Wednesday, November 23, 2011
There are mornings where everything goes according to plan and then there are mornings that convince you you were supposed to stay in bed. Today's morning commute was one of the latter.
I was heading into the office early on a day when the city feels empty since folks have fled to their families for Thanksgiving. As I turned the corner to see if the Circulator bus was within sight, I spotted it and ran across the street to catch it before the light turned. As I approached the bus' door, it never opened. I looked up at the bus driver who just stared at me.
"Can you open the door, please?" I implored.
"Sorry," said said, "I can't."
"You can't? Why?" I asked.
"I just can't. Sorry," she said with this horrible "I-don't-care-one-bit-look."
A few seconds went by before the bus promptly pulled away as I stood there without another bus in sight.
Moments like this conjure up a lot of negative thoughts, things not worth repeating. But more than anything, the whole situation just felt so -- to put it simply -- mean. Why was she so unhelpful? I just couldn't understand any of it. It cast a spell over the first half of my day.
If ever there was a time when I wished I drove myself to work, today was the day.
(photo via h.koppdelaney)
Saturday, November 19, 2011
My sister, the expert baker, will be back in town next week for Thanksgiving and she's getting all of us excited for her pecan hand pies -- yummmm! Can't wait. But Sara, can I add this pine nut anise pie to the list of "must-try's" for the holidays? It looks and sounds amazing.
(via Smith & Ratliff)
Friday, November 4, 2011
It's rare that I get a few hours to myself on a work trip, which is why this week's jaunt to NYC was extra special. With a bit of precious time to steal away, I had the chance to walk around Midtown, taking in the city and everything I love about it -- the pace, the variety of people, buildings, sights and smells, and -- ta-da!! -- all of the glorious food options.
My buddy, Amelia, and I stole away together for a brief stopover at Bouchon Bakery, where I scarfed down a pistachio macaroon and an iced tea, despite the fact that it was a blustery, beginning-of-winter sort of day. The treats were delicious, but the best part really was enjoying a spontaneous meet-up with such a lovely person.
Thanks to Amelia -- whom I really believe knows every restaurant worth going to in NYC (mark my words!) -- I enjoyed a late lunch with another pal of mine at Momofuku's Ma Peche, an Asian fusion restaurant that has a banh mi sandwich and some sort of pork noodle dish that are To.Die.For. I wish I could make the latter at home. I'd never make another pasta dish again if I could master this guy...
(Photos via Ma Peche and Tiny Urban Kitchen)
When it comes to winter soups, butternut squash becomes the standard go-to, but I'm always on the lookout for another option. This gingered carrot and apple recipe sounds divine for a gray, rainy evening. Bake some crusty bread and voila! Perfect, simple meal.
Gingered Carrot Apple Soup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 small apples, peeled and sliced
- 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced, about 4-5 cups
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
- salt + pepper, to taste
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add ginger and garlic and cook for one minute. Add sliced apples and diced carrots.
Add vegetable broth and increase heat to medium-high, bringing to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer, uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the carrots and apples are softened. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before you puree. Add nutmeg and salt + pepper to taste
In batches, transfer soup to blender and puree. Careful to fill blender half full or else you’ll end up with an orange mess – about 3-4 batches.
(via With Style & Grace)
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Unknown fact: I love, love, love candy corn. I only ever run across it on Halloween so I look forward to this annual guilty pleasure of mine every October. This year we'll be at a friend's wedding over Halloween so I'll have to make a pit stop at their local CVS for a stash.
But for those of you who will be sticking close to home this year, this recipe for -- of all things -- a gluten-free trail mix for October 31st (actually) sounds awesome. Enjoy!
Gluten-free “Trash” Mix Recipe
- Candy corn
- Gluten-free pretzels
- Caramel popcorn [homemade or purchased] – my recipe coming soon!
- Banana chips
- Chocolate covered raisins
- Dried mango
- Dried pineapple
- Dried cherries
- Sour worm-shaped gummy candy
- Chocolate covered sunflower seeds [Trader Joes]
- Paper Bag(s) – fold sides down twice
- Leaves – from the yard or the flowers sitting on your table
- Ribbon, twine or yarn
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and then divide amongst the paper bags. Tie ribbon/twine/yarn around the bag and add leaves for decoration.
(via With Style & Grace)
I'm not a big fan of nail polish. Maybe it's because I grew up hearing my Dad call it "tacky"! The few times I've had my nails down I can hear that echoing in my ear. Random!
I may be persuaded, however, to try Chanel's new fall hit, a gold polish called Peridot. Seems like the perfect compliment to a sparkly black jacket and jeans.
(via Cafe Makeup)
How about staying at this 4-room B&B in downtown Brooklyn called 3B? It's run by a group of creative locals who live downstairs. They've received rave reviews from the New York Times and many of its past guests (who have written up glowing blog posts about their stays). A bit of a novel option for a visit to the Big Apple that I'd be excited to try. Ya, you have to share a bathroom with the other guests, but it's the sort of place that's meant to be communal, so you go into it with a communal mindset.
PS: I'd almost go just to try their famous granola!
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Ok, so I've been bad.
I've shopped a little here, a little there, a little everywhere. For some reason, this fall in particular has produced so many goodies. J. Crew has really been my downfall. If only Jenna Lyons just wasn't so damn good I would have been more frugal!
But since I've gone out and found a few fun items, I thought I'd share some of them, as well as ones I've spotted, but have managed to hold off from adding to the pile, so to speak.
Here we go.....
Love this Emersonmade olive wool day coat. Not sure how I feel about the collar so I'm deliberating on it. Thoughts?
I wore this J.Crew schoolboy blazer to work for the first time the other day, and one of my colleagues was wearing it as well. She looked totally rad in it! I wanted to copy exactly how she'd paired it with cropped pants and cool jewelry.
DC's antique furniture store, GoodWood, has begun selling perfumes, candles and a limited selection of clothing and jewelry -- all at really reasonable prices. My husband and I like to light a candle over a nice weekend dinner, so we picked up a new one there not to long ago. (PS: They also had a $15 beautiful jeweled clutch there that day!)
I have no idea how I came across this lovely home and jewelry online store, Deep Dark Africa, by South African artist Alexia Kondylis, but she's a true treasure. I love her bangles and you can't beat her prices.
Earlier this year I had the chance to get acquainted with Abigail Rutherford, a dear friend of my pal Stephanie, who specializes in historic costume jewelry. She has an amazing array of styles -- mixing beads, metals, classic and edgy looks. I have no doubt she'll be a big star one day so check her out now before she's all over the pages of Vogue.
While perusing Bloomingdale's shoe department for a work appropriate pair a few weeks back, I spotted these incredibly simple slip on's from Charles Philip Shanghai (they're also pictured above). I'd never heard of him, but they instantly reminded me of the sort of shoes my Mom loves and always says she can only find in Italy. They conjure up for me an image of a stylish and sophisticated woman in her 50s or 60s, strolling through Milan in cropped black pants, a crisp white button-down, adorned in just one striking piece of jewelry or even, a scarf.
And for the mind? I can't say enough good things about Keith Richards' autobiography, Life. I gave it to my Mom and she told me "it was like reliving my youth" :). I obviously missed the 70s entirely, but it was still a total trip to read.
After 500 pages of rock 'n roll, drugs and fame, I put that one down to start Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, as if that's not enough of a 180 degree turn! I've certainly lost all interest in poultry as a result, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I just can't say no to prosciutto, shepherd's pie and rack of lamb.
For a little return to the past, Feist's oldies, but goodies and A Tribe Called Quest have been on repeat. I'm sadly completely and totally out of tune with what's new and cool music-wise, so if you have any recommendations -- especially for new jazz or blues artists -- I'm all ears!
Happy fall to everyone. Hope it's a beautiful one.
(Photo via Charles Philip Shanghai)
Saturday, September 10, 2011
It's been a week of quick meals -- yummy salads with fruit and nuts, Mediterranean wraps and a quick curry with rice and sauteed veggies. I'm going to add this one to the lineup for next week -- Moroccan spicy shrimp with yogurt and Nan or whole wheat tortillas. Super easy and delicious.
Spicy Shrimp with Yogurt
Below are the spice amounts to sprinkle over one shrimp dinner for four. Triple or quadruple if you want to make a stash to have on hand for the next time.
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Mix together the above spices. Sprinkle over 1 1/4 pounds of peeled shrimp.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to pan — try to get the spiced side down — and saute 5 minutes until done, adding more spice as they flip around and cook.
3. Toast a few pieces of Nan (such as Kontos brand) and serve with cooked shrimp, a spoonful of plain yogurt, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.(via Dinner, A Love Story)
Monday, August 29, 2011
I recently signed up for Washington's Green Grocer, a home delivery service of local and regional produce and products, and have fallen in love.
I generally head to Whole Foods once a week to stock up on greens, fruits and the other incidentals we need for yummy meals, but since I'm buying enough for 2-3 heavy grocery bags, it's become a true production getting there and back without pulling a muscle or splurging on an unnecessary (but comfortable and sweat-free!) cab ride home.
The Giant in our neighborhood has excruciatingly long lines and its produce and seafood generally look less than fresh.
Peapod was certainly an option that intrigued me but we couldn't make our schedules work so that one of us was home within their drop-off windows.
Washington's Green Grocer has solved that problem. They drop off at your front door (or wherever you ask them to leave the goods) and charge you once you've received everything. A small box of food (some organic, some not) runs around $31 and offers you PLENTY for one week of cooking. They email you the list of food for the week on Monday for delivery on Thursday so that you have an opportunity to say, for example, I don't want the cantaloupe but would instead like two orders of corn. Magical, right?!
So in honor of all of the veggies we're consuming, this simple recipe from the kitchn is exactly the thing to make when you have an abundance of tomatoes and corn around. Enjoy.
Caramelized Corn with Tomatoes and Bacon
3 strips of bacon
3 ears of fresh corn
1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion
pinch of sugar
2 perfectly ripe tomatoes
several fresh basil leaves, shredded or about 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cut the bacon into 2 inch pieces and fry in a large skillet over meduim-low heat. As the bacon gently cooks, cut the kernels off the corn and chop the onion.
When the bacon has crisped, remove from the pan with a tongs and drain on paper towels or newspaper. Leave the fat in the pan and the heat turned down medium-low. Add the onion and sauté for about one minute and then add the corn. Sprinkle on the sugar and stir gently. If the pan seems to dry, you can add up to 1 tablespoon of butter but be careful, you don't want the dish to get greasy.
Keep an eye on things, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the corn starts to turn golden brown and smells caramelized. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the herbs. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes into large chunks and place in a serving bowl. When the corn is no longer hot, add to the tomatoes and the reserved bacon and toss gently. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.
(via the kitchn)
This salad has provided me with a fresh new take on the typical weeknight greens I throw together haphazardly. It's light, refreshing and healthy -- and pretty! Definitely don't forget to add in the peanuts or almonds. They really do the trick. And just as a heads up -- I thought this was quite a large portion for just two people so I think you could definitely enjoy it as a meal for three, or just plan on having plenty for leftovers.
Chinese Chicken Salad with Spicy Ginger Dressing
Feel free to substitute the chicken with grilled tofu, shrimp or any protein of your liking.
- 1 boneless chicken breast, skin removed
- 1 medium-sized Napa (or Savoy) cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 small tomato, thinly sliced
- 1 mango, thinly sliced
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 2 tbsp. roasted sesame seeds
- handful of fresh mint, chopped
- handful of cilantro, chopped
- handful of roasted peanuts
Spicy Ginger Dressing
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. To poach chicken, place the breast in a small saucepan and add water, about 1 inch above the chicken. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiled, immediately lower heat to a very slow simmer and partly cover for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the chicken to cook in hot water for another 15 minutes. Once cooled, shred chicken and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the spicy ginger dressing.
3. Add the cabbage, chicken, carrots, tomato, mint and cilantro to the large bowl and toss gently. Top with mango slices and roasted peanuts. Garnish with scallions and roasted sesame seeds, and serve immediately.
(via Design Sponge)
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Lyons is my favorite fashion maven these days.
I swooned when she showed up to the Costume Institute's ball this year in a J. Crew sweater over a glamorous feather floor-length skirt, red lips and wind-whipped hair. She made it all look so cool and effortless. Everyone else looked beautiful but she made the dressed-down look almost more glamorous than the ball gowns surrounding her.
This article in New York Magazine is well worth the read (and the pictures of her at work are pretty awesome).
(via New York Magazine)
I had to include an exclamation point in the subject line of this post because I can't contain myself -- these pie kits are so damn cute! If you're a master baker, a novice or buy pies but want to serve them up in a creative way, Petit Moulin has come up with a genius concept. Just look at them! They're absolutely adorable. I would even eat at a broccoli pie out of them just for the sake of having something so cute around me.
Hurry, get them now before they're all gone!
(via Petit Moulin on Etsy)
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
We treasured our brief stay in Charleston over the Memorial Day weekend, so I hope to write more about it later this week. For now, I just can't wait to tell you about this terrific Southern restaurant, Husk, just a few blocks from our hotel.
Set in a beautifully restored home with the kind of porch you can spend every summer night on sipping sweet ice tea or an early evening cocktail, we were completely in love with what we found. We had a she crab and corn soup, as well as a poached egg and udon noodle soup to start -- the latter of which my husband mentioned he's been dreaming about ever since. For our entrees we had an amazing, yet simple catfish along with barely sauteed vegetables and one of the best beef tenderloins we've had in years.
It was all elegant yet unpretentious, busy but not too loud. I felt at home.
(Photos via HuskRestaurant.com and Danny McKiernan on Flickr)
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
If you're a subscriber to Gwyneth Paltrow's newsletter and website, GOOP, then today you probably had a chance to check our her "Spring Basics" guide. The outfits were awesome, especially this one with the oversized blazer. But sweet Jesus were the clothes expensive.
I mean, the wardrobe she picked out from Net-A-Porter costs upwards of $17,000! Now, many will say -- and some did on her Facebook page -- that she's simply offering ideas and it's up to us normal people to figure out how to replicate them at our own price range. But come on; you can't find a cool cap-sleeved t-shirt for under $100? A 'cheap version' of some of the blazers she picked out were still nearly $500. I don't know about you, but I consider $500 for a jacket a lot of money.
But maybe I'm just getting this all wrong. Maybe Gwyneth starts from the idea of what she likes and then asks, "What would my friends want to see more of?" And I suspect many of her friends might think nothing of a $500 jacket.
As it turns out, when I logged back on to Facebook at night, I saw that whoever manages her GOOP Facebook page had responded to fans' complaints about the cost of her wardrobe ideas and began posting more affordable options. You'll have to log on and see some of them and decide for yourself if they're just as good as the expensive versions.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
After a very filling Mother's Day lunch -- of which a homemade peach and strawberry pie was certainly the highlight -- I wasn't in the mood for a big dinner. Panzanella sounded perfect. There's a million little variations on the standard recipe, but (no shocker here given my last post) but I really like Gwyneth Paltrow's version. Why? One word: anchovies.
If you don't like them, though, it's still delicious without, but in my humble opinion, you're really missing out.
So if you're either looking for a light meal, a great side dish or don't have the patience to make a 3-course meal, this is a great go-to option. Enjoy :)
Panzanella (serves 4)
6 oz stale bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups of cubes)
1 yellow roasted bell pepper, roughly diced
1 red roasted bell pepper, roughly diced
1.5 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 olive oil-packed Spanish anchovies, finely chopped
large handful fresh basil leaves
Combine the bread, peppers and tomatoes together in a large bowl. Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and anchovies together in a small bowl and drizzle over the salad. Tear in the basil, toss everything together with your hands and let it sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.
(Image via Sprouted Kitchen; Recipe via Gwyneth Paltrow's My Father's Daughter)
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Happy Mother's Day to all of the great moms out there. We had the pleasure of spending much of today with my Mom, enjoying a long lunch at home and then exploring the city and DC's parks for hours on end. Today is as good a day as any to be thankful for having my parents and sister so close by. It's a true gift.
In other news, I think it's fairly obvious that I've been an absentee landlord this past month when it comes to this blog. I've been a tad tired and uninspired. Truth be told, I needed a break. Due to some recent cooking experiments, though, I feel a bit recharged for writing again. Maybe I'm ready for a fresh start.
Speaking of cooking, one of my oldest and dearest friends stay with us for a few days this week so I tried out a new recipe on him from Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook, My Father's Daughter. Don't laugh (my sister surely did!) but it's really good.
Yes, it's super healthy...
Yes, she seemingly can do it all (and it makes me feel like a sloth)...
Yes, she avoids red meat but no she's no longer on a macrobiotic diet...
And yes (thankfully!) she loves bread and pasta like the rest of us...
My husband and our buddy gobbled up her grilled tuna rolls. In fact, they loved them so much they fought over who would get the second one (they ended up splitting it). Tuna can be pricey (1 tuna steak can be $16 or so) but you can split one between two, even three, people and get your money's worth. Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!
Grilled Tuna Rolls (serves 4)
Ingredients -- Tuna
2 tbsp sweet white miso paste (FYI: I couldn't find this at Whole Foods so I left it out)
1 tbsp veggie, sunflower or rice bran oil
1 tbsp honey/agave nectar
1 tsp water
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
pinch of fine salt
2 1/2-inch-think tuna steaks or 1 large tuna steak
2 tbsp sesame seeds (*not a "must" but nice to have)
4 hot dog buns
1 head butter lettuce
1/4 cup Shallot & Cilantro Vinaigrette, for serving
2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
Ingredients -- Shallot & Cilantro Vinaigrette
2.5 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey/agave nectar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup of veggie or sunflower oil
A few dashes hot pepper sesame oil or your favorite hot sauce
2 shallots, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1. Preheat the grill or grill pan over high heat.
2. Whisk together the miso, oil, honey, water and rice wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt.
3. Rub the tuna steaks all over with the mixture and place on the grill. Evenly sprinkle 1 tbsp of the sesame seeds on the fish. Grill on the first side for about 3 minutes, flip and sprinkle the cooked sides with the remaining sesame seeds. Grill for an additional 3 minutes and then remove to a plate/board.
4. To serve, grill or toast buns.
5. Lay a few lettuce leaves on the bottom half of each bun. Cut the tuna into 1/2-inch slices across the grain and evenly distribute on the lettuce.
6. Drizzle each sandwich with some of the vinaigrette and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
Friday, March 18, 2011
I normally don't like Rodarte collections. It's like a high-brow version of Anthropologie to me -- everything looks nice on the hanger but I find most of it completely unflattering on the body. Plus -- as you can see from the sorts of things I normally post and lust after -- I'm not a big fan of the "mix and match" look. I like it clean and simple.
But this Fall 2011 runway show tugged at my heart strings. Think prairie lands of the Dakotas and you'll see what I mean.
This is the sort of thing that takes my breath away. I look at a dress like this and think of the people behind the scenes who toiled for hours to make this become a reality. And then I think of the woman or man who had the vision to conceptualize this masterpiece -- and I'm blown away.
Fashion is, and should be, a lot about fantasy, escape and new beginnings.
I see that in this dress.