Wednesday, February 29, 2012

on a recipe for truffles according to a man.

the following was told to me on saturday morning and this is pretty much verbatim. enjoy. i'm in italics.
c: (after 6th truffle that morning) you have to tell me how you made these. they're amazing.
b: yeah, sure. need one package of oreos, a loaf of cream cheese and chocolate dipping sauce. basically that's just melted chocolate chips.
c: a loaf of cream cheese?
b: yeah. a loaf.
c: what did you do first.
b: well i got a hammer and hammered the oreos into little pieces. in fact, i bought a hammer for this recipe.
c: you hammered the oreos?
b: yeah. it's not like i have a food processor.
c: and you specifically went out and bought a hammer to make this recipe?
b: yeah. i bought a kitchen hammer.
c: a kitchen hammer? what exactly is a kitchen hammer?
b: you know. it's like mallet-shaped. has ridges on one side.
c: wait - you mean a meat tenderizer?
b: well...yeah. a kitchen hammer.
c: oh my word.
b: what?
c: nothing. ok. so you need a package of oreos, a loaf of cream cheese, melted chocolate and a kitchen hammer to make these.
b: yup.
c: ok. then what.
b: well, then mix the crushed oreos with the loaf of cream cheese.
c: did you melt the cream cheese at all?
b: well, no. i just kept stirring. but at one point i did put the bowl in the microwave.
c: ok, so maybe soften the cream cheese before stirring in.
b: sure.
c: alright so it's all mixed up. then what?
b: well then you roll them into little truffle sized balls and you take a spear and you dip them into the chocolate. this is when it gets dicey.
c: wait, wait, wait. a spear?
b: yeah. you have to spear them.
c: what does this spear look like?
b: like...a really long fork but with only three prongs.
c: so like a carving fork?
*break in interview to get said spear*
exhibit a: the spear in question.
c: ok. so you speared* them and put them in chocolate and then what happened.
sidenote: he requested that
this later be called a trident
and not a spear. in order
to maintain journalistic integrity,
this request was not honored.
b: well. they really fell apart on me at first.
c: you think maybe you should have refrigerated the balls for like fifteen minutes before dipping them?
b: well, little lady, i suppose hindsight is 20/20 isn't it?
c: no - i'm just thinking out loud here! i'm not trying to critique you.
b: well. my eyesight is 20/15.
c: ok. i get it. great.
b: anyways. yes, perhaps i will do that next time.
c: ok, so you're dipping them and they're falling apart.
b: yeah. so i dip them in with a spear, and try to keep them together by holding them with the spear and a spoon before putting them on a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil. you kind of get better as you go.
c: understood. and then you refrigerate them when you're done?
b: yeah. oh - wait! i just had an idea!
c: what's that?
b: well, i was thinking it would be easier to dip the truffles if i had like tweezers or something. but you could just sterilize a pair of pliers and use those instead!
c: wait - like sterilize a pair of pliers from your toolbox and use those to dip the truffles?
b: yeah. it would totally work.
c: so now the list of things you need is - a package of oreos, a loaf of cream cheese, melted chocolate, a kitchen hammer and a sterilized pair of pliers?
b: yeah.
c: wow.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

on an anniversary.

via here.
so here we are. one whole year of blogging (please, dear god, whatever you do, don't go back and read my early posts. they're truly horrifying.) blogging was my new year's resolution. after growing up playing piano and doing theater, i felt like the creative side of me was lacking. in the fall of 2009 i discovered rockstar diaries, which at the time was fairly small (relative to where it is now). i would sit in my cubicle at 3 in the morning, shivering because they turned the heat off to be a "green" building, and would read about her adventures in nyc and her move to dc and her husband and, eventually, and most importantly, her bulldog. they wore interesting clothes and they took pictures with a diana camera and as i worked 100-hour week after 100-hour week, it was so fun to use her life, basically, as an escape. and it reminded me that one does not need to be in an organized activity to be creative. so i got a diana camera. and i discovered a few more blogs. and i left that job. and so, i decided to start a blog. to write more. to take more pictures. to interact with other people. and like to think of it as two categories...
what i expected
~ that making this public would hold me accountable. sure, i could keep a diary. or a closed blog. but making it public has made me more accountable. it makes me sit down and write and think of something new to ponder about. i like it.
~ that i would enjoy looking back on what i did the past year. i've loved this part of it. i like seeing the pictures and reading my thoughts from that time. i'm interested to see what an older colleen thinks of a younger colleen. one day.
~ that i would like it this much. i really do look forward (most days) to blogging. it is a release. and i knew it would be. it's fun. and it's a nice way to end the day.
what i didn't expect
~ that loved ones would discover my blog. basically, no one knows about this blog. i have told two people - my boyfriend and my friend tina - because they would be featured on here a lot and i want them to know that and, if uncomfortable with that, tell me so. but the internet isn't as small as you would think - a friend from high school and my college roommate stumbled upon my blog on their own. and i love it. i want to feel free to write anything i want, but when people find it by happenstance, it doesn't put pressure on m or make me self-conscious. they totally become just another person out there reading. and i love that they get to see this part of me and read my posts and nothing about my writing has changed. (you should have seen my roommate's face when she told me she found my blog. priceless).
~ that my boyfriend would read it. after i told him, he has become a daily reader, and since we're in a long-distance relationship, it means a lot. when you don't see one another every day, any form of communication will do. i like that he reads it everyday because it feels like he's thinking of me. and wouldn't you know - i like that.
~ you guys. oh my gosh. you guys, you guys. i knew other people would read this - i want them to! otherwise i wouldn't put this all out there. and i knew i'd get comments. but never, ever, did it occur to me i would find daily readers - people who comment every week (or day!) and whose blogs i enjoy reading. people who get to know me and i get to know them. i can't even believe all the wonderful people this blog has brought to me. most of my experiences on this internet land of blogs have been so, so good. supportive, sweet, funny, wonderful, caring people. we're not perfect but we support one another and share our lives and try to figure out this human experience a little bit, if at all. and i just want to thank you so much if you stop by here regularly - you know who you are and i truly consider you friends. even if our paths never cross and we never meet, know that you've got a friend in me and i truly, truly, appreciate you.

Monday, February 27, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

well i started my weekend early on thursday night by making sherri lynn's peanut butter sandwich cookies - only difference is i used chocolate frosting. i strongly recommend you make a batch, i loved them and so did the boy. friday morning was rainy and i was leaden down with bags, so i treated myself to a fancy coffee and croissant. little did i know the real treat would come at the end of the day, when the boy made me dinner (what he calls "fiesta chicken" in his slow cooker), along with...oreo truffles. can you believe it? i was floored, and they tasted amazing. i'm going to share the recipe later this week, as dictated to me by him. i hope you're as amused as i was - he's quite a character in the kitchen. our weekend was low-key from there on out. lots of college basketball - which i put on sequins for because, why not - and saying good-bye to a good friend who was moving away. on the way back home i woke up from my nap to a beautiful sun setting over the hudson river. a low-key but happy weekend. i hope yours was the same.
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Friday, February 24, 2012

on new orleans fashion.

next week i'll head back to new orleans for the wedding of this little lady (who also had an awesome bachelorette party in new orleans). and it seems everywhere in new orleans has a dress code. and i'm kind of pumped about it. when we land the boy and i  are headed to a lunch where martinis are a quarter. a quarter! it really will be like mad men down there. that night we'll go out to dinner with my parents and the next day starts the wedding festivities: bridal lunch and rehearsal dinner. and here are a few of my dream outfits for all those great activities. and yes, i know i can't wear white since it's not past memorial day, but i just love that dress. and yes, i know the last dress is a bit glitzy for a rehearsal dinner, but the couple met at vanderbilt, and i met them there too, so i figured a little black and gold dress, which are school colors, would be a good way to show some spirit. and i just kind of love it.
what look do you look like best?
New Orleans Wedding

Thursday, February 23, 2012

on a recipe to accompany a recipe.

as i said in my 2011 year round-up, this recipe was the one i made the most last year. i absolutely love it - delicious, easy and healthy. so when i stumbled upon this recipe that used such similar ingredients, down to the cumin i still have yet to procure, i was all over it. it's another food and wine recipe, and while food and wine rarely, if ever, fails me, this little number called for way, way too much salt. when i was making it this thought crossed my mind and i just happened to be right. the next time i make this i will halve the amount of salt it calls for - just use one tsp. and not two - or maybe even just a few shakes. even through the overpowering salt flavor though, i could tell this recipe is a keeper. the sweetness of the golden raisins (my favorite!) mixed with the crunchy almonds is great.
in addition to the ingredients above you'll need salt (not a lot!) and cumin. just like when i made the salmon, i didn't have any cumin on hand. i didn't use paprika in it's stead, like i do with the salmon, and i love cinnamon so much (my secret spice) that i was happy to leave it out. this recipe would also taste good with pine nuts, instead of almonds, if you have those on hand. 
while you toast the almonds in a pie pan, boil the water containing the butter, cinnamon, salt and cumin (or lack thereof). once it reaches a boil, stir in the couscous, remove from the heat, and let it sit five minutes.
after five minutes, fluff the couscous. this is probably one of my favorite things to think about - fluffing couscous. you think of fluffing blankets and pillows and billowy skirts, not grains. and yet, due to it's airy nature, there is no better way to describe it other than "fluffing" when you stir it up a bit with a fork.
add the raisins and almonds and voile - you're done! just as easy as the main course, which it pairs wonderfully with.
and with that you can go watch that episode of parks and rec on hulu you've been meaning to get around to. or 30 rock. or downtown abbey. whatever it is the kids are into these days.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

on being a neighbor.

to be honest, i haven't had the best of luck with neighbors. and it's not to say i've had bad neighbors (the people who live in the apartment next to me, and in fact my floor in general, are very nice and all have super cute dogs), but every now and then i have what we could call - an experience.
the one that effected me the most, hands down, was my neighbor who lived across the hall from me when i first moved to nashville. i could tell right off the bat she was a bit different. at first i just thought she was spacey, loopy, maybe took one too many xanax here and there. but i was determined to be a good neighbor. so when she asked me for a ride one day, i happily obliged. i waited until the super was done fixing my heat and on our way we went. after about thirty seconds in the car she told me she was afraid they had just bugged our apartments to listen to our conversations, and then asked if "they" had told me to wear green that day.
the moment that you realize that your neighbor is schizophrenic, and you happen to be behind the wheel of a car, is not a good one.
suffice to say the next couple of months were a mess. she would knock on my door at all hours of the night. i stopped watching television and putting the lights on in my living room because when she knew i was home she would insist on coming over. and i felt awful. i knew she was sick and i knew she needed help and soon found out her family was struggling to get her into a facility. but i also knew that she, being a schizophrenic, had the possibility of being dangerous and i couldn't really help her. to say the least - it was not the neighborly experience i was look for.
enter new york city. where you have thousands upon thousands of neighbors. my friend moved to the city, ten blocks away from me, a half a mile. in many other places we would be neighbors. in those ten blocks there are about 15,000 to 20,000 people separating us. if not more. it's hard to feel like we're neighbors.
which brings me to my point. my building. where my true neighbors live. my building is fairly small. probably about 150 to 200 people live in my building. most people are friendly, but besides holding open doors and asking about how days went, we keep to ourselves. and then two weeks ago, in my quiet little building, i was awoken by what could only be called a lover's quarrel. never, in my almost ten years of living in apartments and dorms with thin walls, have i heard a fight like this. screaming. cursing. throwing someone out at 3 AM. it was almost a cliche. until there came that moment of clarity, as i slowly left the land of sleep, that someone could get hurt. these people were very angry at each other. and they were in love. and sometimes people do things like throw books or throw punches when they are angry and in love and it's 3 AM. and i lay there, hoping no one would do that, wondering what i would do. because you can't hear that and fall back asleep with a clean conscience. but if you call the cops you become the bad guy - the one your neighbor gives dirty looks to because you got involved in her business. luckily, after about a half hour, the fight died down. i think he finally left, but i can't be sure. what i do know was that he was 29 years old and, i quote, "a fucking deadbeat". i definitely know that. she really emphasized that point.
but in all seriousness, both of these incidents make me wonder: what is our responsibility to our neighbors? when does their business become our business? when should we get nosy, and when should we not? i know it varies from the type of place you live - cities are different than rural communities. apartments are different than homes. but in general, what do you think? are you friends with your neighbors or do you keep to yourselves?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

well our three day weekend is up, much to my dismay, but at least it leaves us with a four day week. our weekend was low key but involved us seeing a lot of our different friends: my friends from college, his friends from college, our friend from grad school and even my cousin. it made the weekend feel like a great success. in addition to friends, we also had a good weekend food-wise, with mushroom egg pizza and chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, the discovery of a new bar that focuses on all things new york, and a plate of fried chicken and milkshake thrown in for good measure. i hope your weekend was as delicious and filled with love as mine.
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Friday, February 17, 2012

on zelda, who, by the way, is a badass.

in case you can't tell, she's pretty much a badass, as the title belies, and was known as "new york's oldest and most beloved night owl."
sidenote to self:
work on obtaining this title.
well a couple of days ago, zelda passed away. in fact, she was in the front row at a fashion show and right as it started she just slumped over and was gone (what a way to go!). she is known in nyc for being the old lady who basically never stopped. she still went out to the club at 90. she travelled to africa for charity work. she tried to keep up with the restaurant scene. she took the philosophy of never stop learning, doing, exploring...and lived it. and by all accounts, she had a pretty fun time doing it. so i'm heading into the weekend with the same spirit, and i'm going to try my hardest to keep it up. you only live once, so you better make it pretty good.
"I'm a curious person. I want to keep learning until it's over. And when it's over, it's over.'' - zelda kaplan

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

on skating in central park.

here are some of my opinions and observations about ice skating in central park this past weekend, which i hope will help guide you, should you ever choose to take on the adventure.
  • it will take you about halfway around the rink until you get your skating legs, similar to one's sea legs. many, many children will whiz pass you. feel free to curse them under your breath.
  • there will be a young man in what appears to be an ice capades costume from the 1980's. he will have a three foot red ribbon tied around his ponytail. even with all this get-up, and seeming devotion to the world of ice skating, he appears to be wearing rented skates. whenever anyone falls he immediately skates over to help them up. he does not know these people. you will keep a wary eye on him.
  • there will be a mother from new jersey who has apparently not left the house in months, maybe years. as her children cling to the rail she will skate by you, turning backwards, her chestnut mane flowing in the breeze. journey's "don't stop believing" is playing so loudly in her head, you can almost hear it.
  • you will have a favorite child at the ice rink. there are many to choose from, and it's only natural one will shine over all the rest. there is a good chance she will be tiny blonde who refuses to skate and merely walks across the ice. when she falls, she patiently waits for someone to come pick her up, as she's already learned she doesn't need to lift a finger when someone else will do it for her. your heart will warm knowing that headstrong divas are alive and strong in the younger generation.
  • you can take one picture out there, so make it a good one. electronic devices are not allowed out on the ice, but by the time they get to you, you'll be able to snap one. however, a situation may arise where you desperately need to take a picture. turn the camera or phone on in your pocket and have it ready to go. ask your partner to skate behind you to block the views of the skating guards. quickly snap your picture, as you'll only have one chance. this will most likely be the closest you get to feeling like james bond. what kind of situation merits an illegal picture? an abandoned koala hat on an orange cone is a pretty good one.
poor mr. koala hat.
i hope these words of wisdom have helped. and if you don't heed any of my observations and advice, at least get a cupcake after your adventure in the park.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

on chocolate croissant bread pudding.

happy valentine's day everyone! i know not everyone loves this holiday, but i've always seen it as a time to tell everyone who means something to you that you love them. and while we tell them every day (or should...), i think it's nice to set aside a day to really recognize it. and eat chocolate and baked goods. so, without further adieu, i present:
this is the kind of dessert where you announce it to your guests and they do a double take. in their heads they're kind of like "damn. she did not say what i think she said. awwww hell no." and you smile slightly because awwww hell yes. you did.
i've never though much of bread pudding until i finally tried it a few years ago. i just thought it was another weird british thing (no offense brits, it's just that your cuisine can be a bit different at times. example: mincemeat pie. and yes - this is coming from someone who lives in a nation where we fry oreos, and coke and butter. but i digress). however, in one bite i was hooked - smooth, sweet, delicious. i loved it. and when i saw this recipe i thought - genius! instead of bread, use buttery croissants filled with chocolate. why didn't someone else think of this years ago?!
so, before we start on this recipe, two changes i will make the second time:
it calls for two plain croissants and two chocolate croissants. that was silly. just use four chocolate croissants.
secondly, after taking the foil off and letting it bake for 15 more minutes, i didn't quite get the sugary crust on top that i wanted. next time i'll mix a tablespoon or two of room temperature butter with a tablespoon or two of brown sugar and spread it on top with a spatula before putting it back in the oven. a sugary crust is guaranteed after that.
alright. let's do this!
so you'll need two each of plain and chocolate croissants (or just four chocolate ones), two eggs, one tablespoon of bourbon, 1 cup of half and half, 1/2 a cup of brown sugar, some kosher salt and 1/2 of a vanilla bean. however, instead of a vanilla bean i just used a teaspoon of vanilla extract. feel free to omit the bourbon, but as someone who usually just puts bourbon in her diet cokes, putting it into my dessert was, obviously, quite exciting.
cut up the croissants into 3/4 inch cubes and put in a large bowl while mixing the other ingredients in a medium bowl. the latter creates a slurry. a word that is quite wonderful to use in everyday conversation. (but it's no mirepoix).
after mixing the two together, you can put into five ramekins or an 8x8 square pan. clearly, if you're married you have ramekins. see, i have a theory. a stereotype, if you will. ramekins mean you're married. they are a clear sign that someone has "wifed you". i used an 8x8 pan, naturally.
the recipe isn't quite clear on this front, but you are supposed to put the ramekins in a 9x13 cake pan, fill halfway with hot water, cover the pan with foil, bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes. i wasn't sure if i needed to do it this way with the 8x8 pan, but i did. so into the water bath in the 9x13 pan it went. like i said before, after removing the foil i would have put some more butter and sugar on top before popping it back into the oven.
and then, serve with ice cream. this is a simple, painless recipe that takes about ten minutes to get into the oven (or less), but packs a lot of punch. and heck, it's just fun! chocolate croissant bread pudding? doesn't sound more decadent than that. if you try this one, let me know how it turns out for you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

oh what a weekend i had. the best, best weekend. i ate bagels, we celebrated valentine's day, we went ice skating, we saw safe house (denzel for me. ryan for him. both for tina.) it was filled with so much fun. ice skating will be a post unto itself as i have so, so many opinions to share with you. and the sprinkles cupcake i devoured does taste as good as it looks. and tomorrow comes the recipe i was saving for valentine's day.
chocolate croissant bread pudding.
doesn't it just sound ridiculous?! well guess what - it is ridiculous. ridiculously tasty.
i hope y'all had a great weekend - here's to one more week ahead of us until we do it all over again.
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Friday, February 10, 2012

on having a great weekend.

via here.
we're attempting to go ice skating again this weekend, and according to the forecast it's supposed to snow. could it be more magical? i am pumped. almost as pumped as i am about the recipe i'm trying this weekend that could very well change all of our lives - for the better. i will report back on monday. have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

on the best concert.

via here.
i recently was talking about the best concert i've ever attended, and for me it was a pretty easy choice. in the spring of 2005 i went to see U2 in concert in philadelphia. my friend and i were in the last row of a huge arena, but from the moment it started, the two of us and everyone around us could tell it was going to be a special night. with every song it was as if the transcendent quality of their music built. but what took the night to another level was the was the way the concert closed. U2 has an old song, 40, that is based on psalm 40 in the bible. it's pretty short and pretty repetitive, an easy one for the audience to sing along with, even if they hadn't heard it before. and above all, it's just a beautiful song. bono sang the song and kept repeating the chorus, as an arena of 40,000 sang back to him.
and then he left the stage. and those 40,000 kept singing.
after a few more minutes, the edge left the stage.
and we kept singing. it was crazy and completely amazing. 40,000 strangers going along as 1. it was very U2, and it was very perfect.
finally, the bass player, adam clayton left, and it was just us and their drummer. and we kept singing, 40,000 strong. finally, after a few minutes he got up, took a bow, and left the stage as the crowd went crazy. it was, hands down, the coolest thing and the best way i've seen a concert end, ever.
"music can change the world, because it can change people." -- bono

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

on scenes from a girl's weekend.

last night i had a much needed girls night, replete with snacks, wine and dessert (naturally). we sat in for a few episodes of the real housewives of beverly hills (judge away readers, judge. away. i will always love it) and discussed insightful topics such as what constitutes "stripper heels", our favorite curse word, matching your lipstick to your dress and how saying things in a british accent will just always make everything better. we had a little lady, bella, join us for the festivities, and for a good while she snuggled my butt, which i did not mind one bit. we ended the night with hohos (why don't we eat more of these delicious, overprocessed delights?!) and, to keep it classy, lemon curd on shortbread cookies with an assortment of berries. it was one of those nights that made me very, very happy to be of the female persuasion. if just for the hohos alone.
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