Sunday, November 28, 2010


Last Thanksgiving, Alyssanne was working and I was home alone, cooking dinner on the phone with my sister Katie, who was home alone cooking as well. In some ways, it was a welcome change from hectic family holiday, bouncing around from house to house. I made myself some coffee, listened to records, spend all day in the kitchen, taking my time cooking and sipping wine. Then, Alyssanne and I enjoyed our dinner and pies, and rang in the Christmas season with The Muppet's Christmas Carol. It was much needed after a crazy year of big decisions and changes and moves.

This weekend, our house was a lot noisier and much more crowded. It was so nice to have six place settings around our table this year, and twice as many hands helping in the kitchen!

My sisters Kelly and Katie and Katie's boyfriend Blair got in late Wednesday night. Thursday morning, we got up bright and early and began a day of cooking: a 19.15lb turkey, a brie appetizer, and 6 side dishes(!), all the while, taking turns running slices of pumpkin pie out to (mostly) thankful bus drivers.

*Kelly took most of these pictures.

Katie is a champ

All I want for Christmas is this George Jenkins t-shirt, If you find me one, I'll dance at your wedding.

the dude

baked brie w/ toasted pecans, raspberries and honey. the pastry flowers were KT's idea.



new Thanksgiving apron

cutting onions

we are stisters

carving the roast beast turkey


pretty table


wishbone match



Today I am thankful for leftovers, lazy Sundays, sisters, cold weather and cameras.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you cook anything new? What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Welcome to the Pie Factory!

This morning, Sanne was a busy little bee and made 3 pies!! She will blog about it soon, so be sure to look out for recipes on pumpkin pie (in case you don't have one), pecan pie and bourbon maple pumpkin pie! Until then, let me just say that when I got home from work, the whole apartment smelled incredibly delicious and Rajiv is about to find out that I wasn't exaggerating when I said that this will be the best meal of the entire year.

So I finished all of my errands and final preparations for tomorrow. Such as...
That's So Raven Martha!

Now I'm just waiting [not so] patiently for my sisters to get in, drinking some orange chai tea and enjoying the calm before the storm. This storm...

3 Walters in 1 house = 2 gallons of milk
that's a 20lb turkey, y'all!
  Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Head Start

Since my sisters will be in Boston for the holiday this weekend, we're spacing our cooking our a little bit. Tonight and tomorrow we will be knocking out our 4 desserts. Tonight I'm tackling the Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake and the Chocolate pie.

I have always been a chocolate lover. I remember being at my best friend's house when I was younger, and her mom asked me if I wanted a slice of apple pie. I was about to say "No, thank you" because I didn't like apple pie. Before I could speak up, she said: "All sweet girls love apple pie." Well, I had to eat it. I didn't want her thinking I wasn't a sweet girl. I try every so often to like apple pie, or any fruit pie. But I just can't. Dessert just isn't dessert without chocolate. Now I'm starting to sound like a Cathy comic. tinyheartstinyheartstinyhearts

Baking makes me anxious, so I'm always pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy this one is.

In a mixing bowl, beat together 4 eggs, 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil.

In a separate bowl, sift in 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups flour, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture. Mix in 1 can pumpkin (It's organic. So zip it, Barbara Kingsolver) and chocolate chips. There is a certain amount of chocolate chips that the original recipe calls for. But I don't let anyone dictate how many chocolate chips I add to my cake. I throw in the whole bag. That's right. The whooole bag.

Then, bake in a bundt pan at 350 for about 55 minutes. Top with a dollop of cool whip and serve with some coffee. We'll show you the final product later...

The second dessert is very difficult. Pay close attention because you don't want to get lost between all these complicated steps. Ready?

Tomorrow, Alyssanne will be making much more difficult desserts, with grown-up ingredients that my 8-year-old self would probably have turned down, but my 28-year-old self can't wait to eat! Maybe this means I am a sweet girl after all!

Thanksgiving/Anniversary Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

Here is a recipe we made last year for Thanksgiving. It was so good, that we've made different variations of it throughout the year, depending on what cheese and vegetables and pasta we had on hand. Once it was onions and bacon with Gruyere and Parmesan over rotini. Another time we had mozzarella with tomatoes and basil with penne. This is a great recipe to experiment with. We're making it again this year, but adding some baby bella mushrooms.

Anyway, here's the original, which was pulled from This one's for you, Madaline! Happy Three Year Anniversary!

You will need:
  • 1 pound(s) plum tomatoes
  • 6 cup(s) broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon(s) butter
  • 3 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
  • 4 cup(s) milk, warm
  • 2 1/3 cup(s) grated aged Asiago
  • 2 1/2 cup(s) grated sharp Cheddar
  • 2 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 teaspoon(s) fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 pound(s) penne, cooked and drained

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the tomatoes 1/4 inch thick. Toss the tomatoes and broccoli with the oil and roast separately on parchment-lined baking pans for 30 minutes.
  2. Whisk the butter and flour in a medium-size pot over medium-high heat until foamy. Add the milk. Whisk until thickened and bubbling, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk in the cheeses, mustard, salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir in the pasta and broccoli and transfer to a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Top with the tomatoes and bake about 30 minutes.

Finished product!
How it looks on a full Thanksgiving plate by candlelight... 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu

Hi everyone!

We're really sorry we haven't updated in a while. This has been a crazy work week for both of us. Alyssanne and I didn't even cross paths until Thursday! This Wednesday and Thursday we promise to keep you up to speed on the goings on in our kitchen. We'll have a full house, so I'm sure between the 6(!) of us, someone will be documenting our Thanksgiving meal.

Tomorrow, we'll finish (and start) all of the shopping, and figure out what will be made ahead of time, as well as try to narrow down our menu. I think it's much to long as of now, so I thought I'd tell you what it is and let you help us decide.

I was just wandering the isles at Shaw's, checking out the goods. I saw that they still have the Sam Adams fall harvest variety pack as well as the winter variety pack. There is no way of choosing between the two, so if anyone wants to stop by for some leftovers next week, we should (depending on how celebratory we're feeling this weekend) be able to offer you something to wash it down with!

Here is our unedited menu:

Apple Cider & Cinnamon Whiskey Cocktails

Baked Brie with Honey, raspberries and pecans



Sausage and Sage Stuffing

Green Bean Casserole (it isn't Thanksgiving without it)

Bourbon Cranberry Compote

Brie and Chive Biscuits

Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy


Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pie

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Cake


This year, we decided to make an extra pie to give to the bus drivers that have to work. Since the bus stop is just at the end of our street, we'll take turns running slices up. So no, we are not eating all of those pies ourselves. Even if we were, it's Thanksgiving! We can eat 8 pies if we want!

So there you have it. thoughts? Do we need another side? 3 more desserts? What about you? Do you guys have any Thanksgiving traditions? Favorite dishes?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

on cob

Since we haven't been doing a whole lot of cooking lately, I thought I'd blog about something else that gets our heart racing-- cob housing! Over the course of our time as Boston roommates, Sanne and I have found that we share many interests that all fall under the category of self-sustainability. I don't know if its living in the city has increased these desires for simple living, or if its just a home-sickness for the South. Whatever the reason, our combined library has grown to include many books on gardening, farming, bee-keeping, and building with natural materials. It was during this building research that I discovered cob.

Not to sound like a high school essay on the History of Cob, but I feel I must explain... Cob is a mixture of sand, mud and straw. It's very similar to the adobe homes you see in the southwest. It can be molded into basically any shape before drying in the sun and becoming virtually indestructible. It was mainly used in 15th and 16th century England because of the low cost, availability of materials and simplicity. You can still see a lot of these homes today. When the pilgrims came over to New England, they all but abandoned this building style because the nasty weather didn't allow time for cob to dry.

Isn't that interesting? Yeah, I think so too.

Anyway, what I love most about cob is the freedom it gives you to create anything you want. Your house could be shaped like a snail shell, or look like a Who-house. You can carve out a shelve, a window or a bench wherever you want. It can be as simple or as fancy as you like. It is what you make it. It's nice to know that you're using natural materials, native to the area where you are building. And that you can start where you are in life. The starting cost of constructing a cob house is only around $3,000! That is, of course, before installing electricity and plumbing.

Here are some examples:

a traditional cob house in Devon, England
modern cob
this one is a classroom!
reading nook

What do you think? Are we crazy? Wanna start a commune?

Monday, November 15, 2010

the rest

Sorry to leave you guys hanging last night. I was far too busy enjoying some deep fried goodness to be bothered to type. As promised, here's the rest of the recipe...

To make the avocado dipping sauce, just mix together the following:
1/4 cup smashed fresh avocado (about half of an avocado)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1 dash dried dill weed
1 dash garlic powder
1 dash pepper

I didn't have any buttermilk, which was probably for the best. (Although, how much worse can it get? I am deep-frying these things after all). It was a little thick without it, so I substituted a little of Rajiv's whole milk. Don't tell him. I didn't have any onion powder either, and I used garlic salt instead of garlic powder. tomato-tomahto. It was delicious.

Back to the egg rolls. Heat 4-6 cups of vegetable oil on the stove to about 325. Now, the recipe I used said to fry them for 5-6 minutes, but I found my egg rolls to be a little too crispy, so I reduced the time. 

Let them drain/cool on a paper towel or baking rack for a few minutes, cut diagonally and enjoy with the avocado sauce.

I could eat these every day

Excuse the quality of that last photo. I didn't take one with Sanne's camera. I took this with my phone and sent it to my sisters.

Anyway, it's just like Chili's, except I get to enjoy them in my pajamas in front of last night's SNL! Win win win!

Hopefully, we will be making a couple more stuffing recipes this week. Madaline wants a little corn bread  in her turkey day, so maybe we can oblige.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"I'll just have the southwest egg rolls. Thank you."

The other day, I was poking around the internets when I discovered these. I could not believe my eyes. Naturally, I had to try them out. So here is my attempt at recreating one of my favorite restaurant appetizers.

Ok, so here's what you need:

1 chicken breast fillet
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced red bell peppers
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup canned black bean, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons diced canned jalapeno peppers
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
5 seven inch flour tortillas

I doubled the recipe. Of course.

Heat a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil in a medium skillet over med-high heat. Throw in the peppers and onions and cook until tender. Oh yeah, you already cooked the chicken and its cooling off to the side. Then you cut it up into little pieces. Remember when you did that just now?

Once the peppers and onions are tender, add the chicken. Mmm, it smells like camping.

Then add the rest of your ingredients. Mix it up well, making sure that the spinach separates and is incorporated into the rest of the stuff.

this looks even better in person

Don't forget to add these guys. Make them as hot or as mild as you like.

Now for the good stuff. In a large bowl, add the cheese to the vegetable mixture. Mix until the cheese has melted, and it's so gooey you can't stand it.

Then, you're going to heat your tortillas. About 30 seconds in the microwave should do it. Wrap them in a moist towel first, so they stay nice and soft.

Then, you'll want to set yourself up on the counter. Spoon the mixture evenly onto the 5 (or 10, if you're doubling) tortillas, fold like a burrito and put them on a plate. You may want to use toothpicks to hold them together. 

the one-handed fold

Now comes the hard part, where you have to practice some patience. Cover with saran wrap, and put them in the freezer for about 4 hours.

While mine are setting, I'm going to go to the movies. Tomorrow I'll tell you how they turn out, as well as how to make the (slightly altered) avocado dipping sauce. 

Question: If you could perfectly replicate any restaurant item in your kitchen, what would it be?