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9 Sep

So guess what?

I got engaged! Here’s my wonderful story…

11 am-5:45 pm – Lounging around the apartment playing video games (literally, looked gross all day and didn’t suspect a thing. apparently he was sweating all day)

6:00-7:15 pm – Showering and getting ready for our evening out for dinner to celebrate my new job (yeah, that happened too! i got a job working for a great company in NYC)

7:30-9:00 pm – Dinner at Perla in the city, foie gras for appetizer, arugula salad with pistachios, oriechette with sausage and pesto (like my recipe!), and Dave got the lamb breast and wine.. we had a great time, the place played old 80’s hip hop and we talked about how happy we are to be back in NY, both working, and finally settling in. We’re also going on vacation tomorrow to Bar Harbor Maine just to relax a little. It was a wonderful dinner.

9:00-10:00 pm – We went to eataly (mario batalis market) and got Hazelnut Pistachio Gelato. This is significant because we did this when we first started dating a lot… i walked in, and dave immediately stopped me because he said he “left his wallet in the car” and had to go get it. We got gelato when he got back, and he wanted to go outside. I was like, no!! its drizzling and wet! hes like its fine we have an umbrella.. So we walked over and sat on a bench in front of the flatiron building in madison square park. I just sat there, enjoying the sights and refusing the eat anymore gelato.

He put down our gelato, and started getting all serious on me saying, you’re my best friend, I would never want to spend my life with anyone else, and at that point i knew what was going on, and looked at him in that, OMG whats going on face. He got down on one knee, and proposed with the most beautiful ring!!

After tons of hugging and kissing and crying, Dave wanted to go to his favorite bar, Flatiron Lounge, for a celebratory drink. Little did i know, my parents, his parents, and my brother and his fiance were there waiting for us with champagne and flowers. How awesome is that!??!?

I had the most wonderful week. I celebrated my birthday the week before, got a job offer, and got engaged to my best friend in the whole world.

Hints of the night i realized later:
*He DROVE into the city, he said he wanted me to be comfortable since it was raining and i was wearing heels. He never drives into the city!
*He asked me to bring my camera
*He dressed up real nice, and wore cologne and he NEVER does. i was like, whaaaa?
*At dinner, he asked me to keep the cork from our wine

P.S…. look at my ring!!!!

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Lamb Stew

9 Sep

I got this new amazing fontignac french oven for my birthday. I just have to say that in comparison with a Le Creuset, for the cost, these are great quality and the food comes out so delicious.

To this day, this is my #2 best thing i’ve ever made. Seriously…. holy…. wow!!!

Lamb Stew – adapted from thekitchn.

2 pounds stew lamb, cut in chunks, could use any type of meat instead (with or without bone, we deboned it)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 onions
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons fresh sage
8 cloves garlic
1 big carrot, peeled
Olive oil
2 cups red wine
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 28-ounce can peeled whole plum tomatoes

Pat the lamb chunks dry with a paper towel. Liberally coat the lamb chunks with salt and pepper and set aside. Peel and coarsely chop the onions, and chop the garlic. Chop the carrot into thin rounds.

Place an oven-proof Dutch oven or heavy stockpot over medium-high heat, and add olive oil to cover the bottom thinly. When oil is hot, add the lamb and brown deeply. Don’t overcrowd and do this in batches if necessary. Don’t worry about drying out the meat — you want it browned darkly for good flavor. (I usually brown for at least 6-10 minutes)

When the meat is thoroughly browned, add the onions and garlic. Lower the heat, and cook slowly over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are golden. Add the rosemary and sage, and the carrots. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add wine and balsamic vinegar and continue to simmer until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Crush the tomatoes in the can with a fork or back of a spoon, then add them and their juices to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover and place in a 275-degree oven for 3 to 4 hours. Alternately, put everything in a slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on HIGH or at least 8 hours on LOW.  The longer it cooks the more tender it will be. Season with salt and pepper. I would recommend serving with mashed potatoes as it creates more decadence, flavor, and texture.

This smells SOOOOO good, too. I made it again for my parents with 1/2 filet mignon chunks and 1/2 lamb!


Red Velvet Cake Pops

9 Sep

AKA the most time consuming dessert to make…

…. no but seriously. why didn’t anyone WARN ME?!

I made these for my birthday BBQ as a give-away, it was my first time making cake pops but i also made risotto, sliders, cookies and russian salad the same day as working on these. What a trip these were. It was a success only because they were so delicious… but you have to be so talented to do these so neat and beautiful like Bakerella does. These are really really good, everyone kept asking for more than one!!!

Try it!

Ingredients (makes about 50-60 pops)
1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
2 packages of chocolate, or vanilla (melted)
long lollipop sticks
baggies and ties
wax paper
styrofoam tray for holding pops

1. After the cake is cooked and cooled completely (at least 2 hrs in the refrigerator), crumble with a fork or your fingers into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting (i used a spatula to do this)
3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 50-60)
4. Chill for several hours in the refrigerator. If you put them in the freezer if you are short on time, start with them in the refrigerator for a bit, then only keep them in the freezer for about 30 minutes or they can crack when frosted.
5. Melt chocolate/vanilla in microwave per directions on package.
6. Take a stick and poke directly into the middle of the pop. Using a steep or narrow bowl, dip balls holding the stick gently in melted chocolate. Move left, right, and then directly up out of the chocolate. If you have a few that fail here, don’t freak out like i did. It takes practice and you may try your own technique to make it work. Hold the frosted pop upwards and dip excess chocolate from the sides by tapping gently on the sides of the bowl. Stick the lollipop sticks in the Styrofoam and refrigerate immediately to “set” the pop. Let them set, wrap, and tie them. They can be eaten for about 7-8 days after made too! Enjoy!

Also, I made the swirls on the cake pops by melting chocolate in a bottle and twirling the pop as i released the chocolate. I let the cake pops set the first time and then took them out again.