Monday, August 23, 2010

Take me to this library

We're heading to Argentina pretty soon so it's top of mind right now. This library in Buenos Aires looks absolutely spectacular. I'm adding this to the list of "things I must see and do while in B.A."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Indian chicken & apricot couscous

I was out of town for a few days in New England last week and had a chance to slow life down. While enjoying a lazy evening in front of the TV with family, I happened to catch Tyler Florence's show on the Food Network. He was making something called "brick chicken" which is a split chicken rubbed with lots of spices and seared in a pan with a covered brick on top.

If you're like me, you don't have a lot of random bricks laying around your house. And you might even think, "Why the hell am I going to trek over to Home Depot to buy a single brick for a single meal?" Those were my thoughts exactly. So for a substitute all it requires is that you cover your large cast iron pan with another cast iron pan (or again, improvise as needed) when searing the chicken.

This dish is fantastic. If you've already got a kitchen stocked with coriander, cumin and similar spices than all you need is a whole chicken, some couscous (and its necessary accompaniments) and a yogurt dressing. Totally delicious and really very easy.

This is even the sort of thing you could make after work. Just make sure you split your chicken the night before and rub it with the spices so it can marinate over night. Take it out of the fridge when you get home and then you've only got about 45 minutes of cooking everything from start to finish. Full recipe here. Enjoy!


I love these oil paintings of swimmers at the beach.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A tragedy in Afghanistan

I was flipping through the Washington Post this morning looking for coverage of national politics when I spotted a short story about a young aid worker who was recently killed in northern Afghanistan. Just 25 years old, Harrisonburg, VA native and digital journalism major Brian Carderelli left Kabul just three weeks ago to accompany a medical mission team to the northern region of the country. Last week, Brian and nine other medical workers, were massacred by a group of armed men.

When I hear a horrific story like this one I often think about the other thousands of volunteers serving needy communities in developing countries around the world. The WorldTeach and Peace Corps volunteers, and the missionaries -- people who have given of their time and skills to make a difference in the world. Some of these volunteers are placed, or choose to be, in unstable regions. Like Brian, they are aware of the danger and insecurity that they face. In fact, Brian's childhood friend, Mike Albert, was quoted in the Post today, saying, "I know that Brian had a passion for what he was doing, and he would not choose to do things differently, I don't think. He knew the risks associated with going and working in Afghanistan, and he considered it worth the risk."
"He considered it worth the risk"...........
Where does one find that kind of courage and bravery to overcome fear in order to help others? I don't know. I don't have it but I admire and salute the men and women who do.

I leave you with several of Brian's pictures from his travels in Afghanistan....images of a place so many of us have never, and will never see.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Home furnishings

The beauty about design blogs is that everyone seems just six degrees of separation from one another. You stumble across one jewel only to find out that they're linked to or friends with another blogger you adore, have heard of or just recently discovered.

Thanks to textile designer and bloggger Lena Corwin at ~>O<~ I now know of Suki Cheema, Diane von Furstenberg's home collection guru -- the man behind the amazing screenprints of pillows, rugs, throws and more. He recently launched his own line (hooray!), which can be found all over NYC (if you're lucky and live there) or you can email them and find out more about how you can snag one of his lovely creations.

(Suki's pic via Lovely Pictures)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jeans & t-shirts

I was in Brooks Brothers the other night looking for a birthday gift for my husband when I spotted the perfect men's chambray shirt. I've been eyeing J. Crew's version for women most of this summer but once the heat hit I lost interest. It would have just hung in my closet all summer long and that, my friends, I couldn't take.

I did have lots of ideas of how to wear it. Think about pairing it with a sparkly skirt and some brown leather heels for a dressed-up-Friday-night-look.

Or, dress down for an afternoon stroll around the city like fashion stylist, Anda, here. Either way, it's perfect for so many occasions.

(Photo via garance dore)

Cinque Terre

Jacinta Moore from Bawk Bawk Bawk has the loveliest, grainy travel photos. Lots of pics of food, landscapes and the random bits of places that make your destination so unique. Check her out.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Homemade jam

My friend Lesley recently moved from DC back to her hometown in upstate New York. I miss her terribly but she and her husband are off to some pretty exciting adventures. It's worth noting that the area where she grew up is fantastically gorgeous.

Think: lush green land, sailing on the Finger Lakes, superb local white wine and great skiing. In other words, it's a mini-paradise.

Lesley being the great cook that she is has taken full advantage of the garden she has at her home. When we spoke recently she casually mentioned that she had just finished making fig jam that afternoon. Yummm....that has to be one of my all-time favorite spreads.

Her foray into jam-making really inspired me. Why don't I give that a go? Well, in a funny twist of fate, I may not have any excuses not to now. Kiss My Spatula has the easiest recipe ever. Check it out (and if these pictures don't convince you to try it too, I don't know what will).

To the ends of the earth

As I've mentioned many times before, I spent a year post-college in Namibia, Africa. I lived in a small village teaching geography and computer science at a boarding high school. Just 1 kilometer from the Angolan border, Odibo, Namibia was certainly the driest, hottest place I'd ever seen or lived.

Then I visited Nevada a few weeks ago.

Driving south from Las Vegas along a lonely two-lane road, I looked out the car window and saw....mountains....dirt....more mountains....more dirt...and a few Joshua trees.

Human beings were rare sightings.

Twists and turns in the road seldom came.

It felt open and empty, and little lonely, but it also struck me as grand in the way that the American Southwest should.

As an East Coaster born and raised all over the American South, there's something thrilling and very private about being out there, seemingly all on your own.

I can't wait to go back.