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!