Elena Needs A Moment

  • Quality Time Is The Best Time

    I've moved a lot. So when people ask me where I'm from, I usually ask how much time they have. 

    I rarely admit it but I'm going on record - I lived in Virginia the longest (so far) so that is where I am technically from.

    You wouldn't know it from the way I speak, except for the occasional "y'all" that slips out. Don't mind my country grammars. 

    It's been difficult to visit since moving out on my own, but this year I made a surprise trip to visit my sister for her birthday.  We spent the day doing our favorite family bonding activity - wine tasting

    The wines are Chrysalis Vineyards are full of personality, and for that reason, it is my favorite Virginia winery - it's located on Route 50 just outside Middleburg in the Bull Run Mountains. 

    Many of their wines are made from grapes native to Spain and France, but their wines made with the Norton grape are magical. 

    Over a hundred years ago, Norton grapes were considered the best grape for red wine and it's definitely making a comeback at wineries east of the Rockies. 

    I had bottles of Sarah's Patio Red (fruity, sweet), Schitz & Giggles (worth it for the name alone, but its smokiness makes it truly unique), and Barrel Select (cherry notes, dry yet silky) delivered to me back West. It was a great day. 

    Also spotted at Chrysalis: 

    Can I👏 Get A 👏 Hook-Up👏

    Cypress Grove's Purple Haze goat cheese is lavender goat cheese and I must try it. But I digress...

    The next day, my best friend joined me and my sister for a dinner party and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries marathon. 

    It's on Netflix, add it to your queue! 

    I looked up what foods may have been popular in Australia during the '20s to shape our menu. I discovered that people from all over Asia immigrated to Australia between WWI and WWII, which influenced the flavors and dishes that were popular there during that time. In the interest of time, we went with Chinese takeout, ginger soda and ginger tea with lemon, and strawberry shortcakes in place of Pavlova. 

    My sister and I looked for Art Deco-inspired decorations and serving dishes, and everything came together perfectly!

    Phryne Fisher would definitely approve. Here's a closer took at the table so you can see the designs

    How wonderful is that peacock jar?  My sister and I put it in our cart having no idea what we would use it for and it was perfect for utensils! Just goes to show - buy it now, rationalize it later. 

    Just kidding. 

    I wish my trip had been longer. I recently read a quote that really hit home - "Distance teaches us to appreciate the days that we are able to spend together...It is a reminder that every moment together is special and every second together should be cherished." 

    So to my family in Virginia - I miss you, I love you, and I hope to be back soon!

  • Every Expert Was Once A Beginner

    This is my food blog, the New Year's Resolution I am determined to keep, and it is already causing me stress.

    A blog is supposed to be about your passions and expertise, but so far I have failed three recipes while attempting to kick this off properly.

    I taught my friend Crystal how to make spaghetti from scratch.

    The pasta was a success, but the real MVP was the garlic bread I burned so badly it was inedible and smelled like char 👍 

    Next, I tried making pizza dough with semolina flour in the mix.

    The idea was that semolina would add texture and chewiness. But the water I used to activate the yeast was too warm, making the crust so tough it might as well have been freezer burned. 

    Third time's the charm. A no frills pizza dough. How could it go wrong! Forgetting to add the salt. 

    Do I even know how to cook?