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

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Going Away Party

DSCN0752No recipe this time, but don’t worry, this post is mostly about food.

My mom and Ryan’s mom organized a going away party for us this weekend. It was wonderful to be surrounded by many of our family and friends. I felt so loved and was really touched that people made the trip out to send us off. And I liked having so many different groups of people together. I felt warm and fuzzy, but I also got a bit weepy. With so many people supporting and encouraging us, what can’t we accomplish, even if we are far away? But, being far away… I will miss so many things and so many people. So I cried a bit. But not too much. Continue reading

Flan

Happy Three Kings Day! If you’re not familiar with Three Kings Day, it’s also called the Epiphany and you can read about it here. To summarize though, Three Kings Day is the 12th day of Christmas and it’s when the three kings (or wise men) found Jesus and brought him the gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It’s a holiday celebrated by lots of different cultures, especially in Latin America.

DSCN0358To celebrate this year, I decided to have a dinner party for 10 people in our tiny apartment. I invited three of my former coworkers, their significant others, my parents, and my brother. It was a tight fit (Charlotte and Craig had to bring chairs and a table), it was a little hot (I had to open the sliding door), and we used every single dish we own – but it was a blast and I’m so glad to have thrown a little party to catch up with friends and family. 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

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day everybody! I hope today you get the chance to go outside, hang out with people you like, see some fireworks, and of course eat some great food. And if you’re lucky, I hope you get the chance to do some grilling. Nothing says summer, and summer holidays, like grilling. Unfortunately, Ryan and I don’t have a grill – but our plans do include making burgers, corn dogs, beer, and popsicles. It’s going to be a delicious 4th of July.

However, since grilling is such a big part of this holiday I wanted to share with you some hilarious pictures my mom sent me. As you might know, I have a great love for pig-themed kitchen gear. Last week, she and my brother were shopping and found this pig shaped grill. Yes, that’s right, it’s a pig shaped grill. I like the picture on the right, where you can see my brother looking “under the hood” as if maybe he’d really consider buying such a grill.

Anyway, regardless of what kind of grill you have, or where you cook your food, I wish you and yours a very happy Independence Day.

Birthday Recap and FUNNEL CAKE

It was my birthday last week! I had so many eating and cooking celebrations that I must share them with you. And then I’ll end with an awesome recipe for funnel cake. Yeah, image (17)that’s right, funnel cake!  Anyway, I’m someone who loves birthdays. I love making a fuss, hanging out with friends, celebrating a lot, and eating large amounts of sweets. And since I’m self involved and still want to talk about my birthday almost a week later, I want to share with you my adventures.

Growing up, birthdays were celebrated by opening presents and eating cake first thing in the morning before going to school/work. Naturally, I insisted that Ryan and I do the same. Ryan woke up all groggy and sleepy, but he did sing me happy birthday and shared a piece of cake with me. I made the cake myself: it was yellow cake with a strawberry raspberry filling and a lemon buttercream frosting. Ryan had volunteered to get me a cake, and even said he would make me a cake, but I decided I would have more fun making a cake. I was inspired by a cake we had at our wedding from Sweet Eats Cakes, that was just to die for. My cake wasn’t nearly as good as hers. The frosting and filling (both of which I made!) were yummy but I over-mixed the batter so the cake came out a bit dense. It was tasty, but I had the most fun putting it all together. Continue reading

Sushi at Home

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Sushi we made during our class at Sur la Table

A trait I get from my father is that when I really want something, but maybe it’s a little frivolous, I take forever to actually jump in and do it. If Papa wants golf clubs or a new television, he’ll research characteristics and prices, he’ll go online and in stores, and he’ll talk about it. He’ll visit, and re-visit stores. And my mom will eventually say, “just buy it!!!”  But he needs to take his time. It’s what makes him feel comfortable. And I’m pretty much the same way. For a long time (like over 2 years, I’m embarrassed to say) I hemmed and hawed over a sushi making class. I wanted to go, but it seemed a little expensive and unnecessary. I mean wouldn’t it be too hard? Wasn’t class too expensive? Would I ever really make it at home? Why did I even want to make sushi? Who would I go with? And so I thought about it. And I researched which places had classes, and I price compared, and menu compared. I did this when I lived in DC, then when I lived in NYC, and then again when I moved back to the DC area. And then, as can be expected, I never signed up. But I talked about it and thought about it a lot. So, I’ve inherited this trait and now Ryan has to deal with my crazy inaction. Continue reading