Monday, January 24, 2011

Statement Necklace For a Steal

Don't you love a statement necklace?  They're the best with a simple dress, but the ones I love usually cost over $100.  When I spied this one, I saw the olive stones, the lucite and the crystals hanging like a little chandelier.  I snatched it up and marched to the counter, not even checking the price, just knowing I needed to own it. 

Can you believe this stunner was...

drumroll please...


Run, don't walk to Banana Republic. 

P.S. I don't know the name, the tag wasn't even on it. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake!

Christine's 30th birthday party was ultra girly, with a pink and silver theme and four courses of desserts!

Mini cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. The banana pudding arrived later in the evening.

Caught!  Picking out our karaoke playlist.

Stacks of cream puffs and apricot tarts from Maison Richard.

Making a wish...

Briefly considered hijacking these and making two wishes for myself.

Let's get this party started.

Yes, that's @negativenatalie reading the lyrics from an iphone.

Singing... um, can't remember. 

Nice photobomb @SadaoTurner.

These gorgeous cream puffs remind me of the naughty Italian treat, Nipples of Venus.

Never met a candy bar I could resist.

Giving and getting some sugar.

Some sweets to go! The bags are 37 cents at Party City. The red parts are glittered. Love.

Group shot!

Quite the sweet evening.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cooking with Cactus

Earlier this week, I visited a tiny market on Indiana Avenue right off the 101 freeway that not only had the heartiest meaty tamales, they sold huge bags 2lb bags of fresh cactus for $1.50.  I've never cooked with cactus (aka nopales) before, I put the call out and you answered!  I whipped up a little omelet with grilled onion and yellow bell peppers topped with lots of tapatio.  The only thing missing?  Thin slices of jalapeno or serrano chiles to complement the tart, almost pickled flavor of the cactus.

I boiled the cactus in salted water for ten minutes.  It kind of looks like green beans, but its slippery like okra.

I sauteed the cactus with the onion and bell pepper in some Pam and a healthy squeeze of lime.  I added 3 scrambled egg whites with one whole egg.  Quick and easy!

So Spicy!

A shoutout on the homepage of CBS!  I die for the title.

By the way, I had so much leftover pork, I made some yummy open faced pork sandwiches on toasted buns with grilled red onions and the charred pineapple.  They were so good I ate two.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spicy Pineapple Pork Chops

Inspired by a recipe by Rick Bayless for pork tacos (get it here!) I created a meal of pork chops with grilled red onion and pineapple and a side of my grandma's rice.
The marinade is full of chipotle, paprika, and lots of other flavorful ingredients. I bought pork chops and grilled them, but pork loin would be scrumptious too.  The recipe calls for achiote paste.  I only had seeds, so I made it myself.  It wore me out.  Get the paste if you can.  I'm still scouring supermercados for it.
I marinated the pork chops in the fridge for an hour, but you can marinate overnight for a cured flavor.
I spread out the chops, thick slices of red onion and pineapple on the grill. They cooked for a few minutes on each side and they were done.  Easy.  I chopped the onion and pineapple on the cutting board before serving, placing the pineapple right on top of the pork
Here is Grandma Ethel's recipe for rice.  My little 4'11" grandma grew up in Guaymas Mexico, but we've always called it Spanish rice.  Go figure.
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 cups rice
4 cups water
1 tbs caldo de pollo
1 tbs salsa
Heat a pot with two tbs of vegetable oil.  Add the rice.  Stir until toasted.  The rice will starts to turn opaque and a little light brown on the edges.  Add 4 cups water with the the caldo de pollo.  Stir.  Add the salsa.  Cook the water down until the water nearly meets the rice.  Stirring occasionally so the rice doesn't stick.
Cover, turn down the heat to low and let cook for 20 minutes.  After 20 min, take a wooden spoon and turn the rice.  If it's not fluffy, recover with the lid and cook for a few more minutes.
Let me show you why you need Caldo de Pollo and why regular chicken bouillon doesn't give you the same result.  (Because I ran out of it and was forced to use bouillon and it just wasn't the same!)
Check out the rich, reddish brown color to your left.  The flavors are that much richer too.  The yellow bouillon to the right just doesn't cut it.
But I'm never one to turn down a home cooked meal!  A handful of cilantro made up for my sins.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Recipe: Pasta Primavera

This is the perfect recipe for spring!  The original recipe calls for fava beans, but they're only in season late spring and summer.  I bought dried and they weren't nearly as good as fresh soybeans. 

Pasta Primavera with Soybeans and Mint
Recipe for two

- Ingredients -

1/2 lb fettucine 

1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
16 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup fresh soybeans . fava beans, shelled
1 cup fresh or frozen peas thawed
1 cup red onion, julienned
3 tbs butter
1/4 cup of white wine
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs fresh chopped mint
3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

- Process -  

Boil a large pot of salted water.  Cook pasta for approximately 8 minutes, or until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid before draining water.  After draining, keep pasta warm in pot, toss with 1 tbs of olive oil so pasta doesn't stick.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a sauté pan.  When hot, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add asparagus, soybeans, peas, and onion, and cook for one minute. Add butter and wine, 1 tsp each of salt and pepper. When you add the two cups cooking liquid from pasta, reduce by ½ to thicken sauce. When sauce is desired consistency, add pasta to sauce and toss with 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese.  Taste for seasoning, add salt or pepper if needed and transfer pasta to warmed plates. Sprinkle fresh mint and remaining cheese over each plate of pasta.

Click here for the original recipe from Ava Restaurant in Philadelphia. After making Chef Michael Campagna's original several times I made a handful of changes, but this is his recipe :)

New Zodiac Chart!

Former Virgo. Now a Leo?

Okay, when I first posted this, I was perplexed by the chart.  Hours after posting this, I talked to astrologers & numerologists who said the horoscope we see in the newspaper and in most books is the western form of astrology.  This form is based on the seasons and doesn't change.  The new zodiac chart with the new sign pertains to the form of astrology that is based on the constellations, because the earth has moved and that's what changed the date.

In other words, I was a Virgo, and while I love Leos and now it says I am one, I still feel like a Virgo!  Whatever makes you happiest I believe.  xo

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16.

Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11.

Pisces: March 11-April 18.

Aries: April 18-May 13.

Taurus: May 13-June 21.

Gemini: June 21-July 20.

Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10.

Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16.

Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30.

Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23.

Scorpio: Nov. 23-29.

Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17.

Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.

Candyland in Tinseltown

I am beyond excited for Will Cotton's solo exhibition at The Michael Kohn Gallery.  The opening is tomorrow, but the show will continue through Valentine's Day.  
I've adored him for years, but just about died when his paintings were brought to life in Katy Perry's California Gurls video.  He's also very hands on.  He makes all of the delicious fashions for his models, including the candy crown and foil cupcake wrapper dress you see on Katy.

Doesn't that wedding cake hat look good enough to eat?  A walk through the gallery would be the perfect way to spend Valentine's Day, don't you think?

Michael Kohn Gallery

8071 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Jan. 14 - Feb. 26

The opening is this Friday at 6:30pm!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stripes Forever

I love a stripe.  I wore one sweater to bits a couple of years ago and I still miss it.  The cotton long-sleeved tee was from the Gap, had light grey and white stripes and was the softest sweater I ever owned.  I lived in that shirt, so it practically became a member of the family.  Naturally, it acquired a nickname.  Stripey was my go-to shirt when I wanted to get cozy.  An unoriginal name and a bit on the crazy side, but hey, I get attached to things.  Robert still gives me a look when I'm checking out something with stripes.

Stripes are big right now and without anchors and rope they are classic and chic.  My inspiration is the outfit at top left.  Black tights and boots are kind of my staple.  I love the big loose shirt tucked into jean shorts.  

Check out the Sonia Rykel dress at top right.   It's chic and comfy, but costs $425.  Move to the dress in the middle of page.  It has a similar square neckline, but only costs $20 at Forever 21.

Click here for info on the rest!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Recipe: Whoopie Pie

If you like moon pies, brownies and oreo filling, this recipe is for you.  According to some food historians, Amish women would occasionally put one of these treats into their husbands' lunchboxes.  When farmers found the sweet surprise, they'd shout "whoopie!"  I know that's how I felt when my mom left me a Ding Dong.  She always made us fantastic lunches, with fresh sliced turkey on whole wheat bread and the lettuce and tomato in separate baggies.  Ding Dongs went against her grain, but we loved them.

I'm posting the traditional recipe for whoopie pies. It involves Crisco.  Maybe you don't like using shortening.  You can substitute a stick of butter, but the filling will run.  A healther alternative is to use only marshmallow fluff, which is very sticky.  Whipping cream works too, but it must be eaten immediately. 

Since whoopie pies take two steps, you can make the cakes a day or two in advance.  Store them in an airtight container separated by wax paper.  Like most cookies, they freeze well too.  Just pop them into ziploc bags and let them defrost at room temp.

Whoopie Pies


- Cakes -

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg

- Filling - 

1 jar of Marshmallow fluff
1 1/4 cup shortening (aka Crisco)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla


- Making cakes - 

Preheat oven to 350°F.  

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely. 

- Making filling - 

In a mixer beat the fluff and shortening together until fluffy.  Slowly add sugar, then vanilla.  Blend until incorporated then spread a 1/2 inch think layer of frosting on one cake.  Assemble with another half.  Done! :)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Making Whoopie

Here's a glance at my whoopie pies straight from the oven.  They are delicious, but I don't think it's worth it to buy heart-shaped molds.  This batter has a mind of its own.  You're fine using a baking sheet.

Here's the recipe at Epicurious!

Luxe/Less: Something Blue

Remember the beautiful blue satin shoes Carrie wore for her wedding to Big?  Let's forget the whole leaving her at the altar business, shall we?

These Manolos aren't cheap ($1K!) so in my dreams, I imagine wearing them with a chic little LBD or glamming them up with a silver or cream shift.

It's hard to match the original, but Martinez Valero makes the prettiest pair for about a tenth of the price ($130).   For a tenth of that price, you can buy this sweet little ink drawing for $12!
Buy directly from the artist! Kristina Hultkrantz.

I'm Nobody!

This is one of my favorite poems.  I adore how these girls brought it to life!

I'm nobody! Who are you?

Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

~Emily Dickinson

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Fashion Takes Flight

One of my favorite photographers has a glamorous new ad campaign.  Alex Prager grew up in LA and was raised by her grandmother in a Los Feliz apartment.

For Bottega Veneta, Karolina Kurkova channels Tippi Hedren in a $7,000 dress with those fantastic shoulders.  A little bit of a nightmare and a lot of dream.

One of Prager's earlier photographs.

Beautifully Basic Bruschetta

I love making bruschetta when I know I'll be cooking for a few hours. If I cook while hungry, I grow impatient for the recipe to be finished.  This appetizer is fun, quick to make and will tide you over until the main course. 

- Ingredients -for 2-4 people (double it for a party)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1/2 fresh baguette
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 2tbs balsamic vinegar
  • fresh basil - I forgot mine, but had dried.  Fresh is much better!
  • salt and pepper to taste

- Process -
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Parboil your tomatoes to loosen the skins. Boil the tomatoes for one minute, then put in an ice bath for another minute.  Make small slice in the skin and they peel off easily in water.
  3. Cube the tomatoes and place in a mixing bowl.
  4. Combine with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and chopped basil.  Salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Slice bread at an angle, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Brush each piece on one side with olive oil.  Place bread on baking sheet with olive oil side down.
  6. Bake for 4-5 minutes, Edges should be light brown.
  7. When the bread is toasted, flip over your pieces, spoon on dollop of your tomatoes.  Finish with fresh Parmesan on top.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Lunch at The Chateau

Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere" features a movie star living at the Chateau Marmont (showing his daughter the time of her life) and celebrates the hotel's historic Hollywood vibe.  If these walls could talk!  Scarlett Johansson and Benicio del Toro's steamy tryst in the elevator is just a drop in the well.  Led Zeppelin riding motorcycles through the hotel lobby?  Oh yes.  Judy Garland singing at the piano? Indeed.  Lindsay Lohan racking up huge bills and Britney Spears smearing food on her face?  Sigh.

I love going for lunch.  The patio is like a (very glamorous) neighbor's outdoor room, with massive rugs laid out in a serene, bohemian garden.  It's also some of the best people-watching in LA and the food never disappoints.  I've had the Cucumber and Avocado with Basil sandwich a half-dozen times over the past few months.  With more than a dozen layers of goodies to bite into, the textures are incredible.

I guess we're both creatures of habit.  Robert usually gets the chicken breast and avocado sandwich.  (Don't you love a pounded chicken breast?)  I stole too many of his fries.  They're just how I like them.  Goldilocks here doesn't like her fries too skinny or too fat.  Just crispy and light as air.  Maybe you've heard of the Chateau's burger?  It's one of the best in LA.  I prefer sharing one with a friend after a rowdy Hollywood night, tucked into a couch in the main living room.

Chateau Marmont
8221 Sunset Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 656-1010

One can't leave the hotel without a sighting!  Richard Lewis was having lunch solo, listening to his ipod and writing with four bottles of diet coke in front of him.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Just One Sip

I first tried a French 75 at The Savoy in London after learning that's where the drink came to fame.  The hotel's American Bar also served up London's first cocktail in 1889.  

On another note, if you haven't tasted brandied cherries, let me assure you they won't remind you of sugary Shirley Temples. Just one sip and I'm transported!

French 75

1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 oz gin
3 brandied cherries for garnish
lemon twist for garnish

- makes 1 drink -   
In an ice-filled pilsner or collins glass, combine the syrup, lemon juice, and gin, and stir to mix.  Fill the glass to the top with champagne and garnish with the cherries and lemon twist.

Source: Unknown!

The hotel was renovated recently for about $200 million.  I'd love to return and pay homage to the hotel's Hollywood history with a decadent outfit inspired by one of my favorite fizzy cocktails.  The Savoy was Marilyn Monroe's favorite place to stay.  There's a suite named after Marlene Dietrich that comes with a dozen pink roses, which she insisted upon for every stay.  It's a magical place.  Gordon Ramsay runs The Savoy Grill and I'm sure he bites his tongue.

Click the photo for the extravagant sources!


Related Posts with Thumbnails