Thursday, February 25, 2010

Summer salad

Why am I torturing myself by using the word "summer" right now?

One only needs to glance at the East Coast's forecast for today.

New York is in the midst of another round of snowfall and DC is supposed to see winds of up to 50 mph tonight.

In light of how gray and yucky it's been around here, seems like the perfect time to start daydreaming about a "sexy summer salad" from Pia Jane Bijerk's kitchen.

Sexy Summer Salad

1 melon: Cavaillon melon, Galia etc.

for the syrup:
0.5 liters of white wine
100 grams sugar
4 star anise
the seeds from 1 vanilla pod (keep the pod too)
the peel of 1 lemon

Rosemary Oil:
The leaves of 3 twigs of rosemary
150 ml light olive oil
juice of half a lemon
pepper and salt

for the salad:
1 head of raddichio
4 sprigs of red or green basil
8 thin slices of Parma ham
2 buffalo mozzarella cheeses
50 grams of beautiful young salad leaves: mizuna, rocket, mustard leaf

Use a melon scoop to create nice little melon-balls. Spread them out on a deep plate.

Heat the white wine in a saucepan and add the sugar, spices and the lemon-peel. Simmer for 20 minutes on very low heat. Pour over the melon. Let completely cool down.

Make the rosemary oil: Whizz the rosemary with the lemon juice in a food processor. Pour in all the olive oil, while whizzing, taste the dressing for salt and pepper.

Arrange the radicchio leaves on four plates.

Tear the mozzarella into small pieces and divide them together with with the Parma-ham, melon balls and the young leaves over the plates. Drop some syrup over it.

Sprinkle with torn Basilicum and finish off with the rosemary oil, serve immediately with crisp bread.

You can also conserve the melon in this syrup. Pour this 2 x this quantity of syrup over the balls of at least 2 melons in a clean pot (2 liters) and cook it in boiling water for about 10 min.
It will keep for about a month!

Ideas for the kitchen

We have an empty windowsill in front of our kitchen sink that I'm eager to fill, but with what?

With spring around the corner I'm considering planting new basil and rosemary, as well as some flowers, in these lovely clay pots and make their home that cozy window area.

(via GRDN)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Jackets for spring

Thanks to Cup of Jo (seriously, what would I do without you?), I'm now in love with this online British fashion store, ASOS.

I love the white and beige trimmed trench, worn either with tights when it's still nippy out, or with skinny jeans on a lazy Saturday.

As for this snazzy orange jacket -- take me out! Let's go! I'm ready for an evening on the town.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Citrus smoothie

While visiting my friend Heather this weekend, she received a shipment of fresh Florida oranges as a birthday treat from her Mom. Great idea, huh?

I know that she and her husband love making fruit smoothies at home, and being the great athletes that they are, these liquid treats keep them fueled through their long runs and bike rides.

So it was with great luck that I just happened to stumble upon this citrus smoothie recipe when I got home today.

I used to have a hand-held blender and since my last move, I've misplaced it, so I think it's high time I actually branch out, and buy the real McCoy, because otherwise, I might end up asking Heather to blend this creation, freeze and ship it to me overnight in DC...and we all know that that's a tad ridiculous!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

And...we're off

We're headed out of town this weekend to visit some friends. Can't wait to get away for a few days and catch up with people I've known for a long time.

Enjoy your weekend and stay warm!

(via oh brooke)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mother-Daughter pair

I smiled as soon as I saw this photo of a mother and daughter. Their combined stylish flare is immediately obvious, but I must admit that I think I adore the little girl's overall outfit the most. Her mother's boots, on the other hand, are killer.

Pasta with red wine and cauliflower

Spotted this on The Internet Food Association (yes, that's actually the blog's name) and was intrigued. I don't adore cauliflower. Is it even possible? I mean, it's a fairly bland vegetable.

But I'm willing to give this a try because I do like experimenting with veggie-only pasta dishes. That way I don't need to come up with a side dish and the meal is pulled together fairly quickly. Check out the full recipe, created by queenie takes manhattan.
Pasta with Red Wine and Cauliflower

1/4 pound short pasta, such as penne rigate or cavatappi
Olive oil
1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 head of cauliflower, chopped into 1-inch florets
1/2 cup dry red wine
Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
Finely grated parmesan cheese

In boiling, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside; do not rinse. (You can also cook the pasta while you make the sauce.)

Set a large skillet (I used my 12-incher) over high heat. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan, turn the heat to medium-high, and add the onions. Saute the onions for a few minutes until soft and fragrant, but not browned. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes more, until you can smell the garlic and it has turned golden.

Add the cauliflower to the pan and saute for 4-6 minutes, until it has acquired a bit of color and begun to release its water. Sprinkle the mixture with a pinch of salt and deglaze the pan with the red wine. Add the pepper flakes and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the red wine is reduced to a syrupy glaze. Add the pasta to the skillet and cook for a minute or two, mixing it with the sauce and letting everything get to know each other.

Transfer the pasta and sauce to a shallow bowl, top with the cheese, taste for seasoning, and eat!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Love this!

Sometimes simple is best

If you happen to have a chance to look through Caroline Herrera's Fall 2010 collection, you'll realize just how perfect this simple black gown was for the finale of her show. Every other piece was rich with color, fur and draping.

This was a dynamite ending.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Bags for work and play

Stanley & Sons make handmade bags and aprons one at a time. Each one of their products is made to order. I've inquired about a few, including the green one shown here. The leather work is fantastic, isn't it? Feels like the kind of bag I could muck up a bit on my way to work or at the beach.

(via Oh?)

The impact of things said

As soon as I read this post by Shuna Fish Lydon -- one of my all-time favorite bloggers who also happens to be a phenomenal pastry chef -- I had to share her thoughts with you on.....well, you'll see....
Menu Changes. or: what to do when history repeats itself.

I don't have to tell you that the economy of your country, city, town, continent, family has tanked.

I don't have to tell you anything about it. You know.

I don't have to tell you to hold onto your job. You have. As long as you've been able to.

I don't have to tell you not to spend your money on frivolous items. You either have or you have not; either out of need or need to rebel.

I don't have to tell you how many restaurants have closed, how many cooks and chefs and pastry chefs are out of work.

I don't have to tell you that if you love, really love a restaurant, you may want to become a regular.

I don't have to tell you that if you really love a chef or a pastry chef's work, you should tell everyone you know to go eat at said person's workplace. You know.

I don't have to tell you the power of positive press is far quieter than the power of negative press. Whether you rant indignantly on Yelp, or feed a piece of barely true gossip to Eater, or pan a place on Chowhound, or talk doo-doo on your own blog/Twitter/Facebook about a particular place,
you play a part in the wild fire that will surely consume said business.

I don't have to tell you anything. You know why? You know.

You're smart.

You read as much as I do.

Probably more.

I don't have to tell you what happened on September 11, 2001. I don't have to tell you that the Internet Bubble, based on money which did not exactly exist, but which was generating thousands of businesses to be born, and invite more people than could even fit in San Francisco & beyond to move there, and displace thousands more, burst. At about the same time as September 11, 2001.

O yes. It was a fun year. A great time to be working in a luxury industry making food people neither needed nor could afford.

I lost my job of 2 years that year. After that I was unemployed for longer than I have been since I started working, at age 14. I witnessed over 6,000 restaurants close in San Francisco. In one year.

You probably remember that time as well as I do.

I know you remember what you were doing that day.

And if you lived in NYC or the Bay Area, you remember the recovery time.

It took years.

It is for these memories, these reasons, these experiences, which I still feel, still know, viscerally, that I remain forever grateful to have a job, when I have one.

It is for these memories, these reasons, these experiences, which I still feel, still know, viscerally, that I have grown.

It is for these memories, these reasons, these experiences, which I still feel, still know, viscerally, that hope to always know perspective, even the smallest amount, is utterly important.
To read her post in its entirety, please visit Shuna here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Patience is a virtue

I don't really have any hobbies that require patience.

Gardening, brewing beer, building a bike from scratch -- there are people in my life who excel and enjoy each of these activities. The commonality between something as different as planting tomatoes and mixing hops and yeast together is the long periods of preparation followed by bouts of waiting.

I appreciate the beauty in having to wait for something you want very much, but I must confess that I don't have to do a lot of that. And I feel a sense of guilt in admitting this.

Now, flower arrangement may not involve nearly the length of time in preparation that something like building a bicycle does, but there is a thoughtfulness to the process that I really love.

Too bad this class is located in Brooklyn and not DC. If anybody knows about any other options like this in the area, please let me know!

(via Saipua)

Monday, February 8, 2010


Visions of long drives from Atlanta to Wooster, Ohio came back to me as soon as I saw this photo by Keith Davis Young.

What did you think of when you looked at this image?

What I didn't wear this weekend

We got two feet of snow this weekend in DC but that didn't stop Washingtonians from venturing out. Tom and I were too stir crazy to stay inside too long so we wandered around the neighborhood, ran into old friends, drank Guinness and ate a lot of comfort food.

But I gotta tell you, I definitely didn't look nearly as stylish as this young woman does. I admire her creativity amid similar weather conditions. If I had her coat, I would have sported that in a heartbeat.

Friday, February 5, 2010

For day and night

Don't you just adore this Stella McCartney ensemble? That blue is just stunning isn't it? I think this would be such a smashing work outfit for early spring.

I also can't help but praise (per usual) Gwyneth's cream-colored blazer and light blue jeans. She actually wore this to Stella's Spring 2010 show, so I assume that the jacket, at least, was designed by McCartney.


Spotted and now wanting

Taupe cotton-blend textured trench coat with a wide round neck.

Designed by the one and only Stella McCartney.

(Via Olivet)

Art on a plate

The title of the post on The Sprouted Kitchen that accompanied this picture is "Deconstructed Beet Stack."

That sounds kind of ridiculous. In fact, when I read it, I immediately had this gut reaction of "What the hell kind of new wave cooking shit is this going to be?" Gee. Am I a cynic or just not very nice today?

Truth be told, I generally wish more fine dining restaurants would stick to the "less is more" theme...or the less complicated, the better. A meal with a few ingredients and not a lot of fuss can be one of the best of your life.

That being said, I support creativity in the kitchen, so I'll shut up with my rant.

This meal, I must say, looks divine. If I were any good at "plating," I'd make this at our next dinner party.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Speaking of Anthony Bourdain...

I've never seen Bourdain at such a loss for words than after this encounter with a 10 year-old girl.

Obama's first year

Of the many photographs that the White House released to summarize Obama's first year in office, these were my favorites.

Biden congratulates Hillary Clinton on the news that Chelsea got engaged...Bush asks Bill Clinton to clarify what he just told the press about his involvement in Haiti...a little boy asks the president if he can feel his head to see if it feels the same as his....a French war veteran waits to meet Obama following his speech in Normandy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Brittany, France

I downloaded Anthony Bourdain's new episode of Brittany, France off of iTunes yesterday and I am seriously swooning. Brittany is, as is said in the opening clip, a painter's dream. Just read this bit from Bourdain's blog on this jewel of a peninsula:
I'm not kidding about the color in Brittany. Everything is blue. It's a cinematographer's wet dream, a palette of dark blues, light blues and blue grays that forces everyone to unconsciously dress to match the surroundings...

Delicious, delicious things coming at us from every direction. Mountains of shellfish tower everywhere you look: oysters, lobsters, crabs, periwinkles, clams, shrimp and prawns...

The butter is so fresh and rich and so tasty you'd be happy to eat it with a spoon. There's rough, country bread, sausages wrapped in buckwheat crepes, hard cider and apple brandy.