Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weekend Bits

Walking into town through a grassy trail with Matt and Paul. Photo by Alexandra Weiss.

My weekend in Montauk was pretty perfect--we ate lots of little pizzas from Sole East's restaurant, took long naps outside, got a little sunburnt, walked into town for a hangover-curing greasy-spoon breakfast at John's Pancake House, reunited with our old haunt, the Surf Lodge, got introduced to our new favorite place, Ruschmeyer's, slurped down delicious bowls of corn chowder at South Edison, and did a little late-night dancing at the Memory Motel. All the trappings of summer.

How were your weekends? xox

Sole East's peaceful garden. Photo by Alexandra Weiss.

 The glowing red sign for Ruschmeyer's, which just opened this weekend. Cutest new place in Montauk with food done by the Fat Radish boys. Bliss. Photo by Harry Beee.

The flower-lined trail leading to town. Photo by Alexandra Weiss.

Suz Monster tuckered out in the hotel after a full day in the sun. Photo by Alexandra Weiss.

Granola breakfast from Ruschmeyer's. Photo by Harry Beee.

Dancing at Memory. Photo by Alexandra Weiss.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano

This is one of my very favorite ways to eat spaghetti during the summer--simple and clean, covered in just the right amount of lemon and Parmesan with a hint of cream. Yum. This dish is on high rotation in my kitchen these days; it's one of the easiest pastas in my arsenal--you can whip the sauce together as the pasta is cooking and it's a one-pot meal, so there's almost no clean-up time after dinner's over. It doesn't get much better than that. Also, this recipe is one that you can play with until it's perfectly suited to your tastes--the below is what I love, but if you want to add more lemon, go right ahead! More greens? Feel free. And if you want a protein mixed in there, I imagine shrimp would be delicious.

P.S. I'm so happy that Memorial Day weekend is finally here! I'm packing up my puppy Suz Monster and checking out for the weekend in a few hours to head out east to Montauk (one of my most-loved places). What are you guys doing for the long weekend? And more importantly, what are you planning on cooking? xo

Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano
Serves 4  
1 pound spaghetti
3 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil , plus additional for serving
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus additional for serving
Ground black pepper
Small handful fresh basil or arugula leaves, shredded

Boil the spaghetti in well-salted, boiling water, according to the package directions. Use a large, wide-bottomed pot. (You’ll have fewer dishes to wash if you use this pot to assemble the dish as well.)

Meanwhile, zest the lemons until you have a little shy of a tablespoon of zest. Juice lemons — you’ll have anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice.

Drain pasta, reserving 1 1/2 cups of pasta cooking water. Dry out your pot, then boil the olive oil, cream, zest and 1 cup of the reserved pasta water together for two minutes over high heat. Return pasta to pot and stir until coated. Add the cheese and 1/4 cup lemon juice and toss everything together quickly. Add more pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, if you’d like your dish a little looser. Quickly taste a strand of pasta and see if you want to add any remaining lemon juice. Stir in basil or arugula and season generously with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, serving each portion with a sprinkle of coarse salt, a fresh grind of black pepper, and a few gratings of extra Parmesan.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

On My Speeding Heart

Summer has finally arrived here in NYC—the sun is shining, humidity is making my hair go crazy, and people baring indecent amounts of skin are out in full force. Not that I'm complaining—I wouldn't even think of it after the winter we've had. Now, I get to do things like wear floral surf-inspired shorts without worrying about freezing to death, make tons of light, lemon pasta (recipe coming tomorrow), and escape the city on the weekends in favor of some beach time. Woo! I don't know about you, but this kind of stuff makes me very, very happy. It's the simple things.

I'm wearing Cacharel shorts, a Rag & Bone sweater, and a random beach backpack I picked up at the Cynthia Rowley store in Montauk last summer. All photos by Mark Iantosca. xo

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Best Miso Soup

Miso soup is just one of those mysterious things that I would never think to try making on my own; it's dark cloudiness, the silky sheets of seaweed floating around, the sometimes-present bits of tofu--it all just seems so shrouded in exotic culinary secrecy. That's why it came as such an utter surprise that the little bowl of soup you see in the picture above is not only the best miso soup I've ever had, it's also one of the easiest soups I've ever made. The bonus? Miso is one of the ultimate super foods, full of live enzymes that are great for digestion--it's basically like yogurt without the dairy. It's also great for the immune system, protects against radiation, it's high in proteins, vitamins, and minerals, and it keeps the body "happy and balanced," to quote Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Life. Talk about the complete package. I would eat this stuff every day if I could.

However, think twice before you start gorging on takeout containers from your local Japanese restaurant. The stuff you get at restaurants is often extra salty, made with fish stock, and loaded with MSG. Way better to make it at home and really reap all the benefits, no? For the recipe below, you can either use white miso for a lighter version, or barley miso for a deeper flavor. Barley miso has more health benefits so I went with that one and it was absolutely delicious. Try it out--I promise it's easier than you think. xo

Best Miso Soup
From My Father's Daughter, by Gwyneth Paltrow
6 cups water (filtered is best)
1 cup dried bonito flakes
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 4-inch piece dried wakame seawee
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons miso paste
2 cups watercress leaves, washed (optional)

Heat the water in a small soup pot and when bubbles form around the edges, add the bonito. Turn the heat down and simmer for 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the broth sit for 5 minutes. Strain the broth into a clean pot, discarding the bonito. Add the shiitakes and wakame to the broth and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Remove the wakame and the mushrooms. Discard the thick stems from the mushrooms, thinly slice the caps, and slip them back into the soup. Chop the wakame into small pieces, discarding any thick piece of stems, and return to the pot.

In a small bowl, combine the miso paste with a bit of broth and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture back into the post and let the soup simmer for a few minutes, being careful not to let it boil. If you're using it, add the watercress at the last minute just to wilt it, and serve.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Last Great Cause

Well as far as weeks go, this one has been kind of tough. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say I seriously need to get out of town for a little break from everything. On the upside, I'm getting on a Jitney to Montauk in T-minus 3 days for an extended weekend on the beach where I'll be doing nothing but eating indecent amounts of fish tacos, reuniting with Sole East and the Surf Lodge, and hopefully getting in some beach time if the weather cooperates. Also on the upside, I guess if you don't go through some tough weeks, you can't very well appreciate the good ones, can you? And there you go; my very cliched (but very true) platitude of the day.

I'm wearing a Kain Label tee, Isabel Marant skirt, Chanel bag, Guiseppe Zanotti shoes. All pictures by Mark Iantosca. xo

Monday, May 23, 2011

Broiled Salmon with Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

I always adhered to the school of thought that teriyaki sauce is a bit too sweet to be of much use anywhere--I figured that anything with teriyaki probably would've been better off without it (i.e. beef teriyaki, chicken teriyaki, et al). And having no concept whatsoever of what went into the sauce, I never considered making my own, until one night when I was in the mood for fish and looking for a different way to prepare it.

This recipe is really good. The sauce is the perfect combination of sweet and salty, and it's light--nothing like the sticky, saccharine stuff I hate at most sushi restaurants. Serve it with a few scoops of white Japanese rice and a fun pair of bright, candy-colored chopsticks. Chic. xo

Broiled Salmon with Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
From My Father's Daughter, by Gwyneth Paltrow
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon peeled and finely grated ginger
2 sprigs fresh cilantro
4 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin discarded
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh chives, for serving

Combine the soy sauce, mirin, honey, water, ginger, and cilantro in a small saucepan over high heat. Once it boils, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the sauce cool down. Once it's cool, pour into a large bowl or plastic freezer bag and add the salmon. Marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, up to overnight.

When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Put the salmon on a heavy baking sheet with whatever sauce adheres to it and broil until cooked to your liking, 7-8 minutes. While it's cooking, strain the extra sauce into a clean saucepan, bring to a boil, and let it reduce.

To serve, drizzle the cooked salmon with some of the extra sauce and a sprinkle of chives.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Arugula and Tomato Pasta

My goodness, it's been a long week. I'm looking forward to some serious relaxation this weekend; I'll be baking some blueberry muffins, making the cover pasta recipe from the June issue of Bon Appetit (it's spaghetti with roasted tomatoes and anchovy oreganata--YUM), cleaning, doing loads of laundry, getting my swimsuits out of storage (!!) to figure out what to toss and what to keep, and venturing out to Brooklyn for a Saturday night dinner date/road trip. Also, I'm dying to see Woody Allen's new flick, Midnight in Paris--I worship the man.

If you're looking to cook up some pasta of your own this weekend, this dish combines two of my very favorite things: arugula and spaghetti. How could it go wrong? It's a simple, light, summery recipe that incorporates lots of healthy bitter greens and a good helping of nutty Parmesan. Try it out and let me know how it goes. xo

Arugula and Tomato Pasta
Adapted from My Father's Daughter, by Gwyneth Paltrow
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed with a mallet or mortar and pestle
3 14-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound (3/4 box) spaghetti or tagliatelle
3 ounces arugula (3 large handfuls)
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving 

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, chile flakes, and fennel, and cook, stirring for 3 minutes, or until very fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their juice, season with salt and pepper, turn the heat to high, and bring the sauce to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low and let the sauce cook on a low boil for 1 hour.

About 10 minutes before you're ready to eat, boil the spaghetti in salted boiling water. A minute before it's al dente, add the arugula to the pasta pot. Drain the pasta and arugula and toss them with the tomato sauce.

Serve each portion with plenty of grated Parmesan.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hello Again Friend of a Friend

This has been quite an eventful week--my friends Peter and Lauren had their beautiful engagement party, our company CA Creative has a brand-new website as of this morning, my second draft of an introduction for what will hopefully be a cookbook sometime in the near future is really close to being done, and I finally saw the new Picasso exhibit at the Gagosian (which, by the way, was about as perfect as exhibits get--romantic and moving and just out-and-out flawless). In fact, it's been a busy month in general, and as exciting as that is, I'm looking forward to next weekend when I'll be on a nighttime bus to Montauk for a long weekend of complete relaxation sans Blackberry.

One of the best things about Montauk is the uniform (or lack thereof), which consists of nothing more than what I'm wearing in the pics above--a casual tee, a perfect pair of shorts, and a big backpack to bring to the beach. Here comes the sun. Hopefully.

I'm wearing an Isabel Marant shirt, Siwy shorts, Proenza Schouler belt, Guiseppe Zannotti shoes, and bracelets made by my friends Elizabeth Monson and Mark Iantosca. All pictures taken by Mark Iantosca (he's a multi-talented guy). xo

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Garlic-Roasted Cauliflower

My minor love affair with cauliflower started in college when I went over to my then-boyfriend's aunt's apartment on the Upper East Side for an early dinner one spring evening. She was rail-thin, super chic, and very much into food. She served dinner on her sprawling, plant-filled terrace just as the sun was slowly disappearing in the sky, and launched into a conversation about art and books and politics that would end up lasting long into the night. I fell a little bit in love with her and her life that night, which seemed to be overflowing with a constantly rotating cast of fascinating people and experiences, and I vowed that one day, I'd move to NYC and have an interesting life of my own. Including an equally delicious recipe for roasted cauliflower, which was among my favorite of the dishes she served that night, AND a guaranteed slim-down dish, as she claimed.

A decade later, and I've got a city apartment and a kickass recipe for roasted cauliflower--the rest is a work in progress. But hey! The cauliflower is really, really good. Here's the recipe. All pictures by Mark Iantosca. xo

Garlic-Roasted Cauliflower
Adapted from How Easy Is That?, by Ina Garten
1 head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into large florets (See cooks' notes)
4 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil, divided use
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (See cook's notes)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds. Drain, peel and cut off any brown parts. Cut the largest cloves in half lengthwise.

On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread mixture out in a single layer and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing twice, until the cauliflower is tender and garlic is lightly browned.

Scrape the cauliflower into a large bowl with garlic and pan juices. Add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, pine nuts and lemon juice. Sprinkle with a little pinch of salt to taste, toss and serve hot or warm.

Cook's notes: If you can't find a large head of cauliflower, buy two small ones. To toast pine nuts, place them in a dry sauté pan and cook over low heat, tossing frequently, until lightly browned (about six to 10 minutes).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oscar de la Renta Resort 2012

Yesterday, I ended a gloomy, rainy work day in the best way imaginable--I went uptown for one of Oscar de la Renta's always-magical shows. This time, in a departure from his customary show venue at the Armory on Park Avenue, the designer held his resort viewing at the company's so-new-it's-still-raw space on the 25th floor of a Midtown building directly across the street from Bryant Park. As usual, it was absolutely beautiful and interesting, even more so because of the clear Picasso references (guitar-inspired hats, cut-and-paste graphics, newspaper prints, patchwork, et al). In fact, it inspired me to stop procrastinating and finally make plans to go see the new Picasso exhibit at Gagosian centered around the late artist's lover Marie-Therese (I'm going tonight).

All of my favorite looks are pictured above--how divine is that pink cap-sleeved gown? I just about died when it floated past me down the runway. All pictures from 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fried Flounder with Tartar Sauce

When summertime rolls around, one of the main staples of my diet suddenly becomes fried fish. There's just something about a hot, crispy, perfectly breaded piece of fresh fish with liberal squeezes of bright lemon that is just so quintessentially representative of summer to me. One of my absolute favorite meals on the planet are the fried fish tacos at a tucked-away little Mexican shack called The Hideaway in Montauk--they are seriously divine. And who could pass up the fish and chips at A Salt & Battery in Greenwich Village?

This weekend, with it's grey skies and constant drizzle, inspired me to try frying up some fish of my own, hoping to bring a little bit of summertime into what is promising to be 10 straight days of rain. And so, I tried out this flounder recipe with results that were downright delicious. The fish cooks quickly and easily, and the homemade tartar sauce gave me a new appreciation for Vegenaise (the vegan's solution to mayonnaise)--the stuff is fantastic and loads healthier for you than regular mayo. Try it--as far as recipes go, this one is pretty perfect. xo

Fried Flounder with Tartar Sauce
From My Father's Daughter, by Gwyneth Paltrow
4 large flounder or any flat white fish fillets
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fine plain bread crumbs
Safflower or peanut oil, for frying
Fine salt
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
Tartar Sauce (recipe follows), for serving

Dip the fish in the milk and then lightly dredge in the bread crumbs. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and fill with 1/4 inch of safflower oil (about 3/4 cup). When a small pinch of bread crumbs sizzles immediately, gently lay the fish in the skillet (do this in batches if necessary). Fry for about 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a pinch of slat. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

Tartar Sauce:
1 1/4 cups Vegenaise
3 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup cornichons, very finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Stir everything together.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Artichoke and Parmesan Frittata

Frittatas are the perfect thing to whip up when you're entertaining a group for breakfast or brunch. They come together easily and quickly, you can really use whatever ingredients you have hanging around in your kitchen, and I don't think there's a soul on this planet who doesn't appreciate a good frittata. I made this version last Sunday for an early lunch and proceeded to nibble on it all day until it was time to start thinking about dinner. That's the other beauty of frittatas--they taste just as good a couple of hours later at room temperature as they do when they're piping hot and fresh out of the oven.

Just the thing for this weekend, no? Try it out and let me know what you think come Monday. xo

Artichoke and Parmesan Frittata
Adapted very slightly from My Father's Daughter, by Gwyneth Paltrow
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup cooked artichoke hearts, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon leaves, thinly sliced
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 organic large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Saute the shallots until soft and just barely browned, about 6 minutes. Add the artichokes and tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs and milk to combine in a mixing bowl. Pour over the shallots and artichokes. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, or until just set on the edges (it will still be very runny in the middle). Sprinkle the top with cheese and stick it in the oven for 8-10 minutes; it should be just set throughout.

Beauty Shop: La Peau Night Cream

I completely swear by this amazing night cream. La Peau is a little-known brand from Switzerland that makes exactly three products--a day lotion, an eye contour gel, and this excellent little jar of night cream. That kind of intense focus is so rare in the beauty industry these days. Instead of doing one thing really, really well, brands tend to do a lot of things in a mediocre way. La Peau, on the other hand, has taken the opposite approach and put all of their eggs into one basket, and it shows. I slather this stuff on every single night before bed, and wake up with skin that is noticeably smoother, softer, and more even. It definitely comes in handy after a late night of parties. It's on the pricey side, for sure, but one jar goes a long way (I'm going on 2 months and still have about 1/3 of the jar left), and this one is worth every penny.

I picked up mine at C.O. Bigelow, but you can also order all of La Peau's products online. Picture by Mark Iantosca. xo

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Green Rice

I've never been a big proponent of brown rice. It's kind of like bread. Why eat whole wheat when white tastes so much better? I especially could not wrap my head around how brown rice could possibly work in a fried rice dish. To me, it just didn't have that sticky starchiness that seems so essential to a good fried rice. Well, once again, good old Gwyneth Paltrow proves me wrong. She places this recipe under the Side Dishes section of her cookbook, but I've made it for a dinner several times over the last couple of weeks, and it works really well when you're only cooking for one. It's incredibly healthy, and most importantly, it's absolutely delicious. The nuttiness of the brown rice is perfect here--I can't even imagine it with white. Paltrow says even her kids gobble it up, calling it "green rice." So cute. 

Make sure you buy an excellent soy sauce for this--it'll make a difference. xo

Fried Rice with Kale & Scallions
From My Father's Daughter, by Gwyneth Paltrow
1/2 pound kale, stems discarded
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and very finely minced
3 large scallions, cut into 1/8-inch diagonal slices
2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce

Cut the kale leaves in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into very thin ribbons (chiffonade). Steam the kale for 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, being careful not to brown the garlic. Raise the heat to medium and add the steamed kale and scallions. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring. Add the soy sauce and cook for 30 seconds more. Serve hot.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We Follow the Turn of the Road

During these early days of spring when the weather veers from chilly to warm in a nanosecond, I get full use of all my lightweight sweaters, long-sleeved Equipment blouses, floor-length dresses, and pieces like this one above. When Elizabeth & James so sweetly sent this to me, I was super excited to have something that would keep me warm and still look summery enough to keep me happy. The scuba suit fabric of the upper part is pretty awesome--stretchy and perfectly fitted, with a bit of a sporty, surfer-girl bent. And I love how it suddenly transforms into an ultra-feminine, full-skirted bottom.

I'm wearing a gifted Elizabeth & James dress, Chanel bag, gifted All Saints shoes, neon camping bracelet made by Elizabeth Monson and Mark Iantosca. xo

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chicken Gabriella

As I'm sure you all know by now, I'm a sucker for a chicken stew. Chicken cacciatore, chicken stew with green olives, coq au vin...the list goes on. And so, of course, when my friend Michelle showed up at a Soho House drinks date bearing a new cookbook written by Anna Boiardi, of the famous Chef Boyardee food family, the first recipe I tagged to make was this light, lemony chicken stew. It's a good one for spring--the citrus brightens it up nicely, making it feel decidedly less heavy than some of it's wintry counterparts. And yet, it still holds onto the homey quality that encompasses everything I love about this dish and others like it.

I served this with some fragrant jasmine rice and the rest of the bottle of Pinot Grigio I used in the recipe. xo

Chicken Gabriella
Adapted from Delicious Memories: Recipes and Stories from the Chef Boyardee Family, by Anna Boiardi
3-4 lbs chicken thighs and legs
2 yellow onions, chopped
Needles from 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1 lemon

Wash and thoroughly dry the chicken pieces with paper towels. Put the chicken pieces in a 12-inch skillet (preferably nonstick) with a lid, along with the chopped onions, rosemary, and sage. Stir well to coat the chicken with the onion and the herbs. Add enough olive oil to coat all of the chicken pieces, but not so much that it pools in the skillet. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Set the skillet over medium heat. Cook until the onions are very soft and the chicken and onions have turned golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the onion begins to brown too fast, turn down the heat.

Add the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer gently until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes. Squeeze the lemon over, taste for salt and pepper, and serve.