Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Hallo-wienie!

Enjoy your Halloween, peeps!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My First Burger

The title is a bit of a lie, but only a bit.  I am not a lover of the hamburger, and the BF managed to woo me to the dark side by mixing ground beef with an entire jar of salsa to make my actual first burger.  This happened quite some time ago.  However, last night, I had my first regular burger.  My first burger where the meat wasn't mixed with anything crazy, although I did top it with lots of yummies.

The burgers are from Omaha Steaks and I made the hamburger buns myself!  The BF got me a bread machine for my birthday, so I decided to deflower it with buns.  hehe.

I carefully layered my burger with pepperjack cheese, a mixture of salsa and ketchup, avocado, tomato, onion, and jalapenos.  And the result was epic.

The only thing that could've made the burger better is bacon.  Because bacon is fabulous.  In the words of Jim Gaffigan "I bet if you put bits of bacon on a strip of bacon, you could travel back in time."  It's that good.  Also that good:

Lanvin via Barneys.

Oh yea.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chicken Parmigiana

My mom was here last week, as I've said before, and we were both quite interested in eating delicious food during her visit.  I decided that I needed to "WOW" her with something, and this chicken parmigiana, from Tyler Florence, fit the bill.

(Please ignore the disgusting exterior of my pan . . . my dishwasher suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.)

While the recipe looks really complicated and time consuming, it's not too bad.  It takes some time, yes, but the payoff is wonderfully crispy chicken underneath a sumptuous sauce and perfectly melty mozzarella.  It doesn't get much better than that in my book.

This is definitely one of those dishes that I keep in my arsenal to impress people; it's amazing how fancy people think you are when you whip out a little fresh mozzarella.  I'm thinking of trying it at my next job interview.

Mom, the BF and I enjoyed our chicken parmigiana over spaghetti, and with herbed garlic bread (which I'll do a post on later) and a salad.  YUM!

While I know a lot of people think my 99% black and grey wardrobe is a snoozefest, I think that when you jazz a monochromatic wardrobe up with shoes like these:

Yves Saint Laurent via Saks

how can you go wrong?!  Fur is FUN, peeps!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Vive la French Toast!

Another addition to my list of favorite things:  french toast.  And to be more specific:  french toast on buns (hamburger, hot dog, whatever . . . I'm not picky).  The reason for this love of bun-ified french toast is that buns have a higher sugar content than other bread products, and therefore make french toast taste better.  So much better.

I would love to tell you how to make this french toast, exactly, but I can't.  The reason I can't is because I grew up watching my parents make this concoction, sans recipe, and I have never measured its ingredients.  I eyeball all of them.  So I am going to try to explain this in eyeball terms.

One egg (easy enough to eyeball, right?)
Milk, enough to fill your dish so that it's half as high as a piece of bread
Salt, enough to dust the yolk of the egg so it's lightly coated
Sugar, enough so that it creates a small heap half the size of the egg yolk
Vanilla, about a tablespoon (not easy to eyeball, but easy to measure, HA!)
Cinnamon, about a tablespoon (again, measureable)

Whip it all together with a fork, dip your buns (or bread, if you think my bun suggestion is weird), and throw them on a griddle until golden brown!

It may not look appetizing, but it is darn tasty.  Thank God for the French and their toast!

Now that I've satisfied my need for gorgeous over the knee boots, I've moved on . . . to these . . .

Loeffler Randall via Barneys.

My mother managed to introduce me to the wonderful world of (GASP) patterned tops last weekend so I figured, what the hell, why not patterned shoes, too?!  I like that these aren't TOO MUCH.  They'd look great peeking out from underneath a pair of wide-legged pants, methinks, or with a black pencil skirt.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Let (me) Eat Cake!

Sorry for the absence, peeps, I have been VERY busy the last few days, eating, baking, spending quality time with my mom, and spending money.  Lots of money (but all for FABULOUS things so who gives a damn, right?!)!

Yesterday, for the big birthday celebration, mom helped me make a buttermilk spice cake with maple cream cheese frosting.  I haven't baked a cake since my "cake phase" in the 9th grade (at which point I ate, I kid you not, a cake a week.  I caked myself out.) so I was excited to give this a go and it was DARN TASTY.

I used 1 and 1/2 times the amount of spices in the cake and made 1 and 1/2 times the frosting (because of all of the layers) but I was very excited with how well it turned out!

I also baked my cakes at 325 for about 28 minutes, because of the dark color of my cake pans.  If you have light cake pans, I would follow the recipe.

I'm not going to lie, icing this cake was a bit of a disaster (as you can see).  Even in my cake phase, I didn't frost layer cakes (my cake-happy self simply made my cakes in a 9x13 pan and iced the top, which is a LOT easier) but trying to frost this cake was actually kind of fun, and it looked so nice when it was all sliced up.

Yes there are crumbs in my frosting.  Yes my layers look a little . . . unkempt.  But this tasted so good that I didn't care!  And the BF, who doesn't like cake, really liked it!  That is a feat in itself, for sure.

These Seychelles boots (in black, of course) were my birthday gift to myself.

And I can now cross "non-slutty over the knee boots" off of my "to purchase" list for the fall.  HOORAY!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Biscuits Biscuits Biscuits

Ok, so maybe I lied (a little) about hot dogs being my favorite food.  They are, but I have about a million favorite foods (hot dogs, cheese, macaroni and cheese, pf chang's lettuce wraps, the list goes on) including BISCUITS.  Specifically, baking powder biscuits from that old classic, the red and white Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  They are flaky and delicious, and the dough tastes darn good, too.

In my stand mixer, I combine 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Then I cut in 1/3 cup of Crisco.  When that's pea-sized, I add 3/4 cup of milk until it forms a delicious, sticky dough.

I throw my dough on a floured board (being sure to taste it, first, to make sure I didn't accidentally poison it) and then cut out the biscuits with a glass (because it seems like a waste of money to buy a biscuit cutter).

After baking in the oven, at 450 degrees, for 12 minutes, you will have THE MOST DELICIOUS biscuits in all the world.  Seriously.  THE WHOLE WORLD.

They are delicious with sausage gravy for breakfast, used instead of bread for sandwiches, or as a side dish with a steak and veggies (which is how the BF and I will be enjoying them this evening)!  You can't go wrong with a tasty biscuit, peeps!

Great news!  My mama is coming to visit, tomorrow, to celebrate my ((*@&$!&) birthday!  Perhaps she will grace me with these as a gift

Dolce & Gabbana via Neiman Marcus.



But hey, a girl can dream.  That's what birthdays are for, after all!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hot Diggity

As my favorite hot dog

can tell you, I LOVE HOT DOGS.  I've never met a hot dog I didn't like.  The BF's parents were kind enough to send me some Omaha Steaks last week and, lucky for me, THEY CAME WITH FREE HOT DOGS!  (Yes, I am probably the only person in the WHOLE WORLD who likes hot dogs this much.  I get it.  And ya know what, peeps?  I like hot dogs EVEN BETTER when they're being served to me by a 40-something waitress at a Cubs game.  I'm just sayin.)

Ok, enough of the hot dog tirade (or something).  On Sunday, I decided to amp up one of my favorite foods with a little trick I learned from Tyler Florence:  boil the hot dogs in water seasoned with minced garlic and salt before grilling, then grill away.

I couldn't believe how much more plump these hot diggities got after about 10 minutes in their garlic bath.  It made them taste that much better after they were grilled (or, in my case, charred and crispy).  I toasted up some store bought buns, and topped my delicious dog with hot sauce, ketchup, and shredded white cheddar.

It might not be much to look at, but DAMN it tasted good!  Speaking of tasting good:

Christian Louboutin via Saks.

If these were food, they would be a hot dog.  For sure.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Homemade Potato Chips and Onion Dip

Saturdays and Sundays usually involve a lot of cleaning, cooking, football, and eating of chips and some sort of dip, so this weekend I decided to jazz it up a bit and make my own chips, as well as this french onion dip.  The potato chips were very easy, albeit time consuming to deep fry, and the dip turned out well (I substituted white pepper for black pepper for the dip, since I put black pepper on my chips).

For my birthday (which is this week!  YAY!) the BF's sister got me the KitchenAid shredder/slicer attachment (thank you!) and it is AWESOME.

It sliced the potatoes in a perfect, even size, and FAST.  I love fast.  What was not fast was soaking all of the chips in water, twice, for an hour at a time.

While my chips soaked, I got the onions ready for the dip.

Caramelizing onions ALSO takes a long time.  These bad boys took over an hour, but it was sooooooo worth it in the end.  While the dip "rested" in the fridge for an hour or so, I deep-fried the chips in 375 degree oil, for 5 minutes a batch (in small batches).  The chips were awesome (if greasy, as a good potato chip should be) and the dip had tons more flavor than anything you can buy in a store!

And they both tasted even better served in football bowls.  Obviously.

I saw these boots (boots . . . again . . . I know) in a Piperlime ad this morning and I love them.

Much more in my price range than the Elizabeth & James boots I posted earlier, but still . . . probably not Florida appropriate 99% of the time and yet, I love them.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Horseradish Couscous

This is a recipe that is in regular rotation around these parts (well, sort of) that I have tweaked along the way and I think I finally perfected it (which is a lie, I'll change it every time, I'm sure).  This recipe started out as a dijon and horseradish couscous from Healthy Cooking Magazine and was pretty simple . . . roasted veggies, couscous, and a simple sauce.

Simple = no fun.  So I messed with the recipe a bit (and I will try to provide the entire recipe, here, since I've changed it enough that I feel it's required).  First, I chopped a container of mushrooms, a zucchini, 1/2 a red bell pepper and 1/2 a yellow bell pepper into uniform-size pieces.

In a separate bowl I whisked 1/4 cup of dry red wine, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons brown spicy mustard, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and 1 teaspoon of prepared horseradish.

It is not the loveliest sauce to look at, but it is delicious.  I placed my vegetables in a 9x13 dish with a big piece of foil on the bottom, poured the sauce over the top, and tossed it all together so the vegetables were nicely coated.  Then I sealed up the foil with another piece, making a big packet, and put the whole thing in the oven at 350, for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile I prepared another batch of sauce (anybody who reads this blog regularly [or has met the BF] knows why) and boiled three chicken breasts.  After the chicken was cooked through, I sliced it thinly and set it aside, and prepared a box of couscous according to the directions (normally I use whole wheat couscous, to make the dish just a little healthier, even though it's pretty darn healthy already).

When my veggies were done, I pulled them out of the oven and dumped them in with the couscous, threw the chicken on top, and mixed the whole thing together.

TA DA!  An entire meal in one bowl AND that bowl, and the pot you boil the chicken in, is all you have to clean up since the veggies were roasted in foil!  GENIUS!

As for shoes, I'm craving booties.  I love booties.  And often it is too hot in Florida for my already sweaty feet to be put into booties.

Dior via Neiman Marcus.

Surely I could make an exception for these.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Manicotti/Lasagna Roll Ups

I know that I have brought up a typical day in the cookin' in heels house before, but another standard practice is that I arrive at home, change into sweats, take her royal Arnie-ness on a walk,

work out (on a good day, but who am I kidding . . . this hasn't happened in months), then set to cooking.  And, a good 25% of the time, I stand in the pantry, hand on head, with a crinkled nose and generally pissed off expression, wondering what in the WORLD I'm going to make for supper because necessary item a, b, or c is not in the pantry (or fridge, or freezer, or liquor cabinet) like I thought. 

This . . . is exasperating.  I found myself in such a situation just days ago, when I had intended to make some lasagna roll-ups for two.  They were to be heatlhy and easy and PASTA, so it sounded good to me!  But alas, my ricotta cheese had . . . how shall we say . . . gone bad.  Turned pink, to be exact, which I'm pretty sure is not a sign of freshness.  So I set off to make something else!  Something tasty!  Something so the BF wouldn't keep asking "When's dinner?  What are we having?  When will it be ready?"

I boiled four lasagna noodles, let them cool, then browned a quarter of a pound of ground beef with a small white onion.  To that I added the usual suspects: red pepper, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano.  I let the mixture cool, then mixed in about 1/4 cup of toasted bread crumbs, a tablespoon of parmesan, 1/4 cup of mozzarella, and an egg white.

I layed each noodle out and put two layers of baby spinach on the noodle, followed by 1/4 of the beef mixture, then rolled them up and put them in a small baking dish that had about 3 tablespoons of store bought pasta sauce in the bottom.  I dumped some more sauce over the top, sprinkled it with more mozzarella, and threw the darn thing into the oven, hoping it would turn out.

AND IT DID!  I was quite pleased with myself.  The BF inquired as to whether there was more sauce (thank GOD I had dumped a decent amount over the top of the pasta.  I wouldn't want to leave him sauceless, after all) but told me that it was good! 

Sometimes making things up on the fly works out.  But I will never leave ricotta unsupervised again.

I saw these shoes in a magazine (Allure, maybe?  I can't remember) a few months ago while I was getting my hair did, and promptly snapped a picture with my phone and zipped the picture over to a pal in Tennessee with directions to find them because, obviously, I had to have them.  They were nowhere to be found.  Until recently.

Image via Nordstrom.

While I would be slightly concerned that the buckle would chafe my delicate ankles, it would be worth it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Steakhouse-Style Dinner - The Final Chapter

The third component of my steakhouse style dinner on Friday (parts one and two) was Food & Wine's gorgonzola-roasted mushrooms and onions.  This recipe could not have been easier or more delicious.

I used baby portobello mushrooms and a HUGE red onion, as well as more gorgonzola than the recipe called for (because cheese makes everything better) but followed the rest of the directions exactly!  The BF declared this side dish disgusting, as he is a hater of mushrooms, but the BF's sister and I thoroughly enjoyed the final product!

Perfectly roasted and amazingly delicious, if I do say so myself!

After a night of little sleep (thank you drunk, obnoxious neighbors who woke me from my peaceful slumber and insisted on talking . . . or yelling, depending on who you ask . . . about some sort of fighting outside of my window) I was in no mood to put together any sort of fabulous ensemble today, so my trusty combination of black cropped pants, neutral tank, black jacket and black flats came in handy.

Cue my Sam Edelman Candela flats (this image via  My pair are so beat up that I didn't want to burn your eyeballs . . .

. . . if I did that, who would read my blog?!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Beef . . . it's what (was) for dinner

Last Friday, in addition to the twice-baked potatoes for my steakhouse-style meal, I also made this grilled balsamic and garlic flank steak.  I had made this recipe once before and the first time I followed the directions to a T . . . I didn't this time.  Let me tell you why, this "marinade" doesn't really penetrate the steak very well.  If you buy a flank steak like the one I had, one end is substantially thicker than the other and it's really hard to get even flavor throughout.

That, kids, is a large piece of flank steak which has been marinating for TWO HOURS.  Not five minutes, like the recipe says.  TWO HOURS.  The smells that come off of this large hunk of meet when you grill it are divine.  The whole apartment smelled like Italian meaty goodness.

After it's time on the grill, and it's time resting while I coordinated side dishes, I was ready to slice this bad boy up.

And yes, I do realize that the amount of juice on my cutting board indicates that I didn't let the steak rest for long enough (but I HATE WAITING FOR FOOD); and yes, I do realize that the picture on the Food and Wine magazine website is much prettier and the steak is much more rare.  I have only recently become a regular eater of cows, and am not yet adept at their preparation.  All in due time, I suppose.

The marinade went really well with the potatoes I made, so I was pleased with myself from a menu-planning perspective.  And I consider a meal a success when I am pleased with myself afterward.

As it is Columbus Day, I bring you these Sam Edelman Zoe boots:

Image via Solestruck

I don't know what they have to do with Columbus Day, but I love them.