A passion for food + fashion

Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

Sweet on Mou

In Fashion on February 23, 2013 at 10:24 am


I’ve never been a fan of Uggs and have never owned a pair. There, I said it. But that doesn’t mean my feet don’t get cold, even in Los Angeles! And so when I discovered these grown-up cousins of the Australian original while traveling last year, I pounced. The cult London label Mou is known for hand-crafted natural fiber boots that are fashion forward, feminine and produced with an ethical and eco-friendly approach. They’re also super comfy and offer good support. I love the crochet wool seams on the Eskimo 24 boots and the soft silvery metallic leather (there are lots of other color options, too). Though if I lived in a colder climate I would be all about these tall Mous in metallic black:


Midnight Potatoes + Smoked Salmon

In Food, Recipes on February 23, 2013 at 9:57 am


Last weekend, four friends and I ran the Pasadena Rock ‘n’ Roll 13.1 Marathon. During our weekly training runs, my friend Laurie and I often talked about dinners we’d cooked during the week. She mentioned a French friend’s Christmas Eve tradition of waking the family at midnight and serving Champagne with roast potatoes, smoked salmon, crème fraîche and chopped chives. The secret, she said, was to sprinkle a little allspice over the potatoes while roasting. It seemed like it might be the perfect post-race recovery brunch—and it was.

Midnight Potatoes & Smoked Salmon

Serves 4

8 medium-size Yukon Gold potatoes, skins on

1/2 cup olive oil

Pinch of ground allspice

Salt and freshly cracked pepper

12 ounces sliced smoked salmon

1/4 cup crème fraîche

Fresh chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut potatoes in half (or quarters if larger potatoes) so that potatoes are uniform in size. In a roasting pan or glass baking dish, toss potatoes in olive oil with a pinch of allspice, and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 35 minutes, or until tender (stirring potatoes midway through to ensure even cooking).

Divide potatoes between four plates. Drape salmon slices over potatoes. Drizzle each with crème fraîche, sprinkle with chopped chives and cracked pepper.

How to Spice Things Up

In Drink, Recipes on February 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm


If not in the bedroom, then let’s start by heating things up in the kitchen tonight. Last night at cooking club, the theme was recreating your favorite restaurant dish. The evening requires a separate post—Mozza meatballs, tagliata and Brussels sprouts with prosciutto breadcrumbs, Akasha kale salad, Ammo lentil salad, Café des Artiste mac n cheese, Hungry Cat ceviche and chocolate bread pudding, all SO good. (And apparently a lot of us like Mozza and Hungry Cat.)

But for the purposes of romance, for igniting that flame tonight, might I suggest my friend Vanessa’s recreation of the Soho House Picante de la Casa Margarita? Vanessa notes, “There are no real directions for how much pepper/cilantro to add so you just have to experiment and see how spicy and cilantro-y you like it.”

If you know what I mean.


Makes 2 cocktails

Red jalapeño, chopped, to taste

Fresh cilantro leaves, to taste

4 ounces Cazadores tequila

1 ounce agave nectar

2 ounce fresh lime juice, squeezed

In a mixing glass, muddle together chopped red chilies and cilantro leaves. Add tequila, agave and lime juice. Shake hard. Strain into two ice-filled rocks glasses.

Valentine’s Cookies

In Food, Recipes on February 9, 2013 at 6:43 pm

peanut butter hugs


My favorite cookie when I was a kid was the classic Peanut Butter Kiss my grandmother made, warm from the oven with the chocolate kiss on top still soft. Someone far more clever than I had the brilliant idea of subbing in Hershey’s Hugs—what Hershey’s describes as a Hershey’s milk chocolate hugged by sweet white cream—and adding some food coloring to the dough make Valentine’s cookies (hers were bright fuchsia and super fun).


I dialed it down a bit and added just a few squirts of red to the dough and then rolled them in red sugar leftover from Christmas baking. Also, you might notice from my photos that in a moment of a peanut butter addict’s overkill, I added 1/2 cup of peanut butter chips to my grandmother’s recipe. Go for it. Or don’t. (But I say go for it.) Finally, if you live near a Vons, Pavilions or Safeway supermarket, their generic Organics “O” Creamy Peanut Butter is my favorite for baking.

Peanut Butter Hugs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup organic creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup Spectrum All-Vegetarian Organic Shortening

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons whole milk

2-3 squirts red food coloring

1/2 cup peanut butter chips (optional)

Red sugar for dusting

36 Hershey’s Hugs, unwrapped


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together peanut butter, shortening and granulated and brown sugars, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on medium until fully incorporated, about 1 minute.

With the mixer on low, add the food coloring and flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in peanut butter chips, if using. Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls, and roll in colored sugar.


Place on two un-greased cookie sheets, with about 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes, switching cookie sheets between racks about halfway through. Remove from oven and immediately press a chocolate into the center of each cookie. (Cookie will crack around edges.)

peanut butter hugs

Using a spatula, move cookies from sheet to baking rack and allow to cool completely. Makes about 36 cookies.

valentine's cookies





Finish Strong, Finish Pretty

In Fashion, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on February 9, 2013 at 10:21 am


On February 17, I’ll be running the Pasadena Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon as the token brunette on a team that includes four smoking hot blondes. This past Sunday we ran 12 miles, including a steep incline up San Vincente to Sunset Boulevard. I can still feel it! I’ve never run this course before, and it’s supposed to be gorgeous—starts at the Rose Bowl and winds through town to the California Institute of Technology campus and back. Any time I’ve run a race, I always hear my first running coach, Curtis, saying “finish strong, finish pretty!” Which basically means smile when you cross the finish line, even if you threw up at mile 9 of the LA Marathon in 90-degree heat, fractured a toe somewhere around mile 20 (see below) and were near tears as you limped your way through miles 22-26.2 for an overall a pace that was almost an hour longer than your training runs. Smile!


But see? Here I am smiling for real this time at Dan Tana’s post-marathon, below, enjoying a Makers Mark Manhattan and a nicely charred New York steak.


That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger and makes that finish-line cocktail taste like it arrived on a beam of light. And honestly, all joking aside, running the 2007 LA Marathon remains one of the most incredible experiences of my life. And I still love to run (maybe not 26.2 miles) so on February 17 for our 13.1, I’m focusing on the “pretty” part of the picture.

1. Hydrate! Fuel Belt makes the best two-bottle belts of the bunch, and I love all the new color combos like this one in Hawaiian Punch:


2. Fuel! The aforementioned fuel belt also includes a nifty neoprene pouch for holding your mobile phone and fuel for endurance during longer runs. I’ve tried them all—chews, goos, energy bars, jelly beans, you name it—and hands down my favorite are the Clif Bar Shot Bloks in Black Cherry. Each serving has 50mg of caffeine, the equivalent to a small cup of coffee. Run like the wind!


3. Go the distance. I love my Lululemon running skirts and Nike Tempo shorts for shorter runs, but when we’re talking about longer distances it’s all about running tights. Trust me when I say not all running tights are created equal. Low-rise leggings, while perhaps sassy at the gym, are not your friend on a long run. My favorite two designs for comfort are Adidas by Stella McCartney and GapFit. The Stella McCartneys are spendy at $110 a pair, but they’re truly the best of the best. I like that they are “natural rise” and the tech fabric she uses doesn’t get any better:


I also love GapFit gFast Climate Leggings, which are even a little higher rise than the Stellas. And at $55, what’s not to like?

GapFit gFast heathered leggings - charcoal gray

4. Chocolate Milk. It does a body good. Really. Recent studies show it’s better than most sports drink for muscle recovery.


5. Put on a happy face. How best to do that? Run with friends, the kind who secretly drive through Hollywood on the Saturday night before your long run, attaching inspirational personalized posters to lamp posts to surprise the team and keep them motivated climbing that brutally steep hill to Sunset Blvd…you know who you are!


Chaos Theory

In Baby Love, Design on February 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm


Yesterday I hit something of a wall when I walked into my son’s room and tripped over a one-armed Batman action figure, just one of countless toys he’d removed from his toy basket and strewn around his room. The mess is crazy making, but also a potential hazard as his 10-month-old baby brother is now crawling like a speed demon and sticking any- and everything into his mouth. Because I’m what is referred to in polite company as “Type-A,” what followed was an intense organization spree, concluding in an extensive online search for a covered toy storage solution. I love the look of this Oeuf Toy Store (below), but the open bins make it an impractical option for us with a baby on board.


It turns out that most toy boxes are really, really ugly. Or more than I want to spend, such as this gorgeous Fuji Toy Box ($420) from Argington:


Or this sweet locally made Maude Box from Mod Mom ($450):


Somewhere deep in cyberspace I discovered a fabulous French option from Tolix, called the Tortue (tortoise) toy box.

tolix tortue

You may recognize Tolix’s iconic chairs, which are everywhere:

tolixchairOf course the toy box is not sold in the U.S.—that would be too easy—unless you are willing to wait for a container shipment six months from now, in which case you can order from Antiquaire, based in Lake Forest, IL. Instead, I hunted one down in hazard orange from a company in the Netherlands and with any luck it will be winging its way to us next month.

Leather Forecast

In Fashion on February 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm


There is little more exciting than when, over jalapeño margaritas on a Saturday night, one of the country’s top fashion editors mistakes your favorite new $150 Asos pleated navy leather skirt (top right) for the sold-out $1,110 version from McQ Alexander McQueen (below). Except for maybe if I actually had the McQ version. That would be pretty exciting, too.


Caramelized Bacon

In Food on February 2, 2013 at 9:06 am

maple bacon


I’m torn about sharing this recipe, because it is so incredibly artery clogging. It comes, obviously, from the Barefoot Contessa who has built an empire on heart-stopping food. But, moral quandaries aside, the bacon is ridiculously good. And it’s Super Bowl weekend. And if you make this for dudes, they will swoon at your feet. (It’s a theory I tested recently at an all-boys dinner for my husband’s birthday.)

Caramelized Bacon

From Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

Makes 15 to 20 Hors D’Oeurvres

1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup chopped or whole pecans
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 pound thick-sliced applewood-smoked bacon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil (for easy cleaning) and place a wire baking rack on top.

Combine the brown sugar and pecans in a food processor and process until the pecans are finely ground. Add the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and pulse to combine. Add the maple syrup and pulse again to moisten the crumbs.

Cut each bacon slice in half crosswise and line up the pieces on the baking rack without touching. With a small spoon, evenly spread the pecan mixture on top of each piece of bacon, using all of the mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is very browned but not burnt. If it’s underbaked, the bacon won’t crisp as it cools.

While it hot, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature.