Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Weekend re-cap: cookin' and decoratin'

This past weekend was great. Terrible weather kept us inside except for some hair-drenching trips to the market (E had to force me to go both times), leaving us with time for some home improvement, relaxing, and cooking.

Friday night we made these awesome burgers, seriously some of the best ones I have had in my life. I used to dislike burgers--I would always order a grilled cheese off the kids menu or the chicken mcnuggets at mikey d's--but I've come around. They're far better for you than baked goods, my main vice, so I feel free to indulge now and then. E had me buy a pound and a half of meat, claiming he would make three half-pound burgers, so I bought two hamurger buns and one brioche bun from this new place in Essex Market, Pain D'Avignon. That made the difference. This place is also a restaurant supplier, and the final burger (also thanks to Eric's superb cooking) had a real restaurant taste. But anyway, he ended up making two twelve-ounce burgers, and I ate the whole thing. I felt fine, since I had a small lunch, but three hours later the foods was still sitting in my stomach and I started making some groaning noises. toooo mucccchhh fattttt. I also drank red wine with the burger, which I would have anyway, but I heard there is something in red wine that neutralizes a bad thing released when you digest red meat. So doubly awesome.

Our next big cooking adventures are going to be in bread, so that night we started on a yeasted coffee cake that we had for breakfast the next day. It was a little dry and possibly overcooked, and the cinnamon-pecan crumbles on top kept on falling off, so they probably should have been tucked into the dough, but it was a good start. Yeasted things are also less sweet than chemically leavened cakes, so I look forward to developing a more adult, less sweet palate when it comes to baking. I found this recipe for St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake that we plan to try next, for a more decadent takeb. I also attempted the much-talked-about no-knead bread. I used the recipe in my copy of "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman (also where we got the coffee cake recipe from), and it called for 2 cups of water, when a lot of the other online recipes called for less. This turned out to be a problem when I got to the baking time and the dough was wayyy too wet to shape into a ball. I had to add more flour and let it rise more, and then I had to disrupt the dough once more to try to plop it into a pan (it cooks in a covered cast iron to produce steam similar to steam-injected. I think the latter part disrupted the air bubbles and created the dense loaf that popped out of the oven. It did have an awesome look to it and great crust, so, again, good start. This isn't as easy as making chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday Eric made omelettes (new for him) and we made another Bittman recipe, Chicken with Chickpeas and Lentils. I am so used to eating really rich food with Eric that it tasted kind of healthy and bland. I added some yogurt and mango chutney, however, and that fixed the whole thing. It was yummy. Since we were so healthy and had some processed peanut butter left in the fridge that neither of us will eat plain, we made peanut butter cookies that night. Seriously, so much cooking!

Last week I bought this cute lampshade at KMart to go with the vintage lamp I got in Michigan that it beaded white milk glass. Now we have more lighting in the bedroom, woo! It also matches the bedspread pattern so I am excited about that. I also bought a side-hanging plant bracked that we were able to install, after our failed attempts to drill into our steel beams near the window. I couldn't hang up this cute shadowbox in the bedroom for the same reason (so annoying), but I did hang up the photo calendar Eric made that has a lot of pictures of us in Costa Rica. But, my most exciting DIY project was the handkerchief one!!

My grandma sent me this beautiful handkerchief from the 1940's (she's an antique dealer, so she knows) with a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge in the middle and four other tourist attractions on the side. I thought it was cute and was going to hang it up with tape where the shadowbox couldn't be hung up, when I had a flash of inspiration.

I've been carrying around this picture frame I found in my old apartment's "take it" section for over two years. It said $39.99 on the back and was from Bed Bath & Beyond, but it has a thick mat and I could never think of anything to go in it. Still, I was happy to have it because I've discovered that framing shit is expensive but makes your walls look really, really good. Also, the saw hanging thing on the back was missing. I bought an additional saw hook from Home Depot a few weeks ago, but still had no picture.

I fitted the handkerchief into the frame and voila! It was a little too big so I did some artful adjusting. It's not perfectly straight and it has a little wave in it so you can tell it's fabric, but I like the overall effect. We hung it above the bed and it looks really, really good, with the black matching the black bed frame. I had planned on getting New York City-themed prints anyway, but this is totally unique and a nice way to remember my Grandma. Plus, you can look at the picture then look out the window and see the Brooklyn Bridge! I LOVE IT!

Last night we watched the Season Finale of Season 4 of The Wire. SO AMAZING. I love this show, but it can be so depressing. Boiled down, the theme of the show is "anytime you try to fix something the system/society will prevent you from making any meaningful change." This season

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