Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow White Cakes

Good thing I'm not planning a wedding after seeing this window display at Bergdorf Goodman yesterday. My keep it simple cupcake decorating strategy would have been ruined. 

photo by Chris

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Wedding Registry, exposed

One of the parts of wedding planning that Chris and I fought about the most was the gift registry. It was a task bound to be fraught with tension. Chris and I have different styles, as any two people do, but disagreeing on things we would use daily in our first home together was worrisome. I was also wary of how it would look if we asked for too much, or things that were too expensive. But people were going to give us gifts, and some of them would want some guidance. What in the world should we ask for? 

Neither of us love to support big box stores, and those are the kinds of stores where most couples seem to register. We didn't need much, so it didn't seem to make sense to register for a bunch of things (you know, kitchen things, decorative things, small appliance things) with one store. With a little help from Lori, who found this post on Brooklyn Bride, we decided to use It seemed like the perfect solution. Myregistry allows users to add items from any website or any store to a registry in their name, and at no charge for hosting the registry. 

Let me say right away it is not a perfect site. There were a few technical problems, such as some difficulty loading photos (a photo of a deep-dish lasagna pan that we registered for mysteriously popped up on the site after repeatedly refusing to load months ago). Also, several times people purchased items and attempted to mark them as purchased, but the site instead added to the quantity requested. Oops. Chris figured out that to correct it we had to go in and change the original number of the item we requested, and in some cases this even required a negative number. 

But we were willing to put up with a few technical difficulties because using it allowed us to register for this.

Instead of registering for a set of dishes at a chain store, we were able to register with White Bike Ceramics in Brooklyn. Lauren, the artist, let us pick out a beautiful set of handmade porcelain dishes. My favorite so far is this beautiful platter. 

We were also given two teacup and saucer sets that are perfect for sipping cup after cup of hot tea when your heat is broken. This weekend we'll go to Lauren's studio in Williamsburg to pick up our plates and bowls. 

We weren't sure how our friends and family would react to our registry being a little unusual. It wasn't completely atypical; we love to cook and certainly registered for a few pots and pans at a typical wedding registry store, and we are loving cooking with them. But having the flexibility to pick gifts from any store really allowed us to carefully select only items that we were willing to pack up and move into a tiny New York apartment.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Homemade Sushi

Chris and I have been experimenting with rolling sushi at home. When we lived on the Outer Banks it was so easy to get great seafood. I could stop by the seafood market on my way home from work, or Chris would check his crabpots and we'd have fresh blue crab meat. My favorite rolls last summer had fried shrimp or softshell crab in them. 

Our neighborhood in Brooklyn has a large Polish population. Greenpoint has plenty of meat markets, with sausages and smoked fish, but so far we haven't found a good place to buy fresh fish in the neighborhood. 

Last night we made veggie and smoked salmon rolls. We used cucumber, green onion, carrots, cream cheese, and smoked salmon. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Since it's our first Christmas together and we're in a new place, Chris and I have been trying to think of something extra Christmas-y to get us ready for the holiday. 

So far we have come up with nil. 

But then this afternoon something magical happened. The biggest snowflakes we've ever seen fell in Brooklyn. Here's a video of our backyard.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Warming up

While our heat was broken we stayed warm by preparing meals that required long baking times. I made this spanakopita using the recipe in Amy Sedaris's book I Like You. 
Here it is with some leftover wedding wine. That's one thing that wedding books and blogs don't tell you--agonizing over all those wedding decisions really does pay off because you get to have leftover wedding stuff when you're broke and unemployed in New York City. 

I also made some pizza dough and used it to make a pizza roll with ham, cheddar, and pineapple. I used this recipe, but ignored the instructions for the filling and made up my own. This is the second time I've made a pizza roll, but I don't think I'll make it again. The outside of the crust gets over done while the inside is still doughy and undercooked. Next time I make homemade dough I'll do a calzone or just a pizza. 

photo by Chris 

The undercook/overcook problem may be caused by our oven. I think it may run hot. Also, the knob is slightly askew, so really I've just been guessing while setting the temperature. I probably need to get an oven thermometer before I start baking Christmas cookies. Amy Sedaris was on The Splendid Table yesterday and said that her favorite Christmas cookies were butter cookies with frosting made from the recipe on the back of the Domino's powdered sugar box. Guess who wants me to make those? 

Our heat is now working. The boiler is fixed, and Chris and Andy fixed the radiator in the living room. It hadn't worked since we moved in, and they were stumped...until this bit of inspiration came along. It turns out that when the radiator was painted (in a glossy chrome), paint was slopped right over the pressure relief valve, and air wasn't able to get out to make room for the steam bubbling up from the boiler. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Smallest Christmas Tree Ever

So this is our first Christmas together and I thought we needed a tree, or a wreath, or something. We went to a studio sale in Williamsburg (Brooklyn, not Colonial) on Saturday to pick up some White Bike Ceramics* that our family and friends gave us as wedding presents. The studio sale was a combination of a few artists, and we found this pot with the smallest, most perfect Christmas tree ever. 

It is a Norfolk Island Pine. I think the artist did a great job, not only with the pot, but he planted it and added moss on top of the soil and also added a couple of teeny pine cones. We brought it home and I decorated it with the wedding cupcake topper turned Christmas ornaments that Lori made for us. 

Christmas decorating--done. 

As predicted, our streak of good luck is broken, among other things. The heat in our apartment is broken, and will be until Wednesday. (Don't worry Mom--our very nice landlady brought us an electric heater which is keeping us from freezing.) Also, this morning the toaster broke. It had a Pop Tart logo on it, so it wasn't a stalwart toaster or anything, no huge loss there. There is a family joke about my fastidious Great Uncle Henry setting out to buy a toaster and researching toasters for at least a year before deciding on a brand and model. No small feat, considering he was most certainly not using the internet, but instead searching back issues of Consumer Reports. The punch line? My parents just happened to own the winning make and model toaster. 

*I'll be posting soon about the beautiful porcelain dishes that Lauren is making for us. In the meantime, check out her lovely website.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I Should Have Known

Of the 15 channels we can tune in on our television using rabbit ears, 3 are in Spanish. I knew I should have paid attention during those 4 years of Spanish in high school. If I had I could be enjoying watching Clint Eastwood's En la Linea de Fuego right now. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008


So we missed the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center last night. But we had a New York experience this morning. During breakfast we were listening to the local NPR station broadcasting a call in show about MTA raising rates for the subway or beginning to toll the Brooklyn bridge when Rosie Perez called in to speak up for the Brooklynites. 

And Chris is circling the neighborhood looking for a parking space. Very New York. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One Month Ago Today

I can't believe one month ago today I was nervous about our wedding. If only I could have known then how perfectly everything was going to turn out, I could have skipped all the worrying. If only I could have known that after a week of a nor'easter bearing down on the Outer Banks, and the forecast saying showers, showers, showers for Saturday, that our wedding day was actually going to be 70 degrees and sunny. If only I could have known that my hair, dress, shoes, makeup, etc. were all going to be just fine and were going to be the last thing I cared about that day. If only I could have known that instead of standing up in front of everyone I know and weeping throughout the ceremony, I would be grinning like a crazy woman. 

If only I'd known I would have been feeling like this much sooner:

I really surprised myself with how relaxed and happy I felt on our wedding day. Of course Chris had a lot to do with that. Here is Chris on our way back from our honeymoon in Ocracoke. We were out on the point at Cape Hatteras, east of absolutely everything. 

It's been one month since my last post and in that time Chris and I got married, went on a fabulous honeymoon, drove to Brooklyn and searched for an apartment, found an apartment we loved and signed the lease, drove back to the Outer Banks, packed up all of our stuff and U-Hauled it back to Brooklyn (thanks Dad for driving with us!)! Now we are surrounded by boxes that need to be unpacked. Oh yeah, we celebrated Thanksgiving with my family somewhere in there too. I'll be blogging about each of these events as soon as possible, but I'll spare everyone the drudgery of reading about unpacking box after box and instead post pictures of our backyard. Yeah, we have a backyard. In Brooklyn. Good things keep happening to us, like today when we discovered that the subway stop that is two blocks away from our apartment isn't even the closest stop--there is an entrance just one block away. Oh, yeah. 

Someone will probably sneeze right on me the next time we go out, or a mouse will run across the foot of the bed tonight, but for now, things just keep getting better.