Failure.

February 27, 2011

Some times things seem so easy that the idea of failure never approaches. Once for brunch I thought it would be so simple to whip up  a batch of scones, chocolate and blueberry, to contribute to the boozy lunch. I followed the recipe, was very careful but they turned out awful. The texture was wrong. They were flimsy and too moist. I still brought them, I mean blueberry and chocolate still taste good but I knew they weren’t great. I never made scones again. I never knitted socks again. I never made brownies again.

I’m the type to give up. I want to be that person who tries again and again and again until I get it right. That’s why I’m unhappy in my job and how I generally spend my days. I’m so busy trying not to fail that I’m not doing anything challenging or fulfilling. What am I going to do to change this? I don’t know but I’m going to try, try, try, and try again. Trying is something new to me.

To punish myself I look for articles about young start ups, successful Brooklynites pumping out bouillon cubes and vodkas and cupcakes and popsicles and all sorts of (mostly food) items. I read about these successful and younger than me people for inspiration but all it really inspires is bouts of frustration and sadness. To hear someone say they are happy with what they do. Happy getting up each morning to accomplish their goals. It’s so upsetting. It’s heartbreakingly difficult to get up each day and sulk to a desk only to go home and collapse in exhaustion.

This year I’m tackling my failures. It’s not a resolution, I don’t do those but I guess I’ll call it a goal. Wish me luck.

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Expedit.

February 24, 2011

I was in a bit of denial about how drastic our move to a new, better neighborhood would impact our apartment size. I knew it would be smaller, and I knew it would be more expensive but if I were really thinking about it I would have prepared financially for the new furniture I would suddenly have to purchase to make the space livable. This left us with one option: Ikea.

When I think of Ikea I think of the Expedit bookshelf. Everyone has one and has used it one hundred different ways. We bought ours as a room divider between the kitchen and living/sleeping area of our studio apartment. I’m in the process of organizing it to make it look good but also very, very functional since our apartment lacks storage. Cube by Cube I’m going along to fill it with books, extra coffee cups and serving glasses, food storage containers, and even pantry items. The worst part is when I think I’m done but then realize that something just isn’t working where it is and have to start all over.

Take Ivy Expedit

Take Ivy Expedit

This is one of many book cubes. Take Ivy is a prep style book I got for my birthday. Published in 1965, it follows the styling of preppy college kids in the Ivy League. It was originally published in Japanese and I love that Ivy League frats were influencing the style of kids all the way in Japan. It’s mostly men but I still value the influence and comb through the pages to see all the varieties of polo shirts and loafers. It sits facing out, right when you walk in the door. I’ll probably rotate the books for this choice spot but for now I love seeing this Ivy covered prep right when I walk in.

In the meantime, I’m going to sit and stare at my collection of books. Something I do too often now that they are all on display in the center of the room.

I think I like it that way.

Moving in

February 3, 2011

My husband and I made the jump to Brooklyn, from an expansive one bedroom to a tiny studio. It was a great decision, I love our new neighborhood.  However, organizing and making it livable is taking time. It’s been five days and just yesterday I was able to get dressed without cursing like a sailor under my breath while digging through boxes and shoving things around.

I’ve been constructing some very interesting outfits the past few days. Today was a simple sweater dress, a sweater vest containing a sparkly broach to cover a hole, topped off with an argyle cardigan. Trust me, it was cold and I was warm. I didn’t know what else to do in this weather! I like to keep my legs less covered with just tights to prevent overheating and was forced to wear boots AGAIN to survive the ginormous slush puddles all across the city. I love boots but I think I love variety more.

My husband, dog and I are crammed into our tiny space with just a bed to sit on and take out as our only meal options. Actually, tonight I had laughing cow cheese, saltines and wine because it was all we had. I already put on my pajamas, I was not leaving after that. I love being at home but my cozy bed is only so much room.

It is driving me bonkers and I’m certain by the fit of the dress today I’ve gained a few pounds. I can’t wait to get in the kitchen again and make some healthy, warm meals. I also have a lot of knitting projects lined up. Basically, I can’t wait to be a functioning adult again. Right now I’m in a dorm room without any studying to do.

How to keep up with a blog.

January 23, 2011

I didn’t start this to make a couple posts and then allow it to sit out in the webisphere neglected.
I don’t have any good excuses but I have been conquering 2011 with new goals and adventures. These have been distracting, more distracting and time consuming than I had imagined. I’m moving and looking for a job and trying to take a beloved hobby to the next level.
All this has been going through my head and I’ve been thinking about this site a lot. I think I’ll branch out beyond cooking and drinking a bit so that it is something I know I will keep up with. I’ll still always be cooking and drinking but lately the emphasis has been more on drinking and more on cheap wine and beer due to budget restraints. Not something I have felt like sharing.

This post is more of a motivational speech for myself than anything else. I have good things to look forward to soon once I get used to the more hectic rhythm of life I’ve been experiencing.

Hot Toddy.

December 14, 2010

I did not expect to take this large of a break between posts but family emergencies and feeling icky got in the way. Now I’m back just in time for the snow flurries and Christmas preparations to introduce the Hot Toddy!  A warm and fuzzy drink to compliment wrapping presents and a slightly sore throat.

hot toddy The Hot Toddy has been a favorite of mine for a few years, it’s hard to imagine my evening tea any other way when snow is falling and the radiator is hissing. A simple beverage to make, you basically prepare your favorite cup of tea and add a shot (or two) of Whiskey or Brandy or even Rum. Traditionally, you should add some cinnamon and clove, honey and lemon but whatever wintry spices you have available will make a good cup. Just boil some water and combine it all, no more explanation needed than that.

hot toddy 2

My first Hot Toddy this season was sipped while diving into a knitting project and wrapping presents. I’m making a strong effort against being lazy lately.  The idea of a cozy cup of spiked tea encourages me to hibernate at home and work. I  take these moments to slow down and focus on my goals rather than Facebook or Twitter updates.

Although, Wikipedia has deemed it necessary to warn people not to treat their colds with a hot toddy (causes dehydration) I do think it helps a sore throat.  Drink some water afterward to take care of the dehydration issue.

Quick Quiche

November 21, 2010

A quiche is a great menu item when hosting a brunch. You can put anything you want into a quiche. It takes 45 minutes to bake giving you time to set out flowers and booze.

The first choice is between going the super simple route or the more challenging route. The super simple route is to use a store bought pie crust. For a quiche, the crust is important, people expect a nice buttery, flaky crust. But when you are hosting a brunch and have a long list of things to do it is easy to choose a frozen crust. Knowing I was using a frozen crust I decided to make a decadent quiche filled with Fontina cheese and a variety of mushrooms. Once you’ve decided which side to take on the crust debate, the easy part begins.

When all I ate were button mushrooms, I used to think that they were boring. I would add them last minute to a dish just for an additional vegetable but not for flavor. Then I had a dish containing something totally different. I don’t even know what mushrooms they were but since then I’ve been experimenting with different varieties. For this quiche I chose cremini and shiitake mushrooms.

Here is your grocery list:

2 Tablespoons butter

2/3 Cup chopped shallots (about 3)

5 Cups sliced mushrooms

4 Eggs

2/3 Cup Half and Half

1/3 Cup Whole Milk

1/2 Teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 Cups grated Fontina (7ounces)

The first thing you need to do is put your pie crust in a 450 degree oven and stick it in there until it browns. Then remove and let cool.

Now, grab your ingredients and start by chopping the shallots. Add the butter to a heated saucepan large enough to hold the onions and mushrooms. Add the shallots and let them cook. Savor the scent. Nothing smells better than onions in butter. Such a sweet, delicious smell.

Now you can grab your washed mushrooms and slice them up. The mushrooms will be added to the shallots and cooked down so don’t worry about the size too much. Once the shallots are cooked through add the mushrooms and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Saute the mushrooms until they are soft and browning, about eight minutes. Remove from heat and let cool on a plate.

Whisk eggs, hald and half, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in bowl to blend. Stir in one cup of Fontina cheese and the mushroom shallot mix. Pour the filling into the crust and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Pop into a 325 degree oven. About 45 minutes later, once the quiche is golden brown and set in the center, remove from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Cut into slices to serve.

You are done. So easy!

Dirty Vodka Martini.

November 14, 2010

Some days, I know around 3:00pm I’ll be ready for a martini after work. Then I start to think, “do I have everything?” and 9 out of 10 times, I don’t have olives. To shorten the gap between leaving time and martini time I stop at Duane Reade on my way to the train and pick up a jar of B&G Olives.  They may be questionable in texture and saltier than the gourmet variety but they deliver the dirty to my vodka martini.

Mixing a martini can seem daunting but in actuality it’s simple.  People approach vermouth differently but my favorite technique is to pour a little vermouth in a shaker with ice.

Shake it up a little, pour out, and discard the vermouth. This coats the shaker and the ice with the perfect amount of vermouth. Then I add one half of a shot glass (about one once) of olive juice to make it dirty and two ounces of vodka. Using a jigger makes the measurements easy, the small side is a half ounce and the larger side equals one ounce. Just stir and pour. Pop in a few olives and you are done. It is really that easy.