Turning twenty-one is a milestone birthday I’ve since passed. In all honestly, I looked forward to the cooking aspect much more than the shots in a bar part.
I’ll never forget one summer afternoon back in high school, I was watching Everyday Italian. Giada was making a dessert that had me glued to the screen. I had to make it. However, there was one caveat: the main ingredient was limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur. That dessert wasn’t the only recipe I was restricted from making. My birthday card should have shown tiramisu, beef bourguignon, beer cheese soup, crepes suzette, and my all-time favorite Italian dish: penne alla vodka.
Cooking with alcohol seems intimidating. Would flames shoot into the air once I added the vodka to the skillet? Thankfully, they don’t. Unless you add the fire.
I’ve made this recipe several times now. I crave it. Timing the sauce and pasta to finish simultaneously is a bit tricky. I begin by boiling water immediately simply because it takes forever on my stove. Then I prep the onion and tomatoes. The sauce cooks quickly. In eight minutes, the boozy flavor of the vodka cooks off leaving a hint of tang. I also love that this recipe isn’t overly rich. It strikes the perfect balance showcasing plenty of tomato sweetness, zest, and tang.
I also successfully convinced my Boston Half Marathon companion, Maureen, to come run it as well. To say I’m looking forward to March 11 would be an understatement. 13.1 miles seems like a walk in the park after a full.
The course should be scenic. Unfortunately for a flat course fan like myself, the route goes over a pretty steep bridge twice. So this weekend, I’m vowing to do some hill training.
Here’s the training schedule I made last night. It’s based off of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate but with a few adjustments for what I’ve found I like. Firstly, no 12 miler the week before the race. I prefer a two week buffer. Secondly, I use one of the running days as a cross-training day. Yes it’s less weekly mileage but I like mixing it up.
Neon colors are a big trend for spring but they’re just so bright. I think a pop of neon is fun but I don’t want to look like Jubilee from the 90′s cartoon X-Men. Electric Blue is the perfect compromise between fun and sophistication.
With the Super Bowl a couple weeks away, it’s time to start planning your menu. If sports aren’t your thing, I actually made these egg rolls for my Golden Globes soiree last weekend because I prefer a red carpet to an end-zone any day of the week.
I love that these egg rolls are baked. Not only are they healthier, they’re also less time-consuming. A quick mist of nonstick cooking spray and a hot oven add an egg roll crunch, without the excess oil. Egg rolls, like pizza recipes, are ripe for customization. Fill the egg roll with whatever contents suit your mood.
Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls have just the right amount of heat. Piping the ranch cream cheese inside gives it that classic buffalo flavor without needing to dip them in any additional condiments. Your jersey (or dress) stays dressing free.
There are some clothing revivals I can’t get behind. Charlize Theron can wear a jumpsuit. I, on the other hand, cannot. Or rather, I prefer to spend my money on something that has a bit longer staying power. The only jumpsuit I liked was this one:
It looks like a top attached to pants, so I’m purchasing a guaranteed shirt that won’t come untucked. I can just see the following scenario happening…
“Oh my god, Brenna! I love that top. It would look amazing with my red skinny jeans. Can I borrow it tonight?”
“… It’s attached to my pants.”
Instead, I’m focusing my obsessing on the dropped waist. Here are some of the dresses this spring bringing back the twenties’ look.
I got stuck with the dessert portion of our office potluck. I’ve seen Top Chef enough times to know that the teammate who makes dessert is usually the one eliminated. Dessert is a biggie. It’s the closer.
Our theme was Chinese New Year. The only dessert I could remember eating from a Chinese restaurant, besides a fortune cookie, was Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts. I’ve made doughnuts in the past and the thought of making them on a work night seemed too daunting. Then I remembered my “12 Recipes” blog post. One of my 12 recipes to make for 2012 was Smitten Kitchen‘s Cinnamon Brown Butter Breakfast Puffs. I’m a sucker for anything named “sea salt” or “brown butter”.
They were extremely easy to make and I loved the miniature size. I may have thought they were one of the best desserts I’d ever tasted but the true test came during lunch the following day.
You can probably guess the outcome. They were a HUGE hit. I’m talking major adjective dropping. Words like “phenomenal” “oh my god” and “nom nom nom” were being tossed around the room.