it's blogging time

Those of you know know me (read:  "all two of you who actually might read this blog") know that things have changed pretty significantly in the last month or so, and I've been trying to think of something new and interesting to do.  Making a blog was one of the first things to come to mind, but then I realized that I don't really do enough of any one thing to make a whole blog about it (other than music, but who wants to read about that?), so I decided that the best idea would be the obvious cop-out... to make a blog about doing new things!

I'm not going to promise that I'll update this at any regular intervals, but I'll certainly update any time I try something new or revisit something after a long hiatus -- and hopefully, the blog will actually inspire me to try some cool stuff.

To start out this extremely ambitious project, which will undoubtedly be read avidly by friends and will ultimately launch me to internet star-dom, I'll share a bit about my adventures making dinner for a few of my friends to celebrate my birthday.  When I started thinking about things to make for this dinner, I immediately thought about my very favorite food from the semester I spent abroad:  risotto alla milanese!  While unbelievably delicious, this risotto is traditionally made with some rather unusual (and expensive) ingredients:  saffron and bone marrow.  Being a vegetarian -- something I pretty obviously felt free to ignore occasionally when I was in Milan -- I was not about to run out to buy a bottle of marrow, but I did go out in search of saffron.  It turns out that while saffron threads are $18 for 1/10 of a gram (yes, that's 0.13 grams for 18 dollars) at your friendly neighborhood Kroger, if you actually know about them, you can buy tiny packets of saffron powder at the cash registers at Bloomingfoods.  Thanks to the friendly employee on the phone for that handy tidbit.  I also learned a fun tidbit from the little saffron packet -- apparently, it takes 75,000 blossoms to produce one pound of the spice, which is why it's the most expensive spice in the world.  Makes sense to me!  In case you're curious, here's what the flower that saffron comes from looks like:

So armed with saffron, some very expensive organic arborio (not something you necessarily want to buy at Bloomingfoods, but since I was there...), some spectacularly cheap white and all of the other things I needed to make my neat birthday meal, I got cooking!  All in all, things didn't turn out too badly.  I didn't think ahead very much and bought too little broth and no butter, so the risotto was not quite as orgasmic as I remembered it being, but the garlic green beans I made as a side were definitely tasty.  The chocolate pots de creme I made for dessert were pretty darn tasty, too -- although I did manage to forget that my oven runs about 25 degrees on the hot side, so they were a more like chocolate bricks than chocolate custard.  Either way, you can't really go wrong with dark chocolate, whipped cream and raspberries.

The star of the evening was definitely the garlic shrimp I made for an appetizer, so a big thank you to Rachel Ray -- who I'm quite honestly not usually crazy about -- for the quickest, easiest, tastiest shrimp recipe EVER.  Overall, it was a fabulous birthday evening and a very fun thing to do.  I may try to stick to a slightly less weird and bone marrow-containing main course for next time so I don't disappoint myself again, but I will almost certainly be having another dinner party sometime in the near future!  I'll just finish out with a few pictures from the evening:

And of course, no evening would be complete without my cat doing something weird...

Until next time!


  1. Glad you had such an awesome birthday! Food and friends are age-old ingredients for a fun bday :) And that's a pretty surreal picture of your cat :/
    I mean, I lay partially under furniture, but man...

  2. What *is* your cat doing there?? Escaping into the crawl spaces? :D Also, I never knew saffron flowers were so gorgeous, or why saffron was so expensive...awesome!

  3. Yeah, that's definitely a big hole that leads to under the counter if you move that piece of plastic you see on the ground beside her... She eventually made it all the way under, but she got out before I could take a picture. ;)

  4. Yum! garlic shrimp! You must make that next time you're here.
    Yup, that's one crazy cat. But lovable!

  5. Yeah, the shrimp was almost unbearably easy to make. We can definitely have that at home! Maybe some martinis to go with it... hmmm...

  6. So happy to see you in the blogging world! Yay! I think the "trying new things" angle is PERFECT. <3

  7. Arwen, you have not done a new thing since January. DISAPPOINTMENT.