Monday, May 31, 2010
(1) Freezing in the ice cold water at Ditch Plains (2) Friendship bracelets are a requirement in Montauk (3) A hot surfer's surfboard (4) Friends: May, Steven, Matt, Alex (5) Ditch Witch is a little surf shack at Ditch Plains that has the best guacamole sandwiches, tofu dogs, and piping hot cinnamon buns in Montauk. I could eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner from here (6) Stripping down for a swim in my favorite white Eres bikini (7) Flying kites (8) Surfboards for sale (9) Suz Monster relaxing poolside at Sole East (10) The brand new Cynthia Rowley pop-up shop on Main Street in Montauk. Best store ever (11) Some old books sold at Cynthia Rowley.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
One of Manhattan's greatest pleasures comes in the form of the decadent truffled egg toast served at 'ino in Greenwich Village. I could eat truffled egg toasts morning, noon and night, at every single meal, for weeks on end. Really, it's the perfect food--the warm, soft, runny eggs with a hint of sea salt and a generous dose of fragrant white truffle oil heaped over a toasty, golden baguette slice made slightly chewy just in the middle from the egg. Unfortunately, I don't have the time (or the bank account) to take every meal at 'ino. So I decided to come up with my own version of the famous dish. I went through several different iterations before striking what I think is the jackpot of truffled eggs.
I found the recipe on which mine is based in the book "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant," edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler, a collection of essays about what people eat when they eat alone. The recipe was developed by Amanda Hesser, who used to make it for herself when she was engaged, not yet married. She savored it as a very particular single-girl meal that wouldn't fit into her life anymore after she was hitched. I get where she was coming from. When you're in a relationship or married or have kids to look after, eating silly things like truffled egg toasts for dinner alone in front of the latest episode of The Vampire Diaries just isn't an option anymore. Little luxuries like that get kind of lost in the fray or taken for granted by singles, but I suppose the grass is always greener.
But back to my truffled egg toasts. This recipe is seriously amazing--simple-as-can-be to make and it produces a perfectly creamy, fluffy egg that nestles comfortably into whatever bread you put it on (make sure to buy a great, fresh baguette for this). It's ideal for my little shoebox city kitchen and my current life, designed to accommodate one (plus a very small dog named Suz). Sooner than later, I know that my life will change and expand to hold more people, make room for bigger, grander things like love, families, more pets (yikes!).
But for right now, my truffled egg toasts for one will do just fine. They're just the thing for us single gals. Easy quick and satisfying--they'll fill you up and leave you with more than enough time for the important things: nights out, dinners with girlfriends, and a luxuriously selfish lifestyle with what seems more and more like a rapidly encroaching expiration date.
Single Gal Truffled Egg Toasts
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon creme fraiche
4 slices of a good, fresh baguette
white truffle oil
Melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat. Whisk together the eggs and creme fraiche. Season with salt. Pour the mixture into the skillet and use a wooden spoon to stir it, making sure to cover the entire bottom surface. This will take at least 10-15 minutes, so be patient. If you do it too fast, the egg will dry and the curds won't be as silky. Toast the bread in the oven and put the slices on a plate.
As soon as the eggs have formed soft curds and are loose but not raw, spoon them onto the toast, dividing evenly. If some of the egg tumbles off onto your plate, that's fine. Sprinkle generously with truffle oil. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Let sit for a minute before digging in.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
All I want to wear this summer is peekaboo crochet and sheer shorts/pants. There's something about crochet that reminds me of growing up in the 90s. There was this one shoot in Seventeen magazine that featured a model with a hat on running around a beach wearing a white crochet Esprit cardigan that has somehow permanently stuck in my psyche like white on rice. I looked for that Esprit cardigan everywhere, dragging my poor mother with me from store to store, but could never find it. And voila! A weakness for crochet was born.
I like this one by Kimberly Ovitz because it's a little witchy, a little wicked. There's something slouchy and bad and subversive about it. The little sheer shorts are Kimberly Taylor, and you can bet I'll be wearing them all summer long.
All photographs by Mark Iantosca. Check out the man's photo blog here. He's got skillz. xo
Monday, May 24, 2010
One of my favorite style sites, Refinery 29, shot a "Perfect Outfit" feature last weekend that featured four girls who work on the web. I was super excited when they picked me to be one of them--and I was definitely in good company. Kelley Hoffman, an uber-talented writer for Interview and Style.com, was in attendance, along with Hayley Phelan from Teen Vogue, and Leora Kadisha, the gorgeous CEO and founder of Styled On (I love a good woman entrepreneur). We were all shot by charming street style shutterbug Mr. Newton. Check it out here! xo
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Photo: Mark Iantosca
Some people say that to see the true measure of a cook, have him make you a roast chicken. I find this statement to be slightly ridiculous because, truly, a roast chicken is one of the simplest, easiest, most pleasurable things you can make. Cinnamon buns—now THAT seems like a true test (but then again, I have a long-standing fear of working with yeast). Or a precisely seasoned, tender boeuf bourgignon, or even a perfect, delicate poached egg—those are the real trials of culinary skill.
But roast chicken? It practically makes itself. Seriously. There’s not much you can do to mess this one up. The best roast chickens I’ve ever eaten have been in Paris. There’s a restaurant in the Quartier Latin tucked away on a little street called Rue Thenard named Le Pre Verre that served me the most unforgettable roast chicken a few years ago during a cold spring trip in mid-March. I’ll never forget the crisp, crackling outer skin that broke open under my fork, revealing a juicy inner bird that practically melted in my mouth.
There have been others here in the States that I’ve eaten with almost-equal relish. The brick chicken at Marlow & Sons in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for example is divine, as is the wonderfully garlicky chicken for two that is served at Locanda Verde in TriBeCa. But the roasts in Paris will always have a slight edge, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the answer lies in butter. Those Frenchies have never been afraid of a good hunk of fat, and it shows in the rich, bordering-on-extravagant taste of their chickens.
Don’t get me wrong—a good coating of olive oil will turn out a fantastic bird, but there’s nothing like slathering your chicken with an excellent brand of softened butter before sliding into the oven to guarantee the tastiest meal imaginable. I usually go with a recipe that I’ve adapted from one of my favorite food books, “Roast Chicken and Other Stories,” by Simon Hopkinson. And unsurprisingly, his recipe is based on a roast chicken he enjoyed in the City of Lights, as well. Hopkinson—he’s a man after my own heart.
Try it. You won’t be sorry.
P.S. Another key to a perfect roast chicken is in the shopping. If you choose your ingredients carefully, the rest falls into place. Buy the best organic chicken you can afford. Get fresh herbs and bright, ripe lemons. It’s worth it for this dish.
(Tastiest) Roast Chicken
1/2 cup good butter, at room temperature
3-4 lb organic free-range chicken
salt and pepper
several sprigs of thyme or tarragon, or a mixture of the two
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Rinse the chicken with cold water, remove the giblets, and pat dry with paper towels. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Smear the butter with your hands all over the bird. Put the chicken in a roasting pan that will accommodate it with room to spare. Season liberally with salt and pepper and squeeze the juice of one lemon all over it. Put the herbs and the garlic into the cavity, together with the squeezed-out lemon halves.
Roast the chicken in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Baste, then turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and roast for another 30-45 minutes with occasional basting. The bird will be golden brown all over with a crisp skin and have buttery, lemony juices in the bottom of the pan.
Carve the bird as you like. With this roasting method, there's no need to worry about making a separate gravy--the juices in the pan is a perfect amalgamation of butter, lemon juice, and chicken juices and that's all you need. Give it a little whisk and you have the most wonderful gravy imaginable.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
My friend Elin Svahn and I on Saturday night at the Soho Grand Hotel for a typical weekend party. Among many other things, she and I share a love for salt margaritas, late nights, girl's dinners, spring break, and bangs long enough to hide behind.
Photo by Zac Sebastian. xo
Monday, May 17, 2010
Fairly recently, I discovered Pour la Victoire, a genius line of shoes that won't break the bank. Every time I take a trip to their showroom overlooking Central Park, I leave wanting every pair they have to offer. Not only are the shoes seriously stylish, they also happen to be comfortable--the prototypes are sent to the NY offices for the girls to try out themselves before production to ensure wearability. The pair in the pictures is made out of the softest, buttery camel leather and you can bet that I'll be wearing them to death this season.
Now they're offering one of my fab readers the chance to win these exact shoes by becoming a fan of PLV on their Facebook Fan Page and then posting a comment to this blog entry with your email address. So:
1. Go to the PLV Facebook page and become a fan. You can also follow them on Twitter if you so desire
2. Enter a comment in this blog entry with your email address.
And that's it! We'll announce the winner shortly. Good luck. xo
P.S. All photos by the enormously talented Mark Iantosca.
Friday, May 14, 2010
During the summer months, I basically live in various iterations of shorts-and-a-t-shirt. Siwy denim cut-offs with drapey tanks, my little black Kim Ovitz shorts with just about everything, and most recently, an ankle-length semi-sheer Opening Ceremony t-shirt dress that I snagged at their sample sale for $50 with little nude boyshorts underneath (yes, that counts). When it's hot outside, I can't really be bothered with outfits that get any more complicated than that.
My current favorite version of that uniform comes via Vena Cava. I'm obsessed with their little acid-wash-denim print shorts and their amazing easy-to-DIY safety-pin-and-bead necklace. The little t-shirt I'm wearing is another closet staple of mine by Kain. I must have at least a dozen of them by now--they are seriously the best t-shirts around. Shoes are Jessica Simpson. xo
P.S. All photographs taken by Mark Iantosca. Take a look at his photo blog for more amazing pictures.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
When I was 15 years old and broke up with my first boyfriend for the third time, I consoled myself by throwing my beeper (yes, beeper) across my bedroom, stomping into the kitchen and weepily whipping up a large, sweet, chocolate-dense Texas sheet cake. Some people drown their sorrows in booze and painkillers and a quick 10-pound weight loss. I tend to go in the opposite direction straight towards the nearest bag of refined white sugar. It’s just the way it goes with me and some things will never change.
Over the weekend, I got into a fight with a boy who was clearly indulging in some seriously idiotic behavior—I’ll save you the brain-deadening details—and proceeded to storm semi-dramatically (it could’ve been better/more dramatic) out of the bar we were in and jumped into the first moving yellow taxi I saw. By the time I stepped into my apartment, I had successfully ignored five phone calls from aforementioned idiot boy. Alas, restraint has never been my strong suit, and when I heard my iPhone’s jingle for the sixth time, rage stepped in and composure stepped aside. In other words, I picked up the call and lost it. LOST. IT. Not pretty.
Anyway, when I woke up the next morning, bleary-eyed and drained from the late night emotional gymnastics, I didn’t pick up the phone and call a friend to rehash all the ugly details, I didn’t pop an Advil and drift back to sleep, I didn’t even delete him from all my social media outlets. Instead, I went straight to the kitchen and started pulling ingredients out of the cupboard and assembled the same gooey, decadent, completely delicious Texas sheet cake I’ve been making since the beginning of time (or, at least, since the beginning of boy problems).
And you know what? It worked. I felt better. That’s what Texas sheet cake does. It makes everything better in the 25 quick and easy minutes it takes to come together. It’s like magic in the form of some good old-fashioned Southern comfort. Try it.
Magic Texas Sheet Cake
For the Cake:
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 box (1 pound) confectioners' sugar, sifted (4 1/4 cups sifted)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Cake: Combine butter, water, and cocoa in saucepan over medium heat; heat until butter melts. Add sugar, flour, salt, eggs, soda, sour cream, and vanilla; mix well. Pour into a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Spread frosting over hot cake and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
For frosting, combine butter, cocoa, and milk in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients and mix well with electric mixer. Spread over the hot sheet cake then sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
This is the first contest that Milk & Mode has been part of and I couldn't be more excited! I'm pretty much obsessed with Anthropologie as a whole, so when they called me about doing a contest with their adorable brand Leifsdottir, I jumped at the chance. Can't wait to meet the winner! xo
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I love my new Elizabeth and James nude jersey dress. It's pretty awesome for a random night out, don't you think? The black leather studded shoulders are the best part. This was taken right outside my building on Wall Street before a night out. One of the benefits of living all the way downtown in the Financial District: it's an absolute ghost town after dark (which I like). Also wearing: Lia Sophia cuff and Jessica Simpson shoes (which are apparently sold out everywhere in black).
Pictures taken by Mark Iantosca--my fave. Check out his super amazing photographs on his blog. xo
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I spent a hot, lazy Sunday with friends hanging around the South Street Seaport last weekend. It was a nice little preview of long summer days to come. There's nothing like a little, barely-there knit jumper when it's so hot outside that all you want to do is find a big blue pool and dive in. I love this one by Kimberly Ovitz--my friend Elizabeth said that it looked like a retro bathing suit, which was exactly the point. The cropped sweater with amazing ridiculously long arms is Kimberly Ovitz too. I clearly have a thing for her. xo
P.S. My friend Mark Iantosca took all of these pictures, which magically make me look way better than I actually ever do in real life. Check him out on his photo blog.