Monday, November 30, 2009

easy as 1, 2, 3: oven-roasted tilapia with couscous and warm tomato vinaigrette

remember that time ago, when we talked about all those tomatoes we had and the meals i had planned?  my guess is probably not, seeing that it was two weeks ago.  anywho, i got this recipe from cooking light and only changed things up a tiny bit.

i was pleased the way this turned out.  the warm tomatoes gave a great flavor contrast to the tilapia and the israeli couscous served as the perfect bed to soak up all the leftover juices.  here's how i did it.

2 garlic cloves
1 cup tomato, chopped
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
2/3 cup israeli couscous
1 cup chicken stock
4 tilapia filets
8 lemon slices
parsley, for garnish

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  season fish with evoo and s&p.  lay two lemon slices on each piece of fish and cook for 20 minutes.

in another saucepan, combine couscous with evoo and cook for 5 minutes.  add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

add evoo and garlic to another skillet over medium-high heat.  add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.  remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and s&p.

to plate this dish, place a heaping spoon full of couscous on plate.  place fish on top of that.  scoop 1/4 of tomato sauce over fish, letting is drip down the sides.  garnish with parsley and you're done. super easy.

giving thanks

i wanted to give a big thank you to my friend kim and her boyfriend david for giving me the best gift of all this holiday season - 3 pound wedge of jarlsberg cheese.  david found the entire wheel mis-priced at harris teeter for only $7.  lucky for me, david is a pale and believes us pales should stick together and handed over some.

i immediately knew that i wanted to whip up some cheese fondue with this decadent treat as a thanksgiving appetizer.  i served it with sourdough bread, broccoli, cauliflower and chunks of salami.  needless to say, there wasn't much left over to take any pictures.

thanks again.  loves ya both.

Monday, November 23, 2009


last year, i got one of these gals for christmas from one my dearest gals.  such a great gift.  and i use it all the time.  until the end of november, they are offering all customers a 20% discount on their order. just enter the discount code THANKYOU in the shopping cart. it's good for all products on their site. happy gifting or maybe, happy shopping.

(photo credit

the key to stress free

yep, they're everywhere but i love it.  such a good little life motto.

can you guess which one is in my home sweet home?

get yours here or other great 'keep calm and carry on' collectibles here

(photo credits -,,,,,,

Friday, November 20, 2009

amor for dior

i watch too much tv and i see a lot of commericals. most get old...but i can't get enough of this commerical.  as soon as it comes on, the giggly grin pops across my face, my eyes widen with excitement, and i do a little prancy dance in my seat.  i know...i get my kicks in rare places these days.

i just adore everything about it. 
and these are the few of my favorite things...all captured by dior in the promo.

balloons, dessert treats, whimsical bedrooms, rosy lips, hopeful fountains, peonies, a winding staircase, cat-eye sunglasses, french girl riding a bicylcle, french girl riding a bike wearing cat-eye sunglasses, and party dresses. oh bless!

and there's more.

(photo credits -,,

surprise! grilled chicken with goat cheese cream sauce

i love surprises. i really do. and this week i got a really pleasant one. after being stuck in traffic for 1+ hours, i walked into cotton top, opened the door and smelt the aroma of goat cheese melting. peg decided to give me a break and cooked up wednesday night's meal all by herself. the recipe was from real simple and it was delicious and heavenly. here's how she did it.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
4 ounces soft goat cheese

using a rolling pin, pound the chicken between 2 sheets of wax paper until they are of uniform thickness. heat the oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers and the garlic browns. don't burn the garlic or you'll have to start over. add the chicken breasts and cook until golden, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. add the salt, pepper, chicken broth, thyme, and lemon zest. cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 3 minutes longer or until the chicken is fork-tender. remove the chicken to a platter and keep warm. increase heat to high and boil the sauce until thickened or syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes. whisk in the goat cheese and pour the sauce over the chicken.  i added a little parsley over the top to finish off the dish.

side note: the sauce was a little grainy, but i think that is because we did not buy the best of the best goat cheese.  if you want to make the dish even more tasty, i would splurge for the higher-end brand of goat cheese, something really creamy.

kate(s) love new york

kate spade is giving away a nyc getaway.
it's the last day to try your luck.
a free trip to nyc.
a visit with me.

(photo credit -

'say yes to the dress??'

every morning, i visit j.crew.  for those who know me very well, know i'm not joking around. 

e v e r y   m o r n i n g.

but i really never get too far past the sale section.  however, with a few new engagements popping up lately, i thought i'd check out the wedding section. this morning, j.crew's 2010 spring wedding lookbook was waiting for me. i flipped through and to cut to the chase - j.crew does it again with the bridesmaid dresses but the actual wedding dresses get a big, fat 'wahhh wahhh.' no dice, bridies.

all i see is princess leia in this one

now here is an assymetrical dress i can get down with.  oh and the girly lace!

i'm sure this bride imagined wearing a parachute down the aisle

mi amor the haphazard bowtie detail

in 2000, i think a few friends wore this gal to our senior prom

the pleats pull you all the right places. necklace is a must too

yeah, no, not doing it for me either.

the classic bridesmaid dress.  and the neutral color palette that this dress comes in...i die.

ok, so i loved one.  it's the pearls. gets me everytime.

on a sidebar...

miss ashley clark -
can't wait to say 'yes to the dress' tomorrow. i'll bring my own box of tissues to kleinfeld's.

miss kerri escobedo -
living my dream. engaged one night and off to paris the next day. ohhh, to be you!

(photo credits -

Thursday, November 19, 2009

ariba, ariba: chorizo quesadillas with fresh salsa and stuffed tomatoes

earlier this week, i whipped up these tasty quesadillas for the fam.  i used chorizo sausage to spice things up and made a quick homemade salsa to cool things down.  i've made these stuffed tomatoes before - they are a good go-to recipe whenever you're cooking up some mexi flavors.  there are no real measurements for this recipe, because it all depends on your preference and how much heat you like.

chorizo sausage, removed from castings and browned
cheddar cheese
velvetta cheese

combine tomatoes, garlic, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and s&p in food processor.  pulse for a few seconds until it all comes together.  in a medium sauce pan melt velvetta cheese and half of salsa mixture until it turns into a creamy concoction. heat grill pan or large skillet over medium low heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  spread velvetta cheese all over tortilla, just until you reach the end.  add chorizo and top with cheddar cheese.  fold in half and cook on each side for about 5-6 minutes until the cheesy has melted and the sides are brown.  top with sour cream and the homemade salsa!  and there you have it - mexican in a flash.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

lilly love

it's been awhile since i broke out the lilly pulitzer but every so often, the pink and green and cutesy critters  get me.  it may be a little too early to be think about bikinis (i certianly could use a few months off) but well done, lilly.  just darling for the girly girl in all of us.

and it's MIX and it.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

this week in the kitchen

here's what we got going on this week at cotton top.  you'll notice this week's menu incorporates a lot of tomatoes.  our grandma hand picked a bushel of tomatoes in north carolina a couple of weeks ago and graciously left an entire basket for us!

tuesday: chorizo quesadillas with fresh salsa and stuffed tomatoes
wednesday: lemon chicken with goat cheese sauce
thursday: oven-roasted halibut with couscous and warm tomato vinaigrette
friday: potato chip crusted chicken and cheesy grits (at meagan's request)

(photo credits

66 percent: sausage and zucchini pasta and sesame ginger steak with scallion rice

that ain't so bad right?  if it were a test grade, i would hate myself.  but luckily, the number i'm referring to is actually the percentage of meals i made last week versuses the the number of meals i had planned to make.  no excuses really, except that ton bribed us with bonefish one of the nights - its really hard to turn down that firecracker shrimp.

the first night i was going to make chorizo and zucchini pasta, but ended up using andouille instead.  this type of sausage is predominately used in cajun cooking, has a unique smoky flavor and gets its reddish tint from spices such as paprika and cayenne pepper.  this dish turned out great and i don't believe there were any leftovers.  i followed the recipe almost exactly, except i probably added a little more cheese then needed.

the second recipe i planned to make was sesame ginger steak with scallion rice.  this was one of those week night meals that came together in a flash and required no real culinary skills. (i've talked about the scallion rice before - click on the link for the recipe.)

1 lb flank steak, cut into strips
8oz water chestnuts, sliced
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into thirds
2 carrots, cut into strips
1/2 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves
3/4 cup lawry's sesame ginger marinade
2 tablespoons of canola oil
soy sauce, to taste

heat oil up in large wok and add steak and cook for about 4 minutes.  add rest of vegetables and cook for another 5 minutes, just until vegetables began to soften.  add marinade for the last 2 minutes and season with soy sauce.  serve on top of garlic scallion rice and you've got yourself a quick asian sensation.

forgot to take pictures of the final results.  when we're hungry, we're hungry.
no time to take pictures.
(photo credits -

UPDATE: apparently, i did take pictures and forgot.  enjoy :)

forget me knot

how precious. a dainty bowtie for any one of your little fingers.

in gold or silver.
and it reminds me of my sweet lor.

(photo credits -

Thursday, November 12, 2009

inspector gadget: part 2

it happens to all of us.  we're at a cocktail party.  one hand holds a bubbly glass of champagne.  the other holds a delicious hors d’oeuvre.  no table is in sight, we're trying to be social with the other guests and we can't seem to balance eating and drinking.  before we know it, wine has spilled down our silk dress and the hors d’oeuvre has become a flavor-savor on our chin.

no need to worry anymore.  these foodie geniuses have created food plates for your fingers.  it slips on like a ring and will hold any delectable treat.  be sure to snatch these up for the holiday season.  you'll look like a graceful eater and you'll be the topic of conversation.

(photo credits -