Friday, July 29, 2011

Easy Stovetop Macaroni, Peas, Bacon, and Cheese a la Jamie Oliver

When it comes to mac and cheese, I have my tried and true favorite recipe and I rarely deviate from it. What's the point, really? But, in all honesty, said mac and cheese requires stove time, oven time, two different types of cheeses, and milk AND heavy cream. Don't get me wrong, it's the best mac and cheese on the planet, and completely worth the effort, but sometimes (read: always), I just want something I can make in one pot. When it's one of those nights for you, this is an excellent solution. It hits all the right notes--creamy, cheesy, decadent, a little meaty (that's the bacon talking), and best of all, quick and easy. Almost as easy, in fact, as that instant stuff in the blue boxes, minus the chemicals. Can't beat that. xo

Easy Stovetop Macaroni, Peas, Bacon, and Cheese a la Jamie Oliver
From In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, by Melissa Clark
Kosher salt
8 ounces elbow or tiny shells pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 strips bacon, cut into thin strips
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
3 tablespoons creme fraiche or heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste (if using cream, use a little more)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnishing

In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the bacon, if using, and the pepper and cook until the bacon is golden brown and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir in the peas and cook for a minute to defrost. Add the creme fraiche and the basil and cook, stirring constantly, until bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully add the pasta and drizzle with the lemon juice. Stir in the cheese until the pasta is completely coated and the mixture is creamy. Serve garnished with additional cheese, if desired.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beauty Shop: Fresh Sugar Honey Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

When it comes to make-up in my daily routine, my lips are severely neglected. I sweep on a pale eyeshadow, lots of eyeliner, a dusting of face powder, and sometimes if I haven't run out of steam, I'll even do a few swipes of mascara. But by the time I get to that stage, I'm bored out of my mind, itching to get out of the bathroom and on with my day, and there's just no way I'm doing anything special with my lips. Or anything at all, for that matter. That's why, I love hunting for super simple lip formulas that will moisturize without being sticky (lip glosses are just about impossible for me to tolerate), protect, and allow me to apply whilst running to the subway in 5-inch heels. In other words, I want fancy Chapstick. Harder to find than you'd imagine.

This Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment by Fresh meets all of my requirements, and then some. It's a thin, non-sticky formula that has SPF 15 for protection, it feels and smells good (a little lemony), and the new Honey color gives just the subtlest hint of warm, nude, caramel color. You can pick up a tube HERE. Photo by Mark Iantosca. x

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Oregano

Chicken drumsticks are so quintessentially summer, aren't they? I'm still working on finding that perfect classic fried chicken recipe before August's end, but it's proving to be rather elusive. Until that moment of divinity comes, I've found my new favorite way to make drumsticks--this recipe slathers the chicken in a pungent mixture of garlic, salt, lemon, and oregano, broils it, then roasts it until it's beautifully browned, juicy, and incredibly good. The bonus is in the transcendent pan juices that naturally drip into pools in your pan, which you should absolutely pour over the chicken and the rice or potatoes I recommend you serve it with. Yum. xo 

Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Oregano
From In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, by Melissa Clark
1 1/2 pounds chicken drumsticks
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed (but use a lot)
5 garlic cloves
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 large lemon
2 teaspoons dried oregano 

Preheat the broiler. Rinse the chicken, pat dry with a paper towel, and place in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Broil the chicken, turning once, until light golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

While the chicken is broiling, make a garlic paste by either using a mortar and pestle to pound the garlic with 1 teaspoon kosher salt or mincing the garlic with a heavy knife, then using the flat side to smear and mash the garlic and salt into a paste. Stir the lemon juice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper into the garlic paste.

Lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Using a pastry brush or spoon, slather the chicken on all sides with one-third of the garlic mixture, a sprinkling of the oregano, and a drizzle of oil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, slathering on more of the garlic mixture, oil, and oregano in two more additions (approximately every 7 to 10 minutes). The chicken is done when it's golden brown and cooked through. Serve with the pan juices or the tasty sludge on the bottom of the pan.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Skillet Fried Corn

I'm having a hard time grasping the fact that next week, it'll be August. Summer, my friends, is thisclose to being over, which is all the more reason to stop complaining about the heat (myself included) and start taking care of that summer checklist of things to do and foods to eat before it's too late. My personal list includes at least one more weekend in Montauk, assembling a good oyster po boy, flying off to Mallorca (or Greece?) for a long vacation by the sea, and consuming as much sweet corn as humanly possible.

That last item, fortunately, is just about the easiest task I've ever given myself, especially with recipes like this one waiting to be made. This skillet fried corn is ready in a snap and extra delicious--something I attribute at least partly to the fact that it's fried in bacon fat, giving it some smoky heft. Yum. Recipe down below. Photos by Mark Iantosca. xo

Skillet Fried Corn
Adapted from A Southerly Course, by Martha Hall Foose
8 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon bacon grease (just fry up a couple of pieces of bacon in the same pan you're using to make the corn in and leave the grease in there)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet set over high heat, cook the corn in the butter and bacon grease for 4 minutes or until it begins to brown. Add the garlic, season heavily with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Watch out as this stuff starts to pop from the heat, so it can be a bit messy to cook. Fair warning.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes

One skill that everyone in the world should acquire is the ability to make a perfect pancake. It's a trick that will come in handy for the rest of your life, after all--late Sunday mornings when the only things you want in life are the Sunday Styles section and a stack of hot cakes, the first weekend you spend with a new boyfriend (or girlfriend), or when you're just in the mood for a good, old-fashioned pancake supper, a la Friday Night Lights.

I found this particular recipe in Gwyneth's cookbook and then fiddled with it a bit to make it more to my liking (i.e. cutting it in half so that you only get around a dozen pancakes or so, instead of the 3 dozen the original recipe called for--I don't think there will ever come a time in my life where I'll need 36 pancakes at once). Also, the original recipe called for fine salt, but I used Kosher since it was all I had on hand, and the cakes came out absolutely delicious. I'd even go so far as to say these may be the best pancakes I've ever had. Try them out and let me know what you think. xo

Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes
Adapted from My Father's Daughter, by Gwyneth Paltrow
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 scant teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt or fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more butter for cooking
3 organic large eggs
About 1/2 cup whole milk, as needed to thin batter
Real Vermont maple syrup, for serving

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, butter, and eggs together in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, whisking just enough to combine (small lumps are okay). Let the batter sit, covered overnight in the fridge. The next morning, heat up your griddle or favorite nonstick pan and slick it with a little butter. Add enough milk to the batter to thin it to the right consistency--the thicker the batter, the thicker and heavier your pancakes; the thinner the batter, the more delicate your pancakes--neither is wrong. Cook the pancakes on the griddle or pan, flipping them after bubbles appear on the surface of the uncooked side. Let cook 2-3 minutes more, then remove, and eat with lots of maple syrup.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Isabel Marant High-Tops

Happy Friday! I'm sending you off into the weekend with a couple of pictures of the best purchase I've made this year: Isabel Marant high-tops. These puppies are meltingly comfortable, super chic, and they have a little hidden wedge, which gives shorter girls (like moi) as much height as they'll ever get in flats. I guarantee these things will take up almost-permanent residency on my feet come fall. You can get them at La Garconne. xo

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beauty Shop: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

This stuff has a serious cult following for a reason. It is one of the most effective products I've ever used. And in this withering heat, anything that prevents make-up meltdown gets top honors in my cosmetics bag. It comes in the form of a lightweight cream that you smooth onto your whole eyelid and let dry (this process takes less than a minute, total) before putting on eyeshadow, liner, etc. And then, like magic, anything you put on, even at 7 AM, even in triple digit weather, lasts all day long until you're washing it off late at night. It's genius. Hardly a day goes by during which I don't pick up this little tube of miracle cream. You can buy it HERE. Hope everyone's surviving this interminable heat. Photo by Mark Iantosca. xo

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli

Fact: roasting will make just about any vegetable taste good. Over the years, I've come a long way from my picky-eating, vegetable-hating days of childhood. I now love most things green and even crave arugula instead of chocolate sometimes. But broccoli has been slow to win me over. There's just something about the texture and the taste of the veggie that I haven't been able to get around. Until this recipe came into my life. I had never thought to roast broccoli before, but slicked with oil and a slew of seasonings, and set in a hot oven, it was a revelation. In fact, for this recipe, I roasted an entire bunch of broccoli--I believe it must have been about a pound of it. And I ate the entire thing. Yes, you read that correctly. I just couldn't stop, so excited was I by the odd feeling of putting broccoli into my mouth and loving every bite. With shrimp thrown into the picture, and a one-pan clean-up at the end, this just may be a perfect recipe. Serves 4. xo

Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli
From In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, by Melissa Clark
2 pounds broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot chili powder
1 pound large wild shrimp, shelled and deveined
Zest from 1 large lemon
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with 2 tablespoons oil, the coriander, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the chili powder. In a separate bowl, combine the shrimp, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp to the baking sheet and toss with the broccoli. Roast, tossing once halfway through, until the shrimp are just opaque and the broccoli is tender and golden around the edges, about 10 minutes more. Serve with lemon wedges, or squeeze the lemon juice all over the shrimp and broccoli just before serving.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Play the Lead

I've been wearing loads of white this summer--it's an easy, fresh non-color, and even better when it's head-to-toe (I'm all about a monochrome look). When it gets this warm outside, there's just nothing more appropriate to throw on than a chic LWD (little white dress), or a pair of crisp, stark white, wide-leg trousers. The lovely folks at Raven Denim sent this pair to me a couple of months ago, and I couldn't get them on fast enough. White denim gets a bad rap, but when your jeans are this wide-legged, soft, and comfy, you can't help but feel good in them.

I'm wearing Raven Denim jeans, an old cropped tee that I found laying around in my dresser, Chanel bag, and Guiseppe Zanotti shoes. All photos by Mark Iantosca. xo

Monday, July 18, 2011

Peach Compote

In lieu of going out, I spent Friday night curled up on my couch catching up on the August issues of Bon Appetit and Vogue, and making some headway in The Emperor's Children, by Claire Messud. Wild and crazy, it was not. But it was also exactly what I needed after a busy work week filled with meetings, appointments, and evening events. Bon Appetit has undergone a full makeover since the changing of the guard there, and I'm absolutely loving it--this issue may just be my favorite ever. Not least because I found a simple, delicious recipe for apricot compote in it, which I decided to make for breakfast this morning. I made a few tweaks (i.e. subbing peach for apricot since it was all I had, but a stone fruit is a stone fruit, right?), and it came out perfectly--sweet and glazed and slightly charred on one side. Served on a bed of full-fat Greek yogurt, it was a nice way to start the week. Recipe below serves one. xo

Peach Compote
1 ripe peach, pitted and halved
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon white sugar
Full-fat Greek yogurt
Fresh tarragon leaves for garnish (optional)

Combine peach halves, lime juice, and sugar in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until peaches are glazed and syrupy, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and chill. Serve with the yogurt and garnish with tarragon leaves, if desired. I didn't have tarragon on hand (and don't particularly like herbs and fruit together) so I grabbed a baby spinach leaf and stuck it on purely for decorative purposes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Shrimp with Feta, Lemon, and Capers

This is a pretty perfect summer meal. It takes about 10 minutes total to make (seriously), it's light, and lemony, and completely delicious. I whipped it up last night, actually, for a cozy dinner pour deux, with some fragrant jasmine rice and a baby arugula salad with charred, roasted cherry tomatoes, and I think it's safe to say it was hit. And an easy one, at that. Also, since it's made in exactly one pot, it's ideal for those of us with tiny city kitchens and minimal counter space. Make it for yourselves and let me know how it goes. Happy weekend! xo

Shrimp with Feta, Lemon, and Capers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound large wild shrimp, shelled and cleaned
1/3 cup crumbled feta
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 to 2 tablespoons capers to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh basil, plus additional for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, stirring constantly, and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the shrimp, then add the feta, lemon juice, capers, salt, and pepper.

Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the shrimp become just opaque and the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the basil and stir to combine. Remove from heat and serve immediately, sprinkled with a bit of extra basil.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beauty Shop: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate

Until recently, exfoliation was never really high up on my list of beauty ritual priorities. It always seemed just a tiny step above "not really necessary." Well, turns out I was dead wrong. Exfoliating scrubs away all the dead skin, cleans out pores, and thus, allows all the other luxurious products you use (hello, super expensive night cream from Switzerland) to be fully absorbed. So yeah, I'm an exfoliator convert, and the best one I've found so far is this invigorating scrub from Kate Somerville. It's got just the right amount of graininess (nothing worse than a wimpy exfoliator you can barely feel), and as you let it sit on your skin for around 30 seconds, you can actually feel the fruit enzymes tingling and doing their work. My skin looks and feels significantly smoother every time I use it. And the best part is, you can scrub away right in the shower, taking up all of one extra minute of your time. You can buy a tube HERE. Photo by Mark Iantosca.

P.S. I recently went to see an excellent skin esthetician, Tom Woodhouse of Sally Hershberger Face Place, and he told me to make my exfoliating sessions happen every Sunday and Wednesday, without fail. Pretty good advice if you ask me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Last weekend, I celebrated the 30th birthday of one of my oldest friends, and thought the event warranted a big batch of something sweet. And so, I spent a quiet, peaceful Saturday morning digging through a massive pile of cookbooks in bed, on a hunt for an ideal birthday cake recipe. I ended up landing on this one from Amanda Hesser's New York Times cookbook (which, incidentally, is rarely far from my side in the kitchen), for peanut butter cupcakes with milk chocolate frosting. When I read the recipe through, visions of Reese's peanut butter cups went flitting through my head, and it was a done deal.

Turns out, it was a pretty good decision. The cake turns out fluffy and light and streaked through with just the right amount of creamy peanut butter, and the chocolate frosting is about the best I've ever had. I had a bit leftover after I was done piling each little cake high with dollops of it, and so I ended up using the leftovers for spreading on hot toast the next morning a la Nutella, and it was excellent. But who am I kidding? I would've spread it on cardboard and eaten it if that was my only option. It's that good. xo 

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting
From The Essential New York Times Cookbook, by Amanda Hesser
For the cupcakes:
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk 

For the frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3 sticks of butter
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons whole milk

Chocolate flakes or sprinkles (optional) 

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper cups. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on a low speed until combined, then beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in the peanut butter, then beat in the eggs one at a time. On low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the batter in three parts.

Fill the baking cups ¾ full with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 to 19 minutes. Cool on rack.

To make the frosting, sift together the powdered sugar, salt and cocoa powder. In a mixer (using the paddle attachment again), beat the butter until smooth. On a low speed, slowly add the cocoa mixture. Add the vanilla, then add the milk a little at a time, beating until the frosting reaches spreading consistency.

Frost the cooled cupcakes, and sprinkle with chocolate flakes or sprinkles. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tomato and Mayo Sandwiches

I wasn't aware of this until this summer, but apparently it is sacrilege if you don't make and consume tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches all July. I'm not talking about anything fancy--which is exactly the beauty of it. Just take yourself to the closest farmers' market, pick up a few of the best-looking heirloom tomatoes you can find, along with a loaf of plain white sandwich bread, and voila! You've got yourself the fixings of a meal fit for kings.

Tomatoes--real tomatoes, not the kind that come from Florida in the winter, full of chemicals and distinctly lacking in taste--hit their peak in mid-summer, when they're juicy, sweet, and perfectly ripe. This is the time to do things like eat them alone, perhaps sprinkled with a bit of good salt. Or, as I stated earlier, slice them up for sandwiches. It's simple as can be--spread two slices of sandwich bread with mayo (I used Vegenaise instead), thickly slice your tomatoes and season with good sea salt or Kosher salt and black pepper, lay the slices across one slice of bread, and top with the second slice of bread. And make sure not to add lettuce or anything silly like that. This is perfection that just shouldn't be messed with.

All photos by Mark Iantosca. xo


Monday, July 11, 2011

Avocado Toast

I've recently developed a serious addiction to avocado. Don't get me wrong, I've always loved it--I eat guacamole every chance I get--but this is something different altogether. Different as in, I've eaten an avocado every single day for the past month or so. So, yeah. It's a pretty intense attachment. It all started when I ordered the avocado toasts from the little juice bar at Great Jones Spa downstairs from the CA Creative offices. They were divine. Served on lightly toasted sprouted bread with a thin, creamy layer of tofutti, topped with sliced avocado, olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, they were the very definition of the simple, easy, deliciousness I so love in my meals. And so, of course, I had to recreate it at home.

I bought a sprouted bagel from Whole Foods, a few just-ripe avocados, and went home to try to up the recipe--perfect perfection, if you will. And you know what? I think I just succeeded. The key is in the salt. I used Maldon sea salt, and although it will be just fine with regular sea salt or Kosher salt, the Maldon takes it to the next level. Best part is, this is some seriously healthy stuff. Some nutritionists actually recommend that you eat an avocado a day for all the cholesterol-lowering, nutrient-absorbing benefits it bestows. Sprouted bread is even better for you than multi-grain. And tofutti is the non-dairy, vegan's answer to cream cheese. Awesome. xo

Avocado Toasts
Sprouted bagel or sprouted sliced bread
1 organic avocado
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Tofutti
Maldon sea salt
Black pepper (freshly ground, if possible)

Slice the bagel in half lengthwise and toast. I don't have a toaster (takes up too much counter space), so I drizzled some olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat and toasted the halves face-down for a few minutes until they were nicely browned and crisp at the edges. Spread the Tofutti evenly on both slices. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Pit and thinly slice the avocado. Lay the slices gently down on both halves. Sprinkle with a pinch of Maldon salt and a few grindings of fresh black pepper. Enjoy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Grocery List: Organic Vegenaise

I grew up with a strong attachment to mayonnaise. I slathered it on every single sandwich I made, from ham to turkey to summer veggie. I loved the stuff. As of late, however, I keep reading about how my beloved Hellman's may not be the healthiest thing to consume. Recipes for homemade mayo, all of which sound delicious, pop up everywhere I look, but I've yet to attempt it. There's something about the process that seems...intimidating. I'm determined to tackle it at some point soon, but in the meantime, I've made a discovery that makes the need almost obsolete. Vegenaise--it's the vegan's answer to mayo, and it is divine. Since buying a jar of it specifically to use in Gwyneth Paltrow's homemade tartar sauce recipe, I've spread it on absolutely everything, including a summer tomato sandwich, in which it played a starring role (considering the only other ingredients were white sandwich bread, a very good heirloom tomato, and some pepper). It's way healthier than regular mayo and equally as tasty. Trust me on this one and make the switch. You'll be lighter and happier for it. xo

P.S. Liking the peek into my messy fridge? I don't know how some people keep their shelves so organized! Mine is a constant jumble of perishables thrown together haphazardly wherever they will fit. Any refrigerator organization tips welcome. Photo by Mark Iantosca. xo

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Touch Down Look Around

I can hardly believe that summer is almost halfway over. Time is just flying, and before we know it, it'll be fall all over again, another season gone by. Makes me even more determined to squeeze every last drop of sunshine out of the next couple of months. It's funny how time has a way of changing things, flipping your life inside out and upside down until you barely recognize it anymore. When I look back on the way things were exactly one year ago today, I would say that almost everything was very, very different. One of my favorite quotes comes from a novel called The Feast of Love, by Charles Baxter. It says, simply, "The unexpected is always upon us." C'est la vie, non?

I'm wearing a Jenni Kayne dress, Chanel bag, Guiseppe Zanotti shoes, and moveslightly bracelets. All photographs by Mark Iantosca. xo

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Polenta with Fresh Corn

This side dish is one that takes full advantage of all the sweet, fresh corn that is so abundant at farm stands and food stores right now. Corn is one of those things--much like tomatoes--that doesn't taste nearly as good at any other time, so I tend to go a bit overboard when I can. This recipe incorporates it into another one of my favorite things--polenta. Together, with a little bit of cream and milk added in, it turns into a serious corn celebration. And did I mention that it's really easy to make? Because it is. Easy, seasonal, and delicious--pretty hard to resist, wouldn't you say? Let me know how it goes. xo

Polenta with Fresh Corn
Adapted from My Father's Daughter, by Gwyneth Paltrow

4 cups water
1 cup polenta
Kosher salt
Kernels from one ear of fresh corn
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Bring the water to a boil over medium heat and pour in the polenta. Allow it to simmer until cooked as directed on the package.

Stir in the corn, milk, cream, salt and pepper and allow it to cook for two more minutes. Continue cooking for a few minutes more if the mixture looks too loose for your tastes, but keep in mind that the polenta will firm up as it sits. Remove and serve.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Weekend Bits

The long holiday weekend in Montauk was relaxing as always, and filled with loads of good old American bbq, a little bit of late-night revelry, a very cute hotel room at Ruschmeyer's, a particularly raucous 4th of July party courtesy of Ben Watts, Ben Pundole, and Kanon Vodka, and most importantly, the time and space to do absolutely nothing but read for ridiculously long stretches of time. I finally finished A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan, and it is genius--one of the best books I've read in long, long time. I ended the weekend back in NYC on the rooftop of the Standard Hotel to take in the amazing fireworks display. Pretty perfect. How were your weekends? xo

The baby corn we had for dinner one night at Ruschmeyer's.

 Suz Monster turned into Nature Dog this weekend, much to my surprise, and was appropriately exhausted at the end of each day.

 The beautiful sunset at Surf Lodge.

 Love this. Photo by Yvan Rodic.

Me, Rojas, and Matt hanging out at Ruschmeyer's. Photo by Yvan Rodic.

This was waiting for me on my bedside table at Ruschmeyer's.

 Hanging tree lanterns in the Magic Garden at Ruschmeyer's. Photo by Harry Beee.

Ending the weekend back in the city on the rooftop of the Standard Hotel for a truly spectacular fireworks show.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Beauty Shop: Le Labo Jasmin 17 Eau de Parfum

When it comes to perfume, I have a few rules of the game. First, I love the smell of jasmine flowers. However, it must be mixed with a muskier element because I hate overtly floral perfumes. Second, I despise feeling like I'm wearing something that every other girl probably has laying around on her vanity. For example, I went through a phase where I was wearing nothing but Chloe for the longest time, but then a friend of mine bought it because she liked the way it smelled on me, and then I suddenly started smelling it everywhere I went, making me reconsider ever buying it again.

Perfumes should be personal, special, almost private. They should evoke thoughts of you, and you alone. This is partly taken care of by the fact that every perfume does smell slightly different on everyone, but that only goes so far. My current perfume of choice is made by a small company from France called Le Labo that mixes up your perfume as you wait, ensuring a completely fresh batch, and then prints a label with your name on it, as well as an expiration date. I love their Jasmin 17, which uses my beloved jasmine flowers as it's central note and then mixes it with 16 other elements including sandalwood for that much-needed hit of sensual musk. I love it. You can pick your own Le Labo fragrance here. Photo by Mark Iantosca. Hope everyone has a fantastic holiday weekend! See you Tuesday. xoxo