Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dinner Party for Eight

About seven years ago I was asked one of the most cliche questions and I didn't have an answer.  "If you were to have a dinner party, and you can select three people from any era, who would you invite and why?"  My response? lame that I won't even repeat it.  Why, why, why did I not have an answer for this question?  Not having an answer has bothered me because I felt as if for some reason or another not having an answer meant I had not established my instrests or who I was as a person.  For seven years I have thought about this imaginary dinner party, invited and uninvited many a person.  It has only been recently that I have confidently set a table for eight.  Will this list change?  Of course.  I like to think of this list as ever changing, just like me.

Caesar Augustus
first (and favorite) emperor of Rome
Amanda Hesser
New York Times food editor, author of great cookbooks, founder of
Marie Antoinette
Queen of France, wife of Louis XVI, lost her head, had great fashion taste, gets a bad rap
Sculptor, artist, architect, genius of the Renaissance
Mario Batali
chef, love his food, also had brain surgery
St. Paul
 messenger of Christ, Roman, changed the world
Alexander the Great
 ancient warrior who changed the world
Tina Fey
makes me laugh, favorite funny person

Friday, October 29, 2010


Over the past two months the White House has been filled with pilgrims stopping by to enjoy and give their love to our Katherine. How wonderful it's been to see our little one be loved and praised by those dearest to us. There are no words available to express the love Randy and I have witnessed, only images. So thank you dear, sweet family and friends for coming by and loving on our girl.
We are looking forward to the years to come.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Food Therapy

It's amazing how therapeutic cooking can be.  Since the birth of Katherine I've been wanting to get back into the kitchen and create.  This, of course, has been difficult.  Any spare moment is typically resting or picking up the house.  Sunday was different.  Randy took charge of Katherine and I went to the grocery store and cooked.  What a refreshing feeling.  The windows were open and it was just me in my kitchen.  Mushrooms, a variety please.  Cream, yes!  Shallots, a little extra perhaps.  Add 4 cups of chicken stock and fresh herbs....bliss.  Creamy mushroom soup that has been aiding me all week.  Mushroom soup wasn't the only smell wafting through our house.  There were smells of roasting meat, onions, carrots and thyme.  Pot roast.  So on this fallish day food took hold of me and my house.  We relaxed.  It was the perfect ending to a beautiful weekend where family and friends enjoyed our home.
Laurie and Mike visiting for OU/TX weekend.

Mindy and Lindsay stopping by after the game.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pantry Clean Out

Recently life has been a little more hectic.  Juggling a new baby and a new job schedule has left me in my pjs till 2 pm without having brushed my teeth and eaten anything substantial.  The last thing I find time to do is to go to the grocery store and cook a meal, which are two of my favorite things to do.  Well today is pretty consistent with any other day.  I'm still in my pjs and the teeth are not brushed.  However, Katherine  being infatuated with her swing has given me time to cook.  Of course it's nothing extravagant because A) i have a short window of time to cook and eat  B) my pantry is kinda empty.  I do have eggs and a craving for something tex-mex so here comes a pantry clean out. I am pretty pleased with my Clean Out Scramble.  I don't have a picture of it due to a lost camera battery so a picture of Katherine will have to do.  Enjoy! 
Clean Out Scramble
Two tablespoons of unsalted butter
half an onion diced
can of green chilies
small can of corn (drained- use half if you would like, it kinda turns out with a big corn bite)
handful of cherry tomatoes quartered
three eggs (or more, depends on how eggy you want it)
2% or whole milk (enough to mix with the eggs)
salt to taste
cumin to taste
cayenne to taste
1.  Saute the onions on medium heat until clear (salt).
2.  Then add the green chillies (salt!).  Cook for about three minutes.
3.  Add the corn and tomatoes.
4.  Season liberally with salt, cumin and cayenne
5.  In a separate bowl add the eggs and whisk in salt and milk (if I had some cheese I would have added it, shredded, into this mixture).
6.  Pour in egg mixture.
7.  Cook until scrambled.
8. Serve with tortilla chips and a cappuccino! 
(now race to eat it if you have a sleeping newborn)

Sleeping Beauty

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Katherine Livia White
August 19th, 2010
8:15 am
7lbs 11oz
21 inches
"O Lord, you are my God, I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago."
Isaiah 25:1
Katherine Livia, our little miracle, has been home at the White House for almost four weeks now. She is a blessing, a joy and the perfect addtion to our family. Everyday we watch her grow accustom to her new world and I am amazed. By God's grace we have a beautiful healthy daughter. Praise to the Father for his faithfulness, plan and marvelous works.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Morning Inspiration

I woke up this morning bright and early with the strangest thought..."today could be the day." Well, the more I woke up and moved around, I realized today probably won't be the day. BUT if it is the day I better start cleaning.
Alas! My morning turned into cleaning, organizing and laundry. While these are not my favorite activities I did sit down to enjoy a cup of peach green tea and make my dinner plans for the week. I put on my rose colored glasses and surfed. With only three weeks left before lady Katherine arrives I do get tired very easily and cooking sometimes gets put on the back burner (hence the rose colored glasses). However, I have a burst of energy this morning and why not attempt a handful of new recipes this week? I'll let you know how they go...if today isn't the day.
What the White's plan on eating this week
1. farro salad with roasted mushrooms and parmesan (
broiled salmon with citrus glaze (
2. parmesan-roasted green beans (
porcini rubbed butterflied roasted chicken (
dessert: strawberry refrigerator cake (

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Little Surprises

A few weeks ago Randy's closest college friends dropped into Dallas to hang-out. I always enjoy seeing these guys because they have become like family. During a delicious brunch at Breadwinners we began to talk about what I plan to do once Katherine is born. Having "retired" from teaching I have begun to contemplate what lies in front of me (and us). Seeing that cooking is one of my favorite activities (and that I have already begun to record my original recipes) I mentioned that I would like to write a cookbook.
Rob, a fellow kindred spirit and foodie, brings up My Life in France. Now, the title was floating in my mind but I could not place the book itself. With a confused face I ask..."Who wrote it?" Ah yes...Julia Child (with Alex Prud'homme). At that point the conversation moved on to another topic.
And then it happened, a few days later, a little present was sitting in my mailbox. Yes, Rob sent me a copy of Ms. Child's memoirs, My Life in France.
So thank you Rob. Thank you for encouraging a dream and being a great friend.
Bon Appetit!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pot Pie

Sitting at the community pool last week in 100 degree heat I had a strange craving. Yes, in the heat of summer I was craving fall comfort food. Have no fear, when I got home I started to do my research and came across a few recipes that inspired my version of Chicken Pot Pie. Ina Garten's became my base recipe. I went from there...
Out came my grocery (and new dishes) list and off I went. First stop, Williams Sonoma to purchase a set of four large double handled soup bowls--made of course to withstand baking. Next, I went to Market Street to select the ingredients that will be used to create the pot pie. As always, the initial prep time exceeded how long it should actually take. Nevertheless, it was relatively simple and I expect next time it will be a little bit easier and in the fall...

Chicken Pot Pie--revised
*This recipe makes a lot. If you're cooking for two, only bake two and save the left over filling and puff pastries for the next night. It's a great left over, but it's hard to reheat puff pastry.*

1. used rotisserie chicken- took meat off bones when got home. (Save the bones to make chicken stock out of it!)
2. used one onion (instead of two) and one stalk of celery
3. bought chicken stock, but still added bouillon cubes
4. added only one stick of butter
5. did not use fresh carrots
6. added frozen veggies- green beans, carrots, corn
7. added three russet potatoes, diced, not peeled. These potatoes need to be cooked slightly before added to the filling. I didn't do this, and they were too hard. So cook the potatoes!
8. did not make my own puff pastry, but bought it.
9. baked the pot pie at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes
Bon Appetit!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Goals

Not since college have I done what I just did. It's taken me five years to sit down and just let my mind and heart put down on paper what my intentions are for a brief moment in time. Goals. I made a list of goals to encourage, and perhaps, push me to accomplish what I truly want to gain from life this summer. So, in the name of accountability (and inspiration for you?) I have listed my goals below.
Summer 2010 Goals
1. read the following books
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Babery
Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes
Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome by Anthony Everitt
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet
The Lady in the Palazzo: at Home in Umbria by Marlena de Blasi
Not Built in a Day: Exploring the Architecture of Rome by George H. Sullivan
2. not to waste my days
3. organize the shoes in my closet (with a box and picture of the pair)
4. begin my “Learn Italian at Home” lessons
5. go to the pool at least three days a week
6. make sauces, dishes that can be frozen in order to prep for baby arrival
7. keep my house clean
8. hang out with family and friends

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recent Kitchen Success

I know you've been wondering where all the cooking updates have gone. Never fear. Since the first trimester has passed, I've been cooking away with the help of Randy, Auggie and my oh so close unborn daughter. So, here's an update on the most recent kitchen activity.

Chicken and Shrimp Meatloaf
Food52 I love you! This is about the fourth or fifth item I have cooked using I know the title of the dish may not sound appealing to you all. However, this is a new spin on an old classic. The cooking technique is also unique. I suggest enlisting a helping hand in the kitchen when you make it for the first time. Changes to this recipe:
1. No red peppers (I don't like them)
2. To make more dipping sauce I added Greek Yogurt instead of more mayonnaise.
3. Added cayenne to the sauce to give it an extra kick
Creamy Dijon Chicken and Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions
Talk about a perfect dinner on a perfect Saturday evening. This dish was restaurant style, mop up the plate amazing. Randy and I couldn't get over how rich the sauce was and how infused the flavors were on the mashed potatoes. What to love about this dish:
1. The chicken reminds me of chicken with forty cloves of garlic...but it's way easier
2. Heating half and half with a bay leaf and one garlic clove made the mashed potatoes unlike any potato I've ever had. The caramelized onions on top also added to its perfection

Chocolate Dump-It Cake
This has become a yearly tradition at the White House. Not being a huge chocolate (or cake fan) Randy gets an entire chocolate cake all to himself, if someone doesn't stop by to visit, for his birthday. The mood around us almost feels like Christmas. I can't wait to make this delicious homemade cake and icing and Randy can't wait to smell and eat it. I just look forward to the day when I get to make it more than once a year...

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Eternal City

This morning while making my cappuccino I got sniff of warm espresso and milk. I had no option but to let my mind (happily) start day wandering to my favorite city. Rome. There is no place like it. Every April since 2004 I get this sense of where I should be, and of course I where I would love to be at this time of the year. Today was like a typical morning that I have been experiencing almost daily for the past two weeks. I hear, smell or see something that instantly makes me think of this city. So for you, dear reader, is a list of why I love the Eternal City, why I will continue to love the Eternal City and how I could perhaps sway you to fall in love. If you too long to to travel here (haters, please don't participate) tell me why. Any dialogue of Rome makes me happy.
Why I love Rome
1. layers of history
2. traffic
3. the people
4. cappuccini (in particular, Tazza de Oro,
5. chocolate croissants (the gooey kind that must be eaten with #4)
6. the graffiti
7. gelato
8. street vendors
9. the Pantheon
10. Trastevere
11. all the dreams I've made while visiting

Friday, April 16, 2010


(Auggie oustide on Squirrel Patrol)
If there was one thing in the world that Auggie loved the most I would say it was outside (as much as I would like to say it was me). The Westie that lives in my house adores nature. He prefers outside over inside any day. I've always said he was a "friend to the animals,"with exceptions to squirrels. The more I live at the White House and have my own plot of earth (however small it is) I too am beginning to see life through his Westie eyes and fall in love with outside
Mary, the woman who called this place home for 25 years before we did must have been a flower fairy. With this said, her title has only been recently rewarded. Over the fall and winter all I saw through my sunroom windows was a backyard that increasingly became overgrown. All I could think about was how and when I was going to pull the greenery out to replace it with grass. The gutting was to be done all for the sake of a more modern and tailored look. Recently though, with the arrival of primavera, I began to see evidence of life and color popping up all over my shaggy backyard.
Everyday when I see the honeysuckle, rose buds or the several other pieces of color that are sprinkled throughout my backyard appear, I get excited. I am relieved that Randy didn't act on all my comments to rip out “whatever” was in the backyard. Instead, my plan has been revised. I want to remove a few hideous plants (the yucas, obviously) and manicure the yard to fit us. I want to incorporate the legacy of the woman who loved this house so dearly. She and her husband left for my family surprises of color. Now, to begin my mission I must simply 1) learn what all these flowers are in my backyard 2) change my nickname from Rebecca the Brown Thumb to Rebecca the Green Thumb.

(Auggie, frazzled but happy, after a long day of being outside)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sweet Corn Chowder

Summer corn chowder topped with avocado
Ah...summer corn chowder. I can say that this soup does taste like summer because of the sweet flavors of corn, tomato, and poblano. I can also say it feels like summer because of its heaviness. Don't make this expecting a light summer's still a chowder. However, just like a chowder it is becoming more flavorful everyday. It's a great leftover. With this said, I am making it again and here will be some of my adjustments to make it fit my palette.
1. Cook the bacon for the grease, but will not top the soup with it.
2. Use two Serrano peppers for extra kick (it wasn't spicy enough for me) instead of one jalapeno
3. Use one cup of cream and two cups of milk (skim or 1%)
4. Use more tomatoes
5. Add more allspice (adds a great undertone of flavor)
6. Cook veggies longer, my potatoes needed more than 45 minutes (perhaps I cut them too big)
7. Top, once again, with avocado and lime juice

Monday, April 12, 2010

Recipes to Consider...

This week not only am I trying one new recipe, but three. I know, pretty adventurous. As I type, the vegetables of the Summer Corn Chowder are simmering and magically the aroma is taking over all the corners of my house. Now, my goal is not to taunt, but to encourage you to make the same thing this week or next. Cooking is to me a creative release and I hope it can be for you.

Back to the menu. Not only is the Summer Corn Chowder on my list to make this week, but I do also plan to make Chicken with Creamy Dijon Mustard Sauce. Accompanying it will be a side of Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese. I've added the links to the recipes from my new favorite blog ( Let me know how it turns out, dear reader.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tulsa Tilapia

Abi and Rebecca during Abi's recent visit to the White House.

Last weekend during a girls get-a-way, Abi Spencer made a delicious tilapia dinner for all the weary travelers. First, her tilapia was seasoned with salt and pepper. Then, she added a delicious puree of olives (from a New Orleans sandwich shop), artichokes and garlic. After this mixture was spread upon the fish she topped it with white wine. Perfetto! Inspired by her fish dish I recreated it tonight based off of what was lurking in my pantry. This would be my take on Abi's irreplaceable Tulsa Tilapia:

take two tilapias and place them in separate foil squares
salt and pepper (generously)
cover with olive oil, white wine vinegar (or just white wine, use what's available) and lemon juice
top with lemon zest, garlic and thinly sliced shallots
seal foil squares
bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
serve on top of sauted spinach (saute spinach with olive oil, salt and pepper)

Thanks Abi for the addition to my recipe collection!


Over the Easter weekend, Katherine's nursery began its renovation. First order of business: remove hideous (to me) mirrored closet door, replace with nice white closet door. The task was accomplished by none other than Randy "Daddy" White and Bobby "B-Pop" White. I have to say the father and son duo was very successful. They single-handedly began the transformation of Katherine's wardrobe. To make these doors the gateway to a magical land of imagination and beauty (because we all know closets do hold this mystery) I went on a mission today with Auntie Mindy and cousin Elle. We found two shiny pink knobs. Perfection really. Here's to you Katherine and your fabulous new wardrobe!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Recipe Tonight

Over the past few years I've had an underline goal in my life. Try to cook one new recipe every week. Today, I will pursue this goal. On the menu tonight? Balsamic-Marinated Flank Steak accompanied with a Green Bean and Grape Tomato Salad with Kalamata Vinaigrette. This meal is dedicated to my lovely sister, JoDee. She has a delicious dinner very similar to this one. Alas, I have lost both recipes and when attempts to contact her were unsuccessful, I had to resort to the world wide web of information. Cheers to you JoDee, bon appetit!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mushroom Ragu: March 18th 2010

Going to the grocery store is like a personal treasure hunt. I fill my basket with different items sometimes knowing (and sometimes not) what delicious meal will be produced that evening. Does anyone else sneak a peek into what I'm carting along? Do they know what will be on my plate for dinner tonight? I like to think they do. And the when they do their once-over, perhaps they can't help but do a double-take. Yes, this basket is filled with potentially delicious, intoxicating goods that will fill my house with an aroma that Auggie can't even resist. What you see above would be treasures from March 18th. The key to this meal? Look below!
1. dry marsala wine (not sweet!)
2. no button mushrooms, select a variety (I use portabello, porcini, shitake, and cremini)
3. dried porcini mushrooms that are rehydrated for thirty minutes in warm water (save this broth!)
4. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the porcini broth with the chicken broth (not in recipe)
5. salt the onions and garlic liberally
6. The recipe may give you "times" such as 8 minutes for this, 8 minutes for that...each stove is different. Allow the liquids to evaporate before you move to the next step.
Serve with some garlic basil bread, open a glass of Chianti and enjoy your accomplishment.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mushroom Madness

Thanks to Giada de Laurentis (Easy Italian), mushroom ragu has become a staple in our house. Now, to you weary hearts who cringe at the thought of mushrooms, I'm begging you to reconsider. Let your tastebuds enjoy natures fungi to all of its potential. Now, mushroom ragu also triggers a memory. Three and a half months ago was when I last made mushroom ragu (Mario Batali's). It was on this winter's night when Randy and I found out that the mushroom ragu was for three not two. So I beg you, dear reader, even if it's not mushroom ragu (we prefer Giada's over Mario's, fyi) perhaps you should attempt to consume something new. Or if it's not food you seek to be adventurous with maybe it's something in life? For that, I suggest purchasing a plane ticket to Roma.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The White House

You are looking at our first home. For about six months we have lived, remodeled and enjoyed this place. However, since our time here has been confined to fall and winter, yard work hasn't been a priority. Yesterday afternoon, once the wonderful Spencer's said their goodbyes and headed back up to Tulsa, we decided to take advantage of the Spring weather. With work gloves on, Randy and I tackled the front yard. Was perfection achieved? Of course not. But, the yard under our live oak was manicured (with love). After the sun had set, Randy was still working. I retired a little before. What a way to end a lovely Sunday- outside, together.

Yard Work

Randy making the finishing touches on our walkway.

Rebecca and the rake.

Seven of the ten bags full of leaves.