A passion for food + fashion

Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

A Girl’s Guide to Whisk(e)y

In Drink, Media on November 16, 2011 at 9:39 pm

A great honor to guest post today on my friend Lizzie’s awesome blog TOMBOY STYLE (her book by the same name is being published by Rizzoli this spring)—and on one of my favorite topics, whisk(e)y! Pour yourself a stiff glass of Ardbeg Supernova and head on over to TOMBOY STYLE for a Girl’s Guide to Whisk(e)y, and say “hi” to Lizzie while you’re there!

Farm Box Recipe of the Week: Cabbage & White Bean Soup

In Food, Recipes on November 16, 2011 at 9:33 am

I’m going to try to post my favorite recipe each week that uses ingredients from our CSA farm box. Several of my friends and I have a friendly competition going on who can best use the ingredients in our weekly haul. Sometimes, like this week when one is faced with a head of cabbage, things get challenging. In the past I’ve deployed the cabbage in kimchi and roasted tomatillo slaw

But this week, my friend Katie—another CSA junkie—shared this great Basque recipe for Cabbage and White Bean Soup from Gourmet, circa 2004. It is pure smoky, bacon-y goodness. I spent a total of $6.16 on ham hocks at Huntington Meats in the Original Farmers Market, and I had everything else on hand, including a bag of Rancho Gordo Yellow Indian Woman Beans. My husband was kind of bummed out when he heard we were having soup for dinner, until he laid eyes on the ham hocks. Ladies, let me tell you, there’s nothing like a ham hock to spark a little excitement on a Tuesday night…

Cabbage & White Bean Soup

1 cup dried white beans such as Great Northern, navy, or cannellini (7 oz), picked over and rinsed

1 whole clove

1 medium onion, peeled and left whole

2 1/2 lb smoked ham hocks

3 qt water

6 fresh parsley sprigs

1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf

1 fresh thyme sprig

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 lb yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold (3 to 4 medium)

1 lb cabbage, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (6 cups)

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

Thickly sliced bread, grilled (optional)

Soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches at room temperature at least 8 hours. Drain in a colander.

Stick clove into onion. Bring ham hocks and 3 quarts water to a boil in a wide 6- to 7-quart heavy pot, skimming off any froth, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Add beans, onion, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, and garlic and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until beans are almost tender, 40 to 50 minutes.

When beans are almost done, peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add potatoes and cabbage to beans, then simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove ham hocks. When ham hocks are cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones, then cut meat into bite-size pieces. Stir into soup with salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaf and onion. Serve with grilled bread.

A Little Thanksgiving Something on the Side

In Drink, Food on November 15, 2011 at 9:35 am

This year—more than most—Thanksgiving’s pending arrival has caught me completely by surprise. Perhaps that’s because for the first time in over a decade I won’t be cooking, or at least I won’t be cooking the main event. I’ve been asked to bring a side dish—so I’m bringing two. My friends Vanessa’s excellent Cranberry Sauce with Red Wine, Pomegranate Molasses, and Mediterranean Herbs and Nicki’s favorite Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Pine Nut Bread Crumb Topping were standouts last month at our cooking club. We all made our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes and while I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite from the lineup, these two were particular show stoppers.

Photo by Tim Morris via bonappetit.com

Photo by Elinor Carucci via bonappetit.com

Looking back through the archives, I thought I’d share a few other ideas from Thanksgivings past. And would love to hear what you’ll be bringing to the table this year. Something tells me I’ll be back in the kitchen next year and really, when it comes to my favorite meal of the year, it’s never too early to start planning…

I LOVE these Pearl Onions Glazed in Port with Bay Leaves. They provide a nice bright note to some of the heavier flavors on the Thanksgiving table.

My go-to and totally decadent Escarole Cornbread Stuffing—rich with prosciutto, fresh ricotta, parm and wild rice. What’s great about this is that it’s all prepared stove top so you’re not fighting for oven space, and then you stick it in the oven for a few minutes to melt the parm just after you’ve taken the turkey out to rest.

This is my all-time favorite Brussels sprouts recipe that’s rich with butter, shallots and fennel—from my friend Carolynn (who cowrote Nancy Silverton’s latest book, The Mozza Cookbook). I’ve made this for the past 10 or so Thanksgivings, so I’m taking a break this year and making the Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts Gratin (which is epic).

And for heaven’s sake, let’s not forget about cocktails! This Champagne Pomegranate Punch is probably the most-requested recipe in my arsenal. I blogged about it last year over on Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog. For recipe, click HERE.

Kids in the Hall

In Design, Fashion on November 11, 2011 at 9:46 am

Today is moving day. For the first time in my adult life, I will be sharing closet space. For the past three years, I’ve been squatting in the closet in my son’s bedroom and it has been less than ideal, but it was my own private space and likely why I’ve enjoyed a happy marriage up until this point.

But now that our son is at the age where he might actually need his own closet, my husband and I decided to cohabitate. We knocked down the wall between the tiny master bedroom closet and our son’s, and reclaimed some of the space in his closet for our own.

It looks pretty great! But I underestimated how much space we’d need for shoes. My husband was visibly distressed this morning when he absorbed the full gravity of the shoe situation in the hallway—and that we would need the contractor to put in an additional pull-out shoe shelf, which is happening as we speak! It also didn’t help when our three-year-old chimed in, “Why are there so many shoes, Mama?” It’s a question for which there is no good answer. Fortunately, however there is a solution. Stay tuned!