Tuesday, April 30, 2013

on ramping up your scrambled eggs.

this isn't really a recipe - i wouldn't deign to call it that. i mean, i'm simply putting one more ingredient into my scrambled eggs. if i called it a recipe, it would be quite the hefty pat on the back. it's merely an opportunity to talk about ramps.
have you heard of ramps? i hadn't heard of ramps until a year or two ago. "ramp season!", they declared, "is here." apparently ramp season only lasts about a month, and if there's one thing new yorkers love, it's a way to make ourselves feel elite and special. we really are a special bunch of people. and i remember thinking to myself: "what the hell is a ramp? is it food? it seems like it's food, but why in tarnation is it called a ramp?"
i...don't actually use the word tarnation. that was just a way to make me sound like someone who lives in the country and wouldn't know about ramps. you know, a way to make me feel good about living in the elite and special city of new york (haven't you heard? we have ramps here.)
but - joke's on me kids! the king of ramps is from west virginia and every year they have a festival for ramps (read about it, and so much more, here). so, as we like to say in our house - it looks like i have egg on my face for trying to sound like a country person. some major egg, on the face.
speaking of which. eggs. shall we continue with this nonsense?
in spirit of ramp season, i decided to add some ramps to our weekend egg scramble.
now to make this a little more useful, one morning i parboiled the ramps before using them, and the other day i just simply minced them and put them into the eggs. personally - i liked the taste better when they had been parboiled. when they weren't parboiled it just didn't flow quite as well, you know what i mean? so, parboiling. parboiling is a fancy term for something simple that, unlike mirepoix (boy was that an exciting day on the blog!), just isn't quite as fun. parboiling simply means that you boil an ingredient that you're going to cook later on in the recipe (it essentially comes from partially boiling your ingredient - i know, whoever came up with the phrase is very creative). so to me, that just means, boiling it. but in order to keep in the spirit of mirepoix, sure, parboil. parboil your ramps, ladies.
i parboiled my ramps while i cooked some bacon, and once the ramps were drained, dried and diced (the alliteration in that sentence - whoa!), i threw it into the pan with some of the bacon fat and butter. after sautéing for about a minute i threw in my eggs with some salt and pepper.
after a few minutes of constant stirring (the key to great scrambled eggs, along with fresh eggs, according to me, the ultimate scrambled egg authority around here), we had a tasty egg scramble! brian said it was quite the flavor. maybe after ramp season is over we'll throw in some shallots or some leeks since, as i failed to explain earlier, ramps are in that whole shallot-green onions-leeks-onions category. but until then, we just might keep ramping up our eggs (get it?!)

Monday, April 29, 2013

on my weekend in pictures.

the blog has been a little quiet lately. and if all i do is post an update on my weekend every week, that's not enough. between work and planning the wedding, by the time i get home most days my brain is done. but still - i miss blogging, i miss writing, i miss talking to you guys. so some posts here and there may not be the most creative, or meaningful. they may be a bit rambley, and the recipes may be really simple, but i miss talking to you guys. so this week i plan on blogging more - i already have a couple of posts ready to go. and they may not knock your socks off, but it's getting warmer every day - who need socks ;)
***
this weekend was low-key - time spent at the gym, making breakfast every morning, getting my hair cut. one night out at a favorite restaurant (the hurricane club, always a blast). brian is studying for a test he's taking in a few weeks, giving me a lot of time on my own. this usually leads to walks around a sunny city and pressuring myself into cleaning my apartment. on that - my lease renewal came in the mail and i'm not renewing my lease. over four years in the same tiny apartment that i love so very much is coming to an end. as is my time living by myself. i'm incredibly sad and incredibly excited. i do know this though: that shoe museum is coming with me, come hell or high water.

Monday, April 22, 2013

on my weekend in pictures.

this weekend was a good one, a big one - that's right, i went wedding dress shopping. it took four dresses and we were in and out in about 45 minutes. we still went to kleinfeld's the next day because - hello - they have 2,000 dresses (i asked, it's true). you know, just in case we missed anything.
and now, a few words on wedding dress shopping.
there are, obviously, a lot of dresses out there. they run the whole gamut, and within all those thousands of dresses are probably hundreds that you like. i tired on around ten dresses and almost every single one was fun to wear, made me feel beautiful, made me ooh and aah. and ultimately, the one i decided on made me ooh and aah just a little bit more, and it was nothing like the dress i thought i would buy. (and it made my mom and aunt ooh and aah quite a bit, so they were happy). and while you're trying on all these gorgeous gowns, you're telling yourself to hold on to this moment, savor it forever - the day you go wedding dress shopping is one you've thought about for awhile, hold on to that moment! but you know, we can't hold on to and memorize every moment. and we can't buy every pretty dress we see, or hem and haw and hem and haw about whether we picked the right dress or if we should try on just one more. at some point you just have to enjoy it, embrace it and, quite simply, live it. it was, in fact, quite an apt metaphor for weddings and love in general. we can't snap a picture of everything we do on our wedding day, we can't date every single guy or gal to be totally 100% sure we didn't miss out on anything - we just have to embrace each day, the love we have, and enjoy the hell out of it. which i made sure to do with a glass of champagne after i found the one (and boy oh boy i can't wait to share it with you guys when the time comes!)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

on city love.

one of my favorite photos of nyc, taken by brian.
when tragedies, such as the one in boston, occur, we often hear people talk about their city - how much they love their city, how they'll defend it, how hurt they are that someone attacked their city. their city. this love we have for our cities, our hometowns, the places we live. where does it come from?
when i look around at the price of new york real estate, it never ceases to amaze me. the $40M apartment on the upper east side. the $70M townhouse on the upper west side. how on earth could a home cost so much? where does it get it's worth? at the end of the day, it's a thing, an object, a possession. if we all left new york tomorrow, if we all lost interest in the special kind of rat race new york city is - those prices would be no more. those possessions would be worthless.
because it is not the buildings, or the streets, or the subways that make a city - it is the people.
the cities i have lived in were put on the map by people large and small as seen through the lens of history. j.p. morgan made the finance industry in this town and every cabbie today makes it one of the more convenient places to live. johnny cash helped fuel one of the biggest booms in the country music industry when he was popular and jaunita the baker at dulce desserts now bakes the best cakes nashville has ever seen. the founders of this country took the first few humble steps that make up our country's birth in philadelphia, and today a man named stephen starr creates some amazingly popular restaurants that make the city a fun and delicious to place to live. and while all of these people made, and continue to make these cities meaningful, these cities powerful, there are millions more that make up the patchwork of these cities. i am one of them, my friends are, too. and it is with these seemingly ordinary people leading ordinary lives that we make up some of the greatest moments of our lives, those moments that make a city our own.
it's brian's proposal in gramercy park that makes new york ours, forever. or the bar my friends and i partied in after we graduated from college, intertwining nostalgic moments of our youth with philadelphia, forever. or the road i was running down in nashville when i spotted tina cheering for me in mile 9 of my half marathon, when i felt about ready to quit and her support kept me going - that road that reminds me of one of my greatest accomplishments whenever i drive down it. those moments made us fall in love with our cities, but they would be nothing without the people who made them.
so when tragedies like the one in boston occur, and it seems liked we just heard about newton, or the shooting in aurora, or the shooting in the oregon mall - i sometimes feel as if i can't take it anymore. when i get sick and tired of this world and it's violence and i want to go live on a patch of dirt in the middle of nowhere that can't be found a map - those who shout about their love for their city remind me: it's about the people. that our cities would be nothing without the amazing people who populate them. thousands, millions of people, who don't set off bombs, who don't shoot innocent people, who don't fly planes into buildings. people who love each other, who run into disaster zones to care for the hurt, who lend a helping hand to someone they don't know. ordinary people leading ordinary lives, creating extraordinary cities. cities, as has been proven to us over the past few days, like boston.
***
for a heartbreaking, honest, beautiful and just perfectly written account of what it was like to be a runner that day, read this. for a beautiful tribute to boston from those who live there, read this and this. lastly - a student who graduated one year after me was severely hurt, along with his parents, from the second bomb: please consider donating here if you can.

Monday, April 15, 2013

on my weekend in pictures.

this weekend brian's sister and her husband came to town, and it also happened to be our four-year anniversary. while we usually go out to dinner (and will get around to that eventually), it was quite fun to spend the day with close friends. i've always enjoyed celebrating our anniversary, but this year it felt a little more special. now i know that first time i said something to him, his text message asking me to dinner, our awkward first date where i ordered wine and he ordered coke and i asked him a million questions, that first date where we ended up talking until 4 in the morning - that was just me getting to know my husband. and my husband getting to know me. i know we will have many more years together - spending this one with some of the wonderful people whose love and support helped get us to this point seemed fitting, to say the least. here's to four more years.

Friday, April 12, 2013

on how these are the days, all the time.


sometimes, i feel as though i'm at that point in my life that will always be remembered as the best point. the one i'll be the most nostalgic over. i see older people sigh over toddlers and new babies, get a wistful look in their eye at bridal showers, knowingly smile as a younger person tells them about a new job or their first promotion. they say to enjoy it, to drink it in. they remember those days like it was just yesterday. and truly, i understand. how alive you can feel as your life changes in leaps and bounds, as my friends get married, have babies, cultivate the beginning of promising careers. everyone doesn't have it all - far from it. some struggle to find love, some struggle to have children, some struggle with their careers. but they have some of it. and i know, for all the accomplishments we achieve now, the reason older generations sigh wistfully over this period is that those accomplishments hold so much promise. the marriage will last forever - there's no way to see it any other way right now. your baby will be a happy, fulfilled, successful adult - and why not, why shouldn't that happen, it's all going so well right now. and your first promotion is the first step to more success and more raises and more responsibility - what could possibly get in your way?

but they know, it doesn't always turn out that way. marriages can end, people can change. children aren't always successful, they will stumble, they may crash your car, they may get expelled from school. success at work does not always beget more success - economies change, people get fired, you may burn out. all those possibilities - unfulfilled.
and yet. and yet - i hear their sighs of wistfulness, i know where they are coming from, i understand to a certain extent - but i think they're wrong. when i look back i've felt as though the "these are the days" mentality seems to be the only constant.
i remember when i was a senior in high school, it all felt so possible - that summer after senior year, with no cares, spending all my time with my dearest friends, falling for my first boyfriend, long days at the beach. and i went on to have a hard first few months in college, that boyfriend broke up with me, and i missed my old life like crazy. i thought my life will never be that good again - never as good as that summer after senior year.
and i remember when i was a senior in college - my roommate and i had a huge apartment where we threw some pretty good parties (if i say so myself), i watched tv on thursday night with the same group of friends without fail, the whole gang took a spring break trip together, we spent lazy weekends at bars and long nights at our computers getting over the finish line. and i remember driving away, headed to nashville, really, truly scared, that i had made a mistake in leaving philadelphia. that my life could never match that last year of college.
and i remember when i was near the end of grad school - i never seemed to stop laughing, every friday was spent at a quiet happy hour with my close girlfriends, i was headed off to a job i loved, i seemed to be bursting with happiness at every moment. and that first night in new york, sleeping on my new apartment's wood floor, expecting the movers the next day - excited for my new city and my new job, but mourning the fact that my life would never be that good again, never be as good as it was in that last year of grad school.
and now. here we are now, back where this post started. where it seems as though my life and the lives around me are at their height - the most exciting, the most fulfilling, the happiest they will ever be. and so i smile and nod when older people tell me to enjoy it now, that these are the days - i smile, and i nod, and i know, at least just this once, that they're wrong. i know that eventually these days, this time, will end. that life will disappoint me, that i will disappoint myself, that my loved ones will disappoint me.it's happened many times before. so yes, i'll enjoy these times now and i'll drink it in and i'll savor the good moments and all the possibility. these are the days, indeed. and if life has taught me anything, i know there will be more. they will be different in the happiness they bring and the fulfillment they provide, but there will be more. that much i know is true.
***
"i remember one morning, getting up at dawn, there was such a sense of possibility. you know, that feeling? and i remember thinking to myself this is the beginning of happiness. this is where it starts. and of course there will always be more. it never occurred to me it wasn't the beginning. it was happiness. is was the moment. right then." -- the hours

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

on exploring.

well, these aren't pictures from my weekend, but they are pictures from the weekend before. i spent a little time walking around my neighborhood and other parts of brooklyn i didn't know. it's amazing what you can find on a day where the sky is brilliant and you manage to walk slowly. here's to exploring close to home.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

on bacon jam.

finally, the moment you all have been waiting for: the bacon jam recipe.
i was flipping through a martha stewart slow-cooker slideshow, filled with great recipes, when i came across this one. (and yes, i look at slideshows all about slow-cooker recipes. judge me all you want). easter seemed like a perfect opportunity to make it, and while i had high hopes, this recipe delivered on all fronts. since it's just a little sautéing and then slow-cooking, the pictures of this recipe are not great (and i forgot to take an ingredients picture, oops!), but whatever, it's bacon jam, we'll survive without the pretty pictures (but not without the bacon jam). ingredients are pretty basic, most of which you will have on hand: bacon, onion, garlic, maple syrup, fresh brewed coffee, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar.
first - sauté the bacon for about twenty minutes, set to the side and drain. and don't forget what we talked about before - simply cut your bacon into one-inch chunks using a scissor. most ingenious way to get about cutting up bacon.
second - sauté the diced onion and smashed garlic in some of the reserved bacon fat. after about six minutes, add in the other ingredients, bring to a boil, and let it cook for about two minutes. mix with reserved bacon in the pan, then transfer to the slow-cooker.
third - cook on high for 3.5 - 4 hours in the slow-cooker, without the top on. be amazed at how great your kitchen smells.
fourth - pulse mixture in a food processor until coarsely chopped, transfer to airtight containers; it keeps in the refrigerator for four weeks.
so what does one do with bacon jam? well, you can put it on a biscuit sandwich with avocado and egg and i'll tell you right now it will blow your mind. it's good enough to serve in restaurants i tell you, and we're convinced we should just stay at home all the time for brunch from here on out. you can put it on burgers, you could put it on thick bread, you could just top your scrambled eggs with some if you want to avoid carbs, maybe put a dollop on some grilled salmon or chicken. you should definitely put it in little jars to give to your friends as a gift, forever securing their loyalty. basically - the world is your oyster with bacon jam. make it as soon as you can and - i'm gonna be bold here - already go ahead and say: you're welcome.

Monday, April 1, 2013

on my weekend in pictures.

ahh, another easter weekend done. while i've always enjoyed easter weekend, i wasn't until i got a little older that i started to appreciate it more. maybe it's because the easter holiday is one of the few i go home for, leaving the celebration planning up to me and my friends, maybe it's because easter falls near the time of year where the mornings are newly crisp and fresh, maybe it's the focus on renewal and new beginnings. or maybe this year it's because of the bacon jam on my breakfast sandwich (yes, it was everything it sounds like and more). either way, it's been a weekend i look forward to quite a bit every year. i hope you had a wonderful weekend, no matter what you may celebrate and - yes - that bacon jam recipe will be featured later this week. happy easter - enjoy a reese's egg while you still can!

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