Sunday, January 2, 2011

Penguin Classics

So yes, it's been a while since I blogged last.  It's been a busy fall/winter term.  Here's a few updates.  My new love is, where you can "pin" pictures from the internet to organize all of your ideas.  Amy Bush pointed me to this little gem.  LOVE.

My book collection (see my previous entry here) grows.  Thus far, I have:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll,
A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Hounds of Baskerville
Little Women
Oliver Twist
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens,

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence,
The Odyssey by Homer,
Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen,
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte,
Pride and Prejudice

 Still "need":
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, Emma by Jane Austen,

Tess of the D'Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy,
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson,
The Women in White
Gulliver's Travels
Tales from 1001 Nights
A Tale of Two Cities
The Divine Comedy
The Sonnets and a Lover's Complaint
A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings

Madame Bovary
Crime and Punishments (these last two are already out of print)
and I think there are a few others.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Most of my friends know how much I love Halloween!  I found these awesome labels (way better than Martha's which are a little to glittery vampire).  You can view them all here!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Moustachio Bashio

I am gearing up for my 36th birthday parties-- (one in Texas and one in New England).  The Texas party is the moustachio bashio.

I have mixed feelings about moustaches being so big-- I don't want them to fall out of fashion, as I am and have been for nearly 8 years really into moustaches.

Old Tom Foolery released a new poster today of brackets as staches.  Very cute.  I am getting an inspiration board together for the party as we speak.  I will post soon.

I just ordered some bakers twine

I wish it was time to bake again-- the summer months are too hot to bake.  In Texas, with central air, it wouldn't have been a problem at all.  But up here in the land of window-units, if you make the mistake to turn your oven on, you are in for a big hot house for a day.  Bleck!  However, I am already thinking about my fall baking plans.  Remember the pumpkin whoppie pies from last year?  Those are definitely coming up and my latest fav-- French macaroons (raspberry and vanilla).  In the spirit, today I ordered some new bakers twine from the Twinery.  I ordered the sample pack of the loveliest colors. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cute organizing ideas

I love these bobbin skewers from 26 letters.  Such a good idea!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What do you call a Mexican pesto? Delicious

So last week, I took a French cooking class. One of the things we made was a French pesto called a pistou. Then Rosie and I went to the Williams and Sonoma where she found a cookbook called Tacos by the chef that owns the coyote cafe in Sante Fe. Let me tell you, if you see this cookbook you should definitely get it. At any rate, in the vegetarian taco chapter, there was a recipe for a Mexican pesto. I was intrigued. In general pesto is some herb and nuts pulverized with oil and cheese (although the French avoid both notes and cheese). So back to the Mexican pesto- I tweaked the reecipe. We spread it directly on corn tortillas then topped with roasted poblanos, roasted tomatoes, and grilled chicken. Honestly,this is some delicious shit.

1/2 a package of cotija cheese chopped up into big chunks
1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves- rip off the stems
1/2-3/4 cup of roasted/salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
8 cloves of roasted garlic
1/4 cup + of Lemon infused Spanish olive oil (4 t. Simply organic lemon flavoring and 1 cup Spanish olive oil blended, can be stored for two weeks)
1 T. Mexican oregeno
1 T. Cumin
1/8 t. Ground chipotle
Couple grinds of pepper.

Put all but the oil in the food processor and give it a spin. While it's running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. You can make it a paste consistency or add more oil for a more dip like pesto.

I would suggest putting it on tacos. Either a simple veggie taco or with some chicken or carnitas.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Baking Supplies

This place has some awesome baking supplies: Bake it Pretty.

A sewing room to die for!

OMG, I couldn't love this anymore! The best part is that it's all Target and Ikea stuff jazzed up with some vintage stuff.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pollo Asada Tacos

April's Cooking Light has a chicken asada taco recipe, that I followed but did a little tweaking.

The original recipe is on page 92 or you can find it through this link.

Here's my version of theirs:


  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly vertically sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into thin strips
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (I like Mexican oregano for this dish)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chipotle
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas (ours were bad so we ended up using hard shells)
  • 1 cup diced peeled avocado (about 1 avocado)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled queso fresco cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
handful of chopped cilantro (I don't know why they didn't add cilantro in the original recipe-- seems like a crime)

  • Preparation

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Place onion in a small saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; drain and plunge onion in ice water. Drain onion then add the onion to juice/pickling mixture. Chill until ready to serve. Drain the onions before serving.

Here's my major departure. Dry rub on chicken thighs sounded dreadful to me. So I marinated the thighs in the my own choice of spices (cumin, oregano, chipotle, paprika, coriander, salt, and pepper) and the olive oil for about 2 hours. When ready to cook, go to step 2.

2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4-6 minutes or until browned and done, stirring occasionally.

3. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide chicken evenly among tortillas. Drain onion; divide evenly among tortillas. Top each tortilla with 2 tablespoons avocado and 1 tablespoon cheese; fold over. Top with cilantro!

We served them with sour cream and homemade salsa (which was awesome for my first time making a salsa from scratch!). Recipe is below


4 tomatillos (cut in half)

8 small, vine ripened tomatoes

1 medium onion cut into thin slices

2 jalapenos (cut lengthwise and with membrane and seeds removed unless you want the extra heat)

1 clove of garlic (cut the top off, add about a tablespoon of olive oil, salt/ pepper, and wrap in foil-- will take the longest to cook)

Coat all ingredients in olive oil (don't need to drown, just a light cover) and place on a cookie sheet. Usually, I use a rimmed cookie sheet, toss about a tablespoon of olive oil on the pan directly, then toss the veggies. Arrange all vegetables (not garlic) on the sheet. Salt and pepper. Throw into the oven for about 30 minutes at 350. Check the veggies at ten minute intervals and stir to evenly roast all the sides.

I pulled the tomatillos and the tomatoes out about half-way or so; they cook faster than the onions and peppers. The garlic always takes longer than everything else, so my plan of action is to crank up the heat to 400 as soon as the rest of the veggies are done. Once the garlic is roasted, squeeze out the golden-brown ooey gooey delight and then throw it along with all the other veggies all into a food processor or blender. I leave the juices out (the tomatoes and tomatillos will likely produce a lot of juice. Add spices (I used 1/2 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp Mexican oregano, and 1/2 tsp of coriander). PULSE-- Do not just let it go willy-nilly. Just pulse less you make hot sauce rather than a salsa. Taste and adjust seasonings as appropriate. Store in the fridge.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Another awesome idea from the kids at Design Sponge

Honestly, there's not a day that goes by that I don't try to check Design Sponge. Even on the weekends when I know they aren't posting anything new, I still look around.

Today's little gem was just stupendous.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Homemade Lotion from Design Sponge

Check out this recipe for homemade lotion from Design Sponge.

Ooooohhhhh! New double points from Blue Sky Alpaca

So exciting! These are back from Blue Sky Alpaca. They are spendy ($28/set) at Webs.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fire Roasted Poblano, Hatch Chili Chicken Enchiladas

2 chicken breasts (about 1.25 pounds) chopped into large pieces
1/5th of a dried ancho chili (cut into 1/4" pieces)
1/2 onion, diced
2 cans of hatch chilis (from Trader Joes or classic Ortega chilis)
1/2 carton of chicken stock
1 or 2 T. cumin
pinch of red chili flakes
1/4 t. chipotle (powdered)
3 cloves of garlic
4 tomatillos sliced into quarters
1/2 t. coriander
1/2 t. Mexican oregeno
1 fire roasted Poblano pepper (That's right, open flame roast that puppy till the skin is black/charred. Wrap in some plastic wrap for about a half hour, then scrape off the black skin, seed, and throw it in the pot. I usually save this step for later in the day-- about 1/2 way through the cooking process, then put it in the crock pot)

Other ingredients that do not go in the crock pot
16 oz. sour cream-- use light or whatever you want
cheese (your choice, I like Mexican blends from Whole Foods-- I am pretty sparing with cheese in enchiladas these days)
1 package of flour tortillas

All ingredients in the top list go into a crockpot and steep for at least 6 hours maybe 8. It is done when you can shred the chicken with two forks. Don't discard anything! Separate out the chicken and the veggies-- chicken into a bowl, and the veggies/chilies into the blender.

Chicken: shred with two forks. Add a little of the liquid in the crock pot to keep the chicken moist, but not sopping wet. Set a side.

Veggies/chilies: Add sour cream into the blender and whirl. This is your enchilada sauce

When it's done, assemble. For those of you who have never made an enchilada, you need a bowl of shredded chicken, a pie tin filled with enchilada sauce, a bowl for the cheese and a greased (Pam) casserole dish. Dredge the tortilla in sauce, place in the casserole dish, add chicken, add cheese, roll, and repeat. Top with additional sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so until the cheese on top is bubbly.

Usually I have left over sauce. I recommend saving it to reheat enchiladas; they are notorious for drying out after the first cooking.

Sunday, Blood Orange Martini

2 blood oranges (juiced= 1/2 cup juice)
1/4 cup sweet and sour mix
1/4 cup vodka (Tito's)
Mandarin orange flavored seltzer water (optional)
cocktail shaker

1. Fill two martini glasses with ice and set aside.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add blood orange juice, sweet and sour and the vodka.
3. Shake.
4. Dump the ice out of your glasses.
5. Pour deliciousness into your glasses and add a splash of seltzer for fizz. Voila.

Rosie thinks it tastes like strawberries. I think it tastes like summer which with two glorious days of 75 degree weather, I am doing my part to wish here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I heart these books

So I have the Oscar Wilde one, but honestly, I want them all. :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New York Updates-- Eating in the City

Last month, I made a New York wishlist-- places I wanted to go to on our next trip. We spent Valentine's Day Weekend in the city and tried several places on the list.

Porchetta in the East Village is quite possibly the best sandwich I have ever had in my whole life. HOLY COW. Apparently, porchetta is street food in Tuscany. I am not going to Tuscany any time soon, but I will go back to the city for this. If you can go, then by all means do it. There are simply not enough adjectives to describe this experience that is porchetta. We ordered cooking greens (marvelous), crispy potatoes which were dotted with bits of crispy pork, and of course, the sandwich itself which is beyond delicious. This place is tiny-- seats 6 at a small counter. Most people ordered to go. The smell that wafts through the air in this place is intoxicating porky goodness. Sara Jenkins, chef and co-owner, is simply a goddess with pork.

And then there was the wonders of Chelsea Market (not the antiques one, the food one). I guess the Food Network has their HQ there. Good for them. They are on my last nerve lately spending more time celebrating personalities than actual chefs like it was in the old days. I am underwhelmed. However, the Chelsea Market, while a bit touristy (not too bad) and a bit crowded, is totally worth a stop.

Here you will find the chocolates of Jacques Torres which Giada talked about on the Best thing I ever ate (yes, I still watch the Food Network). His website, aptly named,, shows the other locations and I believe you can order directly. We shared a wicked hot chocolate which was thick, creamy, chocolately with just a tiny bite of spice to it. Delicious!!!! I guess he has an ice cream shop in DUMBO (Brooklyn neighborhood) that we will surely make our way to on our next visit.

There is a fantastic kitchen/restaurant supply store that I finally purchased my cracker cutter from and I could have dropped mad cheddar in, but alas, this just gives me a reason to go back to the Bowery Kitchen Supply. I have a laundry list of cooking tools and gadgets that I want. You know how it is. I like the gadgety party of most hobbies that I do.

We had a Valentine lunch of at the Clever Co's Green Table. This food was fantastic. Rosie had a kimchee burger (which I initially scoffed at) that was out of this world. I had a not too shabby mac and cheese that was scrumptious. All and all this is a great place to eat. If you get a table inside, it is a quiet experience that is away from the loudness of the Chelsea Market.

One of the places we went to Apiary, was sort of a let down. I am not sure if Valentine's Day is the best night to judge a restaurant by, but that being said, here are my thoughts. We arrived for our 9:45 pm reservation as we waited till the last second to find a place to eat. We sat at the bar and had some delicious cocktails. One, I believe was called the pollinator, was strega and herbs and it was divine. The bartender was delightfully charming and soon we went to our table. We were initially seated by two people on their first date. Did I mention it was Valentine's Day? She was straight out of college and exuded a certain youthful hubris which was accented by her loud talking. I didn't enjoy her. Her date, no less than 10 years her senior, was clearly not having a good time. He actually went to the bathroom at one point and said when he came back "I thought you would have left, I can't believe you are still here." It wasn't in a Woody Allen pity party kind of way, but more like, we have zero in common. This is going no where.

Onward, the couple left (as they had long finished their meal and I was astounded at their cavalier attitude about taking a table for about an hour after they finished eating). I ordered the hanger steak which seems to be on all the menus at shi-shi restaurants these days. It was a good steak. I finally looked up what exactly a hanger steak is (the diaphragm) and while briefly horrified, I think it is good to not lose sight of what exactly it is you are eating. I used to be a staunch supporter of meat disassociation theory (meat grows on trees). However, it seems irresponsible to not be mindful that you are eating an animal. That's another story.

The sauce on the plate, red wine jus, was so complex and elegant. I could have licked it off the plate. In no uncertain terms, it was delicious. The potato puree was also just top notch.
Rosie ordered the duck, which was good but not great. We've had better. We had an apple tarte tatin which was fine, but honestly, it was really messy to eat and not particularly enjoyable. Apiary is expensive, and I don't think I would have any interest in going back, which is a shame.

I rarely have that experience when eating at higher end restaurants (or even lower end) in New York. I also think I had really high expectations given than Bourdain talks about Scott Bryan as a genius. I don't think most executive chefs work on Sundays, so perhaps that was the problem. However, I have been to other restaurants when the chef was out and the food was still beyond reproach. A New York Magazine reviewer gave it 2 stars in November (out of a nearly impossible to reach 5) and up from a single star before Scott Bryan's arrival. Honestly I just don't know if it was because Valentine's day meals are akin to restaurant week in the City. No one gives a shit what they are making because the people who are eating it are less likely to know better.

About the service overall, I have mixed feelings again. We liked the bartender. I also liked the one dude who carried around a tray of bread and refilled your bread at all times. I love bread guys. The wait staff in charge of our table was peculiar. She seemed fully engaged at another table of foodies where they waxed on about how she worked for Tom Colicchio for twelve years and he's over-expanded his culinary empire resulting in poor management and bad food (I can attest to that as our experience at Craft Bar a few years ago was simply wretched). It seemed inappropriate. It also seemed that like the manager, she cared more about particular tables than others. Clearly we were one of the others. She was just possibly an odd person rather than actively trying to ignore us. The manager was clearly schmoozing to one couple who appeared to be his friends. He never even looked up to see if any one else in the restaurant was having a nice time. I thought it was arrogant and pretentious. I would not recommend Apiary, and again, I think that is a shame. Honestly the experience of cramming into the tiny space of Porchetta was by far a superior experience and about a third of the price. All and all, it was a fun trip. Next time, the other pig restaurant- The Spotted Pig will be on our list!

Gardening Project Plan Phase 2

So after scouring the internet and my two magazines, I have decided that I am going to pursue the square foot garden method.

I am not sure how much sun the spot I have picked out gets- I think it's the only space we have access to, so I better figure it out quick.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Starting a veggie garden for the first time

So it's almost that time. I usually miss it (late winter/early spring) and then it is too late for my veggie garden. I have grown herbs (have some in my window right now) but I have never grown a vegetable.

I have two magazines and a load of websites I am compiling as it appears March is an important time to get things going.

Things to do:

1. Map out the space. We have a space in the back of the apartment that is probably about five feet wide and ten feet long. It seems sufficient for 5 vegetables which I have already chosen.
Anxieties: There is apparently some sort of compost pit out there already that the landlords used for waste foods that were given to a pig farmer. I don't look forward to finding or maintaining that. I also am worried about how much sun that space gets, but I think it will get the bare minimum of 6 hours once spring gets here.

2. Pick the veggies. I am going with peas, green beans, tomatoes (and possibly tomatillos), zucchini and cucumbers. I don't eat cucumbers but it is on a recommended list of first veggies to try.

3. Start the seeds indoors, which I think Mahoney's has a great resource here.

4. Prep the soil. Here's my biggest challenge. There is some kind of ground cover that needs to be removed. There's that weird pig waste thing that I am not even sure as to the location. There's issues of possibly having lead in your soil which requires samples and tests. I am considering creating 'raised beds' but they are a lot more expensive. I am daunted by the whole tilling and craziness of this part. Although Rosie might be into this especially if it involves renting a tiller. Gizmos have a strong appeal for her!

5. Composting. I want to compost at home. I have been composting but we take the what I will politely call "matter" to Whole Foods so that they can deal with it. Most composting options that are available are either expensive, labor-intensive, or a combination of both. I don't want to do worms (it's too cold and they'd have to live indoors). What I am thinking I want is a premade tumbler, but they are all upwards of $100. Seriously? Seriously. The best prices I have found (including ebay) is Costco for $74.99 including shipping. I am confident that is the one I will get.

6. Pests. Again, have no idea, but it seems like a big ass problem, whether it is raccoons, coyotes, birds, vermin or other microbes I don't know how best to control these issues. Allegedly, compost does a really good job of protecting your garden from pests, but I saw a variety of nets and such at the Depot which made this process seem daunting too.

7. Somewhere inside of me I hope to channel the spirit and green-thumb of my grandmother. Her gardens were wondrous. She could grow anything and bring any plant back from the brink of death. She talked to them, babied them, and this garden project is in no small way an homage to hers.

I could use advise. I could use assistance (my friends and local peeps).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

LOVE these hats!!!

So apparently Ralph Lauren is selling these hats for a bargain basement price of $85.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentines en route

Let my work pals eat cake

So I wanted to make this cake as a special Valentine's day treat. It was a pain in the ass and the directions were flawed to say the least. However, half of it turned out looking pretty cool, the other half (which Rosie and I will be partaking) turned out less than stellar. The structural integrity of the cake is lacking. The frosting needed some serious help. All and all, it was an ordeal. Hopefully it will be worth it all taste wise.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Renegade Craft Fair

I went to this in Brooklyn a few years ago and LOVED LOVED LOVED it. Now it's coming to Austin in May. Seriously, my Texan pals, it was awesome.

Is it wrong I love tape?

I do. I love tapes. Scotch tape, packing tape, fancy tape...and then I found this: Japanese masking tape in the delightful hues that was just made for me. Check out happy tape.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tomato tomatto...

When I make this dish with the exact same ingredients, I call it "cheesy surprise." When Saveur makes it, it is called garganelli with peas and prosciutto.