Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday flowers

The sweetest mini mums - white with tiny hints of lavender.


I've been keeping them close to me while I work.

mums + materials

Drumroll please....the winner of the Pamware's apron giveaway is Genevieve! Congratulations! Bake something wonderful while wearing it, please. And many thanks to Pam for providing such a fun giveaway.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Baked zucchini fries

4 weeks into our weekly CSA box adventure...

csa box, week 4

D has developed an intense kale addiction. I have officially overdosed on cucumbers and feel slightly ill at the thought of them (I'll be over it soon, I'm sure). We are swimming in summer squash and looking for ways to use them up.

zucchini fries

Fries are always a good bet. I opt for the oven baked version, out of respect for my waistline and fear of getting splattered with hot oil. There are a couple of key factors in successful oven fries - light breading, high heat, and plenty of breathing room. If you crowd your baking dish, you'll end up with soggy fries. I usually bake them in small batches, even though it's bit more tedious.

zucchini fries
Baked zucchini fries

1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic
Pinch of salt
Pepper to taste
3 or so zucchini, washed well, unpeeled
1 egg

: Toss everything except the zucchini in the food processor and blend it well. Alternatively, finely mince the garlic and use well grated Parmesan and just mix everything together. Put the mixture into a wide, shallow bowl and set aside.

: Slice the zucchini into fry shaped pieces of similar size (but don't worry about being too fussy).

: Beat the egg in a wide, shallow dish. Toss the zucchini pieces, a few at a time, in the egg wash and then shake them off a bit and toss them in the breading. Lay the pieces on a baking dish, making sure none of them touch. You'll probably need to do a couple of batches.

: Bake in a 475F oven for about 20 - 30 minutes, turning just once. Fries should be browned and crisp when finished.
In the winter, I use this same recipe to make sweet potato fries. You really can't go wrong. I don't actually measure the breading ingredients. I just sort of pour and toss everything into the food processor and it always turns out fine. With the exception of the time I accidentally dumped a pile of pepper in there, and even then, we still gobbled up the fries while drinking lots of water. They're very forgiving.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Come visit me!

You can find a wedding-y belt version of my ruffly headband project over on the fabulous 100 Layer Cake today!

{photo by kristina, via 100 layer cake}

Come on over and check it out! Thanks for having me, ladies.

Pamware's apron giveaway!

I have a lovely giveaway for you today.

{clockwise - 1, 2, 3 - all images from pamwares etsy shop}

Pam sells these perfect little aprons in her etsy shop. You know I'm a sucker for Ikea fabrics, and Pam and I are clearly on the same wavelength - many of my favorite Ikea patterns have made it into her aprons. It's so nice to see bold graphic fabrics used in such sweetly feminine designs.

She kindly let me choose which apron we would give away, and I settled on the sunny yellow beauty pictured above after quite a bit of indecision. It's just so cheerful, isn't it?

Hop over to Pam's shop and leave a comment on this post for your chance to win her let the sunshine in apron. You can also see more of Pam (she shares some wonderful etsy finds) on her blog.

I'll be announcing the winner on Friday, so get your comments in!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Light as air waffles

I think I have a new favorite waffle recipe.


I was flipping through the latest issue of Gourmet, and the idea of yeasted cornmeal waffles intrigued me. And I'm so glad. These are light, nutty, absolutely delicious and the batter gets put together the night before, which makes them ideal for a lazy breakfast.


Cornmeal waffles (adapted from Brown Sugar Kitchen, via Gourmet)

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups whole milk (I actually used 1%)
2/3 cup stone ground cornmeal
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 tsp baking soda

Vegetable oil for brushing

: Proof the yeast. Stir it into the lukewarm water (water should feel just barely warm when you dab it on your wrist) and let it stand until foamy, about 15 minutes.

: Mix together your dry ingredients (set aside the baking soda to add in the morning), slowly add your milk and eggs, whisking as you go. Stir in the proofed yeast mixture and the cooled butter.

: Cover the bowl and stick it in the fridge overnight.

: The following morning, stir in the baking soda and then make the waffles according to the instructions on your waffle maker. One thing to keep in mind - these waffles are thinner and lighter than you may be used to. They don't puff up much, so you don't want to pour too much batter in the waffle iron at once.

: You can keep the waffles warm while you work by sticking them on a cookie sheet in a 250F oven in a single layer.

I served them with a choice of maple syrup, apricot jam or pomegranate jelly. We didn't even end up using the butter, because they really don't need it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The weekend, briefly

We were busy, busy, busy this weekend, being hosts and catching up with friends.

Starting out with lots of coffee...


and food.

brunch, eaten
{brunch on the balcony}

Wine tasting in Malibu (such a warm day - the rose was perfectly refreshing).

saddlerock winery - rose
{wine tasting}

A going away party for good friends.

Dustin, beer

A long awaited visit to the Getty Villa.

getty villa - pool

getty villa - columns

A picnic...


at the Hollywood Bowl (Of Montreal & Grace Jones).

Hollywood Bowl
{Hollywood Bowl}

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday flowers

Something simple and sweet this week - a cluster of feverfew in a little cup.


According to Whole Foods, it's grown locally. According to Wikipedia, it's medicinal, but I think I'll just stick to admiring it, rather than ingesting it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pasta with kale, lentils & caramelized onions

My CSA box comes with kale every week. I've always liked kale, when other people cook it. But I never buy it. Do you have those foods? I just have a kale blind spot.

Last week: the much beloved (by everyone on the internet, it seems) kale chips. Cut out center ribs, toss with a teeny bit of olive oil, sprinkle with a teeny bit of salt, bake in a single layer at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes. Devour. D claims they are tastier than potato chips. I can't go quite that far (I can't even buy potato chips, because I love them too much and cannot be trusted with them), but I enjoyed them a lot.

This week I tried it in a main dish. I had one cup of my beloved lentils leftover from another meal, so this came together very quickly.

kale and lentil pasta
Pasta with lentils, kale and caramelized onions (adapted from Epicurious, 4 servings)

1/2 cup French green lentils (I used black)
2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I think I used less than half of this)
2 large onions, finely sliced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 pound kale
3/4 pound dried short pasta (I only used 6 oz, which is half of what they recommend and it made 4 normal person sized servings with a better ratio of stuff to pasta, in my opinion)

Simmer lentils in water (2 cups) with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan, uncovered, adding more water if necessary to keep lentils barely covered, until tender but not falling apart, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt. (I used some leftover cooked black lentils and it was perfect)

While lentils simmer, heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion with pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring, 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and cook until soft and golden.

While onion cooks, cut out and discard stems and center ribs from kale. Cook kale in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer kale with tongs to a colander to drain, pressing lightly. Keep pot of water at a boil, covered.

Coarsely chop kale and add to onion along with lentils, then simmer, stirring, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Add pasta to kale-cooking liquid and boil, uncovered, until al dente. Drain pasta. Toss everything together. Serve with a bit of Parmesan cheese. Voila.

The kale is a beautiful bright green and all the textures go together perfectly. The original recipe tells you to save some of the cooking liquid and add it back in, but unless you like soupy pasta, I don't recommend it. It certainly isn't dry, so I'm not sure why they think you need the extra water.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Etsy sales

I've been wearing nothing but dresses for the last few months and it's been so pleasant. Like going to work in my nightgown, but without the social stigma.

Turns out July is a great month to find dresses for sale on Etsy. I'd love to have any of these, but some of them are only available in tiny sizes. Teeny tiny readers, please go buy something. For me.

Gina Michele Sample Sale (I bought the first one!).

gm sample sale

liza rietz's etsy shop has several items on sale. I also love her little cloches.

sailor dresses

Okay, I know these aren't dresses, but the crocheted lace on the edges is killing me. And they are tunics, so they kind of count, right? They're both on sale over at Anais.

{left, right}

*All images are pulled from the etsy shops. Click on the links below the pictures to see the items and the original pictures.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Apricot sandwich cookies

I love a super simple cookie. One that isn't overly sweet or fussy. One that goes well with tea. One that you can almost convince yourself is a completely legitimate breakfast option, because it has jam in it.

apricot sandwich cookie
{apricot sandwich cookies}

These work pretty well on all those levels. They are simple, delicate, lemon-y, and filled with jam.
Apricot sandwich cookies (from Martha Stewart's Cookies, makes 10 large or 1 1/2 dozen small)

1/2 cup almond flour (finely ground almonds)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup apricot jam

Whisk together both flours, cornstarch and salt in a bowl.

Beat butter, sugars, lemon zest and 1 tbsp of the lemon juice in an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture gradually. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll dough out, approximately 1/8" thick. (Martha recommends rolling between two pieces of parchment paper, but I just used a well floured board). Refrigerate or freeze for 10 minutes.

Cut cookies with desired shape (Martha calls for a 1 1/8" scalloped round, I just used the edge of a drinking glass). Refrigerate cut cookies for 10 minutes before popping them in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, until cookies are a pale golden color.

Strain jam through a fine sieve and whisk in the remaining lemon juice. When cookies are cool, make sandwiches by dribbling a bit of jam on a cookie and placing another cookie on top. The jam will set up in about 30 minutes.
This dough was soft, soft, soft. I chilled it before rolling it out and still had to add flour in order to avoid having it stick to everything in sight. It probably would help to follow the instructions and roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper, but I hate doing that for some reason.

The recipe says to dust the cookies with powdered sugar, but I prefer them plain. Less mess, less sweetness. The cookies are crisp and delicious directly out of the oven and then they soften up a bit and have a wonderful, slightly chewy texture once they sit. Heavenly.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The weekend, briefly


aphid killers

rolling dough

iced tea
{lounging, with iced tea}

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday flowers

I didn't even buy flowers this week because the apartment was still crowded from the flower arranging madness last week.

flowers + books
{yellow flowers, blue wall, green case}

The little green case is a vintage piece (luggage? makeup holder?) that I picked up at a thrift store a while ago. It holds my odds and ends for projects I'm currently working on.

Picking a few of you from all those wonderful comments last week was so very difficult. I wish I could send something to every single one of you. Really, you all deserve something.

I settled for just choosing five people (randomly). Congratulations CaraBella, Lauren, Alissa, Mouse, and Amy@OldSweetSong! Drop me an email with your addresses when you get a chance.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Parsley dip, two ways

My little garden has been going nuts. Look at this parsley harvest!

fresh parsley
{parsley bouquet}

Tip: You prune parsley a little differently than you do basil. New growth sprouts from the inside of each bunch, so you should chop off stalks around the outer edges, and leave the new growth intact.

Lots of recipes use a little bit of parsley, but I needed something that would use up my bounty. Luckily, the Greeks love parsley. I picked out two different recipes, one completely uncooked and the other stewed.

parsley dip
{raw parsley dip}
Maidanosalata - raw parsley dip (slightly adapted from Modern Greek)

*This contains a raw egg, which means you run the risk of getting salmonella. Personally, I think it's a slim chance and I'm fine with it, but if you're pregnant or immune compromised, you might want to pass.

3 slices sourdough bread
1 1/2 bunches of fresh flat leaf parsley, stalks on, chopped
1 medium sized onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 egg
2/3 cup olive oil
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper

:: Place everything except the oil and vinegar in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Slowly pour in the oil and vinegar, while mixing (similar to making an aioli). Season with salt and pepper.

cooked parsley dip
{stewed parsley dip}
Stewed parsley dip (slightly adapted from The Glorious Foods of Greece)

1/2 cup olive oil (I used a little less)
2 medium onions, chopped
8 cups coarsely chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (canned are fine)
Salt & pepper, to taste

:: Heat olive oil in a wide, heavy pot and cook the onions over medium low heat until wilted and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the parsley and toss to coat. Cook until wilted completely, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. (At this point, I poured it in the food processor and pulsed it a few times, for a slightly smoother texture).
We ate both of these with flatbread. They were so different, but both wonderful. The raw parsley dip has a sharp flavor with just a bit of heat. The stewed parsley dip is mellow and a bit sweet from the cooked onions and tomatoes.

summer drinks

Very summery.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Veggies on demand (aka - our CSA box)

I love cooking (obviously), but lately I've had a hard time getting my act together. Our pantry is extremely well stocked with canned and dried goods, but we are usually lacking in vegetables.

Solution - subscribing to a CSA box. I checked out the site Local Harvest and entered my zip code. There was only one option that would work for me (I don't drive to work, so I'm pretty limited on the pick up locations I can reasonably use) so I'm now subscribing to the South Central Farmer's Cooperative. Until recently, they were located right here in LA, but they were forced to relocate to Bakersfield. So, not exactly local, but still better than some of the alternatives (and only $15 a week).

CSA box

It's such a fun approach to veggies, because we'll get to try new things and I won't have to do too much shopping. I'm planning to make a quick trip to the store each week for basics like milk and eggs, but we'll eat out of the box as much as possible.

CSA veggies

Last week we got: baby red potatoes, red onions, kale, lettuce, tomatoes, summer squash (zucchini, yellow zucchini and patty pan squash), beets, and carrots. Perfect for my favorite penne recipe, and I'm itching to try this salad, this torte and this orzo.

No CSA near you? Want veggies delivered straight to your door? You could take green LA girl's suggestion and try ParadiseO. Type in your zipcode on the main page to see if they deliver to your area. I was seriously considering this option, but the delivery day in my area is Sunday, and I'm frequently out of town on the weekends.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Last week I was awash in flowers, as you saw.

flower mess
{flowers, cut}

We had a family event, and I volunteered my services, despite my lack of experience. After all, your family can't really reject you, can they? (I did check in with my expert floral adviser before committing myself to this project - thanks, Kris!)

I purchased one case of floral foam, 12 white ceramic containers from Ikea ($4.99 each), a few dozen bunches of flowers from the flower market. I picked out simple mums (I think?) and yellow billy buttons. Total cost: $200 for 12 centerpieces, about $16 per table.

flower mess
{flowers, in process}

All I did was arrange floral foam in the bottom, soak it with water, and pop the flowers in, keeping them tightly clustered. Simple, yes. But so very time consuming. I estimated this would take a couple hours, but it ended up being more like 8 or 9 hours. Luckily, we have HBO (I re-watched the entire season of True Blood, plus a random movie). I sustained only one clipper related injury, which is pretty good for me. It involved a minimum of shrieking and whining to D as he tried to wrap it in gauze.

flower arrangements, finished
{flowers, finished}

If you're thinking about doing your own flowers for a wedding, don't assume it will just take a few hours, unless you are doing something really, really simple, like sticking a few flowers into mason jars. At the very least, have 4 or 5 friends over to share the work and cut down your arranging time. And order pizza. Flower related stress increases exponentially when you aren't properly fueled.

- don't think you have to stick to the vase section when you're making flower arrangements. The 8" Smarta dishes were cheaper than most of the vases I looked at and they are oven safe, so when we're done with the party, we'll have some useful bakeware and/or serving dishes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The weekend, briefly

It was a quiet sort of weekend. A still life weekend.

afternoon light on the window
{afternoon light on the window}

stack of china
{stack of china}

{afternoon napping}

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday flowers (assembly line edition)

Our dining room table looks something like this...


This is the kind of mess I can actually enjoy. More details (and photos) next week.

And thank you, thank you, thank you for all your sweet comments yesterday. I'm overwhelmed by how amazing you all are.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Today is my one year blogaversary. Wow.

birthday cake
{coconut cake posted here}

I started the blog with an open mind and no real agenda. It's turned out to be so much more than I ever thought it would be and that is largely due to all of you.

cake stands + mini cupcakes
{birthday cupcakes - not posted, bizarrely enough}

Thank you. For being a community that I'm happy to be a part of, for inspiring me to take more photos, for helping me remember that all the little things in life are beautiful and important, for trying my recipes, for gushing over silly things like shoes and haircuts and providing support when life isn't quite as lovely as I would like.

chocolate cake
{chocolate cake posted here}

I always kind of wished that I lived in a village - you know, the kind where everyone knows everyone else and supports each other (um, maybe an imaginary village). Now I feel like I'm part of a little village, a little community. And now I cannot get the image of each of us living in little thatched roof houses and wearing petticoats, so I think it is time to wrap up this rambling love note because I don't know where my mind will go next.

{anniversary cake posted here}

Ahem. As a little token of my appreciation, I'd love to send out a couple of small packages. If you leave a comment here, I'll pick a few names and you'll get a surprise in the mail. I can't tell you what it will be (because I don't know yet) but I promise it will be nice.

P.S. Oh my god, did you realize how many pictures I take of cake? I didn't, until I wrote this post. I wonder if I have a problem.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A new (old) tea cup

You are all enablers. First P alerted me to this amazing fortune telling tea cup and then Helen found another one from Etsy seller SharkAndAnchor.

fortune tea cup
{new fortune telling tea cup}

I kind of had to buy it, right? To keep the first one company.

Luckily they are good friends already.

fortune tea cup
{tea cups together}

Pssst...if you're dying for a fortune telling teacup, SharkAndAnchor has one in stock. I swear I won't buy it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More pay it forward love...

Hanna is keeping the love going...drop by her blog for a chance to enter!

Diana is doing her giveaway as well - go visit!

Blackberry tart with vanilla ice cream

Nothing says summer to me like berries. We were having family friends over for the 4th and they were bringing ingredients for homemade ice cream. Naturally, I began dreaming of berry tarts, but all the recipes I found had some sort of pastry cream layer. Pastry cream + ice cream just did not sound good to me. So I winged it.

blackberry tart
{simple berry tart + heirloom napkin}
Simple berry tart
One ten inch tart crust, unbaked, frozen (Deb's recipe is my go to)
2 bags of frozen blackberries (10 oz. each, I think)
1/4 cup sugar (approximately)
1 tablespoon cornstarch

*Toss the blackberries with the sugar and cornstarch. Pile in the frozen crust. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 and continue baking for about 45 minutes, until the crust is browned and the berries are bubbly. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before eating, to give it a chance to firm up.
Warning - this bubbles over like crazy. Make sure you have a baking sheet to catch the juice or you'll spend the next day scrubbing your oven.

This tart is genuinely tart, because the sugar content is pretty low. It pairs perfectly with homemade ice cream, which is intensely creamy but only mildly sweet.
Simple vanilla ice cream (makes about 6 servings)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup half and half
1 tsp vanilla

*Whisk together the whipping cream and sugar until dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir in the half and half and the vanilla extract. Freeze according to the instructions on your ice cream maker.
The ice cream isn't pictured because it is too good. I couldn't just stand around photographing it and letting it melt into oblivion. Home made ice cream melts very quickly because it doesn't have any of those weird stabilizers. You'll just have to imagine it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The weekend, briefly

Playing with flowers

low roses
{roses in a low container}

Homemade ice cream

churning ice cream

Blackberry tart

blackberry tart
{super simple - recipe to follow}

Fresh orange juice

fresh squeezed orange juice
{oranges from the family tree}

The best chocolate chip cookies

A worn out dog