Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Culinary Adventures with Bob and Al: First Installment

Since the last topic here on ppppfffffttttt was lasagna rolls, I thought I broach a new subject and part of my married life and that would be…food.

While dating Robert, I discovered that he has an appreciation and love for good cooking and good food. This has opened my eyes to the world of Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Giada; as well as shown me how fun and gratifying it can be to cook and prepare a meal that someone enjoys.

*Sidenote: It’s not always fun. Weird coconut shrimp and misshapen pancakes have caused me to have psychotic episodes. Robert about the pancakes, “They still taste the same, they’re good! I promise!!” Me about the pancakes almost in tears, “But, they’re not pretty!! I bet your mom has never made an ugly pancake!! I hate cooking!” (Robert’s Mom is basically Martha Stewart cooking and decorating wise. Her friends’ literally call her Martha Stewart. So, I have nothing at all to live up to. Ha.)

BUT, for the most part, I’m finding the more I try out this cooking business the more I like it. Having someone to cook with and for really helps out a whole lot. I don’t think it would be as fun if Robert and I didn’t get to share the experience. Cooking in our little kitchen together listening to the Beatles on this weird iPod dock that Sarah and I got free with our old microwave, it’s pretty nice, even when I’m chopping up vegetables. It’s also become an adventure trying to figure out a meal that both of us enjoy. Robert is kind of picky and I’m kind of a vegetarian…so we try to mesh these worlds as best we can in our culinary adventures.

Here’s some pictures of things that we’ve cooked in our first months of marriage. I get so shocked and excited that we’ve actually succeeded in cooking a meal that I usually have to snap a picture with my phone. I can’t tell you why? But, I thought I’d show you all and keep you privy on our Culinary Adventures, good or bad.

*These were all taken via Blackberry, sorry about the dodgy photography. (The term "dodgy" makes me think of Kelsey Harrod. Sigh. I miss her.)

You can't actually see it, but this was Robert's first sushi experience in Kauai on the last night of our honeymoon. Shrimp tempura roll. Look at that natural with the chop sticks.

Bob and Al love cheese and wine nights. We actually have a relationship with the wine and cheese guy at Whole Foods now. His name is Spuds and he's awesome. If you don't like wines from South America you will after your done talking to Spuds. Spuds is also so savvy with the cheeses, he will NOT steer you towards a bad cheese. If you're at the Whole Foods in Lakewood, please go by and meet Spuds. Tell him Alexis and Robert sent you. If he forgets, say the tall red head guy and the girl in work clothes from the 90's that are always holding hands. (We are those people, I know. Gross. ha.) Anyway, wine and cheese nights are the best because we get to chat with Spuds, then go home use our Italian cheese knives from Mary, the elegant wine decanter from Katie and the fancy marble cheese board from Robert's Dad's friend David, who I've never met. Thanks, David, we are living it up with the marble cheese board.

I feel like we made this after Christmas when we were really trying to get our hands dirty stop eating at Sonic and Whataburger and cook. This is some sort of white fish that I can't remember the name of, maybe tilapia, with sauteed apples and frozen asparagus (warmed up and drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan) We got the recipes for the fish and sauteed apples from our Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook. It's got some good stuff.

This is an apron Sarah Smith got me as a house-warming gift when I moved into our duplex. I love wearing it, it makes me feel like such a serious cook/baker/housewife.

Once again, I don't remember what fish this was, sorry this was in December, I have dementia. But all these recipes were again from The Bride & Groom Cookbook. Caramelized brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes with mascarpone cheese. The brussels were okay, the mashed potatoes, realllyyy good. We haven't made them since though, I don't know why. If you have ever watched Giada ( on the Food Network, you will see her constantly use mascarpone cheese. Like in everything. Desserts, pasta dishes, appetizers, she puts it in everything. She also likes low cut shirts almost as much as mascarpone cheese. Robert swears that he can't stand her, but I've recently decided he has a secret a crush on her...his annoyance with her purely stems from an attraction to her emphasized Italian accent.

OMG - This is really what I loooovvveee to do. Bake. When we were getting to know each other, Robert asked me if I could cook, to which I replied, "Kind of. But, I'm way more into baking." Mary and I want cookies right now. I love baking. Okay, anyway, these are Reese's Peanut Butter Blondies that I took as a dessert to Lacy and Stephen's for New Years Eve. Goodness, they were rich, but good and I got to use our Kitchen Aid mixer for the first time which was magical. This recipe is from the Magnolia Cookbook and it called for Heath bar chopped up on top, but I did Reese's instead. I know, I know...I'm wild.

This was my first time using a recipe from The Pioneer Woman - I love love love this site. I'd heard of her cinnamon rolls, but never went on the site, until the fateful night when we went over to one of Robert's friends' for dinner. His wife has The Pioneer Woman cookbook and I couldn't put it down. The Pioneer Woman almost makes me want to quit my semi-vegetarian ways. She, herself, was a vegetarian for six years, then met her husband who was a rancher and he made her steak when they were dating and she hasn't looked back since. Go figure? Anyway, this is a Chicken Parmigiana recipe from her site. I was excited that I had made this, I don't know why, maybe because it's on the menu at Olive Garden or something. But, I don't think we were blown away by it, but it was a good hearty meal and I'm glad we tried it.

This is homemade macaroni and cheese a la Roberto Scarff. We had left over cheeses and baguette slices from a wine and cheese night and Robert used the rest of those three cheeses and the baguettes as bread crumbs to make this yummy dish. We had it two nights in a row and it was so good. I think it ended up having like 7 cheeses in it? I can't remember the other methods he used, but I think there was some milk and spices in there was really good and really low fat. (jk on the low fat part).

Closing are what you eat. This means I'm chocolate mousse because I made it on Monday for no reason except that Robert and I watched Bobby Flay make it last week and realized that somehow we had all of the ingredients and that meant I HAD to make it. It was meant to be. Destiny. Here's pic of what it looks like when Bobby Flay makes it and the recipe...go mousse yourself!


  • 5 1/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 14 ounces cold heavy cream
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1-ounce sugar
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish, optional
  • Shaved bittersweet chocolate, for garnish, optional


Place chocolate in a large bowl set over a bain marie or in a double boiler at a low simmer. Stir chocolate until melted. Turn off the heat and let stand.

Beat the cream over ice until it forms soft peaks. Set aside and hold at room temperature. With a mixer, whip egg to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until firm.

Remove the chocolate from the bain marie and using a whisk, fold in the egg whites all at once. When the whites are almost completely incorporated, fold in the whipped cream. Cover the mousse and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour or until set. Serve in goblets topped with more whipped cream and shaved chocolate, if desired.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lasagna Rolls: Everyone is doing it

Now that I have tools in which to cook and someone to cook for the search for recipes has become a fun adventure and chatting with people about recipes has actually becomes a conversation that I can take part in. I love talking recipes with my dear friend, Jamie, especially because she always has a remark on how I'm a semi-vegetarian and I can sense how completely stupid she thinks that is. It's entertaining.

She was asking me about what Robert and I did for Valentines day and I told her that Robert cooked me these great Lasagna Rolls and she had to try them. She did and added meat, of course. (She loves being a carnivore.) The recipe is posted to the right on Velcro Dog as well as some great shots of her Lasagna Rolls. She blogged about it and I got if off a blog of someone I barely know because I'm creepy. I'm seeing this trend that blogging Lasagna Rolls is clearly hot right now and if you think I'm going to miss out on this bandwagon you are sorely mistaken.

Check out what Bob cooked up for me, complete with garlic breadstick with parmesan and a very good bottle of Syrah my father-in-law, Boney, gave us.

Here's an aerial shot.

And last but not least, here is the dessert Robert picked out at Whole Foods

And there my friends are my Lasagna Rolls. Boom.

Wrong Side of the Bed

Me. Sort of.

Things are looking up now, but I can say that this morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Mentally for sure and now that I type this I realize that I did physically too. Last night was the first night I have spent away from my husband since our wedding night. I slept on his side of the bed last night and got up from his side and didn’t notice at the time, but in retrospect it felt weird. I guess that 67 nights is a substantial period of time and an obvious awareness of sharing a space with someone would be even more present when that person is suddenly MIA.

There's my sleeping partner. He'll be back tonight. I love him.

I can say with gusto that I am trying to journey away from this icky feeling with the help of coffee, gchat and office talk with Mary. (She’s been having a hellofa day herself .) And it’s helping, the fog is lifting, but what is up with winter, that it is so easy to feel “blah”. Blah is a scientific word for, “I don’t give an eff about anything” type of mood.

I was gchatting with my best friend since diapers this morning, Lauren Margaret Hyden and she said, “Last night I was driving home from the gym…the sky looked so fresh and clear kind of how the summer sky is in New Mexcio and it made me soooo happy!!! I was like….GEEZE I have just been so blah!” What is it about talking with someone that you have known your whole life that has a kind of healing power?

That's us being little kids -Lauren, Chelsea, J-Fizical, Me

That's us being grown up.

She reminded me of two simple things that I needed hear today to get me further from the wrong side of the bed. 1. Go to the gym. HA. KIDDING. Okay, for real now - 1. You’re not the only person in the world. When I am having a bad day (and trust me, I’ve had some doozies, just ask the front row spectators, Sarah and Mary) I feel like no one could is going through something as heavy as I am. I don’t acknowledge that I think this at the time, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ve convinced myself of during those bad days. I think it’s during the blah days when this feeling comes creeping through. Anyway, Lauren sharing with me that she too, has felt blah, just made me feel not alone and okay and that perhaps this blahness can be overcome. 2. She also reminded how there is nothing like a summer night in my hometown Carlsbad, New Mexico. Those high schools summers, there’s just nothing like them. Sinking back into a good carefree memory of youth sometimes is as gratifying as a paycheck. When I got in my car to get Mary and I Eatzi’s for lunch (We had the sushi and judged it to be Fair. Not Good, definitely not Great, but just Fair.) Anyway, in my car, I was parked facing the sun and it was warm when I got in, almost that summer feeling, you know? It felt so good. I’m ready for a little sun. My pale, skin-cancer-prone-self needs it.

So as we began of this season of Lent, where some chose to fast from one thing or another, for religious/personal/nonexistent reasons, I want it to be known that it’s okay to feel blah sometimes and waking up on the wrong side of the bed IS going to happen, but try not be grumpy despite it all and know that spring is coming and the sun is near and most importantly St. Paddy's day is in 27 days! I want to talk about Robert's St. Paddy's last year, he took it prettty seriously and some really good grape Everclear punch, but that's all I'll say for now.