A chronicle of my attempts to live a classy life as a single girl in the Nation's Capital

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Things I've been cooking

While I have been feeling too busy to blog, I have not been too busy to cook.  Every now and then I remembered to take pictures for eventual use. In addition to our nightly dinners, I have also managed to pull off several dinner parties featuring: roast chicken with pan gravy, braised short ribs with garlic and peppers, grilled filets with compound butter and crab pot pies (an original recipe!) and flaming ouzo shrimp.  Mouth watering yet?  Mine is.

Cooking is a real passion of mine.  I have Ina and Gordon on the DVR and dream about going to culinary school and opening a restaurant.  Thomas even asked me one night "how would you feel about opening a restaurant in the Caribbean?" It's fun to talk about, but dream on...

Here are some photos of the food I remembered to photograph and my original crab pot pie recipe!  Enjoy.

Garlic and parsley potatoes

Crab Pot Pie (recipe follows) 

Mushroom bourguignon

Bacon wrapped filets with compound butter (a decadent Saturday dinner)
Lemon Rosemary Greek Potatoes (recipe coming in another post!)

Greek burgers--using tzatziki instead of mayo is awesome! 

And now the promised recipe!  I came up with this one for my dad's birthday and it was amazing!  It's also something you can assemble ahead of time and all you need to do when guests arrive is pop it in the oven. Since this is a recipe I made myself, not all measurements are exact--I go by feeling.  But that's what makes cooking fun!

Crab Pot Pie (6 servings)
1 pound crab meat 
1/4 cup dry Sherry 
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups Leeks sliced
2-3 cups mushrooms sliced
1 cup Celery sliced
1 cup carrot diced/sliced
1/2 onion, diced 
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups chicken stock
3-5 tbsp of butter 
1/2 cup flour 
A lil cream 
A lil fresh parsley and thyme 
Puff pastry, thawed. (get 4 sheets!)
1 egg lightly beaten with some h2o (this is an egg wash)
  1. Saute all veg (with garlic) in butter until tender.  Season with S & P.  Add flour and cook off 
  2. Add chicken stock, sherry and cream cook through,
  3. In another bowl, mix crab with lemon zest, a bit of paprika and fresh parsley and thyme 
  4. Take cream mix off heat and gently stir in crab (keep big lumps) 
  5. Butter some ramekins and spoon pie mix in.  Put some egg wash around the outside rim of the ramekin; this will help the pastry stick to it when you pinch it around. 
  6. Cover ramekins with puff pastry (making sure pastry is slightly bigger), pinch pastry around and brush on egg wash.  Season crusts with a little S &P
  7. Bake in oven at 375 for 25-35 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

House Photos

As promised, here are some photos of the new house with commentary.  I really wish I had taken more before and after photos but I was so busy it never occurred to me.  Until now, when it's too late...

But first, I have to say that I am feeling great today.  I finally went back to the gym and it was wonderful  Except my new gym doesn't have all the equipment I like.  And they also have a version of something that I love, but I refused to go near this version.  I found a pic of it online and you can guess why:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you "The Butt Blaster" The one at my gym was even older, the writing larger and in bright purple...  I'm not working out on something with the words "Butt Blaster" in large cursive font.  Luckily the gym is scheduled for a renovation starting 3/1 

Now on to the house pics!  I will start on the bottom floor, we have a small basement area with a separate office and full bath.  It is affectionately called "the man cave" even though I hang out here just as much.
This is the view as you come down the stairs.  It's a great movie room--and the leather couch has 2 reclining seats.  the most stylish?  No.  But so comfortable! And really not bad looking. 

The bar area.  I added mirrors to the back of these shelves and repurposed that bar cart.  It used to be white, so I painted it chocolate brown and then Thomas and I placed some cool coasters we got at local bars on it and topped it with custom cut glass.

On the main level.  A lot of my furniture here.  We got rid of the more girly blue and opted for a terra-cotta accent color. 

A view of the chair and the front door off to the left. 

A really cool hand watercolored engraving we got called "Washington from Arlington Heights" 

A view of the dining/kitchen area.  That orange wall used to be a kinda gross sea foam green.  The color looks redder in this pic than it really is. 

Our dining table--I love the legs!  We have a very small dining area and this table was the perfect solution.  It folds up really narrow but also folds out to a normal size that can seat 6 or maybe even more.  We bought nice quality wood and leather folding chairs that are stored in a closet upstairs for extra seating. 

The beautiful kitchen.  This is what made me fall in love with this house.  The breakfast bar is a unique feature in these models, and it is awesome.  The kitchen was renovated October 2010, so it's brand new. 

The back patio... It's a mess.  We love our fire pit and grill which are used often.  We have big plans for renovating this once we save $$ so stay tuned!  
The really cool pendant light upstairs that I hung myself :)   Was one of those blah builder basic lamps

The bedroom.  These walls were the same green as the kitchen--they loved sea foam.   I repainted it this luxurious royal blue.  It is so relaxing and royal 

And I love the way white furniture looks against it! 

And this... is my room.  My office, where I am sitting right now.  I got this amazing wallpaper with different European landmarks in a 1960s style.  it has cherry red accents as well.  I painted the walls in here this elegant grey and Thomas' dad helped me hang the chandelier (it was after watching him do this one that I was able to do the one in the hallway). The futon is queen size an perfect for overnight guests and also perfect for relaxing on while grading or reading. 

My desk area.  I got this cherry red desk that matches the accents in the wallpaper.  It is also narrow (this is a TINY room).  And I finally bought a Mac.  I am 100% Apple now and loving it. 

So that's my house!  I love it, but of course still have lots of decor plans.  It's been a lot of fun putting this all together, though I will say that with a house built in the 1940s, "simple" projects encounter strange roadblocks along the way.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And I'm back...

It's been a long while, and I can't say how many times I've told the people around me "I really should start writing again..." But here's what happened:
Around July, my boyfriend and I decided to move in together (yay!) and I got to be a part of the house hunting. The search, the prepping for a move and eventual moving sucked up all my time and energy. In addition, I started my new job at Robinson High School 2 days after moving in.
Two big stressful (but wonderful) life events at the same time.
I now live in a beautiful townhouse in Arlington and the decorating fervor is beginning to calm down (pictures to come. I'm going to tidy up around here first...) and am actually loving having a "room mate."

I am finally feeling like my head is above water and that I have time to do things like this. Honestly, I did before but was just so tired. 

I also thought about a list I wanted to post while driving home today.  My students have a list they compose of songs for our newspaper website.  Most recently was a list of break up songs.  As I was driving home, I was listening to my iPod and realized just how ridiculous some of the lyrics are.  But the songs are so catchy that I end up singing along any way.  Here is my list of 10 songs with the most ridiculous lyrics that I have actually purchased (in no particular order). I do have to say that this is not necessarily a representation of my actual overall musical taste...  Look for more substantial posts to come; I am committed to actually writing again.

 1. Short Skirt/Long Jacket by Cake (I actually think these lyrics are very smart.  But still feel silly singing along.) 
Silliest Line: "I want a girl with uninterrupted prosperity
Who uses a machete to cut through red tape
With fingernails that shine like justice
And a voice that is dark like tinted glass"

2. Scotty Doesn't Know by Lustra 
Silliest Lines: The parkin lot
Why not? It's so cool when you're on top!
His front lawn in the snow
Life is so hard because Scotty doesn't know!" 

3. BedRock by Young Money & Lloyd 
Silliest Lines (it's a tie) "We murderers, cause we kill time" and "I love your sushi roll, hotter than wasabi" Pure poetry... 

4. Love in this Club by Usher (I'm embarrassed I own this song.  But still kinda dancing along right now) 
Silliest Lines: "I'll be like your medicine, you'll take every dose of me.
It's going down on aisle 3, I'll bag you like some groceries."
Clean up in aisle 3...
5. Hot Tottie by Usher 
Silliest Lyrics: "Big ballin' is my hobbySo much so they think I'm down with the IlluminatiMy watch do illuminate"

6. Bow Chicka Wow Wow by Mike Posner 
Silliest Line: Just look at the title!
Actual still from the music video. 

7. Super Bass by Nicki Minaj 
Silliest Lyric: "This one is for the boys in the Polos
Entrepreneur n****s in the moguls"

8. $8 Bottle of Wine by Corey Smith (going to another concert of his March 3!) 
Silliest Line: "Leave the corkscrew in the drawer,
It's all in the wrist,
Give that top a twist,
And she's ready to pour."

9. Mushaboom by Feist 
Silliest line (the chorus): Old dirt road (mushaboom, mushaboom)
Knee deep snow(Mushaboom, mushaboom)
Watching the fire as we grow old (mushaboom, mushaboom)"

10. Right Round by Flo Rida 
Silliest Line: "No women, no shawties, no nothin but clothes
No stoppin now, my Pirellis on roll
I like my jewelry, that’s always on whoa" 

Learned something new today... this song features Ke$ha.  Can't say I'm that surprised. 

What songs do you find yourself singing along to that have the most ridiculous lyrics?