The secrets to your best Bolognese!

When your best friends happen to be personal chefs in Bel-Air, you pick their brain for professional cooking tips!  We decided to spend  an evening together, shopping for the freshest ingredients at Eataly in LA and then hitting the kitchen for some lessons in cooking a good Italian dinner!  Eataly has everything you could dream of, from a meat and seafood counter, to produce and pastas.  We could’ve spent hours in there! I think we did!

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We put our heads (and cravings) together and came up with a menu of:

A Charcuterie board, sautéed cauliflower and spinach, roasted beets and burrata salad with truffle honey, toasted hazelnut carrots, squid ink pasta and clams in a white wine sauce, and pasta Bolognese! Be still my heart!

At Eataly, we tasted cheeses, salamis, and prosciutto that were heavenly! I highly recommend doing this before purchasing your meats and cheeses for a charcuterie board to ensure that you absolutely love the flavors of each component.

Charcuterie!!! Daniel grilled the crostini and what a difference!7A48CE5D-392B-484A-8F1D-39A9C3C2EFC0

We found freshly made squid ink tagliatelle and spaghetti alla chitarra at the pasta counter where you can watch the employees knead, roll, cut, and shape pasta by hand!

My friend Daniel wanted to do a Bolognese with a mixture of veal, pork, and beef so we bought a combination of those meats and he magically mixed and seasoned it to perfection using salt, pepper and italian seasonings.  Then he formed the mixture into one large patty.

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Pro tip from Chef Danny, as I like to call him:  sauté your meat in one large formed patty and “do not disturb.”  This creates a golden brown charred outer crust.  Once you’ve browned the giant patty, remove from heat and hand-crumble it so that the pieces are not all the same, but more organic in shape and size.

The sauce for the Bolognese was made from scratch, by sautéing carrots, onions, heirloom tomatoes and garlic in EVOO, deglazing with red wine, adding in tomato purée, and finally returning the meat back to the pan.

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Pro tip from Chef Danny: Use tomato purée instead of tomato sauce for better sauce consistency.

I also saw him sneak some a couple spoonfuls  of the starchy pasta water into the sauce at the very end, to slightly thicken the pasta sauce.  So sneaky!

The fresh pasta was al-dente in just about 6 minutes.

My best friend Racquel made the most amazing clam and white wine sauce that I could eat every night! It was light, but rich at the same time, if that’s even possible!  I fall in love with her more every day!

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They also taught me a shortcut to shaving cauliflower, which is simply slicing thinly with a sharp knife as opposed to making a mess of it all with a grater or a food processor. Duh!

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If you’ve never had burrata and beet salad… This is amazing!

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Here’s our finished Bolognese! It was to die for!

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After all that cooking, all that’s left to do is choose a wine to enjoy with dinner!

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I cannot thank my friends enough for an amazing night of shopping and cooking, laughing and sharing. Follow them on Instagram!

Chef Danny: https://www.instagram.com/thefreshchefofbelair/

Chef Rocky: https://www.instagram.com/rockymercedes/

Bon Apetit!

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Kay’s Corner: Life Updates

Hello Everybody! It’s been a while. I’ve been writing this post over and over again because I just couldn’t figure out how to start. I tried thinking about what would be a good hook to make my life seem more exciting and interesting, but then I realized that I should stick with the platform my mom and I try to uphold: realness. So, with that, HELLO!!!! I’m writing to you all today with updates on my crazy, college life. (It’s not that crazy, only on weekends ;))

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First off, I finished my first quarter at UCD! (queue confetti on screen) It was probably the best experience of my life. I have fallen in love with this place. From the late-night warm chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa, to the dorm life of a 24/7 sleepover with your closest friends, to the coho days and sun rays on the quad; Davis is my haven. I’ve found that my happiness stems from the wholesome people I’m surrounded by, and the endless opportunities that seem to fill this school. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

I just survived midterm season #3, scarred and traumatized yes, but alive and happy at the end of it. Currently, I am taking my hardest schedule yet- I call it the trifecta of death: Math, Chem and Bio (with a theatre class thrown in there). So my inactiveness has a lot to do with the schedule I am taking on. Something that I have noticed this past month, starting off the new year,  is the immense feeling of gratitude I have to be here, at this amazing university. I’ve found so many reasons to be thankful specifically in this past month for some reason. Maybe it’s because I know I’m halfway done with my first year of college, and this dorm life is going to be just a memory I talk about fondly for the rest of my life. I’ve started this thing where I write something that made my day, or something I’m thankful for on my monthly calendar. Just so I see everyday there is something good that happens. Some of you should try it with me, and see what it is you all write down. #Blessingsonblessings

You all know that I recently joined Camp Kesem as a camp counselor (THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO DONATED IT MEANS SO MUCH), but I wanted to talk  about something that struck me during my first training session. As camp counselor, we are there to be role models. We are there to be supportive, enthusiastic, excited, and confident. We are there to be LEADERS. And in our first training session we were asked to raise our hands if we believe that we are leaders. I didn’t raise my hand, but a lot of people in the room did. This really made me think about why I didn’t raise my hand. I have taught many times, I’m a role model for the kids in my family, my siblings- I have never been one to shy away from leadership. But when asked head on, if I was a leader, I couldn’t bring myself to say yes. I should’ve. Next time, I will. I think it’s important to give yourself the credit where it’s due. I’m learning that you can stay humble, yet be confident at the same time.

In my crazy, college life thus far, I have learned a lot. Even though I am still young, here’s some of the life advice I’ve learned while being here:

  1. Be selfish. Take all the time in the world to invest in yourself, and cherish the moments in your life. Ever since I turned 16, life has been moving very fast, and as far as I can tell, it doesn’t slow down. (I’m apartment hunting now for god sakes).
  2. Own up to your mistakes. Don’t let pride stop you from fixing things or apologizing; humility is good for you.
  3. Take note of every time you find yourself laughing. It’s good to know that you will always laugh or smile more times than you will cry.
  4. Know you’re worth. Know what you stand for. Be fierce in getting what you want.
  5. There are no shortcuts.
  6. Squirrels are suicidal. They run in front of your bikes, and even if you swerve, they follow your wheels. Beware.
  7. Do NOT eat more than 4 fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies in one sitting. You will always regret it even if you think, “This time will be different”.
  8. Longboards are not invincible. A piece of bark can ruin your day. (And your knees).
  9. Chase passion. You will never regret it.
  10. It’s all about the little victories. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they aren’t still victories.
  11. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Life should be fun, so let it be.

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Overall, in my first quarter at Davis I managed to:

  • Join Kappa Kappa Gamma (I’m currently on the Academic Excellence committee and a coach for ArrowJam2018- a dance competition between the Greek Life organizations on campus. @ Las Lomas Students think MockRock on a mass scale)
  • Join Camp Kesem as a counselor
  • Start a path towards becoming a learning assistant next year for chemistry
  • Start a theatre path to be in the Theatre festival this summer at Davie 🙂
  • Fall off my bike ONLY TWICE
  • Spend $200 of Aggie cash on coffee alone
  • Get sick a multitude of times from the dorms
  • Make amazing friendships that will last
  • Conclude that Crepeville has THE best pancakes in Davis
  • Gain and Lose 8 pounds
  • Gone to Tahiti
  • Find the most appreciation and love for my family, more than I’ve ever had before
  • Take more naps in these 6 months than in the past 2 years

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Thank you so much for reading- I promise this is only the beginning of my journey. I’m just getting started 🙂

Lots of Love & Hope,

Kaylena

P.S. My shirt is from Chicnyc.com! They have a ton of super cute tees that I want. Get 70% with the code “herflection” at checkout 🙂

Leaving the Nest

KAREN:  Moving day was here and we had been preparing for months! We couldn’t have felt more ready. Kaylena had all her personal items and clothes packed and organized, and we made sure that she was stocked up with snacks for those late night study sessions.  We were up for the challenge of making a small space functional, and couldn’t wait to see how everything would fit. Kaylena’s dad and I were so excited for her — especially since he a UC Davis alum. Go Aggies!

The UC Davis campus is the largest UC Campus spanning 5,300 acres. A bike is essential to get from class to class at this campus. Thankfully my sister surprised Kaylena with a new bike at her graduation party! Her dad secured the bike to the top of the car, and off we went!  There’s something exciting about seeing so many bikes in one place.  It makes your mind imagine what each of the bike’s owners is here to pursue.

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A dorm room should reflect your child’s personality. After all, home is your haven and this will be their home away from home. Kaylena chose the aesthetic for her room, which was inspired by some of the artwork she collected for her wall. I didn’t necessarily approve of all of her art pieces, but hey, I’m supposed to be “allowing self expression” or “letting go” or something like that, right? Some of the canvases she painted herself, others she found at Ikea. Two of her prints were from Madison Riese Arts.  One of my favorites is the Paradise print, which was a gift from the artist herself. Thank you, Madison!

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We also brought in color with the vibrant throw pillows that her godmother bought her from Society 6.  Throw pillows are to women what stuffed animals are to kids — and we just love them!  Familiar items from home like her cute little air plant and record player really personalized the space.

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While she was in charge of the design, I focused on the functionality of the room. I couldn’t help myself and immediately moved some of the furniture around. We also had her bed raised to “level 3.”   Thank God for these stackable under bed drawers from The Container Store.  Instead of packing her clothes in boxes, we transported them in these and just slid them under the bed.  They’re the perfect depth.  We were also able to slide this Ikea cart under the bed which she used to hold her dishes, utensils, and most importantly, the coffee! She purchased a cute blue mini fridge from Wal-Mart to complete her new room.

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While we were beyond prepared for the move and new living accommodations, I can’t say the same for the actual goodbye.  I was overcome with so many emotions, and despite Kaylena saying “Oh gosh, Mommy.  Don’t cry!” the water works were uncontrollable.  Funny how despite knowing that moment would come, it was all still very heart-wrenching.  The emotions ranged from sadness to an enormous sense of pride, to just missing her already. While she isn’t too far from home, I was saddened by the realization of how fast her childhood flew by. Other parents of college students have reassured me, these are all normal emotions, and I am not completely losing it! LOL. On the other hand, we are very excited to see her growth, and for all the fun she will have at UC Davis!

Oh, and our family had a little going away party before the move, where Kaylena made these awesome and addicting sugar cookies to represent her new school.

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Did you know that many stores offer student discounts?  Here is a list of some compiled by Odyssey  Looks like we have some shopping to do!

KAYLENA: Hello Everybody ! Here i am writing to you from the comfort of my dorm room. Crazy, right? With everything from a revolving door of new dorm mates with crazy personalities, losing a bike basket in the middle of a bike circle, and 500 student lectures, Davis is definitely going to be my biggest adventure thus far.

In the past week, I have rushed for a sorority to find my new home with the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma, attended biology and chem lectures, braved my 8 am theatre class, and lost my voice to sickness. Nothing could have prepared me for the wild life of a college student. Classes are intense, with super-fast lectures and high expectations. Biking is terrifying, especially when crashing is so common: I’ve ran into bushes, fences, and the sidewalk- no people yet. The dining commons is a goldmine and the freshman fifteen is looking more like fifty for me.

Furthermore, the people at Davis are kind and supportive. My dorm mates are becoming my family, and I can’t wait to see what the ladies of Kappa Kappa Gamma have in store for me. Never in my life have I seen more genuine, intelligent, driven, and ambitious women all gathered in one place. And now I get to say I am with them.

And with all the flurry of Welcome Week, the homesickness hit me in a way I didn’t expect it to. I was sitting at the KKG bid night, eating chipotle after throwing down the greatest dance moves of my life, when I started tearing up. I missed my family. I missed my home. I missed my mom and dad. Regardless of the strange timing, I realized why I felt this way: It was the final step in me fully being away from home. This was more than having control over a piece of controversial artwork on my dorm room wall. This was, is me, growing, putting myself out there, starting my future and foundation here at Davis.

I love it here. Davis is everything and more I could’ve ever imagined. I can’t wait for the future.  First week of college! Check.

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time,

Karen & Kay

“Here is the world.  Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ~ Frederick Buechne

 

 

 

 

Meet the Authors: Karen and Kay

Meet the Authors:  Karen and Kay

KAYLENA:  Welcome to Herflection! I can’t believe that I am actually here, writing my first blog post. The most writing I’ve done is essays for class and a journal to myself, so it’s strange to think people will be reading this. Here’s to not getting stage fright. My mom and I came across the realization that this blog platform was what we’ve been missing from our lives. At every outing, outfits were planned, food was eaten, pictures were taken, yet we never actually did anything with them. What we lacked was a safe space for our content and opinions, reviews and tips, and aspirations for our future. And now we’ve created one, with Herflection.

With me leaving the nest for the first time in my life, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my relationship with my mother, especially with the making of Herflection. It’s the snapshots of our time together, that strengthens our relationship: shopping and finding we’ve grabbed the same five articles of clothing, screaming over the deaths of those we loved on Game of Thrones, or driving home from dance practice, quiet from exhaustion, but hearts content. Herflection is substitute for these moments, our connection while I’m away at Davis.

My insights will most likely include sarcasm, half-attempted jokes, and literary references. Food is my forte, and writing is a passion. With a future filled of bikes, coffee, and classes, I am excited to be a co-writer on Herflection, and I can’t wait to start writing more! Much Love, Kaylena xx.

KAREN:  Hi everyone!  You know what puts me in a good mood? Good food!  What makes a meal even better is enjoying it with someone you love.  Kaylena and I love spending time together catching up over brunch and taking photos of our food.  We’re super excited to have a place to finally share these tasty moments with you.  But our content won’t be limited to calorie-full posts, we promise.

What makes this blog so dear to my heart is that it’s a joint project with my daughter.  Having a child at the ripe young age of 18 was not easy.  Challenging, would be an understatement.  However, in raising her, the pleasure has been all mine.  She is smart and driven, playful and fun-loving.

Now she herself is 18.  I can’t believe she’ll be leaving the nest to move to UC Davis.  This may prove to be more difficult for me than her!  I will, after all, be losing my yoga partner.  Kidding aside, I am extremely excited for her and her new chapter in life.  Herflection will be a perfect way for us to continue to share our passions.

Recently we went for a coffee date at our favorite local coffee shop Coffee Shop Walnut Creek.  Then we had brunch at Corner’s Tavern.  Hey, when you can’t decide, you order a little bit of everything to satisfy those taste buds.  So don’t mind the combination of parmesan cheese covered brussel sprouts, seafood stew, smoked wings and peach french toast… and yes, sometimes you have to stand on the furniture for a good picture of your eats!

Photos by Grace Navarro

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Tune in next week, when we write about the move to UC Davis!