Roseann gets domestic

New Additions

Taking advantage of some pretty afternoon light to capture my newest additions. I started in on the dishes, but then got distracted by how good my plants look in the window. Priorities. On the left: button fern from the Half Moon Bay Nursery that we picked up on our way home from Santa Cruz. On the right: mistletoe fig from the Berkeley Horticulture Nursery, which I purchased almost two months ago (it hasn't grown much). 

I think they balance one another nicely. Jeffery and I have started stopping by our favorite nurseries whenever we're in the area, on the off chance something jumps out at us and we can't leave without it. It's kind of like checking out an animal shelter, but less risky. I recommend both of these nurseries. Fantastic and varied selection and knowledgable and friendly staff. (I purchased both pots from the Berkeley nursery as well.)

And a couple shots of the kitties. I think I really captured their personalities in their expressions. My wild little light catcher and my crotchety old man. They also balance one another nicely. 

Recipe // Portabella, Shiitake and Herb Lasagna

Mushrooms are my soul food. When we go out, if there is a mushroom dish on the menu I can't order anything else, and I have yet to be disappointed. One of the most memorable meals Jeffery and I ever made was on Valentine's Day about 6 years ago. We slow cooked polenta with 4 types of cheese and made a sauce out of hedgehog mushrooms and heirloom tomatoes. Paired it with macadamia nut crusted halibut. It was all delicious, but that mushroom tomato sauce is what sticks in my mind. I can even remember savoring the leftovers. If I concentrate hard enough, I can taste it. I lost the recipe, but I think I'll try recreating it sometime soon. When I was mushroom shopping for this meal, I did see some furry little hedgehog mushrooms.

You will need:

16 lasagna noodles (4 layers)

4 cups milk

1 stick butter (I used salted, if you use unsalted, add more salt to your sauce)

1/2 cup flour

About 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

About 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1/2 an onion, diced (or two medium leeks sliced into rings)

1 1/2 pounds portabella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

1 cup finely grated fresh parmesan cheese 



Determine how many noodles it takes to make a layer in your pan and multiply by 4. Soften noodles in a pot of very hot (but not boiling) water. Noodles should be soft but not fully cooked. 

Make béchamel sauce: Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan and remove from heat. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in four until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk in milk all at once, keep whisking until smooth. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon, if too thick add more milk, if too thin, cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in garlic, 1/2 tbs. thyme and most of the parsley (leave some to sprinkle on dish after it bakes).

Preheat oven to 375°. Heat a deep, wide pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil. Sauté the onion (or leeks if you have them) until translucent, set aside. In the same pot, add the remaining olive oil and sauté mushrooms, covered, until mushrooms are tender and beginning to release juices, about 5 minutes. Lightly salt and pepper mushrooms. Uncover and cook until edges start to brown. Stir in the cooked onion and remaining 1/2 tsp. thyme. 

Assemble lasagna: Lightly oil a 9-by-13-in. baking dish. Spread a few spoonfuls of béchamel over bottom. Add a layer of noodles, then spoon on a layer of béchamel sauce (about 1/2 cup), followed by a third of the mushrooms and third of the cheese. Repeat layers twice more. Top with a final layer of noodles and remaining béchamel and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. 

Bake lasagna until browned and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing. Pair with chilled Lambrusco (Trader Joe's has a good one).

Recipe adapted from here. (Warning, this recipe creates a mountain of dishes. And in our case they are still waiting to be washed...)

Green Things

I've been inspired lately to add some more green to our home. We don't yet have an outdoor space but we may as well liven up the indoors as long as we're in this apartment. Jeffery used to work at a garden center and spent a couple months interning at my mom's farm before joining me in England. The man knows plants. Some things I've learned from him: 

  • The only way to learn if something will live is to give it a try.
  • Be sure not to over water.
  • Open the curtains to let the light in.

Pretty basic. I'm still on the lookout for a fiddle leaf fig.  I spend a lot of time admiring other people's gardens when I'm out walking or running in Oakland and Berkeley. (You can check out my instagram for photos.) We're nearing the end of dahlia season, and tomatoes are starting to ripen on the vine. I'm learning to appreciate the subtle transition of what's in season. It can be so fleeting. I know that when we have the space Jeffery and I will both enjoy planting, tending and harvesting our outdoor flowers and edibles.  Until then, a girl can dream.

My First Cake

I have never baked a cake before. My mom is the baker. I prefer desserts that don't require as much measuring. Crisps, cookies, brownies. Just add a little more oatmeal or butter or flower until the consistency is about right. And then either take it out early so it's nice and gooey or leave it in until it's golden brown. Less room for failure, I suppose.

Jessican in the kitchen with teacup and apron
Jessica's tattoos and lavender dress
lighting the candles
chocolate cake with candles

Jessica and I were born 363 days apart, and both of our birthdays are coming up mid-week next week. With busy weekends approaching, we didn't know if we'd get a chance to get together. So we planned to bake ourselves a pre-birthday cake and exchange presents early. We followed Deb's best birthday cake recipe and were advised to use the fattiest buttermilk we could find, or else add another stick of butter. It turned out surprisingly well. Like, perfect. And then on day two it got a little dry. And because there was no party, five days later I still have a lot of cake to eat. But overall it was a success and we had so much fun staying up till 1 a.m. baking ourselves a birthday cake. And hopefully we can continue the tradition next year, and in the meantime brainstorm ideas on recipes and bunting and cake plates and candles.

Edit: Frosting recipe in comments :)

Company, Kitty, Flowers and Bows

flowers by the window eucalyptus mums
little black kitty by the window
kitty by the bookcase
utensil crock blue bow

I love having people over because it motivates me to clean house and buy flowers. I haven't seen Sam and Christian since their wedding and it was so much fun reconnecting. It's great spending time with people we know we're going to be friends with for the rest of our lives. We made eggplant lasagna and Waldorf salad, Häagen-Dazs froyo with blueberries and chocolate syrup for dessert. And they brought bags of bagels which lasted for days. Looking forward to camping trips this summer, spending time with them on the Yuba river and in the mountains of Nevada County.

When I was in Hawaii, Jeffery accidentally knocked my Le Creuset utensil crock off the counter. They discontinued that model, so I was on the hunt for something new. Last month my friend Nicole took me to the Oakland White Elephant Sale, the most beautifully curated flee market I have ever seen. I found this one for $5, hand painted in Italy and it's my new favorite thing. Besides that little black kitty. He's pretty great too.