Be Happy and Make Plans

Tweet “As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and make plans.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable...

Creamed Spinach Pasta Sauce

Tweet I have been working from home lately, courtesy of Sandy and being a bit trapped in Williamsburg without the L or G trains running. One of the best things about working from home? Making lunch! I decided to make a quick penne pasta and use up some raw spinach I had the fridge for a bit. I made up the pasta sauce below, inspired by creamed spinach. Forgive the less than amazing photo. I need better lightbulbs in my kitchen. Creamed Spinach Pasta Sauce Yields: 1 Serving 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 cup soy milk 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard a pinch of nutmeg dash of pepper 1 tablespoon flour 6 cloves garlic, chopped 1 cup raw spinach In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the milk, mustard, nutmeg and pepper and whisk with a fork over low heat. Add the flour and continue to whisk over low heat until well blended. Add the garlic and spinach to the sauce, coating them and continuing to slowly stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the spinach is soft but still green. if you overcook it, it will turn dark. Top your pasta! I put it on penne with some thin slices of pecorino romano cheese on top, which was delicious. For those with dietary restrictions: – Substitute margarine for butter, if you’re vegan. – Omit the flour or use a gluten-free flour, if you’re gluten-free. It acts as a thickening agent. – You’re also welcome to use regular milk instead of soy, and salted butter instead of unsalted, dependent on what you...

Cranberry Almond Brown Rice

Tweet This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe given to me by my friend Heidi. It is super easy for even the non-cooking type, quick, and vegetarian friendly. Cranberry Almond Brown Rice Yields: 4 servings 9 oz brown rice 2 oz almonds pieces 5.5 oz orange flavored dried cranberries 1 small bunch of mint leaves chopped 1 small bunch of arugula chopped 3 green onions sliced 1 zest and juice of lemon 2 tbsp olive oil 1 large clove of garlic crushed Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Cook the rice according to the directions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. While the rice is cooking, roast the almonds pieces in a dry pan over a medium heat until they are lighty browned. In a bowl mix the rice, cranberries and almonds. Add the rest of the ingredients, toss well and season with salt and pepper to...

Earl Grey Lavender Cupcakes with Lavender Buttercream

Tweet Yesterday was CupcakeCamp Atlanta! I love baking. I adore Earl Grey tea and it’s subtle bergamot flavor. I’ve been obsessed with the combination of Earl Grey and lavender together since falling in love with Mariage Frères‘s Earl Grey Impérial. I have seen plenty of Earl Grey cupcake recipes before but typically with a lemon buttercream which didn’t excite me as much as the prospect of lavender. As always, use good quality ingredients for the best results. Thanks to everyone for voting me as Most Unique Flavor! I am thoroughly entertained by my Kinky Cupcakes prize. Earl Grey Lavender Cupcakes (Yields about 16 cupcakes) 1 cup milk, at room temperature 3 tablespoons (3 teabags) ground Earl Grey tea leaves* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender, finely chopped 2 large eggs 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour * I ground my loose tea leaves in a mortar and pestle. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the ground Earl Grey tea leaves and dried lavender. Cover and let it sit and infuse for about 30 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it is pale and smooth, which should take 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition. Sift the two flours together into...

Winding Down Europe and Jetting Off to Asia

Tweet When I draft my blog posts from the road, I save them by date so I can attempt to post them chronologically when I have internet available. It felt very strange to date this September 26 when I arrived at the Atlanta airport for my departure on September 24. Recap of where I’ve traveled already this year, from the beginning: 29 Dec – 02 Jan – New York, New York 06 Jan – 07 Jan – Tampa, Florida 04 Feb – 13 Feb – New York, New York 18 Feb – 21 Feb – San Francisco, California 10 Mar – 15 Mar – Austin, Texas 20 Mar – 22 Mar – Cancún, Mexico 31 Mar – 02 Apr – Seattle, Washington 20 Apr – 26 Apr – New York, New York 10 May – 15 May – Amelia Island, Florida 17 May – 18 May – Fort Lauderdale, Florida 24 May – 25 May – Greenville, South Carolina 31 May – 01 Jun – Orlando, Florida 01 Jun – New York, New York 02 Jun – 04 Jun – Barcelona, Spain 04 Jun – 08 Jun – New York, New York 09 Jun – 22 Jun – Barcelona, Spain 22 Jun – 03 Jul – London, England 03 Jul – 06 Jul – Paris, France 06 Jul – Belgrade, Serbia 06 Jul – 11 Jul – Novi Sad, Serbia 11 Jul – 13 Jul – Belgrade, Serbia 13 Jul – 02 Aug – Paris, France 02 Aug – 04 Aug – Oslo, Norway 04 Aug – 09 Aug – Bergen, Norway 09 Aug – 12 Aug – Copenhagen,...

Remembering 9/11 – I’m Heading Home

Tweet Of course I was so anxious to get home that I forgot that my so diligently written and stamped postcards are still in my carry-on and not mailed in Amsterdam as they should have been. Well, damn. I guess it had to happen at some point. I’m on my flight home. My last flight from Europe this year and it feels a little weird. This is only partially because it also happens to be the tenth anniversary of 9/11. What a day for air travel. The security leaving Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport definitely felt heightened a bit. At AMS, they have small security stations at each gate instead of the massive security setup you find at many airports. It makes it so much easier and less of a hassle and stress. Today, I arrived at the airport three hours before my flight, part out of anxiousness to get home and part because I had no idea what to expect flying today. Busy at baggage drop but the airport felt a normal kind of busy. At the gate, they usually have the normal scanner and TSA patrol but today an extra step. From our line at the gate, a TSA agent would allow you through the belted divider then ask you to stand at a podium. They scanned your passport at a computer located at a different podium before joining you and giving the usual Q&A about your baggage. From here, you were then allowed to the usual scanner but today, everyone was required to go through the full body scanner, followed for many, by a pat down. I’ll sacrifice...