There was some chatter about the questionable sophistication-level of heart-shaped buttons over at P R I M O E Z A, but I have to say that I fall firmly in the pro-heart camp. I love hearts on everything, even if it’s not particularly subtle — like this lovely ring. But wouldn’t it make a sweet Valentine’s Day present?
[Maybe a better, more acceptable present? Maybe a burned copy of this amazing dance mix by Portland's Miracles Club. Remember Seefeel? So good!]
I think I actually gasped when I saw this photo essay posted on The Selby.
Earlier last fall, I had two absolutely transcendental experiences at Tartine Bakery. Everything about that place made my head spin with happiness and inspiration.
I tried to sample as many treats as I could — including perfect espresso, paper bags stuffed with pastries, tri-fold sandwiches, and delicate salads — and nibbles of everyone else’s cakes and cookies. (Though I was foolish enough not to order that ridiculous-looking croissant, shown above. What is going on with that croissant?? Is that butter?)
Fortunately, the experience didn’t end in San Francisco. I’ve been lucky enough to eat Tartine’s infamous pain levain (shown above) — quite possibly the best $7 you will spend, ever — on two separate occasions in Montreal, courtesy of these two wonderful people and their home baking wizardry (Anthony’s loving essay on the fabled loaf is a must-read). One instance of its consumption was even in my own home — we ate it sliced, slathered with salted butter and served with oysters and caul-wrapped sausages — and its presence at the dinner table was one of the best hostess presents I have ever received.
In any case, the Selby photo essay is the final nail in the coffin — I must own my own copy of Tartine Bread.
Since I’ve been obsessing over Rachel Comey’s printed silk pants since they debuted earlier this year, I recently decided that as a present to myself (for finishing grad school applications!), I am going to buy myself a pair.
But which pair? I am legitimately in love with both.
[via Creatures of Comfort]
Adam recently had the brilliant idea to make saltimbocca, a delicious Italian dish of veal cutlets fried with sage and prosciutto. I don’t usually like fussy dishes, but I have to admit that this meal was very fun to assemble — it felt like I was stitching our meal together. It’s not so much about following a recipe (though this recipe seems to be quite similar) as it is just getting the vibe right: paper-thin veal cutlets are carefully threaded with sage leaves and prosciutto, dusted with salt and pepper, and then dredged in a bit of flour. We fried our saltimbocca in a skillet filled with hot, frothing butter, and fried them until crispy.
I served the veal with a simple butternut squash + brown butter risotto, and Adam fried up some mushrooms and made my favorite cabbage dish (his specialty): sauteed cabbage with bacon and lemon. Simple, but blows my mind every time. I eat platefuls of this stuff and never get tired of it.
[Oh, and over at Popcorn Youth: a stunning Trish Keenan mix — RIP — and a link to my latest piece for Signal to Noise].
Cold winter nights call for desperate measures. One night, at my wits’ end with the icy air, I conjured up a vision of the coziest, body-warming dish I could think of: chicken thigh and leg, first massaged in a quick spice rub of pimentón, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and cumin, then slowly braised in a spicy Spanish tomato-saffron sauce, dotted with tender garlic cloves, thick strips of onion, tiny cubes of diced chorizo, and firm navy beans. With 30 minutes left in the 2 hour-long braise (after a quick sear on the stove and a splash of red wine, the braise went in a 325 degree oven), I added two scrubbed and diced potatoes, which slowly poached in the tomato sauce until fork-tender.
My extreme reluctance to battle the winter elements outside meant that I constructed this dinner from entirely within the confines of my refrigerator and pantry. Not bad.
Fail-safe options for lunch (or: Variations On a Theme), for when you really, really need to feel full:
Oven-roasted sweet potato fries with smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder + too much salt; tossed with a bit of olive oil (not too much) and roasted at high heat, they get delicious crispy, charred edges. This is key. // Pan-fried kale with lemon, diced shallots, prosciutto + almonds; I like adding a splash of vinegar or wine at the end to give it tang.
Or: Warm chickpea salad, fried in a bit of butter, garlic, sage and parsley // needle-thin slivers of raw red cabbage with apple cider vinegar // couscous with chicken broth, cilantro, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of saffron + more almonds // toast to spoon the chickpeas onto
Or: Open-faced turkey sandwich (open-faced by necessity; only had one piece of bread left) smothered in soy-sauce braised kale // cucumber + almond salad // home fries (I like to make this a million different ways, but a pinch of turmeric, dried marjoram, cracked black pepper + tiny pats of butter are unexpected but not unwelcome potato-toppers) + ketchup swirled with sriracha.
Or: Pasta (I just never get tired of pasta) with cherry tomatoes, red pepper flakes, beautiful olive oil (break out the expensive stuff) + fresh basil (of the hydroponic variety; a luxury) // side of sauteed spinach + garlic (take the spinach out of the pan before it wilts fully; it will continue to wilt on the plate).
I know my meals look so similar, but they feel different to me, anyway.
Dinner. I love how everything is the same shade of pale, pale yellow — the butter, the toast, the sole, the artichokes, the bowl of lemons, the wine, the half wheel of Brie. Unintentional monochromatic coordination.
I had been curious for quite some time about Richard Olney’s dish of persillade of sole and shredded artichokes, dressed heavily in lemon and minced parsley, from his volume French Wine and Food (Ten Vineyard Lunches). We unintentionally went a little bit overboard with the lemon — I can never quite control myself with citrus — but otherwise it is a perfectly manageable and delicate dish.
[Oh! Final note: One of my bestest friends, Kat Stone, recently has started a mouthwatering food blog, kat.tales. Not only is she a phenomenal writer, but an inspirational cook. Check it out!]
My holiday eating — like many others, I’m sure — was particularly gluttonous this year. Well, it’s time to scale back. But, of course, for me, “scaling back” means a BLT with goat cheese. Ah, well. Still less intense than osso buco, or roast beef, or lobster scrambled eggs.
There are so many magical beaches in San Diego, but the Torrey Pines State Reserve has always been my favorite. For $10, you can park at the top of the mountain and then explore all of the trails, some of which lead down to Blacks Beach, some of which wind around the hills and cliffs in a dusty maze. Crawling down to the beach and the smooth sand is my favorite hike, but this time, with less than an hour before the sunset, we lingered at the top of the cliffs, wandered through the faded desert plants, and gazed at the beet-red sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.
I just want to mention that Adam took the first photo, of the sandy, washed-out twilight hours. That’s exactly what it’s like there, hazy but somehow clear and full of salt and light and dust and warmth. It’s now one of my most favorite California photos.