Sunday, September 30, 2007

Now This is Singing

I forgot how much I used to love and appreciate truly good singing by more "classic" artists (i.e. non-pop-stars). I'm not sure if it was my dad's love for beautiful music or my background in figure skating (where we almost always skated to a classical piece of music), but I rediscovered it at random the other day. My mom was telling me about how there was a man on the TV show Britain's Got Talent who looked like a blue collar worker but who sang beautiful opera (yea, that happened awhile ago, but you know I'm a bit behind on news sometimes). What I especially like about the story is how they (the judges and the audience) so wrongly judged him by his looks. You have to see the video below to understand, but basically, he walks up on the stage and they ask him what he's there for. He says, "To sing opera." The judges roll their eyes and it's as if they, as well as, the whole audience thinks he's mad. But, the music starts and Paul begins to sing Nessun the shock of's simply beautiful. Can you believe this raw talent? You show 'em, Paul... you show 'em:

I don't know what it is about this song, but I want to listen to it over and over and over again...I can't get enough! I've been listening mostly to this version by the great Pavarotti live in Paris in 1998:

In case you're a figure skating fan, here's skating great Brian Boitano skating to Nessun Dorma for his Artistic Program at the 1994 Gold Championships:

Ok, now that we're all sick of Nessun Dorma, I'm off to finish cleaning my house...almost there...phew!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Steak Salad...Sorta

Can you tell I'm a little behind on my food posts? I've been posting food like mad the last couple days (or was it weeks?) and it must seem like I'm some sort of Johnson & Wales student or something. We don't actually always eat like this. I mean, I truly do enjoy cooking, and I'm kind of a food snob, so I do like to cook really interesting, unique and tasty meals, but I don't have the energy to cook them all the time. I guess that should be rather obvious as I barely have the energy to post the pictures of all these fab meals, let alone cook them. Not to mention most of the recipes on Food TV seem to cost a small fortune. Who can afford to have fresh parmesan blocks of cheese in their house every day? Those things are like $10 a pop! I try to keep a lot of my meals under $10 (for 2 people)...But I digress...I saw this recipe on Food TV for a delicious steak salad type thingy. I'm not sure if it's really a "salad" b/c of the pasta, but whatever it is, it's rather tasty. The below pictures are from the most recent time I cooked this Giada DeLaurentis dish, but this is actually the third time I've made it. You can find the recipe for this on - it's called "Penne With Beef and Arugula" (click for link). I'm not sure if it looks complicated or not, but it is super easy to make. If you like steak, arugula, and balsamic vinegar, I say you should definitely give this one a go...even if you don't deliver it to your SO's office (like Giada did on the episode). I didn't...I just made and served it at our home and it was just fine.

Look how glossy that is! Mmmm...this is so good!

Sumo, Nutella, Etc.

My company had a most-interesting fundraising event this past week - sumo wrestling. And they didn't have just anyone sumo-wrestling...I mean, who would go to that? They had some of the company big wigs doing it...of course. I have to admit, this is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I didn't really know any of the people doing the sumo wrestling, but it didn't matter. As you can tell from this photo, you can't really see their faces anyways. I actually thought about doing it, but I was wearing a skirt, and I wasn't sure there was a graceful way to get into the sumo suit with a skirt on. A girl's got to be classy at all times, right?

The $20 ticket I bought to get in came with a $10 game card (as the event was held at one of those restaurant/bar type places with tons of fun games - from skee ball to basketball to racing - you get the idea. With the ticket I also got two drinks and free apps. I only got to drink one drink b/c I have asian flush, and two would have turned me into a walking beet. I gave the other ticket to my boss's boss. What? I'm not sucking up, I only knew like 5 people there. Anywho, the apps were ok and consisted of raw veggies, meatballs, tortilla chips & salsa, and chicken wings (which I don't eat...the wings, that is). Don't worry about me, though. I didn't starve...I just noshed on my SO's Chick-Fil-A meal when I got home and also managed to snack on this:

Have you ever had Nutella? If you haven't, and you like chocolate, you must make a run to the grocery store now for some plain white bread and some Nutella. Seriously, you're totally missing out. I first had Nutella when I went to France on an exchange in high school, and if it weren't for this (and the numerous other delicious pastries readily available on nearly every street block) I so would have lost 10 pounds due to the rather strange cuisine (read my picky eating) and the constant walking. I never walked so much in all my lifetime! But I digress...Nutella and white bread - it's all you need, really, for a delicious snack. What's that? It's not healthy, you point out? Like french fries are healthy...and you know you eat those! Everything in moderation, my dear, everything in moderation. Anywho, toast up some white bread (or don't toast at all) and slather on some of this delicious, ooey, gooey, choclately goodness. Wow, this post is kinda making me hungry.

Anywho, it's a lovely day today, and I have cleaning to do, so I'm off to clean the house...yay! Oh, and work on my evil plot to talk my SO into getting a dog...or a cat. A dog would be better, but I'm in desperate need of a cuddly pet. Pet lovers...I think you know what I mean. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pantry Meal: Spagetti Pomodoro

Ever have one of those days where you and your SO are standing, starving and lost in your kitchen trying to figure out how to make a meal of your pantry items? If you're ever in a jam, then try this recipe out: Basic Tomato Sauce by Mario Batali (click here). Ok, so you have to have garlic, onion, and carrot in your kitchen, but those are relatively common items. Toss this sauce with whatever pasta you have in your pantry, and you're good to go:

Why did I call this post Spagetti Pomodoro, you ask? Well, have you ever been to Macaroni Grill? This sauce reminds me of the one they use in their Capellini Pomodoro dish. It's super yummy and the flavor is suprisingly robust. I think this would also taste good with grilled chicken (if you need some meat in your dish), as well as, with some fresh parsley and basil. Mmmmm...

Williams Sonoma Blueberry Quickbread

There's something very rich and robust about everything in Williams Sonoma. Shopping there reminds me of shopping in the fancy clothing stores as a teen drooling over the expensive clothes, shoes and accessories that I knew I couldn't and may never afford. Of course, anyone who reads my other blog, Shopaholics Anonymous, knows this to be false thanks to my treat last March (my black, gold-chained, quilted-leather baby). But I digress...anywho, there's just something about a place like Williams Sonoma that makes you want to buy something...anything...just to get a piece of the beautiful kitchen supplies they offer. I've gotten a couple tools and my Wusthof from them, but awhile back, I fell victim to one of their delicous samples and purchased a package of their blueberry quickbread. Wanting something delicious and luxe, yet easy to make, for breakfast recently, I was able to throw this together pretty effortlessly:

I topped the quickbread with a quick glaze...mmm...

I tried finding the blueberry quickbread online at, but alas...could not. I did, however, find a delicious-looking pumpkin quickbread (click to shop)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Comfort Food: Paula's Beef Stew

With the weather getting colder bit by bit, I'm turning to comfort foods for dinner these days, especially nice big pots of soups or stew. Take, for example, this delicous Old-Time Beef Stew by Paula Dean (click for recipe):

Although it took a long time to make (hey, it's beef stew...what do you expect, right?), it was super simple to put together. Following some tips from the reviewers, I added quartered red potatoes and substituted beef broth for the water. Also, I added extra liquid b/c it didn't seem to have quite enough and I don't mind my soups and stews a bit soupy. As it turned out, it wasn't really soupy at all, so I guess whatever I did worked!

The stew was a big hit w/ my SO and will definitely be a cold-weather staple in my household!

Happy Coffee...err...Birth Day to Me!

Yes, this is a post about a coffee machine. Why you ask? Well, I haven't had a coffee machine in years...yea, like more than one years...more like 5ish...and even then I had a crappy $10 coffee machine that didn't brew the best coffee. Why is this a big deal, you ask? Well, I have a confession...I'm addicted to coffee. Yes, I'm a coffee addict. If I don't get a cup in the morning, I get the worst headache...I'm sure other coffee fanatics out there know exactly what I mean. Anywho, I've either been drinking instant coffee (not the strongest or tastiest) or spending too much buying Starsucks...I mean...Starbucks in the AM. Well, enter brand spankin beautiful new coffee machine thanks to my honey - a portion of my b-day presents:

Isn't this the cutest mug?

Can you believe I got it on sale at Starbucks? I have to admit...although overpriced, I like not only their coffee but their adorable, little mugs, too. Especially when they're on sale. :)

Happy Coffee Day!