Thursday, June 25, 2009

More than a passing resemblance

After rereading a series of emails between myself and Andy today concerning the black and white cookie he brought back from NYC for me, I'm a bit disturbed at how much my speech patterns resemble a certain googly-eyed, blue muppet.

Email Subject: YUMMY YUMMY!!!!!!

Me: BLACK & WHITE COOKIE IS AWESOME!!!! I think you might need to go back to NYC soon so you can buy me MORE!

Andy: :)

Me: (obviously cannot let it go) Do you need to go back to NY today? Cause I might be okay with that if it means more COOKIE! NOM NOM NOM!

Andy: (possibly frightened) If I had ANY room left in my bag I would have gotten more, but I was running at capacity!

Me: I never knew what all the fuss was about. I don't really like frosted cookies really, but this is like cake and the frosting is like chocolate and vanilla armies battling with cookie and my mouth for most favoritest. Have you had the cookie? Do you know it's greatness?

Andy: (pleading and bargaining for his life) I do not know of the greatness, but next time I’ll get one for me to eat on the plane and three for you!

Me: How many cookies for me? Did you say six?

Andy: dozen

Me: You may live.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You'll always be second best

Just got an email from Milo's daycare (we have not become rich nor snooty, don't worry) with the subject line: The cutest dog at Earth Pups.

This picture was attached to the email.

Good to see Milo's way with the ladies hasn't waned at all. Andy always jokes that he's worried we'll drop Milo off one day for daycare or boarding, and when we come back, the place will be closed up--the owner, Julie, off enjoying cocktails on a beach with Milo somewhere far, far away.

I agree that it might happen, but it would totally be Milo's idea.

When I walked him over to Earth Pups this morning around 7:00am, he was dragging ass, not at all enjoying Chicago's first official heat wave. Once we got to the door and he heard Julie's voice, his head and tail snapped up, and a convulsing, wriggling happy dance ensued.

Without even a glance over his shoulder, he took off through the door to his happiest place on earth.

When it was time to say bye, Julie tried to make him wave his paw at me, but his eyes were all, "And you are?"

You cut me deep, Milo. You cut me real deep.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pasta Night

My first two posts in a long time are both gonna be about food. (Sorry Uncle Tom.)

Last weekend, having my first break from work since May, I wanted to make the most of my Saturday.

Since it was raining and gloomy, finally making fresh pasta and a bolognese sauce recipe I'd had my eye on sounded like the best way to alleviate my working woman blues. Armed with an idea, I called Andrea, who's always up for a new cooking challenge and set a menu.

Baked goat cheese with toasted garlic crostini, homemade pasta with bolognese and tiramisu (!!!) for dessert. (I told you she's always up for a challenge.)

I grabbed the America's Test Kitchen version for the pasta dough, mixed it up in the food processor, grabbed our ingredients, a couple bottles of wine and headed down to Lincoln Park for an afternoon and evening of cooking and eating.

Andrea had warned me that she didn't have any fancy pasta making equipment, but all we needed was a rolling pin and a knife.

Everyone helped unroll the pasta, though some of us had trouble seeing the pasta as anything other than facial hair.

I have to hide the dry pasta at home because it's one of Andy's favorite snacks. Yeah, really.

And now I apparently will have to hide any fresh pasta as well.

Because we were unsure how the pasta would react in boiling water, we used the biggest pot Andrea and Eric had in their kitchen, not thinking about how long it would take 4 gallons of water to come to a boil.

With some time to kill, the photo above spawned a photo contest which I still believe was rigged, but have to go with Eric's (below)as my favorite.

(Yes we still ate that basil, which was grown in our garden, even after it was up Andy's nose)

Once the water boiled, it was only minutes until the pasta was cooked, and I have now developed an apron obsession after Andrea introduced me to this.

Tossed with a little olive oil and fresh basil.

Now we're talkin'. I want to climb through my monitor and stick my face in that.

This too.

I think this more accurately represents my food photography skills as well. The pasta beard and basil 'stache is still hard to beat though.

We ate lots of pasta, drank lots of wine and had more tiramisu than is probably necessary. We even watched the naked bike ride from their balcony. (But not in a pervy way. The 21st floor is too high to see any naughty bits.)

The bolognese recipe we used was loosely based on this one, though I halved it, used half ground beef, half mild Italian sausage (because the grocery was out of ground pork) and used probably a little more wine than the average person since Andrea and I decided it needed more to "thin it out" before serving. Amazing taste, and not difficult though the 90 minutes or so we allowed it to simmer definitely helped.

Fresh Pasta Recipe from America's Test Kitchen
I want to stress that this was NOT hard. Especially for the amazing results that came of it, I think it's definitely worth a try if you've never made pasta from scratch. I used my food processor because I'm lazy, but you can mix the ingredients by hand if you need to. I don't imagine it's that hard since you have to knead it anyway.

2 cups all purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten

(Yes, that's it. Really!)

1. Pulse the flour a few times in a food processor to aerate. Add the eggs and process until the dough forms a ball, about 30 seconds.

2. If the dough resembles small pebbles, add water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. If the dough sticks to the sides, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time, and process until the dough forms a rough ball.

3. Turn out the dough ball and any small bits onto a clean counter. Knead the dough by hand until it is smooth, about 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes (or up to 2 hours) before rolling.

(To roll, if you can't tell from the photos, I just used a rolling pin to roll it out as thin as possible into an approximate rectangle. Then I cut the piece in half, rolled each half and cut slices to create pasta strands that can be unrolled individually.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bike Trip North

Watching the pups play at the Evanston dog beach.