Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I don't know how but I always seem to ruin my shirts with food stains. Maybe it's because I spend most of my time cooking and eating, or maybe I'm just a klutz. Either way, I ruin a lot of clothes and it's quite sad.
I'm trying to be better about catching stains before throwing clothes in the laundry where it sets in for life. I have been loving Wine Away to get berry stains out of my shirts (also great for wine stains obviously). Another great secret is using liquid dish washing soap for any grease or tomato-based stains in clothing. It's the only thing I've found that works. I recently got fry grease ALL over a new silk tank top and wanted to cry. I resisted the urge to fiddle and took it straight to the dry cleaner the next day. He said it was better that I didn't touch it because generally when people try to get stains out themselves, they end up making it more permanent. My mom taught me that aerosol hairspray is good for getting ink out of clothing and Woolite is your best bet to get blood out (good to know now that I'm a mom and we've already had a few bloody spills).
So those are my tips. Here's a great stain removal cheat sheet from Martha Stewart that you can print and leave in your laundry room for those questionable stains. I always welcome other ideas so please post any tricks you have up your sleeve!
Monday, June 29, 2009
Halibut or cod (I used halibut)
1 cup sour cream (or 3/4 sour cream and 1/4 plain nonfat yogurt)
2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
2 T chopped cilantro
I bought a flat of local organic raspberries yesterday at the market and made a quick batch of freezer jam. I learned how to make freezer jam a few weeks ago with strawberries so it was all the easier this time around and only took about 30 minutes to whip up five jars of jam. I found it to be much faster making raspberry jam because the berries were so easy to mash. The berries were so sweet that I only had to use 1/2 cup of sugar for the whole batch. I'm so glad I learned how to make freezer jam this summer. It normally would have intimated me (any new cooking process does) but it is so easy and so satisfying to pack away all those jars in the freezer.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Over a year ago I canceled all my magazine subscriptions because I couldn't handle them stacking up and they were starting to cause more anxiety than entertainment. (Thank you Marly for inspiring me to put an end to the madness!) Plus I'm trying to be more thoughtful in my consumption habits and that was a simple way to reduce my environmental footprint.
Friday, June 26, 2009
As I mentioned before, I'm a big fan of Dr. Wendy Mogel and her parenting philosophy. One thing I remember from her lecture at Seattle's City Hall a few years ago and from her book is her convincing argument on the value of household chores for kids.
From the chapter "The Blessing of Work"
In addition to giving children a sense of their obligation to other people, doing chores gives them survival skills. By teaching our children a habit of responsibility at an early age, we give them the confidence to take on ever more complex challenges as they grow older. And helping out at home raises self-esteem: when parents insist that children do their chores, they are letting them know that they're not just loved, they are needed. Ordinary chores are the foundation of our children's character and spiritual well-being.
My daughter is not yet two, so she's still quite a handful during "the bewitching hours". I'm generally preparing dinner between 5:00-6:00pm while she is tearing apart the house and trying to get my attention. It's tough on both of us. So with Dr. Mogel in mind I started to involve my daughter in the dinner making process. I taught her how to snap the asparagus. Of course, she doesn't always snap it in the right spot and we end up with more little pieces than long spears, but who cares - it all tastes the same. Afterward, I ask her to help mommy throw the ends in the garbage and she is always eager to help with that too.
I also taught her how to pull the string on the salad spinner. I hold the bowl and she pulls the handle. She loves it and is eager and excited to help. She is in and out of the kitchen but it's nice to have some ideas of ways she can help and be involved. When we eat dinner we tell her daddy what she did and you can tell she is proud of herself.
In her lecture at City Hall, Dr. Mogel explained the importance of age-appropriate chores so you can help the child succeed and not give them more than they can handle. While at the same time she reminds us that things don't have to be perfect, using the example of the young girl who wants to wash the soap from her hair. She won't get all the soap out the way mommy could, but that's okay, and how else will she ever learn if you don't allow her to do it herself?
If you haven't picked up her book, I highly recommend it. I got so much out of it and continue to go back and get inspiration on how to be a better parent.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Whenever I have a dinner party, I like to have a bar set up with great glasses, alcohol, mixers, ice, cocktail napkins, lemons, limes, some type of finger food (like nuts, chips or olives) and maybe a small vase with flowers. I do the same for brunches with coffee, tea, mimosas or bloody marys and some type of cookie or sweet.
I think I was originally inspired by the first photo (from House & Garden a few years ago) and a few others like it that I pulled from magazines. I bought a great butlers table from an antique store that folds up for easy storage and I always bring it out for parties. I'm working on a post with butler's tables and bar carts for ideas of where or what to buy for your next party.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Perfume is such a personal thing and it's one of those things you don't buy unless you have the sample in your hand and fall in love with it. That said, I still couldn't resist blogging about my most favorite scents. I came across the London perfumery Ormonde Jayne four years ago while on vacation. I left the shop with two new scents that are my favorite to this day - Osmanthus & Champaca.
"The story of this unique luxury perfume house is one of uncompromising perfection. Known for the rarity and purity of ingredients, sourced personally from growers in far flung climes such as Indochina, Arabia, the Amazon and Madagascar, and alchemised in our own London laboratory, Ormonde Jayne has attracted the admiration of the perfume cognoscenti and fine fragrance lovers worldwide.
When asked to create "the perfect scented candle" for one of the world's leading luxury houses, Ormonde Jayne rose to the challenge. It wasn't long before inspired vision thrust Ormonde Jayne into the limelight. Spurred by her own and her clients' demanding standards, Ormonde Jayne's breathtaking perfume range was born."
My two favorite scents:
Osmanthus: A fruity floral white flower from Japan and China
Like a deliciously crisp spring day, this uplifting creation with Japanese Osmanthus absolute is a beautifully composed boquet of flowers, embellished with golden citrus notes. Layered on a bed of Egyptian sweet herbs, it is intense, fresh and yet uncomplicated.
- Top: Pomello, davana (sweet Egyptian herb), pimento
- Heart: Osmanthus absolute, water lily and sambac (Indian Jasmine)
- Base: Cedarwood, labdanum resin, musk and vetiver
Champaca: A tiny pale orange flower from India
Related to the magnolia and deemed sacred in the Indus Valley,
Champaca flower absolute is a heavenly, creamy floral scent - both elegant and intimate. Blended with neroli and bamboo and underscored with fragrant rice and green tea notes, this is a distinguished perfume of rare beauty.
- Top: Neroli, pink pepper and bamboo
- Heart: Champaca and freesia absolutes, basmati notes
- Base: Myrrh, green tea notes and musk
Meredith once designed accessories for Marc Jacobs and has an amazing eye for style and fashion. I imagine we'll see a lot of great things come from the new Meredith Wendell label.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I was so inspired by Barbara Kingsolver that I made a lot of food goals for myself. One goal was to buy local organic berries while they are in season to freeze for the rest of the year. I also wanted to make freezer jam for my family and for gifts. I accomplished both in the last few weeks.
My friends Tara and Erika were helpful in explaining the best way to freeze berries. I bought two flats of strawberries from the farmers market, gave them a quick rinse before taking the core off and laid them out to dry for a few hours on kitchen towels. Then I put them on cookie sheets in a single layer and put them in the freezer overnight (or you can just do this for a few hours). This helps prevent them from all sticking together when frozen. Once frozen individually, I placed them in freezer-safe Ziploc bags and pressed as much air out as possible to prevent freezer burn. I wrote the date on the bag so I'd know when each batch of berries was done.
All said and done, I'm not sure I really saved that much money over buying organic frozen berries at the grocery store but I am supporting the local farms and making less of a footprint on the environment. Both worthy of my time.
The following week I bought a few more flats of strawberries to make freezer jam. After looking online for recipes and asking around, I ended up using the recipe that came inside the pectin box. I think it turned out great. I made a few batches so of course I tried a few versions. I tried different amounts of lemon juice, and made some with sugar and some with honey. I used Pomona's Universal Pectin which says that you can get the right consistency without using as much sugar as other brands which is nice as some recipes call for an insane ratio of sugar to berries. They even offer a "jamline" that came in helpful when I ran into a few questions. I got a call back about 20 minutes after I left a message. I wish every recipe had a Food 911 help line!
I bought small jars so I would have lots to give away as gifts. I bought a few different styles of jars and think the hexagon shape and the mini mason jars turned out the cutest. I will make some cute tags or labels to spruce them up for gifts. I think it would be cute to give along with a great loaf of fresh baked bread. I will leave that to the local bakeries.
I had some leftover mashed berries that I mixed with a touch of sugar and have been putting over vanilla ice cream every night for dessert. Delicious. Would also be fabulous to use for strawberry milkshakes. (Thanks Lynne for that idea. Will be eating a lot of those in the next few weeks).
Next on my list... some delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble with strawberries and rhubarb from the farmers market. Get 'em while they're good!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
For nut mixture
For sauteing greens
Thursday, June 18, 2009
To this day, I haven't tried a Barefoot Contessa recipe that I didn't like, and I've tried a lot. I own all her cookbooks and find more recipes online and they are all great. A favorite of mine for a quick easy dinner is her recipe for chicken with herbed goat cheese. It's good as is, but my friend Nicole made it even better with the addition of sun-dried tomatoes. I hadn't looked at the recipe for awhile and bought plain goat cheese on accident. It makes all the difference so make sure to buy the garlic and herb goat cheese.
Just a few minutes prep, 30 minutes in the oven and you have yourself a great main course! While it bakes you can throw together a veggie and a salad and you have a three course dinner in under 45 minutes!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I made Ina's Lemon-Fusilli with Arugula tonight for one of our meatless dinners this week. It is so yummy and makes great leftovers, served hot or cold. I served it with Giada's Sauteed Broccoli Rabe (using broccoli) and it was a very satisfying and flavorful dinner.
Monday, June 15, 2009
From New York Times Style Section, May 31, 2009
Regarded, for the most part, as a fall wardrobe staple, leopard print is changing its spots. This season it is popping up all over the place, in a slew of bright summery hues: bubblegum pink and turquoise at Lanvin (pictured here on the Teen Vogue editor Amy Astley, far left); lavender and acid yellow at Just Cavalli; electric blue at Temperley. For her latest Topshop collection, which arrived in the New York store on May 25, Kate Moss, near left, did a swingy cocktail dress in a baby blue variation.
“There must be something in the air,” said Ulrika Lundgren, the stylist turned designer behind the Swedish label Rika. Her spring collection includes easy cotton pieces punched up in a hot pink leopard print. “I wanted to do it, but not in a classic way. I wanted to give it a modern twist — something a little rock ’n’ roll.” Compared with, say, Roberto Cavalli, and his clash of wild prints, Ms. Lundgren prefers to keep the rest of the outfit simple: denim shorts and a pair of high heels. “I’m Swedish,” she explained.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The recipe featured in Saveur is slightly different than the one I am familiar with, which is also available on the Canlis website. Either way, it's sure to be fantastic. It's a little more time intensive than other salads I make so I save this for special occasions. It's definitely one for the recipe books!