Saturday, January 17, 2009

taking the plunge

I've been in the throes of a huge internal struggle since Tuesday, when Josh was here. It all started when he asked an innocent enough question: "Why aren't you guys doing any social networking?"

Well, the truth of the matter is, neither Ian nor I have ever really seen the point. At least initially. But lately we've been hearing about people's aunts (like Eric's, who recently called him Schmoopy Woopy right there on his wall) and grandparents having accounts. Okay. No offense to grandparents, but I'm an Echo Boomer. We're the kids who are almost too young to remember Pong, for goodness' sake. I need to set an example! Follow the crowd! "Friend" people who I last saw in kindergarten or who I'd never have the guts to actually speak to in person!

So with heart pounding (really!), I decided to join. But I'm going to use this opportunity to do a social experiment, which will thusly reduce the guilt I'm suffering from caving in. Instead of actively seeking out people, I've set up a profile and will wait and see what happens. That way, the next time someone asks, I can simply say, "Yeah, I have an account, but I don't really use it." But if an old friend gets in touch, I won't complain! It's the perfect compromise. I'm riding on the edge of the bandwagon. Whew. It's not so bad.

Don't hold your breath,'re never going to find me on Twitter. Vive la resistance!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

a culinary experiment

After our recent trip to Lupa with our friends Jim and Bob, plus a new Mario Batali cookbook for Christmas, Ian decided it was high time he tried to make some fresh pasta.

fresh fettuccine
(adapted from Mario Batali's recipe on
serves 8

4 extra large eggs
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 1/2 cup for dusting your work surface

Make a mound of the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs one at a time. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape. Don't worry that this initial phase looks messy (and it totally is!). The dough will come together when half of the flour is incorporated. Start kneading the dough with both hands, using your palms. Once you have a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any leftover crusty bits; discard. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe. They are essential for a light pasta.

Roll out pasta to about 1/8-inch thick, or use the thinnest setting on a pasta machine if you're lucky enough to have one! Cut pasta into 1/4-inch thick noodles by hand (or with the machine) and set aside. (Some prefer to set under a moist towel, others hang dry.)
Assemble the ingredients for the sauce (we used a combination of red onion, jalapeno peppers, garlic, lemon, butter, and Parmesan cheese found in Molto Italiano).
Bring six quarts of water to a boil and add 2 Tbl. salt. Drop pasta into boiling water and cook until tender yet al dente. Drain pasta well and toss into pan with sauce mixture. Serve immediately in warm bowl, making extra cheese available on the side.
Eat. It's delicious, and not terribly difficult. The entire process took only two hours and isn't extremely labor-intensive, so you can even do other things, say, laundry, in the meantime. Plus, I was able to portion out several days' worth of lunches. You'd never imagine the peppers, lemon, and cheese would complement one another, but they absolutely do. We'll definitely make this again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

carroll college reunion

We had our second visitor of 2009 on Tuesday night. Our friend, Josh (shown here in the middle), was here for business and took a night off to have dinner with us at Pisticci (our favorite neighborhood restaurant, of course). Eric, our Wisconsin expat friend, was able to meet up with us too, so it was like a little college reunion. I reckon it was Pisticci's first!
Wouldn't it be nice if we continued to have a visitor every two weeks? Book your visit now!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

the award for first visitor of 2009 goes to...

Cesia Kearns!

Cesia was one of Ian's closest friends at Catholic Memorial High School. They were both on the fencing team, and even went to prom together!

Late last week, Cesia tracked us down ("I had an old Hotmail address, but thought, Who still uses Hotmail?" Ian, luckily!). She said she was in New York and hoped we could get together -- we were free! Since she and Ian last hung out nine years ago, the only time we'd seen her recently was at a few weddings, so it was really nice to spend some time together. Last night, we met at a pub in the Village called The Blind Tiger and then took a walk around the neighborhood, stopping at Washington Square. I doubt we'll ever run out of things to talk about.

So that was our first visitor for 2009. Hope every one of you is on the list too!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Happy New Year! Can you believe 2008 is already over? I feel like I didn't improve myself at all, and I'm blaming it all on failing to make any new year's resolutions last year. So today I'm overcompensating, but not irresponsibly, I hope. Instead of setting goals based on quantity, it's going to be all about quality. So, with that, my resolutions for 2009 are:
  • Worry less -- Hope more
  • Consume less -- Move more
  • Trifle less -- Read more
  • Ignore less -- Give more
  • Demand less -- Pray more
  • Complain less -- Appreciate more
  • Hurry less -- Savor more
  • Talk less -- Listen more
  • Yell less -- Sing more
  • Spend less -- Save more
Are you excited about events in the year to come? I am -- many things! I am especially proud to announce that we'll welcome a new person into our family: Liz and Keith (Ian's sister and brother-in-law) are expecting their first child in July. Woo hoo! They are going to be such great parents.

May many, many good things come to your life.