A passion for food + fashion

Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

First Tomato of Summer!

In Food on July 31, 2009 at 10:46 am

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Here is the first of our ‘Big Zebra’ tomatoes in the garden. There are several more nearing imperfect perfection, as well as some ‘Black Cherry’ tomatoes. But for this big beauty, we simply cracked a little salt and pepper, some chopped purple basil from the garden, and drizzled just a splash of aged balsamic. And then enjoyed alongside a roasted chicken dipped in a little dijon. Summer simplicity at its best.

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Yes, You Want to Make This

In Food on July 30, 2009 at 8:27 am

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Anytime you see a recipe by Jeanne Kelley—whether it’s her cookbook Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes, in the pages of Bon Appétit or Cooking Light magazines, or on her Eat Fresh blog—make it. A few nights ago we tried these Pork Chops with Chiles Rellenos and Ancho Sauce from the August issue of Bon Appétit, and had our friends Booth and Adam over for dinner. The four of us are serious chiles rellenos freaks, and have together spent marg-fueled nights devouring hop-the-next-flight-they’re-that-good rellenos at the Sayulita Café in Mexico. But I digress. For this recipe, both the chiles and pork are done on the grill, which is a lot less work than going the whole battered and fried route w/ the rellenos, and certainly a hell of lot time efficient than traveling to Mexico. We also had some leftover potato filling from these rellenos, which we used the next night for potato tacos.

Here’s the potato filling, couldn’t be easier. Essentially boiled Yukon Gold potatoes, toasted cumin seeds, fresh oregano (which is growing out of control in the back yard—how do I prune that stuff?), and sharp white cheddar. Like I said, great in a tortilla the next day.

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Before grilling, you do have to roast the chiles over an open flame, and then you stuff with the above mixture and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Then transfer the foil and chiles directly onto the grill.

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Oh, and a word about the pork. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’ll take my pork chop with nothing more than a little cracked salt and pepper on it—particularly if we’re talking Heritage Foods chops. But this recipe proves an exception—the chile powder and salt rub is fantastic, and that ancho sauce sublime.

What the Hell, Food Bloggers?

In Film, Food, Media on July 29, 2009 at 8:17 pm
Julie Powell: A force to be reckoned with! Photo via juliepowell.blogspot.com

Julie Powell: A force to be reckoned with! Photo via juliepowell.blogspot.com

Today, Gawker had a great item called “Prissy Food Bloggers Hate Food Blogger Movie,” which has generated a LOT of traffic back to my own hopefully minimally prissy pseudo-food blog, thanks to Gawker reader “snugbug” who linked to an item my friend Sorina wrote about foodie beach reads a few weeks ago. I’m in snugbug’s camp when it comes to Julie Powell’s writing prowess, and so wanted to add my unsolicited two cents to the debate, because I’ve had the pleasure of working with Powell, who is about as unprissy as they come. (Amy Adams, who portrays her in the movie, is another story for another time. Who has that kind of energy??) The debate seems to stem around whether or not Julie Powell has the chops to cook. I would venture that a recent post on her blog featuring the above photo of Powell wielding a small knife with which she has boned an entire pork leg while wearing a “don’t fuck with the cook” apron should help to silence her detractors.

But back to those who somehow feel like Powell has maligned Child’s memory, isn’t the original premise of Powell’s brilliant blog project the very essence of Julia Child? Here is one of my all-time favorite quotes, as sort of a metaphor for life, and yes, it happens to come from Julia Child:

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”—Julia Child

Kudos to you, Julie, and to your what-the-hell attitude. Even though I’ll probably have to pop a valium after 122 minutes of Amy Adams squealing, I can’t wait to see your story on the big screen!

Missing the Marc, Beau-Coupe

In Design, Drink on July 29, 2009 at 8:41 am

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Last night, we celebrated some good news from my husband’s work with a bottle of 2002 Deutz Rosé Champagne (a gift when Tiny G was born last summer), which we enjoyed in these pretty Champagne coupes we got as a wedding present. They are the Elizabeth pattern from the Marc Jacobs for Waterford collection, a pattern which we ultimately selected because my mother-in-law’s name is Elisabeth. We love them. A lot.

We only use the coupes on special occasions, like last night. And so, when I started this blog post, I was going to talk about how gorgeous the crystal is with cut floral patterns and the pretty raspberry and cherry flavors in the salmon-pink Deutz. But then when I went to link to the coupes, I discovered these heart-wrenching words on Waterford’s site: “THIS IS A RETIRED PATTERN. REMAINING STOCK IS AVAILABLE FOR SALE, FOR A LIMITED TIME.”

I’m gutted. So, panicked, we ordered a few more coupes and are hoping to round out what we still need little by little before it’s all gone.

Plum Cobbler with Crème Fraîche Biscuit Topping

In Food, Recipes on July 28, 2009 at 8:02 am

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The plums at farmer’s market the past couple weeks have been insane! My husband loves cobbler, particularly classic peach, and while I’m up for it every once in a while, usually it skews too sweet. Which is why I LOVE this plum rendition from the Jimtown Store Cookbook. The topping is made from cornmeal biscuits with a sweet-savory note. I am quite simply crazy about this recipe.

Plum Cobbler with Crème Fraîche Biscuit Topping

Adapted from the Jimtown Store Cookbook to serve 4-6

BISCUIT TOPPING

3/4 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 stick unsalted butter, chilled & cut into 1/2-inch peaches

4 ounces crème fraîche

FILLING

1 1/2 lbs plums, pitted and sliced (about 3 1/2 cups fruit)

1/2 cup, plus one teaspoon sugar

1/8 cup quick-cooking tapioca

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground mace

1/4 cup whipping cream, plus 1 tablespoon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a small (1 quart) gratin dish. To make biscuits, sift flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium size bowl. Add butter and and using a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour until bits are pea-sized. Add the crème fraîche and stir until moistened. Gather dough into a ball and gently knead 5 or 6 times in a bowl.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. With a 2-1/2-inch cutter, form 10 biscuits. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare filling.

For filling, in a large bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, cinnamon and mace.

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Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Spoon fruit and juices into the prepared bowl. Drizzle 1/4 cup  of cream over fruit.

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Brush tops of the biscuits with remaining tablespoon of cream and sprinkle with teaspoon sugar. Place the biscuits on top of the cream/fruit mixture.

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Bake cobbler for 10 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake until biscuits are golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 10 minutes. Remove cobbler from oven and allow to cool on rack for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm.

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Skirting the Issue

In Fashion on July 27, 2009 at 11:20 pm

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My sister-in-law Kate is the queen of looking good in workout gear. While we were all together in Vermont last month, she broke out a series of great-looking running skirts. (It doesn’t hurt that she is in perfect shape.) My favorite of her skirts was from Lululemon, a company that manufactures athletic gear with a near-cult following. Taking a page out of Kate’s book—the chapter where I crib her workout wardrobe, not her 8.5-minute miles—I recently purchased from the Beverly Hills boutique the above Run Speed Skirt*R, which features sassy box pleats across the rear and a super comfy built-in hot pants liner with glittery silicon bands in the legs to keep the liner from riding up. (Btw, Lululemon website is sold out of the black/pink floral, as they were in the Portland, Oregon, boutique but they still have a few in Beverly Hills.)

I wore this skirt for an inaugural run last week in the Dundee Hills and although I was ready to drop dead from the near 100-degree temps, this running skirt gave me the edge to keep going—uphill. I mean, yes, it looks great on (very flattering) but it is also very functional and comfortable. Get one. It’s worth the, gulp, $52.

Picture Perfect Portland

In Drink, Food, Out of Town on July 26, 2009 at 10:08 pm

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I’ve been in the Willamette Valley since Thursday for work—and no WiFi—so apologies for the unexpected silence. (Above, some unripe Pinot Noir from a red clay “jory” soil vineyard in the Dundee Hills.) But I’m back after spending a totally great afternoon today in Portland with my friend and colleague Nancy Rommelmann. First stop was at Ristretto Roasters, where I picked up some Sumatra Sidikalang Tamu Jamu beans after sampling a cup over a debate on ethics in journalism with Nancy.

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After, we moved next door for a shrimp po’ boy at EaT: An Oyster Bar, which totally hit the spot, but for some reason I didn’t take a photo. Perhaps I was too embroiled in a conversation about husbands we love (ie, our own). Then I bid the lovely Nancy adieu, and headed to the Pearl District for some gelato at Mio Gelato. I sampled the seasonal red plum but was feeling less virtuous so ordered a “bambino” of dolce di latte.

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What a day—beautiful blue skies, sunshine—a perfect afternoon for spending a few relaxing hours in Portland.

Tuesday Night in Thai Town

In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on July 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm

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So the neighbors can’t be too happy about the fact that a stretch limo dropped off a bunch of seriously happy and chatty customers in front of our house late last night. Our friend Amy was in town from Las Vegas and we all went out on the town—Thai Town, that is—with Chef Jet Tila from the Wynn Encore’s Wazuzu, who is in town filming at his dad’s Bangkok Market on Melrose this week. So last night Jet took us on a tour of Thai Town, and our first stop was Yai Restaurant in a Hollywood strip mall, next to a 7-11. First order of business, a round of Thai beer.

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Then Jet ordered some of his favorites representing different regions of Thailand.

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Here are just a few, but by no means all, of the dishes we tried. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite, the steamed red curry with seafood (squid, shrimp, scallops, crab, mussels). It’s wrapped in foil, much like Jiffy Pop! It is without doubt, the most exciting dish I’ve tasted in recent memory. Definitely order this.

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You’ll also want to get some of the crab steamed rice:

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The fried catfish with green apple salad (secret ingredient: pickled garlic) was incredible:

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As was the authentic pad thai, extra spicy.

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There was also wild boar with red curry, Chinese broccoli with crispy pork belly, fried trout, and much more. Yet somehow we managed to make our way over to Ban Kanom Thai for dessert. It’s a bakery and sweets shop, with homemade ice cream and all manner of enticing pastries and Thai sweets. It’s open until 2 am, and even 10:30 pm on a week night it was pretty hopping. The aroma when you walk through the door is incredible.

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Check out this insane coconut pudding with taro. Reeeeeally good.

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And these sweet “tacos”…

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My friend Booth (another partner in crime last night) and I are already planning a repeat attack. Seriously amazing food, and even better company. Thanks, Amy and Jet!!!

One Word: Plastics

In Design, Fashion on July 21, 2009 at 7:33 am

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Yesterday on facebook, I noticed that my super style-y friend and photographer Sharon Suh had changed her profile pic. The above shows her standing on a painter’s canvas at a home that once belonged to Elaine de Kooning. Quick diversion, how great is this Timothy Greenfield-Sanders photo of de Kooning, circa 1980?

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Obviously, I became immediately obsessed with Sharon’s shoes and as soon as she messaged back that they were Melissa Plastic Dreams, I was on it. Imagine my glee when I discovered that Vivienne Westwood had designed several shoes for the line? I jumped on these Melissa Ultragirl III peep-toe numbers designed by Ms Westwood. I had to given that Saks had one pair left—and IN MY SIZE. Also, they’re manufactured in a sustainable way, with practically zero waste. Do you think that line of defense will fly when I attempt to justify the purchase to my husband?

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Gjelina in Venice

In Baby Love, Design, Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on July 20, 2009 at 5:50 pm

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This weekend Tiny G and I hit Abbot Kinney to meet Tiny G’s doppelgänger HRM and his mom, Andrea, for brunch at Gjelina. First off, the staff there is the bomb. Couldn’t be friendlier, and Tiny G definitely had eyes for ladies at the front of the house. I had eyes for the chickpea stew with Israeli couscous, spiced yogurt and harissa:

IMG_2964Though, seriously, get a load of what Andrea ordered. La Quercia speck with fried eggs, arugula and lemon. Next time I am all over it:

IMG_2963After a couple of mimosas we stopped in next door at Parker Pettit, where Tiny G picked up some Yo My Booties blue suede moccasins like his friend HRM was wearing:

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And then we walked down to see my friend Andy, who is the “A” in the A+R Store, which was hopping! I am slightly obsessed with this porcelain Wellington boot vase I saw there from Czech designer Maxim Velčovský. Do I need one??? I think maybe yes…

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