Category Archives: Ryan

Happy Valentines Day

“We’ve been together for a while now
We’re growing stronger everyday now
It feels so good and there’s no doubt
I will stay with you as each morning brings sunrise
And the flowers bloom in springtime
All my love you can rely
And I’ll stay with you

Oh I’ll stay with you through the ups and the downs
Oh I’ll stay with you when no one else is around
And when the dark clouds arrive
I will stay by your side
I know we’ll be alright
I will stay with you”

-John Legend

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happy anniversary

Today is our two year anniversary. It feels like the time has FLOWN by. But when I think about everything that we have done over the past two years – it feels like we squeezed a lot in. We adopted a dog, we bought a house, we took a roadtrip down the California coastline, we visited Meg in NYC, we considered starting a small business, we’ve made friends and made our house into our home, we’ve learned how to forgive and how to show grace. We’ve grown an enormous amount together. We’ve seen almost every side of each other. And I still feel like the luckiest girl in the world today. I am so thankful that God made Ryan for me, to be my partner in this life – through all of it’s ups and downs. And I am thankful that Ryan loves me just as I am.  He is smart, creative, funny, generous and is my very best friend and I feel incredibly blessed. I am thankful for these years because I know we will always look back on them fondly and cherish the adventures we have gone on and I am so excited for what the future holds!

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Thank Me Later

Fellas, let me help pave the way for you to have a successful Valentine’s Day.  You might have seen the french toast I made for Mackie a few days ago.  I’ll let you in on the secret – it’s really freaking easy.  There’s one key element – bread.  If you get the right bread, it’s game set match.  From my experience if you start the day by serving this to your significant other in bed, it’s gonna be a good day.

French Toast
Makes enough for 4 pieces

  • 1 loaf of Brioche bread (if you can’t find brioche you can use a soft white sandwich bread or maybe challah – but brioche is the hands down best for this though.  It’s worth calling a few bakeries if you have to.  Come on, you’re already going to the trouble of making breakfast for her, don’t screw up the most important ingredient!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole or 2% milk (don’t use skim – there’s no point in trying to make this holiday healthy)
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • White, milk, or dark chocolate (I used semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips, you can use a broken up chocolate bar or chips)
  • Strawberries or raspberries
  • Butter for the pan
  • Optional – if you feel like getting fancy you can add orange zest or a teaspoon of a nice liquor to the batter ie Grand Marnier or Framboise.  I didn’t do it and it’s not necessary, but it’s your call.  Don’t use cheap liquor.  Don’t be the guy that uses Strawberry Burnette’s in the French Toast.
  • Also optional, but a nice touch is some freshly made whipped cream.  1 cup of heavy cream and 1/4 cup powdered sugar.  Use a mixer and whip it up.

Slice the bread into 1″ or 1 1/2″ thick slices.  You need some room to get the chocolate chips inside.  On the side of the bread slices, use your knife and make a slit where you can pack in a tablespoon or so of chocolate chips.  Go slow and try not to tear the bread.  Once you’ve got the slits made, add the chocolate.

Make a batter with the rest of the ingredients.  Get a shallow baking dish and place your bread slices in it.  Pour the batter over the bread, moving it around so it’s nice and covered.

While the bread is soaking, heat up a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Once the butter is melted, and the bread.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes per side or until it’s nice and golden brown.  If you can’t fit all four slices in your pan, keep the finished slices in a warm oven or toaster oven.

Once it’s all done, top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, whip cream, or a little syrup.  Then add a few sliced strawberries. Serve this to her with a mimosa (orange juice + champagne or prosecco) and thank me later.

 

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An Unlikely Group

I cook a lot.  On good weeks I cook 5-6 nights per week.  From Asian to Mexican, grilling to roasting, I’ve cooked all sorts of things.  However, there’s one ingredient I’ve never cooked with.

Anchovies.

For such a little fish, they sure are intimidating.  But after seeing Racheal Ray a chef on television use them, I felt emboldened.  However, this new found swagger colided solidly with Mackie’s and my goal to be like this guy.  Which is why you see tofu above in the background.

Ehhh.

Tofu and anchovies – this is every 6 year old’s nightmare.  What could make it more sinister?

Kale, naturally.  Plus spaghetti squash, but it exploded in the microwave and didn’t make for a pretty picture.

So without further ado, I present to you Pesto Marinated Tofu with Spaghetti Squash and Kale (and an anchovy.)

Actually it was pretty good.  I’d give it a 7 normally, but given it was vegetarian and I’m pretty sure gluten free, I’ll give it an 8.

So if anyone else feels like seeing what anchovies actually are like – give it a shot.  Next up, homemade ceaser salads.

Pesto Marinated Tofu with Spaghetti Squash and Kale:
1 package extra firm tofu, sliced 1/2″ thick and pressed between paper towels to dry
1 spaghetti squash
2 cups of thinly shredded kale, rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 anchovy fillets, minced
Pesto, homemade or store bought
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese
Lemon slices

Spread pesto on sliced tofu and set aside.  Poke holes all over squash with sharp knife.  Microwave on high for 8 minutes, then turn upside down and microwave for another 8 minutes.  Let cool.  Boil enough salted water to cover kale.  Once boiling, add kale and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes and then transfer to cold water to stop cooking.  Once squash is cool, cut in half and tear apart with fork.  Squash should look spaghetti.  Heat up 3 tbl of olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add garlic and anchovies and sautee for 3-4 minutes.  Drain the kale, squeezing out extra moisture and add to frying pan.  Sautee for 7 minutes on medium high, turning often.  Add the squash and 2 heaping tbs of pesto and reduce heat to low.  Add salt and pepper as necessary (mine needed a good bit of salt.)  While kale is sauteeing, heat up 2 tbl of oilve oil in a different frying pan over medium high heat.  Once hot, add a few slices of tofu being careful not to crowd the pan.   Cook for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve with squash and kale.  Serve with Parmesan and lemon (acidity of the lemon really made the dish pop.)

Does this make us hippies?

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Six Meals

Six meals a day is all part of a balanced healthy diet, right?  You need 4,000 calories/day while walking over San Francisco….right? 

Right.

After a ride on the BART with a dude so crazy I can’t adequately capture his nuttiness (Picture a normal guy moaning “Clay pot fish numba wonnnnnn” to a Chinese lady beside him and you might get close) we arrived at Tartine Bakery.  2000+ Yelpers can’t be wrong.  2000+ Yelpers also probably warned us of the gigantic line we were about to face too, but that’s neither here nor there. 

Sunday brunch, on Mother’s Day no less.  By the time we ordered, it was all Mackie and I could do to not just point and go “Uhhhhhhhh” when the girl took our order. 

A slice of swiss chard quiche, brioche bread pudding with strawberries, and a banana cream tart gone LIKE THAT.

After walking it off (aka walking a few blocks down the street and creeping on other peoples’ dogs at a dog park) it was deemed ice cream was in order.  Enter Bi-Rite Creamery and Salted Caramel

This is where it gets awesome bad.  We literally walked from Bi-Rite TO ANOTHER ICE CREAM SHOP.  This miiiight have been 45 minutes since Tartine Bakery.

Humphry Slocombe, home of infamous flavors such as Prosciutto (surprisingly awesome and not bacon-y like I would have guessed,) Olive Oil (ehh,) Secret Breakfast (bourbon + cornflakes – not quite Tony the Tiger) among others.

Needless to say, we were stuffed.  Which makes the fact we crushed tacos from a taco truck all the more ridiculous.

Thankfully, the binge only lasted one day.  Otherwise, we would have died. 

OHHH WAIT – forgot one.  Between ice creams, we ate this:

A maple glazed donut with bacon, naturally.  It feels good to get all this off my chest.  This is theraputic. 

-Ryan

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Health, Wealth, and Cornbread

2005 seems like only yesterday. 

 It’s wild to look back and see how much can change in what feels like such a short time.  I proposed to Mackie exactly one year ago, and even since then so much has happened.  For our first New Years together, we’re celebrating the old school Southern way.  Collards for health, hoppin’ John for wealth, and cornbread because it’s delicious.

We’ve been pretty healthy this year.  Our adopted son cost us a little money when we first got him, but even he’s stayed healthy since then.  We’ve known too many family and friends who have battled health problems this year…

We definitely don’t have much in the wealth department, but we have more than we need.  We both have jobs we like, and besides, being broke when you’re first married is a right of passage.  Some of our best adventures have been the cheapest ones.  But I won’t act like joy is in parsimony – some of our best adventures have seriously contributed to our broke-ness.

What else could you really want?  We’re healthy, we’ve got a few dollars in our pockets, a sweet dog, and I’m spending every day with my best friend.  I’m looking forward to the changes bound to occur in 2010.

Now a New Years resolution I’m leaving you with is to appreciate all things Southern and awesome.  I’ll help you out by giving you this cornbread recipe from Edna Lewis, who most consider to be queen of classic Southern cooking.  Make it, you’ll be happier for it.

Buttermilk Cornbread
Adapted from Edna Lewis – The Gift of Southern Cooking

1 1/2 cups white cornmeal (preferably fine ground)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 strips bacon or fatback (or 2 tablespoons butter)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Mix the cornmeal, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl.  Stir the milk and butter into the beaten eggs and pour over the dry ingredients, stirring to make a smooth glossy batter.

Cut the bacon into pieces and fry in a cast iron skillet (or bake in a baking dish) until the fat is rendered and bacon is crisp.  Remove the bacon and swirl the pan to coat with the remaining grease.  Pour the batter into the heated pan and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until cornbread is golden brown and crusty on top and pulls away from the sides of the skillet.

Remove the skillet from the oven and turn out onto a plate.  Allow the cornbread to cool for 5 minutes before slicing into wedges.  Serve hot with butter, jelly, honey, or applebutter.

Happy New Year y’all.

-Ryan

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New York City Redux

Looking back over my previous post about our NYC trip, I realized I didn’t sound like I had much fun.  In fact, I sounded like I had a horrible time, which is not true at all.  So, that being said, here’s a better look at our trip to the Big City.

Mackie and I got in around 12:00am Thursday night and basically crashed right away.  Meg was nice enough to let us take over her bedroom, which was nicely decorated, comfortable, and quiet.  Thanks again Meg.

We woke up Friday morning starving.  Starving for everything bagels with veggie cream cheese.

A quick iPhone search revealed the famed Ess-A-Bagel mere blocks away.  That tangy, salty, crunchy, creamy beast kept us full for a solid 10 hours.

We metroed over to Rockefeller center where Mackie fufilled the quest she mentioned earlier.  It was tasty, but for $2.50 a cookie, color me a chocolate-chip man.  After some shopping we met my Uncle for some pints at Puck Fair, one of my favorite bars in NYC.  The Goose Island Christmas Ale was the perfect beer for that night – warming, sweet and malty with a hoppy finish.  To cap off the night, we met Meg and Pete for entirely too much Mexican food.

Saturday brought on the infamous Santacon.

Another shot that does it absolutely no justice.  Freaking Santas everywhere. 

The first stop was Brooklyn Bowl, an awesome bar/bowling alley/music venue next door to Brooklyn Brewery.

Here’s an innocent picture of Mackie and I enjoying the festivities.  But wait, what’s that in the background?

I can’t come up with a better way to finish this post than that, so that’s where I’m leaving it.  Hopefully I gave a more accurate presentation of our trip and I actually sound like I had a good time.  Cause I did.

-Ryan

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