A passion for food + fashion

Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Mad Men Bash

In Fashion on February 28, 2010 at 10:56 am

Last night I attended one of two Mad Men bashes happening in LA. The other, I’m told, was for the actual show. Ours was a Mad Men-themed gala fundraiser for Tiny G’s new preschool and was fantastic! You should have seen some of the dresses on the other moms…amazing. Styled by Ilene Rosenzweig, who was wearing an insane white fur shrug, every detail of the evening was swish, from the champagne cocktails in coupes to the Marilyn Monroe transvestite auctioneer. Mr Foodinista looked dashing in a grey suit and thin black tie. For fashion advice, I turned to my sage friend Monica Corcoran, who is literally writing the book on Mad Men style along with the show’s costume designer, Janie Bryant. I wanted to wear a black cashmere sheath, already in my closet, so here’s what Monica recommended:

I think a black sheath sounds perfect. You could make a mini splurge on a matching costume earrings and necklace set — all the rage in the early 60s — in jet beads, aurora borealis, enamel or even pearls. Matching jewelry was a must!

Gloves work too. Also, per Janie, Betty loves to match her shoes to her bags–lizard or alligator, of course.

Also, for cocktail chatter, wear a cream blush in coral (there were no powder blushes back then) and a matte lipstick (no gloss either). A thick black line on the upper lash line with a slight kick — a la Bardot — was the eye look of choice.

As it happens, I look awful in coral so I went with a matte red M.A.C lipstick (Ruby Woo), and attempted a Bardot eye with a liquid liner. For gloves, I stopped by The Way We Wore on La Brea and picked up the most beautiful cloth pair. They had a whole basket full of gorgeous vintage gloves if you are in the market, and you won’t find friendlier service anywhere! They are SO nice and knowledgeable! And for shoes, a favorite pair of square-toed Chanel black pumps. My one splurge was on the earrings to go with this necklace—a gift from my dear friend Vincent. Thanks to my generous friends, I felt like Cinderella at the ball—if Cinderella drank too many gin and tonics, that is.

Vegetable Tian = Pure Comfort

In Food, Recipes on February 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Before you scream “seasonality,” I know, I know! Tomatoes in February—the horror. But my local Whole Foods has some pretty decent hothouse offerings, so I made this comforting and delicious vegetable tian from Ina Garten the other night. And really – if you can’t find good tomatoes, sub in sliced celery root or or fennel. Note: I cooked everything stovetop in a Le Creuset braising dish, and then put the whole thing into the oven—one pan, no hassle.

Ina Garten’s Vegetable Tian

Olive oil
2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium round potatoes, unpeeled
3/4 pound zucchini
1 1/4 pounds medium tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Brush a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with olive oil. In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for  another minute. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top
of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Serve warm.

When Dom Pérignon Blogs…

In Drink, Media on February 26, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Any day that starts with talking to Richard Geoffroy, chef de cave of Dom Pérignon, is a good one. He is in town promoting his exquisite new vintages of Dom Pérignon Rosé: the current 2000 vintage as well as the Oenethèque 1990 rosé—his first vintage with Dom. While I can’t share the contents of our conversation, I can tell you that Richard has launched his own blog! This is a man obsessed. I’m looking forward to more of his musings from the road and in the cellar!

Henry Watson Pottery

In Design on February 25, 2010 at 10:09 am

Several of you have asked about the terracotta canisters in our kitchen. I love them! They’re from the centuries-old and family-owned Henry Watson Potteries in Suffolk, England. Our canisters are from the Original Suffolk Collection, which boasts “Ideal Storage at Home or on Safari.” It seems like when I was a kid living in the Cotswolds, most of my friends’ parents had these canisters in their kitchens so when I had my very first kitchen in St Helena out of college, my father brought these back from England on one of his visits.

Vintage Roadside

In Fashion on February 24, 2010 at 4:13 pm

It is no secret among friends that I have a thing for squirrels, particularly Twiggy—a waterskiing squirrel who tours the States teaching kids about water safety. My husband once inquired about hiring Twiggy to ski in an inflatable pool in our backyard for my birthday, but it turned out to be cost prohibitive. Twiggy and her handler, Lou Ann, live in Florida. We live in Los Angeles.

So, you can imagine my delight when my friend Booth gave me this awesome Vintage Roadside T-shirt (above) featuring the now defunct Squirrel Lodge Motor Court in Tennessee. The Portland, Ore., based T-shirt company Vintage Roadside resurrects images of roadside mom/pop businesses from the ’30s – ’60s. A portion of the proceeds go to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. So if squirrels aren’t your thing, check out their other nostalgic offerings. Here are a couple faves…

Baked Brie with Apricot Rosemary Chutney

In Food, Recipes on February 24, 2010 at 9:57 am

I made a Baked Brie with Apricot and Rosemary Chutney several weeks ago on a similarly drizzly day when we decided last minute to have our friends Booth and Adam over for cocktails on their way home from work. It’s a riff off an old Bon Appétit recipe, but instead of using phyllo dough, I use puff pastry sheets—from the frozen section and instead of using one huge wheel of brie, I use two smaller ones. The recipe makes way more chutney than you’ll need, but I enjoy spooning it over burata on toast or serving with a grilled pork chop.

Baked Brie

Apricot & Rosemary Chutney, recipe follows

2 small wheels of Brie, chilled

17 1/4-ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets (2 sheets), thawed

1 egg white

Apricot and Rosemary Chutney

From Bon Appétit, January 1996

2 ounces dried apricots, chopped

1 large red onion, chopped

1 cup water

2/3 cup cider vinegar

2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

3 ounces dried tart cherries (3/4 cup)

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted

To make the chutney, combine all ingredients except almonds in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until most liquid has evaporated and chutney is thick, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.

Mix in almonds. Transfer chutney to bowl. Chill until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover, keep chilled.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll thawed pastry sheets and place on baking pan lined with parchment paper. Place a wheel in the center of each sheet of dough. Top generously with chutney.

Fold pastry over itself and pinch at center to close, trimming any excess dough. Garnish with rosemary leaves. Brush pastry with egg white.

Bake cheese until pastry is deep golden brown, covering loosely with foil if browning too quickly, about 25 minutes. Keep one for yourself, give one to a neighbor. Enjoy!

PS…most recipes will have you cut off the rind. Go ahead and cut off the rind. Unless, like me, you like the rind in which case leave it on!

Dinner in the Grand (Beachwood) Canyon

In Drink, Food on February 22, 2010 at 11:27 am

After a week up in St. Helena, we got back to LA on Saturday afternoon just in time to head to a southwestern flavored dinner party that night at newlyweds Lizzie and Matt’s. Any dinner party that starts with Crabbies (a family recipe involving microwaved Old English cheese, mayo and English muffins) and Iron Horse bubbly from Sonoma is something worth saddling up for. I’m livid that I forgot my camera so that I couldn’t surreptitiously snap photos of their gorgeous Beachwood Canyon apartment so I did what any polite guest would do and snagged Lizzie’s new Canon Powershot G10 a clicked a few of the food. But back it up, let’s start with the reclaimed Douglas Fir and Hemlock dining table from District Mill Works:

Beautifully set with these chic ash-colored porcelain dishes from Mud. (Not surprising for a hostess who writes a blog called DESIGNwatcher) And look at how gorgeous the plates are loaded with cheesy grits, crispy kale, green chili cornbread and chile-spiced ribs:

Here are a few pics that Lizzie shared, starting with Matt and the braise for the Braised Chile Spiced Short Ribs.

Matt was in charge of the wine and we went from a Sea Smoke Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills (be very, very jealous) to a velvety Nickel & Nickel Sullenger Cabernet Sauvignon (why we love California Cabernet), ending with apple pie and Sauternes for some and Oban for others. And near amputation for the hostess, but I’ll let Lizzie tell you about that. I’ll leave you, instead, with a few pretty close-ups of the food:

Thank you, Lizzie + Matt!

It’s Genetic.

In Fashion, Out of Town on February 16, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Do you ever have one of those mornings when you ask yourself…Am I being punked? Because that was what went through my mind when I unzipped my suitcase this morning only to find that while I had four different long-sleeved black shirt options ranging from cashmere to silk to cotton and as many pairs of shoes and tubes of lipgloss, I’d forgotten to pack any pants. No biggie, except that this afternoon I was speaking in front of 50 people. I wore an oooold frayed pair of jeans up on the plane last night (BUR > OAK) with Tiny G in anticipation of possible disaster, so those were out of the question. My mother, who is 5’4″ and lives 5 minutes away from where the conference is being held here in the Napa Valley, offered to loan me a pair of hers. I’m 5’8″, so that really wasn’t going to fly either.

Thankfully, salvation came from a different gene pool. This morning, I was rescued by a pair of Genetic Denim’s “The Shane Cigarette” in Zinc at Pearl in St Helena. They look really dressy and I love the way they fit!

Killer Soundtrack

In Film, Media on February 15, 2010 at 8:03 am

A lot of planning went into Saturday night’s ramen fest. So what music did we play? A favorite album from Meiko Kaji, a ’70s Japanese actress/chanteuse: Zenkyokusyu. One of her better known songs is “The Flower of Carnage” (Shura no Hana) from the 1973 film Lady Snowblood (or Shurayuki-hime) in which she plays an assassin—one of Tarantino’s major influences for Kill Bill which also features the song. Here’s the opening from Lady Snowblood, and the song.

The Ramen Diaries

In Drink, Food on February 14, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Where to begin? The lost hours shopping for ingredients in Little Tokyo, the multiple visits to Jacob at Huntington Meats in search of pork bones, the phone calls and texting between me and my coconspirator Alex, the recipe that redirected us to no fewer than seven other recipes, or the mountains of dishes occupying every last inch in our kitchen? Well, let’s begin at 7:30 am yesterday, when I ignited the gas flame on our monster of a Wolf range and started this damn broth.

7:30 am Chang’s ramen recipe begins, apparently without irony, by saying “First, get everything ready.” Yeah, thanks. So the way Alex and I divvied up labor meant that she spent the previous evening slow-roasting pork butt and belly for HOURS on end. I was starting a broth that would take over 10 hours to make. It begins with rinsing konbu and then simmering over high heat.

8 am … feed Tiny G breakfast, remove konbu…shiitakes simmering for 1/2 hour.

8:30 am … spoon out mushrooms with a spider…chicken legs go into the broth, pork bones go into the oven to roast for an hour

9 am: flip pork bones, back into oven

9:30 am: pork bones come out of oven

9:45 am: chicken legs come out of the broth; pork bones and bacon go in. Mr Foodinista and I walk over to Larchmont for bagels and run into GastroKid’s Hugh Garvey with Violet and Desmond at Sam’s Bagels, continue up street and run into Alex and her kids. Alex pulls a tupperware of pickled vegetables for our dinner from her daughter’s stroller for us to try. They’re insane! Particularly the pickled Asian pear.

10:45 am … back home in time to remove bacon (don’t worry – Tiny G and his Aunt Claire were at home keeping an eye on the broth)

11: 30: Tiny G goes down for nap. Shower. Drive to….

12 pm: Chanel “Blue Satin” manicure with Sandra on Wilshire x Crescent Heights (310-292-2263)

1 pm: bring dashi and mirin to boil, simmer pistachios for one hour (for salad course)

2pm: fry ground chicken patty, reheat puréed cauliflower and chop apple for Tiny G’s lunch

2:10 pm: drain braised pistachios and purée with water … chop radishes and toss with salt and sugar (for salad)

3 pm: write out place cards and set table for 10.

4:30 pm: chop two bunches collard greens and simmer with water, soy sauce, sherry vinegar, brown sugar for 40 mins.

5:20 pm: change into Dolce & Gabbana ghetto gold leaf bracelet, J Brand black twill and an Anna Sui top—the latter is not only Chinese red but a nod to Chinese New Year!

5:30 pm: add scallions, chopped onion and carrot to broth

6 pm: test water for temperature (140 – 145 degrees) and add eggs to slow poach for 45 minutes—Chang’s signature technique is also known as onsen tamago, or “bath eggs”

6:15 pm: Alex and her husband Greg arrive with roasted pork butt and pork belly. I remove bones and veggies from broth and strain thru cheesecloth into pot. As you may have ascertained, I’ve also uncorked a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc…

6:25 pm: Alex removes layer of fat from pork belly.

6:30 pm: Greg preps sashimi course with spoils from Fish King in Glendale:

6:45 pm: Remove eggs from hot water and put into ice bath. My sister’s date arrives to take her to Avatar at the Cineramadome and a late dinner at Street. Claire has spent most of the afternoon outdoors so as not to smell like rendered fat when he picks her up…

7:05 pm: Neighbors Martha and Alex A. arrive with Sapporo.

7:10 pm: Neighbors Alyssa and Chris arrive; Chris is pulling his kids’ radio flyer wagon with a cooler full of assorted Hitachino Nest beer. Here he is serving our very chic neighbor and documentary film producer Martha.

7:10 pm: Tokyo expats and neighbors Whit and Jen arrive with Yebisu beer and sake. Jen designs the MOST amazing Japanese baby clothes under her NOKO label.

8 pm: Sashimi course, beautifully assembled by Greg…

8:20 pm: Fry oyster mushrooms in grapeseed oil and finish with sherry vinegar. Plate salads…pistachio purée, radishes, oyster mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, radish greens, pickled sunchokes and braised pistachios…

8:40 pm: Whit delivers treatise on saké. He knows his stuff. And we toast to living on the greatest block in all of Los Angeles!

9 pm: Alex D. and I sneak out to kitchen, aided by Jen, to assemble ramen. Water boiling for ramen, running long poached eggs under hot water, seaweed torn and distributed among bowls, broth ladeled into bowls, stewed bamboo shoots (prepared previous evening) reheated and distributed among bowls along with ramen, chopped scallions, collard greens, eggs, INSANELY good roasted pork belly and pork butt…

9:10 pm: And here’s a funky one of me peeling and liberating all those damn eggs…tricky…

9:20 pm: Ramen is served! Was it worth it? OH. MY. GOD. YESSSSSSSSSSSS. What followed involved mochi for dessert, an ill-advised late-night decision to crack some Champagne, 30 Year Balvenie single-malt for some, vodka + tonic for others, more beer and Cuban cigars. Yowza.

1 am: And the aftermath? Happy Valentine’s Day!