Monday, November 25, 2013
I've been meaning to do a post on the wonderful abundance of truffles in Europe right now, and the amazing pasta I made with them, but I've been a bit of a gypsy lately, hopping around from Zurich, to Rome, back to Zurich, then to the Alps for a short weekend of complete and utter relaxation. I leave for Dublin tonight, where I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving (my first one abroad!), and then it's back to the States for me.
In the meantime, I thought I'd post a few pictures of the winter wonderland we ventured into on Saturday in the hamlet of Sporz, up in the mountains of Switzerland. We stayed at a hotel called Guarda Val, which included a beautiful spa, sauna, library, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and just 11 rooms in the whole place, all built out of a scattering of 300-year-old huts and barns. Everything smelled like wood smoke and coziness and holiday cheer, and we spent our days getting massages, drinking wine, playing cards in the library, drinking more wine, eating lots of traditional Swiss food, and not thinking too much about anything. It was bliss. Highly recommend. xo
Thursday, November 14, 2013
I'm currently working from Zurich for the next couple of weeks, spending time with my boyfriend here and experiencing the cold (but beautiful) Swiss winter. Lately, I've found myself traveling way more than I ever have before, which has given me a perpetual case of jetlag no matter where I am, forcing me to pay more attention to self-care. Especially in these festive winter months, with people jetting all over the place to visit family and friends, it's important to be conscious about what you're ingesting, and to take particular pleasure in simple things like a perfect white hairbrush that stimulates the scalp, the best Japanese green tea on the planet, and a super powerful face serum that will make you glowy and dewy even after a gazillion hour flight with a chatty neighbor. Here are some of my favorite things to help out with the energy drain that comes with holiday travel. xo
1. This honeydew is super scarce, very delicious, and prized for its mineral content and medicinal properties. Drizzle over anything and everything. Also, while you're at it, check out everything else on QUITOKEETO. Favorite new site, thanks to a heads up from Tim from Lottie + Doof.
2. These D&A phyto enzyme capsules are something of a miracle. They combine 54 different natural organic herbs, and promote newfound energy, mental clarity, positivity, detoxification, appetite decrease, and a host of other benefits. The founder, James, went to Korea and worked with the most experienced, knowledgeable herbalist there to develop D&A, and I couldn't recommend it more.
3. My favorite, super warming green tea filled with bits of roasted rice, for a nutty taste. Yum.
4. A Mason Pearson hairbrush that detangles and stimulates the scalp.
5. It always helps to love your luggage! Obsessed with Everlane's very affordable Weekender.
6. This stuff will take 10 years off your face, I swear.
Labels: favorite things
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Wanna know what the absolute perfect dinner party dish is? Well, it's right here. Braised short ribs, made even better because the recipe comes from Dan Barber himself, via Food 52. You'll have a bit of work to do in the afternoon before your guests arrive (start a good 5 hours before anyone is expected), but then you'll be left with approximately four glorious hours of time in which you can prep the salad, run out and get wine, walk the dog, get a mani/pedi (seriously, you've got time), put on a face mask, catch up on a couple of episodes of Scandal, and generally go about your normal weekend relaxation routine, while this delightful set of ribs braises itself right into the comfort-food-starved hearts of your future guests.
By the time everyone is ringing the doorbell brandishing bottles of red, you will be so thoroughly relaxed and rejuvenated, everyone will look at your glowing visage and think "How the hell did she do that?!" Which is what all of us secretly want when having people over for dinner. Voilà. I give you Dan Barber's amazing short ribs. xo
Braised Short Ribs
5 pounds beef short ribs, bone on
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, skin left on
1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce (I used HP Sauce)
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate (I used Umami paste)
2 fresh (or dry) bay leaves
1/2 cup Madeira
1 cup red wine
2 to 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Heat the oven to 225 degrees. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the oil, then the short ribs (add them in batches, if necessary) and brown on all sides. Transfer the ribs to a plate as they finish browning. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat.
Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables are soft and all the browned bits in the base of the pot have been loosened. Put the short ribs (and any juices that have collected on the plate) back in the pot.
Add the light brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, tamarind paste, and bay leaves. Pour in the Madeira and red wine. Add enough chicken broth to just cover the ribs. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven.
Braise the shortribs until they are very tender when pierced with a fork, about 4 hours (longer if the short ribs are big). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shortribs to a plate. Let the cooking liquid settle; spoon off as much fat as possible (ideally, you'd do this over the course of two days and would, at this point, put the liquid in the fridge overnight and peel off the layer of fat in the morning). Set the pot on the stove over medium high heat. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil and reduce to a syrupy consistency.
Lay a short rib or two in each of 4 wide shallow bowls. Spoon over a little sauce. Serve proudly.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
There's not much better I like doing on weekends than cooking up a big, homey brunch and inviting a few friends over for hours of relaxed, unstructured hang time. Especially now that I've become one of those (formerly) annoying people who refuse to leave Brooklyn on any day of the week that starts with an "s." The only challenge I face with this utterly ideal situation of having my home filled with food lovingly cooked for friends I probably haven't seen in far too long is that my weekend laziness often kicks in and I find myself waking up in the morning unmotivated to do anything that involves a grocery store aisle or a kitchen sink. Which is why an arsenal of super easy, fail proof brunch dishes is pretty vital to the sustenance of my social life.
Ideally, a brunch dish should be a one shot wonder, meaning that I should be able to throw one dish into the oven and feed at least 4-6 people with it. Translation: no flipping multiple pancakes at the stove for an hour, muttering resentful curses at my beloved friends under my breath. These portuguese baked eggs from the absolutely perfect October issue of Bon Appetit fits the bill and then some. The creamy ricotta (use the best you can find) melts into a spicy, tomato-based sauce filled with healthy veggies and soft, runny eggs. It's pretty much the best thing you could imagine to put on top of toast and eat whilst sitting around on a random Sunday doing just about nothing with your favorite people. xo
Portuguese Baked Eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
3 bell peppers, any color, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into wedges
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, with seeds, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta
6 large eggs
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar (about 4 oz.)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (about 1 oz.)
Toasted country-style bread (for serving)
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bell peppers and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 10-12 minutes.
Add tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, basil, oregano, chili powder, and paprika to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and liquid is thickened, 20-30 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Discard jalapeno.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer bell pepper mixture to a 13x9" baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, make 6 evenly spaced divots in mixture. Spoon a dollop of ricotta into each divot, then crack 1 egg into each. Top with cheddar and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until Parmesan is melted and egg whites are almost set but yolks are still runny, 15-18 minutes.
Serve baked eggs with toast. (Yolks will continue to cook as dish sits, so serve right away if you prefer your eggs soft.)
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Wrote a little post for MyHabit on my favorite ways to layer for fall. I think the above picture is my most favorite of all the street style snaps I've seen over the last month or so (hello, plaid Celine clutch!). Click on over to MyHabit's blog, theFIX for lots of layering tips and tricks (including how to wear chunky sweaters, cocoon coats, oversized scarves, and more). xo
Friday, October 4, 2013
One of the best parts of my trip to London for the opening of EDITION Hotels a couple of weeks ago was getting to eat just about every meal at Berners Tavern, Michelin-starred chef, Jason Atherton's new restaurant located in the lobby. I've got a thing for cozy British meals, starting with a crisp fry-up of fish and chips, and ending with a big, old-fashioned Sunday roast (my favorite meal in the world). There's something about a prime rib roast with veggies and Yorkshire pudding with lots of gravy that just gets right to my heart. It reminds me of Christmas and snow and festive dinners with lots of friends and family.
But, I digress. Every meal in that very perfect restaurant (bless Jason's talented heart) was pretty spectacular, but the most epic moment of all came when I went against my better judgment and ordered the bacon sandwich one slightly hungover morning. Apparently the Brits (unlike their green-juice-obsessed American counterparts across the pond) believe wholeheartedly in bacon for breakfast. So wholeheartedly, in fact, that they serve it as a bacon sandwich composed entirely of about eight impossibly thick slices of the best bacon imaginable, served on hot, toasted sourdough bread and a side of HP sauce, which, if you haven't had yet, is hands down the best condiment in existence. Bacon and bread and brown sauce. That's it. You can order a fried egg on the side if you must (I did), but it's totally normal to eat it as it. And it is predictably AMAZING. So amazing that I decided that I wanted to recreate it at home with a bottle of HP sauce smuggled back into the States. (The next time you're in the UK, I suggest bringing the stuff back by the crateful.)
This simple bacon sandwich requires the very best thick-cut bacon you can get your hands on. Serve it piping hot on toasted sourdough bread and dip the whole thing into brown sauce between bites. Heaven. xo