Wednesday, May 29

Raspberry-Chocolate Truffle Tart

A couple of weeks ago the June issue of Coastal Living arrived in my mailbox and as usual I immediately flipped to the recipe section to find a perfect looking strawberry-chocolate truffle tart. I had to make it, so last week I went out to get the ingredients, but finding nice looking, none smushed or on the verge of rotting strawberries proved to be a challenge.  Two grocery stores later, I decided to improvise with raspberries and thus I present the raspberry truffle tart.
It is so easy to make and takes no time compared to the hours long process of my hazelnut truffles
Here's how!

What you'll need.
3/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup of shortbred cookie crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
12 ounces of 55% to 60% bittersweet chocolate, chopped (chip form is just fine)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 packages of raspberries

What to do.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and combine the first four ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. Press the cookie mixture into an ungreased nine-inch tart pan and bake for seven to ten minutes. Then set it aside and let cool completely.
3. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring until smooth, then stir in the vanilla extract.
4. Pour the chocolate filling into the tart shell and set aside until it is cool but not completely firm. 
5. Arrange raspberries on top of the chocolate and chill tart until firm.

PS. You can expect to see some changes around here in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, May 28

Memorial Day Weekend

All in all it was a good weekend.

Puppy's follow up appointment with the doctor on Saturday went well. Her liver levels were still elevated but not as much as they had been. She should be back to normal by the end of the week. Ironically, she's taking bubble gum flavored amoxicillin through an eye dropper, so I don't think there will be any lessons learned on her part.

It rained the rest of the day so we couldn't do too much outdoors. We had big plans to get our little boat in the water, but that didn't happen. Soon enough. I personally want to haul it up to Oyster Bay and test it out in "the bathtub" where we learned to sail last Memorial Day weekend. I think it would be easier to figure out if anything else is wrong with it in the protected little area in front of the Waterfront Center. There was definitely some cracking noises coming from the mast area when we took it out in October. 

Yesterday was the first time I was out at the beach since the hurricane. The beach was unrecognizable. The private beach and bird preserve are gone. It's ten feet of beach carved into a small cove over there. The main beach is shorter than I've ever seen it. All of that sand has washed into a sandbar that stretches out to where the old beach would have ended. They put up tall metal dividers so you can no longer cross over the highway. That path through the woods is blocked by a huge pile of dirt and sand. It was very sad to see but a gorgeous day none the less. A couple of JD's friends from law school came out from the city for the day. We set up a windscreen, barbecued, and made friends with two little dogs called Rio and Paola (but I'm pretty sure they only liked us for our food).

Friday, May 24

Memorial Day Weekend & Ten Things

The holiday weekend is upon us, bringing with it the official start of beach season and the social acceptance of white pants. I kid, nobody cares, I wear them year round. The weather is looking pretty gross here in New York for the big three day weekend, I haven't seen the sun all week and my hair looks.. interesting. Thanks, humidity. For me, the perfect way to spend the weekend would be at the beach, or sailing. That's usually the plan, hopefully the sun will make an appearance and we can.

Here are ten things for a perfect Memorial Day Weekend.

one. swimsuit / two. panama hat / three. beach towel / four. sandals / five. beach 
six. dress / seven. sunglasses / eight. strawberry mojitos / nine. nailpolish / tenbag

Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 22

What a week

It's been quite a week, and it's only Wednesday. Oh dear.
Monday evening the ever inquisitive Mischa helped herself to half a pack of Trident gum, the sugarfree kind that's loaded with xylitol. In case you are unfamiliar with it, xylitol is a sweetener that is toxic to cats and dogs. It can cause their blood sugar to drop, which could result in seizures, as well as liver damage. Basically, it makes you wonder if you should even be consuming it as a human, but according to the google, our human metabolisms can handle it. Right.

So the last few days have been super fun as you could imagine. We spent Monday night getting checked out at the 24 hour animal hospital where she spent the night, last night we picked her up and this morning it was back to the doctor. Mischa is home now and doing well, her liver levels are a little elevated so she is on medication and goes back to the doctor for a follow up on Saturday.
The little troublemaker, happy to be back home after a long day and night in the hospital. 

PS. The red bandage on her arm is from having her blood drawn, she is now bandage free!

Monday, May 20

Graduation

JD graduated from Law School yesterday. I am so incredibly proud of him. And though he does not feel very finished or accomplished, and swears that he won’t until he takes the bar at the end of July, he has accomplished so much, and he is finished!

 I cannot believe how fast the last three years have gone. It’s a little scary actually. Was it really three years ago that we loaded the old van with all of JD’s things to drive in to his new apartment? It’s strange how you can remember certain things so clearly that they could have happened last week, and other things feel much further in the past than they are. 
JD about to have his name called. Once it was he booked it across the stage so fast I didn't have time to snap a picture! 
Mayor Bloomberg, the guest speaker, receiving his honorary degree from Arthur Abbey and Dean Crowell.
After the the ceremony. It rained all day in New York. Our sinuses, and hair, didn't stand a chance!

Remember when iphone photos used to be good? Could have sworn they were much better quality when I first got my phone, but that was three years ago. Maybe it’s just too old to care. I wish I had ignored the rules like everyone else and taken my camera anyway. The number of family members snapping photos with specifically prohibited dlsrs made me want to cry, but that's what I get for following the rules. JD, you may be asked to don your cap and gown once more for a proper photo shoot. (:

Friday, May 17

Short Hair

Every now and then (usually at the exact moment my hair gets to my desired length) I feel the need for a change. A few years back I cut my hair so that the ends just brushed the tops of my shoulders. I loved it. It was a great cut and so easy to style, but then one day I decided that I missed my long hair and vowed to grow it out. Thanks to a series of miscommunications between my hairdresser over the years, it hasn't quite gotten to that dream length yet. You know what I'm talking about, you go in for a trim and boom, three inches later... there are tears, and you're "never getting your hair cut again, UGH!" It's all too common. Well, I'm still working on that dream of long hair, and I'm determined to stick with it. But, lately I've been wishing for short hair. I think it has to do with the season. Long hair in warm weather can get frustrating, especially hair that has been damaged by color and styling.

This all boils down to a very simple question: how upset will I be with myself three weeks after the cut?


The answer is always the same: very.

Amanda Seyfried has the most gorgeous hair, so glossy and healthy looking. This is my goal length and has been for what feels like forever.

But Brooklyn Decker's long bob is so pretty and fun for summer!

So while I dream of days walking around with a Grace Kelly cut, they'll have to wait for now.

Wednesday, May 15

The Golden Era

If there is any concept that the first eight episodes of Mad Men have reenforced it's that there is no golden era. We know that life was tough in the US during the 1930s and 40s, but the 1950s and early 60s are often looked at through a rose colored lens. Enter the perfect family, dad's a handsome businessman, mom raises the kids at home while looking perfectly gorgeous in a full skirt, the kids have manners, and the family dog rescues them all from the well. Not on this show folks. No one is happy or appears to possess any redeeming qualities. Everyone is having affairs and just being terrible to each other in general.

The Great Gatsby has a similar theme. The glamour of the 1920s is only put on display at Gatsby's parties. Once the guests have trickled out of the garden and the gates have closed, everyone in the story is pretty miserable. Fitzgerald's characters have everything and nothing at the same time and most of them are so evil about it. Having read the book several times I have seen different sides of them. The first time I read it I hated Myrtle and felt sorry for Daisy, the last time it was the opposite. I haven't seen the new film yet, but plan to do so soon, mostly for the costumes. It's a great story, don't get me wrong, but I'd rather go to the theater to laugh than feel sad about the state of the world.

Two picture perfect era's have their dirty undersides revealed time and time again, reminding us that nothing is truly perfect, but it doesn't sway our perception of those golden days, does it?

On another note, have you seen The Great Gatsby and is it any good?

Monday, May 13

Last Night

First things first, I hope that all of you lovely mothers out there had the best Mother's Day yesterday!

It was a very busy weekend around these parts. Friday I took JD out for dinner to celebrate taking his last law school final. Saturday, we bottled our blueberry beer and brewed a vanilla porter in record time. We're definitely getting the hang of it. And yesterday, my mom came into the city for brunch. 

Last night JD and I went to see ASSSSCAT at the UCB Theater in Chelsea. If you don't know what that is I suggest you log into your Netflix account right now and watch their special. You could also consult the Google. Whatever floats your boat. Amy Poehler hasn't been around to do the show in a while, and it was Mother's Day, something I did not realize when I decided to purchase tickets for the 7:30pm show last month. I had accepted the fact that Amy was probably not going to be there, but the show would be worth seeing regardless. As we walked in, this really familiar looking guy held the door open for us. I couldn't place him. We made our way downstairs. and settled into seats behind the guest monologist's chair on the side of the stage area. Then I noticed four seats taped off in the area facing the stage. I whispered to JD "oh, I wonder who's here..." They usually don't have seats reserved, it's kind of a sit wherever you can sort of place. The lights dimmed, the music stopped, and out runs Amy Poehler with wet hair to introduce the show! It was her first night back in almost a year! The cast: Neil Casey (writer for SNL), Shannon O'Neill (UCB), Tami Sagher (writer for How I Met Your Mother), Zach Woods (The Office), and Chad Carter (UCB). Oh and that nice gentlemen that held the door open for us? Rich Sommer of Mad Men, the guest monologist. 

The show was amazing. By far the best improv show I've seen. The creativity and commitment to the characters they created and the scenes was impressive. Everything was so seamless, it really did look as if it had all been preplanned, which of course it hadn't. I'm always so impressed by how they know when to edit a scene, and how quickly they're able to come up with ideas. 

After the show we walked home, stopping for dinner at a sweet little French restaurant, La Grainne Cafe, on the way. Years ago, before JD lived here, we met his mom for lunch at this restaurant. We couldn't remember the name, or the neighborhood it was in and thought it was lost forever. Every now and then it would come up in conversation and finally JD asked his mom if she could remember it. She did, and there we went. It was just as wonderful as I remembered. We'll have to go back again soon.

Thursday, May 9

Allergies


After months of waiting and wishing for spring, well, I kind of wish it would go away! All of these gorgeous blooms have left my eyes watering all week, and not because I'm overjoyed to see them. The day before last, the bags under my eyes developed puffy little bags of their own. (puffy eyes are just one of the symptoms I get to enjoy.) Yesterday, my face stayed red and leaky from the moment I woke up until I fell asleep. My trusty allergy pills have been beat, no thanks to the fine layer of pollen that has taken up residence my car. It doesn't matter how far away from any tree or flower I park, it's nearly impossible to escape. And staying indoors 24/7 is not an option. 

It's been a rough week. I'm seriously looking forward to the weekend.
Good thing tomorrow is Friday.

Monday, May 6

Derby Weekend

I love the Kentucky Derby. I've also been quite lucky at picking the winners in years past, however I never actually bet on the horses. Instead, JD and I will bet each other for dinner. Whoever's horse finishes before the other's wins. Loser buys dinner. This year I chose Revolutionary who came in third, while JD chose Verrazano who came in fourteenth. We went to Cafe Mogador in the East Village for my victory dinner, just as we did last year. I don't think we have been there since, actually, and it was quite a different experience. The food was still delicious, but the wait, both to be seated and served, increased quite a bit. I guess it got more popular over the last year. Usually I don't think we would mind, but we were in a hurry because we had reservations for a show at the Beast. It was kind of a weird experience, dinner. When we were seated twenty minutes after the estimated wait time, the couple at the table three inches away from us was in the midst of a huge argument. The boyfriend wasn't paying enough attention or something like that. Super close seating arrangements are always a little awkward aren't they? We were once seated next to a very drunk couple in Tartine where this guy almost knocked over our water bottle. Thankfully, the arguers were just about finished when we sat down so we didn't have to pretend we couldn't hear their "conversation" for too long. We had to ask for the check when our food arrived and stuffed it all down in ten minutes, which was a little sad since we didn't get to savor it but the shows made up for it. We ended up seeing two, AIRWOLF & What I Did For Love. They were both great, but I liked What I Did For Love a little better, most likely because there was no gun battles or drug doing. The people who volunteer to be interviewed sure are... characters to put it nicely. I should probably clarify that both shows get their ideas from interviewing an audience member. AIRWOLF's show was based on a crazy and potentially dangerous roommate story, and What I Did For Love was about this very drunk girl named Katie's relationship with her magically average boyfriend, Steve. Her words not mine. Both groups came up with some hilarious scenes. I feel like an advertisement for UCB these days. I'm kind of obsessed.

Speaking of advertisements... JD and I recently started watching Mad Men. Oh my goodness, I've never seen a collection of more miserable characters. Seriously, no one is happy and nothing seems to get any better, just worse. We are only a couple of episodes in, and we like it, the writing and acting is great, but geez it's depressing to watch. It don't know much about the series, where it is in present day, but I think it's pretty obvious that Don and Betty will end up divorced... And that something creepy is going to happen with that Glen Bishop kid.

Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely weekend. 

Sunday, May 5

College Holidays

Back in college, we celebrated every holiday for the sake of celebrating, it didn't even have to be a real one. My favorite non-holiday holiday was Tulip Fest. Each year the city of Albany would host a festival in Washington Park to celebrate Spring, the lovely tulips, and Mother's Day. A stage would be constructed in the field and college students would pour in at 10am with coolers, lawn chairs, and blankets (completely ignoring the gorgeous blooms) to set up camp for whatever awesome '90s band (i.e. third eye blind, the spin doctors) was playing that evening. It was the best day of the spring semester, and we looked forward to it all year long. 
Today is cinco de mayo, and the college version of myself is wondering why I have little interest in grabbing a margarita to celebrate later today. Maybe it's because I have class at 9am tomorrow and I'd like to not suck. Maybe it's because I'd rather be anywhere else than at a crowded bar with drink spilling clowns. Let me tell you the story of the last cinco de mayo. It was my senior year, Kaitlin and I both had colds and weren't into going out so instead we went to downtown to our friends' house where we where then convinced to go out anyway. We were just going to walk down the street to our favorite bar. It was normally empty save for us but when we arrived it was packed wall to wall with drunk college kids. I should mention that the reason why I liked this bar so much was because it was usually empty. There was always plenty of room to move around and no one to spill their drink all over you. But on this day, it was different. There was no space to get close enough to the bar to order a drink so when JD waved to one of our bartender friends to place the usual order, a completely out of place meathead started to shout at him that he had been waiting to order and JD was standing too close to him... The gentleman was soon after removed. In the spirit of curiosity, our friend TJ decided to see what would happen if he stood perfectly still in the crowd. Within minutes he was on the other side of the room and had great difficulty trying to make his way back. The experience was completely miserable. It was precisely the reason why I never participated in "kegs and eggs" or other events that required attending a fire hazard of a bar where you couldn't wear anything you didn't want to see doused in cheap beer. Okay so maybe I've just never enjoyed drinking holidays, and with good reason I think. They can easily leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Happy cinco de mayo, folks!

Wednesday, May 1

The Weekend


What a busy weekend it was. I feel like I never stopped running around. 
It was one thing right on to the next with very little time to rest in between.

Friday night when I arrived in the city JD had just gotten out of his trial and was so very tired. He came back to help me park my car, which as it turned out, wasn't necessary. Parking in Manhattan can be tricky and riddled with super tiny parking spots that take a good deal of maneuvering to squeeze into. I tend to get frustrated and there are occasionally almost aways tears so JD usually will step in as a precautionary measure. When I arrived I scored a spot super close to the apartment with plenty of space. JD met me as I was getting out of the car and we went upstairs to find our friends Nick and Dee waiting for us at the kitchen table. From there we went out for a snack and JD tried his best to stay awake. He had been staying up late all week to prepare for his trial (the final project for one of his courses this semester) and was so exhausted by the time we sat down in the restaurant that he would randomly interrupt whoever was talking, start telling the beginning of a story, and then suddenly stop as if he had completely forgotten he was speaking. Not unlike my own sleepy behavior. I can't tell you how many times JD will call to say goodnight and I'll try to fight my way through the sleepy stupor only to get out a couple of sentences that rarely make sense in the context of what we're talking about. 

Saturday we were up in Westchester for an end of semester BBQ at the home of one of JD's professors, the one who taught the trial course actually. The food was absolutely amazing. He made these pork and beef sliders that I definitely need the recipe for and an entire menu filled with equally delicious dishes. Later that evening it was back to the city to celebrate Kaitlin's birthday. For the record, I do not understand how places become marked as bridge & tunnel, but they do. We ended up at a place where all of the men wear in plaid shirts and the ladies in cheap skin tight black dresses. Neither looked appropriate for the setting, yet they all looked the same. The music was fun though and it's always nice to see Kaitlin. 

Sunday we ate all day long. We went from brunch at Buvette to lunch at the boat basin to dinner back at the apartment. We then went to a party at one of my classmate's apartments. For future reference, Indian take away before hopping on the train to Harlem was not my best idea. I had to ask for a glass of water .2 seconds after arriving. 

On Monday, which I now consider part of my weekend, I had my class at 9am. JD and I made lunch when I got back to the apartment, and then we drove back to my house where we transferred the new beer into the carboy for secondary firmenation. We did a little sampling and it was delicious. I can't wait for it to be ready. Blueberry beer is one of my summertime favs. Next on deck I'm thinking pumpkin spice porter, or watermelon. Yum.