Friday, October 29, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf with Mushrooms and Herbs

When I was little and growing up in San Francisco, my mom used to cook family meals for us every night. It was an important part of who we were as a unit. No matter what, we would always gather around the dinner table to break bread together and share the events of our days with one another. As a kid, those evening hours, spent flanked on either side by my mother and father (and usually a stray family member or friend) were ones to look forward to, ones where I felt the most comforted and loved. Some of my biggest life lessons were learned around that simple oak table.

When it was especially chilly and the Bay Area fog had set in, my mom would make meatloaf. It was made with beef and tiny chopped vegetables and herbs, and if I was lucky, a handful of good bacon mixed in. I loved her meatloaf. Still do. Now that I'm a little more grown up and mostly doing my own cooking, I love exploring recipes, tweaking the formulas, and finding dishes that I love, that I'll make over and over again for friends and family. This meatloaf is lighter and leaner and takes less time to make than my mom's, but it's absolutely delicious in it's own right. It comes out of the oven soaked in it's own savory gravy, incredibly juicy on the inside and perfect to eat with some simple roasted veggies. And best of all, it comes together almost effortlessly--nothing better than a fool-proof recipe.

Turkey Meatloaf with Mushrooms and Herbs
Adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2009
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
2 cups 1/3-inch cubes day-old french baguette
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
4 ounces sliced button mushrooms
4 ounces sliced Cremini mushrooms
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or lemon thyme
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey (15% fat)
1 pound ground turkey breast 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/3-inch loaf pan with olive oil. 

Toss bread with broth in large bowl. Let stand until bread absorbs broth and softens, about 10 minutes. Mix in mushrooms, eggs, shallots, parsley, thyme, coarse salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons oil. 

Add turkey; mix just until blended. Transfer to pan, mounding in center. Bake until thermometer inserted into center registers 170°F, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All Dressed Up to Catch a Glimpse of the List

I love October and November, partly because of all the dressing up I get to do. 'Tis the season of holiday parties, benefits, museum galas, and masquerade balls! People just don't get as glammed up in the warmer months as they do in the fall. And speaking of masquerade balls, I'm going to be attending the annual one at Lincoln Center on the arm of a handsome gentleman tomorrow night and still have no idea what I'm going to wear. Option #1? The sheer black, lace-streaked Derek Lam dress above (with a glittery black cat-eye mask, of course). Thoughts?

All photos by Mark Iantosca. xo

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Crispy Kale with Lemon-Yogurt Dip

As someone who thinks about food around, oh, every six minutes or so, I really have to watch what I put into my mouth sometimes. I get into chocolate cake/apple pie/bread and butter crazes where I swear I black out and when I come to, plates of food have vanished and I have crumbs scattered accusingly along my lap. True story.

So, although I refuse to go on any sort of diet, I do try to inject the occasional healthy dish into my routine. And I also think it helps that I love cooking so much that I very rarely order in when I'm home. Anyway, lately I've developed a slight obsession with kale. It started when I ordered the raw kale salad at Marlow & Sons in Brooklyn. It was one of the best salads I've ever had, barely dressed with a light drizzle of oil and scattered with toasted nuts. It continued with a kale soup I made that I couldn't resist eating for just about every meal until my soup pot was scraped clean. And now it enters a third chapter with these healthy, paper-thin, light-as-air kale chips. The bonus? They filled my little apartment with the most delicious smell of roasting garlic goodness as they cooked in the oven. Yum.

Crispy Kale with Lemon-Yogurt Dip
Adapted from Food & Wine 
1 pound curly kale, stem and large inner ribs removed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, toss the kale with all but 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and half of the garlic. Spread the kale on 2 baking sheets and roast in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 15 minutes until crisp; shift pans from top to bottom halfway through. Season the kale with salt and pepper and transfer to a large platter.

In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt with the lemon zest and juice and the remaining garlic and 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the roasted kale.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Drive Your Car Through the Rain

This fall has been a weird one for me. For reasons I haven't been able to quite put my finger on, I've been feeling a little down in the dumps, a bit more introspective and reclusive than I'm used to. I'm not usually one for wallowing about feeling sorry for myself--actually quite the opposite; ordinarily, I'm annoyingly enthusiastic and unfailingly positive about almost everything. I mean, I was a cheerleader, for god's sake. Yep, a mini-skirt-wearing, tumbling, pom-pom-waving cheerleader. So going through a weeks-long period where I'm not feeling so great for NO GOOD REASON AT ALL basically just pisses me off. Anyway. So. I entertained the thought of making up one of those "All the Things I'm Grateful For" lists but then remembered that those never really work, so I instead, I decided to put on my very favorite Rugby varsity jacket and take a walk around the neighborhood because wearing said varsity jacket always makes me feel like I'm in college again doing an awesome walk of shame across campus without a care in the world. And you know what? It worked. All better! Well, not quite, but it definitely perked me up a little. I highly recommend it for those days when you can use a bit of cheering up.

And lastly, here's something that Marilyn Monroe (that bottle-blond queen of moodiness) once said: I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

I'm wearing a Rugby RL varsity jacket, Zara Men's cardigan, JNBY skirt, Madewell socks and Jeffrey Campbell shoes. All photos by Mark Iantosca. xo

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hot Pepper and Garlic Shrimp

I love Spanish tapas--everything about them, really. The lively, spicy flavors that play on your tongue, the creamy and crispy juxtaposition of textures, the fact that they're small in portion and meant to be ordered liberally and shared among a table of friends. Some of my favorite NYC meals have taken place at dark, cozy little tapas bars like El Quinto Pino and Tia Pol, where I used to go regularly with my old roommate David when we shared a two-bedroom apartment in Chelsea. We'd stroll over to 10th Avenue on a freezing, winter night and sit huddled over a tiny table sharing bites of food and stories from our days. I loved those years.

This recipe for a batch of fiery, fragrant shrimp sauteed in olive oil, garlic slivers and some hot red pepper flakes and finished with a generous shower of fresh lemon juice is both immensely satisfying and very, very easy. It'll feed a crowd in a pinch and leave everyone extremely happy. Gourmet's Quick Kitchen says that you'll want this recipe "in your back pocket for those evenings when you have an impromptu gathering of friends and need an easy crowd-pleaser." I couldn't put it any better myself--like all tapas tend to be, it's perfect for that exact purpose. I like to eat them with warm, crusty baguettes.

Hot Pepper and Garlic Shrimp
Adapted from Gourmet Quick Kitchen

2 lb large shrimp in shell, peeled, leaving tail and first segment of shell intact, and deveined
10 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Pat shrimp dry. Cook garlic, red-pepper flakes, and sea salt in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Increase heat to moderately high, then add shrimp and saute, turning occasionally, until shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, then transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Crash to Take a Chance

As the days here in NYC get cooler and shorter as we approach winter at a rapid-fire pace, all I'm wanting to do is curl up in huge chunky knits somewhere warm with a cup of steaming tea and a big, engrossing novel (i.e. by the fireplace in the lobby of the Bowery Hotel). Or, you know, hide in bed doing nothing at all. Seriously, what is it about the cold that makes people want to burrow down under comforters and pillows for extended periods of time, and preferably with someone they long to lick? I mean, it's a serious annual affliction. Hence, the city-wide search for "winter boyfriends" and "winter girlfriends" that has commenced among my friends who are usually too busy having fun to worry about little things like relationships for the better part of the year.

Personally, this year I'm more excited about all the huge, comfy sweaters-I-can-wear-as-dresses on the market than anything else.  But we shall see. 

I'm wearing a Kimberly Ovitz sweater, Kimberly Taylor shorts, Henry Holland tights, Jeffrey Campbell Lita shoes, Chanel bag, Topshop hat. All photos by Mark Iantosca. xoxo

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My JNBY Style Video!

A little over a month ago, JNBY asked me to be one of their style vloggers and go on camera to talk about some of my favorite fall trends, the best pieces from their (amazing!) fall collection and style a couple of looks, specifically one for day and one for night. I was in very good company, accompanied by Bryan Boy, Carolina from The Fashion Squad, Kate and Morgan from Shopbop and Zandile from The Blay Report. It was an awesome, super fun day--and I walked out with a beyond-cute camel wool military jacket that I can't wait to debut. Let me know what you think! And if you have a chance, go down to the store to check out their windows--my looks are in there! 75 Greene Street. xo

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Some Fall Inspiration

For fall I'm loving nudes, lace, sleek leather (not studded, pls), skimming-the-floor hemlines, wide-brimmed hats, borrowed-from-the-boys ensembles, Varsity Blues, red hair, red for evening. All scans from Fashion Gone Rogue. xo

Monday, October 18, 2010

Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup

Over the weekend, I made the best soup I've ever made, hands down. It was a healthy, robust kale soup filled with creamy potatoes, an extra-large bunch of fresh kale from the farmers' market, and linguica sausage (a delicious smoked Portuguese sausage). I have to say, it was pretty much perfect. It was chilly and I was feeling a little under the weather, so I wanted to eat something that would warm my bones, satisfy me, and combat my developing cold with some good, old-fashioned nutrition. It did all that and more.

This soup is so tasty, I had it for both lunch and dinner yesterday and woke up this morning considering it for breakfast. And beyond that, it's packed full of kale, which is a "hero" food--one of the best dark leafy greens you could eat for health. This soup has truly got it all.

Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup
Adapted from Gourmet Quick Kitchen

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb chourico or linguica (smoked Portuguese sausages), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 large russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups water
1 lb kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves thinly sliced

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then brown sausage, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to fat in pot and cook onion and garlic with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper over medium heat, stirring often, until browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add potatoes, water, and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer, covered, until potatoes are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Mash some potatoes into soup to thicken, then add kale and simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in sausage and cook until just heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper.

Note: Soup can be made a couple of days in advance. Just cover it and stick in the refrigerator. The kale will lose its vibrant green color, but the soup's flavor will get even better. Reheat slowly, uncovered, thinning with additional water if necessary.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kain Spring 2011

I stopped by the Bryant Park Hotel yesterday to take a quick look at the new pieces Kain had to offer for spring '11. As most of you probably know, Kain makes pretty much the most awesome t-shirts out there--they're super soft and have a way of falling on the body that is supremely flattering. Thus, I was excited to see that come spring, Kain will have expanded their line to include sheer silks and knits along with their cozy mainstays. I'm already plotting all the things I'm going to wear these floaty nude pieces with. They've made, among other things, the perfect nude crop button-down, a nude silk slipdress that I'll live in and a lot of thin, sheer, slouchy knits that I'll throw on over my bikini in Montauk. Love. xo

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Giving My Mind a Chance to Rewind

Since I got back from Paris, I've been in a weirdly solitary, meditative mood. I haven't much felt like going out, preferring to see friends at small, early dinners, rather than making the usual nighttime rounds until all hours of the wee morning. And even more often, I've been inclined to just stay in and....think. What have I been racking my exhausted little brain about, you ask? (Well, okay, you're probably not asking, but humor me.) Well, mostly, I've been thinking about where I am and where I want to go. Simple enough, but I think about these things so rarely. Especially in this crazy city, we're all so busy and driven that we just barrel forward full steam ahead without ever pausing to take inventory. And before you know it, lots of time has gone by and you barely know how you got to where you're standing. Or if you even want to be there. So, I guess I've been giving myself a chance to stop for a moment and take stock of everything. Weed out the bad, keep the good, learn to tell the difference. As the saying goes, sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to take a step back.

And on a lighter note! I love the dress I''m wearing above--fall events are starting to pile up in a major way and soon (as in, next week), I'll inevitably be forced out of hiding and into a multitude of cocktail parties. The long-sleeved black Alexander Wang number is a pretty good stand-by, don't you think? It's from his spring 2010 collection, but I think it translates even better in the fall.

All pictures by Mark Iantosca. xoxo

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes

One of my favorite things about losing the sticky heat of summer and going into the cooler, more solitary days of fall is that I get to make soups and stews again. There's something about whiling away a crisp, gorgeous day with all the windows wide open to the breeze, banging away on the laptop for whatever writing project I happen to be working on, music playing, puppy napping, with a big pot of something delicious bubbling away on the stove.

This is a quick and easy white bean stew that takes almost no time to make and packs quite a nutritious punch what with the beans, the garlic AND the super veggie Swiss chard, although you could never tell considering how tasty it is. I used to make it quite a lot for an ex-boyfriend who tended to subsist mainly on whiskey and messy late nights, trying to inject a bit of nourishment into his diet. It's still my go-to bowl of soup in a pinch.

White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes
Adapted from Food & Wine

1 large bunch of Swiss chard, large stems discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 or 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
One 16-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Sea salt

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until tender, 8 minutes. Drain the greens and gently press out excess water.

In the saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the beans and simmer over moderately high heat for 3 minutes. Add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until the flavors meld, about 7-8 minutes. Season the stew with salt and serve.

Buy your chard from your local farmers' market if you can--the stuff you find in the grocery store just doesn't compare. I got this lovely bunch from the Wall & Water market in the financial district that's open on Saturday mornings.

Suz Monster sniffing around, about to beg for a little taste of the stew. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Send You My Love on a Wire

I've heard the saying that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I definitely agree with this statement; the problem is that old habits tend to die slow, painful, annoying deaths, if they die at all. When you've become accustomed to doing something (i.e. a task or a job) or attempting something (i.e. a relationship) in one particular way, it can be scary to even consider a different tactic.

That said, I've decided that October is the month in which I will try to do certain things a bit differently, venture down other paths, so to speak. There are tactics that I've used pretty much my entire life that I've been rethinking recently, tactics that I've most likely outgrown, tactics that aren't working so well for me anymore. I had a conversation with my mother recently where she said to me, "Well, darling, you're an adult now. Maybe you should switch it up and try something a bit more adult." (A.K.A. Grow up and be mature.) Zing. Point taken. Thanks, momsers. And so, here we are. Here's to putting just a little more thought into our actions and reactions. Here's to rethinking old patterns and attempting something new. Scary as it may be, it may produce new and better results--and that would make the scariness all worthwhile, no?

I'm wearing an Opening Ceremony dress, ALC jacket, Topshop necklace and hat, Jessica Simpson shoes. All photos by Mark Iantosca. xo