Wednesday, December 23, 2009

lonny magazine

One of my new favorite magazines is actually only available in digital form. It's Lonny Magazine. When Domino Magazine ended, it was a sad day. But then... some of those that contributed to the magazine decided to come up with Lonny. It was no longer a sad day. Now, it's glorious and happy again. So far, they've come out with two issues. I'm particularly fond of the second issue, too.

One of my favorite articles features the renovation of a Manhattan home by interior designer, Brad Ford. In particular, I keep turning to pages 159-160. It's a close-up of a table place setting. I love the organic feel. I love the simplicity. I love the non-traditional use of some of the pieces. When I'm grown up and I host dinner parties, I want my table to be this beautiful.

I recognized the appetizer plates coming from Crate & Barrel. From there, I started to recognize more pieces. Growing up may happen sooner than planned because I can afford this stuff. Hurray!

  1. marble salt and pepper cellar $6.95
  2. slate board (used as a placemat) $24.95
  3. acacia appetizer plate (used as a bread and butter plate) $4.95

Monday, September 21, 2009

pack your own lunch

(Life has been crazy busy and when I had to sacrifice something, it was going to be blogging. I am happily back and hope I can get back to regular posting. Sorry for my lengthy absence.)

To my surprise, Rachael Ray has inspired me to blog again. I'm not a huge fan of hers either. I've been given a couple of her books but they have never been touched. Recently, I've been given a year's subscription to her magazine- Everyday with Rachael Ray- and I got my first issue (September 2009) in the mail last week. It has been such a good read, too. I have been inspired by so many of the ideas and love all the suggestions to make cooking easy, fun, and good! This magazine is my latest guilty pleasure (don't tell anyone).

Even though I'm not finished reading the magazine, my favorite article thus far is "Food A to Z: 2nd Annual Addition." It's so good I have to share it with you... in particular- L for lunch break. I want to try (almost) every idea on this page.

I try to pack a lunch daily because cafeteria food is for the pits and ordering food for delivery takes its toll on my wallet. At the same time, I can eat a salad or a sandwich for so often. This article takes the common to a not so common place. It actually gets me excited to pack lunch. Here are the ideas. Maybe you'll want to try one or two of them, too.

(direct from the magazine)

  1. Turn your go-to salad into a pasta: Toss your usual Caesar, chef's or Greek salad with penne. (It's either a leafy salad or pasta for me; never thought of combining the two.)
  2. Give mayo the day off: Make tuna salad using mashed avocado and lemon juice, then serve as a sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and red onions. (YUM!... except sourdough for me)
  3. Graze: Nibble on assorted berries, roasted almonds, some cheese, and dried apricots and figs over the course of a few hours. (I keep telling myself to pack some healthier snacks.)
  4. Make it the main meal of the day: Serve the heartiest meal for lunch (mmm, braised chicken in wine sauce with roasted veggies) and eat light at night. While you're at it, invite people over for a lunch party!
  5. Make the world's fastest French onion soup: Simmer beef broth with caramelized onions; top with garlic croutons and Swiss cheese. (I was just talking to someone about how easy French onion soup is to make and I should do it more often.)
  6. Turn a routine sandwich into a kebab: Thread lunch meat, cubes of cheese, and chunks of raw veggies onto skewers and pack with ranch dressing for dipping. (Gonna have to try this one fo sho.)
  7. Take a nostalgia trip: Pack a lunch of deviled eggs and gherkin, just like Mom used to make. (Um... my mom didn't make this for me but sounds yummy.)

Can't wait for the October issue!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

cilantro lime dresing

Oh man... I'm a huge fan of salad. I can eat it everyday. Awhile back I had this delicious cilantro lime dressing at the Nordstrom Cafe and I had to have the recipe. Tonight I chose to make it. It's easy, refreshing, and simply amazing. It was the perfect compliment to my salad of arugula, watercress, cherry and grape tomatoes, and cucumber.

To make the dressing, you need: 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (or rice vinegar), 2 minced or pressed garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper pureed, about 1 tablespoon honey (or more for added sweetness), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup salad oil (I used sunflower oil), and 1 bunch chopped cilantro.

I cut corners and bought some chiptotle pepper salsa. It was made of the same ingredients as the chiptotle peppers but it was already pureed and in a smaller can. If you use chiptotle peppers, puree it in a mini food processor. Then combine all the ingredient minus the cilantro.

Mix well. Refrigerate until you're ready to use it.

Before serving, mix in the cilantro. It's best used within a day as the cilantro will change over time.

The salad accompanied a very delicious roasted chicken with potatoes. I found the chicken and potatoes on Gwyneth Paltrow's website- GOOP. I'm a email subscriber of her new posts and when I saw the recipe and the video that went with it, I could tell it was a winner. I think I'll be making this regularly. Thanks, Gwyneth!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

enjoying sangria

Oops... I didn't realize I let a week pass by without a post. So sorry!

Last week, my friend Laura and I met up for happy hour at Sangria Tapas y Bar. What are they known for? As you've already guess... Spanish tapas and sangria. Sangria is a great place for happy hour with a variety of sangria for you to enjoy. My favorite is sparkling sangria. They've also got a decent menu for happy hour tapas, too. Though Spanish tapas are not my favorite, I always enjoy the opportunity to try out a bunch of little things.

Spanish flat bread

patatas bravas (YUM!!!)

calamari (With such small portions, we had a hers and hers.)

mushroom croquettes

pan con tomate

Chef Mariano's paella del dia

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

the best mexican dinner ever

This is one of my favorite dinners to make EVER. Everything is so tasty and fresh. This dinner includes guacamole and chips, steak tacos, and Mexican corn. It can't get better than that.

Like most people I'm a huge fan of tacos- soft tacos, hard tacos, steak tacos, fish tacos, any tacos on your mind! When I discovered this version on the Food Network, it showed signs of greatness. It has chili-rubbed steak, crunchy shredded cabbage, and an amazing salsa with cucumbers and avocados. Am I making your mouth salivate?

Tonight, seemed like the perfect night to make them. I just happen to have fajita meat and flour tortillas.

To make the steak (and feed four), you will 1 1/4 pound fajita meat, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 4-5 garlic minced, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 ground cinnamon, and oil.

Combine the chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic, and salt in a bowl.

Spread the spice mixture on both sides of the meat. Baste with oil to help spread the spice mixture evenly.

Grill the meat about 8 minutes on each side. Then take it off the heat and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Slice the meat thinly.

Now comes the avocado lime salsa. Once you've made this, you want it all the time. Not only is it great on the steak tacos, it's also perfect dip for tortilla chips.

To make the avocado lime salsa, you will need an avocado cubed, half of a cucumber peeled and diced, 1/4 red onion diced, 1 lime, salt, a small bunch of cilantro chopped, and 1 jalapeno chopped.

In a bowl, mix the cucumber, avocado, and onion. Then mix in the lime juice, salt, cilantro, and jalapeno. (As you can see, I forgot the jalapeno.)

Okay... almost done. You also need to shred a quarter of red cabbage.

This is a great meal to allow everyone to self-serve. I line up the meat, flour tortillas, salsa, and red cabbage. Just add as much as you want on top of your tortilla.

When you're done, you'll have this delicious and tasty taco. Be warned- this is pretty much a guaranteed hit for all.

Now, I bet you want to learn how to make the Mexican corn and quite possibly, my guacamole. Well... let the first picture be a teaser. Recipes are to be continued...

Friday, June 26, 2009

get your indian on

One of my favorite Indian pastries are samosas. I think I could eat them everyday. With some tamarind or mint chutney, I'm in food heaven. They're flaky, filling, and delicious. Plus, you can't go wrong with potatoes.

My love for them got me thinking- I should learn how to make them. When I started to do an internet search, I found some YouTube demonstrations of how to make them by Manjula and a whole new can of worms was opened.

Manjula is this awesome woman who's decided to share her knowledge of Indian cuisine. Her husband is her food critic and her camera man. If he deems the food worthy, then they share it with us. I'm very excited about all the different recipes (and about sharing her with you).

Okay... so back to samosas. Watch these videos and get inspired. Let's learn how to cook Indian together.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

meatloaf with mashed potatoes and broccoli PART 2

This should almost be titled cooking 101 because I'm going to sure you how to make amazing mashed potatoes. It's something simple to make but also easy to mess up.

Back in Christmas 2004 (I think), my family had a reunion in California for my grandfather's book opening. On one of those nights, my uncle, who is also a chef, hosted a dinner of some amazing food. One of the foods I found mesmerizing was the mashed potatoes. They were perfectly seasoned, light, and oh so creamy. I have since requested his recipe and now I'm going to share it with you.

To serve four, you will need 2 big potatoes baked and mashed, 1/2 stick butter, 1 cup half and half, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and white pepper.

Bake the potatoes in 450 degree oven for a minimum of 30 minutes. While the potatoes are in the oven, you can combine the butter, half and half, salt, and pepper in a sauce pan over low heat.

When the potatoes are ready, mash them and put them in the food processor.

Add the half and half and butter mix to the potatoes and blend until smooth.

You'll end up with divine mashed potatoes.