A passion for food + fashion

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Tomboy Style Q & A

In Design, Drink, Fashion, Food, Media on December 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm

lizzie garrett mettlerYou know how awesome it is when great things happen to great people? Meet the extraordinarily talented Lizzie Garrett Mettler, creator of the ultra-chic Tomboy Style blog and the smashing book of the same name, and—according this year’s September Vogue—inspiration for J. Crew’s fall collection. For reals. She is also one of my favorite people and mixer of mean cocktails, maker of perfect salads with shallots two ways and, of course, always the best accessorized girl in the room. I hope you enjoy this end-of-year peek into Lizzie’s closet and fridge… See you all in 2013!

What was the inspiration for Tomboy Style?

I felt like there wasn’t a blog out there that really spoke to my style, so I decided to start it myself. I remember realizing that there was a shift in the word “tomboy,” its meaning seemed to be in a transitional phase; growing up I thought of it as a pejorative word, now it’s come to mean something entirely different, especially when paired with the word chic or style.

Can you describe your design aesthetic? 

Not well. I definitely like a mixture of periods. I hate this word, but I guess I’d have to say it’s “eclectic.”

Your girliest moment?

I can get REALLY into table settings.

What piece of clothing or accessory in your wardrobe is in heaviest rotation right now?

My new Mrs. P Hicks canoe boots.

mrsphicks

What five things will we always find in your closet?

Striped t-shirts
light weight scarves
Tretorn Nylites
I think I just counted that I have nine chambray shirts (yikes).
a photo of my husband

madewell

What five things will we always find in your refrigerator?

Lillet
capers
ginger
beer
baking soda

kina-lillet-vintage-poster-europe

First song played at your wedding? 

With a Girl Like You by The Troggs (wait, Heather, you don’t recall that from memory!?)

[EDITOR'S NOTE: After the fireworks, things got a little hazy...]

the-troggs-with-a-girl-like-you-hansa

Favorite movie?

Hard to pick one. I’ve seen Casino Royale and The Graduate a lot of times.

Last book you read…

Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem (essays), a gift from Julia Leach the designer and creative director of Chance

Slouching-Towards-Bethlehem

Favorite drink?

Michelada

Five things you always bring on vacation…

Foldable Ray-Ban wayfarers
an L.L.Bean tote with zip-top
Swatch Watch
The latest issue of
The Gentlewoman magazine
Lavender essential oil—it calms, treats minor cuts or bites, helps induce sleep, and can act as a room fragrance. Plus, the bottles are always TSA-friendly.

Favorite piece of luggage?

T. Anothony 1-suiter

lizzieluggage

Photo of Lizzie, top, by John Konkal.

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

In Food, Recipes on December 27, 2012 at 9:43 am

mashed potato pancake

 

It’s a toss up between Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for my favorite family meal of the year. For Christmas we start off with caviar and smoked trout and then move into a prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and mashed potatoes, followed by trifle. Go big, or go home. For the mashed potatoes I’m giddy when we’ve made enough to use for leftover mashed potato pancakes. My dad puts chives in his mashed potatoes, but if yours are without, do add some fresh chives to the pancake batter. Or, for a cheesy option, sprinkle some grated pecorino into the mix. These savory pancakes can be sweetened up for kiddie appetites with a spoonful of applesauce, though I prefer them with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

Makes 8 pancakes

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

2 eggs

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter

crème fraîche or applesauce, optional, to garnish

batter

In a bowl, mix together mashed potatoes, eggs, flour and salt and pepper until smooth. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and using a 1/4 cup measure drop batter into 8 rounds into the pan and flatten slightly with spatula. (Depending on size of skillet, you may need to do this in two batches.)

batterskillet

 

Fry pancakes about 4 minutes until bottoms are golden and crispy, and then flip with spatula. Fry an additional 4-5 minutes until crispy and golden. Drain on paper towels and serve with either crème fraîche or applesauce.

potato pancakes

The Elf on the Shelf

In Drink on December 23, 2012 at 9:46 am

elfcocktail

This year, there was something missing from our annual holiday. More than one guest remarked on it. One even got a little upset. WHERE ARE THE CRABBIES???? I’ve had them on the brain ever since their noticeable absence earlier this month. And so, Lizzie—the creator of these little bites of crabby crack—brought over a tray of Crabbies last night and we broke out the bourbon. I was really in the mood for a good bourbon champagne punch, and inspired by my favorite brown liquor cocktail, the Manhattan, I accidentally created my new favorite cocktail, which Lizzie christened the Elf on a Shelf. Careful, these go down a little too easy if you know what I mean, and I kind of feel like this guy might have tattled on me to Santa last night.

elfontheshelf

Elf on a Shelf Cocktail

Makes 8 drinks

1/2 cup bourbon

3 tablespoons agave nectar

1 teaspoon Fee Brothers orange bitters

1 bottle champagne or sparkling wine

8 Luxardo cherries

Mix bourbon, agave nectar and bitters in a glass measuring cup. Fill 8 wine glasses with ice, and pour one ounce (or two tablespoons) of the bourbon mixture in each glass. Top with champagne and add a Luxardo cherry.

fees orange bitters

Cookie Magic

In Food, Recipes on December 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t bake. It’s a well-known fact for regular visitors to this blog. And so you can imagine how overjoyed I was that this month’s theme for cooking club was a cookie exchange! When I think cookie perfection, immediately my friend Christine comes to mind. You may remember this plate of gorgeous cookies she left on my doorstep last Christmas. The woman has mad skills.

cookiesAnd so I took a page out of Christine’s ever pitch perfect book, and made a batch of White Christmas Dream Drops for last night’s cookie swap. They are heavenly bites of meringue, studded with white chocolate chips and crushed peppermint candy canes. They are exquisite. Better yet, even I can make them and they were a hit at cooking club. Take a look at the competition:

cookies

If I can get my hands on the recipes from the other girls, I will definitely share because they were all awesome. In the meantime, here’s the recipe for the dream drops. Before starting, make sure your eggs are at room temperature and that your oven is preheated. Otherwise, they’re a snap.

White Chocolate Dream Drops

Recipe from Sunset Magazine, December 2011

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup white chocolate chips

1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp. coarsely crushed peppermint candies

Preheat oven to 250° F.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a deep bowl with a mixer, using whisk attachment if you have one, just until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and salt. With motor running and mixer on high speed, pour in 1 tbsp. sugar and beat 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat until all sugar has been added. Scrape inside of bowl and beat another 15 seconds. At this point, meringue should form straight peaks when beaters are lifted. Fold in chocolate chips and 1/3 cup candies with a flexible spatula.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, using a bit of meringue at corners as glue. Using a soup spoon, drop meringue in rounded 1-tbsp. portions slightly apart onto sheets, scraping off with another spoon. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. candies.

dreamdrops

Bake until meringues feel dry and set when touched but are still pale, 30 to 35 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through. Turn off oven, open door, and let cookies stand about 10 minutes. Let cool on pans. Store in airtight container for up to two days, though I doubt they will last that long.

dreamdrops3

 

Sisters of Los Angeles

In Design, Drink, Fashion, Food on December 15, 2012 at 11:22 am

SOLApencilsHere’s a smart idea. If you want something done, ask someone who’s busy. If you want something done well, ask three working women with kids. Such is the story of SoLA—Sisters of Los Angeles—founded by architect Barbara Bestor, designer Karen Alweil, and fashion publicist Sara Stein, all of whom are moms. This summer, the trio launched their colorful SoLA collection of groovy goods, which highlight those places most sacred to Angelenos—neighborhoods, canyons, beaches and, yes, our freeways—and L.A. design at its best, or what Bestor describes as “Southern California nature and street culture, kustom kars, Ed Ruscha sunsets, Griffith Park flora, printed materials blown up.”

It’s all so, so good! Scroll down for a Q&A with the stylish sisters, but first my picks for any last-minute holiday shopping on your list. You can find SoLA’s goods at Kitson, Ron Robinson – Fred Segal, The Getty, MOCA, The Downtown Library, Venokado, Firefly in Venice, and Yolk.

SOLAcanyon glassesI love these Canyon Rocks Glasses, handmade in Los Angeles using organic ink. Or how about Santa using one of these oversized Hollywood totes to deliver presents this year?

SOLAbagIf I were Santa, I’d skip the milk and cookies and hope that a plateful of SoLA’s gorgeous Valerie Confections Chocolate Candy Bars (particularly the dark cherry and chocolate, available at Venokado in Santa Monica and West Hollywood) had been left by the mantle with a wee dram of Talisker…

SOLAchocolate

How did SoLA begin?

Barbara: I had lunch with Sara and Karen at Little Dom’s and we had a lot of iced tea and got very excited and that was that!

Favorite Los Angeles canyon?

Sara: I love Runyon Canyon—it is a place for people and their dogs (I have two rescues LUKE & LEIA). And just like all the best places in LA., you never know who you might see. But Beachwood is near & dear to my heart. I escaped there after a bad breakup—it is a place to disappear and redefine yourself.

Barbara: Elysian Park

Karen: Too hard to pick just one. Mailbu for the beach. Laurel reminds me of my childhood. Benedict because it is so much fun to drive and explore.

What piece of clothing or accessory is in heaviest rotation right now?

Sara: Saltwater Sandals & Superga Sneakers & Rachel Loren earrings my husband gave me.

earrings-large-disc-stud

Barbara: Roman Kremer for Camper wedges, Isabel Marant zipper jacket

camper wedges

Karen: Grey Blazer from Uniqlo, Rachel Comey wedges and an FFS necklace

ffs vulcanite necklace

What five things will we always find in your closet?

Sara: Muji Striped Sweater, Odd Molly tops, Matta dresses, Madewell t-shirts & white denim (I never met a white jean I did not like)

madewell t-shirt

Barbara: fancy tshirts black, fancy tshirts navy blue, black jeans, leather bracelet, dark jackets

Karen: dark denim jeans, Matta dresses, blazers, always in search of the perfect t-shirt and always a pair of platforms

mattadress

What five things will we always find in your refrigerator?

Sara: Manchego cheese, 1% organic milk, red grapes, my mom’s salad dressing, Fage yogurt with honey

Barbara: sharp cheddar, avocados, 2%milk, iced decaf coffee—homemade, apples

Karen: Salami, salami, cheese, more cheese—stinkier the better, and iced tea

Favorite piece of luggage?

Sara: my husband is the traveler so I steal from him whatever I can

Barbara: Clare Vivier leather travel bag (actually I don’t have one yet but I ASPIRE to have one, in navy blue, and then I can be fabulous).

clare vivier duffle

Karen: Flight 001 Spacepaks

spacepak

Five things you always bring on vacation…

Sara: My children Noah & Maggie, the game Apples to Apples, my iPad, Dr. Robin Sun Screen (for the kids and me), my running shoes

sunscreen_for_children_thumb_large

Barbara: Bea and Charlotte—my teen queens, books, tennis stuff, too much weight in my suitcase

Karen: My husband Daniel, my son Gabriel, music, ipad, magazines and of course too many shoes

SoLA iPad cases, image via apartmenttherapy.com

SoLA iPad cases at YOLK, image via apartmenttherapy.com

Favorite cocktail?

Sara: Hitching Post “Cork Dancer” Pinot Noir

Barbara: vodka soda or maybe a dark and stormy if I am on Block Island

Karen: Kettel one straight up with a twist

i love l.a. because…

Sara: I can BBQ my Thanksgiving turkey in shorts and a t-shirt! (and I do it every year as you know with my dad’s Red River BBQ Sauce)

Barbara: it is the funnest place to live and the most creative place I know.

Karen: It’s home and the most beautiful and inspiring place all year long

Ginvent Calendar

In Drink on December 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Ginvent2

It’s 12.12.12, which means that we are halfway through our advent calendars. For many of us, like my four-year-old son, advent calendars look a lot like this faux chalet, below, that I got at Barneys years ago, hiding See’s foil-wrapped milk chocolates (I’m a California girl, after all) behind each door.

advent calendar barneys

 

If you’re like me, your advent calendar looks a little more exciting. It looks like the most GENIUS present you may have ever received in your life. A GINVENT CALENDAR! Last month, my friend Missy Suicide bestowed me with this inspired and splashy gift of 24 3cl bottles of top-shelf gin. Each evening after the boys have gone to bed, I’ve opened up the day’s door to discover a little splash of gin for a nightcap gin & tonic. Day One started off with a familiar favorite:

GinventHendricks

But best of all, I’ve made some fun new artisanal discoveries, as well as revisiting a couple of forgotten stalwarts. Here are Days 6-12:

ginvent6thru12

 

Can’t wait to unlock the remaining 12 as we countdown to Christmas. And for those of you still searching for that perfect gift for the gin loving lady (or gent) in your life, you can thank me—and Missy Suicide—later. First, gin up.

 

 

Stuck-Up Duck

In Food, Recipes on December 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

duck

Last night my sister came over to help trim the tree. She brought the eggnog; I roasted a duck. I wanted to try using our cousin Klee’s Stuck-Up Rhubarb Bing Cherry Jam as a glaze. Let me stop here. I know he’s my cousin, but even if we weren’t blood related, I would still tell you that his jams are INCREDIBLE. There are just a few jars left of this current batch on Etsy, so I apologize if by the time you read this it’s all sold out.

stuck-up jams rhubarb bing

I have a feeling Stuck-Up Duck is going to become an instant family tradition—it smells heavenly while roasting and is the perfect festive sustenance for trimming the tree. Here’s the recipe. It’s very simple. If you wanted to get fancy, you could heat the preserves in a small saucepan with a tablespoon of Grand Marnier and stir until smooth, but I just spread the preserves directly on the bird in the interest of time.

STUCK-UP DUCK

5 pound roasting duck

1 small onion, peeled and quartered

1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Salt + pepper, to taste

1/4 cup Stuck-Up Rhubarb Bing Cherry Preserves

Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Remove giblets and neck from inside the duck and discard (or give to your little sister, Claire, who likes to fry up giblets in butter and enjoy with a glass of Pinot Noir). Pat dry inside and outside of bird. Place in roasting pan and stuff with fresh rosemary and onion. Tress legs with kitchen string. Liberally salt and pepper outside of duck, and roast in oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and pierce skin with a fork all over. Lower heat to 350. Spread preserves over duck. Return to oven and continue to roast another 1 1/2 to 2 hours until crisp and brown (a total roasting time of about 2 1/4 hours).

Happy trimming!

christmas tree

All I Want for Christmas: Wreath Edition

In Design, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on December 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

wreath

This is the wreath I *really* want for Christmas, and like all good things this one comes to those who wait. Moon Canyon Design‘s gorgeous designs, like the wreath above, will be on sale at the Echo Park Craft Fair on December 15 & 16. Maybe I’ll get this one below for my friend Lizzie as a special thank you for introducing me to Moon Canyon Design in the first place. Plus, I have it on good authority that Lizzie has been extra nice this year. (Which is probably how Santa Claus arranged for her to be featured in the September issue of VOGUE.)

mooncanyondesignwreath

 

In the meantime, both Lizzie and I will have to settle for the lovely boxwood wreaths we scored yesterday morning downtown at the L.A. Flower Mart. I love Lizzie’s repurposed coal bag from San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co.—perfect for toting wreaths or beer.

SFVbag

 

Here’s mine hanging in all its understated glory. Let’s not break it just yet that a replacement might be on its way…

boxwoodwreath

 

Plum Delicious

In Food on December 2, 2012 at 10:27 am

I just got my shipment of small-batch Stuck-Up Jams, which are AWESOME and made by my chef cousin, Klee. There are just a few jars left on Etsy, which would make great hostess gifts for the holidays. My very favorite is the tart Santa Rosa Red Plum jam, which I like to spread on whole grain toast with butter and a sprinkling of salt.

Stuck Up Santa Rosa Red Plum Jam

For apricot jam lovers, the Apricot Clove is divine. Tonight I’m riffing off an old technique that my butcher taught me when I lived in Paris in my early 20s. I used to mix marmalade with a dollop of spicy dijon mustard, and spread over a small roasting chicken. I’m thinking the apricot clove will be a delicious stand-in for the marmalade. Chef Klee says he also uses the tart plum jam for a glaze on duck or pork, which sounds like a perfect plan for dinner tomorrow night.

 

Take Me Home for the Holidays!

In Design, Food on December 1, 2012 at 10:21 am

strata

This morning my husband and I got up in the wee hours to finish baking two Goat Cheese & Prosciutto Stratas for the Larchmont Charter West bake sale, organized by my cooking club amigas Carrie and Jessica, whose children go to school to there. (An aside: It’s a little intimidating to be cooking for a school bake sale at which Suzanne Goin is also a parent, but I digress.) Carrie had asked that we decorate and label our baked goods, a small detail I’d overlooked until 11 o’clock last night. Fortunately I had a stash of paper grocery bags from Whole Foods that read “Take Me Home for the Holidays,” which I’d not previously registered until scrambling for some brown paper last night.

wholefoodsbag

I cut up the bags and wrapped them around the baking dish with some bakers twine. I’m so happy with the results, which cost nothing and are an easy, eco-friendly way to wrap holiday and hostess gifts. Added bonus, I am now officially in the Christmas spirit!

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