A passion for food + fashion

Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Lemon-Rosemary White Bean Dip

In Food on April 23, 2011 at 10:08 pm

I keep a couple of cans of cannelini beans on hand at all times in case of impromptu cocktails with friends or neighbors. This simple no-cook recipe for Rosemary-Lemon White Bean Dip comes from Lidia Bastianich, and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. The secret is lemon zest.

Any leftover dip is fantastic the next day, thickly spread on good bread with roasted peppers or tuna.

Easter Eggs

In Baby Love on April 23, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Do you remember your first Easter egg hunt? Tiny G will be embarking on his tomorrow. Yesterday he dyed eggs with old school Paas tablets. We got a little tricky with vegetable oil for a marbling effect.

Is there anything sweeter than a bowlful of Easter eggs? Okay, maybe, just maybe, this little guy so proud of his haul… HAPPY EASTER!

Foodinista’s Night Off

In Food on April 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm

On Friday night, my sister and my husband conspired to cook dinner. Claire picked up a few fillets of black cod at Santa Monica Seafood, and made a Nobu-style Saikyo Miso that the fish marinated in before being baked in the oven. Meanwhile, Mr. Foodinista stir-fried bok choy from our weekly CSA farm box along with loads of garlic, soy sauce, peanut and sesame oils. Can you believe this???

Bunnies, Bagels and Bloody Marys

In Baby Love, Drink on April 17, 2011 at 4:33 pm

The kids’ birthday party circuit in Los Angeles is the stuff legends are made of. (Those of you who watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills know what I’m talking about.) But the best of these parties are less about three-year-olds being feted with diamond necklaces and fine china, and more about creativity and good taste. Yesterday morning, our friends Laurie and Lucas threw an absolutely fantastic party for their three-year-old daughter, one of Tiny G’s best gal pals. The theme was: Bunnies, Bagels and Bloody Marys. Supervised by Cowboy Mark, the kiddies got to pet little bunnies—so sweet! While the girls were off at the other end of the pen holding tiny fluffy little bunnies, Tiny G managed to corner the only rabbit bigger than himself and fed him carrot sticks. It was a big morning and we’re still talking about it.

Inside, our hostess Laurie—a woman who rocks a Halston halter dress like no other—had put out a spread of fresh-out-of-the-oven bagels from Sams on Larchmont with lox, cream cheese, and all the fixings. Kids and parents couldn’t have been happier. And I know it’s all about the kids, but I do love Laurie for making it a little bit about the grown-ups, too. In a corner of the dining room she’d set up a Bloody Mary station with the best homemade mix I think I’ve ever tasted. So impressive! There were bottles of Tabasco, Cholula and Sriracha so you could pick your poison for adding more heat. (Yours truly went with Sriracha, which did not disappoint.) I begged her to share her recipe, below. Thank you, Laurie and Lucas! And Tiny G sends love to the birthday girl.

Laurie’s Blended Bloody Mary

Plenty of fresh squeezed lemon juice and beet horseradish are what make this Bloody Mary a little bit better than your neighbor’s. Laurie adds, “BLEND all of it. I think that might be the key to greatness—infusing each drop with horseradish and lemon, etc.”

32 oz. Campbells tomato juice

1/2 jar plus a little more of Bubbies beet horseradish

juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 tablespoons Cholula sauce

4 tablespoons worstershire sauce

salt and pepper

celery salt sprinkle…

Vodka, obviously

celery and lemon garnish

In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients except the vodka and garnish. Pour tomato mixture into food processor and blend. Return to pitcher. Chill. Serve in tall glasses over ice with a stick of celery or lemon wedge and vodka to taste. Makes about 6 drinks.

The Relic

In Drink, Food on April 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

There’s a reason ratings matter. One sip of Standish Wine Co.’s “The Relic”—the 2004 received 99 points—and you’ll understand why. As one critic put it: “devastating.” It is that beautiful. Sourced from 99 year old vines in the Barossa Valley, this totally gorgeous and luscious Shiraz showed up as a guest at a dinner party hosted by our friends Matt and Lizzie last weekend. I loved the wine’s dark berry fruit and peppery kick, and it was a match made in the heavens above with Lizzie’s perfectly grilled lamb chops and crispy skillet polenta. Sadly I’d cleaned my plate before I thought to snap a picture. But I promise you, that good.

Shades of Gray

In Design on April 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm

We bought our house almost 3 years ago, and it was a fixer to say the least. Built in 1920, the house still had its original cloth-wrapped electrical wiring (which was singed in places) and a shake roof that was completely rotten—truly a miracle that the entire place hadn’t gone up in flames. Before moving in we replaced the roof, electrical and many of the ceilings (to say nothing of kitchen, floors, etc). It was another year before we were able—either emotionally or financially—to tackle the landscaping and put in stone steps and gravel paths.

Last spring kept me pretty busy with our big home office project. And now, finally, we bid adieu to the crumbling and grungy Navajo White stucco. Plus the granny awnings and oppressive security bars on all the windows—courtesy of the Watts riots I’m told—are history! Here’s a picture of the house when we bought it:

Here’s the new stucco and the new slate roof (sadly wood shake is no longer legal). For the stucco, we went with a warm gray tone and had the color mixed right into the stucco, which is then applied and smoothed in by hand with a trowel. The workmanship is kind of amazing.

And a close-up of the before and after:

I was so sure that we would be going with cream trim that I had the kitchen window and back door painted in cream when we replaced them a couple years ago. But once the new stucco went up last week, and I saw the sad old flaking dark brown trim against the gray, it hit me. The dark side was calling. My friend Mia (the only person I know with an obsession for paint that rivals and possibly exceeds my own) concurred and brought over multiple fan decks. And so I pondered.

“All these colors are the same!” said the guy behind the counter yesterday afternoon upon my third visit to Mann Brothers in as many hours. Not true!  The blue that Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe threw off against the warmer gray of the house, or the hint of purple that emerged in Benjamin Moore’s Deep Caviar, and the army green the afternoon sunlight picked up in Fine Paints of Europe’s steely #58 were all completely out of the question. Ralph Lauren’s Smoked Glass and Pratt & Lambert’s African Night were both delicious, but too similar in color to the roof and sort of disappeared next to it. Which is how I landed on Benjamin Moore’s totally gorgeous Ashwood Moss. I love the way it plays with the slate and it brings out all these really cool tones in the stone steps in the front garden. Ashwood Moss is second in from the left, below:

God, I love paint. And tomorrow we start…..

Fusilli with Kale and Cauliflower

In Food, Recipes on April 12, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Our weekly CSA farm box continues to throw out more challenges for using kale. Which is a good thing; we should all eat more kale. In fact, my friend Andrea has a weekly kale night. I riffed on a Suzanne Goin recipe from Sunday Suppers, but simplified it a lot.

1 pound cavolo nero, or dinosaur kale

3/4 to 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 sprig rosemary

1 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 medium head cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets

1 pound fusilli pasta

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

4-6 cloves garlic, minced or chopped

1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

Grated parm (optional)

In a large pot of boiling water, blanch kale for 2 minutes. Drain and cool greens on baking sheet. When they have cooled, squeeze out excess water.

Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add rosemary sprig and red chile flakes and cook for about 1 minute. Add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add kale and a couple more tablespoons of olive oil and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring often.

While kale is cooking, boil cauliflower for 4-5 minutes, until just tender. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve pot of boiling water to use for cooking pasta. After kale has been cooking about 20 minutes, add cauliflower, thyme and garlic to kale/onions in Dutch oven. Add additional olive oil as needed. Cook 8-10 minutes, until cauliflower starts to caramelize, scraping pan often with a wooden spoon.

Meanwhile add pasta to pot of boiling water and cook to desired doneness. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Add drained pasta to vegetables and toss to combine with vegetables. Cook for a couple minutes and add 1/2 cup pasta water to pan. Stir to combine, and add more water if necessary. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in toasted pine nuts and add additional olive oil (and, if using, grated parm) if desired. Serve.

Agent Orange

In Design, Film on April 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Sometimes, the universe tries to tell you things about color. Like on a spoon painted in the new Charlotte’s Locks hue from Farrow & Ball:

Or as modeled by Saoirse Ronan in Hanna.

And, also in Hanna, not to be outdone by these amazing Berlin Subway tiles.

And the splash of color I spied last week through the leaves of a tree in Florida.

Imagine my surprise upon opening a package on Friday from Ristretto Roasters (my very favorite coffee in the whole wide world) featuring a redesigned label.

Which could explain how this Madeline Weinrib Mandala rug leapt into my arms and demanded to be taken home.

But I think what all of this really means is that I need to repaint the hallway orange.

Sand and Sandblasting

In Baby Love, Design, Out of Town on April 10, 2011 at 10:08 am

We’re back! It feels like the past week spent at my inlaws’ place in Gulf Stream was something out of a dream. A very, very good dream. Mornings at the beach, lunch poolside, lazy afternoons kicking around a ball in the garden.

We saw sharks and snakes. We saw butterflies and birds.

We picked strawberries and tomatoes with the cousins—and there was ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream. Mostly chocolate.

And then we woke up. It was a particularly rough landing as we returned to a construction zone, our house having been sandblasted the day before we got back.

But there’s a happy ending to this messy story. I’m once more in the throes of my very favorite obsession: PAINT! (A topic I fear I may have exhausted last night at a chic dinner party hosted by our friends Lizzie and Matt.) Yesterday the crew hand-troweled the final coat of stucco on the exterior of the house in the most delicious shade of gray. I’ll post some pics later on. But first, I must obsess a tiny bit more about what color to paint the trim. I was so sure it would be cream. But now I’m leaning toward something a little more dramatic. To be continued…