Monday, January 25, 2010

Cute embroidery


Inspiration for Christmas cards for next year? And Valentines...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cute idea for storage bins

Plastic milk crates, however functional are usually kind of bleh to look at, so thanks to Oh Dee Lah for this easy to make cover for milk crates. Note the delicious fabric choices.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good Luck to CoCo and his staff

NBC blows. Good luck CoCo to you and your staff.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Garlands andTable decor fromFrom Head of the Table.


From Shannon Fricke, this outdoor space is the palette of our bedroom.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


EEMSL has some valentine ideas that I like. I would prefer to have found out from my subscription but whatevs. She always has her magazines in the store before I get mine delivered.

Heart Shape Pot Holders
I made some of these a few years ago with my mom. They were really cool. I like the idea of reinventing them for valentines. I also love the idea of giving breads for valentines. I am tired of sweets. Christmas wears out my interest in sugar for a long ass time. But a lovely savory bread (bacon, cheddar, apple) sounds divine! Although I admit, last year, I really wanted to make the cookies below. I have the stuff (stamps and all). Perhaps....Rosie and I are going to New York City for Valentine's Day this year so there may not be much time for baking, we shall see.

Arcade Fire's impromptu freight elevator video

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Organic versus conventional produce

We buy organic stuff, sometimes and now with milk, always. I feel like it's a waste of money at times for certain organic produce. Turns out, there's some truth to that. January's issue of EE's MSL (Evil Empire's Martha Stewart Living) overviews which fruits and veggies are "clean" if conventionally grown and "dirty" suggesting you should go organic. So this list is for my sister, Karel, too, who asked me about this issue very recently.

As usual, buying seasonal and local is best. Better for you, better for the environment.

"The Environmental Working Group found that consumers could cut their pesticide exposure by almost 90 percent by avoiding the most affected fruits and vegetables, and eating the least affected instead."

The Clean 15 (okay to buy conventional)
Frozen sweet corn
Frozen peas

The Dirty Dozen (buy organic if possible)

Sweet bell peppers
Grapes (imported)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

If I go to France, will people think I was named after a soda?

Visions of pantries dance in my head

The pantry is a mess. This photo is from when we first moved in, and frankly little has changed. I want it to be more like the dreamy little pantry in a French cottage. We have plenty of stuff from Anthropologie to make this happen.

Cheese Plates

Sunday Suppers
makes amazing meals. Here's a whole spread on cheese plates.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New York's Finest

Not the police, the restaurants, most of which I haven't yet tried. I don't know when we will be able to hussle down to the city for some eats, but I am putting together a list of a few places I want to try. We are planning a mid-winter getaway, so I am now of course pondering where to eat.

First, Apiary. Scott Bryan is at the helm now. I blame Bourdain for creating an obsession with him. He's also a Boston boy too, which I am curious about.

(Apiary Photo from NY Eater)

Happily, I would return to Rose Water in Brooklyn, but since I went there the last time I was in New York, I might not be able to convince Rosie to revisit so soon. It's always such a pickle: do we go to the tried and true or branch out to something new? Chef Brett, (as Imani calls him and pictured below) makes some seriously delightful food and is bffls with Scott (the man who married us).

Against all things holy, I still have not been to Al Di La. Deepest sigh. This has already been mentioned as a high priority by the wifey.

High on my list is to fight the patriarchy of fine food and check out as many executive chefs who are women as possible wherever we travel. When in San Francisco we went to Citizen Cake, Elizabeth Faulkner's unpretentious gem where I ate, willingly and delightfully, several raw tomatoes. Then on the convomoon, we dined at Eric Ripert's 10 Arts largely because Jennifer Carroll's place as the chef de charges, who graciously met us while I fawned over her.

Last visit to New York we went to Gabrielle Hamilton's Prune which was fine, but not the best thing I ever ate as promised by one of those Food Network fools. Mostly, that experience rocked as our sighting of Jake Gyllenhall was quite distracting from the lack of taste in the sandwich.

Other female chefs I want to check out in New York: April Bloomfield at the Spotted Pig and Jody Williams at Gottino. I also haven't had hot chocolate from Jacques Torres, but easily rectified. Oh the possibilities!!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Night Dinner

I won't be able to invest as much into cooking once school starts; probably, I will be down to three nights a week, instead of 5-6. No pictures tonight-- there was a lot involved with dinner and I didn't know where my phone was.

Tonight's menu is a bit scattered as I forgot to defrost my pork tenderloin and I want to use up some of my veggies.

Chicken with an agave nectar-balsamic vinegar reduction. This was of my own improvisions. I wanted a bit of sweetness to the glaze, so I thought agave nectar. Then I heard Giada this morning talking about putting it on salmon, and I thought, oh yeah, this is going to be a winner. Indeed. Using a cast iron skillet, I butterflied 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts. I dry-rubbed them with a variety of Mexican spices: chipotle, ground corriander, ground cumin, white pepper, kosher salt and some smoked paprika. I don't know how much I used of each except that I used a lot more cumin than anything else. I should have used less chipotle (just need a tad if it's still fresh). Put some canola oil in a cast iron skillet and heat it up. Add the dry-rubbed chicken to the pan. Your four breasts should fit nicely in a 12 inch. Using a brush, I glazed the chicken once it began to cook. My glaze was one tablespoon balsamic vinegar, two tablespoons agave-nectar (cheapest at Trader Joes), and a tiny bit of olive oil (not even a 1/2 teaspoon). Whisk it up and brush it on the chicken. Brown and glaze each side. I think it took about 10 minutes total, as I cooked chicken that wasn't fully defrosted when it made its way to the pan. You can use the glaze in the pan as a sauce for the plate. I loved this dish. It was much better than I thought it was going to be. Agave-nectar is probably going to be my supplement for honey as my needs change.

Creamed roasted poblano rice (a la Bobby Flay) I didn't like this recipe very much. I thought it was odd, so I probably won't make it again. It's weirdly not seasoned enough. The scallions were a bit much. Meh. I also used 1/2 and 1/2 not heavy cream, figuring that was enough fat.

Roasted carrots with same glaze as chicken I used the linked recipe as inspiration but added all the extra spices from the chicken to the mix. I started them in the oven, but I didn't think they were cooking well so I switched to a stove top, lid on, steam/cook. It worked out fine as I had sliced the carrots like coins (not big chunks). This was an okay dish; not the best but not bad either.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bronx Zoo Ads

AWESOMENESS in Somerville! How I wish I was a letterpress lady sometimes :)

Letterpress Coasters from Quarter Productions on Vimeo.

Rustic Potato Leek Soup

When I hear the word rustic used to describe food, I usually think, chunky, not uniform in size, and all and all a lazy meal. I am choosing to reclaim "rustic" to describe my soup. Here, rustic means, homemade, mashed by hand potato soup, rich with flavor and using basic ingredients.

I drew my inspiration from Pinch My Salt, but tweaked the recipe in terms of fat content and seasoning. She used heavy cream and a lot of it. I didn't have any and I also feel like it would be fine without the extra fat. I also have been listening to Anthony Bourdain's audiobook, Kitchen Confidential, and he says the reason restaurant food tastes better than home cooking, is butter. Virtually all sauces (and soups) are finished with butter added in the end. I didn't add butter at the end, but rather in the beginning and in the middle. I think I used about 3 tablespoons (2 in the beginning and add an extra tablespoon when I added the potatoes). I think that comes out to about a half a tablespoon per serving which is livable.

1 bag (1.5 lbs) of small yukon potatoes
1 really big leek (white and light green parts diced)
1 container of chicken stock/broth (I used 3/4s of a box of organic broth from Whole Foods)
2 small onions (or one medium) medium dice
1 tablespoon thyme (dried)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon white ground pepper (My new favorite; use regular pepper and it will be fine too, but white pepper is fantastic and if you have the means, I highly recommend picking up some.)
2-3 tablespoons of butter
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (depending on how much fat you want, you can adjust the oil and butter content)
1/2 cup-1 cup of half and half (Surely, you can use milk instead, it will be less rich, but save on calories. This recipe serves 6-8 as a full meal, so I just think it's really not too terrible per serving)

1. Dice the leek, wash it. Wash it a lot. Leeks grow in sand and you would be better off not eating sand. Dice the onion(s). Throw both in a large pot (my favorite choice is ALWAYS a risotto pan) and cook on low in butter for about 3-5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, use a food processor to slice the potatoes thin. I saw this on Pinch My Salt. Holy cow is this fast and easy! I added one more tablespoon of butter and the olive oil at this point, all the spices and the potatoes. Cover the potatoes with stock/broth just until the potatoes are covered.
3. Raise the heat! Take the burner up to about medium and bring the potato soup up to a low boil. Slowly pour in the half and half. Cook, stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender. I think about 10-15 minutes, but I don't really pay attention to time; I pay attention to taste. When the potatoes are tender, it's time to turn off the heat.

4. Get out your masher and mash the potatoes to the texture of your choosing. I went "rustic" meaning that they were not pulverized, but rather an even mix. I think the thin slices don't take too much effort to mash. Serve immediately with a nice bread.

The photo below shows the soup pre-mash.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Valentine Ideas....

It's going to sneak up on me if I am not careful. The nearest Krispy Kreme is in Connecticut :( If Valentine's is on a weekend AND we aren't in the middle of a snow storm, perhaps...

Probably the best shot I have taken

Gini and Rosie

Gini and Rosie, originally uploaded by rockabilachica.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Crocheted Pillow Cases!

jubella has these beauties!

LOVES from the Blog Decor8


I made mushroom risotto and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. The picture of the sprouts is a bit blurry. Recipe for the sprouts is from Barefoot Contessa. I improvised from the Martha Stewart Cooking School a risotto, which may have been my best yet. The key-- cook the mushrooms separately and add at the very end. Otherwise- mushy blah.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bjork Video for Sarah

Delicious Winter Veggies

So the evil empire that is Martha Stewart did a few recipes on cabbage in this month's edition of her majesty's Living. Her "roasted cabbage" is simple and elegant. So, I bought a lovely head of cabbage and carved that puppy half, then in half again and so forth till I had eight wedges (core intact). Fired up the oven to 450. Placed the wedges on my devine Pampered Chef baking sheet and drizzled some olive oil, kosher salt and pepper on each side. I tried out my new white pepper courtesy of my mad trip to Penzey's Spices yesterday. Pop it in the oven for ten minutes, turn, and roast ten more minutes. Squeeze a little lemon over the top and eat. Healthy, delicious, and a new way (at least new to me) of making cabbage! The picture is from another blog- I of course didn't remember to take a photo.