Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Count Your Blessings

The front-page article from the New York Times a few weeks ago "Where Life’s Start Is a Deadly Risk" is one of those that make you count your lucky stars to live in a country where you get great medical care during your pregnancy and when delivering your baby. More than 536,000 women die every year during pregnancy and childbirth. More than half of those women live in Africa and most deaths are preventable with basic OB care. The article and online pictorial are heartbreaking but I'm glad I saw both because it helps remind me how lucky I am. Worth a quick read.

Getting Beach Ready

As I always say, "Once you go Brazilian you never go back". If you haven't tried it, I recommend giving it a shot. If you have and are looking for someone great in the Seattle area, I highly recommend Sandy Roden at Wax On Spa on Capitol Hill. She is friendly, thorough and fast. I was 25 minutes late the other day (thanks to Montlake's nightmare traffic) and she rushed me in and gave me the world's fastest wax. I was so appreciative. Wax On also has spas in Belltown and Kirkland, as well as two locations in Portland, Oregon.

And speaking of Brazilians, you could also try sugaring the bikini area. Some swear by it and feel it is less painful than traditional hot wax hair removal. That wasn't the case for me but everyone is different so give it a shot to see what method you prefer.

Ught Oh, I Spilled

Photo courtesy of Stanley Fellerman/Corbis

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

Farmers Market Dinner - Halibut Fish Tacos & Broccoli

At the farmers market on Sunday I bought fresh halibut, cabbage, cilantro and broccoli for tonight's dinner. I used my friend Amanda's recipe for fish tacos and my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed them. It was a light and healthy dinner that I will definitely make again.

Fish tacos would be great served with rice and beans but I'm trying to eat more veggies so I opted for broccoli as a side dish. I made this easy preparation.... boil broccoli florets for 2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water. Saute 1 T of minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes in olive oil, then throw the broccoli back in for a few minutes to return to heat. Salt and pepper and it's ready to go.

Fish Tacos

Halibut or cod (I used halibut)
1 bottle Corona
2 T olive oil

Spice mixture for fish (or use a pre-made cajun seasoning)
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper – more or less to your taste
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground white pepper

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
1/2 garlic clove, minced, then sprinkled with salt and mashed into a paste with the side of a knife
1/4 - 1/2 t hot sauce (like Cholula)
lots of salt & freshly ground black pepper
Corn or flour tortillas, warmed in the oven (I prefer flour but it's a personal preference)
Half a cabbage, thinly sliced like for a slaw
Pico de gallo , store-bought or homemade (so easy to make, my recipe below)
Avocado, chopped
Limes, quartered
Cilantro, chopped
Cheese, shredded (optional)
Cholula hot sauce or another brand
Pico de Gallo (rough recipe since I didn't measure)
2 tomatoes, minced
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced (or more if you can handle it)
2 T red onion, minced
2 T cilantro
juice of one lime
Rinse fish and pat to dry. Brush with olive oil and then apply the spice mixture. Add oil to a hot skillet and cook the fish on each side for a few minutes. Add Corona to pan, not covering the fish but enough that it almost poaches/steams it. Cover and let cook for a few minutes until fillet is cooked through. Warm tortillas in oven (I like to add cheddar cheese), top with cabbage, then fish and whatever toppings you prefer.

Cute Side Tables

I love this Faux Bois Drinks Table with a white marble top. I came across it while looking for butler's tables on the Internet. Source Perrier has closed and Source Collection is taking over many of the items previously sold on their site. Great Jones Home in Seattle sells this same table with a black marble top (and it's less expensive through Great Jones Home!).

I also came across this great Mermaid Hut Golden Bamboo Butler Table with Tray while looking for tables that would make a good bar. While I don't think this one suits a bar, I do think a pair of these (sold as two) would be adorable for some end tables or as a set of coffee tables.

Raspberry Freezer Jam in 30 Minutes

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.

Cooking with Zucchini

I'm always pretty crazy with my food cravings but it's almost comical while I'm pregnant. I've been eating more black bean green enchiladas than you can imagine for the last 27 weeks and I just don't seem to get sick of them. I thought I might as well try to add some more nutritional value to these enchiladas so I started adding zucchini. The first time I chopped it and sauteed it with the onion and garlic. I've since simplified and now I just shred it with the large holes on a cheese grater right into the pan of beans while they're cooking. I probably add one or one and a half cups of grated zucchini and I adjust the flavoring by adding more seasoning (cumin, paprika, garlic salt, salt, pepper, enchilada sauce). You would never know there's a green veggie hiding in the enchiladas and it's a great way to sneak them into your kid's bellies.

I've also been sneaking small chunks of zucchini into our smoothies and if you use some sweet fruit, you can't taste it. I get so much satisfaction watching my daughter and husband gulp down my smoothies without having any clue that there's all these raw green veggies in them.

I also like making sauteed zucchini one of two ways because it's easy and a good way to eat a green veggie. For the first, I slice zucchini into 1/4" rounds, then saute with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Remove from pan and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese. If I'm cooking Asian food that night, I season it differently. I cut it the same way, then saute in olive oil and season with salt, pepper, chicken bouillon powder and won ton soup seasoning (you can find this at Uwajimaya in Seattle).

Now that it's in season I will have to make some zucchini bread (recipe coming soon) and zucchini pancakes. Both delicious options for cooking with zucchini. If you have great recipes for zucchini, please share in the comments section. Would love some more ideas.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Leta Austin Foster & Associates

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.
I really miss my decorating magazines though (like House Beautiful and Veranda) so I have to rely on the Internet to satisfy my decorating needs with dreamy photos of rooms I would love to occupy. I came across Leta Austin Foster & Associates and love their work. These are a few of my favorite photos but there are many more great ones on the website. Enjoy!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Little Helpers

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.

The Art and Craft of Mimi Kirchner

I came across the amazingly talented Mimi Kirchner on Purl Bee. I am crazy for these handmade dolls. Look through her blog Doll - The Art and Craft of Mimi Kirchner or check out her Etsy shop to see more of her work. If I had money to burn I think I would burn some on these dolls for my daughter (they are quite pricey) although I don't know that I'd actually let her play with them at this age. Can you imagine how quickly a toddler could ruin one of these? I guess I will have to admire them from afar.

Paper Pot

I came across the Paper Pot on Swiss Miss and thought it was pretty cool. It's too contemporary for my home but it would look pretty cool in the right home. The Paper Pot is designed to hold tissues or toilet paper.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Heart...

...this bathroom. Wouldn't this make a fabulous powder room in your next mansion? The vanity, the mirror, the colors, the sconces, the molding. Ah, to dream!

Butler's Tables & Bar Carts

As promised, here are some tables that would make a great bar for all your dinner parties and get-togethers...

Jonathan Adler Meurice Antique Brass Butler Tray Table

West Elm butler tray + stand

Z Gallerie Faux Croc Bar Tables

Restoration Hardware Duncan Bar Cart

A Well-Stocked & Well-Designed Bar

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

Luxury Perfume House in London

Photograph courtesy of Nathan Branch

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

New Line Launches: Meredith Wendell

Friends of friends in New York, Ross & Meredith German, just launched their own line of accessories. Check out these adorable pouchettes sold at Kirna Zabette and soon to be sold on the Meredith Wendell website. Also, keep your eyes peeled as rumor has it they may be featured in The New York Times Style section this coming Sunday. Style.com recently featured the label with the article "Meredith Wendell’s Glass Act".

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.

Meredith recently designed these great Single Tulip Chain Necklaces for Thread Social. I have seen it in person and the chain is great too (so often they look cheap and this does not).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ladies Night Meatless Dinner

My friend Jennie had a delicious dinner with friends last night and took a photo to send me because she knows how much I love food and that I'm always looking for new recipes. The host served Ina's Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts and Mâché with Warm Brie & Apples. Both recipes are featured in the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook.
Looks delicious and I love her presentation. Perfect meal to serve a group of ladies for a brunch or dinner gathering. I'm tucking this idea away for sure. (Thanks LM!)

Monday, June 22, 2009

One More Reason to Buy Organic...

Some people think I'm crazy for my organic-mania but it's articles like these that keep the flame burning....

I came across the article "Pesticide Exposure Linked (Again) to Parkinson's Disease" on the Huffington Post's Green section. Give it a quick read for a brief summary of the link researchers are finding between pesticides and Parkinson's. Amazing what's on those non-organic tomatoes! And what link will they find next? Pesticides linked to various cancers? I'd believe it in a heartbeat.

The Daily Green also features this new web tool that allows you to look up your favorite foods to see all the pesticides they're laced with. Check out blueberries for example. FORTY-EIGHT pesticide residues on your blueberries! One more reason to buy organic.

My motto is - "Do what you can and you can't worry about the rest". We go out to eat a lot and I don't want to change my lifestyle or enjoy it less because it's not organic. So I'm anal about the food I buy to fix in my home, and outside of that, I try not to worry. It's how I stay sane.
It is more expensive, that's for sure, but I am willing to spend more money now because I feel it's worth it in the long run with our health and over-all health care costs. I also think there are other ways to save on food (eating less meat for example) that will offset the higher costs of organic foods.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Suppers

My friend Marly sent me the blog Sunday Suppers and I just took the time to really look it over. Verdict - I love! What's not to love?
About: Sunday Suppers is a collaboration by Casey Solomon and Karen Mordechai. We share a class-cooking-dining experience, pairing friends and food. The food is market fresh, local and organic and the approach is to create seasonal and fresh meals together. The classes are held in Brooklyn, New York, taught by Casey Solomon and photographed by Karen Mordechai.
Can someone PLEASE start something like this in Seattle and invite me to come?!
I love the photography on the blog and can't wait to try their recipes for Parsnip Puree, Poached Stone Fruit with Marscapone, d'Oeuf et de Gruyère with Sauteed Mushrooms and all the recipes from their Sunday Supper No. 1. Can't wait to see what else they have in store.

Fresh Local Strawberries - The Best You'll Taste All Year

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

Ceci Bruschetta

This recipe for Ceci Bruschetta uses leeks which add a ton of great flavor. You can still find some locally grown leeks in Seattle at the farmers markets and at PCC. Great summer appetizer, especially served with a glass of white wine, and quite easy to make.
Ceci Bruschetta
Inspired by an appetizer once served at Bricco

2 leeks, white and light green part, rinsed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 T garlic, minced
2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
loaf of fresh rosemary bread, sliced 1" thick (I used Wild Wheat Bakery's Rosemary Garlic bread)
1 large clove garlic, cut in half

Heat 3 T olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add leaks and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add garlic and more olive oil if needed. Cook for a few minutes, making sure not to let the garlic burn. Add garbanzo beans, salt and pepper. Cook on medium for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to low and cook for 10-20 minutes, stirring regularly. Season with more salt and pepper until well seasoned.

Turn oven to broil. Place bread on a cookie sheet and brush both sides with a bit of olive oil. Put pan in oven on middle rack for 2 minutes. Remove from oven, flip slices of bread and return to oven for 2 more minutes. Check again and then continue to cook if necessary until light brown and crisp. Be careful not to burn. Remove from oven and rub the cut edge of the garlic cloves over the top of the bread. Top with garbanzo bean topping. Optional - sprinkle with more olive oil, salt and pepper.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sicilian-Style Sauteed Greens

As I mentioned recently, I love the combo of garlic, raisins, pinenuts and crushed red pepper flakes. I've had this combo on broccoli, chard, spinach and cauliflower and it's always good. I love this recipe for Sicilian-Style Sauteed Greens from Martha Stewart's Cooking School cookbook. It's easy and delicious. Perfect for this time of year when the farmers markets are sprinkled with fresh, local rainbow chard.
Sicilian-Style Sauteed Greens
For greens
1 pound Swiss chard

For nut mixture
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup raisins (golden or dark)

For sauteing greens
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 to 2 tablespoons)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Prepare Greens
Remove stems from chard. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add leaves and let stand, swishing in water occasionally to loosen grit, for 1 minute. Lift greens out of water. Drain bowl and rinse out grit. Repeat until no grit remains in bottom of bowl when greens are removed, up to 4 more times. Repeat with stems. Slice greens crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Slice stems into 1/2-inch pieces, cutting just enough to yield 1 cup (discard remaining stems).
Cook Nut Mixture
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook shallots for a few minutes, until starting to soften. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add nuts and raisins and cook, stirring, until fragrant and raisins have softened, about 2 minutes more. Remove from pan; set aside.
Saute Greens
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in same skillet. Stir in the chard stems and cook for 1 minute. Add greens one handful at a time, stirring to wilt slightly before adding more, then cook until wilted and tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over greens and season with salt and pepper. Return nut mixture to pan and stir into greens. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Easy Chicken Recipe

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

A New Twist on Old Fashioned Oats

I love the blog Everybody Likes Sandwiches, especially for her breakfast recipes. I saw this one for toasted oats with berries & yogurt recently and thought it sounded yummy. I used it as inspiration for my own version. It was a nice change of pace from my usual breakfast options. My daughter gobbled it up too!

Toasted Oats with Strawberries & Milk
Adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

1 c old fashioned oats
1 t brown sugar
1 T honey
2 T shredded coconut
1 T sliced almonds
nonfat milk
fresh strawberries, sliced

Turn on your oven's broiler. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar and honey, then spread it evenly over the baking sheet. Bake for 2 minutes on the middle or upper-middle rack, checking frequently so that nothing burns. Remove from oven and sprinkle with coconut and almonds and bake again for another few minutes... again checking frequently. You want golden, not burnt. Remove from oven. Divide oat mixture evenly between two bowls and top with milk and strawberries.

Meatless Night

Photo courtesy of Food Network

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

Trend Alert - Colorful Leopard Prints

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.

Eat Fish, Be Smart, Choose Wisely

I think it's always important to know what you're eating, but it's especially important when you're pregnant. In addition to wanting to eat sustainable seafood, I also want to eat the most seafood healthy options and avoid those with higher exposure to mercury, PCBs and other contaminants. My doctor's office gave me this Healthy Fish Guide that I reference when in question. It's quite handy to have if you're interested in your best options for fish.

Smile Pinki

I recently watched the Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary Short called "Smile Pinki" about children in India with cleft lip and palate. The film follows two children in particular as they are approached by a social worker offering free surgery to correct their deformity. The documentary shows the cruelty these children face and the isolation they feel. It was incredibly moving and brought me to tears more than once. It also allows viewers to see the amazing work done by the Smile Train organization who provides free surgery to children in 75 of the world's poorest countries. Available on HBO's On Demand.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Farmers Market Dinner

Another great dinner with the following fresh ingredients from the farmers market....

I got the most delicious "marbled" salmon from the charismatic trio at the Wilson Fish booth. I've never tried marbled salmon so they convinced me to try it. The guys were right; it is fantastic and not fishy at all. I made up the recipe below using basil and chives from my herb garden and dill from my mother-in-law's. Turned out great.

Garlic-Herb Bread
I bought this great loaf from the Pacific Coast Bakery booth. I sliced a few pieces, toasted it and of course added some butter. Yummy.

My usual preparation - olive oil, salt, pepper, toss and grill.

Romaine, Butter Lettuce
I made one of my most favorite salads of all time.

Brown Rice
Cooked with chicken stock instead of water.

Leftovers for Tomorrow
Toast 2 slices of the garlic herb bread. Spread each piece with lemon-yogurt herb sauce (recipe below). Add slices of salmon and top with romaine or butter lettuce.
Here is the recipe I made up for the salmon after perusing the Internet for inspiration...
Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Yogurt Herb Sauce
For the salmon
Fillet of salmon (I used a 1.25lb fillet)
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 sprigs dill
1 T white wine or sherry
For the sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced and mashed into a paste
3 or 4 T minced dill
2 T chives, minced
2 t basil, minced
juice of one lemon
1/2 t white wine vinegar
1/4 t garlic salt
salt and freshly ground pepper
Prepare sauce by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl. Check for flavor. I kept adding more salt, pepper and herbs until I felt it was right. The recipe is my best guess at how much I used of each ingredient. Put sauce in fridge until you're ready to serve.
Rinse salmon and pat dry. Place fillet on a large piece of foil. Squeeze lemon juice over fillet, then rub olive oil into the salmon. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and minced garlic. Lay three sprigs of dill across the fillet and top with lemon slices. Wrap foil around salmon so it's enclosed. Place on the grill for roughly 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillet. Make sure not to overcook on the grill as the fish will continue to cook through once it's been removed from the grill. Serve salmon with a large dollar of sauce on top.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Greek Fries

My friend Lynne said I needed a photo of my Greek fries so before we inhaled this entire batch, I snapped a quick one.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ah, The Canlis Salad

Seattle's Canlis Restuarant was named one of the "12 Restaurants That Matter" in a recent issue of Saveur magazine. The magazine featured the recipe for the Canlis Salad, which is a salad not to be missed if you have the pleasure of dining there. You'll eat every last morsel on the plate, I promise.
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!