Sunday, December 25, 2011

Eleven things that I learned in 2011.

Now that Christmas is almost wrapped up, I'd like to share that 2011 was a very educational year for me. Here is what I got for the eleven things I learned in '11...

I learned... (#1)
I am passionate about three things in life. I challenge everyone to think about the 3 things in life that they are passionate about outside of friends and family. It's a harder question than you think. Also, don't pay much mind to the hand motion comments below - it's just a reference to the San Diego *lawyer* (a.k.a. I think that was his line) who told me that he only loved three things and illustrated with hand motions. This is where I am a little quirky. :) 

(A) - dogs. (Point one finger to the sky.) 2011 brought me Flugzeug... aka Zeuggie... aka Z. He is the love of my life. I also love the people in my life who treat the dog as if he was my family. I know its not the same, but just watch Game of Thrones and you'll understand he is my dyer wolf. (Yes, I am a nerd that watches Sci-Fi...) 2011 also met Haas with a lot of pain and illness. Please everyone keep him in your prayers. Although he doesn't live everyday with me, he still is my first baby. 

(B) - Skiing. (Point 2 fingers straight ahead, perpendicular to the ground.) Mammoth girls weekend in 2011 and a repeat in 2012. Can.not.wait. Plus, I have learned to drop a cornice without crying. Geishas are gonna treat me well this year. Would love to hit up Kitzbuehel and Jackson also in 2012, but Austria may be a stretch. 

(C) - Throwing Parties. (Point 3 fingers to the ground.) My idol is Chef Roble. Anyone who wants to commission me for a party next year -- IN. I threw my personal best parties ever this year (yes, biased and bragging a little). Got asked to do center pieces and 2 weddings next year. Culmination of my party planning abilities was the 12 bars of Madison Park. Sorry, I was cranky that day and took no pictures. Need to learn how to be less emotional. Note for 2012. 

I learned... (#2)
 My parents are still the best people I know. Sometimes when I think about my parents, I think about the poem "Footprints." In the toughest times of my life, my parents carried me. 

I learned... (#3)  
The driving etiquette of Madison Park. For those of you who don't know... Gardners yield for runners. Runners yield for old people. Old people yield for people with kids. Everyone yields for anyone leaving the tennis club in their fancy cars. Dude. More than 10 times that I have almost been hit this year. 

I learned... (#4)
 Don't leave things on the floor when you have a puppy. 

I learned... (#5) 
Text conversations between men and women should be limited to "when are we meeting?" -- at least mine should.

I learned... (#6)
 To be thankful for wonderful friends. I have more good friends now than ever before in my life. I started to name all of you, but then thought you know who you are. I love you guys.

I learned... (#7)
 Every woman needs a closet room and professional photos. My closet room is my club house. I have slept on the fainting couch many times this year. Makes me feel safe. Also, from a girl who wore uniforms all her life, I am happy surrounded by my party dresses. There are few bad days that can't be solved with Fendi purse or a Herve Leger dress. On the photo side, doesn't matter how much you have pay, every girl should have something that she can look at and always feel beautiful.  I recommend Nicole Raine and Lawrence Kim for photos. 

I learned... (#8)
 I can still cook. I make a mean Mac and Cheese.  For the Christmas party, I did individual Mac and Cheeses. Really you can make anything into an appetizer. 

* Ingredients * 
1 pound pasta, cooked

* Topping* 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups panko* (Japanese bread crumbs) or coarse dry bread crumbs
  • 1 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 4 ounces)
* Sauce *
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 1 pound)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup medium, fresh salsa

* Instructions *
  • Cook pasta for 20 minutes. 
  • Mix together panko, melted butter and 1 cup cheese. Set aside. 
  • Heat butter and flour into a roux, constantly stirring in sauce pan for 3 minutes. Add milk, pepper and pepper flakes. Bring to boil and simmer for 6 minutes until reduced to 1/2 of volume.  
  • Stir in cream, 4 cups cheese, mustard, salt and pepper.
  • Mix sauce, salsa and noodles together. 
  • Divide between 30 mini Ramekins.
  • Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Broil on High for 2 minutes.  
I learned... (#9) I have great instincts on boys. My biggest issue is that I don't listen to them. 

I learned... (#10)
 Forgiveness is paramount in life. Don't hold grudges. Don't be too proud to say you are are sorry. Nothing wrong with humbling yourself. 

I learned... (#11)
 Great things happen when least expected. Onto 2012.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Eat. Drink. Be Merry.

First blog post in a while. Been working really hard and well, while I have done lots of creative things - parties, monkey hats, mini mac and cheeses - I haven't had the time or the gum shone to blog about anything. But, I thought today about how much I love my blog and for the 33 people who like me on "the Book" you mean the world to me. Seriously. One click and you win my heart. 

I was told today to be more modest. Kinda funny since many times I have been told that I sell myself short all the time. Maybe I just need to find a happy medium. I made 3 of the desserts below. (Not perfect out of the box.) Just to get it right - before I took the picture. (Only a perfectionist about my creative side.) When I delivered them - I got a text that read "I sent a picture to Martha with the caption the bar has been raised, bitch." (Yep... that's bragging. Also, I apologize since my mom told me not to swear on my blog.) I also burned my face on a curling iron this week. (Clumsy.) I make a crap load of mistakes. All I can do is try and apologize when I screw up. 

This weeks recipe... peppermint chocolate trifles. For those of you who missed Rachel's trifle experiment on Friends, trifles are not made with beef. Instead, they are a lovely layered dessert (sans protein).  To make your dish look more elegant, I always think it is a good idea to serve your food in individualized portions vs. family style. For this event, I chose champagne glasses on Wedgwood saucers. (Party tip - buy glassware at IKEA. $0.75 a glass vs a $1.10 to rent.) And well, after you read the recipe you will realize that the right serving dish can make the simplest of desserts look elegant. 

Peppermint Chocolate Trifles 

* Ingredients * 
1 box of chocolate cake 
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
1 1/4 cups water
1 box chocolate pudding 
3 cups whole milk 
2 cups whipping cream 
1/2 cup powdered sugar 
3 Tablespoons Peppermint Schnapps 
12 candy canes
Mint for garnish

* Instructions * 
1. Bake cake as instructed on box. Let cool completely. Using a serrated knife, cut into 1 inch squares.  
2. Cook pudding as instructed on box. (Yep... I told you this was stupid easy.) 
3. Beat cream in blender into stiff peaks. Add in sugar and liquor. 
4. Put 6 candy canes into a plastic Ziploc bag. Crush with spoon. 
5. Layer ingredients as desired. Garnish with mint and extra Candy Canes.