Tourist Tuesday: Rome

DSCN2678I don’t know how to start this post other than to gush. I love Rome. Being there makes me so happy. Yesterday was Ryan and my two-year wedding anniversary and we celebrated with a long weekend in Rome. It was wonderful. Yes, the traditional gift for this anniversary is cotton (in Rome he got a sweatshirt and I got a tea towel), but I think maybe the second year anniversary gift should be pizza and gelato instead.

Part of the reason I love Rome is that I studied abroad there seven years ago during my junior year. Living in Rome was the first time I was away from home for so long and the first time I lived in a city. I ate so much pizza, pasta, and gelato. My roommates and I also cooked dinner together almost every night and befriended the local shop owners. We’d buy the fresh pesto and the guys in the store would give us free chocolate. My roommate Inga became one of my best friends, and with our upstairs neighbors Charlie and Michelle, we tore up the city. Continue reading

The Return of Chocolate Pasta

DSCN1422So I decided to try chocolate pasta again. If you’re unfamiliar with my horrendous first experience with chocolate pasta, read about it here.

What’s changed since last time? I had a recipe. I found it in my cookbook Melt by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord. I decided I’d trust them and their recipe because I loved their chorizo macaroni and cheese. Last time I didn’t have a recipe and I was just winging it. But this time, maybe things would be different. Maybe the flavor combinations would be delicious. Maybe the pasta would redeem itself and not taste so nasty. Maybe I could eat a whole bowl.

And I did eat the whole bowl! And it was pretty good! Continue reading

Sausage Roll

IMG_0250Remember when I said there was new home for cooking is messy? That was a little misleading as I’m going back to Virginia tomorrow for a bit. I’m blue about it. I’ve started to feel comfortable here, the apartment is starting to feel like home, and Ryan and I have been having some wonderful adventures. And I feel heartsick about being away from him for so long. We joked about putting the blog on hiatus because my chief taste taster wouldn’t be trying the food. But I’ll keep posting, though I think there will be more vegetable dinners (what I eat when I’m alone) and rich chocolate desserts (what I like to eat for a pick me up).  Continue reading

Chorizo Mac & Cheese

DSCN0637Plain old pasta topped with butter and Parmesan cheese is one of my favorite things to eat. Is that embarrassing because it’s so simple? Maybe.  But, pasta and cheese make me a happy girl. 

So, I was elated when my friend Lisa bought me the wonderful cookbook Melt for Christmas. It’s a cookbook entirely about macaroni and cheese recipes. Cheese? Pasta? TOGETHER!?! Let me step up my pasta game.  Continue reading

Cheddar Ranch Dip

It’s almost Christmas! I’m sure your menu is set, ingredients are in the fridge, and maybe some desserts are already made. If you need one more item to fill out your snack foods and hors d’oeuvres, might I suggest this dip? I’m kind of crazy about it and sort of have a two-decade long love-affair with it.

photo (3)Years ago, let’s estimate that I was ten-years-old, my Uncle Jose and Titi Lisa lived kind of near a Wegmans. They still live near Wegmans, but when our story begins there weren’t that many Wegmans locations so living kind of near a Wegmans was special. Anyway, one time my family went to visit them, and they served a cheddar ranch dip from Wegmans with some Wheat Thins. It was the best snack ever. I love cheese and crackers, and this just took it up a notch. It’s very cheesy and tangy. It was creamy, but also had a pleasing lumpy texture from the shredded cheese. We devoured it. And every time we visited after that, they bought it. I always looked forward to it. We’d arrive and give our kisses and hugs hello, then go about catching up. All the while, I knew that dip was waiting for us in the door of the fridge. But when would it be taken out?! Continue reading

Chocolate Pasta – A Horrible Disappointment

image (12)A while ago I asked for suggestions for what to do with chocolate pasta. I got a lot of great suggestions, and surprisingly most of them were savory options. I also did a lot of research and came up with one or two other ideas. The idea that stuck was to make a straightforward savory dish. A few people suggested bacon, oil, and crushed red pepper – so that’s what I decided to go with. It seemed simple enough and all of those things make pasta taste so amazing.

Last Saturday I was hanging out with my friends, Mala and Anna, and we decided to try out the chocolate pasta. I’m lucky to have very adventurous friends – although maybe now they’ll be more wary of my cooking. We decided to try the pasta, sans bacon, since I didn’t have any. We were going to go basic: oil, crushed red pepper, maybe a little Parmesan. Continue reading

Taco Salad

novice

thanks to Charlotte for suggesting I include my learn to cook dude!

This is one of Ryan and my favorite, go-to, weeknight dinner recipes. Ryan loves Mexican flavors. I love rice and beans. It’s a great meal. But even so, I’ve been debating about posting this. I even made a pros and cons list. Here it is: Continue reading