Thursday, February 28, 2013

Soft Boiled Eggs

Have you ever had a soft boiled egg?  I hadn't until 2 days ago.  Like most people, I grew up on scrambled eggs, fried eggs and the occasional hard boiled egg.  I don't know what possessed me to try my hand at a soft boiled egg, but I'm so glad I did.  This may be the most delicious and easiest way to eat an egg.   As I've gotten older, eggs have become one of my favorite foods.  They are the perfect food; they go with everything.  And they are so simple to prepare (except for a poached egg, which I can't seem to get the hang of).  Now that I have discovered how awesome soft boiled eggs are, I thought I would share a little tutorial.

This is very simple to do.  Bring a pot of salted water up to a boil.  Carefully drop your eggs in.  Reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid (be sure it's a lid that fits, you need a tight fit).  Now cook for 6 minutes.  If you like your eggs a little runnier, go with 5 minutes.  While your timer is going, you can make your toast or whatever you want to eat your eggs on (a salad? a piece of pizza? a burger?honestly I could eat eggs on anything).

Once the timer is up, immediately rinse in cold water.  CAREFULLY peel the shells off.  You don't want to break into the egg because the yolk will seep out.  And that's it!

This is a really delicious and easy way to eat an egg.  The yolk is really flavorful when it is cooked this way.  I'm totally hooked.  Probably going to eat this for lunch today.  Just saying.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Lesson in Layering



I've had this military shirt for as long as I can remember.  I've never really worn it much because the fit is kind of strange, but I've never been able to part with it.  I threw it on the other day and put this yellow vest on over it and was really surprised by the combo.  I think the vest hides all the weird parts.  Check out your local army supply store.  They have some neat stuff.

Vest: American Eagle (used to be a jacket, I cut the sleeves off), Jeggings: Wal-Mart, Scarf: World Market, Shoes: Urban Outfitters, Assorted Jewels

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

S'mores Cookies


I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been on a bit of a marshmallow kick lately.  I'm just craving gooey, sticky marshmallow goodness.  So, the other day, when Olie mentioned making cookies, I immediately thought S'mores Cookies.

Here's the thing about cookies: I'm not a huge cookie fan.  I mean, they're good, but more often than not, they are a big disappointment.  They are either too hard, too sweet, or they have that sicky, lardy, fake-chewy taste.  You know what I'm talking about?  Maybe my cookie standards are too high, but if I'm gonna eat something bad for me, it better be delicious.  Also, most of the cookie recipes I have tried have been unsuccessful.  Perhaps it's my high cookie standards, but there is just always something not-right about them.  However, after this little cookie adventure, I've discovered that the perfect cookie recipe has been staring me in the face for the last two years: the Joy of Cooking Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  It's simply a good cookie.  No bells and whistles, just exactly what I imagine a cookie to be.  However, I did add a few bells and whistles of my own.  I used the Joy of Cooking recipe as a jumping off point for my S'mores Cookies.

Bonus: this is the best raw cookie dough you will ever eat.  Olie and I kind of destroyed it.  The cookie dough is always the best part, but this dough is insane.  

S'mores Cookies (adapted from Joy of Cooking)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (Joy used light, but I only had dark and it was delicious. Use what you have)
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup honey flavored Teddy Grahams (yes, I used Teddy Grahams, pretty awesome, right?)

First, combine all-purpose flour and baking soda. Set aside.

Then, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar together. Now, when, I say beat, I mean beat the crap out of it. You want this texture to be as smooth as possible, so beat it on high for about 5 minutes.  It should be homogeneous looking, light and fluffy.

Add the egg, salt, and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat until well combined.  Then, stir in the flour mixture until smooth.

Now, fold in the chocolate chips, marshmallows, and Teddy Grahams.  Try not to break up the Teddy Grahams.


Now they are ready to bake.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Spoon cookie dough onto a greased and floured baking sheet.  Cookies should be a little smaller than golf balls.

Place in the oven and cook for eight to twelve minutes. Keep an eye on them! Burnt cookies are no good to anybody.  The marshmallows may leak out a bit from the cookie.  That's ok.  Just scrape that part away.

And there you have it: delicious S'mores Cookies. Without the campfire.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Black, White, And Red All Over






Is there anything better than a crisp white shirt and black pants?  Add some funky accessories and you've got a great outfit.  I bought this scarf on the streets of London when I was studying abroad in the U.K.  Everyone was wearing them at the time.  I get a bit nostalgic whenever I wear it.  

Lucky Magazine is doing a promotion called #ShowUsYourLucky.  You come up with an outfit inspired by their February issue, and then either tweet it or blog it.  This is my interpretation.  I was inspired by their "Wear a Little....Wear a Lot" article.  Generally, when I have a choice between a little and a lot, I choose a lot (butter, sequins, movies with Channing Tatum), but this time I chose a little.  Just a little bit of the Global trend took this outfit from basic to bumpin'.

Scarf: bought on the street, Shirt: Target (men's), Harem Pants: American Apparel, Cuffs: Urban Outfitters, Shoes: Urban Outfitters, Earrings: Forever 21

#ShowUsYourLucky

Friday, February 22, 2013

J. Crew and Job Hunting

Is there anything worse than job hunting?  Scouring the internet for jobs, awkward phone interviews, and even more awkward emails.  That's been my life for the past few weeks.   The one thing that keeps my spirits up is thinking about what I would wear every day if I had a 9-5 job.  Silly right? But hey, it works.  My newest obsession is the Fall 2013 J. Crew Presentation.  I'm loving the mixed prints and bright colors all in very modest and ladylike cuts.  And that big orange clutch!  Yes, please.  

This is how I imagine myself looking at my imaginary big-girl job.  Perhaps a little more toned down, but still maintaining a quirky, preppy spirit.  J. Crew has really been doing it right, lately.  It's a formula, but it works.  Here are a few of my favorite looks.  Check out the entire collection at style.com.  (All images from style.com)





Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chocolate Marshmallows

Olie loves marshmallows.  Like................LOVES them.  He can eat a whole bag of marshmallows in a day.  He shoves Peeps into his mouth 2 and 3 at a time.  It's pretty impressive actually.  So for Valentines's Day, I decided to be super awesome and make him homemade marshmallows.  My plan for Valentine's Day was to have the apartment super clean, be perfectly beautiful by the time Olie got home, and have fresh, homemade marshmallows for him.  Instead, I made a mess in the kitchen, burnt tons of sugar, and fought with marshmallow goo all day.  However, I am proud to say that by the end of the day, I had created these little beauties.

Now, here's the thing, I am a Scrooge McDuck about money.  I make candy all of the time, but I still have not dropped the six bucks on a candy thermometer.  This would be a much easier recipe if I had made the six dollar sacrifice.  But for some reason, I feel I can tell temperature just by looking at something, and think I don't need the thermometer.  Which obviously I can't since I burned my first batch.  I don't think this is a skill that any human has.  So, if you want to make this recipe, use a candy thermometer.  I'm still not totally sure that these marshmallows taste how they are supposed to taste.  I might have cooked them a little too long.

Another tip, don't put the hot gooey marshmallows in a pan lined with aluminum foil.  In a perfect world, the marshmallows would come straight out of the pan, but this isn't a perfect world.  The marshmallows stuck to the aluminum foil and I spent an hour cutting it off.  Which was incredibly frustrating, to say the least.  My kitchen was very R-rated as a constant stream of curse words poured out of my mouth.

Miraculously, despite my many blunders, these turned out really well.  They are super delicious and worth the effort (just be sure to learn from my mistakes).  They are really different from the marshmallows you buy in the store.  They aren't as soft; they are like a mix between marshmallows and taffy.  The chocolate makes them really special.  It's like hot cocoa and marshmallows all rolled into one perfect little square.  

This recipe is from Cooking Light.  It was a Halloween recipe, but I added the pink chocolate to make it more love themed.  I just added a little red food coloring to some white chocolate.  Click here for the full recipe.  I won't retype it; I'm scared I'll make a mistake doing that as well and then you will all mess up as badly as I did.  But check out my beautiful photos of the few moments that I did something right!



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spicy Cheese Crackers


I've been super lazy lately.  I haven't cooked, I haven't cleaned, I haven't done anything productive at all.  I think it's the I'm-fed-up-with-winter laziness.  That's a thing right?  Anyway, the other day I MADE myself cook something.  But another side effect of this laziness is that I haven't been to the store in the last 2 weeks.  So, with my limited supplies, I made these delicious crackers.  Honestly, I didn't really know people made crackers at home.  I guess that's a dumb thing to think, like Ritz invented the cracker in the 50's or something?  But crackers made from scratch are way better (of course) than the ones you get in a box.  These are buttery and crispy and cheesy and awesome.

This is a really simple recipe.  It took about ten minutes of hands-on time and then about 20 minutes in the oven and that's it.  This is also a jumping off point for making other flavors of crackers.  I think my next will be parmesan and rosemary.  But for my first cracker attempt, I went with a cheddar cheese cracker with some cumin and paprika.  Here's the recipe:

Spicy Cheese Crackers

8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 cup flour
6 tablespoons water

In a stand mixer, mix cheese, butter and spices.  Add flour and combine.  The mixture will be clumpy.  Mix in water.  Form dough into a ball.


Place ball of dough on a floured surface.  Roll dough out into a thin sheet.  Try to get it down to 1/8 of an inch thick.  I could only get mine down to about 1/4 of an inch.

Now slice into squares 1 inch by 3 inches.  Use a fork to poke holes in the top of each cracker (this is decorative, not super necessary).  Place crackers on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
Place crackers in a 375 degree oven.  Cook until they start to brown on the top.  This took my crackers about 20 minutes.  The next day, I felt like they were a little too soft, so I baked them for another ten minutes.  I like a crispy cracker.  But you might like yours a little softer.

That's it!  Homemade crackers!  I was pretty pleased with these.  Like I said, I'm looking forward to using this recipe to make different flavored crackers.  But this cheddar cheese cracker is a classic.  Buttery, salty, cheesy goodness.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Being a Responsible Adult






Striped Thermal: J. Crew (men's), Vest: Stein Mart, Scarf: World Market, Pants: Forever 21, Shoes: Urban Outfitters, Assorted Jewels

Friday, February 15, 2013

Post-Valentine's




This is what I wore last night on my Valentine's Date with Olie.  You have to wear pink and red on Valentine's Day, right?  I almost wore red jeans, but I thought that might be overkill.  Check out my new Converse!  I'm already obsessed.  
Pink Top: Forever 21, White Top: Forever 21, Black Jeans: Wal-Mart, Shoes: Converse, Watch: Fossil, Assorted Jewels

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Color on Black






Sweater: Forever 21, Top: Vintage Calvin Klein, White Jeans: Wal-Mart, Scarf: Forever 21, Shoes: Urban Outfitters, Cuffs: Urban Outfitters

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Homemade Corn Tortillas

My husband Olie spent a month in Mexico when he was in college, and ever since then, he has raved about homemade corn tortillas.  Having never had a homemade corn tortilla,  I have been completely content with the store bought ones and had no idea why Olie kept suggesting we try making them.  About a month ago, I gave in and made my first attempt.  Let me just say, there is no going back.

Here is the thing about making corn tortillas at home: if you don't know what they are supposed to taste like, they are almost impossible to make.  The directions are absolutely no help at all.  Thankfully, I had someone who was in the know, and I made Olie eat tortilla after tortilla until they were right.  Since that night, I have continued to make them about once a week and every time they get even better.

Some helpful tips: a corn tortilla should be pliable and strong.  Homemade corn tortillas don't tear apart like the store-bought ones.  Olie always rolls them into a tight roll and then unrolls them to test their strength.  If they don't tear, you know you're on the right track. Also, homemade corn tortillas are a bit thicker than the store-bought ones.  They are almost like a hybrid between flour tortillas and corn tortillas.  This should help you judge whether or not you have made them correctly.

I'm completely hooked on these, and honestly, they aren't very hard to make.  In Mexico, everyone makes them from scratch.  So it can't be that hard, right?

Here's how you do it.  First you need to buy Masa Harina.  This is a type of corn meal.  You can probably buy it in nicer grocery stores (like Whole Foods or Fresh Market), but save yourself a little money and go to a Mexican grocery store.  I paid $3.50 for a bag of Maseca, which is the brand that most people suggested online.
Now, on the back of the bag, there will be directions for corn tortillas.  However, as aforementioned, these are not very helpful.  But use them to get you started.  I generally make 8 tortillas, which (according to the back of the bag) takes 1 cup of masa harina, a pinch of salt, and 2/3 cup water.  Use hot water (it doesn't say this in the recipe, but you should do it).  Mix this together.
Once this is combined, turn it out onto a clean surface and begin to knead.  Now, this stuff doesn't want to knead, cuz it's all crumbly, but just keep at it.  The directions say to add water if the dough is too dry (thank you, recipe, that is extremely helpful).  What you are looking for is a slightly sticky dough.  So you will have to add more water, and probably a lot more water.  As you are kneading, add more hot water to the dough a tablespoon at a time.  Keep kneading until the dough comes together and is just a little bit sticky.
QUICKLY cover your dough with a wet towel.  Masa harina dries out really fast.  This will prevent that from happening.  Now it's time to shape the tortillas.  Pinch off a bit of dough and form into a golf-ball sized ball.  Place into a gallon ziploc bag.  Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a thin sheet.  Mine are never perfectly round, but they still taste fine.  If you want round tortillas, you can use a bowl like a cookie cutter and trim the edges.  I'll choose speed over prettiness any day.

Heat a cast iron skillet up to a medium/high heat and place tortilla on it.  Now, roll out a second tortilla. You should be rolling tortillas and cooking tortillas at the same time, you don't want to roll them out in advance or they will dry out.  Cook each tortilla for about one minute on each side.
Your tortillas should puff up while they are cooking, but if they don't, that's ok.  Mine don't always puff up and they still taste great.  Once your tortilla has cooked for one minute on each side, place it on a plate and cover the plate with a clean towel.  The tortillas will steam under the towel and get soft and moisten a little bit.
And there you have it!  Homemade corn tortillas!  They will stay warm under the towel for about 30 minutes, so make your tortillas before you make the rest of your meal.  I'm telling you, you will not regret trying this.  And every time you make them, they just get better and better.  I now see why Olie was so eager to make them.  They are worth the extra effort.