Pesto Freak (s and Geeks)

As I write, I am currently crashed in front of a marathon of Freaks and Geeks (is it still a marathon when there’s only one season to show?). My memories of TV shows from my childhood always remind me that 12-year-old boys and 12-year-old girls are very different. While I spent most of my free time from age 11 – 16 watching CW dramas and crying intermittently, it seems that Ryan spent most of his time at the same age “playing outside.” Therefore, when I refer to someone on a clear downhill spiral as “having a totally Mary-trashing-the-gym moment”, I get a blank stare.

I also frequently get a blank stare when I slather yet another meat/pasta/veggie/sandwich/anything with pesto. I love it. Ryan loves it…in moderation. And we used to have it in moderation, until I learned how ridiculously easy it is to make, freeze, and defrost your own homemade pesto. As someone who frequently finds myself pacing in the kitchen at 6:00 PM, feeling uninspired, it’s an amazing trick to have up your sleeve.

Basically the steps to having a delicious dinner are: 1. remove pesto ice cube from freezer, 2. place in (hot) pot/dish with whatever (hot item) you wish to slather in deliciousness, 3. eat. If you want to bake your dish with pesto, you can thaw your little ice cube in the microwave for 20 seconds and spoon it over said dish.

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I used this great tutorial from The Yummy Life to make my pesto cubes, and they are delicious. I also was not nearly as vigilant about keeping the air out of my ice cube tray as Monica, and nothing terrible happened – basically the oxidation process will make the cubes a little darker. However, I transferred them to Ziploc bags within a few hours (rather than overnight), so that may have something to do with it.

On a side note, if you’re in the market for some new kitchen tools, I am currently cheating on the love of my life (my Kitchenaid stand mixer), with my food processor. It’s the Cuisanart Elite Collection 14-cup model and it is basically a beast. I use it totally unnecessarily just because I can.

Hope you’re having a great Saturday, whether it’s full of productive kitchen prep, wallowing in cult classic TV (ahem – guilty), or something else fabulous. 🙂

-erin

Valentine’s Day (& the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie)

For the first time in our 4 year relationship, neither Ryan nor I was a graduate student on Valentine’s Day – or in other words, for the first time, the holiday wasn’t overshadowed by papers and textbooks. However, we are not a super traditional couple when it comes to any holiday, so our celebration was pretty low-key.

We headed to the Oak Openings Preserve Metropark for their annual event, Valentine’s Passion: Candlelight and Chocolate. Despite the slightly cheese-er-ific name, the event is super cute and kind of quirky – each couple gets their own lantern, and you can amble through a candlelit trail at your own pace. There are some volunteer-run stations along the way, including 2 make-your-own s’mores stops with bonfires, a photobooth, and a huge candle-lit heart on the skating pond. Incidentally, I did not fall on our little trek across the frozen pond – quite the accomplishment.

The trails lead to the park lodge, where we got our fill of gourmet hot chocolate, speciality truffles, cakes, and (obviously where I binged) cheeses. We had a great time, and it was nice to support the metropark on the holiday.

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Now, to get to the heart of the matter – sweet treats. Valentine’s Day is definitely all about indulgence, or at least it is in our (normally pretty healthy) household.

Ryan and I disagree on a pretty fundamental matter: the crunchy vs. gooey chocolate chip cookie. I am definitely a crunchy girl – my favorite is from the inimitable Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton. When I go home, I seriously will eat two or three packages in a matter of days. However, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’ve been working on perfecting the chewy, mushy, gooey cookie that Ryan favors. I have been stuck on the recipe for Alton Brown’s The Chewy. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly. The second time, I followed the recipe but adjusted the bake time – 15 minutes did NOT work for me; they were quite burnt at 11 mins. The third time, this weekend, I modified the recipe ever so slightly, to extreme, gluttonous results.

Heaven.

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Now, my dad would tell you it is a grave mistake to alter an Alton recipe in any way. It’s you, not Alton, if it doesn’t turn out. I usually agree – but these were just too good.

The original Chewy recipe is linked above – the alterations I made were:

-I used dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar

-I chilled the dough for 3 hours instead of 1

-I baked my cookies at 350 for 11 minutes instead of at 375 for 15.

The most important thing to note is that you should remove the cookies as soon as the edges are golden brown. I had my doubts – they seem awfully puffy, jiggly, and, to be frank, uncooked. If you keep them on the parchment paper as they cool, they will continue cooking, and be purrrrrfect.

Seriously, go make these for someone you love…or are trying to ensnare with your domestic charms. It will work, I promise.

-erin

Welcome

Welcome to my first second first non-Xanga, adult blog. (Remember Xanga? OMG. Yikes.)
I’d like to think of myself as a fairly average, albeit eclectic, 25-year-old, so this will be a collection of thoughts to which many can likely relate. I am in my third year of live-in girlfriend-dom, have two very badly behaved cats (who regularly jeopardize my live-in girlfriend status), am sharpening my culinary skills, and live love to shop.
I am excited to welcome you to my journey and share my thoughts on relationships, recipes, travel, & style.

-erin