Monday, December 31, 2012

Fashion Inspiration - Winter layering

I've been trying (I said trying) to do less shopping, which inherently means re-working items already in my closet.  Luckily, there have been some great examples of re-purposing more springlike items for the winter through aggressive layering.  It all got started with this image of Keira Knightley at LAX wearing a big sweater and jacket over a flowy skirt with tights and ankle boots.  I only wish I looked this good when traveling.

{Keira Knightly at LAX, via TomandLorenzo}

I love how the proportions work, and are effectively opposite from those above, with this shrunken fisherman's sweater over a tea-length skirt.

{Mary Kate Steinmiller, via The Sartorialist}

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cherry Almond Granola

There are tons of good granola recipes out there on the internet, including this one I'm anxious to try from 3191 and something like 4 different ones on Orangette.  However, for a long time I still was quite intimidated by the idea of making my own.  My sister has shown me the error of my ways though.  She regularly makes granola to keep us stocked up, and insists that buying it pre-made is outrageously more expensive than making it yourself.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I still don't make my own granola, I just eat the granola my sister makes.  But in case you can't convince your roommate to keep you stocked in homemade granola, now you can make your own.)

The latest batch she made was particularly delicious, with almonds and dried cherries, because as Jamie Oliver would say, almonds and cherries are best mates.

As I understand it, the basic granola recipe is highly adaptable, generally being oats, nuts, flavorings, sweetener & oil, and then dried fruit at the end after baking if you desire.  So to steal a line from the 3191 recipe, "You’re making granola, people, so embrace your inner hippy and just go with the flow."

Cherry Almond Granola

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds, chopped slivered or sliced
1/2 cup shredded coconut or coconut chips
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. agave or honey
3 Tbsp. canola oil (or another neutral oil)
1/4 cup flax seed
1 cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

On a large baking sheet, combine oats, nuts, coconut, salt, and cinnamon smooshing around until generally mixed.  Pour over sweetener and oil, and mix about again until incorporated.  Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown and toasted, stirring every 15 minutes or so to help cook evenly.  Add the flax seeds halfway through baking to allow them to toast, but not burn.  Once you pull from the oven, let cool completely before adding the cherries and storing in an airtight container.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Whitney Houston - Step by Step

One of my favorite holiday movies is "The Preacher's Wife" with Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington, I think in part because I listened to the soundtrack on repeat back in middle school.  This song, "Step by Step," in particular was on such heavy rotation that a cool 15 years later my two closest siblings still remember all the words, no doubt pounded into their memories by ceaseless playing on repeat.

While it was a little hard to watch this year in the wake of Whitney's death, I think maybe all that more important, in order to remember her staggering talent.

Album cover via.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Style Spotlight: Miranda Kerr

While I'm sure she also wears some very nice clothes on red carpets for fancy events, I have always been most impressed by Miranda Kerr's street style looks.  While she's still wearing very expensive clothing, I think her street style looks can more easily be interpreted by non-celebrities, like me.  While I will never have her legs, figure, or clothing budget, there are still some style take-aways from many of her looks.

I love the simplicity of this look, with an over-sized blouse and skinny tuxedo pants.  She almost always has on a great pair of sunglasses and is carrying a great bag, good inspiration for paying attention to even the little details in an outfit.

{In A.L.C. and Equipment in New York via People}

While leather shorts are certainly a little risky, I think it's best to keep the rest of look simple, as here, with just pumps, a white tee, and shades, or as in the look below, with tights and gray and chambray layers on top.

{In Paris for the Dior Spring 2012 fashion show via RCFA}

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The xx - Last Christmas

I can only handle a certain amount of Christmas music before it makes me want to poke my eyes out, and my preferences usually tend towards the classics.  (The Pandora Indie Christmas channel brings me to the brink of eye-poking even faster.)  Therefore, I have absolutely no good reason why I really enjoy this version of "Last Christmas," covered by The xx, found via the We All Want Someone to Shout For blog.

Other than maybe the fact that I love them.  (The Pandora The xx channel is one of my favorites.)  They're a London-based, indie pop group which formed in 2008.

Other than just their "Last Christmas" cover, you should check out their most recent album, Coexist, which came out back in September.  I particularly like "Chained."

Image via.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Shrimp & Grits

Maybe I was just preparing myself for my trip to North Carolina last weekend, but a couple of weeks ago my sister and I threw together a shrimp and grits dinner.  For those of you who don't know this, grits are delicious and go with lots of things, see here.  They're also easy.

I don't even know that I have that much of a recipe to share here, because we just pulled some slow-cooker carnitas out of the freezer and warmed them up in a pan, sauteed some kale with some chili flakes and bacon, and cooked the shrimp with a little lemon, chili flakes, and parsley, and that was it.

EDITED TO ADD: Oops, apparently there was a thoughtful recipe behind the shrimp, rather than just being thrown together, namely this Bobby Flay shrimp and grits recipe.

I use Alton Brown's cheese grits recipe, although I usually just use water to cook the grits.  The key to grits is stirring often during the cooking process so you don't get lumps, and then lots of salt and pepper and cheese.

For my carnitas, I use this Pioneer Woman Spicy Shredded Pork Shoulder recipe, although I leave the rub mixture on the pork overnight, and then just cook the whole thing in a slow cooker during the day while I'm at work, before shredding the meat and reducing the juices.

All told it's as easy as can be.  And then I got to go to North Carolina and have grits for brunch at Foster's with Jenny-Jen.  I'll have to try this next, grits with black beans, salsa, and a fried egg on top.

Shrimp (for shrimp & grits):
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 tsps lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, minced

Rinse shrimp and pat dry.  Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well.  In grease, add shrimp.  Cook until shrimp turn pink, add lemon juice, parsley, and garlic, and saute for 3 minutes.  Serve over grits.

Cheese Grits:
4 cups water (or broth, or 2 cups water and 2 cups milk)
1 1/2 tsps kosher salt
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded (or cheese of your choice, Parmesan is good)

Bring the liquid and salt to a boil in a pot with a lid over medium-high heat.  Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking, and then reduce the heat to low and cover.  Remove lid and whisk every 3-4 minutes, and cook for a total of 20-25 minutes or until creamy.

Remove from heat, add the pepper and butter, and whisk to combine.  Gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time.  Taste for salt, pepper or more cheese.

4 lbs pork shoulder (up to 7 lbs is fine)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp salt (or up to 2 Tbsp)
pepper to taste
3-4 cloves garlic
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 whole onion, peeled and quartered
line wedges

Throw all the ingredients save the pork and lime into a food processor and blend until combined.  Rub the mixture all over the pork shoulder, and store covered in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, place the pork shoulder and all the rub mixture into your slow cooker, add a couple of cups of water, and cook on the low setting for 6-8 hours, or until fork tender.

Once cooked, pull the meat out and shred the pork with two forks.  Now you have options with the sauce.  You can try and remove some of the fat by skimming it off the top. (This is way easier if you can stick the sauce in the fridge overnight because the fat rises to the top and solidifies).  You can reduce the sauce on the stove top if you think you have too much liquid.  Or you can just throw the shredded meat back into the slow cooker and mix it all up, which is what I usually do.  Serve with lime wedges.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December Country Music Round-Up

Every so often there's nothing I want to listen to so much as country music.  Being currently right smack in the middle of such a period, I thought I would share some of my current favorites.  When I've been getting stressed out, I try to remember to "get some of this laid on back."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fuchsia Trunk Show

My favorite jewelry store Fuchsia is having their annual holiday trunk show this Thursday and Friday.  The vast majority of the jewelry on my board is from there.

So come on out!  I'll probably go on Thursday, in case you were interested.  Details below:

Hello everybody!
Time for our Holiday Trunk Show!
Thursday December 6th and Friday December 7th.
5:00 to 9:00 both nights
Tons of local jewelry, sweets, and bubbly!
Hope to see you here...
6658 se Milwaukie Avenue
503 232 3737

First image mine, second from Fuchsia email list.  

Sky Ferreira - Everything is Embarassing

Most of you have probably heard of this song, since it came out on her "Red Lips" EP on October 16, 2012.  However, I just heard about it as the best song of the year from Nitsuh Abebe's Top Ten Albums of 2012 post on NY mag.  And it does not disappoint.  Her debut album is meant to come out in early 2013.

Image via.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

This recipe originally come from Smitten Kitchen, and I've been making it for a few years, with lots of adaptations and adjustments, all to good effect.  The only trick is you really need to let it cook for a while for all the flavors to meld, otherwise is just tastes like nothing.  Also, it is not photogenic, at all.

This time I substituted Basque chorizo instead of the ham, and so added it at the beginning to crisp up a little.  I also refuse to puree the beans, because that would involve having to wash the food processor, so instead I just mash them up a bit once I add them to the pot.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup, from Smitten Kitchen

3 links Basque chorizo, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil (if needed)
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (either from a roasted pumpkin, or about 1 can)
1/2 cup dry Sherry
3-4 Tbsp Sherry vinegar (optional)
1-2 Tbsp sour cream (for serving)

In a large, heavy pot, cook chorizo until browned and it has released some of oil.  Add olive oil if needed to cook onion, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, and red pepper until onion is soft and beginning to brown.  Stir if tomatoes to de-glaze the pan and scrap up any brown bits on the bottom.  Then add black beans, broth, pumpkin, and Sherry, stir until combined and simmer, uncovered for about 25 minutes or until it starts to taste like something.

Add vinegar just before serving, and you can garnish with sour cream.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Various Cruelties - If It Wasn't For You

Various Cruelties is a mod/goth/pop group formed by Liam O'Donnell in London, England, in 2010.  Their self-titled debut album came out in the UK this past April and will come out in the US on February 26, 2013.

I've really been enjoying the song, "If It Wasn't For You," and you can also stream some of their other music on their website.

Their songs "Chemicals" and "Great Unknown" are also pretty great.  I've been listening to "Chemicals" on repeat recently.

Image via.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Currently Craving: Cyber Monday Sales

Are any of you guys taking advantage of the Cyber Monday sales?  There are some great ones going on.

Here are some of the best, and some of the items I'm craving.

*Shopbop is 20-35% off everything with code BIGEVENT12.
*J. Crew is 25% off and free shipping with code MONDAY.
*ASOS is 30% off with code CYBERMONDAYSPECIAL.
*Nordstrom is having a huge sale.
*J.Crew Factory is having a huge sale - 50% off everything - with code YOURGIFT.
*Net-a-porter is having a huge sale.

However, I don't know that I'll be partaking this year, although that Chloe purse is calling my name, but as my sister said, it isn't silly to want it, but it's silly to buy it.

Chloe Marcie-Small Nubuck Leather Shoulder Bag - Nordstrom.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Father John Misty - Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings

Father John Misty is the band name of performer Joshua Tillman, a former member of Saxon Shore and Fleet Foxes.  He's got great, funny lyrics on his most recent album, Fear Fun, and has moved away from the more lonesome, somber tone of his previous work.

He's currently touring in Europe, but will be touring in the US in January before heading to Australia in February.  His music video for "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" features Aubrey Plaza from Parks & Rec.

Father John Misty - Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings from thatgo on Vimeo.

Album cover via.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Winter Salads

They may not be pretty, but I have a couple of tasty salads that you can make during the winter months to share today.  Sometimes big warm stews are exactly what I want when the weather gets cold, but then sometimes you just need a little freshness and lightness in the mix.  These two salads are both delicious and keep well, which make them great for lunches.

The first is a warm butternut squash and garbanzo bean salad with tahini dressing from Orangette, and the second is a carrot quinoa salad my sister adapted from The Muffin Myth.

Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing, adapted from Orangette:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1 inch piecies
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground allspice (optional)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped (and briefly rinsed with hot water to curb bite, if desired)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced with a pinch of salt
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. tahini, well-stirred
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put peeled, seeded, cubed butternut squash on a large baking sheet.  Sprinkle olive oil and spices over the squash (omitting the allspice if you're not a fan) and mix around with your hands to approximate an even coating on all squash pieces.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until soft.  Let cool.

Meanwhile, make tahini dressing in a small bowl.  Whisk together the garlic and lemon juice, then add the tahini and whisk to blend.  Add the water and olive oil, and whisk well until all incorporated.  Taste for seasoning.

Combine the squash, chickpeas, onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl.  Add tahini sauce to taste and toss carefully.  (Tossing the salad with the dressing makes it look not so great though - see above - so if you're trying to be fancy, I would leave the salad undressed and let your guests dress it at the table.)

Serve either warm or cold.

Carrot and Quinoa Salad, adapted from The Muffin Myth:

1 cup uncooked quinoa
6-8 large carrots, shredded with box grater or food processor
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 limes
olive oil
Bragg's liquid amino acids or soy sauce
1/2 tsp. cayenne
salt and pepper

Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve, and then put in a small pot with 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, and then fluff with a fork.

Make dressing in the bottom of a large bowl.  Whisk together juice of two limes, olive oil, amino acid or soy, a pinch of cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add cooked quinoa, shredded carrots, and chopped cilantro.  Mix well and taste for seasoning.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tegan and Sara - Closer

Today's music comes on a recommendation from my darling friend Laura.  She played this for me the other day while we were getting ready for a Halloween party with the preface, this is my new favorite song, which is saying something because she has excellent taste in music.  It took me a couple of listens through to get hooked, but now it's playing on repeat.

"Closer" is the newest single from Tegan and Sara (out on September 25th), before their album "Heartthrob" comes out in January.  They are a Canadian twin sister duo, and if you haven't heard of them before, you should go check out some of their archives, particularly "Walking With A Ghost," "Back In Your Head," and "Call It Off."  They're on tour right now with The Kills.

Image via.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

As promised, I finally made pumpkin bread and so have the recipe and picture to share.  It was my contribution to the veritable feast we had over at my friend Steph's house while watching the Oregon-USC football game last weekend.

I usually process a pumpkin at least once a year, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet this year, so this batch was made with canned pumpkin.  You get about the right amount from two 14.5 ounce cans, available widely this time of year (Trader Joe's, etc).  If you've never processed a pumpkin before, here is a good how-to from The Muffin Myth.  I like to leave my pumpkin puree a little chunky, that way you get a little bit of texture and burst of flavor in the middle of your bread.

Pumpkin Bread Recipe:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 Tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

Grease and flour two 9 x 5 inch bread pans.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Measure flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices into a large bowl and stir to blend.  Add pumpkin, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Beat until well combined.  Pour batter into prepared pans. (You can also include 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts if you like, add with wet ingredients.)
In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients.  Sprinkle them evenly over the batter in the two pans.
Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Megan also made Orangette's Caramel Corn, which was delicious.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Frank Ocean - Thinkin Bout You

His first full-length album (Channel Orange) came out back in July, but I've just recently been listening to "Thinkin Bout You" on repeat.  His falsetto kills me every time.

You may have heard of Frank Ocean as part of Odd Future, because he collaborated on Watch the Throne, or because of his brave decision to share via tumblr the story of his first love, which was with a man.  He recently performed on SNL, which you can watch here.

Image via NYTimes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Currently Craving: Nail Bracelet

So, Cartier came out with this Juste Un Clou bracelet a while ago, but Kristen Stewart has been wearing hers all over the place on this most recent press tour for the latest Twilight movie, and it reminded me that I wanted one.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pink Lemonade Cake

It was the lovely Aggie's birthday on Monday, so my sister and I made her a cake.  Aggie's mom used to always make her a lemon cake for her birthday while she was growing up, and she loves all things pink, so we decided on a pink lemonade cake and used the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

It was a big success, and such a pretty cake.  The cake itself wasn't quite as lemony as we wanted, so we went ahead and added a jam layer along with some of the buttercream frosting between cake layers to punch up the flavor.

It is hefty and dense though.  When Megan was at the store buying all the marshmallow fluff for the frosting, the store clerk asked if she was trying to give her friend diabetes for her birthday.  Which maybe brings us to the point, that while the idea and visual from BHG was brilliant, we maybe should have evaluated the source and adapted a Dorie Greenspan lemon cake recipe instead.  The BHG recipe only relies on lemonade concentrate thawed and lemon extract for the lemon flavor, while I think adding lemon zest to the batter would give it that almost punch you in the mouth flavor and tartness I prefer in lemon baked goods.

All together though, I would call it a success, and an appropriate way to celebrate Aggie's birthday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ben Gibbard - Bigger Than Love

Ben Gibbard, the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie, just released his first solo album on 10/16.  There's a good interview with him on Vulture.

His voice is familiar, although this certainly isn't another Death Cab album.  The songs are ones he wrote over the last decade, and didn't fit on previous albums.  My favorite by far is the duet with Aimee Mann, "Bigger Than Love."

Album cover via.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Style Spotlight: Solange Knowles

While she wears some totally crazy stuff, I have always been inspired by the fearless dressing of Solange Knowles.  She doesn't shy away from bright colors or from mixing patterns and/or colors that might not be an intuitive match.

With that said, I think her look is a lot more approachable in the new Madewell Fall 2012 ad campaign.

{In Madewell for Madewell's Fall 2012 Ad Campaign via RCFA}

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough?

Back to music from Lauri!  The goodness just keeps coming.

Lianne La Havas is a young British singer, and her debut album came out back in August.  She has a bit of a Sade feel to her album.  She's touring in Europe, but she is playing in San Francisco and L.A. in November.  Her duet with Willy Mason, "No Room for Doubt" is also excellent.

Album cover via.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Banana Bread

I'm still not quite up to cooking shape, so I'm sharing the banana bread my lovely sister made over the weekend.  Pumpkin bread to come, as soon as the knee will allow.

It's very good for breakfast, or for an afternoon snack, particularly with butter.  This loaf turned out quite dark because Megan subbed sugar in the raw for the regular sugar in both the batter/dough and the crumble topping.  That cinnamon crumble topping is the best.

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble Topping, from Orangette:

For bread:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar in the raw
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water

For topping:
4 Tbsp. sugar in the raw
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat over to 350 F.  Butter and flour a 9x5 metal loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk together the banana, eggs, oil, honey, and water.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir well.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients. Sprinkle over the batter.

Bake the bread until a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Currently Craving: Winter Jackets

The rain has started here in Portland, so it's time to look once more at pulling out the winter jackets.  While I already have quite the collection, here are some of the jackets I've been craving recently.

{Macy's - Nine West Wool-Blend Colorblock Pea Coat}

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mumford & Sons - I Will Wait

This probably isn't news to anyone, but Mumford & Sons came out with their new album, Babel, on September 24th.  I've been listening to it in the car on my commute, and while it isn't surprising or really anything unexpected, it is Mumford and Sons doing what they do well.  They still do that cheap trick of starting songs slow and having them build to a frenzy, but it still works.

I particularly like "Lover of the Light" and "Lovers' Eyes." I'm excited for the vinyl to come in the mail.  It's just good chill out music, passing time in the car or bumping around the house.

Album cover via.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Cooking

As I'm recovering from knee surgery, I haven't been doing much cooking, namely none.  Thank goodness for my sister.  Portland regularly has Indian summers, and the rain just started on Friday, so it finally feels like fall.  Inspired by a recent post on Tea & Cookies, I thought I'd share what I'm looking forward to cooking this fall.

I think fall is the perfect time for big one pot meals or braises.  It's nice to let all the flavors slump together during the low temperature, long cooking times.

My sister made a big pot of chili last week, with lots of vegetables, and then chicken and dumplings last night for our weekly Sunday family dinner.

As previously documented, I think grits go well with everything.  They're great under any kind of vegetable saute and help make a bunch of vegetables into dinner.  I'm excited to eat grits with onions, kale, tomatoes, and fall vegetables.

I love this take on tomato soup from Orangette, Tomato Soup with Red Onion and Cilantro Stems.  It always seems like such a waste to toss cilantro stems, and this soup makes good use of them.  It's also a nice break from creamy tomato soups.

Once brussels sprouts are back in season, I can't wait to make this pasta, also from Orangette, Pasta with Hashed Brussel Sprouts and Pine Nuts.  It's fast and easy, and so so delicious.  Or these brussels sprouts from Smitten Kitchen, Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts.

Speaking of ugly, unloved vegetables, this Savoy Cabbage Gratin, is delicious.  I've made it with a bunch of different cheeses depending on what I could find at the store, and every single time it's good.

Finally, this fall I need to make a couple batches of pumpkin bread, recipe to come.  I adapted it from this recipe, and added the cinnamon sugar crust from this banana bread recipe, and it kills every time.  I get asked for this recipe more than any other.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Trend Following: Burgundy

Burgundy or oxblood or whatever you want to call that beautiful dark red/maroon color has been popping up everywhere for this fall.

I just purged a bunch of my wardrobe to fit into my new closet, so I don't know that I'll be indulging, but it's always fun to look.

Below are some of my favorite looks and pieces.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

LP - Into the Wild - new video

I know I already posted this, but she just released her official music video for "Into The Wild" and it's just so good.  She was also on Letterman last week.  And there is news that her debut album is due out in early 2013.

Also, also, you should listen to Tokyo Sunrise, because it is amazing.  My sister and I listened to her live EP over and over again driving back from a wedding in Central Oregon, and while we agreed Tokyo Sunrise would be a fun karaoke song, I'm 100% positive I would butcher it.

EP cover via.  Video available at Rolling Stone.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Turkish Tile

{Top: Equipment; Skirt: J. Crew (old, similar here); Booties: DV by Dolce Vita (old, similar here); Jewelry: Harlow via Fuchsia}

This is what I was expecting after ordering this shirt online.  Needless to say, the color is quite different in person.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sheppard - Let Me Down Easy

I found this song via the local alternative radio station's slice of New Music Heaven.  If you sign up for their 94/7 Nation mailing list you can get a free download.  It's an easy little tune, happy to bop along to despite the less than happy lyrics.

Sheppard is an Australian band, with three siblings in the 6-person band.  They released their first EP in hard copy on August 17th and on iTunes on August 28th.

Band comic via.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Peach Birthday Pie

My sister and I baked three peach pies with the help of our lovely friend Kristi for my dad's birthday celebration last week.  While we made a huge mess of the kitchen in the process and the pie crusts kind of slumped off the edges of the pie pans in the oven, they were pretty tasty.  They got rave reviews at the dinner itself, so much so that my dad's friend Bobby at two more pieces straight from pie plate to hand to mouth while we were cleaning up, and Megan's co-workers went after the leftover third pie the next day.

We used this recipe for simple peach pie (times three), although we followed Smitten Kitchen's instructions to blanch and peel the peaches first.  And Megan made Dorie Greenspan's double pie crust recipe, which can be found here, (times three).  This pie crust is delicious, people.  Like so good Megan said she would eat it in cookie form.  It did kind of slump on us, but I don't think anyone minded.

Instagram picture by Megan.

Friday, September 28, 2012

End of Summer Tomato Salad

Portland tends to get late summers, where they don't really start until after the 4th of July, but then they last through September.  In a last gasp of summer, I made one of my last tomato bread salads and drank a grapefruit Stiegl Radler the other day, and it was perfect.

This one had some homemade croutons, blanched green beans, hard boiled egg for protein, fresh corn, and of course tomatoes from the back yard.  For the method, as it is, and vinaigrette recipe, see here, although these pictures are prettier.  This is highly adaptable though, so you can always just throw together whatever you have.

A word or two on the Stiegl Radler.  I got it at my lovely local wine shop, although I believe I cleared them out of the last of their stock.  It's pretty well a summer drink anyway though, so I highly recommend it for next summer.  It's a shandy, so part beer part juice (in this case grapefruit, but I believe lemonade is the most traditional).  Mostly it is delicious.  It popped up in the Portland Bottle Shop's weekly newsletter and then in the July Bon Appetit as well, so I knew I had to try it.  Grab a bottle if you can still find it around, or it's always something to look forward to for next summer!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Clothing Swap Black & Gray

{Shirt: Nicolette, via Aggie at a clothing swap, Jeans: J. Crew; Flats: Target (old, similar here), Jewelry: Anne Klein, Fuchsia, BaubleBar}

In the move I went from a double closet down to a single closet, and so knew I was going to have to downsize.  It all took longer than expected, and so after purging and getting rid of half of my closet, I loaded up my car but didn't have time to make a Goodwill/Buffalo Exchange run before I was meant to meet some lady friends.  When they heard I had a car full of clothes I was trying to sell/donate, we decided it only made sense for them to shop through my closet and drink fancy champagne while I got to hold the baby.  It was so much fun, and I ended up with a shirt too!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Twin Shadow - Five Seconds

All my good new music come from Lauri!  I've been listening to Twin Shadow to get pumped up for moving and clearing out my old basement.  He's got kind of a cool 80s style thing going on, and some good up-beat boppy songs.  Reminds me a little of Swiss Lips.

Twin Shadow is the stage name of George Lewis, Jr.  His most recent album, Confess, came out on July 9th on 4AD.

This video is pretty great, but there's a weird talking intro, so if you just want to listen to the song, start it at 1:40.

Album cover via.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lemongrass panna cotta with plum compote

I was invited to lovely dinner party this week where Suzie made her family's tomato soup, which incidentally was the most delicious thing ever.  I was asked to bring dessert, and decided I wanted to make lemongrass panna cotta, because I had lemongrass leftover from my FuBonn run.   I also had a bunch of plums from my produce box that needed to be used before they went bad and before the big move (to my sister's house).  Which is how I ended up with this apparently random flavor pairing, but which I thought sounded lovely.  It was Megan's idea to add ginger snaps (which I bought) to pull it all together, which was genius.

I adapted from a number of recipes, but there were a couple that were the most helpful.  This Kaffir-Lemongrass Panna Cotta recipe from Tasting Menu was the most helpful for technique.  I wasn't able to find sheet gelatin though, so I polled a bunch of other recipes to determine how much powdered gelatin to use.  And the plum compote was roughly inspired by the Rosewater Plum Compote recipe from 101 Cookbooks, although I reduced the sugar because I wanted it to be a little tart.

Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Plum Compote and Ginger Snaps
Serves 8

Panna Cotta:
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
zest of one lemon and one lime
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised and sliced thinly
3 cups cream, 1/2 cup held very cold
1 Tbsp. powdered gelatin (one envelope)

1 1/2 pounds plums
zest and juice of one lemon
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1/4 cup sugar

Put 1/2 cup of cream in the bowl you intend to whip it in, and place it in the fridge along with the whisk you intend to use.  Gather eight 6-oz ramekins or serving dishes.

Put the milk, sugar, lemon and lime zest, and lemongrass in a small sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat until just below boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Remove from heat and steep for half an hour.

Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the solids, and return to sauce pan to rewarm the milk over medium-low heat.  Add the gelatin to the warm milk, and stir until completely dissolved.  Transfer milk to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature for about an hour.

Meanwhile, make the compote.  Pit and chop the plums into roughly 1/2 inch pieces, and put in a wide, heavy-bottomed pot along with the sugar, lemon zest and juice, and powdered ginger.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  You want it to cook at a lazy boil for 20-25 minutes, so adjust heat as necessary.  Stir every so often and scrape the bottom to make sure the fruit doesn't burn.  The compote is ready once it has kind of all slumped together, but before the fruit is totally broken down.  Remove from the heat, spoon into jars, and store in the fridge until ready to use.  It will keep for about a week in the fridge.

When the milk/gelatin mixture is cool, begin whipping the 1/2 cup of cold cream.  Whip the cream gently, avoiding beating too much air into the cream.  You just want the cream to thicken until it kind of holds together, but before it will hold peaks.

Add the 2 1/2 cups of unwhipped cream to the milk/gelatin mixture with a whisk.  Add the thickened cream and fold in with a spatula until evenly combined.

Pour or spoon the panna cotta into the ramekins or serving dishes, and chill in the fridge overnight.

To serve, run a knife around the edge of the ramekin, invert a dessert plate on top of the ramekin, and then flip the whole thing over so the ramekin is upside down.  The panna cotta should slide out, but if it sticks, gently lift one side of the ramekin and use a knife to loosen the edge of the panna cotta from the ramekin or release the vacuum.  Spoon a couple of tablespoons of plum compote over the panna cotta and add ginger snaps.

Picture via Margaret's Instagram.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

David Byrne & St. Vincent - Who

This is maybe the best thing ever.  David Byrne and St. Vincent, a favorite, just released a collaboration album last week, called Love This Giant.  Brought to my attention by my lovely friend Lauri, source of so much good music, and Dooce.

This video is amazing.  The dancing is great.  The whole album is so so good.  Or as my friend Lauri says, very funky and weird, and an obvious favorite. They are also touring this fall.  You should go.

Image via.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Kohlrabi Salad

I went grocery shopping at the wonderful Asian market near my house in SE Portland (FuBonn) to get the necessary ingredients to make salad rolls for a Labor Day picnic (and sadly forgot to take pictures) and came home with a bunch of great produce, including kohlrabi.

So I did my favorite thing(s) with it, threw it in a peanut noodle salad (post to come) and made the Orangette Asian flavored Kohlrabi Salad.  It is delicious and crunchy and keeps well.  I didn't have any pea shoots, but I did have some leftover snow peas, so I sliced them on a diagonal to mimic the julienned kohlrabi and carrots and threw them in.

We usually have Sunday dinner each week at my parents house, but the weekend before last they had two parties to attend on Sunday and so my sister hosted  my two brothers and me.  We ate kale chips, (boys response, "Hey, these are actually good") roasted chicken and root vegetables, and the kohlrabi salad.  Who knew we could get our brothers to eat kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi Salad, from Orangette:

2 medium kohlrabi bulbs
1 large carrot, peeled
1 tsp. fennel seed
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 cups snow peas (optional)

Trim any stems or leaves from the kohlrabi bulbs.  Using a sharp knife, peel/cut away the tough outer skin.  Then julienne the kohlrabi, using either a mandolin or said sharp knife.  Julienne the carrot and slice the snow peas.

In a small dry skillet, toast the fennel seeds over medium heat until they begin to brown slightly and smell toasty.  Transfer them to a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder if you have one), and grind them into a coarse powder.  (This is a good job for muscled younger brothers - if you have one, or two.)

In a small bowl or the bottom of your salad bowl, combine the fennel seeds, vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Stir in the olive and sesame oil with a fork.  Either pour over vegetables or add vegetables to salad bowl, and toss to coat.  Taste for seasoning (salt, pepper, vinegar, etc).

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