Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tasty Tuesdays - Weekend Food Photos

Last night's ambitious goal was to bake another of my mom's best recipes: pineapple upside down cake. Instead of the grand display of syrup-soaked sheet cake, I opted to transform the heaping portions to individual size after trying a seasonal cupcake at my local SusieCakes. My sister and I split a frosting-filled pineapple upside-down cupcake with--wait for it--brown sugar buttercream frosting. Mmmmm. I must have been in a sugar-induced coma, because I couldn't get around to sifting and mixing and baking my own incarnation of a childhood favorite. Instead, I decided to take you through a tour of my weekend via food photos! That's the same, right? Sorry, folks. Next week!

Selection of seasonal goodies at SusieCakes Calabasas (pineapple upside-down cupcake w/ cherry on top). Check out the heart-shaped pocket pies!

Late Saturday night snack of burrata, arugula, and prosciutto at Laurel Tavern.

The dessert display at Aroma Coffee & Tea.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mad Men are Francophiles

Did you watch the Mad Men season premiere last night? Though I'm not an avid follower of the series, I have certainly researched the gin and tonic out of it to be an informed member of society. I couldn't help but squeal when Megan, aka Mrs. Don Draper, serenaded her mortified/amused husband with a rendition of Gillian Hills' "Zou Bisou Bisou" at his 40th birthday party. The francophile in me jet├ęd for joie when the groovy tune came on and I couldn't get it out of my head all night.

Photos: AMC

Several things captivated me about the episode. Among more heady themes of mortality, aging, insecurity, and the pitfalls of ambition, were the Drapers' swingin' pad and Megan's foxy frock in which she performed. For the love of God, someone find me that shift dress! And check out the new place. Do I smell a Voyeur Fridays post coming on? Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursty Thursdays - Hibiscus Whiskey Sour

Spring has sprung! And what better way to celebrate than with the clinking of glasses? I decided to ring in the season by stirring up my own version of this recipe. When I think of spring cocktails, I think flowers, I think sweetness, I think countryside. For flowers, I opted for deep, rich hibiscus in its own syrup. For sweetness, I thought fruity, fragrant pineapple. For a little bit of country, I threw in a heaping helping of whiskey. A fresh squeeze of tangerine brought it all together in the most beautiful way. The flavor stayed with me for hours after and I hope it will help you all usher in the most exciting of seasons!

Hibiscus Whiskey Sour

Yield: one serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes


> 2 oz. whiskey (I used Chivas)
> 1 oz. Fresh squeezed tangerine juice
> 1 oz. pineapple juice
> 3/4 oz. wild hibiscus syrup
> 1 wild hibiscus flower (for garnish)


Stir for 30 seconds until combined. Strain over ice cubes and serve with free-floating or skewered hibiscus flower.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tasty Tuesdays - Tarte Aux Onions, Asparges, et Champignons

The best thing to eat on a cold, rainy, gloomy, grey, stay-in-bed-all-day type of day is warm, gooey, bubbling, oozing, savory vegetable quiche. Mmm. My mouth is still recovering from the cheesy goodness that attacked my taste buds mere minutes ago. It's true: the best time to blog about food is right after you have consumed the featured dish. This one is no exception. It's my mom's specialty, a recipe that has been savored by my family for years, one that has been modified and enhanced to perfection. It's best served next to a handful of mixed greens and herb vinaigrette--just like the French do it.

My favorite thing about this dish, besides the combination of crumbly crust and creamy filling, is how rustic and earthy the ingredients are. I imagine eating this meal in the middle of a lavender and rosemary-filled patio, the scent of herbs and flowers wafting by, with a glass of deep, rich, red wine. Excuse moi while I swoon!

Tarte Aux Onions

Yield: approximately 8 servings



> 2 cups flour
> 4 tsp baking powder
> 1/2 tsp salt
> 1/2 cup butter
> 1/2 cup water


 > 1 medium onion
> 6 asparagus spears
> 1/2 cup julienned carrots
> 7 button mushrooms
> 1/3 cup butter
> 1 tsp flour
> 1 cup heavy cream
> 2 eggs, slightly beaten
> 1 tsp salt
> 1/4 lb Swiss cheese, sliced
> 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated


> To prepare the dough, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. 
> With a pastry blender cut the butter until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Gradually stir in the water until the dough can be gathered into a ball.
> On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a twelve-inch circle. Ease the dough into a nine-inch quiche pan and flute the edges. Set aside.

> To prepare the filling, saute the onions, mushrooms, and asparagus in a skillet with the heated butter. Cook until the onions are soft but not brown.
> Stir in the flour and saute a few minutes longer. Remove from heat.
> Blend in the cream. Gradually beat in the egg and salt and mix well. Pour into the prepared quiche pan.
> Cover filling with Swiss cheese slices. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.
> Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 25-35 minutes, until cheese browns. Serve hot. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Style Envy - Sarah Jessica Parker/Jennifer Lawrence

Maybe it was the uber romantic Parisian backdrop that influenced my opinion of this soft, feminine, and racy ensemble, because nothing says Paris like lace and vintage Louis Vuitton. Though I am morally opposed to white shoes on both men and women, I can't imagine a more perfect complement to this dress. The powder blue and delicate dentelle also make me swooooon. And I don't mind the gloves, no matter how much they look like they were taken from a country kitchen. The big, Bardot hair is also tres chic. Though this was a controversial outfit across the fashion wire due to its risque nature, I think it would have been a mistake to have lined the lace with a matching, less-revealing fabric. The edge that the see-through brings is matchless. J'adore!

Honorable Mention: Jennifer Lawrence in Prabal Gurung at the Hunger Games premiere. Ab. So. Lute. Ly. Flawless.

Source: Zimbio

Friday, March 16, 2012

Voyeur Fridays - Brooke Shields' Manhattan Home

It's often difficult to imagine the crazy-cool lives of celebrities when we don't see them photographed at the local coffee shop or picking their kids up from ballet. They actually live pretty awesome lives of hobnobbing and chumming it up with the coolest people of the past and present. Take Brooke Shields, for example, who is the subject of today's Voyeur Fridays. She made Vogue history by being the youngest cover girl ever at 14. She famously made headlines for playing a prostitute in Pretty Baby at the age of 12 and appearing nude in Blue Lagoon at 15. She was also a regular at Studio 54 in her teens. The kicker? She was such a Hollywood darling that her friend Keith Haring, artist and social activist who died of AIDS in 1990, gift-wrapped her 21st birthday present in his own work. Fierce.

Shields' townhouse demonstrates everything that makes her her--a sophisticated, grown-up woman who has lived a life of luxury and excess, but has streamlined her surroundings just enough to still reflect her fun, fearless side.

source: Architectural Digest

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursty Thursdays - Mint Chocolate Irish Cream Liqueur

photo: food + words

With St. Patrick's Day right around the corner, it has been a challenge trying to think of different ways to celebrate the pseudo holiday. I couldn't bring myself to succumb to the cliched green cocktail that is so often associated with March 17. I thought and thought and searched and searched and it finally dawned on me to keep it simple and traditional with a classic Irish cream liqueur (thanks to this recipe). Adding a little hint of mint goes a long way in this creamy concoction that can very easily be bottled and given away as a gift for any occasion. Now, if I can only find something green in my closet that will save me the pain of getting pinched on Saturday...

photo: food + words

Mint Chocolate Irish Cream Liqueur

Yield: approximately 4 1/2 cups liqueur
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Warning: recipe contains raw eggs.


> 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
> 1 cup heavy cream
> 4 large eggs
> 2 tablespoons pure mint extract
> 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
> 2 teaspoons espresso powder (substitute instant coffee granules)
> 2 teaspoons pure vanilla bean paste (substitute pure vanilla extract)
> 8-12 ounces Irish whiskey (depends on how strong you like it!)


> Add all ingredients except the whiskey to the blender, and process until smooth and frothy, about 15-30 seconds.
> Pour whiskey into the blender, and process to distribute throughout mixture.
> Set a strainer over a bowl and pour irish cream through, straining out any bits of egg or espresso powder that didn't get fully incorporated into the mixture.
> Using a funnel, ladle the Irish cream into clean, sterilized bottles.
> Screw the tops on the bottles tightly, and store in the fridge.
> Label your bottles with a "use-by" date, as the Irish cream will keep for 30 days from the day you make it if stored properly in the fridge.
> The cream will naturally separate when stored in the fridge, so simply shake the bottle gently to mix everything together.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Marilyn, Unseen

I always choose brunette over blonde, prefer demure over overtly sexy, and admire coquettish over cocky. But, there's something about Marilyn Monroe that is so intriguing. Though I don't really relate to her, her presence and timeless beauty have probably influenced my style in ways that I don't even know. There's a famous shot of her sitting in a lounge chair by a pool with her leg up that is probably my favorite Marilyn moment. I think it's her fearlessness and devil-may-care attitude in that photo that really resonates with me.

Collector David Gainsborough Roberts, owner of the largest collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia in the world, has provided the Getty Images Gallery with rare shots of the screen star for an exclusive look into her life. From her marriage to Arthur Miller to stolen moments between takes, these photos tell what life was like for the tragic actress. Marilyn will be on display until May 23 at the Getty Images Gallery in London, but here are a few iconic snaps of the bombshell previously unseen.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Period Pieces

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought,
I summon up remembrance of things past
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought...
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,

For precious friends hid in death's dateless night...

And weep afresh love's long-since cancell'd woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight.

Then I can grieve at grievances foregone...

And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,

Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, 
All losses are restor'd, and sorrows end.
09 10