In Baby Love, Food on January 25, 2012 at 11:45 am
A friend is planning a princess and pirates birthday party, which reminded me of Tiny G’s pirate party this past summer. I kind of geeked out making a pirate ship fruit bowl from a watermelon. My husband wanted no part of it. Carving it out was the worst, but the portholes were easy enough thanks to an apple corer.
For the fruit salad, I took a page out of Mark Bittman’s book and chopped up watermelon, pineapple, banana and drizzled with a couple tablespoons of maple syrup. For the masts, I used bamboo bbq skewers and for the sails, a scull & bones stamp on mottled paper. My sister made these fantastic shark cookies:
That went into these muslin treat bags I made for Tiny G’s friends:
Which made for one happy pirate.
In Drink, Food on January 25, 2012 at 9:15 am
If there is one dish that is dreadfully out of fashion that I unapologetically adore, it’s penne all vodka. Yes, that’s vodka pink sauce my friends and no, it is not 1972. I love Lidia Bastianich’s version, which includes a hit of heat from crush red pepper. Go liberal on that. And, if you’re feeling like you need to class up the joint, serve with a smoky, smooth bottle of 2009 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino ($30) from Tuscany, available at Larchmont Village Wine & Spirits and BevMo.
In Design on January 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm
I am totally in love with this change tray in the softest taupe leather that my husband gave me for Christmas. It’s perfect for holding bracelets and organizing clutter on top of a favorite old Indonesian linen press in our bedroom—and with Valentine’s Day around the corner I can’t think of a better excuse to add one to your collection…
In Food, Recipes on January 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm
My friend Vanessa, who is half Persian, hosted this month’s cooking club—the theme for which was Persian cooking. Check out the above spread! So impressive. We’re lucky in Los Angeles in that we have great Persian restaurants thanks to a large Iranian population but as much as I enjoy the cuisine, I’d never tried my hand at it at home. There are some similarities with Greek cuisine, but I found that with the dish I chose to tackle—Dolmeh-Yeh Barg-E Mow, or stuffed grape leaves—the flavors were far different than any of its Greek counterparts I’d tried. I loved the combination of tart lime juice with sweet fresh mint, tarragon and ground lamb. The recipe below yields extra rice filling, which I used with a little feta in tortilla wraps for lunch later in the week.
DOLMEH-YEH BARG-E MOW (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup long-grain white rice
4 cups canned chicken broth
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 lb ground lamb
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 8-ounce jar grape leaves, drained
Heat 1/4 cup oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until very tender, about 10 minutes. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add 2 cups broth, cover and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer to bowl. [SIDE NOTE: THIS METHOD PRODUCED SOME OF THE MOST DELICIOUS, TENDER RICE!] Mix in tarragon, green onions, parsley and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice. In saucepan, cook ground lamb and add to rice mixture along with tomato paste. Mix in and cool completely (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)
Place grape leaves in bowl. Cover with cold water and let stand 30 minutes. Drain. Cut off stems. Arrange 1 leaf veined side up on work surface. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of rice filling onto leaf near stem end and tightly roll up filling in leaf, folding in sides and squeezing roll to pack filling.
Repeat with remaining leaves and filling. Place seam side down in 2 heavy 12-inch skillets. Divide remaining 3 tablespoons oil, lime juice and 2 cups broth between skillets. Cover; simmer over medium-low heat until liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
Uncover and let rolls cool. Transfer to platter. Cover and chill. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)
In Design, Food, Media, Recipes on January 10, 2012 at 10:40 am
Braised Chicken Legs with Shallots and Vinegar, photo via HouseBeautiful.com
I was flipping through the pages of the February 2012 issue of House Beautiful because my friend Andrea’s home is featured this month—it’s incredible and designed by the talented duo over at Nickey Kehoe, one of my favorite design stores in Los Angeles. Her living room is the stuff dreams are made of—check out the J.B. Martin velvet on that gorgeous Nickey Kehoe Modern Lounge Sofa.
Perusing the rest of the issue, I was thrilled to see that NYC Prune chef—and author of Blood, Bones & Butter—is House Beautiful‘s new food columnist, which means I clearly had to subscribe to the mag STAT! This month’s recipe for Braised Chicken Legs with Shallots and Vinegar is a knock-out. And it can all be done in one pot. After browning the chicken legs, they come out while sliced shallots and cornichons jump in to grab onto all that brown bit goodness.
Then the chicken returns to the pot, along with some hard cider…
…and chicken broth, and braises stovetop for half hour or so.
The result is falling-off-the-bone-tender chicken with bright acidity thanks to the apple cider vinegar and hard cider. Also, for those of you bravely embarking on new year diets, the dish is as virtuous as it is delicious.
PS… I had a ton of the braising liquid/sauce left over, which I used to tart up a bowl of brown rice and steamed vegetables the following day for lunch!
In Baby Love, Fashion, Media on January 10, 2012 at 8:25 am
If you were flipping through last month’s Vanity Fair or perusing Vogue.com, WWD or the Los Angeles Times, chances are you’ve heard of—and downloaded—the fabulous new iPad app for stylish moms: ELIZABETH STREET. On a personal note, it’s particularly exciting as I was the editor on the project and worked with a truly incredible and talented team. The brainchild of Emanuele Della Valle, ELIZABETH STREET gives insider recommendations from chic moms in the world’s most fashionable cities. Want to know where LACMA curator Christine Y. Kim ducks out for a late afternoon facial in Los Angeles? Or where Dennis Hopper’s daughter Marin takes her daughter for art classes? Or where the A-list orders birthday cakes in London? It’s all here—so head over to the iTunes store and download ELIZABETH STREET! And I’d love to hear what you think!