Saturday, March 31, 2012


I joke, probably too often, about my evolutionary inferiority. But especially this past Friday, when I was plagued with extreme exhaustion, I was more convinced than ever of the theory's validity. 

I didn't even stay out that late on Thursday night, but got only four or so hours of quality sleep. I haven't slept straight through a night in, well, I honestly can't even tell you how long (at least a year or more). So I've long since managed my expectations in terms of sleeping six to eight straight hours. But I still need at least six, preferably eight, hours of rest. 

When this does not happen, my ability to function, even with caffeine, becomes shockingly compromised. The fewer hours of sleep I get, the more my head aches like it's being squeezed by a vise. The more I want to curl up in a ball under my desk and close my eyes. The slower the hands of the clock move, mimicking my molasses-tastic limbs. 

I find this troubling for many reasons, especially in the moments when I most want to pitch a fit, kick someone in the shins, or sleep rightthissecond. Shouldn't I be able to dance on tables all night and still wake up just a few hours later looking young and flawless a la Hollywood starlets and Georgetown co-eds? Or stay up half the night with a new baby a la half of my Facebook newsfeed? 

Not to get too far off topic here, but on that note, is there any point in life when one's peers are doing such a wide range of things? I mean I feel like half the people I know are about to become doctors while traveling the world and curing cancer while the other half are married (with babies). It's a bit dizzying, the array of choices we have at this age, no? 

So although Friday was the first night in quite a while that I haven't had plans, my grand intentions to cook myself a simple but non-pasta dinner were decimated by my "is it dark yet? can I get in bed yet?" level of sleepiness. 

Which is how I ended up having edamame and mug cake for dinner. What? You think that sounds crazy? Well then I probably shouldn't tell you about how I had wine and animal crackers for dinner earlier in the week. 

Anyways, in my haze of exhaustion, I went in to the Rite Aid near my metro/bus stop while waiting on my afternoon ride home, and, in the absence of chocolate chips, walked out with a Lindt dark chocolate + sea salt bar. I knew I'd have to indulge my raging sweet tooth with what little I have on hand here at home, as the hopes of my ditching the pjs (or the couch) once I got home were non-existent. 

I bought the Lindt bar with a lava cake repeat in mind. I know, I know. I specifically told y'all not to even think of tweaking that recipe, and here I was about to do the same. Luckily in a move of sheer laziness, I decided to make a 2 minute mug cake instead, mostly out of a desire to cut down the prep time significantly, but also in an attempt to try something new.   

see? everything in one mug. so easy for lazy pants like me.

I hate to say it wasn't a success. I can't figure out if my lack of nutella was the issue, or if two minutes was actually too long to nuke the mixture in the microwave. Either way, it was way, way too dry and thick. I only had a couple of bites before I chucked the whole thing in the trash. 

it looks so promising, right? all gooey and chocolate-y

I figure I'll give it another try (despite how dangerous a successful recipe could be). You know, when I'm not so sleepy that the floor under my desk is an appealing nap spot. 

ps-in case you didn't notice, the LKTC got a bit of a makeover. Or perhaps I should say "make-under," because things are much sleeker. The clutter that you'd usually find on the left and right of the posts are now part of a subtle, omnipresent gray bar on the right of the page that pops out if you hover your mouse over it. So if you want to find the archives, labels, "about me," or the like, just check out that part of the page! If you're a google reader subscriber, I imagine you have no idea what I'm talking about, so you should check it out some time when you're bored or procrastinating. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

nostalgia wednesdays: waffle weekends at the lake

I hit that "must get out of DC now" point last week. I thought I could hold out until this coming weekend to head for home, but it turns out that I just couldn't. Well, that and I remembered a friend of mine was driving to Charlotte on Friday, which solved 50% of my logistics issues, and after happy hour on Thursday, 50% sounded a lot better than 0%. 

The other 50%, that'd be the return trip, ended up being solved by MegaBus. Not because I was dying to spend 8 hours on a bus, but because Amtrak was sold out and a flight was prohibitively expensive. The adventure was spearheaded by our driver Mo-reece. Yes, Mo-reece. I know he spells his name this way because we all spent plenty of quality time together when the bus broke down in the parking lot of a McDonald's in Mebane, NC. 

Believe it or not, that wasn't actually the worst part of my trek back to DC. But much like the fire alarm incident, I'm just not ready to go there yet, especially because I just got my hair done, which I always find that to be an expensive but incredibly effective mood booster, and I don't want to deflate that bubble just yet. Want to get my money's worth and all. 

Anyways, being home was exceedingly restorative, as it always seems to be. I got to snuggle with the dog and catch up with my family (+ some of our Charlotte family). I also got to sleep in, eat out, watch lots of basketball, and introduce my Mom to Ikea. One of the other great things about being home? Mom always makes me some sort of syrupy breakfast. This time we had chocolate chip pancakes and waffles, which probably explains why my new pair of pants no longer fit. Despite my sister's claim that I'm a "human Fiat," the weekend of carby eating seems to have caught up with me.    

The hip augmenting waffles were good, but I don't think anything will ever compare to the waffles we ate by the half dozen at the lake house in Georgia growing up. I have no idea how we first discovered the brand, nor do I actually know what it's called to this day. All I know is that it comes in a burgundy box, is only sold in random grocery stores, and produces the best waffle you'll ever eat. For a while, whatever parent(s) woke up first would be on waffle duty, and would have the difficult task of deciding whether the older or the younger kids got waffles first. At some point I took over the waffle iron, probably because I'm the most type A of the bunch and one of the earliest risers. 

For years and years, especially in the summer, that routine would happen on pretty much a weekly basis, kicking off a day of sunscreen and swimmies. Now that the cousins are mostly all grown up, or at least older and living further away, we don't get down to the lake as often anymore. I only make it there once or twice a year at this point, and while that's good news for my hips, I miss the weekend waffle routine. 

On a related note, I know I haven't baked or cooked in a good, long while. Life has been insanely hectic, mostly of my own doing, and I kind of like it that way, but I'm really itching to get back in the LKTC. Pinterest is full of recipes I want to try, so stay tuned and maybe, just maybe, something current and cooking related will pop up here. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I did something really dumb this weekend, and before you start imagining epic hangovers or the like, let me just tell you it didn't have a single thing to do with green beer or any other St. Patrick's day traditions. I did join a few friends for a night of multitasking, with our attention devoted both to basketball and to all things green.

But before all of that, I walked about 11 miles on Saturday. Not on purpose in a half marathon-y sort of way. Just by accident in a "tourist for the day" sort of way. I suppose it doesn't really matter what sort of way you walk 11 miles. Unless you've been training for a half marathon, your body is all "what in the heck is going on right now?"    

I definitely have not been training for anything at all, so by the time I settled in at the sports bar for the dual celebration last night, I was feeling the pain of walking all over DC with my friend Allison, who was in town for a week of training, and a few other friends from DC and further afield. 

It was one of those perfect spring days that makes me walk around thinking I love this city, I love being outside, I love everything and everyone. (Ok maybe not everyone. Definitely not the tourists who have zero metro etiquette, so nearly everyone). We had an amazing brunch at this charming place called Firefly (picture below), walked all over the place soaking up the sun, popped in to the Natural History Museum, had a late lunch at one of the best Thai places I've been to date in the city, and finally said goodbye to Allison before her flight back to New Mexico.   

Firefly photo from here
Unfortunately all the pictures I took yesterday have a weird blue tint to them, so you'll just have to take my word for it when I say that it was a gorgeous day...

Even on Friday I was feeling the cumulative exhaustion of non-stop happy hours, new job stress, and potential home buying anxiety. But when I added all the crazy walking on top of everything else, just getting home last night felt like an impossible feat. I think if I had been required to communicate with someone, it would've come out as jibberish. I was so drained, in fact, that I slept until 9:30 today, which is so unusual for me that I honestly couldn't tell you the last time it happened. And even though I slept in, it took me nearly four hours to peel myself off my couch and get outdoors. 

I'm now firmly entrenched on said couch again, happily watching the tournament and intentionally ignoring the complete joke that is my office pool bracket. At this point, the odds are so slim that I could recover from my nearly last place standing that I'm just rooting for the underdog every time. 

I had big plans to actually cook something so that you could read about something other than my poor decision making skills, but I don't even want to get up to order take out, so, maybe next weekend...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

nostalgia wednesdays: pi day

I think I've mentioned before that I'm a bit of a weirdo, for, well, many reasons, but especially for loving, I mean LOVING high school. I could extol its virtues for pages and pages, but I'll spare you the details, and skip straight to one of the school's more amazing, sugar-laden traditions: pi day. 

It is only natural, I think, that a school built on the premise of butt-kicking academics, would celebrate "pi day." Happily, though, there was nothing particularly academic about said celebration. No, it was quite the opposite. 

It's funny, because I'm sure had you asked me even a few years ago, my memory of the logistics would have been more in tact, but I'm getting old, and the distance between high school graduation and the present is rapidly increasing. I think we operated on a short schedule on pi day, leaving the majority of the afternoon open for pi(e)-centric activities and sugar comas. Pie walks (in lieu of cake walks), pie eating contests, "pie a teacher" booths. All while we sported our clever pi day shirts, designed anew each year.

My contribution each year was something not quite as fancy or pretty as this, even:
from pioneer woman by way of pinterest

"It" is peanut butter pie, in case the picture didn't give it away. My memory also fails me when I try to remember the first time I made it and brought it in to school, but what is crystal clear in my mind is the cult following it attracted. 
What's so great about this particular peanut butter pie is that its popularity is rivaled only by its simplicity. My parents first had it at a local restaurant in the smallish town where they went to college, and it was such a popular offering there that the waitresses carried around giant pads of paper with the recipe printed on them and tore sheets off for inquiring patrons. Some time between then and the present day, my mom wrote it on a now yellowed index card and it lives in our recipe drawer in the kitchen.
It's ideal for everything from pi day to work potlucks, as my friend Sophie discovered when she took it in to her office last spring and reported receiving rave reviews. It was when Sophie made it that we learned just how forgiving the recipe is, too, when I walked in to the kitchen and saw her combining all the ingredients with a hand mixer in one go. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend that technique, the pie came out surprisingly unscathed. 
Without further ado, here's the recipe, passed down from a greasy spoon in Michigan to my parents to, well, pretty much everyone they know.  
1 pre-made oreo cookie crust
4 oz cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. milk
9 oz cool whip
1. mix cream cheese & powdered sugar
2. add the peanut butter & milk
3. fold in the cool whip
4. pour in to the oreo crust and freeze for at least 4ish hours 
5. eat the leftover batter with a spoon, or put it in the freezer, too, and eat it like light ice cream later!
Happy pi day, everyone!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Apparently not entirely satisfied with the view from my new/temporary office, I met Sophie in Georgetown for a water front picnic yesterday after work. This very mild, much appreciated winter aside, I feel like DC generally only has a couple weeks of really perfect weather each year as winter becomes spring and summer becomes fall. Subsequently, I have this somewhat nagging desire to enjoy everypossiblesecond. This leads to lots of patio-centric happy hours, outdoor lunches, and, apparently, water front picnics.

Sadly it got a bit cloudy by the time Sophie and I settled down on the dock that lines the Potomac in Georgetown, but we still had a beautiful view. 

Rosslyn and rowing teams to the right
Kennedy Center and the descent in to Reagan National to the left

The picnic was a last minute idea, replacing the Monday dinners Sophie and I usually have at my apartment. I'm sure Sophie appreciated a reprieve from my crazy cooking experiments. I know we both appreciated the gorgeous weather (and the proximity of some rather attractive crew teams). I had a bottle of extremely budget-friendly wine from Trader Joe's in my fridge, so I brought that along for the feast, even though neither of us were entirely clear on the rules of drinking in public (although we suspected we might be breaking a few). We tried to be subtle and surreptitious, masking the pinot in styrofoam cups (classy, I know), but we got some looks when we snuck the bottle out for refills. I can only imagine what the passersby would have thought if they'd seen the makeshift grocery bag ice chest I had hidden in my tote bag to keep the contraband cold.  

We soaked up the wine with a baguette, mozzarella, basil, mandarin oranges, and a giant, decadent brownie. It was low key and low budget, but as we people watched, airplane watched, and generally soaked up the unseasonable warmth, I felt like I was, in fact, enjoying everypossiblesecond. And no, that is not just the $2.50 wine talking. (Side note, the $2.50 wine at TJ's, separate from their regular "two buck Chuck," which is more like $3-something these days, is really quite good if you make sure it's nice and frosty).

Anyways, there's nothing like sneaking wine on a public dock to totally counter the stresses of "grown up" life. (Although I suppose being arrested for drinking in public might rapidly change my feelings on the matter).  I recently officially converted to a new job at work, which was a long time coming, but doesn't make the change any less freaky at first. I'm also pretty seriously pursuing real estate (much more on that latter, I promise). 

These two things are happening in tandem, and often result in emails to my mom with subject lines like "A HOME APPRAISAL COSTS FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS?" or "ALL MY WORK FRIENDS ARE GOING TO FORGET ABOUT ME!!!" Yes, in all caps. And yes, it is highly ironic that in the midst of major adult life changes, I need to consult my Mommy. You start applying for a mortgage and try tell me it doesn't drive you right back in to the all-knowing arms of your parents. 

Although this is all giving me some pretty obvious jitters, I'm sure my parents are enjoying it immensely. Not in a perverse "our daughter can't sleep through the night anymore" way. Just in a "aha! now she finally knows what WE went through" sort of way. It reminds me of when my "Uncle Bobby," one of our good family friends who has known me for nearly sixteen years, said to me "look at you, all grown up, talking about mortgages and retirement accounts....isn't this great?!" And I wailed, wide-eyed "no, it's terrible!

Don't tell Uncle Bobby, but I suppose secretly, it really is kind of great.    

Monday, March 12, 2012


For the first, and Lord knows, maybe last time in my life, I have an office. As in, a room with four walls and a door, people. This is a particularly exciting, if temporary, development in my life because my old desk at work was not only in a very high-traffic area, but had no walls. Nope, just a slightly elevated ledge, which, let me tell you, never stopped anyone from interrupting what I was doing, be it eating a meal, conducting a conversation, or reading a report. 

So I am thrilled to be sharing this amazing space for a couple of weeks until my new team is banished to a sad, dejected old building a few blocks down the street. For the next few weeks, I'll arrive to a desk drenched in the all of the pink and red glory of the sun rising above the Potomac River and Reagan National Airport. And yes, in case you were wondering, I'm wholeheartedly aware of the irony inherent in my having a daily view of air travel, which is the source of much anxiety to me.

not a bad view to take in when writer's block strikes

Anyways, my view is far from the only peachy thing going on right now. I also have a freezer stocked with peach sorbet. The best time to try such an endeavor would clearly be when I had a fruit bowl full of ripe peaches. Unfortunately I had no such thing. Instead this experiment was inspired by a bag of frozen peaches just begging to be used. I know, I know, you're all lucky to know such a logical girl like me. 

photo courtesy of the recipe

Unfortunately mine looked a little less flawless and smooth than the photo above, but it came out pretty tasty. I mean, it's essentially fruit + sugar. I followed this recipe with no substitutions other than the obvious fresh for frozen swap. I'd love to try it again with ripe, fresh peaches for a more intense flavor, but I certainly will put my first batch to good use in the form of dessert the next few nights.

If you're thinking "the LKTC hasn't made ice cream in a while," you'd be right. The machine itself, the glorious Fiona, was a gift from someone I most often would rather forget, and I don't always have all the necessary ingredients (eggs, milk, and/or cream) on hand. But for some reason, perhaps the bottomless mimosas at brunch?, I came home Sunday ready to bust Fiona out of her prison in the freezer, and I'm glad I did. 

Along with this (very welcome) warm weather, spring has brought me a few things worth celebrating, and I think ice cream is the perfect way to do just that.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

selection sunday

Look, it's in the 60s and the first day of springing ahead and all that comes with it, and yes, I should definitely be outside. But I had an exhausting weekend, and, it's selection Sunday. Therefore after spectating at a St. Patty's day 8k, having a bottomless mimosa brunch, and watching a few basketball games with good friends/good beer, I think it's ok to park my behind on my couch, watch the brackets unfold, and consume some carbs to offset all that day drinking. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself. 

And, to be fair, I haven't exactly just been sitting around, I've also been cleaning and trying my hand at making sorbet. Since I won't know for a few hours how that went, I think I'm finally ready to talk about the traumatizing focaccia incident from last weekend.

In anticipation of a potential (Italian-centric) dinner party my friend and I may be throwing, I wanted to make a test batch of focaccia. Serendipitously, I found a new blog that I really like, and the author happened to have made just that. You'll have to drool over her photo (below), because I was far too shattered by the relentless screeching of the smoke alarm to properly photography my own loaf. 

I think I let mine bake just a few minutes too long, and didn't flatten it out enough in the original shaping of the dough stage, so it was darker and puffier than Technicolor Kitchen's take. I also used dried sage in lieu of fresh, because that's what I had on hand, although I honestly don't think that had a significant or negative impact on the flavor. I've thought about giving it another go, and most likely will, but perhaps in someone else's less alarm-prone kitchen.

Now it's time to fill out a bracket, and try (in vain, I'm sure) to bank up some energy for the marathon week (month?) ahead. Happy March madness, everyone!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

nostalgia wednesdays: the farm

About two and a half years ago, my grandpa decided to sell his farmhouse and a handful of the associated buildings. He kept the land, which is still farmed (last I knew for Lay's potato chips, actually), but the house and buildings are now owned by someone else. 

At that point in time, I was still trying to figure out what to do with my life in the very most near-term sense of the word. My contract job at a bank had come to an end, and jobs were hard to come by in Charlotte. I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew I needed to make some money and to keep the gap between jobs on my resume from growing any larger. 

Buying a farm was the last thing I ever thought about, having been raised primarily in cities, not knowing a thing about how to run a farm. There was also the not insignificant fact that I'm extremely averse to the cold, and this farm happens to sit in the middle of Michigan. 

But as it went to auction on a weekend in 2009 that I was, ironically, visiting DC, I felt a twinge of remorse for not pursing the idea of buying the farm more seriously. Ultimately, though, as nice as it would have been really nice to keep the historic property in the family, I couldn't figure out how I would sustain myself financially. 

As I now navigate the real estate waters of DC, having decided to move here not too terribly long after the weekend of the auction, I again feel those glimmers of "what if?" I generally consider myself a city girl at heart, and couldn't survive without public transportation, but there are times when I daydream awfully vividly about a simpler life full of space, clean air, silence, and a marked lack of "keeping up with the Joneses."    

I know you probably think this all sounds a bit crazy, especially if you're also a decidedly city-leaning person, but just look at these beautiful pictures, and then you try to convince yourself that it wouldn't be nice to call the farm home. 

Yes, I went through a dark hair phase. And yes, I know it was a bad look for me. I just enjoy the rest of this picture too much not to share.

Speaking of up and buying a farm, if you haven't heard of the book The Bucolic Plague, I suggest you get thee to a bookstore immediately. I read about it on a random blog, and then was in a Barnes and Noble killing time yesterday and spotted it on one of the feature tables. I picked it up and read the first few pages, and decided that even though I should wait until I was home and could download it on my Nook, I needed (yes needed) it right then. I ended up devouring the first 1/3 of it while sitting at a bar waiting for my friend to meet me for happy hour. It is hysterical. It's been a while since I've literally laughed out loud from any sort of written word, so I found myself especially thankful for the humor contained within.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I may've said (many times) before that I consider my inability to sleep in a sign of my likely evolutionary inferiority. I can go to bed at 9pm or 3am, and I will still wake up with the sun. You can see how, in my mid twenties, that might cause some problems in the social life arena, no? 

So this past weekend, I was ecstatic when I managed to stay in bed until 9:30 on Saturday. That excitement, however, was quickly replaced with sleepy disappointment when I was up before 8 on Sunday (having not gone to bed until after 12).

Somehow, though, it still turned in to an obnoxiously productive day. I made muffins, went to mass at DC's oldest (and only?) basilica, met my friend for brunch in a bookstore, and came home to make bbq sauce, focaccia, and dinner. 

The difference between me and your average productive person, however, was the series of mini disasters that befell me (which served to remind me that I sometimes try to do too many things).  

When the muffins first came out of the oven, I let them cool for a couple of minutes, which I clearly thought was sufficient as I sunk my teeth in to one of the mini snacks. The chocolate chunks, however, hadn't cooled much at all from their 350 degree temperature, and the sensation of extreme burning pain immediately afflicted the middle of my bottom lip. Naturally I tried to wipe the chocolate off of my lip to stop the burning, scorching my finger and getting chocolate all over my cheek, neck, and left arm. Finishing up the baking one-handed was a bit of a challenge, but my lip stung so badly that I had to keep ice on it for an hour. 

I should've taken that as a sign to just give things a rest in the LKTC, but instead came home and cranked up the stove again. To make the focaccia dough, I had to move Kitty the Kitchenaid stripper all the way across the kitchen to find a working outlet due to a fuse I apparently blew a couple weeks ago (which rendered half the outlets in my kitchen useless). I forgot to latch her shut, and things got a little wild while the dough was being kneaded. 

I thought that was our last mini crisis of the day, and set the dough in the corner to rise while I made bbq sauce for my upcoming Monday night dinner with a friend. Luckily that went fairly uneventfully, but as I heated the oven up to bake the focaccia dough, my smoke alarm started blaring. 

This is a problem I've had before, especially when high temps and/or parchment paper are involved, but I've always been able to alleviate it with open windows and ceiling fans. Sunday, however, was an entirely different story. The alarm beeped for half an hour. That may not seem like a long time, but let me tell you, when an extremely loud, high pitched noise carries on unabated for a mere five minutes, it seems like a lifetime. Half an hour? Let's just say "wit's end" doesn't begin to cover it. My neighbors knocked on my door to make sure I wasn't burning the joint down, and I imagine they were as horrified by my leggins/baggy tshirt combo as they were about the noise. The did not seem persuaded that "everything is fine!" After fruitless attempts to quiet the alarm by waving a scarf in its general vicinity, I finally called the front desk in sheer desperation. 

The man who answered barely spoke English, and kept saying "ma'am, I can barely hear you." YOU THINK? Imagine how things are on my end, buddy. Fortunately he found a maintenance worker who was on duty at 7pm on a Sunday, and he made the noise stop. I don't know how, nor do I really know why my alarm insists on beeping any time I use my oven. I do know that I needed a drink after that business. And also that I would crack like an egg under any sort of noise-related torture. 

At that point I didn't even want the dinner that I had started to make just before the alarm went off. I kind of wanted to throw up (weird, I know, but that's how loud noises sometimes affect me. See: evolutionary inferiority). But I made the effort to make a menu plan for the week, and to shop selectively for those items (which turned in to an adventure in its own right on Saturday), so I wanted to stick with it. I also didn't want to drink on an entirely empty stomach. 

Enter sopa seca, or "dry soup." I found the recipe in a recent issue of Food Network, and thought it looked easy enough, not to mention conducive to leftovers. It's kind of a cross between chili and spaghetti in flavor, but not super spicy. I won't say it was my favorite dish ever, but that's probably because I will now and forever associate it with that one night I nearly lost my marbles. Really you should just give it a whirl yourself (I suggest adding some cayenne for heat if you do try it out). Hopefully you will have far less traumatizing memories associated with it than I. 

ps-when I've made peace with the focaccia-related alarm incident, I'll be back with an update on that experiment.

dinner (don't let its simple look fool you, its production was a nightmare)

Monday, March 5, 2012

second annual girly oscars party

So, I took a little unintentional hiatus from the LKTC recently. Not only was I not really cooking all that much, but I didn't really feel inclined to write about any cooking I may have done. Since this has always been just a pet project, a distraction from the tedium of life in a government job, I don't feel compelled to post on any sort of schedule, and I know that my loyal audience of approximately 5 isn't expecting particularly regular missives. 

Anyways, a couple of weeks ago, a few girlfriends and I had a girly Oscars party, a tradition we started last year. You may think that's really dumb, especially if you're a male, but I'm here to tell you there's not a whole lot more awesome than dressing up, having a nice dinner, and polishing off a few bottles of champagne while critiquing red carpet ensembles and acceptance speeches.

Last year we just had an array of snacks, but this year, thanks to the evil empire of Pinterest, I really wanted to try this recipe for sweet potato gnocchi with smoked gouda sauce. Mind you I've never made gnocchi, sweet (potato) or otherwise, but sure, why not give it a whirl before a handful of cocktail dress-clad ladies were due to show up at my door expecting a meal?     

the aftermath

(not that i'd just cleaned my kitchen or anything)

the finished product(s)
I don't think I necessarily nailed the texture of the gnocchi (and definitely cut them too big), but it tasted fine, and everyone claimed they enjoyed it. The gouda sauce stole the show, though, as we ended up dipping all the leftover bread in it after dinner. I will say, if you try the recipe, be prepared for generous quantities of gnocchi and sauce. It supposedly serves 4, but we had plenty of leftovers. I'd say you could probably serve closer to 6 people, especially if you have bread, salad, and dessert.

You should also be prepared for the fact that it is hearty. What I'm really saying is that if you think a certain quantity of say, champagne, is enough, and you're guzzling it after you've consumed large quantities of this dish, well, you might find yourself staring at the bottom of your last bottle with the bulk of the Oscars still to go. Fortunately my apartment's bar is stocked with a really nice bottle of bourbon thanks to a friend, and even though DC seems decidedly northern, I felt like a proper little southern hostess when I pulled out the tumblers and ice cubes. All in all, it was a successful evening.

I actually did a respectable amount of baking/cooking this weekend, which led to some interesting adventures (along the lines of scorching my lip and setting off my smoke alarm for half an hour), so I'll be back one of these days with those glorious details.