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.

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.

Roasting a chicken.

November 14, 2010

Roasted chicken is one of the easiest things you can make. It’s an entire meal thrown into a pan and left to cook for a few hours while you do nothing on a lazy Sunday (maybe a little wine time?). All supermarkets sell roasted chickens but if you have ever bought one you know they are loaded with salt, a shit ton of tasty salt. If high blood pressure is your goal, follow these simple steps but don’t forget to add a shit ton of salt sporadically when preparing. By making your own you not only save money but you can experiment with the flavors. Below is a simple first time try at roasting a chicken. I hope to try out different types of seasonings and rubs in the future.  The resulting chicken was moist and delicious and lasted a whole week of snacking and sandwiches. We threw it into quesadillas and on rye bread for some variety but grabbing a cold piece from the fridge was just as satisfying.

To start, buy your favorite vegetables. Most people go with celery, potatoes and carrots but don’t limit yourself. You can go with tomatoes, squash,  anything! It doesn’t matter. the chicken juices will get into your vegetables and make them the most decadent roasted vegetables ever. Now choose your chicken. The most important consideration is how much time you’re willing to commit. A four pound chicken takes about an hour and a half, maybe two  hours in my drafty, unbalanced rental apartment’s kitchen. If you have all day,on a nice quiet Sunday, go big! You can do a lot with the leftovers, so why  not? The next consideration is quality. Do you want an antibiotic free, grain fed vegetarian chicken for a few extra bucks?  Or maybe the cheaper chicken without a label? Does it matter? I think it does but that is up to you.

The easy part is prepping the veggies. Cut them into nice rustic chunks, don’t be too neat about it, and throw them in a pan. I prefer a cast iron skillet but you can use a roasting dish or a large pan . It has to be deep enough to hold all the juices and veggies. 

Now take your lovely chicken and open the package over the sink to catch those even lovelier juices.There will be some parts stuck inside the cavity. Take these out. Do not feed them to your dog. I thought about it but after a quick Google search popped up warnings of making him sick, I tossed them. I reside on the side of caution with this. You could save them to add to chicken stock if you are so inclined.

Try not to look too closely at the chicken. There are little hairs on it that kinda make me queasy but we can all pull it together through this. Take the chicken and put it on a cutting board or clean surface.  Take a few sprigs of rosemary and garlic cloves and stick them under the skin of the chicken on both sides. I used a knife to pull the skin up gently and stuffed the herbs underneath. You can use other herbs if you like. Use a brush and cover the chicken in olive oil or butter, your choice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper all over.  Now get your hands dirty! Massage the oil and spices into the bird. flip and do this to both sides. It doesn’t have to be a deep tissue massage, just make sure the oil gets into every part of the chicken, including under the wings and legs. It’s okay to make an icky face, this part isn’t fun but necessary.

Now take some cut up lemon, more rosemary and garlic and stuff it into the cavity.  This part is also gross but the lemon adds great flavor to the chicken and vegetables. Congratulations! You did it, now stick it on top of the veggies and right in the 450 degree oven.

The best investment to make is with an electric thermometer. With this you set it to 165, the temp for a safely cooked chicken, and wait for it to beep. Otherwise you can wait until it is browned and the juices are running clear in the pan to take it out and inspect the overall doneness of the chicken.

What you need:

Vegetables of your choice

One whole chicken, notice the weight to determine cooking time

Olive oil or butter

Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon or any herbs of your choice.

Salt and pepper