Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I'm heading to Miami for Art Basel on Friday morning and I couldn't be more excited. Besides wanting to jump into the ocean the minute I land, I'm psyched to look at some great art and possibly even make some purchases. Our client at CA Creative, Kanon Organic Vodka, is hosting 15 parties there throughout the course of the week, so I'll have my hands full with work, but I'm determined to carve out some time for art-gawking, sunning, eating well (specifically want to hit The Dutch pop-up), and if I'm lucky, a trip to the Celine store in Bal Harbour. Here, some of the things I'll be packing for the long weekend--a cross-body bag, a Tori Praver swim suit, some statement jewels, sunnies, UV protection for the lips and hair, a knit sweater for the cooler nights, and the novel I've been meaning to get started on for weeks. xo
1. Vintage Chanel flap handbag, $2,950, at shopbop.com
2. Isabel Marant Temptation necklace, $450, at lagarconne.com
3. By Terry Baume de Rose Crystal SPF 15 lip balm, $52, at spacenk.com
4. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides, $16.80, at barnesandnoble.com
5. Rodin Olio Lusso luxury body oil, $95, at amazon.com
6. Tori Praver smocked bandeau swimsuit, $145, at net-a-porter.com
7. Celine sunglasses, visit celine.com for more information
8. Isabel Marant Dicker boot, $580, at barneys.com
9. Isabel Marant strong wood bangle, $265, at lagarconne.com
10. Stella McCartney striped fine knit wool sweater, $755, at net-a-porter.com
11. Serge Normant meta luxe hair spray UV protection, $25, at barneys.com
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Oftentimes, the bathroom is the most neglected room in the house, design-wise. Even though we all tend to spend a significant amount of time in our bathrooms--bathing, showering, primping, doing our make-up and hair, and generally keeping ourselves well-groomed, I find that most bathrooms remain bare bones with nary an interesting object in sight. Doesn't make much sense, does it? A room that we see so often should be as pleasant to be in as possible, and that means adding color, flowers, fun objects, and art to the space, as you see in the pic above. So Tip #1: Don't be afraid of decorating your bathroom--go for it and do it up just as you would the rest of your home. xo
Monday, November 28, 2011
As far as birds go, duck may just be my favorite kind to cook. It's a bit easier than chicken since the meat has a tendency to stay super flavorful and moist, even if you leave it in the oven for a few minutes longer than you meant to. Unlike chicken, which can dry out really quickly, duck is a bit less temperamental, and the duck fat that comes along with it is pretty unbeatable for roasting potatoes with. This recipe lets you do both at the same time. The delicious fats slowly drip from the bird as you roast it, coating the potatoes, and making them crisp on the outside and wonderfully creamy on the inside. I also appreciate this particular preparation for it's utter simplicity. It reminds me of something you would find being made at a farmhouse in the country.
When one of my favorite retailers, Shopbop, asked me for a favorite holiday recipe, I immediately thought of duck and spent a supremely enjoyable afternoon roasting and writing the recipe. You can find it on their blog HERE and below. xo
Roast Duck with Potatoes
Serve 4, generously
One 5-6 lb organic duck
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
8 medium potatoes, peeled
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the duck, pat it dry very thoroughly with paper towels, and trim off any excess neck skin. Carefully prick the skin all over about 50 times, taking care not to prick the meat underneath. This is to ensure that your duck renders all it's fat properly, giving you a perfectly crisp skin at the end. Rub the olive oil all over the duck, then season the bird inside and out with salt. Add a few grindings of pepper. Place the onion quarters in the cavity of the bird. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.
Put the duck in a large roasting pan or large cast iron skillet breast side up. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and roast the duck for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and add the potatoes, nestling them snugly around the bird.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Return the roasting pan with the duck and potatoes to the oven. Turn the potatoes every 10 minutes or so. Roast for another 40-55 minutes, until the duck skin is crisp all over and the potatoes are deep golden brown. Duck temperature should read 165 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer. Transfer duck and potatoes to a platter and season with salt.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Happy day before Thanksgiving! We have a sweet little half day here at the CA Creative offices, after which point I'll be doing stuff like going for a celebratory fried pizza lunch at Forcella, getting a much-needed trim and manicure, and doing some last-minute grocery shopping at Whole Foods for the big day. This year, I'm sticking around New York City to spend the holiday with my boyfriend's family. We're in charge of the salmon dip, brussels sprouts with bacon, deviled eggs, a side salad, and something chocolatey (I'm still trying to decide between my classic Texas sheet cake and the Butterfinger chocolate truffles from December's Bon Appetit). How are all of you spending this much-loved holiday weekend?
I'm wearing a J. Crew sweater, Isabel Marant skirt, Chanel bag, Ash shoes. Photos by Mark Iantosca. xo
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I'm always looking for new ways to make chicken drumsticks--they're my favorite part of the bird, along with the thighs. When it comes to the white meat vs. dark meat debate, I'm firmly in the camp of the latter--the meat is clearly juicier, more tender, and all-around tastier, and I'm constantly up for a new recipe that incorporates it exclusively. These easy, oven-fried drumsticks are quick as lightning to make--dredged in a delicious, shaggy mixture of grated cheese, mustard, Panko breadcrumbs, and cayenne pepper and then tossed into a hot oven to crisp. You get the fried effect without all that splashing, scalding oil, which is good by me. Recipe down below. All photos by Mark Iantosca. xo
Deviled Chicken Drumsticks
From Gourmet magazine, August 2008
12 chicken drumsticks (2 1/2 to 3 lb total)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in upper third. Pat chicken dry, then toss with mustard until evenly coated. Stir together panko, cheese, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Drizzle with butter and toss.
Dredge each drumstick in crumb mixture to coat, then arrange, without crowding, in a buttered large 4-sided sheet pan. Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Monday, November 21, 2011
During the colder months, I tend to make a lot of duck. I don't know why this is, exactly, except that maybe duck just feels a bit more festive than chicken. A big, juicy roast duck, cooked on a bed of potatoes, perhaps, is somehow so much more celebratory than anything you could do with any other bird (including turkey, in my humble opinion). And, really, it's such a perfect traditional meal for, say, a Christmas Eve dinner before a big family movie sit-down on the couch.
Because of this holiday duck habit of mine, I always tend to have a bunch of duck carcasses hanging around the house, with which to make a delicious, savory broth. A quick addition of miso to the broth, and some healthy soba noodles makes for a nutritious, restorative meal to ward off any winter chills and to moderate some of that caloric excess you're undoubtedly taking part in (as you should be). xo
Duck Broth with Soba
From My Father's Daughter, by Gwyneth Paltrow
1 duck carcass
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bunch fresh cilantro
5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and crushed
1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 pound buckwheat soba noodles
1/3-1/2 cup barley miso
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
1 small bunch enoki mushrooms or bean sprouts (optional)
In a large stockpot, combine the duck carcass with the star anise, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, cilantro stems, garlic, ginger, and onion. Cover with cold water (it should take about 2 quarts), bring to a boil, and lower the heat, skimming off any foam that accumulates. Simmer over a low flame for at least 1 hour, up to 2. Strain the broth into a clean pot and keep it warm while you prepare the soba noodles.
Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions, keeping them on the al dente side. When they're cooked, rinse them immediately with cold water to keep them from getting soggy. Meanwhile, whisk 1/3 cup of the miso with a ladleful of broth in a small bowl and return the mixture to the broth. Taste and repeat with more miso if needed, remembering it's easier to ad more than to take it out.
To serve, distribute the soba noodles into four soup bowls. Ladle the broth over them and sprinkle each serving with a tablespoon each of scallions and cilantro and a few enoki mushrooms, if you can find them.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Last Sunday, I spent part of a lazy afternoon helping my boyfriend organize his new bookshelves. With no other rhyme or reason to follow, I inadvertently ended up arranging his books by color--black and white on top, followed by blues, reds, oranges, yellows, and the like. His library is a bit all over the place with a strong emphasis on finance and business, so there was no other way to really make sense of the collection. Also, because of the large number of books on staid, serious topics, the majority of the spines were dark and unadorned, so color-coding really helped make it look unified and elegant. Incidentally, Vogue.com ended up publishing a feature on color-coded bookshelves the very next day, providing me with a little extra affirmation. So here's your tip today: When in doubt with what to do with your bookshelves, arrange by color. And make sure you break things up a bit with little objet d'art, picture frames, and favorite decorative odds and ends. xo
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
We've been really lucky with our extremely extended fall this year. Last night, I went to the annual ArtWalk benefit for Coalition for the Homeless in a floor-length, backless, red silk chiffon dress with nothing on over it--almost 70 degrees at the end of November is either a blessing or a scary sign of global warming in the form of changing weather patterns, or maybe both. The coat I have on in the pictures is my new favorite piece--I've worn it almost every day since picking it up spontaneously during a visit to the Isabel Marant store in SoHo. It's the perfect weight for days like these.
I'm wearing an Isabel Marant coat, J. Crew sweater, Rugby by Ralph Lauren velvet shorts, Marni boots, Chanel bag. All photos by Mark Iantosca. xo
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Remember those little plastic Jell-O cups full of cold, creamy pudding you used to eat as a kid? Of course you do. How could anyone forget how great it felt to dive into one of those things after a full day of bike-riding, monkey-barring, fortress-building play? No matter how many fancy pants desserts I eat at various restaurants (and I eat a lot), sometimes I just want chocolate pudding. There's something sweet and nostalgic about old-fashioned sweets like pudding (hence the popularity of shops like Billy's Bakery and Magnolia).
This milk chocolate pudding is about the easiest one-pot dessert you will ever make and it comes out tasting like everything you remember about those little plastic cups with the peel-off foil tops from your childhood. Except better. Way, way better. It's the adult version made with excellent chocolate, rich organic cream, and good milk. Recipe down below. Photos by Mark Iantosca.
Milk Chocolate Pudding
From Gourmet magazine, February 2007
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces fine-quality milk chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk and cream. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, then boil, whisking, 2 minutes. (Mixture will be thick.) Remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth.
Transfer to a bowl and chill pudding, its surface covered with wax paper (to prevent a skin from forming), until cold, at least 2 hours
Monday, November 14, 2011
When I was growing up, one of my favorite mom-made meals was beef stew. I loved the tender chunks of beef, the rich tomato broth, the rough squares of potatoes, and the fact that the whole thing was spooned, steaming, over rice. It was the heartiest, most comforting dinner on her rotation and every time she served it, I would hungrily spoon up every single bite, always, always going for seconds.
I haven't managed to find a recipe quite like my mother's yet (which means I'll be spending some time over the holidays plying her for a cooking lesson), but it's not for lack of trying. I make just about every feasible beef stew recipe that I come across--and by feasible, I mean "easy for home cooks to make," as every stew recipe should be, in my opinion. Inevitably, I've found some very, very good ones. This version, from the Food52 Cookbook, comes from Jordan and is filled with exotic spices that will fill your kitchen with the most amazing smells. By the end of the stewing time, the beef is fork-tender, and the green beans practically melt in your mouth. And just like my mom's, it's served spooned over a bed of fluffy white rice. Perfect (for now). xo
Fasoolya Khadra (Beef and Green Bean Stew)
Adapted from The Food52 Cookbook, by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
1 lb stewing beef, cut into 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb green beans
1 15-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
White rice, for serving
Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, place in a skillet large enough to hold the beef in one layer, and add enough water to just cover the beef. Cover and simmer gently over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until the meat is no longer pink.
Remove the ends from the green beans. Cut them into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
Remove 1 cup of the simmering liquid and reserve. Add the green beans to the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes.
Coarsely cut up tomatoes in can with kitchen shears, then put them into a large bowl (with juice). Add the reserved beef broth and minced garlic and thoroughly combine. Add this mixture to the green beans and beef. Season generously with salt and pepper, then stir in the coriander and cumin. Cover and simmer gently until the meat is fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Add more water if the pan gets dry--there should be half an inch of sauce at all times.) For the most delicious flavor, let the stew sit on the stove for a while after cooking and reheat later.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Old-fashioned chocolate pie (famously seen in The Help) is one of my all-time favorite desserts. Luckily, it also happens to be one of the easiest things to make, and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, we all need a dessert trick up our collective sleeve, don't we? This version comes from my new favorite cookbook, The Homesick Texan, by Lisa Fain, the writer behind the very popular blog of the same name. I love it when talented bloggers get book deals that result in beautiful additions to my collection. It's her grandmother's recipe, and it's delicious. xo
Adapted from The Homesick Texan, by Lisa Fain
4 tablespoons of cocoa or 1 1/2 squares of baking chocolate
3/4 cups of sugar
5 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 egg yolks, beaten slightly
1 tablespoon of butter
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of sugar
2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk
Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Mix oil and milk. Pour oil and milk into flour and salt and stir until combined into a dough. You can add more milk if dry. Roll dough into a ball and the press into a pie pan, crimping the edges with a fork or your fingers for decoration. Do this firmly and confidently for the best results. Place in your hot oven for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
In the meantime, make your filling: Mix sugar, flour, salt, cocoa, eggs and milk together with a whisk.
Cook while stirring on medium until it bubbles and thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes. If it becomes lumpy, just beat out the lumps. (It will not get any thicker in the oven so cook until it's as thick as you want it.)
Remove from heat and stir in your vanilla and butter.
Make your meringue: Beat egg whites with salt and when they start to get fluffy add the sugar. Pour the chocolate custard into the baked pie shell and top with the beaten egg whites. Bake it until the peaks on the meringue are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
If there's one thing I have an addiction to, it's probably cookbooks (and Isabel Marant, but I'm trying to wean myself off of that one before I end up eating at soup kitchens for the winter). I order them by the half dozen on Barnes and Noble's site about every few weeks or so, and then spend many cozy nights reading them cover to cover, and tagging all the recipes I want to make first. My latest stack is especially mouthwatering, including the much-anticipated first cookbook by Lisa Fain, the blogger behind The Homesick Texan, the classic insider's favorite, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, by Suzanne Goin, Cook This Now, by one of my absolute favorite food writers, Melissa Clark of the New York Times, and Blood, Bones, and Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton, the chef-owner of Prune (a tiny restaurant in the East Village that turns out some of the best food in NYC). Highly recommended, each and every one. xo
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
When I was a kid, I loved the movie Fried Green Tomatoes with Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy. I loved the themes of fiercely loyal friendship and good food, and how the character that Bates played transformed from a timid housewife to a roaringly confident woman by the end of the movie. But most of all, I loved the greasy brown paper bag of fried green tomatoes brought to a sick friend in a hospital room as the ultimate offer of comfort.
I've always wanted to be able to fry up the perfect slice of green tomato, but good green tomatoes are surprisingly hard to come by, so my attempts have been few and far between. When I happened to stroll past the tiny little farmers' market that sets up shop on Water Street down in the Financial District where I live, and saw a pile of gorgeous, deep green tomatoes, I scooped them up, and retreated to my apartment to experiment with my frying. This recipe was my favorite rendition--the tomatoes come out crisp as a french fry and unbelievably tasty. xo
Fried Green Tomatoes
Adapted from Cookie magazine, June 2008
4 large, firm green tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon paprika or pimentó
Sprinkle the tomato slices with the salt and pepper; set aside. Combine the cornmeal and paprika in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs.
Cover the bottom of a heavy skillet with 1/2 inch of oil, then place it over medium-high heat. Coat the tomato slices in the egg, then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture.
Monday, November 7, 2011
One of the best parts of the holiday season (and yes, it is officially the holiday season right now) is getting to bundle up in big, cozy clothes that could double as blankets. Down comforters, even. Such is the case with everything I'm wearing in the photos above. The army green April, May jacket tends to swallow me whole, it's so soft and voluminous. The Qi dress I'm wearing is made of the fuzziest cashmere, and is perhaps, a size too big, which is just fine with me. And the super supple leather on the Marni boots feel like thick, sturdy silk. Nice way to go about the day.
I'm wearing an April, May jacket, gifted Qi dress, Marni boots, Alexander Wang bag. All photos by Mark Iantosca. xo
Friday, November 4, 2011
Happy Friday, everyone! I'm spending the weekend relaxing, working on a second revision of my book proposal, making a roast duck with apples and onions, and finishing up some cool holiday collaborations I'm doing with a couple of brands I love. And my boyfriend's coming home from an extended trip to South America on Sunday (yay), so I'll be cooking up a big Sunday supper (I'm thinking a classic roast chicken, sage stuffing, and haricots verts with bacon and chestnuts for an early Thanksgiving). What are you guys up to?
And back to the subject at hand, today's "Pic with a Tip" comes in the form of chic, shiny objects. According to Deborah Needleman from WSJ, "Like magpies, we are attracted to bright, shiny objects, and for good reason: our homes need them. As our eyes ﬂit around the room, they alight on and are delighted by those bright spots. Especially if your style veers toward the earthy, a bit of sparkle brings a focused sharpness to the look of natural materials and organic shapes." And look how well it works in the pic above. I love the combination of all the little silver trinkets mirrored by the bigger silver boxes. And that chic shagreen surface is just beyond words. So Tip #1: Invest in some shiny trinkets to place strategically around your space. See y'all on Monday. xo
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Whenever I eat at an Italian restaurant, especially in the fall, I'm immediately tempted to order a side of cremini mushrooms. I love the buttery, nutty taste that magically emerges when the mushrooms have been slowly roasted with nothing but a simple coating of very good olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. The guys from one of my favorite restaurants, Frankie's Spuntino, swear by white pepper instead of black, and they use it on just about everything they make, as evidenced by their beautiful little cookbook. I used it here and the results were fantastic.
I love these mushrooms all on their own or to eat with spaghetti and meatballs, but incidentally, the dish also happens to be a pretty perfect Thanksgiving side. All photos by Mark Iantosca. Recipe down below. xo
Roasted Cremini Mushrooms
Adapted from The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual, by Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo, Peter Meehan
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and white pepper
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Trim off the bottoms of the mushroom stems and discard. Wash the mushrooms in a colander under running water and shake them dry. Pat gently with paper towels.
Arrange the mushrooms in an even, well-spaced layer on a baking sheet. Dress them with olive oil, a large pinch of salt, and a few turns of white pepper.
Pop them into the oven, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until they're browned and shrunken and caramelized. (If you're cooking more than one package of mushrooms, pull the pan from the oven after 15 minutes and carefully tilt it to pour off the liquid the mushrooms have exuded.) Serve warm or at room temperature. Dress with a generous amount of olive oil and a good pinch of salt.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Yet another chicken stew recipe for you! Are you guys excited? Well, you should be. Because, even though I've probably made just about every single type of stewed/braised chicken under the sun, this still stands out as being an especially good iteration. The chicken is browned until crisp in a large skillet or Dutch oven, and then smothered in a fragrant, heady mixture of spices, and finally simmered in stock until it's falling-off-the-bone tender. The last-minute addition of a handful of olives and preserved lemon rinds adds an extra zing of taste that really makes this dish sing.
I lifted the recipe out of my brand new copy of the newly released Food52 cookbook, which I spent most of the weekend reading from cover to cover. I couldn't really tear myself away. It's filled with the winning recipes from the best home cooks in their robust online community, complete with mini bios, notes from the rest of the community, and recipe prefaces from Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, the founders of the site. Really, it's a fantastic concept, and I'm only jealous I didn't think of it first (or have Hesser's star power to drive it home, for that matter). In any case, I highly recommend it! It's a perfect hostess gift for those Thanksgiving dinners or, for you early holiday-shoppers, for the cook on your gift list. xo
Braised Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives
From The Food52 Cookbook, by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
4 tablespoons canola oil
2.5 pounds chicken legs and thighs
1 1/2 cup small diced onion
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-3 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup green olives, rinsed
2 preserved lemons, pulp removed; rind cut into strips
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet or over medium high heat. Dry the chicken pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Place them in the skillet in batches and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken and place on a plate.
Add the onion to the skillet and cook until slightly softened. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper and stir together. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat with the spice mixture. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet so that 2/3 of the chicken is submerged. Add the saffron and stir to combine. Bring liquid to a simmer, cover the skillet and simmer on medium low heat 20-25 minutes. Add the olives and preserved lemons. Cover and cook another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and turn the heat to high. Cook for another 6-8 minutes until sauce reduces slightly. Stir in the cilantro. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve chicken on a bed of couscous. Spoon sauce over the top. Garnish with cilantro.