A passion for food + fashion

Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Cooking Club with Lulu Powers

In Drink, Food on April 30, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Earlier this week, my friend Carrie invited me to her ultra-chic cooking club hosted by Sally Horchow (above, right). The group was honoring another member, Lulu Powers (above, left), and her fabby new book, Lulu Powers Food to Flowers. Lulu is a local celebrity, having catered for everyone from Madonna to Bill Clinton. Needless to say, the woman can cook. For Wednesday night’s cooking club, the theme was “breakfast for dinner” (a well-documented favorite around our house) and we all picked a recipe out of Lulu’s book. Check out the table Sally set with newspapers for a tablecloth (a decorating tip from Lulu), oranges for place card holders and mini boxed cereals as a centerpiece. Lulu says she likes to “buy newspapers from several cities, as well as a few tabloids for fun (otherwise known as my “periodicals”)! Whenever I throw a brunch like this, I find that everyone really starts talking about world events and reading from the papers and starting friendly debates, which makes it like a morning roundtable.”

Okay, now for the food. Let’s start with Sally, who made a killer vegetable herb frittata that was the hit of the evening. A word about the photo below. Sally is standing next to a photo of her grandmother, Fay Pfeifer, who was a finalist in the Flour Division of the 1970 Pillsbury Bake Off for her Toffee Treasure Cake, which Sally describes as “more coffee cake than dessert, though made with Heath Bars – and progressive for that year because of her use of the bundt pan! She was from Little Rock, Arkansas, and every cook in my family has a book of her recipes called ‘Our FAYvorites.’ ”

Here’s a close-up of the frittata, and reason alone to buy the book.

Carrie made Lulu’s Granola for party favors plus a bowl for nibbling, and Stacy made awesome Chocolate Banana Bread with ice cream for dessert (sadly I don’t have a photo) as well Lulu’s Body Scrub made with coffee and lavender, which she put in these little canisters from Cost Plus. I’m keeping mine by our kitchen sink as it’s great for softening hands and smells divine.

As for the rest of the lineup, Sally also did Spicy English Breakfast Sausage Rolls; Alix made Green Salad with Orange Cilantro Dressing; Jess made Mini Turkey Breakfast Patties; Megan did Sugar-Crusted Raspberry Muffins; Nicky brought Cheddar and Ham Biscuits; I brought a Fruit Salad with Rosemary Syrup; and Lulu arrived with a tray of Bloody Mary fixings. Here’s a taste:

A seriously fun evening where the company was every bit as delicious as the food!

Seeing Red

In Design on April 29, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Sorry, sorry! I promised exciting paint photos, but I’m waiting for them to go up over at Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog before I share here. Also, the 15 mph winds today slowed down our paint progress considerably. In the meantime, I’ll show you what isn’t happening. And that’s this Poppy paint from Benjamin Moore. I seriously love the color, but it is skewing too pink? Do I need something a little more BLOOD RED with more black in it? I need to make a decision on the red for the book case in the next 36 hours. So please—if you have any thoughts on shades of red, would love to hear!

Taking Shape

In Design on April 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm

This is what happened over the weekend. But wait until you see what happened today! Check back tomorrow. It’s really, really exciting. I promise. Hint: It involves…….. PAINT!!!

Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Fava Beans, Radishes and Pecorino

In Food on April 26, 2010 at 7:44 pm

On Saturday night I tried a great roast chicken recipe, and was reminded that fava beans are a royal pain in the neck. I mean, seriously: shell, blanch, drain, ice, drain, shell again. Talk about high maintenance. But even so, fava beans are worth it. Almost. I used this excellent recipe for Fava Beans, Radishes and Pecorino from chef Ryan Hardy of the Little Nell in Aspen, Co., as inspiration, though my proportions were wildly different based on the fact that I ended up with a fraction of the favas I thought my haul would yield. That is soooo fava. To make salad, just tear up some mint, Italian parsely, celery leaves and toss herbs and shelled/blanched/drained/iced/drained/shelled fava beans with some arugula, sliced radishes, grated pecorino, and drizzle with a little lemon juice and olive oil.

Hardy’s method for the accompanying lemon-roasted chicken is fabulous, and while I wouldn’t roast a chicken this way every time, I’ll certainly be adding this citrusy bird into rotation—particularly during springtime. For this juicy and zesty version, stuff lemon slices between the skin and the breast. Then, after seasoning cavity with some salt + pepper, place a chopped lemon, some fresh rosemary and oregano in the cavity of the bird.

The bird then gets brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with a little more s&p, and then put into a 400-degree oven to roast for about 55 minutes, or until skin is crispy. We all loved this bird, and will be inviting it back to the table very soon. Favas? Perhaps next year, after I will have once more forgotten how much work they are.

You Say Tomato…

In Design on April 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I have a favorite pair of Lanvin ballet flats that are the prettiest shade of red I think I’ve ever seen. It’s almost a tomato, or, more accurately, what the Ben Color Capture app on my iPhone calls “Poppy.” (There are fantastic applications for this fantastic application, like when my friend Katie photographed our friend Hugh and discovered that his skin tone was akin to Benjamin Moore’s “Coyote Trail” and “Nutmeg.”)

But back to my shoes. According to Farrow & Ball, the color is called Incarnadine, or blood red. Whatever it’s called, I want a bookcase painted this color in my new office—and I love how it pops against the above shade of F&B’s Pigeon gray, which is one of the contenders for the office walls.

Dispatch from Gotham

In Food, Out of Town on April 23, 2010 at 3:25 pm

I opened up my email this morning to find the following. Live, from New York, it’s Vincent Boucher!

So I had just walked out of one of my favorite places in NYC, the Paul Smith flagship store on lower Fifth Avenue (there’s a magenta checked shirt there that has my name on it!) and a gorgeous buttery yellow truck caught my eye curbside. Going in for a closer look, I saw the logo on the side door – Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, direct from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I stepped right up, and though I lingered at the thought of Strawberry or Hazelnut, it was The Foodinista’s and my shared fondness that determined my order: Peppermint and Chip. My generous single-scoop portion was delicately cream colored (the custard base is made with only fresh milk and cream from their cows up in the Adirondack’s) with flecks of chocolate – no artificial Avatar green color in the organic Oregon-sourced peppermint flavoring. Thin chips of Michel Cluizel 72% chocolate melted on the tongue and the peppermint taste was delicate and indeed, as the website says, refreshing. Since 15th and Fifth Avenue is one of Van Leeuwen’s regular stops (and I do have to pick up that shirt), I’ll be making a return trip to that corner before I head home to LA. I’m sure The Foodinista would approve.

A Nourishing Breakfast

In Fashion, Food, Media, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on April 23, 2010 at 9:57 am

Yesterday morning I found myself with a few hours to kill on the west side while getting Mr Foodinsita’s car serviced, and so I walked over to my favorite breakfast spot in Santa Monica, Huckleberry Café. I ordered an ENORMOUS bowl of trifle (which they passive aggressively brought with two spoons) and settled in with a cup of coffee and The Unexpurgated Beaton: The Cecil Beaton Diares as He Wrote Them 1970-1980. It’s a tough call on which is more delicious—the divine raspberry-soaked cake with a gooey mess of whipped cream and custard, or the viciousness with which Beaton describes a television appearance by his aging friend Marlene Dietrich. I wish I could share a taste of that trifle, but instead here’s a sampling of Beaton, unexpurgated:

Even for a hardened expert like myself it was impossible to find the chink in her armour. All the danger spots were disguised. Her dress, her figure, her limbs, all made to appear like those of the youngest. When one thinks of this old doll rattling on and coining in the money, and then when one thinks of Greta, lined, grey, unhappy, never doing anything to stave off boredom, one wonders that they are of the same stuff. I sat enraptured and not a bit critical as I had imagined. The old trooper never changes her tricks because she knows they work, and because she invented those tricks she must be given credit for being a virtuoso in the art of legerdemain.

“You know me,” Marlene is fond of saying. You don’t. Nobody does—because she’s a real phoney. She’s a liar, an egomaniac, a bore, but she has her points. She’s never late, she’s generous and she’s, as a performer, on a grand scale in a period of pygmies.—Cecil Beaton, 1973

Marlene Dietrich, photographed by Cecil Beaton, 1936

We Have Walls!

In Design on April 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Check this out. Up go the walls! For more before/after pics, head over to Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog, where I’ve been chronicling the reno. What you’re looking at took place earlier this week, so I’ll share more in the coming days of the gorgeous rough hewn beams we put across the ceiling, and the drywall that’s been going up today. It’s really, really, really exciting. In the meantime, is it wrong that I want to play with these?

Spinach and Green Garlic Soup

In Drink, Food on April 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I’m married to a man who doesn’t like soup. Correction: I’m married to a man who says he doesn’t like soup, but each time we have soup for dinner he says, “I don’t usually like soup, but this is delicious.” (Similarly a friend is married to a man who “doesn’t like lamb,” but is always surprised by how good it is when served to him.) The latest in the grand slams of soup is this insane Spinach and Green Garlic Soup, a recipe I cribbed from my talented colleague Molly Wizenberg of Orangette.

Earlier this week I found some green garlic at farmer’s market, though it wasn’t quite so young and petite as to have those pretty pink stripes (ideally green garlic should be closer to the size of a scallion). So what is green garlic? It’s garlic that’s harvested super young before the cloves start to form. The flavor is milder with less of that bitter bite. As you can see, the green garlic I grabbed was a little more mature, but still far more subtle and sweet than mature garlic.

When I sliced into it, I could see the cloves starting to take shape. Beautiful. Isn’t that wild?

Okay, so back to Molly’s perfect recipe. It really is incredibly simple—and simply delicious. After sautéing green garlic in olive oil and a little pat of butter, vegetable stock is added and the mixture simmers for a mere 15 minutes. Fresh baby spinach gets sprinkled into the soup and sits for five minutes.

Then purée, add a dollop of crème fraîche and prepare to fall in love. Oh, and if you need a little something on the side, try a glass of 2009 Ponzi Pinot Gris ($17/bottle). Crisp and fruity floral, I love it with this richly flavored spring soup.

Executive Order

In Design on April 21, 2010 at 7:28 pm

While the virtuous green garlic soup for tonight’s dinner simmers away on the stovetop (more on that tomorrow), I have a confession to make. I was very, very bad today. Having ordered my new office desk yesterday, this morning I struck out for Jules Seltzer on Beverly, the alpha and omega of office furniture in Los Angeles. Was it my fault that the windows were painted with enormous letters that spelled out SALE? I walked into the store to look for a new office chair with the best of ergonomic intentions. There I was, deciding between the Knoll Embody (which, btw, is what the staff at Jules Seltzer sits in) and the trusty Aeron when a very pretty, glimmering chrome Eames Aluminum Executive Chair—in the coveted 50th Anniversary White leather—caught my wandering eye. It’s a fantasy chair, and even I wasn’t prepared to shell out for it. Until I saw SALE scrawled across the price tag hanging from this chic little number. It’s a near-perfect floor model with a couple of minor dings, and boy, oh boy, the price was right. Sure, it’s a little nuts putting a white leather chair in a converted garage. But who am I to argue with an executive order from the fates?