Thursday, October 29, 2009

o christmas tree, o christmas tree

crate and barrel just unveiled their 2009 holiday collection of ornaments.

again, it is never too early to have christmas on the mind. i've picked up quite a few c&b christmas collectibles in the past and will probably add more to the collection again this year. oh i just can't wait to get a mini frasier fur for my humble little abode.




(photo credits - crateandbarrel.com)

apple meets pear: apple-pear dessert tart



as you know, this week i've been living out my culinary fantasies and i've always wanted to make a homemade tart of some sort.  i had a dinner party to go to this week, so i whipped up this delicious little gem. i adapated the recipe from realsimple.com so it was incredibly easy and some might even call it beautiful (me).  here's how i did it:

ingredients:
2 tablespoons of flour
2 9-inch ready made pie crusts
1/3 cup apricot jam, plus 2 tablespoons
2 gala apples, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 bartlett pears, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar, plus 2 more teaspoons
1 egg, beaten

directions:
preheat oven to 350 degrees.  flour working surface and roll out pie crusts, placing one on top of the other. roll out to 12 inches in diameter.  transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lather with 1/3 cup of apricot jam leaving a 2-inch border.

mix together pears, apples, lemon juice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of sugar in large mixing bowl.  carefully lay fruit slices on crust in concentric circles, alternating between pears and apples.  make sure to not place fruit on 2-inch border.  fold up remaining crust over fruit for a rustic look.  brush outer crust with egg and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar on top.

bake for 60 minutes until crust is golden brown and the fruit is tender.  in small sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of water and 2 tablespoons of jam for about 3 minutes.  brush over fruit for that glazed professional bakery look.  enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

this week in the kitchen: lemon and garlic roasted chicken, butternut squash risotto, thyme popovers

earlier this week i had some of the girls over to accomplish task #2 on my weekly to-do list.  i began looking for recipes that reminded me of autumn.  i knew i wanted to use vegetables that were in season, hence the butternut squash, and i wanted to use earthy flavors like thyme and rosemary.  the meal turned out wonderful and the girls were pleasantly stuffed.  i pretty much followed the recipes exactly, except i also stuffed the chicken with rosemary and i substituted bacon for pancetta in the risotto.  i also didn't have a popover pan so i used a mini muffin pan instead.  hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

here's the menu:

lemon and garlic roasted chicken
butternut squash risotto with bacon and jack cheese
thyme popovers

pictures of the beautiful meal:


food for thought

available here for purchasing, followed by matting, framing, and hanging.


(photo credit - wallblank.com)

so long, farwell



sis is in the dominican republic this week for a getaway and i'm stuck here in old rainy virginia with nothing to do.  i remember having this same feeling as a kid when sis would go to piano lessons and i would have to stay home.

i have the entire week off work and no sis to talk to, no blinking computer from one of her routine "morning sis" IMs, and no use for my speed dial #5.  what to do?

in the absence of entertainment from sis, i've decided to make a list of things i plan to accomplish this week.  they are mostly culinary. obvi.
  1. break bread (well not really, just make it from scratch)
  2. cook a fabulous dinner that reminds me of autumn
  3. make an apple tartlet
  4. stalk down the room # to the hotel sis is staying at, hoping she'd be as excited to hear my voice as i hers
  5. get brother to eat homemade pumpkin ravioli
  6. stir up a batch of lemongrass coconut soup for the neighbors (by their request)
  7. make these owl cupcakes for the trick-or-treaters
  8. find a halloween costume
  9. hop on a plane to the dominican and find my long lost sis
  10. convince peg to buy one of these pups
stick around for updates on this week's successes and sis - get home soon!


(photo credit - betterphoto.com)

Monday, October 26, 2009

nautical by nature

sail away with me. and if you're not available, let's just daydream about sailing away - from our very own couches.

all things nautical have yet to leave my heart and who can resist bringing this design trend into your home. just a little touch though, please. lets not get overboard and step back in time to the circa 1995 outer banks beach house clad in lamps made of hot glued seashells and faux marlins hanging on the wall.






(photo credits - anthropologie.com, decorateyourspace.net, flickr.com, homedecorators.com, oceaninteriors.files.wordpress.com, potterybarn.com, restorationhardware.com, target.com, willowdecor.blogspot.com)

Friday, October 23, 2009

leaving on a jet plane

i'm going on vacation tomorrow and i'm really excited. i wish you could come because i think it's going to be fun. espeically you, sis.


























(photo credit - vi.sualize.us)

persian perfection: seasoned steak, garlic roasted potatoes & lemon sugar snap peas

last night i whipped up this snazzy meal for the fam as part our our weekly round-up. i was pursuing through the bible (aka cooking light) and found this french delight that called for herbes de provence, which is a fancy name for a mixture of herbs that are predominantly used in southern france. the mixture can vary based on brand, but normally includes basil, fennel seed, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme and its just delicious. i tweaked cooking light's recipe a little bit and paired it with lemon sugar snap peas and garlic roasted potatoes.

ingredients:
2 large ribeye steaks
2 tablespoons dried herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 package frozen sugar snap peas
8 small red potatoes, cubed
evoo
s&p

directions:
preheat oven to 400 degrees. place potatoes on cookie sheet and drizzle with evoo, garlic powder and s&p. cook for 30-35 minutes until crispy on outside and soft in the middle.

preheat grill pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray. combine herbes de provence, mustard, and s&p in a small bowl. rub meat evenly with herb mixture, but only on one side. place steak on grill, seasoned side down and cook for 5-7 minutes. season other side with s&p, flip and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes.

meanwhile, cook sugar snap peas according to directions on package. when done, season with lemon rind, lemon juice, evoo and s&p.

this meal was a perfect weeknight staple that i plan to keep in my repertoire. it was simple, quick, elegant and full of flavor! appr├ęcier!

reason #3456740 i hate airplanes

my sentiments exactly, kid.
somehow, yesterday two pilots flying an airbus plane failed to descend in minneapolis and instead just kept going 150 miles before they realized where they were. how you might ask? the pilots explain that they were distracted when "they were in a heated discussion over airline policy and they lost situational awareness."

really? airline policy is so exhilarating that you forgot you're flying a plane and forgot where you were? really? and when air traffic controllers were trying to contact you, you were so immersed in office politics that you didn't hear them screaming for you, wondering if terrorists took over your plane?
it's time for these jokers to be honest and admit what really happened.
they fell asleep.

(photo credit - vi.sualize.us)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

southern comfort: stuffed chicken, cheesy grits, & apple harvest salad




the second installment of this week's delicious treats was stuffed chicken with a side of warm cheesy grits and simple apple harvest salad. i made up this recipe on the fly when i wanted to use up the cream cheese in the fridge. the meal turned out better than i expected and the grits were just the creamy, cheesey delicousness i craved. anddddddd it was a weight watchers recipe.
ingredients:
4 chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/3 cup light cream cheese
3 tablespoons of sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup of frozen spinach, drained and dried
3 cups of chicken stock
3/4 cup of 5-minute grits
1/4 cup light
alouette cheese
evoo
s&p

directions:
preheat oven to 350 degrees. combine spinach, cream cheese, sundried tomatoes and s&p in mixing bowl. i found it best to mix with my hands. evenly scoop a dallop of mixture on each chicken breast and use knife to spread out over entire chicken. roll up chicken breasts from top to bottom and secure with kitchen twine or these eco-friendly bad boys. cook for 30 to 35 minutes, depending on size of chicken breast.

in another pan bring chicken stock to boil. add grits and cook for 5 minutes. stir in alouette cheese and s&p. it's that easy!

i don't really have an exact recipe for the salad, i just kind of threw together ingredients that reminded me of fall. i added sliced apples, craisins, toasted walnuts, mixed greens, orange peppers and mixed greens. we touched it off with a raspberry walnut vinaigrette. enjoy!

love is in the air


it's gonna be 2010's he's just not that into you. i am very much loving the all-star cast.

alba.
beil.
cooper (ahhhh, bradley).
dane.
dempsey.
foxx.
garner.
hathaway.
kutcher.
roberts.

valentine's day might just be super sweet in 2010.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

pumpkin party

still feeling festive and i just can't get enough of fall. so i went and finally bought that pumpkin i had been talking about. but without a front porch to proudly show my orange lil baby, here are some other ideas to put a punch in your seasonal spirit.


and if any of our male readers have a certain question on their mind...there is always this approach.

and then there's my homely little pumpkin. just the perfect amount of orange punch for me. do you spot it?

oh and hi oprah.


(photo credits - goodhousekeeping.com, health-education-biz-facts.com, marthastewart.com, mymariebee.blogspot.com, poetichome.com, vi.sualize.us)

yum for your tum: pasta with cauliflower and turkey sausage


i promised i'd follow up with this week's cotton top family dinners. so monday night, pasta with cauliflower and turkey sausage was on tap. i adapted this recipe from cooking light. the original version used reserved pasta water to make the sauce. i decided to improvise and make a quick pan sauce to satisfy the picky eaters in the house. i just couldn't see them going for the starchy water sauce.

the picture above doesn't lie. we were all excited to eat that i almost forgot to take a picture - until about halfway through the meal. i'm sure the leftovers will also heat up nicely for lunch later this week. yum-o.
so here's how it goes, foodies.


ingredients:
5 oz. mild turkey sausage, cooked
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons of evoo
4 cups of cooked pasta
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk or cream
s&p

directions:
preheat oven to 450 degrees. place cauliflower on baking sheet and season with s&p and 1 tablespoon of evoo. bake for 20 minutes until toasty. also, boil water for the pasta and get that going.

cut sausage crosswise into 1/4 inch slices. heat medium skillet with remaining 1 tablespoon of evoo and cook the little guys for about 10 minutes. remove from pan and set aside. in same pan melt butter and then whisk in flour to make roux. once roux has turned into a light brown color, whisk in milk or cream. keep stirring until it turns into a cream sauce. remove from heat and add parmesan cheese. season with s&p.

in a large bowl, mix together hot pasta, cauliflower, sausage, cream sauce and s&p. serve immediately and enjoy. yum for your tum?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

never too early

it's might be bit early but i'm feeling rather jolly today.

too soon to be thinking about christmas cards? i think not. rather, i believe it is completely normal if christmas is on your mind 365 days a year.


have
a favorite?
because i surely do.
i'm really hearting the 'hi' card.
might just have to scoop them up.
please expect yours to arrive in a short 66 days.
yes, a very short 66 days that will be here before you know it.
cheers for christmas.
it's just so close.




(photo credit - keepcalmgallery.com)

three wishes

i have three wishes on this blustery, chilly nyc morning.


1. i wish my closet was full of all these dainty, girly, delicate, precious blouses

2. i wish all of the clothes in my closet hung on those super-cushy, super-soft, super-elegant hangers. the monochromatic plastic white ones just aren't doing it for me anymore (and yes, every single one is white and plastic because otherwise, it would create stress in my life)

3. i wish it was warm enough to take one of those d, g, d, p blouses off a s-c, s-s, s-e hanger head out into the warm sunshine.
if you have warmth and sunshine out your window and a similar blouse in your closet for me to borrow today, please invite me over. hope your tuesday starting off a bit warmer than mine.
(photo credit - audreyhepburncomplex.tumblr.com)

Monday, October 19, 2009

ready to rsvp...

i've been waiting for miss martha herself to invite me to her house (i mean houses), for some time now. but it seems my invitation keeps getting lost in the mail. little does she know, i discovered these images and have made myself right at home in both maine and connecticut.

instant gratification for now. much appreciated inspiration for later.


one day, she will come to her senses and have me over for that cup of tea and charming conversation.




(photo credits - marthastewart.com, themarthablog.com)