Macaroni and Cheese and Roasted Broccoli

What College Has Given Me:

-The Smiths
-Sleeping until noon
-Ability to wear bright lipstick
-Mild  Severe coffee addiction
-Friends who are so smart and so kind
-Roommates who see me at worsts and bests and somehow still tolerate me
-Overall improvement in personal style
-More facebook friends
-Fewer real books read

-Ability to ignore mountains of homework to write this blog
-Realization that truly brilliant professors are few and far between
-Desire to be Better
-Late Night Doughnuts
-Lots  of knockout conversations
-Realization that everyone is basically the same and simultaneously very different and very weird
-Realization that just because someone is hip does not mean that they know what is actually good
-Appreciation of cheap-ass champagne
-Decreased fear of meeting new people
-Every Wes Anderson movie (other than Bottle Rocket)

-Ability to use bed for studying, sleeping, eating, AND drunken jumping
-New understanding of the relationship between race and dance in America
-Twinkle lights
-Several tremendous, Vesuvius-like, emotional meltdowns
-Ability to wear a dress and heels while riding a bicycle
-Less socially awkward (kinda sorta)

-Re-realization that life is not fair
-Letters, received and sent
-Lots of milkshakes
-Unintentional over-sharing
-Fake it till you make it


College and cooking for myself has also instilled in me a deep appreciation for pasta.
 Specifically macaroni and cheese. 

Some days, when the daily grind begins to wear you down, all you want is macaroni and cheese. 
With some roasted broccoli. To make you feel better about all those late night doughnuts and milkshakes.


Stovetop One Pot Macaroni and Cheese 

  • 2 cups large elbow Macaroni, uncooked (about 1/2 lb)
  • 2 cups low fat Milk (about 16 oz) , or more if needed
  • **if more milk is needed, additional 1/4 cup milk at a time for final cooking. **Macaroni pasta varies so much! have additional milk on hand, or be ready to increase the heat if your macaroni doesn't absorb fast enough.
  • 1 tablespoon Butter, for flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt, plus additional for final season later
  • generous dash of Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Grated Cheese, any one or combination of  ( jack, cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, gouda)
  • black pepper to taste (optional)

Place raw pasta in colander and quickly rinse under water. Let it drain.In medium sauce pan add milk, raw elbow macaroni, salt, butter, mustard powder and nutmeg.On medium heat, slowly bring milk/macaroni mixture to a simmer, stirring the macaroni frequently as it comes up to a simmer. Stirring keeps macaroni from clumping together, keep an eye on things to make sure that mixture doesn't boil over. Once at a simmer, immediately turn to low (too high heat will evaporate milk) pasta will cook in milk.  Continue to stir the mixture frequently so that macaroni will cook and absorb milk. Keep stirring to prevent the pasta from clumping. It's a little bit like making risotto.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until milk has been fully absorbed.
If macaroni is not fully cooked, add some extra milk or water, and anticipate spending about five more minutes stirring the macaroni to absorb the extra liquid. Once milk has evaporated, stir in grated cheese, and throughly combine. Turn off heat. Place lid on top of pan and cover for about 5 minutes. This lets the macaroni absorb liquid. Stir a final time and salt to taste. 
Serve immediately.
Roasted Broccoli 

Two large bunches broccoli (about four lbs)
4 garlic cloves
Olive oil
pinenuts (optional)
parmesan (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 F. 
Put broccoli on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. (She says 5 Tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 tsps kosher salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, but I just eyeballed it.) Now add 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and sliced and toss them in too. Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until “crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.”zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli, add 1 1/2 Tbs more olive oil, 3 Tbs toasted pine nuts (I left those out), and 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I left these out as well.) 

Beans and Rice

In the end, I always return to beans and rice. 
There is no food in the fridge. 
Except beans and rice. 
I don’t know what to eat. 
Eat Beans and rice. 
I am too tired to think. 
Beans and rice. 

I have eaten lots of beans and rice lately. I eat them in tacos, I eat them with omelets, I eat them in fat bowls filled with lettuce and homemade salsa and rich avocado and a grind of pepper. Beans and rice bring me home. Beans and rice are home. 
I keep trying to bring myself home. Home to myself. I tell me the stories I’ve accumulated over the past year, the stories of  where I’ve been and what I’ve done and how I felt. And people have told me so many stories.  I’ve told these stories to myself, and to so many others. I have told these stories too many times, until now, I almost feel like the meaning that they originally had for me has perhaps begun to fade. 

This summer has been so strange. 
I have had the blues. Too much feeling. Too much thinking. 

I am lucky in my friends, lucky in my family, but there are some times and some days where growing up feels so impossibly difficult. 
Right now it is raining, a dreary, humid summer rain, and I can hear the dripping though my window, over the hum of the air conditioner. 
I eat beans and rice. 

I’ve spent this summer writing endless letters I don’t send, to myself and to the people I love. My friend once told me that the “only letters she had ever sent were love letters” and I think that is just excruciatingly beautiful. 
Because it is true. 
Every letter I have ever written has been a love letter. 
So this is a love letter to beans and rice. 
This is a love letter to growing up.
This is a love letter to summer, no matter how strange, no matter how blue. 
This is a love letter to myself, a fierce reminder that I will always be worthy of love letters, even if I have to send them to myself. 
This is a love letter to my mother, who listens, who made the beans and rice. 
This is a love letter to the people I work with at the restaurant, from whom I am learning so much. 
This is a love letter to the beautiful friends I have, to the friends I have yet to make, to the friends who have disappointed me, whom I will love anyways. 
This is a love letter to the kind strangers. 
This is a love letter to all the stories I've been told. 
This is a love letter to real talk. 
To air conditioning. 
To the internet.  
To walking. 
To Joni Mitchell. 
To shopping. 
To the future. 
To coffee. 
To sleeping. 
To hope. 
To writing. 
To the radio. 
To summer rain. 

But mostly, it’s a love letter to beans and rice. 

life lately

Darlings, I miss you so much. I miss cooking. I miss frying eggs. I miss perfect vegetables. Despite these trials though. I think maybe I am the happiest I have been in a long time. These days are so long. They are like Carole King songs. With lots of ache and love all at the same time. 

 I try and talk things through a lot.

 Everyone has so many interesting things to say. 

And even though I never think about being old, or ever really believed I would get old, the other day I discovered that my childhood is behind me. And that is the most bittersweet feeling. 

The other day I imagined living in a beautiful quaint house with windows that had wide sashes and bowls of irises and wide white beds. I'd never imagined that before. I have literally never thought about being a grown up before. I have thought about the privileges that came with being a grown up, but never the actuality of being a grown up. 

I don't read the news anymore. I'm okay with that. I am okay with living in a bubble, because how long can you live in a bubble of youth and homework and wondering what you'll do on Friday night? 

Not very long. 

I'm trying to appreciate all this beauty and weirdness around me, and simply be exuberantly young. 

The point of all this is to say that  I'll have something delicious for you next time. I just wanted to stop by. And say hi. And wish you well. xoxo

Spicy Tomato-Arugula Angel Hair

(things are not always pretty in my kitchen)

You know what you do when there is nothing to eat and your mom won't take you out to lunch even though you asked really nicely four times?

You make this pasta.


It is so simple.
It is almost as good as that cheese burger you were craving.
It is light, but filling.
It is delicious and tangy and spicy and everything that pasta should be, but usually isn't.
I love love love it.

(So blissful and bodacious and beautiful.)

This recipe came from this book called The New American Table by Marcus Samuelsson. It has exceeeedingly beautiful pictures. However, with this book it was not love at first sight.
I believe in love at first sight.
My parents fell in love like that.
I am that way with cookbooks. And when I fall, I fall hard (see Dorie Greenspan.) But with this book...Things were...complicated. Marcus Samuelsson, who is a chef at somewhere important & prestigious, LOVES specialty ingredients, things like japanese spices and liquors only made in the Carribean. And much as I love grocery shopping and spending my mother's money, I just couldn't get enthused about buying so many random ingredients.
But this recipe caught my eye because of its beautiful clarity and gorgeous simplicity.

I am in love. Marcus and I on the road to wedded bliss because of this pasta.

I am not even kidding.
(too much cheese)

Spicy Tomato-Arugula Angel Hair
from The New American Table by Marcus Samuelson

2 yellow tomatoes, diced
3 red tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 pound dried angel hair pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
One 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped arugula
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 Anaheim chiles, seeds and ribs removed, chopped. NB: I used serrano peppers instead.
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Place the yellow tomatoes and red tomatoes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and let sit for 40 minutes. Or not, if you're short on time.

2. Bring 4 cups salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 3-4 minutes. Please read the package. Strain and rinse. Set aside.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and saute until the shallots are softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.

4. Toss the sauce with the pasta, the salted tomatoes, the arugula, pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes and chiles (or peppers or whatever) and heat until warmed through. Season with salt and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve immediately.