12 November 2009

brussel sprouts anyone?

i used to hate brussel sprouts, they always smelled funky, and had a weird texture. as i’ve grown older, i’ve developed an affinity for them, and now i consider them to be one of my favorite veggies.

i’m not sure how i thought the grew before but it was only once i started shopping at farmers markets that i found out that this is how they look when they are growing.

i picked this bad boy up a few days ago and am thinking about different way to cook them. i’ll definitely give my tried and true method a go (pan seared with garlic and olive oil and, towards the end, a splash of balsamic vinegar) but i need a few more recipes. any suggestions?

11 November 2009

birthday fun

last saturday was the first annual day long celebration of pete's birth. we started out with some delish sonic burgers and tots. i had never been to a sonic before so the whole experience of cute girls bringing me my tots while on roller skates was pretty much awesome.

pete was super excited to order his sonic burger. he had heard they were better than five guys! his professional verdict? it was good, but hard to tell if it was better. a side by side taste comparison may need to be performed in order to more accurately judge.

the tots though? those tots are good. crispy, potatoey, everything a tater tot should be.

the next item on the agenda was a visit to the long beach aquarium. one of my favorite parts was definitely the jellyfish. i could have sat and taken pictures all day, but alas, i had to make way for some kiddies to take a peek.

on the way back to the car, we caught the tail end of gorgeous sunset and i couldn't help but snap a picture.

and finally, it was off to dinner, where we stuffed our faces full of sushi, crispy pork belly, warm chocolate torte and wine. can't wait to do it all again next year.

05 November 2009

what's been going on in our kitchen

pete’s birthday was on monday so on sunday morning i made him pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon whipped cream and a big french press with my favorite LA coffee (www.lacoffee.com). the perfect fall breakfast, even though it’s still in the 70’s around here.

i get into routines when it comes to breakfast. last month, it was all about scrambled eggs. but it's november now and time to change it up, and lately, it's been all about oatmeal for breakfast. i prefer to make it with milk, sprinkled with slivered almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup, it’s such a delish way to start the day.

last night i made chicken in a lemon, caper, artichoke sauce and at the last minute I stirred in a dollop of crème fraiche i had left over from another meal. i really think the crème fraiche was the star here, it gave the sauce a nice tang and creaminess. it was so good, I actually licked the palte. i read recently that you can make your own crème fraiche at home, and i intend to try it out soon. i’ll let you know how it goes.

25 October 2009

sunday afternoon

sunday afternoons were made for hanging in your favorite coffee shop, sipping an exceptionally well made latte and reading a new book (not becoming my mother by the always amazing ruth reichl).

i love the scene here, there are four stations, and each one is staffed with a vest-wearing hipster barista to craft your delicious drink. it's pricier than most places, but they really know what they are doing here. intellegentsia, you have my heart.

21 October 2009

special delivery

no, i'm not going vegan, i love cheese too much to do that.

yesterday i came home to find a package from amazon waiting on my doorstep! i love getting things in the mail, especially things that aren't bills. a few weeks ago i made the chickpea cutlets from this book and they were SO good that when i saw it on sale for half off on amazon the next day, i went for it.

boris and i teamed up in deciding on the first meal: chile cornmeal crusted tofu with southwestern corn pudding and green pumpkin seed mole? or maybe potato and kale enchiladas with roasted chile sauce? too many choices.

13 October 2009

things i've been doing

The Hollywood Bowl is a magical place to see a show, it’s all outdoors and you can bring your own wine and food to nibble on as the sun sets over the Hollywood Hills. A few weeks ago, I dragged Pete to the Sound of Music Sing Along and joined 18,000 other people (the show was sold out almost instantly, that is how popular it is) to watch my all-time favorite movie and sing along to every song (they put the words at the bottom of the screen in case you don’t know them- as if!). Before the movie started there was a costume contest, with a grand prize of a 7 day cruise to Mexico! The winning costume? Three little kids dressed as “Tea with Bread and Jam”. So cute. It was loads of fun, even though we seriously underestimated the amount of wine we needed as we ran out before the movie even started! Oh well, there’s always next year.

21 July 2009

what's for dinner

Smitten Kitchen's lemony zucchini goat cheese pizza. I officially want to spread lemony goat cheese onto whatever I can get my hands on.

While cutting off the tops of my radishes from the farmers market, I tasted one and discovered that the tops are totally delish. It made me so sad I had thrown so many away. The tops were tossed into the salad bowl with some other mixed greens, an impromptu lemon vinaigrette and some Parmesan shavings.

On another note, my garden is starting to finally show some life, which makes me totally excited, since I thought for sure this year was going to be a bust. I guess I need to learn a little patience. pictures to come.

13 July 2009

and they said "i do"

Pete and I just returned from a week in Vieques, Puerto Rico celebrating the union of two of the most wonderful people, our friends Mia and Ira. To say that it was an honor to be a part of their most special day is an understatement, and I can't think of two people more deserving of a lifetime of happiness. Cheers!

the full set of pictures can be found here.

16 June 2009

i'm back

I can’t believe I’ve been away for over two months. Things got a little hectic for a while, with jobs, school, moving, family, life, but now that summer is here, I’m ready to relax, slow down and enjoy life.

As an offering of my sincerest apologies, I decided to bake you a cake. Back in March, Abby gifted me with the loveliest of books, Molly's A Homemade Life, and I've had the recipe for her Winning Hearts and Minds cake tagged ever since. This cake is so delicious and impressive, you would never guess how simple it is to make. I made a few modifications, such as using Trader Joe's chocolate instead of the recommended "good" chocolate, a 9 inch cake pan because that's all I had, and a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder instead of regular flour (gluten free bonus!) and I don't think it hurt it one bit.

"it's basically like the moistest, richest, bestest brownie you've ever had" - pete

02 April 2009

sweatin' to the oldies

Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to find an email from my mom containing this picture. Apparently old Richard likes to hang out at 30th Street Station wearing tank tops bedazzled with the word "SWEAT".

12 March 2009


I've been seeing this around the interwebs, and really, it couldn't have come at a better time.

“I must learn to love the fool in me–the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool.” — Theodore I. Rubin, MD

from a Cup of Jo

05 March 2009

Prop 8

It’s not often that things turn political here, but woah nelly, is it a big day here in the Golden State. Today is the day that the California Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether or not Proposition 8 should be upheld and if so, whether the 18,000 or so same-sex marriages performed should remain valid. While it will be 60 days before the decision is released, I think it’s important today to think about all of the wonderfully brave men and women who have fought for their right to be a part of something that so many of us take for granted. Having just gone through the excitement of an engagement myself, it saddens and angers me that there are so many people out there who are being deprived of the ability to experience that same joy and to build a life with the person they love. Fingers crossed that Prop 8 is soon just a bad memory.

02 March 2009

good times

Just a little heads up to all you Food Network lovers out there. This Thursday, set your DVR’s, pop some popcorn and join us in playing “Spot the Ginger” as Pete makes his network debut on Ace of Cakes. It's going to be a rip roarin' good time had by all.

23 February 2009

does this mean i have to get a subscription to The Knot?

Last weekend, on a regular Sunday afternoon, Pete and I went hiking at one of our favorite spots in LA and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I always thought I would catch on that something was up, that I would sense a nervousness about him, but I was taken completely by surprise and true to form, cried like a baby. We’re very, very happy and thrilled by the fact that our friends and family are as excited as we are. Thanks for all the good wishes, it really makes us smile.

05 February 2009

saturdays are for adventure

On Saturday, in an effort to be more varied in our breakfast choices, we decided to try out a new (for us) spot on 3rd Street called Little Next Door. It was a bit of a hike from where we live but it was totally worth it. It is the cutest little French bistro that serves the best latte I’ve had so far in LA. I had the omelet fumé (roasted chicken, sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese- oh. so. good.) and Pete had his first Croque Madame, which, as he said “is everything I love to eat at breakfast rolled into one”.

After we ate, we decided to go on a little adventure and take a drive down the coast. I love driving along the Pacific Coast Highway through all the little beach towns, especially with sights like this:

Ugh. So cute in his little goggles. And such a good little model too.

By the time we hit Laguna Beach, we were starting to get hungry. Since I was craving Mexican, we decided to go to where we knew it would be good: San Diego! I’ve been using Yelp a lot recently for restaurant recommendations, and I turned to it once again to guide us in the direction of some totally delish Mexican. It led us to La Playa Taco Shop, a little shack on the side of the road servin’ up the tastiest and cheapest fish tacos. For good measure, we also grabbed us some meat tacos, which were scrumptious, but quickly realized that when it comes to tacos, fish is where it's at.

Sadly, they don’t serve booze, so my thirst for a margarita was not quenched. Alas, I had to settle for ice cream on the boardwalk. Woe is me.

30 January 2009


Today while browsing my massively long list of blogs (I'm serious, I might need a blog intervention), I found a link to the site 20x200. This site is perfect for someone like me who loves to decorate my space(s) with art that inspires me, or makes me laugh, or that just makes me happy, but doesn’t really have the pocketbook to support a full blown habit.

found here

Every week, they introduce one new photo and one new work on paper. They then offer them in three standard sizes at three different prices, each with a limited quantity. The smallest size is offered at $20 in a batch of 200 and every single print comes with a certificate of authenticity numbered by the artist. As they say, it’s a great way for people who want to sell their art and people who want to buy their art to meet.

29 January 2009

a little bit of this and a little bit of that

*Ab and Jed came to visit us over MLK day weekend and we partook in all sorts of awesomeness.  They really couldn't have picked a better weekend to come, the weather was top notch, and the conditions were prime for a dance off:

*On Friday night, Pete took me out on a surprise date to Craft LA. I have wanted to eat at Craft since before we moved here (if you remember, it was on my list, an update on the progress of the list coming soon) so to say I was excited when we pulled up is a bit of an understatement. It was, hands down, the best meal of my life. The service was great, the food was prepared perfectly, and they pretty much had to roll me out of there they gave us so much food on top of what we ordered. They even send you home with a freshly homemade chocolate chip muffin. That Tom Colicchio, always looking out for you. I want to go back every weekend for the rest of the time I live in LA. Best date ever.

*The soup phase continues, as can be seen over at A Bit Better, with some Spicy Artichoke Tomato Soup. Totally delish and perfect for that cold weather everyone else except us is experiencing (did I tell you it was 80 degrees here a few weekends ago?). Don't hate me. 

*One last thing: I bought 10lbs of oranges for 5 bucks last week at the farmers market and I've been eating one or two a day for the past week but I still have six left to use up before they go bad. Any suggestions???

23 January 2009

Why my hip-hop posse would include Ina Garten

Ina Garten
because no one messes with Ina. Plus, we could all chill at her crib in the Hamptons.

11 January 2009

sunday morning

I love me some Sundays, especially Sunday mornings. There is little better in this world than sleeping in, making a big breakfast, brewing some coffee or tea and lounging around, enjoying not having to do anything but meander over to the farmers market and see what looks good. This morning, inspired by my new cast iron skillet (seriously, I love you, but it's going to take a while for me to get used to you being so. damn. heavy.) I decided to make a recipe from Orangette that I've had bookmarked for oh, about 3 years. 

Oh lordy, dutch babies are now my new favorite breakfast food. You whir a few ingredients in a blender or food processor. Melt some butter in a cast iron skillet, pour the batter in, throw it in a hot oven for a spell and when it comes out it looks like this:

How can that not be good?? The traditional topping for this is lemon juice and powdered sugar and I also made a blueberry sauce to go along with it, but I think I am a dutch baby purist, because seriously? the tang of the lemon and the sweetness of the sugar with the richness of the dutch baby? Swoon.

Recipe found here. A few notes: If you don't have a cast iron, I read that you can also do this in a glass pie pan, but you would want to have the batter be at room temperature or your pie pan will shatter. Not fun. Also, I used half 2% and half heavy cream and I am pretty sure you can use whatever kind of milk you have in the fridge. I also added a pinch of salt and a few teaspoons of sugar, just because I felt like it.

08 January 2009

soup, it's what's for dinner

While it isn't necessarily as cold as what I am used to, it is definitely winter around here. The air is cooler, the famed orange scarf has reappeared, and I am snuggling under the heavy blanket at night to keep warm. I am also craving soup. Lots and lots of soup. Last Sunday I picked up some kale at the farmers market not really having anything in mind for it, I just thought it was so pretty, with it's ruffly, girly edges. Tuesday night I made this soup, just throwing in what looked good (I'm looking at you red pepper) and what looked not so good (hello, shriveled up, almost ready for the garbage carrots) until it smelled totally delish.

Kale and White Bean Soup

2 carrots, chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 can of white beans (I didn't even bother rinsing the beans off, as I wanted that weird bean goo to thicken the soup)
4 cups stock (veggie, chicken, whatever you've got)
1/2 bunch kale, chopped
fresh herbs, minced (I had rosemary, sage and thyme)
red pepper flakes (next time I might do a little siracha as well)
salt and pepper
zest of 1 lemon, juice of half

saute carrot, red pepper and onion in olive oil until soft. add garlic, white wine, beans and stock and bring to a boil. add kale, herbs, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. simmer until kale is tender. add lemon juice and zest. when serving sprinkle parmesan over the top.

07 January 2009

laughter is the best medicine

I am sure you’ve probably read enough 2008 recaps to last you until, well, until it’s time for the 2009 recaps, but if you’ve got room for one more, this one should be it. Dave Barry always makes me laugh, even when he is depressing the hell out of me.

Big shout out to Pete's mom Betsy for sending this to me!

06 January 2009

blue skies

04 January 2009

zoom, zoom, zoom

I put it off as long as I could but if I am going to be a school nerd in a few short weeks (more on that later), it had to happen. I am now the proud new owner of a 2009 Toyota Corolla S. It's been 4 and 1/2 years since I have been a car owner and I am having mixed feelings about it, but I'm sure I'll get over it though, because isn't she (Pete said she had to be a "she" because he didn't need any more competition) so pretty? Plus she gets uber great gas mileage which totally bumps her up to HOT status in my book.

In the Burtuester family tradition, she needs a name. Any suggestions? 

01 January 2009

2009, i like you already.

I'm still here, I've just been enjoying the holidays! 

Christmas was spent in Kansas with my Dad's side of the family, including my Opa. We made some old family recipes, dressed some dauschunds up in their holiday best, ate our body weight in meat at a brazilian bbq, and played many, many hours of Wii. You know, a typical Christmas. Oh, and how have I not discovered the awesomeness of Wii until now?? 

Did you think I was kidding?

Tante Gretel rocking out on Wii bowling.

Barb and Aunt Suzi racing some cows.

A Christmas standard in my family: Linzertorte

New Years Eve was a decidedly low key event. Ever the party animals, we spent the night at home, eating steak, sipping bubbly and watching Kathy Griffin embarrass the hell out of Anderson Cooper. Oh yeah, and falling asleep by 10:30. Oops. I did whip up an awesome creme brulee using a recipe from a new book Pete's mom gave me. Mmmm, New Years Eve has never tasted better.

Yes I drink my champagne out of a naked lady glass. Doesn't everyone?

Looking back, 2008 was definitely a year of change for me, most notably, we decided to shake things up a bit and move to the West Coast. I'm still getting used to it, but more and more, this place is starting to feel like home. We have another move planned in the next six months, but this time, we're thinking maybe just 10 miles away instead of 3000. I figure we can take it easy this year. 

I'm not much for resolutions, but you can read about my hopes for myself in the new year over here. Here's hoping that your holidays were filled with love, laughter, food and bubbly. 

I know mine were.