Wednesday, September 24, 2014

since u been gone.

I don't mean to insinuate that it is your fault that we haven't spoken in so long, blog.  It is my fault.  I am the one to blame.  I have thought about you often, and even written in my day planner things like To Do: NSED and remember nsed? and WILL YOU WRITE A GODDAMN BLOG POST JESUS CHRIST, but then when I get home from work I mostly just collapse onto my bed and fall asleep.

It has come to pass, you see, that I am now an adult.  A Brooklyn-residing, New York City-working, bridge-running, tiny-kitchen-cooking, still-need-to-buy-a-bedside-table-and-a-lampshade-and-figure-out-the-F-train adult. I have a job and a lease, but also a box of cereal that I found in my bed this morning because I dunno maybe I fell asleep eating cereal who are you the POLICE?

Adulthood is a farce.  But it is FUN and this city is WILD and I mostly always wake up grinning so I say let's keep doing it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Been gone a week, already feels like a fake dream time in my mind.

Hasta luego, Madrid.  There's no way you're rid of me forever.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

crow's nest.

Zara top; H&M pants; VAS Spanish answer to 'stocks; Badgley Mischka bag

I have a staring problem, but because I feel so well-intentioned in it, I am hesitant to change my ways.  I stare because I love what you're wearing.  You're killin it today, and now I'm sorry but there is just no minding my own business.  I'm Cam Jansen-ing the shit out of you.  The way you've tied your scarf, your cuffed jeans and flats combination, how you layered those shirts --- the front of my brain is like, "Damn, lady!  Good work!" and the back of my brain is like, "REMEMBER THIS! STEAL THIS!"  I am the girl peering at you across the aisle of the train from over the top of my book because your skirt is so good.  I whip around on the street like a creep when someone awesomely dressed walks by just to snag another look at what they did with their chambray button down.  It's not subtle.  I passionately complement strangers.  "Whoa, your bag is incredible," I say to the lady waiting at the crosswalk.  She's either super flattered or she clutches it to herself tighter for fear that the strange girl talking is gonna snatch it away.  It's whatever.  You have to learn how to dress somewhere, and I've never really been one for magazines.  Pinterest will do in a pinch, and sometimes I let Tommy Ton and Scott Schuman do the work for me, but I am most inspired by fashion when watching real women on the street.

In Madrid, for example, apparently nobody overheats ever, because deep into June's 80 degree days, women are slaying the pants game.  This is an all-pants-all-the-time kind of city, derived probably from Spain's overwhelmingly modest dressing tradish, and I love it.  I am learning so much about pants.  Occasionally my body begs me to be freed into a flowy dress and I comply, but for the most part I am having fun pretending to be things I am usually not, ie: structured and semi-classy.  And then today I was a sailor.  So.

(Side note lemon olive oil cracked pepper Maldon basil pine nuts BYE)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

its been a lite 9 months.

God I love when websites post "definitive rankings" of things.  Cereal.  Disney songs.  Instagram filters.  Its like...who says?  Who decided?  You? Why are you the boss?  I did not vote for you.  You are a Buzzfeed staff writer who lives in Brooklyn!  We probably have very dif--- no yeah the exact same taste I take it back.

So because nobody elected me, and nobody died to make me queen, and the best part of having a blog is that you can post Big Ass Statements on the internet and there ain't nobody around to stop you: BEHOLD.

All of the Spanish Sweets I Have Eaten In Madrid, Definitively Ranked

8. Turrón

Large rectangles of almond nougat popular at Christmas, and probably the only sweet capable of vanquishing me. I tend to have no limits when it comes to candy consumption, but one small piece of turrón knocks me straight out.  Comes in two varieties: duro (aka de Alicante), which features whole almonds and the consistency of honeycomb candy, and blando (aka de Jijona), which is mushy and, as my sister astutely noted, tastes like eating straight almond butter in block form.  Really heavy, all of it.

7. Torrija
I was too busy dying to snap a pic of my torrija, and now that Holy Week is long past they are no where to be found.  I borrowed this picture from a list of the best torrijas in Madrid (fitting, no?)
An Easter-time tradition, which I ate standing up at a counter bakery in Sol with a lot of old people (Spanish breakfast, I will never get over you).  I thought I was going to explode.  This thing is an eggy french toast log stuffed with cream and then doused in cinnamon sugar.  Jesus.  I subtracted probably 4 years from my life consuming this.  I regret it a little bit.

6. Churros

Not your county fair's churros.  Subtract cinnamon sugar, add a CUP OF MOLTEN CHOCOLATE.  Oh man.  This is Spain's answer to doughnuts, if in America we ate doughnuts in the early morning to sop up all of the gin and tonics we'd literally JUST finished drinking.  The more famous churrerias in Madrid are old-timey and quaint, but their goods are always super greasy (big crowds=fried in advance=sitting in pond of own oil=very cute).  The truly crunchy numbers are killer, if hard to find.  These are from Churreria Chocolateria Las Farolas, near Tribunal.

5. Tortas de Aciete

I remember seeing these in Whole Foods, which is weird.  They are essentially big crackers brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with white sugar.  A little floral (whole anise seeds will do that), a little greasy (surprise), and so good.

4. Violetas

Only widely available in Madrid, these hard candies are considered a delicacy, and are definitely not for people after something...normal tasting.  I'm all for floral-flavored stuff (rose gelato oh my god, lavender shortbread kill me now), so I dig them, though I believe if you were to eat an aromatherapy candle the experience would be similar.  I don't know how to tell you that they somehow manage to be the tiniest bit medicinal and also so addictive without making you think they are drugs, but that's what's up.

3. Rosquilles de San Isidro

Something Spain does so well is assigning sweets to specific parts of the year.  Bakeries only produce them for a limited time, so you HAVE to go get them before they're gone.  Brilliant marketing scheme slash a great way to tie religious holidays to personal gluttony, Carbs 4 Jesus, etc etc.  In Madrid, rosaquilles are little crumbly biscuits inexplicably associated with San Isidro, the patron saint of the city who is celebrated for two weeks every May.  They come in two varieties: clara (aka egg white, and so is topped with meringue) or tonta (which means dumb, because thats what you are for ordering an unfrosted anise-flavored biscuit).  Elsewhere in Spain, rosquilles are deep-fried sugar-rolled anise-spiked doughnuts.  I ate them hot in Barcelona out of a huge paper sack, and they were amazing.

2. Naranjines

Somehow crunchy and melt in your mouth at the same time, and so SO good with coffee, these orange extract cookies are one of the specialties of the Monjas Carboneras, from the Monasterio del Corpus Christi in Madrid.  They're a cloistered order of nuns, so they literally cannot deal with you in person because you are a member of the outside world, which means that in a spy-like turn of events, you have to wander down back hallways of the convent and then pass notes to each other through a spinny window in a wall.  Not joking.  It's crazytown.  And they sell baked goods, and they are GREAT.  Near-top billing for not only being delicious, but an adventure to procure as well.

1. Batido de Horchata

Theres just no going back from this milkshake.  This beaut was from Horchateria Alboraya, which is billed as the best horchateria in Madrid, and who are we to argue with such a bizarre website.  OR THIS MILKSHAKE HONESTLY I MEAN COME ON.  Horchata gelato + actual horchata, all milkshook together in glory.  The sooner you give yourself over to this the better.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

lock it up.

Ugh.  All hail tahini.  I am such a disciple.  Catch me in the kitchen singing hymns in its name.  If you haven't bought a (big) jar for yourself yet just to see what's up, I honestly can't yell at you loud enough.  Recipes call for only a tablespoon here and there for added creamy nuttiness, but the results are so addictive you'll be making them UH LAWT.  Examples: this dressing has made me crave leftover salad for breakfast on more than one occasion.  And halva spread on apples (Molly says 4:1 tahini to honey, but I go closer to 2:1 because I have a sugar problem) is currently sitting pretty in the top spot of my afternoon snack hierarchy.  Mediterranean dips and spreads are tahini's most common uses, and the following, while not being hummus, is as good a sesame paste gateway drug as any.  Do you wanna be cool or not?!!!?1

(Note: this is totally baba ghanoush, but for some reason the recipe I found and followed did not call it that, so in case I'm missing something **vital** I am going to try to refrain from using its much more fun to say name alternative.

Damn.  Can't find a good Wedding Crashers clip anywhere.  You and I both know what I mean though so let's pretend I linked it.  Cool.)

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Charred Eggplant and Tahini Spread
Makes 2 mains, 4 sides

Assemble spread according to this recipe.  Make sure your oven is generally cleanish first because if there's a weird piece of something in there, at 475 degrees it WILL catch fire and smoke like an SOB and you will have to open all of the windows and gag for a bit.  Moving on. 

for tabbouleh:
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
juice of half lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped (or 1 container cherry tomatoes, halved)
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley 
salt and pepper

Bring quinoa and two cups water to a boil, then reduce heat a little and let simmer until grains are cooked and water is evaporated.  Fluff with a fork.

Stir together lemon juice and olive oil, mashing in the minced garlic.  Pour over quinoa, tossing to coat.  Add veggies and parsley, and mix.  Season with salt and pepper  

Top a little mound of tabbouleh with a scoop of (((baba ghanoush))).   Gobble.  Have crackers or something at the ready on which to slather extra spread because that stuff is so wonderful you will not be able to ignore the leftovers.   All of this would ALSO be delicious and portable if stuffed into a pita.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

how dangerous tis.

I am really only interested in cakes that can be breakfast, dessert, or your birthday cake -- equal parts homey and celebratory.  This is not an easy combination to pull off, so discovering something that checks all of those boxes is cause for immediate action.  

I started researching recipes for lemon raspberry polenta cake on my phone after ONE BITE of the lemon raspberry polenta cake at Federal.  Literally while still at the table in the restaurant.  Publicly googling cake.  It was crazytown moist, so bright and fruit-studded, I couldn't stand the thought of not having it whenever (day, night, or partytime) I wanted it.  

Growing up my grandma would make lemon cake with lemon filling for my birthday, so anything baked and citrusy makes me think of turning 5, and also of my grandparents' kitchen in San Jose, which is all 70's yellow and brown, much like the cooked edges of a lemon cake itself.  This is a gluten free and frosting-less variety, sun-colored and tart enough to be nostalgic.  

Lemon Raspberry Polenta Cake
adapted from Nigella

for cake: 
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, soft, + extra for pan
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup polenta
1 cup almond meal
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
the juice and zest of 2 lemons
1 package raspberries

for syrup:
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar

for serving:
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Butter a springform pan and line the base with parchment paper.

Beat butter and sugar together until creamy (if you don't have a mixer, very soft butter and some muscles work fine), and add then the eggs one at a time, whisking between additions.  Mix in the rest of the cake ingredients (minus the raspberries) and stir until well combined.

Pour half of the batter into dish, then spread half of the raspberries out in a layer.  Cover with remaining batter, and then the rest of the berries, pressing them in slightly.  Bake for 50 - 60 minutes until golden and set.

While cake is finishing up (ETA 10 minutes), heat the remaining lemon juice with 1/2 cup sugar in a sauce pan, simmering until the mixture reduces into a thick syrup.  Use a skewer to poke holes all over the finished and slightly cooled cake, and brush the top with syrup, letting it soak in and get dreamy.  

Allow cake to cool completely before un-springing the pan and removing the sides. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar.  This cake melds well, a technical term my dad uses to mean "gets even more delicious after hanging out for awhile."  If you can, cover the cooled cake, stick it in the fridge, and wait to eat it tomorrow. 

"They will find the cake and they will gobble it up, because, having no mother, they don't know how dangerous tis to eat rich damp cake." Peter and Wendy, J.M. Barrie 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

sleeveless and posi.

H&M kimardigan (kimono + cardigan? I'm gonna make this term a thing); Zara tank; Betsey Johnson pants; espadrilles that a man made me in his shop for 8 euro

Got hit in the face by a really awesome bit of America yesterday when I walked into a coffee shop to find a dude in a Hossa jersery straight up shouting to the girl at his table about wanting to grow a "power stache as an ode to the 90's."  She looked a little embarrassed about his lack of volume control, but mostly interested in his theories.  "Its the funniest thing you can do to your face, hands down," he said.  "Cuz then every girl like gasps and is totally shocked when she sees it."  I almost hugged him, that lil slice of silly bro-dom in this wash of Euro hombres.

I cannot grow a power stache --- believe me, I have been trying --- and instead will have to honor the decade of my birth with a pair of harem pants and some nearly floor-grazing layering.  Looks like I'm going to bed but actually am entering the real world?  Sign me UP.