Tag Archives: cooking

In the Kitchen with Friends

The first friendship I formed in college was a result of bonding over pink bedding from Pottery Barn Kids. That didn’t last too long though. One of our other roommates, Emma was pretty annoyed that I decorated my corner of the room with all things pink. It bothered me that she would sing while we studied. I don’t think either of us were convinced that we’d end up being friends.

But Emma and I found common ground in the kitchen. Our very very small (two people in there was a crunch) dorm room kitchen. In that kitchen where we realized we enjoyed each others company and our bold personalities could actually work together. Our friendship really began by making messes in the kitchen. We invented wafflefluff. We attempted to flambé bananas with Malibu Rum. We became friends over the stove. This was the first time I really realized that friends and food go together.

I’ve said often that the one thing they don’t teach you when you graduate college is that after, you have to learn how to make friends all over again. Sure you’re always going to have girlfriends from high school and college, but they don’t always live close. And when you’re out of school, you’re out of situations where you naturally make friends…so you have to work at it. I went on a lot of girl dates my first year or two out of college. I still do now. And it seems weird, but if you meet a girl that you think you might get along with you have to put yourself out there and just be like, “hi I’m Nikki, want to be friends?” It’s so strange. It’s like playing in the sandbox all over again. But that little bit of courage to pick up friends pays off – that’s how I met so many of my good friends today.

making Julia Child's chocolate souflee with friends

Some of my favorite moments of last year involved not only eating with good friends, but cooking with them too. We made pasta, funnel cake, cookies, chili, lovely cheese plates, sangria, pizza, fig chutney, guacamole, a patriotic fruit tart, and Julia Child’s chocolate soufflé.

The soufflé night was one of my favorites. Over two years ago I met Emily and Rachel at a bar. I don’t remember much about that evening except that it was sweltering hot, and as we tried to chat in front of a fan I thought they were sweet and fun. I held out my hand and introduced myself. Many brunches, books, boy stories, cheese, real marathons, figurative marathons, and glasses of wine later and we have a real girl-grown friendship. How cool is that?

Emily left yesterday and is off on what will absolutely be a life-changing adventure. But before she left we all made chocolate soufflé together. One girl stirs the melting chocolate, another beats the egg whites, another butters the ramekins. It’s not an easy recipe, but it’s much easier when you’re not alone. While we wait and the room fills with sweet chocolate smells, we go back to the wine, the boy stories, the new adventures. Oh, and then we eat. It’s simple, it’s chocolate, it’s friendship.

baking chocolate soufflé with friends

Not sure I can say completely why the kitchen is better with friends in it. Mostly it’s a big bowl of sappy feelings. But also, it’s creating something and sharing it together. It’s not materialistic or judgmental. It’s turning a brick of chocolate into a rich fluffy cloud. It’s celebrating how far we’ve come from that first bar or dorm room and how far we’ll go next.

I can only hope 2013 holds more moments in the kitchen with friends like this. We may even talk about pink monogrammed bedding (because seriously, it’s not like I’ve moved on from that!), but it will be over piled-high dishes, flour spills, “more wine?”s, and food that tastes like memories.

“Remember, no one’s more important than people. In other words, friendship is the most important thing–not career or housework, or one’s fatigue–and it needs to be tended and nurtured.”

-Julia Child, My Life in France

Be My Valentine {One Bite At A Time}

I hope everyone is having a happy heart day! So, I had to include a little DC food blogger love in this series. After all, it’s where this blog got it’s start. So I’m happy to welcome Alejandra from One Bite at a Time. She’s always inspiring me with her kitchen concoctions, fabulous dining experiences, and social media expertise. She definitely deserves a follow on Twitter!

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A Guide For Two Cooks In The Kitchen

When Nikki originally asked me to do a Valentine’s day guest post I was excited, but at a loss as to what to write about. Then I recalled a conversation I had with a chef friend of mine.

Food is so many things, but most importantly food is all about love. And on special days, it’s quite sexy too! My chef friend asked me if I’d ever cooked with someone before and imagine his surprise when I said no, no I had not. For loving food as much as I do and cooking or baking all the time, I’d never cooked with someone!

Valentine's Kitchen Frjolita One bite at a time

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Whether you cook with friends, a new love, or a time-tested love cooking with someone can be so special! So here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Keep it simple. One pot dishes like basic braised short ribs or a beef stew are easy and double down on taste. Pair that with a creamy polenta and dinner is set!

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We all know reading the recipe is so important before we set off to cook a dish, but especially so when cooking with someone. This is the time to divide up the tasks! This way everyone stays out of each other’s way.

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Chop, stir, and sip your way to dinner! Maybe mix a cocktail, or pour a glass of delicious wine but let’s not forget we’re having a little bit of fun here!

BHLDN glasses rosy-cheeked coupes Valentine's Day

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For heaven’s sake, turn off the tv and turn on the iTunes (or the Pandora, or the Spotify…whatever you are using)! I’ve always loved cooking to music – while I’m more apt to put on Shakira or Madeleine Peyroux depending on my mood, maybe it’s Lil Wayne or Carrie Underwood that suits your evening? Either way, a dance party in the kitchen and some spontaneous singing into your wooden spoon is just what an evening makes!

If your cooking partner is of the more romantic variety, a dish that needs to sit a bit – like a braise or a soup – gives you plenty of time for a cuddle and maybe a kiss or two. That’s where the wine or cocktail might also play a role? Of course, then there’s roast chicken and we know what Ruhlman thinks of that!

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I’m having fun cooking with people lately – you certainly learn there’s a rhythm to how you operate in your kitchen – but mixing it up with a laugh, a dance, or something sweeter only makes a meal that much better! Do you like to share cooking responsibilities? What are your favorite things to make with someone?

Kitchen Dreaming

I’ve been having some bakers-block in the kitchen recently. While I can’t decide on something sweet to make next, I have been dreaming about some fantastic little kitchens I’d like to spend some time cooking in.

It might be time to just get out my favorite cookbooks, put out some fresh herbs and flowers, wipe down my counters and get baking…

{Image thanks to: LCY, CreateGirl, City Sage, From Me To You, Apartment Therapy}