eating this: mushroom marsala pasta with artichokes


This is my second time making this recipe, and both times I’ve declared it’s maybe my favorite pasta recipe.

The original recipe calls for snail shaped pasta. Unfortunately, the grocery stores we go to have a limited array of pastas, last time we went with some sort of snail shaped we found, but this time we went with a trottole. We thought it would absorb the sauce well, but I’d say it was better with shells like it is supposed to be. It was still good, but go for the shells if you’re making this for company. It will look less like hamburger helper.

Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Artichokes
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)
Serves 4-6

3 tb olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pound mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and chopped into small bits (I’ve tried it with creminis and baby bellas, both were great.)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1 tablespoon for pasta water
1 cup dry Marsala wine
1 pound pasta, thimble-shaped or snail-shaped (or really, whatever you want)
1/2 pound frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for one minute. Add the mushrooms and one teaspoon of the salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until all the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms have cooked down. Both recipes say it takes 10 minutes or LESS. Maybe I have a much less powerful stove or something, but both times I’ve cooked this, it’s taken much longer! For me, it wasn’t fully evaporated for about 20 minutes.  Add the Marsala and continue cooking until almost all the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Stir in remaining salt. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and add it into the mushrooms, Marsala and onions. Add the artichoke hearts, Parmesan and cream and cook until the artichokes are heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and pepper, then season to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.


crushing on… black bathrooms


I want sooo badly to have a black bathroom. But sadly, I think that’ll be a dream made true when we’re in our future house that we own. Gideon is probably not into the idea of painting anything else. UGH.

Until then, I can swoon and dream.

I guess it’s just because black and white looks perfect and toilets and sinks are usually white so therefore black looks best with the white? Yeah. Pretty.

(images clockwise: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 )

My temporary bathroom at my dad’s house (while I temporarily lived with him again while I had a temporary mid-century life crisis) was in desperate need of a dark coat of paint.

I went with a dark navy, but bathrooms look so much better dark! Why doesn’t everyone darken their bathroom?!


making this: diy’ed art for the kitchen


Ever since we removed our tiny tv from the kitchen counter, we have a lot more space on there. When there is space, I fill. I decided to buy this super crappy frame for $8 at CVS.

I cut the matte to make one large opening.

Then I busted out my old watercolors from the closet and painted a couple girls faces, but decided to just stick with an eye. Does it look a little Nagel-inspired?

Then I broke for lunch. Bagel with basil and tomatoes. So good.

It took me about 25 minutes to cut the matte and do the painting. And now we have a little painting our kitchen counter! YAY!



eating this: french onion soup


I really don’t make soup, but now that we own soup crocks, we gotta start making soups! I read this recipe in Bon Appetite at the hair salon and took a picture of it with my cell phone.

The recipe was for four servings. I will usually keep the recipe as is, but french onion soup leftovers sound whack. So I may have messed this up. Also, you have to caramelize the onions for 15 minutes, stirring the whole time. Longest 15 minutes of your life. I don’t know how the danger dog ladies do it at 2am.

I don’t know if you’re supposed to fill the soup crock with bread completely so that the cheese doesn’t sink to the bottom and actually bubbles on top, but the recipe didn’t have photos so who knows!

Classic French Onion Soup (serves two!)

1 medium onion, chopped (I kept them thick)
half a tbsp of unsalted butter
half a tbsp brandy
2 cups high quality, low sodium beef stock
1/2 cup grated gruyere
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4-6 1/2″ thick slices baguette, cut to fit soup crocks

Preheat oven to 450. Cook onions in a skillet over high heat, stirring constantly until soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add butter and toss with the onions to coat. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the brandy.

Return to heat and cook until absorbed, about 30 seconds. Add beef stock and bring to simmer. Here is where we decided it didn’t look like enough soup so we added another 3/4 cup. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Place the crocks or ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide soup, top each with 2-3 slices of bread. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese on each.

Cook for about 4 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Or in my case, not. Either way, it’ll be delish.

internet shopping

some flea market finds


We went to the Melrose Trading Post this past weekend and scored three times. So happy about our purchases.

We’ve been wanting an tiny vintage chair for this little space going from the dining room to the kitchen doorway. Maybe we don’t need to fill every inch with furniture but yes we do. LOOK AT THIS TINY CHAIR SO CUTE!

We replaced our white ceramic antlers with this big ass legit set. A deer head I think? A teenage deer? Is it a bit intimidating? Well fortunately, it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the front door.

And finally. The piece de resistance…

Goodbye old dear and hello vintage american flag office door-coverer. It has 48 stars! Also, I replaced one of the wire baskets on the shelf for a tiny tv we had taking up space in the kitchen. Now I can watch Something’s Gotta Give while I work.

internet shopping / wish list

what i want (and NEED) for my kitchen right now!


You can always want more for your kitchen. But a lot of times you need more!

1. a staub cocotte. we don’t have a dutch oven! we need this one. i would keep it sitting on the oven at all times.
2. a beautiful toile cake stand like this makes you want to make cake everyday. (hint hint to my boyfriend)
3. handcrafted cheeseboard. i want an array of gorgeous cheeseboards like this scattered all over the counter.
4. a high quality lodge cast iron skillet. for some reason, we still don’t have one.
5. 6 ounce ramekins to perfectly serve guests creme brulee and pizookies.
6. a beautiful copper roasting pan.
7. alice waters’s cookbook on simple food. we ate at chez panisse in berkeley this year and had an unforgettable meal. this particular cookbook would probably have the easiest recipes to attempt.
8. we already have a knife block, but the acacia wood and the modern shape is too good.
9. the color accents on these serving utensils would look great with our white dishes.
10. our kitchen is ALL open shelving. the longtime plan is to stock up on pretty white mixing bowls.


our dining room built-in: before and after


A couple months ago, I decided to paint the built-in in our dining room. We decided on a pinkish / peachish beige color but the day I painted it, it looked way too pink. We’ve been living with it pink for months and I decided to finally change the color.

I went with Behr’s “Black Sable”. It’s a very dark navy tone, close to black. It definitely showcases the items we have in the hutch and looks way less lame.

Because we’ve decided not to put anymore money into our place since it’s a rental, things such as knob and handle replacements are just not happening. The chrome handles on here have bothered me and I considered just spray painting them, but after seeing these, I decided to just wrap the handles in twine.

I think it’s looking a little nautical in a good way?


eating this: steak au poivre


Apparently when my mom was pregnant with me, all she ever craved and screamed for was steak au poivre. She so fancy. I am not the best with meat. There have been few occasions when I’ve cooked steak for my boyfriend and we’ve sat down and said “holy shit that’s amazing”. I guess I’m better with fish. This was another one of those cases.

The sauce was really delicious, VERY strong and VERY peppercorn-y, but I’m not sure I’d try this recipe again. I think next time it’ll be Steak Diane.

The one time I ordered groceries online, I purchased one shallot. Well online, that means one POUND of shallots. I never thought we’d go through them all, but coincidentally everything I’ve cooked in the last two months seems to have shallots in them. This was the end of our bulk shallot stash. SAD FACE!

Steak Au Poivre
(adapted from The Spinning Plate)

2 thick-cut steaks
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup black peppercorns, very roughly ground
1/2 – 1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brandy (or cognac)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp butter
a couple dashes of worcestershire sauce
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Let the steaks reach room temperature, season them liberally on both sides with Kosher salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large, heavy, oven-save skillet over medium-high. Once the oil just begins to smoke, set steaks in the skillet. Sear on one side until brown, 2-3 minutes. Turn off stove and flip the steaks.

Move the skillet into the oven, placing it on a lower rack near the flames. Bake until the finger test yields a medium rare, anywhere from 4-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak. Pull the meat out of the oven when it’s still rarer than you’d like, as it will continue to cook as it rests. Remove steaks to a plate and tent with foil.

Return the skillet to stove. Over medium heat, soften shallots in beef drippings and 1 tbsp butter. Deglaze with brandy, scraping stuck-on bits off the bottom of the pan. Add peppercorns, parsley, stock, cream, and Worcestershire sauce and simmer over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens and begins to pull away from the skillet. When your spoon can leave a trail, it’s ready. Season with salt.

Plate steaks. Pour any remaining juices back into the sauce. Spoon sauce generously over steaks. We served with brussels sprouts and garlic mashed potatoes.

mmmmmmmm… shallots.