water as you see fit, more parm as you see fit then when you feel (cooking it all about feeling and taste!) the pasta is coated and ready to go you are set to eat.  Dress with more parm if you want and some fresh parsley.

It was the best dinner I've had in a while.  I have a feeling that my fall is going to get really busy.  However, I am committed to this outlet so I will make the most of my return.
See you in a second.

30 August 2011

Long Month

Where did August go and what do i have to prove that it was busy?! Not much.  

Rory's sisters came into town, it was awesome.  We ate awesome food, took an amazing road trip to San Francisco and drove back down the Highway 1, taking our time.  It was so nice.  We stopped in Santa Cruz and picked up some cheese, bread, wine, honey and an apple or two.  Then we stopped at a roadside farm stand and picked up a few pints of strawberries.  When we were about 15 min away from the Hearst Castle we pulled off the road, walked out to the edge of the cliff and sat down and had a picnic.  We sat and talked and ate and looked at the ocean for about an hour. It was great, I think the best part of the journey.

I've cooked a few meals with my girlfriend Janell.  We've made salads full of summer veggies, talpia, steak, corn and there's been a lot of brie and baguettes with a side of wine. :)  I've started exercising more and I've made a point of having at least one day off from all of my many jobs. I think I might be turning a new corner here in LA.  I miss acting. I miss the creative process.  So...I have to make it for myself. I have to just do...even if that means no time to myself and no days off, I just have to do. 

What exactly does this all mean? I'm not 100% sure but I do know that I will have to take baby steps, one bit at a time. Mini goals nothing too terrifying.  Being terrified is what has stopped me in the first place. I know I need to do my research. I need to finish making my reel again - I have new things to add. I have to move forward. On anything. 

Well. There's August. Now comes September.  I might do the NaBPoMo (right?) again.  The theme for September is Return. Seems fitting.  (Oh yeah - and I have to start thinking about planning a wedding!)

How was your August? Did you survive the heat, the earthquake back east, Hurricane Irene? Fill me in.

09 August 2011


My friend Mike sent this to me...watch all 3.

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

LEARN from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

EAT from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

things and stuff and things

I made scones, but they weren't that great.  I also tried to make a Red Velvet cake but it stuck to the bottom and there was a huge FAIL stamped on the cake. UGH.

I'm making Flank Steak tonight and mashed potatoes and corn on the cob w. salad tonight.  This, I am looking forward to.   Rory's family is in town and we're having a feast!

05 August 2011

29 July 2011

Light on the dressing

I just received my fruits and veggies from the farm share...Fridays are always great days.  What I love about summer produce is that most of it is best when raw and fresh.  

I just cut 2 cucumbers, a peach, and a tomato up.  Combined them in a bowl with a handful of micro greens, a splash of olive oil and balsamic, a smidgen of salt and pepper.  Voila - have myself a nice fresh salad for lunch. Thank you earth :) 

How's your summer eating?

20 July 2011

I started doing this

Follow Me on Pinterest 
Which is a great new distraction and I feel like a good way to organize wedding thoughts and ideas. You might get bored of it, but I think it's pretty darn cool.  Thanks to Joy & Tracy for talking about it on their podcast! (ps. if you haven't already, start listening to their podcast).

It's been a few of those days.  Life's on the lows but, as I have said before and I will say again, this too shall pass.

the best part is the grass people.

18 July 2011

Yeast and flour smell so good

Why is it that that's so true.  On my day off today I decided to bake some bread - proper sandwich loaf - and man does it smell and look good!  It's been nice, sitting in the house working on ideas for wedding stuff, working on my resume, even going for a walk and catching up with some old friends...all the while in the background of my day the bread hangs out.  Then once in the oven the smell of fresh bread eeks out making my apartment smell delightful! 
And man does it taste good. Best bread I have made thus far, for REALS yo.  

After spending about an hour doing research about how to switch whole wheat flour for the bread flour and whether I could use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, I came up with my rendition of this recipe....and remembered that I have durum flour (a high-protein/high-gluten flour) in my cabinet thanks to my older sister who has a love of perfect pizza dough. So, here you go.  

Sarah & Janell - I think you both should make this.

Light Wheat Bread
Makes one two-pound loaf

2 1/2 C unbleached durum flour (or high-gluten or bread flour)
1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 t honey
1 1/2 t salt
3 tablespoons powdered goats milk (I'm sure regular powdered milk works too!)
1 3/4 t dry active yeast (it's really just over 1 3/4 t - as you are supposed increase original by 25%)
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 C water, at room temperature

Stir together the durum flour, whole-wheat flour, salt, powdered milk and yeast in a large mixing bowl (or if you have a stand mixer, in that bowl). Proof your yeast w. some lukewarm water, let sit for 5 minutes.  Add yeast mixture, butter, honey and water.  Stir or mix on the lowest speed with the paddle/bread piece until the ingredients form a ball.  Flour still on the bottom?  Add a little more lukewarm/room temp water.  Dough should feel soft and supple not firm and stiff.

Sprinkle whole-wheat flour on your kneading area, and begin kneading (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook...however, I think that this is your opportunity to get really up close and familiar with your bread making process AND as tough as it is to do for 10 minutes, it's rather nice).  Add more flour if too sticky, you want the dough to be a little tacky so don't add too much!  Kneading should take about 10 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The dough should pass the windowpane test - pull off a small piece after ~5 minutes, pull it apart slowly, is it snapping apart too quickly?  You've got more kneading to do!! Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Proof at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

Take the dough out of the bowl and press it by hand into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick, 6 inches wide, and 8 to 10 inches long. Make your loaf by rolling it from the short side, pinching the crease with each rotation to strengthen the surface tension. It will spread wider as you roll it. Pinch the final seam closed. Place the loaf in a lightly oiled 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch bread pan (ends of the loaf should touch the ends of the pan to ensure an even rise).  Rub some oil on the top of the dough and loosely cover with plastic wrap.

(2nd proof!) Proof at room temperature for approximately 60 minutes, or until the dough crests above the lip of the pan. .. this varies from place to place.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.

Place the bread pan on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue baking for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the oven. The finished loaf should register 190 degrees F in the center, be golden brown on the top and the sides, and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

When the bread is finished baking, remove it immediately from the loaf pan and cool it on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, before slicing or serving. ... you can make it those 2 hours. TOTALLY WORTH IT!!

enjoy! xo

01 July 2011


I seem to always try to make fridge pickles. My problem, a) I never have "enough" cucumbers or whatever it is I am pickling, b) I don't really measure my brine ingredients c) or my spices, d) I rush it and e) I don't follow directions well.

So, these are sort of from Mark Bittman's website.  I'd say, wait until I see if winging it is sufficient enough OR if you want to jump on this train right now, follow the directions.  His directions not mine.

I wonder if this realization about how I make pickles could correlate to how I live my life...both the positive and the negatives of it all.  Hmmm. Maybe there's room for some soul searching here.

This is what they look like, at this point (the beginning):
What I did was: took 1 Persian cucumber, 2 large radishes, 2 summer squashes and probably 6-8 cloves of garlic.  Then I cut them all up and shoved them in the jar, like the other recipe says, I sprinkled spices as I went.  I used: dry dill, coriander, black peppercorn, yellow mustard seeds, fennel, bay leaves and a thing my friend got me from St. Martin's called magic spice. Oh, and salt.   I also boiled 1/4 cup kosher salt with 3 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar.  Once it was boiled, I poured as much as I could over the veggies, closed the top, shook it all around and added more.  I did this a few times until I lost what felt like too many of my spice balls....you know what I mean.  And now, they come to room temp and I leave them in the fridge for 2+ days.

I'll let you know how they turn out!

Ever make quick fridge pickles? Got a good recipe? What have you been cooking now that summer is here?

29 June 2011


My fiance is going to be on Conan this evening - June 29th at 11pm (10pm C)... you should check it out. :)

27 June 2011

out of sorts

I've been way busy organizing my work schedule that I haven't had much time for blogging. I also just got back from a Florida family vacation, I was even called Aunt Jordan which was nice.  I'm Auntie Jo on my families side and think I will be Aunt Jordan on the other side. :)

I have made stuffed chicken breast w. goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon, served with quinoa and roasted beets. I also made a brown butter strawberry banana bread...this was inspired by joy the baker.  I suggest, if you haven't already, check out her website...she's incredible. :)

I'll get back in here when my schedule is on more of a routine. xo

12 June 2011

thank you, scare.

Desiderata.  By Max Ehrman
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be carefull.
Strive to be happy.

I am on vacation with Rory and his family.  We're going to the baptism of his niece, Emma. A week off was much needed, I hope that it recharges and refocuses me. 

18 May 2011

Oh Ira Glass

I don't know if I ever told you, but back when I lived in NYC (that seems like such a trite statement) the girls of Bushwick Shakes and I met Ira Glass. At a bar.  

We were there before going to a party and we were multi-tasking - drinking and having a company meeting.  We were drinking white wine, had our moleskins out and were sitting in the back of The West Side Tavern.  We were chatting about shows and marketing and new ideas, I don't even remember seeing a table of 4 sit down next to us.  Next thing I know, there's this really tall man in thick rimmed glasses with a thick head of dark hair towering over my friend Tiffany and I.  He squats down next to us so that he could be eye level with us and says, "I'm sorry to interrupt you ladies, but what are you doing working at a bar?"  We then launch into the whole "we're an all female Shakespeare company working on our next show (and as I write this, it must have been Julius Caesar, eh hem, in which I played Cassius...Awesome good time).  He asks a bunch of questions, was really nice and friendly and an all around cool guy.  He asks what our names are, we tell him, he says, "I'm Ira."  Cool, great, see you later...and back to his table he went.

I never put two and two together until later, he was still sitting next to us, we were still working and he was literally 10 feet behind me when at the bar Lexi and I are ordering another glass of wine and I say (outloud) "Holy shit....that's Ira Glass. Like NPR Ira Glass." Lexi was shocked that a) I didn't know immediatly and b) that I was actually saying these things that he might hear.  Hello nerd alter!  I cannot tell you how excited I was.

I will never know if he heard me but I do know that when I get home, I went online and figured out how to get in touch with him.  I drafted an email re-intorducing myself and the company and said that we would love to have him and his team come to the show.  I sent a press release, everything.  I was even in touch with one of his production guys who said they were trying to figure out if they'd be in NYC during the run of our show. 

Alas, he wasn't able to come to the show...but he at least knew I was in one and I got to meet him.  I also found this today and its a good reminder.

17 May 2011


It's been an emotional roller coaster recently.  

I haven't felt like doing much of anything.  My running isn't helping and I've even been bored in the kitchen. That's no good...that's supposed to be my place of solace and it hasn't been.  I've let my dishes pile up, I've eaten more bread and cheese than I should.  Sigh.  These are just the ebbs and flows of life, I guess.  

I did stumble upon a few things tonight.  A marinade that's great for pork or chicken and doesn't take too long to settle into the meat....ew, that can kinda sound gross.  Whatever.  It's easy.  You need, a ziplock bag, whatever meat you are using and here's how it goes: Put your meat into the ziplock, pour in a healthy dose of olive oil, salt and pepper, a good pour of low sodium soy sauce, about a tablespoon of honey and a big spoonful of chile sauce...found next to the Saracha at the grocery store, same brand but in a smaller bottle w. a green top...seal and let sit in the fridge for an hour (or more, I did three b.c I was doing stuff) and then broil your meat until done.  Or if you have a grill, I bet it would be great grilled.

I also stumbled upon this and it made me smile, so I leave you with it and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old
may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young
and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile
- e.e. cummings

10 May 2011

Oh my meatballs

Dang guys...I made meatballs tonight and they were INCREDIBLE. Restaurant good. I would, for sure, order these a second (or third) time if I ate them somewhere other than my house...extra bonus!?!? They are easy to make and now are my go-to meatball. Everyone needs one, right? I think Emily Post wrote about it at some point in her life.

If you don't eat meat, I understand, well I don't but I respect it and I'm really thankful that I love veggies too. But, I'm not sure I get it...back to the main objective here...meatballs. The reason these might be so good is that they are from 'the Frankies Spuntino's' cookbook. I'm sure I've talked about this before...Rory's sister (my future sister-in-law!!!) gave me this book for Christmas and it's awesome. It's so great. If you are as much of an Italian food fan as I am, you might do yourself a favor and go buy this cookbook. Seriously.

So, I didn't follow the recipe to the T because I didn't have everything I was supposed to, and if I'm 100% honest...I don't know how I feel about raisins in meatballs. Here's my version of the Frank's meatballs. Enjoy 'em!! (oh, and if you want the original recipe email me and I will get it to you!)

Jordan's version of the Frankie Spuntino Meatball
Makes about 15 meatballs; 4 servings

2 slices of wheat bread (about 1 packed cup)
1 pound ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
A hardy handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
Almost 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving
A hardy handful of chopped walnuts
20 turns on your pepper grinder
2 large eggs
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
Tomato sauce (you can make your own or use store bought, I used TJ's marinara)

How Ta Do It

First, heat your oven too 325 degrees. Then put the bread in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for about a minute or so. Pour out the water and squeeze out as much water as you can, then crumble and rip into small pieces. (by the way...this is one of those use your hands and get dirty kinds of recipes!)

Next, in the same bowl combine all the remaining ingredients (sans the tomato sauce). The original recipe said to combine them in the order listed, however, I added the meat right before the eggs. The whole mixture should be moist wet, not sloppy wet so your breadcumbs may very...you might need more, you might need less.

Shape the meatballs in your hands to a little bigger than a golf ball size.  Space these puppies evenly on a baking sheet. You may want to line the baking sheet with parchment paper or something similar...I ended up with a messy pan. Bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, I only baked for 25 minutes. The meatballs should be firm yet still juicy and gently yielding when they are cooked through. (Feel free, at this point, to let these guys cool and pop them in the freezer for some later date.)

Meanwhile, heat whatever tomato sauce you have choose in a sauté pan large enough to accommodate all the meatballs.

Dump the meatballs into the pan, simmer for about 10 minutes (original recipe calls for 30...I was way too hungry.) you want to make sure that they have had the opportunity to mingle with the sauce.

Serve the meatballs 3 to a person with a generous helping of sauce AND cheese! Yum. I ate 4 and had asparagus and a poached egg...I like food. Please try these and let me know what you think!!

03 May 2011

Double Celebration!

First of all - Rory has done it again!! Check out his most recent Land Rover commercial:

Pretty sweet huh!? And secondly, he proposed to me this weekend at an Explosions in the Sky Concert! Song. Ring. YAYAYAYYAAYAYAYAYAY!


28 April 2011

Did it again.

I am currently working on a project with my niece about baking. I asked her what she wanted me to bake and she said 'bread, from scratch.'  So before I actually teach her how to do it, I've set out on my own mission to find a simple, easy recipe that's kid friendly.  

I initially tried the 'No Knead Bread' that was covered by Mark Bittman in the NYTimes a few years ago, that resurfaced last year.  I wasn't satisfied. And I don't know how that guy from Sullivan bakery doesn't have his dough all sticky and too tough to work with after the first rise - I keep adding flour and more flour and more flour.  So I tried it again, this time with a little extra salt and with a light knead at the suggestion of my Cook's Illustrated iPhone app.  Much, much happier.
I slashed the top in an 'x' and actually checked the temp inside the loaf...It's supposed to get to 210 degrees, I got to like 200 and got impatient and worried about burning.  This time around, the bread tastes better too. However, I'm still not 100% satisfied, so I have to come up with something else or tweek the recipe a few more times.

Have any simple bread recipes that you think a 7 year old might enjoy making?