Archive for August, 2008

Cake Mix Cookies

August 28, 2008

Oh, this recipe was just the absolute epitome of laziness. Someone gave me several boxes of cake mix, which I thought would be useful in the event that I went somewhere where I needed a quick dessert to contribute. I forgot that I actually like to bake! I guess it’s the Scotch-Irish in me…I can’t waste things.

I got online and did a little digging and found this recipe for Cake Mix Cookies on Allrecipes. They’re amazing, and if i were to ever buy cake mix for any reason, this would be why. These cookies are like a cross between a cookie and a brownie in terms of texture. YUM.

Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

1 box of chocolate cake mix (I used Devil’s Food)
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips

1) Mix everything in your stand mixer or with a hand mixer. The dough will be VERY thick, so I wouldn’t try to mix this by hand unless you hit the gym for upper body pretty regularly.

2) drop by rounded teaspoons on a greased cookie sheet.

3) Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 8-10 minutes.


Rita soup

August 24, 2008
Rita soup. 🙂
Hey all.

I finally got it together to cook something. yay! that means that things are slowly getting back to normal.

My friend Rita is a Clifftop friend from a million years ago. I love her dearly and I’m sad that she lives across the country from me! A while ago, we were brainstorming dishes that she could make for her boyfriend’s mother, who was coming to visit. Apparently the woman couldn’t have: meat, dairy, garlic, onions…help me out, Rita, what else was it? Anyway, she couldn’t have anything that makes food taste good. I would just end my life; there would be no point in living. We ended up settling on a pureed butternut squash soup with biscuits.

I cheated and used garlic AND onions
Rita predictably made this her own, in a delicious amazing way 🙂 I’m posting her recipe with my approximate measurements…we both did this to taste.

Rita’s Butternut Squash Soup

2 sweet potatoes

1 butternut squash, split longwise

1 banana

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

3 cups veggie broth

1 can coconut milk

curry powder

cayenne pepper

fresh ginger



4 cloves garlic

1/2 onion

parmesan cheese, to top

1) Split the squash and sweet potatoes in half. Top with olive oil or butter, salt and pepper, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Roast at 450 F until soft.

2) In a seperate pan, drizzle the onion, garlic and banana with a little oil. Roast with the other pan.*

3) In a stock pot, cook down your carrots in the broth. You can cook these things for a while. Don’t worry about overdoing it because you’re going to puree them at the end anyway.

4) When the squash etc is done, take it out and let it cool. Peel everything and chunk the cooked flesh. Add it to the stock pot with the carrots, along with coconut milk, spices, ginger and extra water or broth if you feel like you need to thin it down a little. Heat everything through. When heated, take mixture off heat and puree in blender.

5) Top with parmesan and serve with biscuits (i made parmesan biscuits!).

*Make sure that you watch the pan with the banana/onion/garlic…it’ll be done before the squash and potatoes.

Enjoy this, it’s truly delicious and unique.

Cucina Vivace and Kramer’s

August 15, 2008

Yo, blog world!

Heather and I had a great, if rather long, girl date at Cucina Vivace this week. The atmosphere was really beautiful and conducive to a leisurely meal, the waitresses were nice and we got to meet the chef. Overall a nice experience.

I ordered:

Gamberi E Spinaci Con Noci E Pinoli
Spiced creamed spinach topped with toasted walnuts, pine nuts and grilled shrimp.

Gnocchi Vivace
Fresh potato pasta dumplings in cream sauce with seared pancetta and green onion.

Agnello Alla Griglia
Rosemary and balsamic marinated grilled lamb chops; served medium rare.

I had all this with a glass of 2002 Tenuta Mazzolino “Terrazze,” which, for those who are wine illiterate such as myself, is a lovely smooth red wine. mm. The best part of this meal by FAR was the delicious gnocchi, which wasn’t rubbery, the cream sauce was light and well…creamy. The point is that I didn’t want to keel over after eating it, which is always a plus with something potentially heavy like gnocchi.

I had Strata di Bacche for dessert, which is like an Italian bread pudding. It’s not as sweet as the American version and has tart berries baked in with a really nice tart lemon curd-y sauce over it. YUM.

I will say, however, that the food was somewhat less enchanting than the building. I enjoyed it mostly, but several things were amiss:

1) Chef Vivace believes wholeheartedly in his seasonings. While this is better than the alternative of bland tasteless food, I wanted to go into the kitchen and remind him that hitting his guests over the head with salt, huge chunks of black pepper and dried herbs wasn’t a great idea. Fresh herbs and a lighter hand on the salt would have made a HUGE difference.

2) A three course dinner with dessert shouldn’t take three hours. Yeah, I know, it’s restaurant week, but at least three couples came in after Heather and I and were out the door before we were. WTF. It wasn’t THAT busy.

3) If you ARE going to take an unbelievably long time to serve me, throw in a free dessert or glass of wine. I dropped some serious money in your restaurant and you didn’t even comp us for making us wait. Come on, dude.


Last night I went out to Kramer’s Books in Dupont with my two favorite interns and possible roommates for next year 😉 (See what I did there, girls? If I put it out on the internet, you’ll have to do it!) We had drinks and appetizers and then roamed Dupont for a bit. I love DC in the summer time, especially areas like Dupont. People playing chess around the fountain, trees everywhere, gay men holding hands, young professionals in their Ann Taylor loft suits…it’s a good time.

Tomorrow is Agraria night. We have had a change in cast, as my friend Aaron’s parents are dropping in unexpectedly. So my friend Cate will fill his spot. Hopefully there will be pictures to post of our night later on!

Finally, I found a pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer on Craigslist for $20, and I will definitely be posting some of my adventures in pasta making soon. 🙂

Rough Spot

August 12, 2008

Going through some fairly rough personal stuff at the moment. I don’t feel like posting the really awful, horrible, unhealthy things I’ve been eating (*Cough*oreos*cough), so I thought I’d post a link to a page that absolutely can get me to laugh even when I’d rather not.

LOLCats make me giggle.

They’ll make you giggle too. You won’t be sorry for clicking. But if you literally “LOL” at things, make sure you either wait till you aren’t at work, or close your office door. People will think you’re crazy.

On the plus side, this week is DC Restaurant Week!!!! Fixed price meals at some of the hottest (and most expensive) restaurants in DC and Northern Virginia. Lunch is $20.08 and dinner is $35.08. Most places offer 3 courses, however, drinks, tax and gratuity aren’t included. Check out the link above for more details and a list of participating restaurants. I really wanted to do this last year but just didn’t have the funds, so this year I’m making up for lost time. Tonight Heather, of Diary of a Fanatic Foodie fame, and I will be going to Cucina Vivace for dinner, which looks delicious. On Saturday, myself and a group of the buddies will be descending upon Agraria, which I am seriously excited about. They offer a seasonal menu with seriously fresh ingredients, and I can’t wait to try it out. My foodie friend Aaron will be attending as well. Look for descriptions of how we passed out from sheer ecstasy from the menu choices in future posts.

Don’t worry. After I get over my pouting, fuming, and other things I do to get over break ups, I will start cooking again. I have some great things lined up to dazzle you with. dazzle dazzle dazzle!

On Top of the World

August 6, 2008
This post will really have very little to do with food. This one is more about an experience. I know that I normally inject a lot of humor into my anecdotes (whether it’s intentional or not…i don’t know) but this one….I don’t know.

I was raised around old time music. No, before you ask, it is not not NOT bluegrass. Old time is what bluegrass was born from. It’s music that was played around the hearth in Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina. It involves the same types of instruments: Fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, mandolin. The wonderful thing about this genre is that it involves going to music festivals every summer. We stay up all night passing around a bottle of whiskey, playing tunes, and looking at the stars without their normal veil of light pollution. I look forward to my favorite one, Clifftop, more than my birthday, Christmas day, and payday combined.

I went this year for the shortest amount of time I’ve ever been, 4 days. Considering that I’ve been going for approximately 13 years now, this might not sound like a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Trust me, when I told my friends that I could only come for 4 days, they freaked. “WHAT?! ONLY 4 DAYS?!” Hah. Yeah, it’s called I have a job now and no vacation time.

I got there and set up camp and immediately ran into some of my best and oldest friends. These are people who have been with me for years, who love me just the way I am, who think that I am the ultimate because I can sew a dress. I love them back. They’re all wonderful and talented in their own ways, whether it’s music, social skills, whiskey pounding…all awesome. We’ve slowly expanded our circle of friends over the years, and every year it gets better as we meet new people. The idea of being able to live this way in the woods, sharing what we have (including our joys and sorrows, as well as liquor and food), playing music, talking until we’re hoarse and dancing our hearts out while throwing our heads back and laughing…this idea has been brought up at least once a day every year. I like the idea. I think it could actually work with these people.

Me and Kevin when asked to strike a pose
I ate delicious food from the Sweet Revenge Cafe, including the BEST apple crisp ever. I swear they must put MSG in this stuff, because I can’t walk by and smell it without buying some. With vanilla ice cream. Obviously. And I can’t just buy it once either; once I buy it the first time, I know i’ll have to buy one per day until they pack up and leave. It’s a curse, but one I don’t mind being saddled with.

I played music until my fingers calloused. I played with one of my best friend’s daughters, who looks just like Cindy Lou Who when she’s wearing pigtails. I sat under a tent and watched the rain fall. I slept in my car when my tent flooded, and even then there’s not a single place on Earth that I would rather have been.

Miss Layla Pickford takes a break from square dancing

Every year, I have an epiphany at this festival. In the past it’s been about boys, the way I live my life, my religious beliefs. This year was no exception. I had several. I’d like to share, but the nature of the internet is such that it probably wouldn’t be prudent. Suffice it to say, changes are being made in my life in big ways. Stay tuned.

All I wanted to say was that this year was wonderful, I met amazing people and I can’t wait for the next one.