Monthly Archives: August 2010

La Vie en Rose

I love the flavor of rose in sweets, so I recently tried a new recipe that called for rose water. After searching my normal grocery store for a bottle with no success, I headed to a more specialty store a few blocks from my apartment. Not only was I happy to find a bottle there, but I was completely charmed by the packaging — totally vintage-y and cool!

I’m currently in the process of making some rose cream macarons with the rose water, so I’ll let you know how they turn out! Macarons are tricky little fellows to make because they are so fickle! If it’s the wrong temperature outside or if you don’t beat the egg whites the right way, they come out a gooey mess. Cross your fingers that these aren’t a disaster!

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Meet MAC, My New Best Friend

A few weeks ago, handbag designer Rebecca Minkoff announced a really cool giveaway in New York City called Jack a MAC. The prizes were 10 of her signature Morning After Clutches (MACs), and each one would be given away at one of her favorite places in the city. Her team just so happened to tweet the location of this bag while I was nearby, and I ran to claim it!

Needless to say, I was thrilled to find out that I got the bag (above, hanging out with my books), but weeks later it has turned out to be sort of life-changing. I’m one of those huge tote bag people who ends up schlepping my life around with me on my shoulder (see picture of me and former huge bag in front of Isabel Marant below, from Minkette). Like, to the point where if I got lost in the woods I’d probably have the resources to live for a little while. But I live in Manhattan, so really the only result of lugging all that stuff around was a sore shoulder and back. Not cool.

When I first got the MAC, I thought I’d only use it for nights when I was going out and only needed a wallet and keys. Boy, was I wrong! I use it every day. It fits not only my wallet, but also my keys, my Kindle, two cell phones, my powder compact and some chapstick. Which is PLENTY! Plus, now my arm doesn’t feel like it is going to fall off after a long day of running around!

I’m in love with the little details on this bag — from the long leather pulls on the zippers to the pretty gold feet on the bottom of the bag, everything is so classic yet pulled together with subtly cool details. So, THANK YOU Rebecca Minkoff!

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Avocado and Roasted Corn Soup with Cilantro Oil

I’ve come to realize that there are two kinds of people in this world — those who love avocado and those who despise it. I fall under the “love” category (possibly even under the “obsessive” category), so I’m always looking for new recipes to use it in. The latest recipe that I tried will probably appeal to other avo-lovers out there.

I’ll be honest — I found this recipe to be a bit more involved than what I was hoping for, but the result came out pretty well anyway. This soup is served cold, which was fine, but I would have liked it better if there were actual corn kernels in it and not just what I’ll call “corn essence” (the instructions have you cook corn kernels, puree them in a food processor with chicken stock, and then press the mixture through a sieve and discard the solids!). There definitely wasn’t enough texture to this soup, which is why I added some pieces of shredded chicken.

The cilantro oil, however, was very good! I think it also made the bowl look a little prettier with the glossy dark green streaks it made! Overall, this dish was very flavorful and a refreshing summer dinner.

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Resident Tourist

My dad is an absolutely fantastic photographer. Unfortunately for him, my siblings and I were often embarrassed by his tendency to whip out the camera to document every single moment. As a result, there are a few too many pictures of us with that “are you seriously taking a picture right now?” smile on our faces. Fortunately for me though, his photography instilled an appreciation for moments that we often take for granted.

Being a New Yorker, I walk by interesting people, bizarre situations and downright remarkable buildings and public art on a regular basis. Because it is a part of where I am, I usually end up just smiling to myself and continuing my walk to wherever I am headed. Tonight as I was walking home from the grocery store, I noticed how brilliant the sunset was over the Hudson. As I continued to walk home I thought to myself, “Dad would take a picture of that,” and so I turned around, pulled out my Power Shot, and snapped a photo with three grocery bags hanging off of my arms. I’m sure that people in my neighborhood were wondering what the hell I was doing — I hope they at least looked and saw the sunset.

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Lazy Weekends

I’m always out and about, running around like a crazy person. During the week I’m busy with work, keeping up at the gym and getting together with friends in the evening. I often travel on the weekends, or I end up making plans that fill up all my time. While I’m grateful to have so much time with friends and family, sometimes I need a weekend of nothing to balance it all out. That would be what this weekend was all about!

I woke up on Saturday to the giddy feeling that I had absolutely nothing to get up for. I grabbed a coffee and set off for a nice long walk in my neighborhood, stopping to get a manicure on the way! Of course since I am awful at maintaining manis, my Essie Chinchilly is now helplessly chipped. This is why I can’t have nice things.

After I made a simple but delicious dinner, I popped in a movie for background noise and got to making some really tasty little chocolate cakes with coffee creme anglaise (another Self recipe! I’m on a roll with these!). Since this was my lazy weekend, I didn’t take pictures of them. Instead, I took pictures of the leftover Ghirardelli chocolate. Before I ate that too.

After doing a little bit of housework today, I sat back to enjoy being cozy inside while it rained outside. A bowl of popcorn and a long-overdue date with my Kindle made me a very happy lady.

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Tomato-Watermelon Soup and Beef & Artichoke Wraps

Sometimes you end up finding the best recipes in the strangest places. Somehow I ended up on Self magazine’s mailing list a while ago, and sometimes I really love the recipes they put out. This week I was fed up with the heat, so instead of cooking dinner I opted for a no-cook meal that I saw in their newsletter: Tomato-Watermelon Soup with Beef & Artichoke Lettuce Wraps.

The soup was incredible and SO easy to make. The secret to giving it a little bit of substance is ground almonds, which end up giving the soup more body than you’d expect. This recipe couldn’t be easier — literally toss the ingredients in a food processor and then top with feta cheese and mint for a little bit of tang.

I wasn’t quite as crazy for the lettuce wraps… they were a little too cold for me — I like lettuce wraps to have a bit of contrast in them (i.e. cold lettuce, warm filling), so the fact that everything was cool was a bit boring. It was a nice relief to have an oven-less meal for once though!

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Brunch in Long Island City

This weekend was really busy, but my roommate and I took the morning on Sunday to head out to Long Island City for brunch with a friend.

I had never been out to LIC before, but I was glad that we went to visit! We took the 7 train just one stop out of the city (to Vernon Blvd/ Jackson Ave), and it seemed like a different city altogether. This part of Queens has been touted as the next hip neighborhood in the 5 boroughs, and I can see why. It still has a distinctive city feel to it, but it is really quiet and residential with a lot of parks and public gardens. We took a walk out to the pier after brunch to enjoy a little breeze off of the water, and I thought that the surrounding park was really cool. It reminded me a little bit of the Highline because of the train tracks that are still interspersed randomly in the grass, but this park is much larger and sits on the East River!

The restaurant we brunched at is called Tournesol , by the way. They had this adorable little car out front — not sure if they use it for deliveries or if they just keep it there because it is kitschy and cute. The food was really good, and I ordered a nice big mug of cafe au lait to go with my French toast. They gave me such huge pieces of bread that were just soaked through with the egg mixture, making them really filling. Luckily, the toast was served with delicious fresh fruit on the side which clearly makes up for the fact that I ate my weight in bread and eggs. The best thing about the place is that it is run by Europeans who don’t rush you out of the restaurant as soon as you take your last bite of food. Actually, I think they would have let us sit there all day if we hadn’t asked for the check. That was fine with me though — nothing I love better than brunch on a lazy Sunday!

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