Monday, May 30, 2011

Husk Restaurant in Charleston

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 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

Kitchen confidential

I love the color of the cabinets, the unique handles and the white backsplash. Very clean, very orderly but not unapproachable.

(via i want that kitchen)

A vertical salad garden

Amazingly brilliant! If you have a small back patio and want to grow salad greens or herbs, this looks like the perfect option for carrying it off within a small space.

(via re- nest)

Art of the moment

Love this painting by Katherine Sandoz.

Which one?

With or without the canvas crisscross? I can't decide.

(via Dear Fieldbinder)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

La Pochette

This really would be the perfect gift for a-young-woman-who-loves-pink-and-particularly-adores-clutches. I may or may not be one of those...(yes, subtlety is not my best quality).

(via Clare Vivier)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Summer panzanella

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

Back and a fresh start

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.