Sunday, February 26, 2012

Light it up!

Since I have been beyond awful with posting lately, I decided to post a little about what it is that is taking up all my time..  Our home build project!  Building or renovating a new home is incredibly fun but if you are anything like me it can also take over your every thought!  I find myself obsessing over ever detail and the smallest of decisions!  While having the ability is choose every fixture, light, switch, etc is fantastic it can also make you crazy over every light, fixture, switch, etc.  
My current time consumer is lighting.  There are so many incredible lighting options out there that it is  hard to narrow it down to which you love most and which will make the right statement in your home.  Here are some pieces that are on the current must have list for our new home....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mario Batali's Eggs in Hell

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a daytime show called,  The Chew.  Have any of you heard of this???  I rarely watch tv, especially daytime television so I had no idea about it.  It is basically a network food/talk show with some high profile chefs like Michael Symon and Mario Batali.  It seems to be hosted by Clinton Kelly of What Not to Wear fame but since I only watched about half of one episode that is still to be determined... Anyway, in the few moments of the show I did watch I saw a ridiculously easy Mario Batali breakfast/brunch recipe.  Eggs in Hell, which is effectively eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce.  Made over the weekend and they were yummy!  Or at least I thought so, the husband is not a big fan of runny yolk so he won't go near a poached egg.  For those of you with the same appreciation as me for the golden good stuff; hope you enjoy!  Its spicy so beware!


  • 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 jalapeño peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili flakes
  • 3 cups basic tomato sauce
  • 8 farm fresh eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Place a skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until just smoking. Add the chopped onion, garlic, jalapeños and chili flakes and cook until softened and light brown, about 7 minutes. 
Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to a simmer and carefully crack the eggs one by one into the tomato sauce.
Cook until as set as desired. I like it when the whites set but the yolks are still quite runny, about 5-6 minutes. 
Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle with cheese. Allow to cool 3-4 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ahoy Matey!

Spring has sprung!!!  Well, maybe not so much outdoors, but it certainly has for spring fashion.  A friend and I were just chatting that there seems to be a common theme at our local shopping haunts, and that theme is all things nautical.  I LOVE IT!  Without question blue is my favorite color and I am particularly sweet on navy, so I am completely smitten with all the spring collections I am seeing!  Makes me want to charter a boat and head out to sea!  Or more precisely, look like I am ready to charter a boat in all my cute outfits!  Check out some some of my finds...

Aqua for Bloomingdale's


Nanette Lepore Beach Cover-Up

Forever 21

Splendid Blazer

Marc Jacobs

Old NAvy

Aqua for Bloomingdale's




Vix Swimwear
LOVE the leather detail!

Tory Burch

Land's End Canvas

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola, and Brown-Butter Pecans

I am not one to shy away from bold flavors.  Foods that are known for being either loved or loathed or some of my favorites, for instance brussels sprouts and gorgonzola cheese.  Which is why this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine is right up my alley!  Throw in some brown butter for good measure and this is one tasty pasta dish.  This is a heavy dish so a little will go a long way... trust me!

20 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed (4 cups) 
3-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 lb. dried orecchiette 
1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter 
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans 
2 large shallots, minced (3/4 cup) 
3/4 cup heavy cream 
4 oz. Gorgonzola, crumbled (1 cup) 
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, set a heavy rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 500°F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.
Fine Cooking's version
Slightly prettier than mine...
In a food processor fitted with the medium (4 mm) slicing disk, slice the Brussels sprouts. Transfer them to a large bowl, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss until well coated. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and spread the Brussels sprouts on it in a single layer. Roast, stirring once about halfway through the cooking time, until the Brussels sprouts are tender and flecked with charred bits, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette according to package directions until just al dente.
In a medium heavy-duty skillet, melt 1/2 Tbs. of the butter over medium heat. Add the pecans and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter is deeply browned and the pecans are toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, add 3 oz. (3/4 cup) of the Gorgonzola and stir until melted.
Drain the orecchiette and return it to the pot. Add the Brussels sprouts, Gorgonzola sauce, and lemon juice and toss well. Serve, sprinkled with the pecans and the remaining Gorgonzola.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Luxe Library

A while back I posted a link to a gorgeous home office I planned to use as inspiration for our new home.  Well, in the time since then my husband has decided to create a home office above the garage; therefore eliminating my need for that space. I am not too upset about it though because I am realizing that the likelihood of me using that fancy home office was pretty slim.  I like most mommies, tend to hang in the kitchen when I am on the computer.  So, Ive decided to make the room more of an oasis from my little monsters.  A room that is completely grown up, as well as completely off limits from my children.  In my old age, (35 now) I am realizing that the rooms I once thought I would never use or want might just be the ones I like most.  Soooo, the new plan is a library! Yup. A library.  In a time where everyone is on an iPad or a kindle one might think that a library is complete nonsense.  But, speaking as a girl who has both the iPad and the kindle, I will always prefer a nice old fashioned paper book.  Plus, I LOVE the cozy feel a room filled with books provides!  Here are some pics of my new inspiration!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Ka Gai)

One of my all time favorite soups is Tom Ka Gai. When we lived in Chicago I was slightly obsessed with restaurant Penny's Noodle Shop's version.  It was simple and not filled with a bunch of random vegetables. Just the delicious broth with bits of chicken. Since I am still skeptical of any of the local Thai places here I decided; yet again, to make it myself.   (Perhaps there is a secret ethnic food scene here I don't know about, but oh well!)  Here is the result of a few recipes I blended.  It was a awesome and ridiculously easy!  Even easier than driving for take out I would say!  Hope you enjoy as much as us! My husband actually high-fived me if thats tells you anything!

1 3/4 cups chicken broth
14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 tbls red curry powder
1 jalapeño chili, minced
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into small pieces

2-3 tbls fresh lime juice
1 tbls fish sauce
fresh grated ginger ( about 2 inch stalk)
fresh cilantro

Bring chicken broth, coconut milk, curry powder and chili to simmer in saucepan over medium heat.  Add chicken and continue simmering until chicken is cooked through.  Stir in in lime juice, fish sauce and grated ginger.  You can continue to add ginger and lime juice until you reach desired taste. Transfer soup to bowls and sprinkle chopped cilantro over.  Serve by itself or over some cooked white rice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Puff Pastry Chicken

If you are looking for an easy week night dinner that will impress the fam, this is it! I first had this dish years a go at a friend's house.  When I realized how simple it was to make, I knew it should not be saved simply for guests! Serve along with some fresh green beans and a creamy mash potato and dinner is on!  Enjoy!

4 medium chicken breasts
A few pinches of salt and pepper
1 package boursin cheese (you can find in the specialty cheese section at your grocer)
1 package puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375.  Unroll puff pastry and cut each sheet in half, set aside.  In the meantime, using a meat tenderizer flatten chicken breast. Season with salt and pepper.  Place chicken breasts towards the end of each pastry sheet.  Spread equal amounts of cheese over each great.  Wrap the chicken with the pastry and pinch the edges closed.  Quickly whisk one egg and brush over puff pastry with a pastry brush.  Spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray and place the wrapped chicken on top.  Bake for appox 40 mins.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Perfect Spring Boot!

How cute are these?  In all honesty I have never bought any clothing form Garnet Hill.  Its one of those catalogs that I like primarily for home decor.  But last night, while flipping through the pages, I came across these adorable Fryes!  I absolutely love them!  The color combo and mix of leather and canvas are perfect for when the snow melts and the temperatures rise!  SO cute with jeans or even shorts!!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This is one of those recipes that came about through trial and error.  I decided to make a go at one of my favorite "fatty" soups,  Loaded Baked Potato Soup.  I couldn't find a recipe that I liked so I decided to combine elements from a variety of different ones.  Unfortunately, during that process I failed to take note or write down all the things I was doing.  So, here is a close approximation of the final product.  The great thing about this soup is its pretty hard to mess up. You can easily add and taste ingredients along the way till you find whats right for you!

4 large russet potatoes
1 1/3 sticks of butter
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1-2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
2- 3 cups chicken stock
1 cup sour cream
3-4 tbls chopped green onions
6 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Clean potatoes and bake at 400 until tender; about 1 hour.   Peel and cube potatoes and set aside.  In a large pot make a rue. (melt the butter, stir in flour, salt and pepper. Using a whisk gradually add milk, continually stirring until smooth and creamy.) Bring to a boil; cook and stir for a couple minutes or until thickened.  Add chicken stock and reduce heat to medium-low.  Add cubed potatoes and sour cream.  With immersion blender, blend until smooth.  (if you do not have an immersion blender, blend in batches in counter blender).  Garnish with onions, bacon, and cheese.  Enjoy!

French Onion Soup

  • Admittedly, I have a bit of an obsession with Tyler Florence.  Many of my favorite recipes come from the celeb chef and so often when I am trying out something new I turn to his recipes first.  This yummy French Onion soup is no exception.  Perfect for these cold, winter days!

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere
Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.
Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

Crab Cakes

Sorry I am late to post... again! So much for resolutions!  Anyway, here is a recipe I think you will really enjoy.  I have been making these crab cakes for years now as both an appetizer as well as a delicious entree alongside a fresh salad! The recipe comes from the hubby's beloved Pacific Northwest!  My in-laws have a cookbook from Portland Restaurant, Wildwood that has perfected the crab cake.  The addition of heavy cream and panko bread crumbs makes for one of the best crab cakes I have ever had!  Hope you enjoy!

1 pound cooked Dungeness crabmeat, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
3 tbls diced red bell pepper
3 tbls diced shallots
3 tbls chopped parsley
3 tbls fresh lemon juice
1 tbls dry sherry
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
pinch of salt
pinch of ground white pepper
pinch of celery salt
dash of tabasco
4 tbls clarified butter

Thaw crabmeat if frozen.  Gently squeeze crabmeat to remove excess moisture, breaking up any larger pieces.

In a large bowl, mix together 3/4 cup of the panko (reserving the remaining for the coating), bell pepper, shallots, parsley, lemon juice, sherry, cream, egg, salt, pepper, tabasco, celery salt and paprika.  Combine to  make batter, add crabmeat and mix well.  Divide mixture into desired # of balls.  Form patties and coat with the remaining panko.  Refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.

In a large nonstick pan, heat clarified butter over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and add crab cakes.  Sear until golden brown and slightly crispy, about 4 - 5 minutes on each side.  Add more butter or canola oil as needed to prevent crab cakes from sticking.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hello Again!

Happy New Year!!! Its been quite a while since I last post.  I have a whole new level of respect for those bloggers who manage to work, raise kids, and blog everyday.  Clearly I don't have it together quite yet!
Between a bout of food poisoning, building our new home, hosting the holidays, and having family visit from out of town it was enough for me to just keep my children bathed, let a lone spend any time online!
But, its a new year and in the spirit of resolutions, I am going to try to post at least twice a week...

Of course during my blogging absence, I was certainly still living and cooking so I plan on posting some recipes very soon!  In the mean time, check out this incredible children's play kitchen my husband and his dad built!!!  I have wanted the pottery barn kids kitchen for quite some time but the price point is beyond ridiculous.  In doing some research on other blogs, I found that Lowes has a play kitchen plan on their website that pretty much mimics the pottery barn set for less than half the price! My husband and his father are pretty handy guys so they whipped the stove and sink out in less than two weekends. However, based upon their efficiency I have to believe this a relatively doable task for most everyone. Here is a look at the finished product along with a link to the plans...  Pretty impressive, huh??  The kids love it and I love even more that is was built by their dad and grandpa on the final days leading up to Christmas!  Far more special than by a factory in China!

Should you feel inspired, here is a link to the plans...