Monday, November 28, 2011


Thanksgiving this year was infinitely better than last year. We ate with Sam's one remaining local brother, and it was the best of both worlds. I made several dishes, but I didn't have to host or clean my house or even clean up my cooking mess immediately after. Though I still dream of making a turkey some day.
Since we spend the holidays at home rather than traveling to visit family, it's important to me to make nostalgic dishes. Stuffing was spoken for on the Thanksgiving menu, so I made my mom's stuffing for Tuesday night dinner to make sure I got my fill. And when brainstorming what I could bring to the feast, I found a perfect balance of recreating McPhie traditional dishes and experimenting with new recipes. One of the new ones was the curried brussels sprouts, which were Bria's favorite side dish-- a new tradition perhaps.
Non-photographed dishes contributed included this McPhie family favorite jello and Martha's incredible green bean casserole. Below you will see the evidence of pumpkin pie, chocolate cream pie (the ultimate crowd-pleaser of the night), corn custard, and Martha's curry spiced brussels sprouts.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

making dents

 Over the weekend Sam and I went to New York. It was a quick and efficient trip. The majority of the time was spent eating-- walking to and from restaurants, planning meals and snacks-- which is exactly my kind of trip. And we made a significant dent in my To Do In NYC list.

We found the world's freshest California Roll at Kiku Sushi in Chelsea.

We had pretty awesome pizza and absolutely amazing banoffee at Co., across the street from Kiku, in Chelsea.

On Sunday morning, I suggested we go to Levain, and Sam seemed wishy-washy about it, since we'd been there before. Shouldn't we go somewhere new? Explore more of the city? I felt pretty devastated about this suggestion until about 15 minutes later when I put my foot down. "I want to go to Levain, so that's where we're going." Sam didn't complain, because really, how could you?

Our friends Mandy and Trent did a NYC trip where they visited restaurants who defeated Bobby Flay in a throwdown. (Genius, right?) One such restaurant was Caracas Arepa Bar in Williamsburg. It was too dim inside for pictures, but the food was out of this world. I definitely recommend it-- order the yoyos for an appetizer.

And then there was Eataly. I think I may have said something along the lines of Eataly being the exact replica of my heaven or something. It was that awesome. Every new counter and aisle I was gasping and clutching my hands together in glee. It was almost more than I could handle. The cheese in particular. Dozens and dozens of variations within each type of cheese. There were probably 20 different kinds of parmesan. The blue varietal caught my eye with its creaminess, and I would have taken it home if not for the logistics of transport. Beautiful I tell you! There was also the world's largest and tiniest apples and some very cool looking sodas. We even saw Andy Richter there buying chocolates with his wife and kids. (I was standing maybe 10 feet from him!) Sam and I each chose a pastry (baba al limoncello and tiramisu) and shared some gelato (stracciatella and hazelnut). If I ever live in NYC, it will take serious self control to not turn Eataly into a daily habit.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

try this tuesday: the passing of time edition

Ready to hear something everyone else is saying today?

I can't believe it's November.

Like, wasn't it just July? or March, for that matter? Ah, the passing of time. I remember being in Kindergarten and thinking (very distinctly): "I have been in Kindergarten" And when I was a Sophomore in high school realizing I was not yet half way through high school, and it really bummed me out (I didn't enjoy high school). Two+ years seemed like eternity to me at age 15, and now it's practically the blink of an eye. (We've now been in Virginia for two years.) And now here I am wondering what the next two years will bring, and . . . I've come full circle to my last post. I spend a lot of mental energy on the passing of time. Can you tell?
Um. Anyway. I've been out of town a lot lately, which is making me feel slightly disconnected from the real world, but it's also really fun. Sam and I are headed to NYC this weekend, and a handful of weeks later, Bria and I are headed to Utah for a week. This year is practically over, and it's freaking me out. In the meantime, I have food to keep me grounded. or something. This is the food I'm obsessed with lately:

This salad will knock your socks off. I keep making it expecting the novelty to wear off, and it has yet to do anything but please me to no end.

Whole Foods brand crumbled blue cheese. In a salad, on slices of fresh pear, or just snitched from the fridge-- I just can't get enough.

This bbq sauce is . . . interesting. Sam and Bria l.o.v.e. it, but I am not wild about the Asian undertones (perhaps I'll omit or reduce the hoisin sauce next time?). It does however, make dinner a cinch. My freezer is packed full of small portions of the sauce, and my favorite quick dinner lately is a slew of oven roasted veggies, black beans, brown rice, and a scoop of this sauce all mixed together.

And because I know you just want more sugary things the day after Halloween on the brink of the holiday season: I dare you to make this carmel sauce and not attempt to drink it straight.