Tuesday, August 25, 2009


One of the favorite things I remember about my dad was his cooking. He may not have cooked every day, and he had a strange habit of combining all of the leftovers in the fridge, tossing them onto a bed of lettuce and dousing it with vinaigrette to make an everything salad... but when he wanted to, he could COOK. His two specialties were Minestrone soup and pasta sauce. Both have a lot of fresh ingredients, and both take pretty much all day simmering on the stove to reach their full deliciousness.
On Sunday, I decided that the time had come for his minestrone to be made again. My decision was heavily influenced by the recent acquisition of a food processor as a wedding gift from Ethan's parents, which made the large amounts of chopped fresh veggies slightly less scary.
We had Ethan's parents over for dinner and ate the soup with crusty, buttered warm french bread and a salad. It was just as delicious as I remembered it, and cooking, smelling, and tasting was such a wonderful reminder of my dad.

Minestrone Soup
(this is a LARGE portion! it was very nearly too much for my 8 quart pot. It makes about 16 meal-sized servings.)

10 cups water + 10 beef bouillon cubes
1 lb beef ribs
Olive oil/butter
2T minced garlic
3/4 head chopped cabbage
1 bunch chopped carrots
1 stalk chopped celery
2 large chopped onions
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 peeled, cubed baking potatoes
4 sliced zucchinis
9 oz frozen green beans
2T Parsley flakes
0.5 T oregano
1T Basil
Pepper to taste

1. Boil beef ribs in water with bouillon cubes for 30 minutes.
2. While beef ribs are boiling, sautee garlic in butter/olive oil 2-3 minutes.
3. Add cabbage, carrots, celery, onions. Sautee 10 minutes or until onions are tender.
4. Add 2 cans tomatoes and simmer 10-15 minutes.
5. Add beef mixture and let simmer 5 mins.(I took ribs out at this point because of pot space; If you have a larger pot, you can leave the ribs in until the very end)
6. Add potatoes, zucchinis, green beans, seasoning. Bring mixture to a boil and then bring down to a simmer for 20 minutes.
I left this on the stove on low for a good 30 minutes to an hour more until we were ready to eat. I think it just made it better.

This soup made me realize how tired I am of the summer. I want cool weather! I want to wear sweaters and eat chili. And pumpkin pie milkshakes from Wild about Harry's. Yum.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wedding Cake


I made my own wedding cake. Granted, we had fewer guests than normally attend a wedding, so it was really just making a regular cake, but it was really, really delicious, so I'll share the recipe here.

1 Box Moist white cake mix
1/4 cup all-purpouse flour
3 egg whites
1 1/3 cups water
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 tsp almond extract

Prepare two 9" round cake pans (I butter them and use some parchment paper on the bottom).
Preheat oven to 350
combine all ingredients with electric mixer and mix until nearly lump-free
Bake for 27-35 minutes (or until test for done-ness)
(I used cake strips around the outside edge to help the cakes bake with a flatter top)

1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temp
8 oz full-fat cream cheese, room temp
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
~3 Tbsp milk

Cream together butter and cream cheese. add vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar. add milk slowly until frosting is spreading consistency (or add more powdered sugar if you accidentally overdo the milk)

Filling: the best quality seedless raspberry jam you can find. I found some that was 70% pure fruit. Spoon some into a small bowl and briskly stir until spreading consistency.

Assembly: cover first layer with frosting, then a layer of raspberry jam. Add the other layer cake on top; cover all with frosting. If feeling romantic, decorate with edible flowers.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We're Married!

We got married on Sunday, and it was awesome.
It was small and happy and we new everyone who was there and our minister knew us and knew what has been happening in our lives and was able to speak to that and to our guests. Everyone there knows both of us and sincerely cares for our future happiness.
There were a few people who I would have liked to have been there (my father, obviously, one of my girlfriends from medical school was sick, and my three closest college friends are spread across the country and I didn't feel like it was fair to ask them to come when we wouldn't even have one whole day to spend together because of my schedule, and given the short notice of our changed wedding date).
We had the ceremony in a tiny chapel located at the side of our church (which was magically made more glowy and beautiful by my joy in the situation). It fit our 15 or so guests very nicely. I cried, nay, nearly bawled as we were reciting our vows. Our good friend and talented photographer Budi Tjoenawan took pictures, which was amazingly generous of him and turned out better than I could have imagined. We ate at one of our favorite restaurants in Dallas, Angelo's Where they have bottomless mimosas on Sundays (lucky us!) and where they let you order off the menu if you ask very nicely. The cake I made (almond cake with raspberry filling and cream cheese frosting, decorated by edible flowers) turned out very well, and there was enough left over for Ethan and I to each gobble up a piece yesterday. I may make another one soon just to have, because it was seriously that good. I will post my recipe later. That night we went out to the Balcony club
where we listened to Jazz and Ethan drank dirty gin martinis and I drank gin and tonics with extra lime, because Gin and Jazz go together like... wings and Monday night football? Best of all, I married Ethan, who is my soul-mate, and who makes me happier than I ever imagined I could be.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Everybody's working for the weekend

This weekend was really fun. First things first, Friday we went and got our marriage license (and for the first time ever, I got something from a government office without having to wait in any line). Of course, the lady who was processing the license forgot to SIGN it! That is like her only job! to put information into a computer correctly, put a sticker/seal on, and sign the paper. And she couldn't even do it. We have to go back to the license office Tuesday to get her to sign it.
After that was finished, we drove up to Lake Texoma for a weekend with some of Ethan's family. Specifically, we stayed in a place called "Grandpappy Point". It was pretty basic, but it had AC and a stove and a microwave, so we could pretend like we were roughing it somewhat without actually doing so at all. Which is fine with me, because I don't actually like roughing it, I only like the idea of roughing it. I got much better at throwing a football, we built fires, Ethan and his brother grilled meats over coals. It was really fun and relaxing.
Saturday we went to Eisenhower state park to hike and do a little swimming. It was beautiful, especially right around the coastline, and I'm pretty excited that we have that resource only 1.5 hours away from where we live!

I think we'll be going back for day trips more often. Later we went on a pontoon boat and just enjoyed drinking beer and cruising around the lake.

We also did some jumping off of the boat, which was fun until we tried to get back on... I am pretty well bruised up and sore today from flopping back onto the pontoon boat deck twenty times. After dinner I made a kick-ass fire and we roasted marshmallows for s'mores.

Things I might change: the water out of the tap was pretty undrinkable, and there was no bottled. So all I drank all weekend was coffee and beer, and I feel a little bit like a dried out old raisin... or a sailor from the days of yore. Also, I think I'm going to do a fruits and veggies semi-fast for a day until I re-regulate from all huge quantities of meat/simple carbs I ate at every single meal (Saturday we had sausage, eggs, and pancakes with syrup for breakfast, brats with sauerkraut and potato salad for lunch, and hamburgers with baked beans and more potato salad for dinner, followed by s'mores. All washed down with a ridiculous amount of beer. Except breakfast, which was washed down with coffee.) I feel incredibly unhealthy right now. But it felt really good while I was eating all that stuff!

In the next week, I'm meeting with my adviser to discuss residency application, starting a new rotation (neurology... ugh), traveling to Houston for my step 2 CS test on Saturday, and, oh yeah, getting married on Sunday. Because the reverend who I have come to know well over the last three years, and who did our pre-marital counseling, suddenly found out that she has to move to Canada in the middle of August. So rather than switch to someone we don't know as well, we just moved the wedding up. The good news is, we get to have it within the church (no organist or processional, just what is called a walk-in ceremony) which I am very happy about.

Peace in your hood.