Egg-Centric Carbonara

Eggs are one of those ingredients I find myself falling more and more in love with every time I crack one open – and that is saying a lot considering I have spent hours cracking eggs for various pastry items. Recently I’ve been trying to improve my egg preparation skills by tackling some egg-centric classics. While I’m still trying to get restaurant quality poachers just right I have managed to create a carbonara recipe that I will someday put on a restaurant menu.

Now, the concept behind carbonara is one that I discovered by almost backing my way into it. When I was honing my soft boil technique and got tired of simply eating the delicious yolky on toast I began tossing a few with udon noodles and some salt. THis has now become a quick -and oft prepared- meal in our house. So, when I discovered that yolks were a central part of classic carbonara the experimenting began.

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A New City, A New Kitchen, A New Recipe

It’s been nearly two months since I packed up my bags, left my wonderful community and home in Philly and moved up to New York and I can finally report we are settled in to our new place. We’ve actually been in our little Brooklyn apartment for a month – taking our time to figure out what stays, what goes and where everything goes – it was only my mom’s pending visit that really lit a fire under our asses to get everything finished. So we put all the clothing away, shelved all the books and hauled away all the donation stuff last weekend and I am really pleased with the home we’ve managed to put together.

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Change Is Hard/Tiring/Thrilling

“Nothing happens until something moves.”

- Einstein

The last two weeks have been quite a haul – I’ve started my new job (which I like far FAR more than I could have ever anticipated), hosted the final feast with our incredible Philly Phamily, packed up all of my stuff, deep cleaned our apartment and gone through all the fun steps required to set up a new home in a new city. It has left me with very little time to myself, let alone to write or cook. As badly as I want to blast some music and get baking I’m taking the advice from pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to during my more frazzled moments over the last month and a half and accepting that I just can’t do everything all of the time.

Right now I just have to make it to the weekend when I will greet the moving truck at our lovely new Brooklyn home and Ry and I will begin to unpack for the new adventures that lie ahead of us. Until then I’m going to keep my head down, focus on work and maybe take some notes on the noms and tunes I want to dig into once this limbo phase has passed.

In the mean time enjoy this fantastic list of the Top 20 Irish Indie Bands Nialler9 put together for eMusic or find me on Spotify. I’ve put together some totally bizarre but solid playlists during my daily commute to work.

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Soundtracks, Supper Nachos & News

I really should get used to my life being a total roller coaster but nearly 30 years in and it still throws me off a bit when some new big change happens. So for the last 3 weeks I’ve been adjusting to the idea that in a week I’ll be a New Yorker. Yep, with a slightly sad heart and a whole lotta excitement I’m closing the Philly chapter of my adventure, packing up our home and heading to New York. It’s a big leap into a new position and life but one I am more than ready for – in no small part due to the super fantastic group of friends and family who await us there. Continue Reading →

Chocolate & Stout Are A Perfect Pair

I’ll be honest, it’s taken me years to come around to the allure of chocolate. I was not born a chocoholic, nor do I think I would qualify myself as one today but I can say that I do occasionally find myself craving it. Last weekend while making up my Oscar party menu I found myself coming back to some of the chocolate recipes I’ve pinned to my Pinterest page. Since I’ve also been on a pretty intense investigation into stouts I settled on this recipe for chocolate stout cake. Of course, I had to futz with the recipe and my god the result is something that I have actually dreamed of. Yes mom, I am finally dreaming about chocolate. The crumb is incredibly tender and you can actually taste the stout peaking through the cocoa flavor. Continue Reading →

“Don’t exist.
Get out, explore.
Challenge authority. Challenge yourself.
Change forever.
Become who you say you always will. Keep moving. Don’t stop. Start the revolution. Become a freedom fighter. Become a superhero. Just because everyone doesn’t know your name doesn’t mean you dont matter.
Are you happy? Have you ever been happy? What have you done today to matter? Did you exist or did you live? How did you thrive?
Become a chameleon-fit in anywhere. Be a rockstar-stand out everywhere. Do nothing, do everything. Forget everything, remember everyone. Care, don’t just pretend to. Listen to everyone. Love everyone and nothing at the same time. Its impossible to be everything,but you can’t stop trying to do it all.
All I know is that I have no idea where I am right now. I feel like I am in training for something, making progress with every step I take. I fear standing still. It is my greatest weakness.
I talk big, but often don’t follow through. That’s my biggest problem. I don’t even know what to think right now. It’s about time I start to take a jump. Fuck starting to take. Just jump-over everything. Leap.
It’s time to be aggressive. You’ve started to speak your mind, now keep going with it, but not with the intention of sparking controversy or picking a germane fight. Get your gloves on, it’s time for rebirth. There IS no room for the nice guys in the history books.
Make this moment your reckoning. Your head has been held under water for too long and now it is time to rise up and take your first true breath.
Do everything with exact calculation, nothing without meaning. Do not make careful your words, but make no excuses for what you say. Fuck em’ all. Set a goal for everyday and never be tired.”
Brian Krans, A Constant Suicide

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

At the last minute we ended up having quite the crowd at our place for the Super Bowl last weekend which meant pulling together a nice spread of snacks to keep the crowd happy. I did the usual – guac, seasoned popcorn, chipotle bean dip, etc. – and Ry grabbed some bbq from our neighborhood rib joint. It was a rather impressive menu given the short notice and as I was looking for my standard brownie recipe I realized there wasn’t really anything healthy to offer so, I put the cocoa powder away and took out the banana bread recipe I’ve been trying to sort out. Usually when I get to the point when I’m trying to refine a recipe I get more diligent with my measurements and notes but since I had only a little time to get this in the oven I barely managed to make some chicken scratch notes – but definitely caught the changes that I believe make the difference. It was a pleasant surprise to to discover that in my haste I managed to get the exact flavor and texture I had been hoping for – and it was a huge hit with the football crowd. Continue Reading →

A New Year

It was one year ago today that I got the news of my tumor. 365 days since the words “we found a mass,” drowned out all other noise in a busy emergency room. 52 weeks since everything – my body, mind, relationships, priorities – changed irrevocably. For most of that time I have been gently poking around my head and heart trying to fully understand what, other than the 6.5″ scar I now wear with pride, I am supposed to carry away from my experience.

I haven’t made any profound realizations nor done anything terribly drastic in the name of “needing to really live.” Nor have I tried to force myself to reach the kind of emotional clarity you read about in best selling memoirs. I have, however, made a very conscious effort to be present in my life – to make time for curiosity, to taste food fully, to tell my friends and family I love them, to observe the world around me, to put aside self-imposed stress in favor of indulging in silliness, to appreciate that one day last year I went to sleep with the very real chance that I wouldn’t wake up and to celebrate every day, that I did. I think the fact that my most innate reaction to what I went through is to simply go on living my life only with greater intention and purpose is a sign that I was doing an ok job before hand. While this does leave me with a comfortable sense of calm about the choices I have made and my ability to face difficulties in the future I am very much dedicated to marking the occasion as reason to slow down, spoil myself and really soak in the amazing people and places in my life.

So, now that I’ve given a year to fully recovering – with the absolutely incredible support, it should be said, of my friends, family and community – I am going to claim this next year as a year of adventure. From kitchen to concerts to starting a whole new chapter as a wife I am going to seek every opportunity afforded me because I survived, because I am lucky enough to have woken up.

Watch This! Miracles Of Modern Science Cover “Pumped Up Kicks”

Yeah I know, I think we’re all a little tired of the ubiquitous Foster The People song but Miracles Of Modern Science have definitely freshened it up with their string heavy take on the song.

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Soups are definitely my fall back when I want something easy and comforting and this curried cauliflower soup is probably the one I make the most. Over the years of experimenting with flavors and techniques I have come up with a recipe I can share with confidence. There are some fussy bits about this recipe but don’t cut corners on toasting the spices or adding the garnishes it makes a world of difference. Continue Reading →