Friday, September 30, 2011

hindsight.

H&M sweater; BDG high waisted jeans; American Eagle tank; Kelsi Dagger boots; H&M jacket; Ray Ban glasses
The day started out gray and drizzly but burned off by the time I got out of class, rendering my trusty olive army coat completely useless.  Still, bright colors felt completely wrong, so I layered up some intermittently tight and slouchy neutrals.


I don't wear glasses or contacts in everyday life, but I have a pair to wear when I drive at night and when I want to look a lot like my mom.  Vision correction as an opportunity to accessorize?  Yuh I'll take it.


Previously seen here, these are probably my favorite shoes, as evidenced by their not-so-subtle signs of wear.  My rule for boot shopping is that they must work equally well with pants and bare legs, and these little dudes pass the test with flying colors.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

verde.


Pesto.
The food of the gods.
Some type of herb or leafy thing + some type of nut or nutty thing + lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil.
Blend.  Consume.  Easy.
Mix and match.  Follow your heart and your taste buds to a green and flavorful Nirvana.

Ok sorry, less weird:
Basil and pine nut pesto is a tried and true champion, but why not try something new?  I've had walnut-parsley pesto, cilantro-cashew pesto (surprisingly good despite my disdain for the herb), and sun dried tomato-almond pesto.  Technically not a leaf or an herb, but rules were made to be broken, right?


The other day I used the insane amount of spinach I had in my fridge and my roommate's leftover pecans to whip up some lovely green glop of my own.  I decided to get fancy and partially make my own pasta as well --- it was an adventure, and if you've got the time I definitely recommend it.

Spinach and Pecan Pesto with Mushroom Ravioli
Adapted from About Southern Food and inspired by Pioneer Woman, respectively

For pesto:
4 packed cups of spinach
1/4 cup olive oil (this is a small amount because I like my pesto paste-y, not oily.  Spreadable not drizzle-able.  You dig?  Feel free to add more if that's your jam)
1/3 cup shredded parmesean
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cloves garlic, minced
the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

For ravioli:
Prepared fresh pasta sheets (wanna make the pasta yourself?  You're a hero.  I don't have that kind of time, so I bought some packaged fresh lasagna sheets from the refrigerated section)
1 1/2 cups super finely minced mushrooms
1/4 cup finely minced carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
one egg, beaten

Blend all of the pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Resist all urges to eat the entire batch with a spoon, but don't TORTURE yourself, I mean by all means have ONE spoonful.

Heat olive oil in a pan.  Add mushrooms, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook down until browned and soft, stirring occasionally.

This is after I already made some of the raviolis with just mushrooms, that's why it looks so carrot-heavy.  But I'm telling you.  The mixture was better.  Hearty.  Felt like fall.  All the good stuff.
While the mushroom mixture is cooking, slice pasta sheets into your desired shapes.  I chose to make 2 inch square raviolis, which require two 2 inch square pieces each.  I also made one GIANT ravioli, but that's because I'm silly.  I like the idea of one piece of pasta acting as an appetizer or a side dish.  Anyway.


Spoon a very small amount of the cooked mushroom mixture to the center of one pasta square, between one and two teaspoons.  The other pasta square needs to be able to fit over the mixture without stretching.  Brush a little of the beaten egg wash on the pasta square around the edges of the little mound of mushroom mix.  This helps the other piece of pasta adhere to the first and not separate while cooking.

I found that the best way to assemble the ravioli was to lay the second pasta piece over the first and pinch it around the mound of mushroom mix (five times fast?) into a sort of X shape.  Then press the edges of the pasta pieces together by crimping them with a fork.  Functional and cute, thats my motto!


Nope not really.  But in this case yes.

You'll get in a groove and get a little one-man assembly line thing going, and pretty soon you've got fifteen to twenty raviolis!



Salt some boiling water, and cook the pasta for about 10 minutes.

Filling mushroom ravioli + bright and springy spinach pesto + sprinkling of parmesan.
Yum. Yummm. Yuhhhhm.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

asphalt

Anne Klein hooded peacoat (my mom's at one point...this is a post about theft); sam & max button down; BDG jeans; Jeffrey Campbell heels; deux lux bag
My first day of wearing pants back at school.  I should be sad, but the smell of fall is errrrrrywhere in this town and it smells like fire and blankets and long runs, which is my third favorite smell after jasmine flowers and baked goods.


JeffCam coming out on top again with these cut out beauties that I stole from my sister when she decided they weren't cool anymore.  HER LOSS AM I RIGHT?!?! Subtly pointy, kitten heeled and splattered with hearts and stars, they are so good at being modest and funky at the same time, which is something everyone should know how to be.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

deep messy recesses.

Vintage sweatshirt; Hue tights; Sparkle and Fade shorts
I discovered this photographic gem today.  Sometimes you have to wear your wolf sweatshirt and your sequin shorts at the same time.  Take some sideways pictures of yourself on the floor.  Like you do.  You know.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

cheating.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT.


Whole Foods pre-made salmon burgers from the seafood counter.

That is all.


Except really.  Turn these into something that you purchase very, very soon.  With varieties like lemon/dill, teriyaki and spinach/feta, there is something for whatever you want for dinner.  Three minutes a side.  On a bun (get pretzel buns.  Not pictured because I ate it plain.  It was so good.  Today is a day of discovery) with lettuce and red pepper and whatever sauce you're feeling like.  So easy it should be illegal.  And so delicious it...should...be illegal.  And so good for you because its salmon which my parents used to tell me is brain food.


Be smart.  Make this for dinner.  Eat it and get smarter.  Gold.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

what if no one wants to be my friend?


Forever 21 dress, vintage belt, HIP sweater
Had you witnessed my behavior this morning, you would have assumed that it was my first day of second grade and not, in fact, my junior year of college.

I made a lot of nervous noises and huddled in bed until I absolutely HAD to get up.
I thought about what to wear for a long time and didn't come up with anything monumental.
I was pretty certain that I was going to throw up.

Why so weird, self?  Whatchu freakin out fo?  The thrill of being able to pick out schoolday outfits has long subsided (after 12 years of Catholic school uniforms -- which I actually adored and sometimes still wear to class, haters to the left -- dressing myself became a cause for celebration) and I already know my way around campus.  This should not be a scary day.  

But the start of each new year will alway be a tiny bit thrilling, and I think my increased heart rate is little more than an indicator that I am a giant nerd and really really like school.  I'd been back in the area for long enough.  It was time to see some syllabi.

This makeup situation is either for a play, or my 10 AM Jane Austen class which I'm pretty sure I'm dropping.  Hint: I'm a sea creature.  Another hint: reading Northanger Abbey underwater is really hard.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

leaves.


So kale, right?  That’s a fad.  That’s a fad that’s happening.

It’s strange to think that a leafy green can be stylish and “in,” but kale, and all of the forms it takes, most certainly is.   Despite its depressing first life as salad bar decoration, kale has recently became a health nut darling because of its high levels of beta carotene, vitamin K and vitamin C.  Now it is being thrown into salads, tossed in stirfrys, blended into smoothies, squeezed into juices, steamed as a side dish AND, popularly and addictively, baked into chips.

Prior to making my own, the only kale chips I had tried were a Whole Food variety with some horrible flavor name like NACHO FIESTA!!! or something.  The texture was thicker than I imagined and the fake cheesy powder seasoning bummed me out.  I stuck with fresh ground pepper and garlic salt when whipping up some chips for myself, and the result was light, crispy, and seasoned just enough to taste while not overpowering the really delicious kale flavor.   


Kale Chips

1 pound bunch of kale (I used the flat leaf variety, which made for an almost seaweed paper-thin chip)

1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon olive oil

Seasoning of your choice (I’m telling you though: garlic salt and fresh ground pepper.  No regrets)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Wash and dry the kale leaves.  Slice the leafy parts away from the fibrous stalk and cut into smaller, rectangular “chips.”  Discard stalks. 

Toss chips in olive oil and seasoning in a mixing bowl.  Spread out on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, being careful not to overlap.  Bake for 15 minutes, toss chips on sheet using tongs to flip, and then bake for an additional 15 minutes. 


Turn off oven after 30 total minutes of baking, but do not remove the baking sheet; chips will continue to crisp up as the oven cools.  Remove chips from parchment paper.  Gobble them up.

Chips will keep in an airtight container for a few days. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

cold shoulders.

Free People top; Hue leggings; BCBGeneration boots; Tiffany & Co., gifted and vintage charm necklace
If this article of clothing wasn't so sheer, it would have been the only thing I wore all summer.  The bell sleeves are RIDICULOUS, the crochet neckline is sweet, and the open shoulders make it a little spicier than your average peasant blouse.  Spicier.  Yeah I said it.




My charm necklace is comprised of the following: a Tiffany & Co. key that was a Christmas present from my parents (my sister has one too / awwww sister things), a cross I got on my First Communion aka when I was eight, a gold heart that used to be my mom's, and a teeny tiny cowboy boot that I got when I graduated high school with a card that said, "Kick Ass."  Cowboy boots are very important to me.  I'll tell you about it someday.

In the meantime I will use all of my resolve to NOT make the Joy the Baker doughnuts and smittenkitchen red wine chocolate cake.  At least not on the same day.  Ugh.  Ugh.  Give me strength.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

carrotgingercoconutsoup

I should have wiped down the side of the bowl there for this picture, but I was too hungry.
It is almost Fall and the weather outside is sort of reflecting that and if you could hear the displeasure with which I state those facts you would...hear a lot of displeasure.

I would like nothing more than the sun to shine year round and to never ever have to wear pants.  I would like to eat soup solely for show, and to utilize Autumnal vegetables, and not because my insides actually need any sort of warming.

Regardless.

This recipe looked so simple and bright and healthy, I had to try it.
A wonderful and easy end to my day, and a phenomenal inaugural usage for my new blender.

Carrot, Ginger and Coconut Soup
Adapted from Joy the Baker

2 tablespoons coconut oil (listen: here's where I adapted.  I didn't have coconut milk but I DID have coconut oil, so I switched out the olive oil and used regular milk.  Joy did olive oil and coconut milk.  Pick your poison kids)
1 medium onion, diced
3 tablespoons minced ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
4-5 cups diced carrots
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup nonfat milk
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium saucepan.  Add onions and saute until translucent.  Add ginger and cook until soft and fragrant, about 4 minutes.

Add coriander, carrots and vegetable broth.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are completely soft, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool (or impatiently stick pot into freezer and tap foot).

Working in batches, blend soup until smooth.  Return soup to pot to warm, stir in milk and add salt and pepper to taste.

Not my hands.  Hopefully obvious.  But I guess you never know.
Spoon that stuff into a bowl.  Mangia.  Dunk some hearty bread into it.  Slurp.  Get messy and orange.

PS:  Yes, I am going to make the kale chips on the same Joy post.  ASAP.
PPS: If you do the coconut milk/olive oil version, this soup is vegan!
PPSS: This is not my mother's cream of carrot soup, which is better than anything you've ever tasted in your life including dessert.  Maybe I will make that one day.  It is less healthy than this one.
PPPSS: Bye.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

moonlighting as a lady.

Vintage Marc by Marc Jacobs dress circa Beacon's Closet in Brooklyn; Express belt; Jeffrey Campbell wedges; Coach tote
A magical vintage find at a modest length.  Playing up jewel tones and getting re-accustomed to carrying a sizable school tote (though as far as school totes go, I'm definitely down with all things true green and fashioned from buttery leather).  Summer is dwindling, and I'm stuck in that in between stage of desperately wanting to wear sweaters, but definitely not wanting to have to start using my dayplanner again.

I'm a dayplanner kind of girl.
The Moleskine Colour a Month Daily Planners to be exact.
I live by them during the school year.  I wouldn't know anything ever without them.

But fishing out the navy September booklet makes me A) sad that the aquas, limes and pinks of the summer months are gone and B) fully aware of how unorganized I am at the present moment.



  

Monday, September 12, 2011

the girl and the fig.


Oh I am obsessed with figs.  I told my boyfriend the other day while eating one that I think they are luscious and romantic, and he looked at me like I was a maniac.  He often looks at me like I am a maniac, but this time it was because I was saying sensual things about the produce.

I bought TWO baskets of California Mission figs at Whole Foods the other day because there was a sale (and also because they looked so perfect and massive) and had been popping them every time I wandered through the kitchen.  Something needed to be done.  These figs had a higher calling than my snacking and I knew it.

So I roasted those puppies.


Roasted Figs

Figs (I had two baskets, which was approximately 20 figs, and filled up one casserole dish without crowding)
Olive oil
Honey
Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lop the stems off the figs and slice them in half.  Spread figs out in a casserole dish, cut side up.  Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil (I used about a tablespoon) and twice as much honey.  Sprinkle with salt.

Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until partially caramelized and soft.

Put them on ice cream, put them in yogurt, put them on crackers with goat cheese, put them in a salad, put them in your mouth this SECOND.

Caramelized, bubbly goodness.  See how the honey gets dark and crispy?  Ugh.
This post is named after a restaurant in Sonoma, California.  I have never been there, but my parents have, and they brought me back a baseball cap.  It says "The Girl and the Fig" on it.  Creative, right?  But also so bizarre.  And also probably the title of my memoirs.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

its not negligence.




Ok so maybe it is.

I have a cold, one week left of summer, and a cold.  I have a stuffy nose.  Seven more days until school starts.  A cold.  Sinus problems.  Cold.  Summer.  One week.  School.

Today feels like blah.

I'm spending the day outside on a blanket, alternating between finishing (starting) my required reading, unenthusiastically browsing pictures from New York's Fashion Week, and sitting quietly with thoughts of September 11th.

Today feels like a day to do that thing you should do everyday.
That thing that's called telling the people that matter that you love them.

Today feels like a quiet and remembering and sunny and grateful day.
I'm going to blow my nose and text my sister.

See you soon (with food).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

chicago jazz festival.

H&M tank; Delia's sweater; vintage belt, bracelets, headscarf and Vince shorts; Urban Outfitters earrings; Rainbows
When I got to Millenium Park on Sunday and realized that I had lugged my bulky camera and its case downtown for NO REASON as I had forgotten my battery in its charger at home, I was devastated.

Then I saw disposable cameras for sale at the t-shirt vendor pop-up tent.  I was elated.

Then I learned that the camera cost $15.  I was devastated again.

Then I bought it anyway because it was a beautiful day and there was such sun and music and loveliness all around me.  I was happy and broke.



Sunday, September 4, 2011

part of a balanced breakfast.


I was all set to make cinnamon rolls yesterday, but then two very important things happened.  First, I remembered I'm afraid of yeast.  Making a rising dough scares me.  There's so much room for error.  Yikes.  One day I will face this fear but yesterday was not that day.

Secondly, my Fruit of the Month Club box arrived in the mail, and it was peaches.


If your parents are like, "What do you want for Christmas / your birthday / graduation / Arbor Day?"  your answer is "The Harry & David Fruit of the Month Club."  Every thirty days, a small box of fresh produce is delivered to my door with a book of recipes and a note that says, "Have a good year! Love, Mom, Dad and Shelby."  My roommates and I love the Fruit of the Month Club.  We live for the Fruit of the Month Club.  Our membership certificate is tacked to our kitchen wall.  The honeybell oranges went fast but the avocados went faster.  The asparagus was massive.  We get vegetables sometimes.  We go with the flow.


I knew I wanted to make something breakfasty and not, say, a pie, so I hunted around for a recipe to mimic and settled on the following.  These scones are GOOD.  Tender and fruity and citrusy and light.  I am all about them.


Peach and Raspberry Scones
adapted from My Kitchen Escapades
makes 17 scones


1 cup light sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
2 large peaches, finely diced
1/2 container raspberries, chopped

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
the juice of 1/2 lemon
a pinch of salt

Mix the sour cream and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.  It'll do the vinegar/baking soda thing and bubble up and get poofy; this is the trick to the moist crumb of this scone.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar. Slice the butter into pats, and add to the dry mixture.  If you have a food processor, cut the butter into the powder mixture until the pieces are pea-sized.  If there is no food processor at your disposal, cut up the butter using an electric mixer, but be sure not to over mix.

Add the fruit, sour cream mixture and egg to the bowl and mix until just combined.  It will take a while.  4 cups of flour is a lot of flour.



I decided to make these scones “rustic” – a word which means I just scooped out heaping spoonfuls of batter and plopped them directly onto my baking sheet.  Rustic is the same thing as lazy.  If you have a lot of time and patience, feel free to turn the dough over onto a slightly floured surface and mold it into little triangles.  I would have done this (I like cute things), but my dough was very sticky, and I was afraid the amount of flour I'd need to use to make it malleable would disrupt the baking process in some way.  So rustic it was.

Leave ample space on the sheet for the scones to spread -- I fit 6 per baking sheet and that worked perfectly.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on the edges and not mushy at the top.


Mix together the icing ingredients while you're waiting for the scones to cool, and then drizzle it over the top.

Let it run down the sides and pool on your parchment paper.  Thats what icing is for.


Give the first scone to your roommate because you are so nice, and also because you already ate the equivalent of a scone and a half in batter.

A yummy breakfast or dessert, these babies are chock full of fruit and not overly sweet.  The lemon in the glaze gives it an extra brightness, and I think next time I'd even add some zest to the dough.  Use whatever fresh fruit you have on hand, or, as in the original recipe, orange juice and dried cranberries.

-----------------------

I'm doing some reorganization at NSED, and I'm sure you've noticed.  I'm figuring out all of the things you can do with this program, and excavating the little html knowledge that I have from the dark recesses of my mind where it is stored next to How To Work Myspace.  Let me know what you think. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

big day.

Guess tank; American Eagle shorts; Vans flats
I spent this lovely Saturday traipsing around Chicago: amassing fish costumes (normal), spilling a bag of cashews down my shirt (tragic), getting spontaneously rained on on Michigan Avenue (super) and purchasing a very big, very Barbara-Streisand-as-Fanny-Brice fur coat for $20.  I knew I'd be taking a lot of public transportation while carrying many heavy bags, so I kept my outfit fuss-less and easy.


So soon.  So so soon.  Be patient.


Gold jewelry that used to be my mom's.  The best everyday bracelet.

China Glaze in Pool Party; OPI in Do You Lilac It?; Essie in Turquoise & Caicos; OPI in Give Me Moor!
OH I ALSO WENT TO LYNAMY NAILS.  Ugh.  Amazing.  A beauty supply store off the Argyle Red Line stop, Lynamy is a hole in the wall smashed between the nine million nail salons and pho restaurants that make up that part of Chicago.  It is four aisles long and JAM PACKED with OPI, Essie, China Glaze and CND nail polishes at STUPID LOW prices.  Like half their normal cost.  I spent $11 for these four bottles, an amount which usually would barely cover one.  It took a long time to narrow down my choices, but walking away with two pretty pastels, one blinding pink and one deepdeep purple felt right.


Yesss.


I also got this cool Orly stripe-brush polish to make me an "Instant Artist."


You know, the kind that draws lopsided grids with lines that vary in thickness.
So maybe its false advertising.
I'm working on it, ok?