Everyone deserves to discover the glorious magic that is the Montreal-style bagel. I feel sad knowing I have gone 25 years of my life without incorporating it into my daily existence, while generally expressing disdain and contempt for its bloated counterpart, the American-style bagel. (Note: I had my first Montreal-style bagel in Portland, from Tastebud, at their Farmer’s Market stall).
First of all, Montreal bagels are much smaller and firmer. I always hated American-style bagels because they taste so starchy and blah and bready and mealy and just too much. I avoided them until college, when my friend Leigh taught me to scoop out its tasteless insides, thus providing a small, crispy cradle for the (infinitely more delicious) fillings. But these! Have the perfect fluffy-insides-to-seed-speckled-crust ratio, and is just the right amount of bread for a very sturdy breakfast. They toast very well but I had the pleasure of eating one straight from the bakery, warm and fluffy and soft, and it was a revelation at 6pm.
We bought a dozen bagels (everything, poppy seed, sesame) with locally made smoked trout and gifted cream cheese and I’ve been eating them every morning in a manner of combinations: Trout and cream cheese and basil; or capers and shallots and tomatoes; or cucumbers and lemon juice and avocado and scallions. Lots of cracked black pepper either way. Have I become a breakfast person?!?!
[Top, Sonia Rykiel; bottom, Cynthia Rowley, both resort 2011] Really loving bubblegum sweet, peony pink dresses and delicate patterns for the summer. (Although Stella McCartney’s magnificent, magical tulip and poppy florals deserve a post all to themselves). Thrifted a lovely burnt pink dress at Local 23 with pockets and sleeves and nice clean movement in the skirt, should be my daily outfit once I leave for Singapore this weekend!
Posted in color, design, fashion, shopping, summer
Tagged cynthia rowley, fashion, light pink, resort 2011, runway, sonia rykiel, summer dresses
Ahh, Ithaca. Ithaca!! Brief trip peppered with both spontaneous and planned BBQs, shotgunning beers (ouch), tiny beef sliders, eating cake, late evening gardening, poor attempts at badminton, Gimme! coffee, concerts with friends, art openings with garlic bread, Macro Mamas and debating its true macro-ness (conclusion: decidedly not), living room dance parties to ABBA, old time and whiskey at Felicia’s, and fantasizing about opening the best restaurant ever, just as soon as I win the lottery.
My latest grilling obsession: Yukon potatoes. The big kind, the cheap kind. The cheaper the better. Parboil thick discs in salted water on the stove for 15 minutes. Drain, and toss with marinade: I used smoked paprika, olive oil and sprigs of rosemary. They went on a piping hot grill, flipping frequently, until golden brown and crispy. Perfect plates for toppings and/or condiments: sour cream, ketchup, mustard, bacon, cheese.
Posted in food, home, memory, music, nature, party, people, summer, travel
Tagged bbq, grilling, ithaca, relaxation, summer, vacation
[Toasted baguette / goat cheese / spicy mustard / shaved parmesan / marinated beets / parsley and artichokes / prosciutto / salami / clementines]
[Red leaf lettuce / grated carrot / manchego / toasted naan]
[Curried kidney beans / garam masala / cumin / tumeric / red pepper flakes / cilantro / minced ginger / garlic / diced tomatoes / Spanish onions / orange zest / butter]
[Leftover chicken cacciatore / handful whole wheat penne / tomato sauce / grated Pecorino / red peppers / capers somewhere in there!]
[Braised new potatoes / veal stock / bacon fat / butter / olive oil ]
[Broiled asparagus / lemon / black pepper / olive oil. Chana masala: chickpeas / garam masala / spicy curry powder / shallots / chicken stock / butter. Toasted naan / black coffee / bad Portland water]
Amidst the flurry of dinner parties, BBQs, picnics and other occasions to cook fancy food, I also eat plenty of meals that are serviceable but aren’t that special or particularly nice to look at. And then I forget to write about them, because serviceable is just not cutting it, you know? These are those lunches. I’m totally okay admitting this because lately I have been on a cooking ROLL — as in, making dishes that I normally wouldn’t (this includes baking! so much baking) and feeling really amazing and proud about the results. More soon…
Breakfast in bed. (Never gets old.) Yum. Bedsheet fruits really help ease the transition into the real world.
I’m off to investigate the Montreal retail world — hah, I know — so if you have any killer Montreal shopping spots, please share!! Staying in the Mile End so will hit up all these spots this afternoon, particularly stoked for Renata Morales.
So I was just reading a book by Mario Batali and he says that the greatest secret to perfect pasta — and the number one mistake Americans make when preparing a pasta dish — is to not oversauce. Harmony. I love the taste of pasta just as much as the sauce, so I fully agree. So depressing, to be served a sad little pile of spaghetti drowning in gloopy red guts in a bowl.
For this lunch, I boiled half a pound of farfalle and fried chickpeas in some bacon fat, garlic, shallots, leftover asparagus and green onions until very crisp. Deglazed with white wine and lemon juice and then grated 1 heaping cup of fresh carrot right into the sauce and folded it all together in a broad cast iron skillet. Once grated, the carrots were so full of moisture that combined with the other liquids made for a very sweet garden sauce. Tossed with pasta and finished with fresh curls of pecorino and scant palmful minced parsley, it was all very fresh and alive and felt naughty with that bacon fat, too. This is more of a pasta salad — it’s even better cold, and lasted for days, and would liven up really nicely with a fresh vinaigrette.
Constantly craving chaotic pattern.
Rachel Comey backpack. [Frances May via Refinery29]
Jellyfish tie dye tshirt. [American Apparel]
Steven Alan ikat Keds. [Refinery29; image via For Me For You]
Satara bubble silk dresses. [Satara via For Me For You]
Mociun pillows. [via Lena Corwin]
Provocative and honest post about shopping and commerce and personal style over at Ermie. I often feel quite shallow when I post about fashion and shopping, rather than, say, photos + recipe of a homemade meal I made from scratch.
The lovely Jocund Company posted earlier about the ‘trend’ of young women window shopping and taking photos of clothing that they do not purchase (I definitely do this). She calls it ‘lifestyle promotion.’ Maybe it’s a bit self-involved — I mean, it’s a BLOG after all! — but is it superficial conspicuous consumption, tainted by narcissism and ego? I don’t see it that way.
I don’t think anyone deserves to feel guilty or weird about sharing the things that they genuinely love. I love beautiful things and pattern and design and luxury, and I like sharing those things with the world, too — and I will never apologize for that.
Posted in art, design, fashion, shopping
Tagged american apparel, commerce, ermie, guilt, keds, mociun, pattern, RACHEL COMEY, satara, shopping, steven alan
The new Aimee Bender book The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake came out last week. I read it in two days and loved best of all the brief food passages. I first got into her as a high school student over 10 years ago and was hypnotized with how beautifully she wrote about eating — new lovers sharing spaghetti with red sauce out of paper cups, empty fruit bowls delivered to a lonely woman, leftover marzipan waiting in the freezer, swelling pumpkins coming to life — but this is her most loving and conventional homage to food yet.
My favorite of all was still the place on Vermont, the French cafe, La Lyonnaise, that had given me the best onion soup on that night with George and my father…
There, I ordered chicken Dijon, or beef Bourguignon, or a simple green salad, or a pate sandwich, and when it came to the table, I melted into whatever arrived. I lavished in a forkful of spinach gratin on the side, at how delighted the chef had clearly been over the balance of spinach and cheese, like she was conducting a meeting of spinach and cheese, like a matchmaker who knew they would shortly fall in love. Sure, there were small distractions and preoccupations in it all, but I could find the food in there, the food was the center, and the person making the food was so connected with the food that I could really, for once, enjoy it.
Mmmm. Don’t you like the image of a chef as ‘matchmaker’? West coast friends, Bender is going on a massive tour promoting her book, including SF on 6/24, Seattle on 7/6, Portland on 7/7 (can’t believe I am missing it!), and LA on 7/10.
[First time: separate but equal]
[Second time: mixed up and happier]
ON LEFTOVERS. I often feel foolish cooking so much for only one person but the truth is, I love leftovers. I love eating the same meal that made me feel good and then eating it again and feeling good again. Certain pleasures. I’m more of a creature of habit than I like to admit.
This meal was particularly easy and thus feels silly to write about but it was also the kind of blending of harmonious ingredients that makes my heart sing and dance. The combination of cannellini beans / fresh kale / lemon zest / minced garlic / sweet onions / red pepper flakes / any kind of pasta is super classic and comforting.
I soaked some beautiful white beans overnight and simmered them all morning with lemon zest, garlic, chicken stock, olive oil and white wine, and then folded the beans into a pot of cooked penne. Also crucial: mash 1/2 cup of beans into a paste with 1/4 cup starchy pasta water to create luscious, rich sauce that feels outrageous, but isn’t, not at all. I fried kale in another pan at high heat with lemon and garlic until the whole mess collapsed and was tinged with char. The first time, I ate the kale and beans separately. The next day, I mixed it all together, and it was better. Perfect simplicity. [Note: the second day I cooked another handful of pasta because day-old bloated pasta is the worst.]
[Birthday cake bought for my friend by her husband: vegan orange and chocolate cake with mocha and cardamon-spiced ganache]
[Springtime blooms snipped from public sidewalks]
[The sweetest one of all]
I just spent four brief, luminous, relaxing days in Ithaca, New York and maybe it is something about the sweet and wet summer air but I can’t stop hovering around sugar: fruits dripping with pulp and fresh juice in the morning and chocolate cakes and flaky croissants and iced tea and the perfume of fresh flowers. If only I had remembered to take a photo of the vegan coconut milk and chocolate cake smothered in bananas that Sasha made, but I was too busy stuffing my face with it. If only I had remembered to take a photo of the magnificent and tart rhubarb crumble that Anna made and served with sweet vanilla bean ice cream (Mark Bittman says to omit the strawberry — DUHHH!), but I was too busy etc etc etc. I very rarely crave sweet over savoury — I’ll pick pizza every time — but ever since I ate a Portland crepe at 3am laced with cinnamon sugar, butter, bananas and peanut butter it’s all I can think about.
Posted in baking, food, home, party, people, portraits, summer
Tagged birthdays, chocolate cake, cravings, crepes, summer sweets, watermelon