Sunday, September 25, 2011

Latest Obsessions

*Delores Petunia
(dream jewelry)

*Svenskt Tenn
(for inspiration) 

*Peels Breakfast
(biscuits and gravy, side of grits)

*American Apparel Plaid
(#1, #2, #3)  

*Thinking about a Halloween costume
(Victoria Page from the Red Shoes, Maude Lebowski, Black Swan?)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Recipe of the Week

Vietnamese food has been intimidating to me,
but after making Pho it doesn't seem so impossible anymore.
I went through a couple websites online and picked out a favorite,
changed a few of the toppings based on what I had in my kitchen, and
2 1/2 later I had some pretty good pho!

Like any good soup you want to start out with the broth:
 -In a small pan, lightly toast 2 anise stars, 4 cloves, and 2 tbsp of
whole coriander about 2-3 or until fragrant . Set aside.

For the rest of the broth you will need:
-a little bit of olive oil
-pork butt (I used a pound and a half, but you can use more or less)
**It was also a gigantic cut, so I halved it which sped up the cooking time
 -Enough chicken stock to cover the pork 8-10 cups
-small piece of ginger cut into thin strips
-3tbsp fish sauce

Add the oil to the pot, on medium heat brown each side of the pork.
Add in the rest of the ingredients, including the toasted spices.  Bring to
a boil, lower heat and leave it to simmer for about 2 hours.
**The cooking time will vary on the size of the pork pieces, so if they are a bit small
start keeping an eye out around the 1:30 mark. You want the pork to be falling apart.

Near the end of the broth process you'll want to set up
the toppings for the soup. I used:
-chopped cilantro
-hoisin sauce
-sriracha sauce
-bean sprouts
-thinly sliced poblano pepper
-thinly slices jalapeno
-a squeeze of lime

feel free to add in onions, mushrooms, or
anything that needs to be used in your fridge.
(Well, almost anything. Don't let's be silly.)

Back to the broth! Once the pork has started to
pull apart, remove it from the pot to a separate bowl.
Strain the rest of the broth and discard the solids.
Put the broth back into the pot and cook whatever noodles
you have decided to use.  I went with ramen, but there is such
an array of noodles the possibilities are endless.

Once the noodles are done you can divide them into bowls,
cover with broth, and top with everything that you have set aside.

I realized a little too late that I only had small bowls,
so it doesn't look quite as pretty as other pho's do.
But it tastes great! and it's surprisingly easy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Latest Obsessions

*New Notebooks
(bought a 3 pack yesterday-they will be used for doodles, lists, and wine)

*Red Wine Chocolate Cake from Smitten Kitchen
(wine AND cake!? definitely going to make this soon)

(for allowing me to keep all inspiration in one place.
warning: it's addictive) 

(#1, #2, #3

*Hand Carving Stamps
(I'm slowly getting the hang of it)

*Crimini mushroom, white russian kale, and goat cheese omelets
(a nice way to start the morning)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

The thing that I love about Vegas is that you can
make it your own.  I go for the luxury hotels, Canyon Ranch Spa,
lounging by the pool, and the amazing food.
It comes at a price, but it's always worth it.

My girlfriends and I went for a few days last week and had a blast.
We stayed at the Venetian (which happens to have the most
comfortable hotel beds ever!!) and as usual, it didn't disappoint.

We saw a show, did a small amount of shopping,  an even smaller amount
of gambling, and got some spa/salon treatments. It was a perfect
trip. Let me also recommend the Red Velvet Pancakes from the
Grand Luxe Cafe at the Venetian. Out of this world!!

Ohh but now it's back to reality, time to start thinking about
Christmas cards and handmade stamps. But for now
here are some photos from my Diana camera.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Recipe of the Week

I had the urge to bake this past weekend, but I didn't
want to do something that was really time consuming,
chocolatey, or that would use up most of my eggs.
I turned to my trusty German cookbook and found
Quick Coffee Cake or (as I prefer to call it) Blitzkuchen.

The whole process took about 35 minutes, which is good
if you need some dessert in a pinch.

**The only thing that I changed about the recipe was the amount of sugar.
I always put in less than what they tell me in the cake part, but I did
put the full amount in the strudel. 

Quick Coffee Cake or Blitzkuchen

For the Strudel
1/4 c sugar
1/3 c flour
1/2 c chopped almonds or walnuts
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp butter (melted)
For the Cake
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 c butter
2 eggs
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375F. Combine the dry strudel ingredients and then mix in
the melted butter with a fork until you have crumbs. Set aside.

Sift 2 cups of flour together with sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut butter
into small pieces and add to dry ingredients, working it in with a pastry cutter
until it has the consistency of a coarse meal.  Beat the eggs well and mix with
milk and vanilla.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in the
egg mixture.  Stir together gradually, just enough so that the mixtures combine-
do not overmix.

Butter and flour a 9" round cake pan, turn batter into it.
**quick sidenote:  I really had to work at spreading the batter
out- try to keep it as even as possible so that everything cooks the same.
I worried that it wouldn't be enough cake, but it all worked out.
Sprinkle strudel onto the batter and bake for about 25 minutes
or until a skewer comes out clean. Serve warm or cold, and cut servings
right out of the pan.

 **eating this cake right out of the oven is absolute heaven.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Currently Reading

Agatha Christie: An Autobiography
I'm not too far into this book, but I already love it.
She is old fashioned and modern at the same time,
a true Victorian lady but also an adventurous spirit.
She is an interesting person to read about.

A Notebook for the Wines of France
(1961 edition)
I want to learn more about French wines, and this book-
though outdated- gives nice descriptions about each of the wine regions
and a little space for tasting notes. It's a nice jumping off point
 if you are interested in the wines of France.

Other books that I've recently read and recommend are:

Dancing on my Grave- Gelsey Kirkland
The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho
Sputnik Sweetheart- Haruki Murakami