One-Year Birthday

We went to a one-year old's birthday party this weekend.  I wish I had time to post all the shots but there are just too many.  The Birthday Girl was too cute to pass up!



Friday Foto - Statua

Translation: Statue



Birthday Wishes

Happy birthday to my handsome heel-clickin' honey! 



Summer Solstice (pt. 2)

9:07pm - The last bit of sunlight on the first day of summer.


Summer Solstice

June 21 is the longest day of the year.  It also happens to be the longest day of my Barbri lecture (double Evidence lesson, 9am-5pm).

May your day be filled with happy hippie-dancing under Stone Henge!


Pasta Barra

Okay, so the name is not very original (it means "Bar Pasta") but let me explain and I think you'll agree that it's totally appropriate.  Because my time is consumed with studying for the bar, I haven't been to the grocery store in about two weeks.  My food supplies are running a little low and there are no more enticing Lean Cuisines in the freezer.  I had to make something for lunch today so I grabbed whatever I could find in the cabinet (not much... because of the bar) and made some pasta.  Hence, Pasta Barra.  It was either that or Pasta dal Armadietto ("Pasta from the Cabinet"), which sounds fancier but is quite a mouthful.  

Because I literally threw the recipe together, the measurements aren't exactly precise (okay, maybe not "literally," but you know what I mean).  It still turned out pretty delicious, though.  One thing I've learned in my attempts to cook Italian food: if your ingredients are the same colors as the Italian flag, you're probably on the right track.  Think about it--basil, oregano, parsley, mozzarella, reggiano, garlic, tomatoes, red peppers--all taste great together and all are green, white, and red.  Amazing!

So here it is: Pasta Barra (a.k.a. Pasta dal Armadietto if you want to sound fancy)

What You Need (Roughly):
Gluten-Free Spaghetti (or whatever pasta is in the cabinet)
Olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
Salt, to taste, if you want
Red pepper flakes
Parsley (a big handful is fine)
About a cup of Parmesan or Reggiano cheese, grated (again, whatever you have)

What To Do:
1. Cook the gluten-free pasta according to the package's instructions.  Drain when ready but reserve about 1/4 cup of the starchy water before you dump it all out.
2. While it's cooking, chop the parsley into small bits and grate the cheese.
3. Over low heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil (I just eyeballed it) to the bottom of your pot and melt the butter in it.
4. Return the drained pasta to the pot (don't ever rinse the pasta after draining!) and mix so it's fully coated in the oil and butter. 
5. Add in the reserved water and the grated cheese.  Stir so the cheese melts and the pasta is very lightly coated with the sauce.
6. Add in the parsley and red pepper flakes (as much or as little as you want).
7. Feel free to add whatever else you want from the cabinet or fridge - garlic, basil, etc. would probably great.  I just don't have any on hand right now.  Oh, grocery store, how I loathe yet love you.


Friday Foto - Incendio

Translation: Fire

The photos aren't the greatest, but I like the "after" shot.



Hammer Pants Back in Style?

When I was in Madrid, I noticed a disturbing trend.  Hammer pants.  They were everywhere!  Call them what you want--Hammer pants, genie pants, parachute pants, Aladdin pants--just leave them in the 90's, please.  My ex-pat friend living in Madrid at the time almost convinced me of their "comfy" attributes.  I say "almost" because one look at them reminds me why I hate them - they make you look like you're wearing a diaper.  I hoped in my heart of hearts that this trend would stay in Europe but, alas, it made its way stateside.  The diaper/genie/Hammer/Aladdin/parachute pant is now on sale at Victoria's Secret.  And with a new twist - capri!  Maybe the fact that it's on sale means no one is buying it?  God I hope so.

Rainbow of Hammer pants at a Madrid market:

Close-up - Look at all that diaper room!

The Victoria's Secret version:


Another countdown...

...and six weeks from today, it will all be over.  Ah, the light at the end of the tunnel!


Six-Week Countdown

Six weeks from today, I'll be checking into a hotel and trying to relax just a bit though I know there's little chance of that actually happening.  Why?  Because six weeks from TOMORROW is the California Bar Exam.  Oh lordy.  

The first wave of nervousness officially hit me yesterday.  I could barely eat lunch as I crammed all the exceptions to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement into my head.  Why?  Because apparently bar examiners don't realize that in the real world I can look that shizz up when I need to!  

To accomplish this considerable feat of memorization, mnemonics, acronyms, and cheesy songs have taken over my brain.  Now, when I see that someone has been arrested and/or searched, I think "Gamers playing Warcraft get excited." (Thanks to my roommate for that one.)  And why are they excited?  Praise Cash!  These ridiculous phrases are actually doing their job.  But since the human brain is capable of remembering only a limited number of arbitrary items in working memory, I wonder how many mnemonics and acronyms I'll actually recall on test day?  And if I manage to remember most of them, does that mean I'll be losing other, possibly happier, memories to make room for these?  I'm already dreaming about random legal theories.  I don't want my pleasant memories to be replaced with random legal phrases too!


Bowl Full of Cherries

The cherry tree in our backyard was more than ready for picking so my wonderful boyfriend gathered a ginormous bowlful of cherries for us.  I knew we'd never be able to eat them all before they went bad so I took a study break and got to work on a pie.  So many cherries, so little time...

She's My Cherry Pie

What You Need:
For Crust (makes 2 crusts for a 9-in. pie pan):
2 1/2 cups flour
2 sticks (1 cup) cold butter
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 - 3/4 cold water
Note: It's important the butter and water be cold - like, straight out of the fridge.

For Filling:
4 cups pitted cherries (frozen will work fine, but the fresher the better!)
1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar, depending on sweetness of cherries
4 tbsp. corn starch
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract

What To Do:
For Crust:
1.  Combine dry ingredients and cold butter with a pastry cutter until crumbly.
2.  Add cold water, a little at a time, until dough forms.  Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.  I find it easier to mix by hand at this point.
3.  Roll dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  In the mean time, make the filling.

For Filling:
1.  If using fresh cherries, pit them at this point.  This step is actually very easy if you use a cherry pitter, which I found at the grocery store for $5.
2.  In a medium saucepan, heat the cherries over medium heat until they start to release their juices.
3.  Remove from heat.  Add in the sugar, corn starch, vanilla extract, and almond extract.  Return to low heat for a few more minutes until thickened.  (If it gets too thick, just add a little water.)
4.  After it's all combined and thickened, remove from heat and set aside.

1.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Remove dough from fridge and separate into two equal-sized balls.  
2.  Roll out one ball into a circle that fits a 9-in. pie pan.  Be sure to make it just a little bit bigger so you can fold the sides over (see photo above).
3.  Place in pie dish and add cherry filling (don't worry if it's not completely cooled).
4.  Roll out the other ball of dough for a top crust.  You can slice it into 1-in. strips to make a lattice top (in photo above) or just place it over the top as a solid crust.  If you do a solid crust, be sure to cut slits in the top to allow heat to escape.  You don't want a cherry explosion in your oven!!
5.  Fold the edges of the bottom dough up and over the top dough to seal the two together.
6.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until crust is cooked through and golden brown.  Remove from oven, let cool for a bit, then enjoy!

Here's a photo of the ginormous bowl.  (I included the coffee cup for scale):


Friday Foto - Carità

Carità (f.)
Translation: Charity



Hello, San Francisco | Why I Love San Francisco: Reason 238

The view from Tarantino's at Fisherman's Wharf.  Don't you just want to hop on one of those colorful little boats?  The food was pretty good, too, but I was too distracted with eating it and didn't take a picture!



Asparagus Pizza

Since I now spend my days reading nothing but legal principles, food has become one of my few pleasures in life.  When I saw a recipe for shaved asparagus pizza on Smitten Kitchen recently, I knew I had to take a break from the books and try it out.  The thought of turning the oven on to 500 degrees in the middle of summer made me hesitate at first, but, oh my goodness, was it worth it!  I basically followed her recipe (see the link above) with a few exceptions.  

First, the dough.  I do not have time to make pizza dough.  As much as I wish I could, it's just not realistic right now.  Luckily, The Nugget (known everywhere outside of Davis as Whole Foods) has a fabulous and delicious dough in the pizza section of their freezer aisle.  With only five ingredients (flour, water, yeast, salt, and sugar), it's the closest I'm going to get to homemade dough until July 29.  Plus, it's only $2.99 and you can keep in your freezer for as long as you like (well, not really, but you know what I mean)!  Just follow the cooking directions on the package and you're all set.

Next, the pizza stone.  I don't own a pizza stone.  I don't even know what this is (a stone, I guess?).  I just used a large baking sheet and sprayed it lightly with cooking spray.  The pizza still turned out perfectly so don't fret if you don't have a pizza stone either.

Finally, some spice.  I think we've established I like spicy food.  Since I add crushed red pepper flakes to most dishes, I didn't want this one to feel left out.  Careful not to add too much, though - a lot of spice might over power the light, crisp flavor of the asparagus.



Friday Foto - Il Autocarro

Translation: Truck



Sex And The City 2

My roommate and I went to see SATC2 after our first week of bar studying.  This is pretty much all I have to say about it: it looked good and watching it was better than doing homework.

I LOVED the series.  I will watch episode after episode no matter how many times I've already seen them.  The movie?  Not so much.  The series made me want to be best friends with the Ladies.  The movie makes me want to punch them.  Carrie is selfish to the point of annoyance and all the rest are caricatures of the women they once were.  The only real scene that is reminiscent of the type of interactions beloved by the series is a brief moment, towards the end of the film, when Charlotte and Miranda get a little drunk and let out all their frustrations about motherhood.  Of course, this lovely moment is interrupted by Carrie's demand for an emergency session because she (spoiler alert) kissed Aidan.  Throughout the film, Carrie behaves like the naive youth she was when she first moved to NYC.  It may have been cute when she was 20 but now that she's pushing mid-40's it's just pathetic.

Granted, looking at pretty clothes and snazzy shoes sure beats studying for the bar.  But next time I get the urge, I might just do some online "window" shopping instead.
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