Monday, February 28, 2011

Fast Asleep Daydreaming

This is one of those weeks when I open up my Google Calendar and see nothing but an endless block of red. It's going to be quite busy, with drinks dates, client meetings, new business meetings, lunches, and a series of dinners for the Armory Show, which is rolling into town starting tomorrow. All very exciting. Also exciting? The fact that we are finally going into March, which means the advent of spring and warmer weather.

I did some impromptu spring shopping this weekend to celebrate and picked up the beginnings of my season wardrobe staples: floral-print Cacherel shorts from Opening Ceremony that look like boardshorts, a couple of light-weight Rag & Bone sweaters, and a floor-length persimmon Jenni Kayne dress. I can hardly wait 'til I can permanently retire my heavy winter coat and switch on over to lighter outerwear like my Levi's denim or the buttery soft LNA leather jacket I'm wearing above. We're almost there.

I'm wearing an LNA leather jacket, Thomas Wylde dress, Chanel bag. All pictures by Mark Iantosca. xo

Friday, February 25, 2011

Celine Dreams

My next big purchase will definitely be a Celine bag. Look at those beauties. They just pull looks together. But which to get? For the spring/summer, I'm really loving the linen and leather one at the top.

All pictures by Tommy Ton for

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Roast Chicken with Green Olives, Fennel Seeds, and Thyme

Is there anything more satisfying than roasting a whole chicken in the oven on a cold, lazy Sunday? Or any day for that matter? If I were hard-pressed to name my favorite thing to cook, it would have to be roast chicken. There's something incredibly homey and delicious (not just in the literal sense) about cooking a good bird (one that's led a happy life) and carving it up to share amongst friends and family. And on the other hand, if you happen to be cooking for one or two, a chicken is the best possible thing you can make. There is a plethora of divine dishes waiting to be whipped up out of the leftovers, PLUS the bones of the bird make for an excellent homemade chicken broth. Talk about nose-to-tail eating at it's finest.

This is the whole concept behind Mindy Fox's book, "A Bird in the Oven and Then Some," introduced to me by the lovely Julia Bainbridge of Bon Appetit. The genius cookbook is filled with 20 different ways to roast a chicken plus side dishes and recipes for incorporating leftovers. This chicken--the Roast Chicken with Green Olives, Fennel Seeds, and Thyme--was the first one I made out of the book, and I must say it was the best bird I've ever roasted. It's healthy, doesn't use a lick of butter, and comes out of the oven with a crisp, super flavorful skin that gives way to truly perfect, juicy meat. xo

Roast Chicken with Green Olives, Fennel Seeds, and Thyme
From A Bird in the Oven and Then Some, by Mindy Fox
1 (3-4 lb) whole chicken
1 cup green olives, preferably Lucques or Cerignola (about 10), pitted and finely chopped (I used Cerignola)
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 lemons
1 3/4 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon flakey coarse sea salt (I used Maldon) 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Pull of excess fat around the cavities of the chicken and discard, then rinse the chicken and pat dry very well, inside and out. From the edge of the cavity, slip a finger under the skin of each of the breasts, then use your fingers to gently but thoroughly loosen the skin from the meat of the breasts and thighs.

Mound the olives, thyme, and garlic on your cutting board and chop them up together, then zest the lemons over the olive mixture, holding the zester close to the mixture so that you capture the flavorful oil that sprays from the lemons as you zest. Chop the mixture together a little more, then mix in the fennel seeds.

Working with about 1 tablespoon of the olive mixture at a time, gently push the olive mixture into the pockets you created between the chicken skin and meat, being careful not to tear the skin. Once you have put the mixture into the pockets, you can gently rub your hand over the outside of the skin to smooth out the mixture and push it farther down between the skin and meat where you may not be able to reach with your hand.

Put the chicken into a baking dish or skillet a bit larger than the chicken and season with the salt. Roast in the oven, turning the pan once, halfway through, until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a fork, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. I used a 3 lb bird, so 1 hour was perfect for me. Remove the pan from the oven and let the chicken rest in the pan for 15 minutes, then baste with the juices.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then carve and serve with the pan juices and extra salt for sprinkling.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Old-Fashioned Banana Cake

For three years, I lived exactly one dangerous block from Billy's Bakery in Chelsea. And while my roommate and everyone else I knew were wholehearted cupcake advocates, I was a sucker for their banana cake. The first time I tasted it, I swore that I'd have old-fashioned banana cakes slathered in a thick, cream-cheese frosting at my wedding. (Some girls fantasize about what their bridesmaids will wear, I dream about my wedding cake. Go figure.)

So when I found a recipe for banana cake that looked suspiciously like it could be verrrrry similar to the Billy's version I know and love, I pounced on it and made it that very morning, as I fortuitously had some overripe bananas hanging out on my kitchen counter. It's an easy single-layer cake with frosting liberally spread across the top, decorated simply with a scattering of whole walnuts. No assembly, no mess. As far as cakes go, it couldn't have been easier to put together.

I snuck a tiny little forkful of cake from the very top to make sure it tasted good, filled it in with an extra heap of frosting, and then did what anyone should do with good, whole cakes: I gave it away. xo

Old-Fashioned Banana Cake
Adapted from How Easy Is That, by Ina Garten
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)
Walnut halves, for decorating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan.

Mix bananas, granulated sugar and brown sugar in bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Add oil, eggs, sour cream. vanilla and orange zest. Mix until smooth.

Stir together flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in chopped walnuts. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, turn out onto cooling rack and cool completely.

Spread frosting thickly on top of cake and decorate with walnut halves. Slice and serve.

Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Mix cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment on low speed until just combined. Don't whip. Add sugar and mix until smooth.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New York Fashion Week Fall 2011: Favorite Moments

I've finally come out of my NYFW-induced coma and developed enough presence of mind to sort through my pictures and pick out some of my favorites from the week. I must say, as hectic as it was work-wise, I definitely had a lot of fun this time around. The parties were extra enjoyable and it was great being able to reunite with all my favorite fashion people over and over again for seven days straight.

1. The awesome 70s vibe at Chris Benz.
2. Cynthia Steffe had some unbelievably cozy-looking outerwear, including this soft color-blocked jacket.
3. Tibi's bright beanies were great.
4. I loved the party-girl look at Alice + Olivia. Bright red laughing lips, tilted eyeliner.
5. Cannot for the life of me remember which show this was from. 
6. Chris Benz. Look at those pants! And that hat!
7. Final walk at one show or another.
8. Oscar de la Renta. My absolute favorite, every single time. Look at that emerald gown. Dreamy.
9. Bryanboy and I at the Last Magazine/Kanon party at Indochine. It was the last night of fashion week and we had one serious dance-off. David Prutting from Billy Farrell Agency took that pic.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kitchen Couture: Vena Cava's Beef Jerky

Latest edition of Kitchen Couture for Bon Appetit is up! This one features Vena Cava's recipe for homemade beef jerky, which took about three days, including a seven-hour baking time (basically, I was up 'til 2 am last night poking at drying beef in my oven. However! The end result is totally worth it. The chemical-laden commercial kind you buy in gas stations doesn't even begin to hold a candle to this homegrown variety. Read my interview with the Vena Cava girls and get the recipe HERE.

P.S. Apologies for the extremely sporadic posting this week. Fashion week just about killed me. I promise regularly scheduled programming will return next week. Have a great, restful weekend. xo

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kitchen Couture: Tory Burch's Salmon Spread

My second article went up on Bon Appetit today and this one's a good one. It's a recipe for Tory Burch's signature salmon spread. It's a tradition in her family to eat it over the holidays, and I can totally see why. I made this big batch yesterday, and I've been snacking on it ever since. Click HERE for the article and the recipe. xo

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Alice & Olivia Fall 2011

What's the best place to spend Valentine's Day in NYC? The Plaza, of course. So Alice + Olivia definitely deserves some props for throwing the most festive presentation cum Valentine's Day soiree in town. There was a live piano performance, burlesque dancers, magnums of Veuve Cliquot being poured everywhere I looked, rose petals strewn across the floors, and cookies and cupcakes being passed around. Not to mention the party-girl-perfect clothes. The little jackets and shimmering dresses were, appropriately enough, worthy of any decadent night at The Plaza. It was like Eloise all grown up.

My New Bon Appetit Column!

I am so excited to announce that I am writing a fashion + food column for one of my very favorite magazines, Bon Appetit! Kitchen Couture, as it is aptly titled, launched today with the first entry about Rebecca Taylor's genius pavlova recipe. Click HERE to see the article and get the recipe. I made it myself and photographed it, so I can attest to the fact that it's absolutely delicious. I hope you'll check back there as often as you come here. xoxo

Monday, February 14, 2011

Joy Cioci Fall 2011

A dear friend of mine, Joy Cioci, just had her first fashion week presentation this weekend and I could not be prouder of her. There were so many pieces that I wanted to snatch right off the models and take home with me right then and there (hello, cobalt blue floral dress). The collection was stunning.

As for me, I'm just about done for here. It was a hectic weekend between running to shows, doing backstage for Charlotte Ronson (one of our clients at CA Creative) and one crazy, super-late night out at the Boom Boom Room for the Purple magazine party that I swear I still haven't recovered from. Thank goodness this week only happens twice a year. On the upside! Lots of cute things I've seen that I can't wait to show you. For now, though, bed is calling my name. xo

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dannijo Fall 2011

I loved the bored and lovely models at the magical Dannijo presentation. Check out those jewels! Also, is that not the best white-blonde beehive you've ever laid eyes on? xo

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stir-Fried Chicken with Ketchup

Fashion week is well underway by now, and it's off to a great start. I got to see one of my favorite bands, The National, play live last night at the MAC/MILK party at MILK Studios, which I can already tell you, will be the highlight of my week. I may as well just throw in the towel now and skip everything else. I have this weird thing with The National--when they came on and started playing, I swear I blacked out and had an insane fangirl moment, during which I clawed my way up to the stage screaming with excitement. Not chic. But fun, nonetheless.

Tonight, I'm doing something decidedly more low-key; namely, staying in, cooking a decent dinner, getting my life organized, and getting into bed early. I am exhausted. And it's just barely begun. For nights like these, when I have zero desire to cook a big meal, it's recipes like these that come sweeping in to save the day (not to mention, my sanity). When I first read this recipe in the New York Times, I thought it sounded incredibly strange. Pieces of chicken stir-fried in ketchup? Odd. But I trust Mark Bittman implicitly and I'm always up for unconventional recipe testing, especially if said recipe is so simple and straightforward, it's practically fail-proof. And man, am I glad I gave it a chance. Under the heat of the stove, seemingly ordinary ketchup alchemizes into something deeper and darker, something delicious. With the help of some flour and a bit of oil, the chicken takes on a slight crunch, giving way to tender dark meat at the center. It's reminiscent of General Tso's Chicken, but much lighter and tastier. It's perfection. Try it. xo

Stir-Fried Chicken with Ketchup
Adapted from The New York Times 
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, preferably dark meat, in 1/2- to 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup flour, more as needed
4 tablespoons neutral oil, like corn or canola
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons slivered garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 cup ketchup

Toss chicken with flour so that it is lightly dusted. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, and turn heat to high. When oil smokes, add chicken in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

When chicken browns on one side, toss it and cook until just about done: smaller pieces will take 5 minutes total, larger pieces about 10. Remove to a plate. Turn off heat and let pan cool for a moment.

Add remaining oil to pan and turn heat to medium high. Add garlic and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add ketchup and stir; cook until ketchup bubbles, then darkens slightly. Return chicken to pan and stir to coat with sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve with rice.

Yield: 4 servings.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love is a Place

This is pretty much an ideal night for me. A stack of books, pretending I'm back in school and scribbling random notes in the margins of pages, Suz Monster, pajamas, and a sea of pillows. Too bad New York Fashion Week just started and I won't be seeing an evening like this for quite awhile. It's only the second day and I am already exhausted and planning out nights upon nights of doing absolutely nothing just as soon as it ends.

Lots of exciting things going on, though! This has been quite the week so far. Can't wait to share tons of good news with all of you. Stay tuned. All photos by the amazing Mark Iantosca. xo

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Shrimp and Veggie Ramen

Remember the days when you were a college student (or, for that matter, a recent grad) when you didn't have the time or the cash to eat very well? And so you subsisted on instant ramen packets for more nights than you care to remember? I think that's where my love of ramen (preferably from Momofuku or Ippudo) comes from--it's so reminiscent of simpler, more freewheeling times. Surprisingly, I've never tried to make it myself--every recipe I see (ahem, Momofuku cookbook) seems completely insurmountable, involving loads of ingredients I've never heard of and days of cooking time I don't have. And there ain't no way I'm ever ingesting one of those chemical-laden instant packs again.

And so, when I came across this recipe for a homemade, healthier Shrimp and Veggie ramen in Candice Kumai's new cookbook, Pretty Delicious, I jumped right on it. It's a good compromise between David Chang's crazy ramen recipe and the aforementioned dreadful instant variety. It's incredibly quick and easy to prepare, and requires nothing more than some organic low-sodium chicken broth, a handful of dark leafy greens, some fresh shrimp, and noodles. Easy, peasy. Now get slurping. xo

Shrimp and Veggie Ramen
Adapted from Pretty Delicious, by Candice Kumai
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 cups mustard greens
1 package ramen noodles (I used China Bowl Select Authentic Chinese Noodles, but you can also just buy a package of instant ramen and use those noodles, discarding the seasoning packet)
8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (optional)

Heat the canola oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add 3 cups broth and 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, increase heat to high. Bring to a simmer. Add the greens and the ramen and cook for a minute or two. Add the shrimp and simmer until the shrimp are opaque and the ramen is cooked, 2 or 3 minutes longer. Taste for seasoning, adding more soy sauce if needed. If you want it to have a little more kick, try adding a teaspoonful of Sriracha.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekend Bits

My fresh manicure courtesy of Valley Nails--the shade is Red by RGB nail polish.

As far as weekends go, this one was rather uneventful. I went for really long, meditative runs, I cooked a lot, I cleaned my little apartment, I spent some quality time with Suz, I read just about every word in the Sunday papers, and I worked a lot. We just launched a big Facebook contest for Valentine's Day with David Yurman today that is actually giving me lots and lots of faith in romance and love (just check out all the entries and you'll see what I mean). 

Beyond that, it was quiet. I painted my nails a bright fire engine red and that, my dear readers, was the highlight of le weekend. And yours? xo

 Sometimes there's nothing better than a breakfast of good toasted bread topped with the best butter you can find.

 One of my favorite places in NYC is the old books section of Bergdorf Goodman. 

Signage at the LOFT event I attended. This is pretty much what we all need right about now.

 I love the big jars of tea they sell at Marie Belle in SoHo.