Weekend in Photos

Well, another weekend has come and gone. I’d say I had a pretty good balance of work and play, as well as rest and excitement this weekend. But even so, I neeever seem to feel like I got enough sleep. But I guess that is my lot in life, since my ideal night of sleep lasts 9-10 hours…haha.

20130211-103235.jpg

Friday night, we went to Bombay Bar & Grill, our favorite Indian place in town. Our favorites are their Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Makhani (which T-Man got extra spicy this time and severely regretted it!!), but I’ve been trying out their veggie dishes the last few times. The Mushroom Masala hit the spot for me this time! Our friend Nate ordered salmon cooked in their tandoori oven, and it was phenomenal. And I’ve never met a naan bread I didn’t like 😉

Bombay Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

As we are so often wont to do, we went home and played games/drank wine with our visiting friends. I gave this Cupcake red blend a try, and it was alright, but I’ll stick to my Menage a Trois and Apothic Red!

20130211-103255.jpg

The next morning, I restocked my pantry before going to work on some essays for an application I’m working on. I also made some awesome breakfast nachos, and I think I can cross another item off my Cooking Bucket List, because I made baked potato soup {and sneaked in some cauliflower!}… I also baked up a batch of my healthy banana muffins for breakfast this week!

20130211-103240.jpg

Saturday night we went to our dodgeball league’s Colors Pub Crawl. The premise was for everyone to wear a color indicating their relationship status. Couples are shunned to wear black, so I was determined to make it cute! Cue the bathroom selfie. After a few stops, we went home and watched SNL. I actually kinda liked the Biebs as host, but the highlight for me is always my boyfriend Seth Meyers. Luv you boo!

20130211-103246.jpg

Sunday morning brought typical Sunday brunch, which we always do when T-Man’s friends come to town. We waited 40 minutes to try a new place, Bacon & Butter. It definitely didn’t disappoint on the bacon front! I got the B&B Potatoes with eggs, crispy shallots, cheese and giant lardons. T-Man and Nate both got Grilled Cheese Benedict – instead of English muffins, this eggs benedict was made on Challah bread grilled cheese sandwiches! The whole menu was extremely decadent, so this definitely won’t be a weekly occurrence, but it was really good.

Bacon & Butter on Urbanspoon

Since we woke up pretty early to (unsuccessfully) beat the brunch rush, T-Man and I promptly spent the rest of the day on the couch finishing Season 2 of Downton Abbey. I wasn’t stoked on the first season, but the second season definitely sucked me in (it was the opposite for T-Man…apparently I am a bigger fan of romantic tension than he is!). Some of the current season was spoiled for me last week, but strangely enough it hasn’t affected my enjoyment!

Was your weekend lazy or exciting?

Do you watch Downton Abbey? Do you love or hate Lady Mary? (this is a point of contention between T-Man and I haha)

Cooking with (and for) Friends

Since I got somewhat good news about my hand, I’ve been wearing my splint less and finally cooking more. I tested out a few recipes I found online this weekend (and experimented with some of my own) and thought I’d share!

My friend Anna has started a new tradition recently — Sunday night dinner. She cooks out of a Russian cookbook her mom gave her (she’s Russian), and everyone else brings dishes to share too. It’s been a fun way to try out new recipes and stuff myself to capacity every Sunday night. Oh, and other people besides T-Man get to benefit from my cooking for once 😛

We’ve also been talking about even doing some kind of “secret ingredient” challenge where we all have to do new and different things with the same ingredient. How cool, right? My inner Iron Chef nerd was totally nerding out at the idea. On the same ticket, another friend of mine recently told me she does a regular Pasta Night with her girl friends. Everyone brings a different kind of pasta dish (or salad, or bread, etc).

When you’re in your 20’s and just starting a career and really living on your own for the first time like my friends and I are, I think we’re all inclined to just whip up a frozen dinner or salad or get take-out every night when we get off work before we go to hang out with our friends — usually at bars over a drink or two. Why not use homemade meals as a way to hang out? It saves you money, is healthier, and you’ll actually be able to have a conversation, rather than yelling over the background music at the bar!

The first 2 of these 4 dishes were brought to Sunday Dinner last week (and joined Anna’s avocado fries and cheesy potatoes, Kristen’s salad, and Jeff’s beer and pasta salads….the meals are always super random FYI). The rest were just for fun!

Jalapeno-Lime Hummus by me

This was totally a throw-whatever-you-have-in-the-food-processor kinda thing. But it turned out great! I’m definitely going to make it again and take notes this time, plus make some tweaks to make sure it’s perfect before I share the recipe. 🙂

Sriracha Caramel Corn from Baker by Nature

Holy crap, right? This one was a bit of a challenge, as not only had I never made caramel before (not very hard, BTW!) but also, our microwave is busted so I had to pop the corn on the stove, which I had never done.

After one unsuccessful try…

I added more oil, decreased the heat, didn’t touch the pot, and wound up with:

A perfect batch!

Next was the caramel.

It actually wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, but it took a lot of whisking. The tricky thing about caramel is that it burns really easily.

The finished product (um, ignore the mess). I mixed in hazelnuts — SO good! The sriracha isn’t evident when you first taste the caramel corn, but it’s got a pretty strong sriracha-y aftertaste. I added the full 2 tablespoons of sriracha, but it was a bit overwhelming to most people, so if I make it again I will definitely tone it down!

Chana Masala (with lentils) from Let It Brie

Have I told you guys about Indi’s blog and YouTube channel? Letitbrie is a YouTube cooking show. I wish I had known what an amazing chef and baker Indi was when I lived below her in college, because we would have been hanging out MUCH more often. Anyway, I advise you to check out her site, and especially her recipe for Chana Masala. I made it with lentils (which I think technically means it is Daal Masala?), but it was incredible. Luckily, my roommate had all the necessary spices (see above).

I made a huge pan of it, and it was enough for me to eat for dinner, then in two lunches! For lunch I ate it up in a tortilla…I know I know, totally a not-authentic typical white person thing to do, haha. Long story short, it was delicious.

Breakfast Tostada…for dinner by me

Tortilla loaded with potatoes sauteed with onions, red & green bell peppers, as well as salsa, pepper jack, and a fried egg & green onions on top. Holy crap. I made too many potatoes so T-Man got the leftovers, but in his I started with a layer of homemade tortilla chips, then all the same things plus a chopped up jalapeno sausage.  Holy crap times 2.

I am so glad it’s the weekend! It was a crazy week at my office. No bosses in today, so I’m going to set aside my work and crack this monstrous thing open:

Yup that’s right. First I geek out Iron Chef-style, now I show you that I’m reading a Julia Child biography. Food nerd fo lyfe. While we’re at it, I’m gonna admit to you all that I am one of the suckers who bought a new iPhone 5 at midnight last night and now I won’t get it until October 4th because they’re back-ordered. Womp womp. Nerd Katie OUT!

Meatless Monday: Veggie Curry

In college, Meatless Monday was a product of the hippies on campus who set up shop along the bike path with their wooden painted signs, or in the plaza with their info booth, or in the dining commons, with their…. Well, you get the picture. They were everywhere. Whether you agree with the method of hardcore MM fans, the concept is simple: cut meat out of your diet once a week to help the environment, animals, and your health.

For me post-college, Meatless Monday isn’t really a political practice as much as it is a way for me to practice my laziness and cheapness. Meat is expensive. Plus, I usually buy it in bulk and freeze it so it takes a long time to thaw and prepare. Plusssss, eating too much of it is unhealthy!

I’m also always on a mission to prove to my boyfriend that a meal can be filling and tasty even when it doesn’t involve a steak. So I present my first Meatless Monday recipe! (He loved this, btw)

Curry is much easier to make from scratch than most people think. It may not be super authentic, but your taste buds will love this simple dish. My favorite part was the addition of chopped green olives! The briny olives really complemented the spicy sauce. Enjoy!

Continue reading