Tag Archives: housewife

The Beginning of the Culinary Adventures of Larissa Church

7 Dec

"Honey, I'll get the rib-eye steak for you next!"

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It is my sincere hope that this post will be the first of many such posts.

In a previous post, (see “Ants and Vodka”) I firmly established my lack of culinary skills. For those of you that aren’t aware, I may not have been female as a child. I only had one true “doll”–and it was Cabbage Patch–and my childhood playtime memories consist of riding my bicycle and playing copious amounts of kickball and four square (not Foursquare). A lot. I was not at all interested in dolls, playing dress up, or cooking. I was a tomboy.

As a result, I am essentially useless in the kitchen. In the past, anytime my husband and I discussed our imminent marriage, I always told him that he would cook, and I could clean. Cleaning is one “housewife” responsibility that I do enjoy. Now, I’m not Monica Geller or anything, but at times I can be a bit neurotic about being neat. Thankfully, my husband is very blessed with culinary talents, which he no doubt learned from his mother, who is also gifted (I know I sound like a suck-up, but it’s true! One of Craig’s brother’s is a professional chef, so I feel this proves my point.) or else we would starve. My husband has truly been a dear and has spoiled me relentlessly with his cooking, and in other ways too, of course! I have enjoyed homemade biscuits and gravy from scratch many times (my favorite Sunday morning meal), I have stuffed my face with potatoes gratin with a cream sauce from scratch, along with chipotle corn and various amazing veggie dishes.

One night last week, I had a dream that I was fortunate enough to spend an evening with none other than Johnny Depp. I was anxious to make sure he was well taken care of, and offered to cook for him (I’m not really sure why I thought this would be a good idea, given all of what I just said…). In that slow drawl of his that is incredibly attractive, Johnny (we’re on a first name basis now) said, “Love, I’ve seen your blog. I know you can’t cook.” Then he handed me a bag of popcorn kernels and said, “Here. I think this is something you can handle.” When I awoke with a start at 6:14 a.m., I knew what I had to do: I had to cook. In the event that I do manage to spend time with Johnny in the future, I don’t want my cooking skills questioned.

My brother and his wife recently gifted me with The Williams-Sonoma “Bride & Groom Cookbook.” My brother was very distraught to discover that the recipes were not choreographed in a “While the bride sautés the onions, the groom kneads the bread” manner. (It’s just a normal cookbook, albeit a good one.) At the start of my endeavor, I eagerly decided I would cook an entire meal from scratch, from appetizer to entrée to dessert. However, I think my husband was a tad worried he might end up having to make an In-n-Out run if he didn’t intervene so he told me he would be happy to make the entrée.

I decided to cook Gougères (pg. 61). The recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website differs slightly from the version in the cookbook but is essentially the same. It should be noted that I chose a starter with a level three spoon difficulty level, which indicated that it was a “relatively complex dish.” However, I am happy to report that I managed to make the Gougères without a hitch (sorry to disappoint you if you thought I would screw up royally), though there was a time period of a few minutes where I was frantically running back and forth between the cookbook while I beat the eggs into the mixture and on the verge of hyperventilating because I was worried I was going to burn the dough. They were absolutely delicious, and I even took a few to work the next day to share with a co-worker, the first time I have ever taken food I’ve cooked to work.

I also decided that I would make caramelized brussels sprouts (pg. 164, recipe by Williams-Sonoma not available online), level one spoon difficulty. The recipe requires that you sauté the sprouts vigorously after coating the sprouts in olive oil. I honestly feel that a small child is capable of making this dish (hey, I did!). I don’t think I had ever sautéd anything before, so that was cool. I felt like I was working at Benihana. They turned out well, but I did notice that my pee absolutely reeked the next day, which is weird cause I’ve always heard that’s more of an asparagus thing. Just FYI.

My husband, the magical genius that he is, was cooking a potato broccoli cheese soup. He decided to deviate from the recipe and added all sorts of things, like carrots and tons of spices, and it was pure heaven. Someday I hope to attain the culinary heights of Craig Church where I can just decide that I know how to make soup better than the internet and do it, and be right.

I realize that a 26-year-old making cheese bread balls and caramelized brussels sprouts isn’t exactly newsworthy material, but in my world, it is. I’ve definitely caught the cooking bug, and before you know it, I’ll be cooking up a rib-eye steak (and feeding it to Nick Lampke because my husband and I don’t eat beef) and be a culinary master.

Ants and Vodka

17 Sep

Marching On

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One of the things we quickly discovered about our new house was that it has ants. And they’re stupid.

Since our refrigerator contains less than 10 items (causing our friend Nick to comment it looks like a college students’), and our little pantry consists of several un-opened bags of Chex Mix, these idiotic insects lurk in the master bedroom and bathroom, apparently hoping to find nourishment there. My husband and I don’t eat in bed, nor in the bathroom, so the behavior of the ants is baffling. We have left open containers of food in the den overnight, and the ants didn’t catch on. A few days ago I left a cup of water on my nightstand, only to awake the next morning and find it  swimming with ants. See–they’re moronic.

Now, I’ve never really had strong feelings about ants until now. They’re gross. I dislike seeing one or two of the little guys crawl on the counter while I blowdry my hair. While writing this post I read about them on Wikipedia (the most reliant and truthful online encyclopedia) and found it is nearly impossible to eliminate an ant colony. Instead, “Pest management is therefore a matter of controlling local populations, instead of eliminating an entire colony, and most attempts at control are temporary solutions.”  Additionally adding to the hopelessness, ants account for about 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass, according to Wikipedia. (source) That is terrifying. I no longer feel badly about applying Raid liberally to them. DIE.

In other housewife news, last night I ventured into the realm of cooking and emerged unscathed. My husband and I were graciously gifted a copy of Giada De Laurentiis’ “Everyday Italian” cookbook as a wedding present and I am determined to master a few of her recipes. Like a good Italian, I’m obsessed with pasta and my favorite sauce is vodka cream, where I decided to begin (pg. 67). By no means a complicated recipe, I was delighted to have the majority of it completed when my husband came home from work (bonus: I was wearing an apron). When I told my sister-in-law of our culinary plans, she informed me that a low-cut shirt must be worn by the chef for it to be a true Giada experience. As I was wearing a t-shirt, my husband graciously undid several of his buttons on his button-up shirt to accommodate this necessity while he finished grating the Parmesan cheese.

The recipe gets a B, since both my husband and I found the sauce too vodka-y. The linguine was practically drunk. The recipe calls for a cup of vodka, but as my husband said, “Giada’s a drunkard.” I would recommend halving that. Baked polenta (pg. 124) is the next recipe on the agenda, so stay tuned.

Becoming a Cliché

13 Sep

She's so happy!

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Today I’ve been a good little housewife. Yesterday marked three weeks that I’ve been married to my wonderful husband, so it seems fitting that today would greet me with a plethora of household issues.

The morning started with a clogged toilet. I have never needed to use a plunger, until today. It was gross, it was disgusting, but I conquered it. Thank goodness the previous tenant left a Glade apple cinnamon fragrance spray, so now my bathroom smells like a nursing home.

It was on to clean the kitchen. For two people, my husband and I accumulate an unusually high number of dirty dishes. This is frustrating, particularly since we registered for those square plates, bowls and glasses from Crate and Barrel, which are a bear to wash as well as dry, though they are extremely visually appealing. Cleanliness reigns again in the kitchen.

Then, I built a Lack coffeetable from Ikea. I felt like a caveman at a computer. Am I the only person in the world who finds their little instruction booklets practically impossible to follow? I have always considered myself a very visual person, but when it comes to building Ikea products, I think I need a video or a 1,000 word how-to essay.

Now, I’m about to go use my new Bona mop that I picked up at Bed, Bath and Beyond last night. I’ve never had hardwood floors before, so I’m anxious to take good care of it, particularly since it was installed in the house right before we moved in (so I can’t blame anyone else for scratches on the wood, drat!). Apparently the NBA uses some form of the Bona, but I can’t help but look at the bit of plastic I have and hope the NBA has a larger, automated one of some sorts, or cleaning those stadium floors would take a lifetime.

I also have about eight loads of laundry on deck, which should entertain me until I need to get dinner ready for my husband. On the menu is grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, about the only meal I can make without burning something or forgetting an ingredient.

And yes, in honor of this post’s photo, I’m doing this all while wearing a dress.