Posted by: crispygoldenflaky | June 12, 2012

An engagement pizza redo

Today I got home early and my aerials class was cancelled… soooo I decided to redo the engagement pizza that I made a few weeks ago. This redo was inspired by the white truffle oil that was gifted to me by Paula when we returned from Durham! It is SO beautifully packaged in a dark bottle and a frosted fancypants glass tube for perfectly controlled dripping.

My updates included adding more fresh mozz, dripping a few tsp of truffle oil post baking, and caramelizing the onions for longer without the brown sugar.

Here are the steps!

This is what you need:
-Whole wheat pizza dough
-A few tbsp of olive oil
-Sea salt
-A ball of fresh mozz
-A few slices of proscuitto
-And white truffle oil (optional)

Do this:
-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees


-Caramelize some sliced onions.  the smell of caramelizing onions is like crack.

-Stretch out the dough onto a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal

-Spread olive oil onto the dough

-Sprinkle with sea salt

-Slice up mozz

-Layer mozz, caramelized onions, and proscuitto
-Bake for 20 minutes until golden and crispy

-Drizzle with white truffle oil
-Load with arugula!!!


-Devour with wine.

Moving to Connecticut has done incredible things to my relationship with pizza. I never understood why everyone always picked pizza as their favorite food, but the mashed potato pizza with bacon and garlic at Bar… the little creative guys at Kitchen Zinc, and the clams casino with cherry peps at Modern. MmmmmmMm. I’ve been thoroughly convinced.

This past weekend was our rowing club’s spring/summer regatta, Derby Sweeps & Sculls. Although the availability of open boat trailers exhausted me by constantly enticing me to do pull-ups throughout the day, I had just a great time in the company of my lovely teammates. I am SO thankful for meeting such a wonderful, dedicated, quirky group and I am going to miss everyone SO much when I leave Connecticut. Goodbyes are going to be hard!

Here are some pictures from our regatta:


Rebecca, our super-fit/awesome captain!!


Mo!  Making the best face.


Amy Jean styling the topknot.


Mo & Karyn.


Audrey and Mark. The dream team double. So smiley.


Finish-line people.


Sam. the man.


Susan was in charge of medals 🙂


The super official flag waver.


Jen and Sharon!

I would also like to take a moment to mention that yellow mangoes are VERY DELICIOUS. You need one immediately. One of my teammates mentioned it casually in a conversation and it was definitely a must-buy immediately!!! So succulent.



Lastly, I would like to discuss the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. Substitute all the white sugar in your typical recipe with brown sugar. The molasses in the brown sugar cooks into beautiful pools of caramel on the bottoms. They are a terrific balance of crunchy on the edges and chewy in the middle. I enjoy making these for Sam’s co-workers, because I usually make them in batches of 40… and I could easily eat all of them in two days. 🙂


Dough close up


Dough on silpat



The world is stunning.


Posted by: crispygoldenflaky | June 8, 2012

a taoist bear

“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne


Posted by: crispygoldenflaky | June 7, 2012

a list of 13 must-dos!

Wow. I’ve been so busy in the past seven months that I just haven’t gotten around to updating this baby. I’ve made a lot of food, exercised a lot, and grown some plants on my patio. I now know what the next step of my career is, as well!

I’m going to start a post-bac program at Temple in August!! A year of advanced science classes before medical school at Temple. So excited to move to Philly! Right by the Schuykill. Boathouse row. Perfect.

Okayyyy. So onto things that I’ve learned in the past couple of months.

1. Put cocoa powder in your chili. Then top with sliced jalapenos, sour cream, and a blend of cheddar and jack cheese! Perfect for blistery New England winter days. Or blustery winnie the pooh days.

For this, I used this recipe, but I added some green chiles, black beans, and red peppers. And ditched the vinegar.


in my trusty green pot


sliced jalapenos are a necessity

2. Make something elaborate for your boyfriend’s birthday. For Sam’s birthday, I went back to smittenkitchen for ideas. I settled on the most decadent I’ve ever experienced. This was my first time making cheesecake, and it needed to be finished in less than 6 hours, so I used a boxed brownie mix. The mosaic brownie cheesecake concept is very simple: cube up a pan of brownies and embed those brownies into a cheesecake so that when you cut it open, you get a beautiful mosaic of brownies squares on white! I got the idea from yet again! The cheesecake sat on a layer of chocolate teddy graham
bits (+butter+sugar). Sacrifices had to be made for yumminess. The bears totally understand.. part of the job description. The top of the cheesecake was chocolate ganache (chocolate and heavy cream) and then frosted with cream cheese frosting. I definitely didn’t wait long enough for the cheesecake to solidify. Now I know!


The brownie cubes get baked first


teddy graham butter sugar crust


cheesecake base down


me, sam, and the r. nels!


I clearly frosted this too early.  Whoops.  The ganache slash cake may have still been hot when I frosted it.


Side view!  This obviously needed to set for longer 🙂


more food porn

3. Take a cooking lesson with a friend! Annnnnd… if your only friend in CT is Sam, take a cooking lesson with Sam! This was my birthday present to him because when we’re in the kitchen together he randomly gets nervous and hands me the whisk. or the spatula. but really he is sooo capable of doing everything I can!! (and probably more) It was a date night themed cooking lesson and we… marinated tuna, pan seared tuna, charred asparagus, made goat cheese truffles (with pink sea salt and truffle salt), made a pepper relish, and made a cabernet risotto! mmmmmm. My only complaint about the class was that everything was already prepped for us and all we did was just transfer ingredients (pre-measured, pre-sliced) from small glass bowls to larger glass bowls. It is really nice when all the prepwork and clean-up is taken care, though! And when a professional chef is in the background answering all of your questions…



sooo focused



4. Make elaborate cupcakes. This cupcake was well-received at lab. Twist open double stuff oreos. Put the side with the creme into a cupcake liner (creme-side up).

Make a layer of chocolate cake batter on top of that. Then a dollop of dark chocolate fudge. Then another layer of chocolate cake batter. Bake normally. Meanwhile, take the other half of the split oreos and crumble in a food processor (or if you’re me and like to be hands on… put the oreos in a ziploc bag and pound away). Mix the crumbs into homemade cream cheese frosting (a million times better than store bought!) Top cupcakes with the cookies and cream frosting and garnish with a mini oreo.


Pooh is drooling


close up!

5. Use a million egg yolks on a pasta carbonara recipe.  The recent egg issue of Bon Appetit reminded me of our egg day in culinary cultures class at Duke.  I could eat poached eggs for every single meal for the rest of my life.  On salads.  On fresh buttered toast.  Just plain…. with truffle salt.  But really I think it’s the strategy behind dealing with the yolk that brings me back every time.  Should I mop it up with the toast?  Should I mix it into my savory cheesy steel-cut oats?  The options are endless.  Not to worry though, Bon Appetit’s recipe for the creamiest pasta carbonara will solve your personal inner struggles regarding the perfect incorporation of egg yolks into your digestive system.  OR rather.. your arteries.  THIS RECIPE WAS RIDICULOUS.  Delicious, but definitely don’t have this all the time.  7 egg yolks, 1 full egg, a few pounds of pancetta, pancetta grease… oh my.  The freshly cooked pasta gets rolled in this silky mixture until the thin sauce becomes a wonderfully thick and smooth pancetta and egg home air freshener.  Perfect.  Indulge.  And do find a pasta that has a lot of surface area for that sauce.


6. Use more frosting than cake on your cupcakes. These are my peanut butter frosted chocolate mayonnaise cupcakes. Very moist. MY FAVORITE PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING RECIPE EVER:

you’ll need:
-1/2 cup soft butter
-1 cup creamy peanut butter
-3 tablespoons milk
-2 cups confectioners’ sugar

do this:
-beat the butter and peanut butter together
-add the sugar slowly and mix in milk if it gets too thick
-beat until it’s smooth and fluffy


Mayonnaise cake!!!

(Get a stuffed animal to pose in food pictures.  Pooh is photogenic.  And likes small smackerels of things that are sweet.)

7. Make oven-fried chicken!!  My favorite recipe in the “Cooking with Faith!”  Ask and I will send.  Uses breadcrumbs, secret cajun seasoning (yum!), buttermilk, olive oil, and cornflakes.  One of my favorite stress relievers is pounding things out in a ziploc bag.  Cornflakes… graham crackers…


Pre-marinade.  Which is pretty much just buttermilk and lemon zest 🙂


After baking!

8.  Take an aerial silks class!  It has been awesome for my shrinking flexibility.




9.  Grow your own herbs.  And make a delicious tomato, basil, mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, shallot concoction from the basil!!!!  The first hint of summer!  I love tomato season more than anything in the world.  Such a simple, fresh, perfect lunch.


Here is some basil and mint from my mini patio garden!



10. Oh, grow some tomatoes as well.



First maters of the season.

11.  Dress up like a carrot for farmer’s market opening day! And participate in a lettuce toss! And laugh at the person in the corn outfit because your costume only goes up to your neck, so you have a catching advantage.



12. Make your own pizza.  Here, I drizzled some olive oil onto whole wheat pasta dough.  Spread it around.  Sprinkled sea salt on the olive oil.  Layered on sliced fresh mozz.  Caramelize some onions with brown sugar in a skillet.  Layer onions onto pizza and ripped up proscuitto!!!  Top with arugula post baking.  YUM!


13. GET ENGAGED!!!! AHHHHAHAWERLAKSJDF  To the best person in the world!  Sam set up a scavenger hunt around Durham in some lovely places when we were down for my friend Sarah’s wedding.  It was beautiful.  What a glorious world this is.  I am lucky as HELL!  More to come later about the full story.





Posted by: crispygoldenflaky | October 8, 2011

a new toy

For my birthday, Sam got me a giftcard to Williams-Sonoma. When we finally found time to go together, we ended up getting a beautiful silver fancyschmancy ice cream maker. For several reasons. I had purchased a tiny baby blue Hamilton Beach half-pint ice cream maker, which made soup out of my watermelon sorbet mixture, and created something bizarre from my no-cook coconut ice cream mixture (made from evaporated and condensed milks). I want to say that I forgot to chill the mixture or freeze the ice cream maker overnight… but I didn’t. The freezing compound in baby blue’s innards was completely liquidy after 20 minutes of mixing. We thought about getting a few little things (I left my pastry cutter at home!), but then decided we could get all the same things at Target for much cheaper. We thought about getting a clamp pasta maker, but I think we’re going to have a stand-mixer at some point, so it makes more sense to buy attachments for that then to get them all separately. Also, we have learned that baseball bats and wine bottles are for making pasta… right?

I think I was afraid to touch the ice cream maker for a month or so when we first brought it home. It finally came out after weeks of collecting random things that I thought would go well in various ice cream and sorbet mixtures… whole vanilla beans, random liquor, fresh cream and half-and-half from the farmer’s market… Then one lovely August afternoon when I was missing cinnamon something fierce (I go through way too much cinnamon in autumn… pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, any granola, spice cookies/cakes, oatmeal…) I decided to jump in.

Cinnamon Ice Cream (inspired by Sam’s pick at Harrods/this would be good on some caramel apple pie!)

you’ll need:
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup whole milk
3 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

do this:
-split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the insides into a saucepan
-stir 1 cup half-and-half, milk, and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat
-throw the bean in! the more vanilla the better
-when the mixture starts to simmer, take out the bean, take off of burner, and quickly (so you don’t make scrambled eggs!) whisk half of the mixture into the eggs to temper them
-pour everything back into the saucepan and add the extra cup of half-and-half
-stir constantly at medium-low heat until the mixture can coat the back of a metal spoon
-remove from burner and whisk in the cinnamon
-resist eating this mixture with a spoon!
-allow this mixture to cool and then refrigerate it for a few hours (I read and went for a run to resist pulling it out every 10 minutes…)
-pour into ice cream maker and freeze

The process:

Everything you need

with tempered yolks

in goes the cinnamon

ready for cooling

ribbons of cinnamony decadence

soft-serve consistency out of the maker

it’s very photogenic.

Spontaneous Squash Blossoms!!!

Ricotta-parm-pepper mixture to go into them

This without cinnamon and 2 more egg yolks makes fantastic french vanilla. I have a theory that Sam may enjoy sharing ice cream with me more when I make it because then I appreciate all parts of it instead of treating the carton like an archaeological dig site…

Tomorrow is the Head of the Housatonic, a head race on our home course. This is my first year with the club, so this is all very exciting/overwhelming right now. I mostly have no idea what is going on the organizational level, so I’m going to do my darndest to just play along tomorrow? Vermillion is poking out of the trees and it will be nice to actually see some of that tomorrow.   It will be a gorgeous day tomorrow!

Time to continue snacking on baby spinach leaves (a habit I picked up from attempting to lose weight for coxing and fight anemia!) and put on my Mary Whipple tapes.


ps: I am currently reading Tender at the Bone (Ruth Reichl) and it is probably good for me because it encourages me to actually take lunch breaks?

Posted by: crispygoldenflaky | July 4, 2011


I am lying tummy down on my rug with a mason jar of water on one side, homemade watermelon sorbet on the other, and my newly-covered kindle in front of me.  I am satisfied, lazy, and my head is in a great, equilibrated spot.  I just finished two great reads – Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer and The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.  They are very different in almost every way but I would recommend both.  Both are quite thought-provoking and I loved the three main voices in The Help – Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minnie.


This morning for a late breakfast, I made myself a heaping bowl of thick rolled oats.  With a huge spoonful of peanut butter and a swirl of raspberry jam.  That paired with coffee is the most satisfying breakfast for a perfectly lazy day.  I rolled down to the pool with my pink “eat cake and move on” mug and finished my book, watching all the kids splash up a storm, annoying their parents to death.

I went to Lyman Orchards the other day and picked a pint of raspberries.  Raspberry picking tips – 1) pull back the bushes and get in there – the thorns in raspberry bushes aren’t as bad as the thorns in blackberry ones.  Also, people usually go with their kids and don’t have the patience for any berries that aren’t easily visible.  2) don’t bend at the lower back, bend at the knees!   3) bushes with big honkin bumblebees tend to have great berries.  just charm’em and they won’t bother you

I have a lot of copies of Real Simple magazine and I’ve been looking for some fun, quick recipes to try, so I’m working my way through the food sections of some of those issues.  Recently, I’ve made some cajuny green beans, chicken pita wraps, and leek, shrimp, and spinach pasta.  They haven’t steered me wrong yet!  The tzatziki I made for the chicken pita wrap was so simple, yet so flavorful and necessary for the wrap.  Here is the recipe (from Real Simple mag):

You’ll need:

1 cup of low fat Greek Yogurt (I used 0% plain Chobani) – so thick and proteiny!

1 seeded, grated, and de-juiced cucumber!  – I used a medium sized one from the farmers market

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/2 small garlic clove – finely chopped… I put in a full clove… okay, fine… two

salt and pepper to taste

Do this:

Mix.  it.  up.

Yummmm.  Now dip pita points in it.  OR take a pita pocket, load it up with chicken strips, fresh cherry maters, romaine bits, and some olives.  Bite into it carefully so you get a piece of everything in each mouthful.

There is the cutest nest of birds in the little nook above our balcony.  I climbed onto our railing the other day and took a few shots but I think I also scared the parents silly… oops.  Downsides – lotsa poo and loud mornings.  Benefits – the most adorable ball of fuzz in a ball on MY patio.  How darling.

ALSO!!!  I just joined the New Haven Rowing Club.  And I love it!  It’s definitely less competitive and earlier mornings than I am used to, but it is rowing and they trust me enough to let me out in their sculling boats and steer their sweep boats.  So far, I’ve rowed in a quad, double, and single, and I’ve been learning how to carry my own boat on my head.  The water is so perfect in the early early morning.  It makes for interesting driving patterns (I drive 35-40 minutes from Meriden to the Boathouse, 25-30 minutes to New Haven, and 30 minutes home to Meriden at night).  Yowza, gas money.  I guess when it comes to the thing that makes your soul happy, no amount of driving or early morning will ever stop you from doing it.



Posted by: crispygoldenflaky | March 12, 2011

a set of layer-and-devour meals

For the Valentine’s Day slash Random Acts of Kindness Food Drive kickoff, I made banana pudding, red velvet cupcakes, and soft meringues.  The soft meringues were little puffs of chewy and delicately crunchy lightly vanilla-flavored sugar.  The banana pudding is my favorite banana pudding recipe, but I was afraid about the black banana slices since I made it two days in advance.  The red velvets were a disaster again because I put in the wrong leavening agent.  I make that mistake far too often!  Oh well, 2 out of 3?  Ish?
My lab was incredible, though.  The arbitrary goal I set was 250 cans (which I thought was way too high because we don’t have that many people), but we raised about 220-230 cans!  It’s a good time of the year to have a food drive because people often hold food drives up through the holidays and don’t realize that need is highest in the spring and summer seasons.


soft-peak friends


ready to go in


to the lab!!!


the wrong leavening agent.  😦 but I tried to make pink velvet hearts sit in the red velvet

I also went to goodwill and found some interesting glass jars, cleaned them up and filled them up with interesting rocks and fun spherical potpourri from Michaels.  I changed our bathroom color scheme from green and pudge-brown to more of a tan, dark blue, and brown.  See below!

Cleaned jars


Bedroom window


Bathroom revamping




Large Benjamin

And we had Sunday sundaes!!!

Whipped cream


And friends


A layer and devour theme:


French vanilla ice cream

+ Cupcake magic shell

+ Caramel drizzle

+ Rainbow sprinkles

+ Whipped cream



Another layer and devour meal:




+ Tofu, Mushroom, Pepper Saute

+ Broccoli and Carrots
Interesting everything but the kitchen sink dinner!

I went for a long run yesterday (45-50 mins) because the weather was pretty tremendous, but my knee was giving me some trouble for the last 10ish minutes.  Makes me wonder if my fracture has healed entirely?  Need an Xray soon.

Sidenote:  Currently reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and it is seriously disrupting my concept of moral reality.  I think it’s something that I’ve put off addressing for a while, so this emotional and confusing process is inevitable and entirely necessary.


Posted by: crispygoldenflaky | February 13, 2011

a necessary indulgence

I’m sorry.  I’m not even going to try to apologize for making a huge dish of baked mac and cheese all for myself.  Yes, it did serve 8-10 and was made with full-fat ingredients.  And no, Sam wasn’t there.  He was at work.  And yes, I did cut out a big honkin’ square, thoroughly coated it in a layer of cayenne powder, and devoured it until little pieces of my soul were tap dancing inside of me.  And then I went in for another square.  The cheese sauce in the center unleashed the incomparable fragrance of real butter every time I cut through the crunchy exterior, and it was given spunk by the melted bits of blue cheese, cayenne, and pepper.  Sometimes margarine and reduced fat cheese are just not gonna cut it.  I just can’t bring myself to worry about the impending stretchy pants week.  Over it!

Cheese sauce

Mix in the mac

Ready to bake

I don’t know how I had the patience to take this picture


Serving #1
I used a recipe I found from  Except I cut out one of the cheeses because we only had three cheeses.
I am just too fond of cheese.

This past weekend I went down to Durham for Couch’s engagement party.  And to meet with a pre-health advisor.  And as I was flying over Raleigh/Durham, my heart leapt when I saw that the ground was green.  There was not a speck of white in sight!  Places I went:  Beyu’s cafe, Parker and Otis (of course), Dame’s Chicken n Waffles (OH MY GOD), WaDuke, Crook’s Corner.  Dame’s Chicken n Waffles was mindblowingly delicious.  Probably made so by our waiter and the people running the show.  So intellectual, soulful, and just really fascinating!   Apparently the idea of pairing Chicken and Waffles came from the Harlem Renaissance?  And they have these SCHMEARS.  Which are really just flavored butters.  But made with the real stuff.  I would write more about this but I’m about to head out.

Fried chicken wings with a sweet potato waffle.  And two schmears.  And hot sauce, bbq sauce, and maple syrup.  Ohhh no.



Parker and Otis

Valentine truffles with Neha

The Mayonnaise Man

Deviled eggs

Beyu’s Cafe

Valentine’s day has historically been a huge (and often disastrous late-night) baking day for me.  One of the most notable disasters was when Emily and I stayed up until 4 or 5 in the morning making a million little things to send to our long distance boyfriends.  Peanut butter balls, triple chocolate chip cookies, Valentine’s Day frosted sugar cookies, key lime pie cupcakes, caramel applesauce cupcakes, and maybe a few more.  We were invincible in Aycock’s kitchen that night.  Fueled by the love for our skinny boyfriends with quite voracious appetites and the success of each preceding creation.  So we made our huge list of creations, bought some tupperware, and loaded our handmade goodies into little boxes for delivery.  I’m not going to do that again this year.  For the food-drive kick-off in the lab, I’m planning on making banana puddin’, some meringues, and maybe some red velvet cupcakes.  Although last I checked, Stop N Shop was out of red food coloring.  Ohhhhhh nooooooo.

Line’m up


Old Fashioned Banana Puddin’
You need:

1 package of cream cheese

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

4 ripe bananas

Nilla Wafers

1 5 oz package of instant vanilla pudding

3 cups of cold milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 egg whites

5 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp cream of tartar (I didn’t have any 😦 )
Do this:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Beat the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk

Beat in the cold milk, vanilla, and pudding

Line a 9×13 with Nilla Wafers

Add a layer of sliced bananas

Pour the pudding

Add some more wafers and bananas

Whip the whites, sugar, and cream of tartar and pipe it onto the top.

Into the oven for about 15.  Until the tops are brown!

Valentines baking update soon!


Posted by: crispygoldenflaky | February 2, 2011

a force to be reckoned with

A couple days ago, Danielle took me to her favorite sushi place in New Haven, Kumo.

I loved the layout and the ambience of the place.  The seating was nicely spaced out, and cozy, but clean.  There were some island tables, but most of the seating was lining the sides of the restaurant, leaving plenty of stretching space for patrons.  I walked in with Danielle and was really feeling the comfortable atmosphere and dim lighting, but not more than two minutes after we settled into our seats did a waitress come over and ask us if we were ready to order.  Neither one of us had opened the menus yet.  Really?  And when we indicated that we needed more time, another waiter came three minutes later.  Jeeeeeesus.  What happened to dining like Italians?  What happened to savoring bites and luxuriating in the presence of good friends?

Thankfully, Kumo did have two highly redeeming qualities.  The food was scrumptious and the prices were absolutely unbeatable.  50% off of sushi rolls and sashimi?  All the time?  I started off the the Spicy Kumo Tartar and a bowl of miso soup.  The fish was delicious.  Two, flat cylinders of tuna and spicy sauce sandwiched a thin, sassy layer of crispy tempura flakes.  This all sat on two latticed drizzles of wasabi sauce and some sort of spicy red sauce.  My biggest personal problem with this dish was that I didn’t find it to be spicy at all, but that may be a result my abnormally high tolerance for spice.  Although I picked it out because I wasn’t in the mood for tempura, I found that it was an interesting juxtaposition piece.  The crunchy tempura paired with the creamy tuna sections.  The fried tempura paired with the raw fish.  The red sauce with the wasabi streaks.  Cool.

I liked their presentation of the sushi.  Instead of cookie cutter sushi rolls, each roll had a different topping layout.  I ordered the Red Dragon Roll, which featured spicy tuna and cucumber with avocado, tobiko, and tuna garnishes.  I loved that some of my pieces were heavily marked by a thick piece of avocado, while other pieces had only a sliver and some tuna layered in.  This made for an exciting presentation and was very visually pleasing, as sushi should be (I have this idea that all sushi should be presented boldy and thoughtfully because the sharp color contrasts allow for it).  I stole both pieces of Danielle’s salmon sashimi and deemed it quite fresh.  But hell, maybe that’s because I’ve only had Durham sushi for the past three years.  🙂

Remember in the last post when I complained about the snow?  Oh my god, do I regret complaining about the snow.  The snow is at least something we can vaguely deal with.  It ice-stormed and snowed and slushed all day and night yesterday.  And through the morning.  Sam and I got to our cars and they were covered in 1/2 an inch to an inch in solid, stubborn-as-hell ice.


Yup, thats ice




It’s winning


Tiny, ineffectual scraper



The key is to hack at the snow at an angle.  But not too hard because you don’t want to damage the car.  But hard enough to break through the ice.  Which is difficult.  Oyyyyyy.

I’m working on being more and more prepared for the weather.  I bought a pair of duck boots from LLBean, because I didn’t own any weatherproof shoes.  And my cookie monster hat!  Because so much of our body heat escapes from our heads!  And gloves and a water resistant jacket!  What else do I need?!  It seems like mother nature is getting more aggressive the more I try to prepare!  I hope my flight isn’t cancelled tomorrow!


My new boots!

To keep my mind off of the outrageously treacherous conditions, I purchased some blueberries and blackberries, which are way too expensive at this time of the year.  Blackberries remind me of the first time I went blackberry picking with the Sullivan sisters a few feet from their home.  I never realized blackberry picking would be so thorny and uncomfortable.  I remember being super sweaty from being right in the sun, and my fingers were covered in the bright purple ink.  And when we brought all our blackberries home and tried to make blackberry pie, we didn’t use a good enough binding agent, so we ended up making blackberry soup.  FAIL!  Blueberries remind me of moving to Meriden and going blueberry picking at the orchards at the peak of blueberry season.  Everyone was there – lovers, grandparents and their grandchildren, sisters, and brothers.  They were so sour and fresh and glorious.  Blackberries and blueberries make me think of warmth, and eating them makes me feel a little bit (the littlest bit!) better about the weather.


My breakfast on Monday – 2% greek yog, granola, blackberries, blueberries, and honey!  Photography in real sunlight is so much better than any other type of light!




Posted by: crispygoldenflaky | January 29, 2011

an influx of snow

Ahhhh.  The thick of winter.  Through the holidays and onto the snowy, “struggling-to-write-the-correct-year” parts!  I’m not gonna lie – the season of giving and anticipating the holidays is my favorite.  But soo many stews and soups fit so well with the weather outside, that it is hard to complain about the snow.  (I’d like to edit this comment – I spoke too soon.  The snow this year is absurd.  We’ve been getting a few inches a few times every week and I don’t know what to do with myself right now!  At this point, there are like 4-5 foot tall snowbanks on both sides of the road everywhere!)

The view from our patio

This was after the first big snow…. it’s worse now!

Let’s start off by going way back to pre-Christmas times.  Danielle and I went on a gift adventure down Chapel St in New Haven.  We stopped in Wave, a crafty Zola-y giftshop.  Sam likes to say, “when a store like this one exists, you know you’re in a developed country.”  Although I wanted many things at Wave, most of them were way out of my price range, so I was vaguely disappointed, but one of the women at the shop and I got to talking and she asked me to bring in some cupcakes the next day to put in her display case.  I made a batch of my red velvets and piped “joy” and “love” on them with lavender colored cream cheese frosting.  And decorated the rest with white pearl sprinkles and colored sugar.

Danielle at Wave with a scarf that resembles an array of multi-grain cheerios

The coziest hat!

We got an cheese grater in the shape of an Asian girl to add to Paula’s extensive grater collection (and also so that… I will forever be grating her cheese with my body??)  Unclear.  And THEN, Danielle got me the BEST THING.  A cookie monster hat.  I have yet to craft a little felt circle of chocolate chip cookie to put in his mouth, but hey, we’ll get there when we get there.


We then proceeded to nom at the quirkiest sush place I’ve ever been to.  Miya’s sushi in New Haven.  You can see their extensive menu here:  But just to give you an idea of how bizarre it is, they use ingredients like brie, potato skins, and dried apricots in their creations.  We both got a “very hungry catepillar”, which is the cheapest way to maximize the amount of wacko pieces.    One piece to note was the escolar, which is incredibly fatty, buttery fish that in quantities over 6 oz may have some laxative effects.  It was delicious.  And I had less than 6 oz.  Some of the weirder parts of their menu include an Asian twist on the classic peanut butter and jelly and southern sushi, featuring fried catfish, okra, grits, cheese, onions, and a fried crispy green tomato.  Wait, WHAT?

bonobo juice?

This menu was a book

Danielle got the Dragon Lady.  The menu said it was the drink for Chinese lesbian pirates.  Also popular with sorority girls.  Quite informative.

Seven-spice sashimi.  Easily one of my favorites.

The next few are part of the Very Hungry Caterpillar order.  I think these were covered in cumin sauce

Cream cheese, tuna, and craisins?!

Relatively normal.  Spicy tuna.  SO GOOD.

A feast of fish.

cupcakes for Wave the next day

A little self-conscious about the closeup

I loved it, but I didn’t think I’d pay that much if I was craving your typical sushi.  Aaaaand, don’t worry.  I went back the next day with Sam and ROBIN (ROBIN CAME TO VISIT AND IT WAS AWESOME).  Things to note that time:  The pumpkin miso soup was hearty and different.  Sam got the italian stallion, which is a roll with rare-fried tuna, new york mascarpone cheese, pistachios, and orange marmalade.  He liked it!

And I forgot to mention that they also have a roll called kwanzaa bananzaa with coconut, shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, papaya, burdock, and hot sauce.  And you have to be African-American to order it.  Hahaha.
I met some of Sam’s coworkers and so I made some food.  Cheese puff twists, chips and seven-layer dip, spicy white chili, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, and chocolate covered red velvet cake balls.  Yippee!

Ingredients necessary for a good seven-layer dip

A bottom full o’ beans.  Mixed with taco seasoning.

Salsa and generous dollops of sour cream

Cheesin’ the lettuce and olives

More cheese and some scallions

To make cake balls, you need to pull out the round cake pans Paula gave you for graduation.  Butter’m.

Load’em up.

Form the balls!


Finished spread of peanut butter balls and cake balls.  The red velvet ones have the rainbow sprinkles.

Parmesan twists

Together with the chips

Not pictured:  The SPICY SPICY white chicken chili.  Yum!

Danielle taught me how to make pierogies!  We made potato cheddar ones when she came and served them with sweet vidalia onion relish and caramelized onions.  YUM!  The pierogi dough recipe was SO simple – an egg, some water, and some flour.  For the filling, I was looking for the consistency of thick and cheesy mashed potatoes, so I forked some potatoes and nuked them until they were soft.  Then added cheese, milk, and salt and ate half of the filling before it went in.  Danielle was the pinch-master and as much as I tried to replicate her beautiful peppermint twist designs, I could never quite get it completely right.

Such mastery of correct dough-ing technique



We only have one grater

My interesting potato, cheese, onion filling creation.  I’m not Polish.  😦

Rolling with a real rolling pin!


Waiting for their hot water bath

It’s warm in there!

Oh my caramelized onionss

They complement each other nicely

Fried in butter!

I also decided to start making some sort of balsamic winter root veg stew late one night.  This involved peeling and roasted carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes drizzled with balsamic and olive oil while cooking some lentils and onions.  When you combine the two in a stewy format with some thyme, garlic, and salt for flavoring, you get a thick soup that teases your taste buds with a hint of sweet from the potatoes and an eye-catching autumnal palette that is so wonderful on the dreariest winter day.

Pretty colors

Post roast

Stewin’ lentils

Here is the recipe I used:
Also, Sam and I just finished season 3 of Arrested Development and we need the first seasonnnnnnn.  Let me leave you with a wonderful realization by our favorite “analrapist”:
Narrator: Tobias listens to a day’s worth of his own words, to see what Michael was referring to…

Tobias Fünke: [on tape] … even if it means me taking a chubby, I will suck it up.

Tobias Fünke: Nothing wrong with that.

Tobias Fünke: [on tape] Oh, I’ve been in the film business for a while, but I just can’t seem to get one in the can.

Tobias Fünke: It’s out of context.

Tobias Fünke: [on tape] I wouldn’t mind kissing that man between the cheeks.

Narrator: …and he realized there is something distinct about the way he speaks.

Tobias Fünke: Tobias, you blowhard. [chuckles]



And some poundcake for a tutee:



Posted by: crispygoldenflaky | December 12, 2010

a funk. the tail-end.

Tonight marks day 3 and a half of a life funk. Wednesday and Thursday were tutoring disasters (back-and-forth-calling, disconnected numbers, and angry/unhelpful people). Wish I knew anything about teaching. And then on Thursday night I was upset and wanted to bake something simple to be happy again. So I thought a simple sugar cookie would do the trick. Wrong!

Naturally, I started making the dough at midnight. (I really need to stop these midnight baking adventures…) I don’t normally like your typical homemade sugar cookie recipe because I think they are quite bland, so I always add a touch more sugar and roll out the dough in confectioner’s sugar instead of flour. A quarter cup more sugar later, the dough was delicious. I was supposed to refrigerate the dough for an hour but I threw it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Oooops. I rolled out the dough (which was super sticky and a sign that these guys weren’t gonna hold up in the fridge, but I ignored it) and threw them in the oven for 6 min. The cookies were a spread-out disaster and the gingerbread man looked like he had elephantitis. About to cry, I gave up, didn’t soak the dishes, and set some butter out to try again the next morning.

Sad face.

These guys didn’t turn out so bad.

Friday morning I made more dough before work and put the dough in the fridge for the entire day. When I got home I tried again and the cookies spread out again. I didn’t want to waste the dough so I just made smaller, circular cookies and put some of the dough back in the fridge for sprinkling on ice cream or straight eating. 🙂

Upon reflection, this is what I think happened:
1. I halved my normal recipe and probably added too much sugar for only half of the recipe. I should’ve balanced this out with a little more water.
2. Butter tends to make cookies spread more. Maybe next time I’ll do 50% butter, 50% shortening. Although who am I kidding… I love the taste of butter too much. 80% butter, 20% shortening is as far as I’ll go.
3. Refrigerate. Refrigerate. Refrigerate.

Hopefully Christmas cookies will turn out better! 🙂

Tonight I made an old Iroquois soup recipe. Three sisters soup, which celebrates the Iroquois indians’ culitvation of corn, squash, and beans, is a wonderful vegetarian soup recipe. Hominy is the traditional form of “corn” used in the soup. I used white hominy, green beans, butternut squash (love the color!), and little baby potatoes (skins on, of course). I just recently started actually using the vegetable drawer in our fridge, so I completely forgot the green beans until I was done and had already ladled the soup into my bowl. But I threw in the beans for 5 minutes anyway…. I did them crunchy on purpose…. right?

I love the contrast of textures and colors in this hearty soup. The slightly stringy butternut paired with snappy green beans and chewy bulbous white hominy makes my mouth do a little dance. I love that you only need less than one tablespoon of butter for 4 servings and you can still taste the butter.

You’ll need:

  • A can of drained white hominy
  • About a cup of diced potatoes
  • 3/4 cup of green beans, snapped in half
  • About a cup of butternut squash (cubed)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 square of chicken buillion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste!

Do this:

  • The hominy, squash, beans, and potatoes go into the pot with the buillon cube and water until boiling. Reduce the heat and let the veggies simmer until soft (10-13 min).
  • Melt the butter and blend it into the flour. Pour it in the soup to thicken. Bring the heat up to medium-high and cook until the soup thickens more (4-5 min)
  • Season away and serve with a whole wheat biscuit!


Done! (wait…. where are the beans?)



A week or so ago, we got our first Christmas tree and started our ornament collection. Behold!


For Sam

And I figured out what to do with the huge piece of green felt I got from Paula. Make a tree skirt! And I had leftover buttons from decorating my Toms and glitter pens from my RA when she graduated and moved out.

I could totally be the birthday-cake-writer.


The chili recipe. I love this chili. And I love that pot. Although I was tempted, I tried my best not to overdo it with the cayenne. For our tongues and stomachs.

And dressed with cheddar and scallions.

Earlier this week, I came home to an incredible package. From an incredible person. Beautious cupcake liners!!!!!! And an excuse to take a bubble bath. I almost ate the fizzy.



Aaaaannnnnd, I did some quick pantry organization. And all the necessary labeling. See?



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