31 October 2010

My Sister's Pasta

 I come from a family of good cooks.  We grew up in the kitchen and dinner time at home was sacred.  This weekend in NYC at my sister's, I had a few bites of some leftover pasta in her fridge that was quite delicious so I thought I would try my hand at making it.  The ingredients together are somewhat unconventional but they work.

Here's what she does.  Slice up some kielbasa and saute it in olive oil with Adobo, chile powder and cayenne pepper.  While it's cooking slice up some vegetables.  She uses bell peppers, red onion, artichokes and broccoli.  Marinate the sliced onions in red wine and/or red wine vinegar.

Once the kielbasa is brown, remove it from the pan and saute some garlic.  Add in the red onion and its marinade to deglaze the pan.  Then add in the rest of the vegetables (except the broccoli) with some capers.

While the vegetables are cooking, cook some pasta (I made whole wheat penne).  Add the broccoli in with the pasta about 3 minutes before the pasta should be done.

Add in chopped tomatoes  (I used a carton of Pomi tomatoes) to the vegetables and add back the kielbasa.   If you so desire, throw in a dollop or two of sour cream to give the sauce some creaminess.  Once the pasta and broccoli are done, add them in to the pan with the sauce and veggies.

Thanks sis for a new dish to add to my repertoire!

New York, I Love You

I have a love/hate relationship with New York City.  I love it in more ways than I can count and I hate it when it's time to leave.   This weekend's visit to NYC, as usual, was spent mostly shopping and eating.  Let's start with the shopping.

Cole Haan Air Avalon tall boots
As you know from my weekend wishlist I was in the market for some black riding boots.  Well, mission accomplished.  I found these Cole Haan boots that were exactly what I was looking for down to the buckles and hardware.

Cole Haan Air Zelo OTK boot
My sister has been in the market for a pair of over the knee boots.  But being 5'10" plus apparently makes it difficult to find an over the knee boot that is in fact, over the knee.  While in the Cole Haan store, we somehow spotted these fabulous bestudded boots that really were over the knee.  These could be a late addition to my own wishlist.

What day of shopping is complete without an impulse purchase?  For once the impulse buy was made by someone other than me!  You might remember that awhile back I bought these gorgeous Mulberry postman's lock booties that I posted about here.  My sis loves them but first, the heels are precariously high and second, they are a wee bit expensive.  So imagine her delight when these bright blue Belle by Sigerson Morrison booties jumped out at us at Bergdorf's.  Now we have dueling bright blue booties!

My Mulberry booties (top left) and my sis' booties

And now on to the eating.  We had lunch Saturday at one of my very favorite spots; JG Melon's.  If you are ever in need of a juicy burger, crisp cottage fries and a bloody bull (or two), you should definitely check this place out.  And for those of you not familiar with the bloody bull, it's a bloody mary with beef broth and it's a perfect Saturday afternoon, hair of the dog beverage.

Saturday night we went out to dinner to celebrate my brother's birthday at Fille Ponte on the West Side Highway in Tribeca.  This place is totally old school Italian and while they're trying to reinvent themselves (they're calling themselves just Ponte's these days) it's still got the same old school vibe.  We nestled into the cozy downstairs bar and were served a few very generous martinis by the jovial bartender.  He gave us some homemade chips as barsnacks plus a margherita pizza.  Thirst quenched, we made our way to our table upstairs in the large dining room overlooking the Hudson River with tables nicely spaced.  It's just so lovely to dine somewhere without tables piled on top of each other.  We snacked on eggplant caponata, perfectly sweet and sour and some lush and fresh grana padano.  We shared their veal meatballs, fritto misto and sausage with broccoli rabe while we decided on our main courses.  I ordered the homemade cavatelli with sausage which was a very generous and quite delicious portion.  Everyone loved the food and the service couldn't have been more attentive.  If you're in the 'hood, definitely swing by.

My weekend ended on a high note at the hands of my genius in the kitchen brother in law.  He makes this breakfast panini that is like none I've ever had before.  The ingredients, which are unconventional for breakfast, are perfectly harmonious.  Here's the rundown, ham, egg and cheese (provolone and boursin) on ciabatta bread with arugula and pepperoncini.  Totally delicious!

28 October 2010

It's My Friday

Fridays are most definitely worth celebrating.  Especially when they come on Thursday.

Zara jacket, Lanvin top, Chanel bag, JCrew pencil skirt
There's no better way to start the weekend than with a fun night out with one of your great friends.  So today's outfit was one to get me through my last workday of the week plus one to look fabulous for a night out with a girlfriend.

Studded Prada sunglasses, Kenneth Jay Lane necklace (from Elisha Daniels)
We had a night of great fun bellied up to the bar at Hamersley's eating, drinking and chatting about goodness knows what.  You know how it is when you're with one of those friends where the conversation about nonsense never runs out!

Me Too booties purchased at Nordstrom
It was a great way to end the workweek and prepare for my long weekend.  The weekend's activities consist of getting freshly coiffed, hitting the gym and shopping my wishlist.

Have a great weekend!

A Couple Pops of Color

Tiziana handbag
I woke up yesterday to a dreary, rainy day.  Instead of succumbing to it, I decided to add a couple bright pops of color to the day's threads.

Roger Vivier flats
I started with some bright red Vivier flats and a red chain strap bag.

J Crew schoolboy blazer, DVF yellow top
But the red wasn't enough color for me.  How better to break out of the rainy day rut than with bright red AND bright yellow?

27 October 2010

Weekend Wishlist

I feel like it's been ages since I've had a day off of work.  Since I've been so overworked and exhausted lately, I decided to take Friday off and treat myself to a long weekend.  What long weekend would be complete without at least a little bit of shopping?  Here's what's on my wishlist.

Riding Boots

I really want a pair of black riding boots.  Preferably with a cool detail like the ones above.  I especially love the studded Louboutins but I'm definitely not in the market to spend that much.

Camel Coats and Capes

I've also been eying a few camel coats but the more I think about it, perhaps I might like a fun cape instead.

And on a different note, I saw these fantastic Ann Taylor tweed pumps in November's InStyle mag and thought I could really make use of these.  It looks like I might have my work cut out for me this weekend but shopping is the good, relaxing kind of work. 

26 October 2010

At the Ballet

I woke up this morning utterly exhausted;  I could barely drag myself out of bed.  This coming from someone who for as long as I can remember has been a morning person who used to pop out of bed pre-alarm clock.  But the one bright spot in my state of exhaustion was the fleeting thought that I could whip up a pretty outfit to perk me up.  But what?

Milly jacket, H&M top, vintage ribbon pearls

Oh ballet pink and ballet slippers, that's what.  I pulled out this light, light pink Milly jacket which I love dearly and don't wear enough.  I bought it years ago on sale at Bergdorf's and it has served me well.  It's perfectly paired with a like color little top from H&M.

Pour la Victoire flats, Marc Jacobs bag
Add some Joe's jeans and brighter pink ballet slippers and I'm good to go.  Oh, and don't let me forget my Marc Jacobs bag!

Michael Kors rose gold watch
As I do each day, I walked the short walk to work to be greeted by the debonaire man that sits in front of my office building just watching the world go by.  He in his ubiquitous fedora and trench, me awash in my ballet pink and he belts out "Good morning Hollywood, how's my baby doing today?!".  Oh and that brings my first genuine smile for the day.  Thanks Mister Hollywood, you are my biggest fan!

25 October 2010

Inspired by: Purple Prada shoes

Prada shoes and Tiziana handbag
As I posted the other day here there's a lot of room in my shoe wardrobe for re-discovery.  Well there's a lot to be re-discovered with my wardrobe in general but for today, I'll keep it to the shoes.  After digging out the Louboutins I wore the other night, I took some time to really assess what I could dig out of my closet.  Among many other fabulous pairs of shoes, I found these purple Prada shoes in the recesses of my closet.  So today's outfit revolved around the shoes.

Lanvin ribbon pearl necklace and Emporio Armani beaded necklace
The purple shoes paired perfectly with a multi-colored Anna Sui top in varying shades of blue and purple which I topped off with two of my favorite pearl and beaded necklaces from Lanvin and Emporio Armani and a Zara jacket.  

24 October 2010

My life in music

So far, you've seen my life to some extent chronicled in food and even more so in fashion.  But as I was cooking dinner with my ipod blaring in the background, I thought of how each song vividly recalls different times in my life.
Duran Duran Rio

Duran Duran's Rio still to this day is one of my very favorites.  Duran Duran was the first concert I ever attended.  It was at the Meadowlands in NJ and I was in the seventh grade.

Thompson Twins Here's to Future Days
Fast forward a couple of years.  My family had moved from NJ to FL and I was a sophomore in high school.  I was new and at lunch sitting in the cafeteria all by my lonesome but happily oblivious with my headphones on.  I had this bright red Sony walkman and I was listening to the Thompson Twins cassette (can you imagine a life without online music and Ipods?) when the principal came over and confiscated my walkman.  Apparently one was not allowed to listen to music at lunch.  Who knew?!

New Order Substance

1988, I had finished high school and had moved to Gainesville FL for college.  I can still picture my dorm room and my boombox which was constantly playing New Order's Substance.

Aimee Mann I'm With Stupid

1996 I moved to Boston for graduate school.  I remember in great detail sitting in the apartment that I shared with my brother on Saint Botolph St, with my very large accounting textbook in front of me on the dining table. I was simultaneously studying and crying because school was really, really difficult and my brother found my duress endlessly amusing (in fact, he still does, but that's what little brothers are for, right?).  I always studied to music and the constant rotation was between Aimee Mann's I'm With Stupid and the Sundays' Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

The Sundays Reading, Writing, Arithmetic

The irony of the titles of these albums only is just now hitting me. 

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager
On one of my annual Nantucket trips with my girlfriends, we had a late boozy night at Lola and we loved the music they were playing.  We had never heard it before and the guy in charge of the music there told me it was some group called Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.  We joked and called the band Buy a Cape, Put it on, Go out.  But I bought the album and each time I listen to it I think of my girlfriends and our annual jaunts to Nantucket.

So here's the thing about music; for me, certain songs, albums, lyrics will always bring me to specific moments in time in my life. And these are a few that I listened to then and in some cases decades later still listen to and enjoy as much for the music as for the memories.

Pork and peppers and pasta, oh my

I aimlessly wandered the aisles at the grocery store today searching for inspiration.  I happened upon some pork chops and thought to myself, how would I prepare them.  Then it came to me, I could  make them like we had growing up, with vinegar peppers.  The next dilemma was what to serve them with.  I thought I would make some cheesy orzo cooked risotto style but then I couldn't find a brand of orzo that I liked, so I figured I'd make due with whatever pasta I had at home. 

Generously salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops.  Fry them on medium heat for about 5 minutes each side until they are nice and brown.  Take them out of the pan, add in some garlic, a bunch of vinegar peppers and some of the juice from the peppers.  Saute for a few minutes, then add the pork chops back into the pan.  Cook covered on medium low until cooked to your desired doneness.  Spoon the peppers and sauce over the pork to serve.

I'm not big on following recipes to the letter since I usually just improvise and use recipes for inspiration, but if you want an exact recipe, you can use this one from epicurious.

I decided to have pasta cacio e pepe with the pork.  I made trenne since I had it leftover from a previous dinner.  Cook whatever pasta you like in generously salted water until al dente.  Reserve about a cup of the pasta water.  Drain the pasta and on medium heat make a sauce of the reserved cooking water, lots of cracked black pepper and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  After a few minutes, add in the pasta to the sauce.  Similar recipe here.

This is my version of Italian macaroni and cheese.  Mangia!

23 October 2010

Ode to my shoes

OK when your closet looks like this, there is no room for complaining.  However, it does make it somewhat difficult to keep track of all the fabulous shoes that one might have.

Somehow in my sleep it came to me...I love these gorgeous patent and gold Louboutins and for the life of me, I cannot remember the last time they saw the light of day (or the light of the moon at night as the case may be).
The very familiar Kate Spade chubbie, J Brand waxed jeans and reburbished gold Chanel bag

So tonight's outfit was planned around wearing the Louboutins from the archives of my closet.

Camellia earrings from Elisha Daniels
Camellia ring from Elisha Daniels and Kenneth Jay Lane cuff
Chanel brooch

Tiered top from Banana Republic (very Issey Miyake)

22 October 2010

Outfits a la mode

Each day one of my big decisions is what to wear.  For work, for play, for errands.  No matter what I'm up to I love deciding what I'm going to don for the day.  Lucky for me, I work in an office where I can wear pretty much whatever I like.  Jeans, leggings, dresses, almost anything goes.  Here's a sampling of the getups of late.

Kate Spade dress, Milly for Bergdorf jacket, necklace from Wish on Beacon Hill
I love this Kate Spade dress.  It's one of their late summer/fall transitional items and I wore it when it was still warm with bare legs and no jacket.  But now I'm wearing it with a fall weight Milly jacket, tights and booties.  This was a perfect outfit for a workday where I actually had to meet with clients so I needed to keep the outfit a little more professional.

St John jacket, black cashmere v neck, J Brand jeans, Hermes belt and Rachel Zoe for QVC necklace
This was a work outfit on a day where we had no clients in the office.  Even though I love to dress up and do it quite often, it's a great perk to work in an office where I can wear jeans just about any time I want.  This morning I threw on my J Brands because they look good and are comfortable for sitting at my desk all the day long.  And I die over this St. John jacket, especially the camellia buttons.

Tara Jarmon dress, Kate Spade tights, Zara coat, Chanel necklace
Finally, Friday.  Can you hear my sigh of relief?  As exhausted as I was when I woke up, I mustered all my energy into a whimsical outfit to help get me through the day.  It was built around the crazy tights that I put on earlier this week and decided against since it was a day I was having a client meeting.  But today I dressed only for myself.  And as I waited in line for an iced tea this morning, I caught some woman craning her neck to stare at me.  I started to wonder if the outfit was too much; the dot tights, the fringe-y, furry scarf.  But like MTV in the 80s, too much is never enough.  After a few looks up and down she said "You look really cool."  Not a bad way to start my Friday.

21 October 2010

Reminiscing about Charleston

Last year was my very first trip to Charleston.  I tagged along with a friend who goes every year for a conference.  And it's that time of year again for my friend's conference but this year there are four of us going.  So this is the perfect time to reminisce about my trip and ponder what's just a mere two weeks away.

One of the things I'm most looking forward to is the food (big surprise there).  And one of the best things I ate last year was shrimp and grits from Hominy Grill

This was on the menu as "big nasty biscuit with fried chicken breast".
My mouth is watering in anticipation of a repeat visit to this place.  Added to the mouthwatering dishes above, they rustled up some mean fried green tomatoes.

Aside from loving the food, the city itself is just gorgeous.  The architecture is breathtaking and Charleston has done an unbelievable job at preserving its history.

One of the best ways to see Charleston is to take one of the carriage tours.  Not only did we see how charming and quaint and gorgeous a city it is, but we also had the most Southern, genteel tour guide one could wish for.  And don't let me forget to mention the Southern drawl (it's Chaaaaston, not Charleston).