Monday, May 19, 2008

A pox on you, Martha

I loathe Martha Stewart. Everything about her is perfect, too perfect. All her cooking shows and her made for the masses home decor line at Kmart, it's just revolting. True Story: When I was in ninth grade, a friend and I disguised ourselves as farm animals (she was Chikn, I was Cow) and made a blog specifically devoted to plotting ways to bring Martha Stewart and her dust-free empire crashing down. When she went on trial for the whole lying about her stocks debacle, we had a field day. Also we had some sort of vendetta against sheep for some reason. I'm not lying. Click here to read a bit of it.

Alas, I am not here to showcase my literary brilliance at age 15. I am here to tell you that Martha Stewart has redeemed herself in my eyes. How, you ask? Through a little offshoot of her vast homemaking ways entitled everyday Food Magazine. I love it. I want to sleep with it under my pillow and wake up each morning having learned some mouth-watering new recipie in the night. This monthly supplement of fast, easy recipies using sometimes unheard of ingredients has changed my life. I love to cook but I get tired of making boring stuff. Since it's summer and I have nothing to do, I have been improving my cooking. In the most recent issue of Food, I discovered two delightful dishes that are easy to make and taste awesome. Mom posted a picture of one of them, it's called two-pea pasta with ricotta and tarragon. it makes peas taste awesome!

For all you non-Food subscribers, here's the recipie:

  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 12 oz. gemelli or other short pasta
  • 12 oz. sugar snap peas, stem ends removed (and, if necessary, strings)
  • 1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen peas
  • 2 tblspoons butter
  • 2 tblspoons chopped fresh tarragon, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes less than al dente [al dente usually takes between 8 and 10 minutes, and means firm]. Add snap peas; cook 2 mins. Add peas, and cook 1 minute more. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta and veggies and return to pot.
  • Toss pasta and veggies with butter, tarragon, and ricotta, adding a little reserved pasta water as needed to create a thin sauce that coats pasta; season with salt and pepper
  • Divide pasta among four serving bowls, and garnish with tarragon, if desired. Serve immediately [seriously, serve immediately or else the ricotta becomes thick and pastey. it will taste the same but the texture is less appealing.]

Personal Notes: I doubled the pasta since I was serving 6 and not 4 but forgot to double anything else so as a result there was not enough sauce to sufficiently coat the noodles and the ricotta flavor was too mild (but adding salt helped). The tarragon, which is an herb that tastes faintly like anise (or licorice), mixes well with the flavor of the sweet snap peas to make it less licorice-y. I'm not a fan of licorice but I loved the flavor in the pasta.

The other deeeelicious food from the same issue is called roasted carrots with honey.


  • 1 & 1/2 pound carrots, cut on the diagonal into 2-inch lengths and halved lengthwise if thick
  • 1 tblspoon olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tblspoon honey


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until tender, 30 to 35 mins. Remove from oven, toss with honey.

Personal Note: I'm a huge carrot fan and this was like turning the carrots into roasted gold. I have never in my life likened a vegetable to a dessert but I enjoyed the sweet flavor so much I passed on the cookies that night and had two helpings. I like the carrots with slightly more crispy burnt ends (they have a more roasty flavor) so I would have baked them longer but no one else in my family likes charred veggies so we stuck with the directions.

So that's my food wisdom for the day. Please cook with joy and abandon and let me know what you think of them. For another slightly hilarious excerpt from the Martha bashing blog, click here and here.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

the summer is upon us

Even though school was out over a week ago, I spent the weekend in West Lafayette, and I can honestly say I'm sad to leave that place for the summer. I'm going to miss my meeting. I feel as though this year they have really come to be like my second family.

I'm officially a JUNIOR in college. wooow. it's gone by fast.

I survived dead week and finals week and my first semester balancing a job and school work. My last shift was on Saturday, from 7:45 am-12:45 pm. I'm technically still employed there, with a three month 'hiatus'. Until August, however, I have no source of income. Part of me wants to get a job so I can actually spend money this summer and also not go out of my mind with boredom but the other part of me wants to bum around and focus on my to do list.

Every summer I have a mental to-do list of things I want to get done over the summer. It's not boring stuff like "wash the windows", it's more self-fufilling. This year I actually wrote it down. I'm not going to share it because it's personal and frankly the Internet is completely the opposite of that. I might post it at the end of the summer, if I'm particularly proud of the results, but don't hold your breath.
I got the idea from my roommate, who has a book where she writes down everything she wants to do before she dies. She shared it with me because she checked a lot of things off this year but the whole "do before I die" list is vaguely creepy to me. I mean, what if you died and someone found the list and saw all the things you hadn't checked off? "oh how sad, she never got to [fill in the blank]"
I wouldn't want to be pitied. Regardless of the things I have or have not done in life, I believe it will be fulfilling and I don't want anyone thinking otherwise.

Hmm talking about myself posthumously is weird. NEXT!

Anyway, I'm excited for the summer. We're taking our family trip this year to the Badlands. It was my idea, yes thank you I will take all the credit. (hopefully it goes well. if not, it was all Eva's idea) Eva and I went with the grandparents in 2004 and it was amazing. We only took a driving tour that time but I think it would be phenomenal to camp there. So that's what we're doing. Nothing between the sky and the rocks but me in my tent. And a 5030943 foot camper. Alas, the parents and I have opposing definitions of "roughing it". Ideally, I will pitch a tent behind a large rock away from Mom and Dad's cruise liner to retain my charade of living off the land.

Seriously though, I'm excited to go back out West. Even if you are surrounded by miles of flat cornfields in Indiana, the sky seems constricted. Something about the other side of the Mississippi River, the sky opens up into this vast expanse, an endless blue ocean that is barely kept in place by gravity. I remember standing on a cliff holding Eva's hand while the wind blew so fiercely, it seemed as though the world would tip upside down and we would be flung out into the sky. As we stood there, I felt so small and contained, like a tiny figure standing in the palm of God's hand. Paradoxically, I did not feel faceless or insignificant but more understood at that moment than any other moment before. I want to recapture that feeling.

The other event I'm excited for is the wedding of my good friend Ariana. That's not til the end of the summer but I'm really looking forward to it anyway. She's asked me to sing a hymn with few others during the wedding. The day I met Ariana was the day she got engaged to her fiance. My sister and I were the first people she told. Well, not because we're that important but because we happened upon her not five minutes after the proposal. haha. Anyway, I just feel special to be included in the journey from beginning to end. Also I'm really excited to see all my friends on the East Coast again.

Well, my laptop is burning a hole in my leg so I should end this soon. Oh and CONGRATULATIONS to my dear cousins Matt and Christina Pipgras, who welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Phoenix Olivia, into the world last night!! I jumped up and down and screamed when I got Hannah's message, even though I was in parking lot full of strangers. I can't wait to meet you, Phoenix!!!

So that's pretty much it. Good night, world.

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