Saturday, October 31, 2009

dark.

back in Lisle.
darker days means fewer opportunities to take good pictures.
but at least there was this.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cinnamon apple cake. For breakfast.

I'm very pleased to announce that I had cake for breakfast today.

cinnamon apple cake.

It was a cinnamon apple cake that my sister baked over the weekend, with this moist bread quality to it that made it seem OK to wrap up and bring to work on a Monday morning, and yet the sweet layer of sugar over the top reminded me that yes, this is a piece of cake that you're eating with your hands at your desk on a Monday morning.

I've had cookies for breakfast before and always felt a little guilty for it, ashamed almost. Like someone would pass by and think less of me because I couldn't pack something healthier for breakfast -- a bagel, perhaps, or a hard-boiled egg. But today, I was proud to eat cake, and wouldn't it be nice if every Monday began with cake?

cinnamon apple cake.

The strange thing about it all is that I had this cake for breakfast on Sunday and didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I did on Monday. I even told my sister, after those first few bites, that it was good cake and I'd eat it again, but I wouldn't beg her to make it. And then today, after the first few bites, I immediately emailed her and wrote that I changed my mind. Please make this again.

cinnamon apple cake.

Even now, my stomach grumbling for a snack of some sort and a bag of chips sitting eagerly in the pantry, I'm craving that cake. And for those of you who know me at all, you know that I never choose cake over potato chips. What is happening to me?

Tastes just change as we get older, I suppose. At 25 years old, I've finally developed a sweet tooth. It's kind of like my newly discovered love for all things fall. Sooner or late, we just have to give in. And it just so happens that this very dessert is so very fall.

rome apples. and october.

Recipe found here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Walking and eating: Chicago Food Planet Tour.

Last weekend, I was invited to go on a food tour through Chicago with Shanna and Caitlin, hosted by the Chicago Food Planet Tours. We walked through Chicago neighborhoods, learned about residential architecture and local history, and tasted and sampled and ate. Reubens, tea, hummus, cheese, toffee, oils, vinegars, spices, pizza. Oh my.

After the tour, we stopped at Swirlz Cupcakes, and I fell in love with a swirl of frosting.

Reuben.
Catering | Chocolate

Old Town Oil
Old Town Oil
bacino's stuffed pizza.
Swirlz cupcake.
shanna and caitlin

It was a very good day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

suddenly.


autumn in the city.
i feel like it happened
suddenly.
one day, i'm waiting for
the blue skies
and changing leaves,
but there's nothing but gray.
and then, just like that:
color.

Working, whisking, and creamy mac-and-cheese.

mac and cheese dinner

Overwhelming doesn't have to mean intimidating, and I'm learning this more and more every day. Like today, my first at the new job, when I got just a glimpse of how much my working life is going to change, and how busy I'm going to be, and how much I have to learn...yes, you could say it was a little overwhelming.

But overwhelming in a way that's normal, I think, because change certainly isn't easy, and I suppose I better get used to that now, given the many changes to take place in the next year. If you're wondering exactly how the first day went, well, it went really well. Great people who really know what they're doing, in an office that I know I'll get used to. It just takes time.

And that's kind of the frustrating part: the time. I'd much rather fast-forward to a few months from now, when I'm feeling more comfortable with the office and my new responsibilities, and I might still be the new girl but not so much that I feel almost clueless. That's where the patience comes in, though -- another thing I'm constantly learning to grasp, whether waiting for a roll of film to develop or whisking a thick paste into a creamy sauce.

baked macaroni and cheese

This macaroni and cheese recipe was a bit overwhelming, and 8 to 12 minutes of constant whisking might have intimidated me had the recipe not been perfect to serve when my sister and her fiance came over for dinner a couple of weekends ago. It is Martha Stewart's Perfect Macaroni and Cheese, after all, so I told myself I could do this and went out and bought the expensive cheeses and everything.

roasted veggies

Of course, in perfect moral-of-the-story form, the confidence and patience paid off. Served alongside roasted veggies and salad, this mac-and-cheese is bound together with a sauce that is rich and creamy in a way that's actually not overwhelming at all.

So I guess what it all comes down to is that I'm still just in the whisking stage of this new job, and a lot of things, actually. Like wedding planning or learning to take good pictures or simply living each day. Just keep whisking.

mac and cheese dinner

The original recipe can be found here, but I ended up following the version at Smitten Kitchen, instead.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

her.



this is me
wearing fingerless gloves
that my sister knit for me.
oh
and she can paint, too.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Last day. First egg in a nest.



Today was my last day working at a job that I've held for the past year and a half. My last day. I spent a lot of time thinking about that -- about how it was my last time turning on that computer, or sitting at that desk, or dodging commuters on my walk to the train station. I suppose I was trying to get the depth and meaning of it all into my head and realize that that part of my life is over. That my everyday is about to change, and that I'm taking a giant step forward.

But to be quite honest, thinking all of those "last time" thoughts got kind of old after a while. Maybe because it's not until the first time that the change really starts to digest. When I drive up to my new office on Monday morning, and walk inside to sit at my new desk and new computer and new responsibilities, that's when it'll hit me. Holy crap, I'll think. This is it. A new beginning.

I like that idea, really -- instead of dwelling on the last of anything, to focus on the many beginnings that are ahead. In the next year, I will start a new job, meet a new niece, gain a new brother-in-law, and marry the man I love. Wow. That's the first time I've actually listed them all off like that. It's going to be an exciting year.

egg in a nest!

And of course, as always, there are the little things in between. They may not change my life the way getting married or starting a new job might, but they're what keep me sane when the excitement of it all might turn to stress. When adjusting to a new commute might get tough or when choosing the right wedding invitation becomes way too involved than it should, I can always count on the simple things to keep me going. As simple as flipping over an egg for breakfast and squealing at the perfection of it all.

egg in a nest!

This was the first time I made an egg in a nest, or a toad in a hole, or whatever those crazy kids call it nowadays. The first time. One of many firsts to come.


Egg in a Nest

1 egg
1 slice of bread
butter

With a cookie cutter or the rim of a small drinking glass, cut a hole into the middle of the slice of bread. Melt a pat of butter in a frying pan on medium heat, and place the bread in the pan. Crack an egg into the hole and wait for the egg to set, about 2 minutes or so, depending on how runny you like the egg yolk (I love runny egg yolk). Season with salt and pepper, then flip the bread and egg and wait for the other side to set. Serve on a pretty plate, take a picture or two, and dig in.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blankets of Brussels sprouts.

Is it too early to start dreaming up holiday menus? If so, please know that it was an accident, I swear. It all started with these Brussels sprouts at the farmers market.



I've come to realize that come fall, my inspiration to cook slows down a notch, hence my silence around these parts lately. In the summer, when the farmers markets are loaded with colorful new-to-me vegetables every week, it's almost a bit overwhelming. Once September hits, everyone freaks out about the apples and pumpkins. Except me. I have no desire to cook anything with apples or pumpkins. Sorry.




So thank goodness for these Brussels sprouts and the thick stalk they grew on. They looked so odd and straight-from-the-earth, I just couldn't resist. Of course, my first thought was to drizzle them with olive oil and lemon and roast them -- my simple go-to that has gone from simple to just plain boring. I couldn't show up here with another lemony roasted vegetable. So I turned to Molly of Orangette and, lo and behold, she had the recipe for me: Cream-braised Brussels sprouts.



This recipe is meant as a side dish to accompany a large bird or ham or other meat to be eaten during the holidays, and let me tell you -- once those Brussels sprouts were simmering in cream on the stove, my apartment filled with the smell of Thanksgiving. The sprouts had become layers of soft, creamy blankets, and when I took my first few bites, I couldn't help but imagine swimming in a bed of quilts and pillows and having to eat my way out.

Forget waiting for the holidays. A dish like this is welcome anytime -- even a rainy, windy Saturday afternoon in October, with nothing to serve it with but leftover chicken, and nothing much to celebrate besides the simplicity and comfort of it all.

cream-braised brussels sprouts

Find the recipe here.

burt's.

burt's place
burt's place
ate pizza here
with some blogger friends
and oh my.
burt makes the best crust
ever.

Friday, October 9, 2009

entryway.



i took these after a rainstorm
when i looked out the window
and saw the sky
and ran outside
in my pajamas
camera in hand.
the sky pictures didn't really turn out.
but these
of the entryway to my apartment
i really like.

happy friday!

Monday, October 5, 2009

what is.

at the chainmail store.
sometimes it's hard to avoid
dwelling on the "what if..."
and to just focus on
what is.
but i try.
and i'm thankful
for life and love and light.