double dream feet!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our Favorite Dancer Guy is back by popular demand!

What better way to kick off your weekend than with Rubber Legs!


lena's favorite blueberry crostata

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our Pal Lena is the most well-mannered dog I've ever met.  And I'm not just saying that because she's my girl.  She is seriously polite and thoughtful and makes great decisions.

This dog will hand you her paws one by one to be wiped dry when she comes in from the rain.  And when offered a cookie, she'll daintily take it between her tiniest baby-corn front teeth and save part of it for later.  She even sends thank-you notes*.

*She does not send thank-you notes.

Ok.  To be fair, if we're on a walk, she will break my hand off lunging for a squirrel.  And she has irrational lunging hatred for the sweet terriers next door.  And as elegant as she is most of the time, I witnessed her head-butt a sliding glass door (that was open a tiny crack) to get to a skunk on the back porch.  

The thing is, her indiscretions are so few and far between that years will go by while we enjoy her perfect behavior, easily forgetting that she once polished off half a sectional in one afternoon.  

As I write this, the signs were all there.  I should've seen it coming...

I made this delicious tart from scratch.  Scratch, people.  I hand selected farmers' market blueberries, cut butter into flour, impatiently chilled it rolled it filled it sugared it and finally baked this impeccable creation for us to devour that night for dessert.  We left it to cool on top of the stove and went out to dinner where The Tart dominated conversation all night.  The buttery crust!  The sweet-tart berries!  Let's stop on the way home to pick up ice cream!


We arrived back home to find:

  • one violated baking sheet, face-down and licked clean,
  • one leaf of soggy discarded parchment, 
  • one single blue smear on the cheap wood laminate floor,
  • and one groggy, smug animal who trotted out to say hello as if nothing happened.

They say you shouldn't reprimand a dog unless you catch it in the act of the bad behavior.  That they have no sense of linear time.  I personally think there is an exception to this rule if your usually perfect dog eats an ENTIRE blueberry confection that you slaved over and looked forward to eating ALL DAY.  

I was seeing red.  

"Bad dog!  BAD DOG!!!!!!"  She looked contrite and then sheepish.  And then I swear the corners of her mouth curled up.  She looked at me and her eyes spoke. "Ha ha!" they said, and "Sucker!" and "Maybe use a little more vanilla next time!"

I gave her the cold shoulder for the rest of the night.  "I can't even look at her" I said to David, like a disappointed 1950s mother.  David looked at me with squinty confused eyes:

"You know she didn't do this to spite you, right?"

Me: "She should know better!"

David: "She's a dog, Jolie."

Oh yeah.  Crap.

Lena's Favorite Blueberry Crostata
adapted from Michael Chiraello's Fresh Cherry Crostata

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1T sugar
1t salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), chilled and cut into 1" cubes
3T ice water, or more if needed
1t pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2T sugar
1 1/2t flour
1/8t ground cinnamon

1 egg yolk beaten with 1T cream or half-and-half to brush the crust before baking
2t turbinado sugar (or any coarse sugar)

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until mixed.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.  [Alternatively, you can cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or your hands, it'll just take a bit longer.]  Combine the ice water and vanilla and then slowly add that to the processor and pulse until the dough starts to come together [or again, just do this with your hands if not using the food processor], adding more water if needed.  Dump the dough out on the counter, bring it together by kneading it (for just a few seconds-don't overwork it) and then form the dough into a 1" thick round, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to a couple days.

Preheat the oven to 425.  Remove the dough from the fridge about 15 minutes before rolling it out to soften it a bit.  Preheat a baking sheet for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the filling: combine the blueberries, sugar, flour and cinnamon and let sit.

Roll the dough between 2 floured sheets of parchment paper until you get about a 13" round or oblong shape.  (It's okay if it's not perfect, the charm of this tart is its rustic-ness!)  Remove the top sheet of parchment.  Dock the dough by poking it a few times with a fork.  Pour the filling into the center, leaving a 2" border around the edge.  Fold the border around the blueberries and press it closed to make a rim.  Brush this dough rim with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Slide the tart (along with the bottom sheet of parchment) onto the hot baking sheet and bake for about 30-40 minutes until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.  Cool on a rack and serve either warm or room temperature.  It is kinda ridiculous how good it is on the second day with coffee.  Yum!

As for my girl?  She didn't even get sick.  Or send a thank-you note.

follow me to yipster today!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bridget and Tess, the smart, funny, lovely writers of Yipster, invited me to guest-post today on their blog!  Follow me there for a cocktail recipe that will cure any south-heading party faster than you can say, "pomegranate."


easter walk

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter:)

baby leo's garland

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I cannot get enough of this stinkin' garland.  The one I made six weeks ago is still hanging in my dining room despite the party being over for at least six weeks.  So when Veronica started asking me some questions about said garland to decorate her beautiful new baby Leo's christening celebration, I jumped at the chance to make some more.

Isn't it so happy?

Involved is an intense amount of cutting cutting cutting until your hand is cramped into a claw shape but I had company at my feet...

They hung it outside and it looked so pretty flowing in the breezy backyard.  

It was the most touching day with friends and family and singing and tacos in the shade.  What could be better?


P.S.  you can find the pattern here.

some things I learned this past week:

Monday, April 18, 2011

  • If you're feeling depressed, best not to listen to musicals that explore deteriorating mental health.
  • If your husband is excited about putting together an emergency kit and you razz him about it, be prepared for a retort including the words/phrases "you won't be sorry" and "end of the world" and "zombies".
  • Tina Fey's new book is a revelation.
  • Go with your gut: if a recipe calls for 1t crushed red pepper and you feel like it's gonna blow the top of your head off, it probably will.
  • New haircuts you're considering will always look better on celebrities with gorgeous faces.
  • After witnessing this horror, I know I will never, in an attempt to save money, dump out poop from a dog bag to reuse it.
  • It scares others (me) when you run without a bra on.  That shit can't be good.  Tie those puppies down.
  • When you make three dozen cookies, go into it knowing that you will eat a minimum of 14 in a 12-hour period.
  • The notion of administering your own pedicure always sounds great until you're down there.
  • Computer-related wire tangles make my teeth hurt.
  • Sometimes reality television will truly cure what ails you.

chocolate walnut banana bread cookies

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Do you ever not wash your hair for 3 days? Because on day 2 it's still marginally cute from the painstaking blowout you administered on day 1? And then on day 3 you keep telling yourself (and maybe others) that you're about to workout? And then before you know it the whole day goes by without any exercise (even though you wore workout clothes all day) and so you think why should I wash my hair tonight if I'm just gonna workout in the morning and have to wash it then? And then you start rationalizing that Americans shower way too often and start imagining yourself as European and dirty but like in a sexy way?   

Me neither.

Do you ever commence baking at 9am and call it your "work" or your "art" or whatever you need to tell yourself to feel okay about eating cookies for breakfast?

Me neither.

Okay, I'm lying.  But in my defense, these cookies have a banana bread-quality to them, which in my mind means they exhibit Breakfast Properties.

And hello?!  There's OATS!

Chocolate Walnut Banana Bread Cookies
(adapted from a ripped out page of a magazine whose name I cannot recall for the life of me)

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking soda
1 t kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 t vanilla
1 large egg
1 super ripe banana, mashed
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
8 oz. (or more--nobody's looking) chocolate chips**

**I'm a big, giant fan of Ghirardelli's 60% cacao bittersweet chips.  They are awesome.  But you can substitute semi-sweet chips or any kind of chocolate that makes your heart go pitter-pat.

Preheat oven to 375.  

Mix the flours, baking soda and salt together in a bowl, set aside.  In a mixer, cream the butter and sugars together with the paddle attachment.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.  Then add the banana and mix.  Add the flour mixture gradually and mix until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl when necessary.  Stir in the oats, walnuts and chocolate.

Drop by 2T blobs onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2" apart.  Bake for 12-13 minutes or until golden brown.  If you think of it, turn the baking sheets once during baking for even browning.  Cool on racks.

I'm off to workout.  And then have more cookies.  And then take a shower.  I swear.

a super weekend

Monday, April 11, 2011

Happy Monday, Lovelies!  How was your weekend?  Ours was wonderfully nuts.

Friday night we went with David's Dad and Stepmom to Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica.  Have you been?  It was fantastic.  After reading this article on their website I had to try their burger.  Wow.  It seriously did not disappoint.  We also had some beautiful vegetable dishes--fried cauliflower with breadcrumbs and a tangy beet salad with yogurt and farro.  Delicious.

Saturday morning I made these scones from Smitten Kitchen.  That's twice in two weeks!  I wish I had photographed them the first time around: back then they were darling little uniformly cut rounds.  This time I made swift and functional wedges (see photo above) so as to get them into my mouth as soon as humanly possible.  I know I said this a few days ago but just to reiterate: I added an additional T sugar to the dough and sprinkled vanilla sugar on top before baking and loved the results.  

After said scone-gorging, we headed to an awesome Superhero 4th Birthday Party for our nephew Logan.

That's him in the Batman outfit with the yellow belt:)  There were some professional superheroes on hand (Wonder Woman and Spiderman) leading the festivities.  And the kids' costumes were the best!

There was a meditating ninja:

And a couple of shiny pink tushies:)

Per Logan's request, Uncle Dave resurrected you-know-who...

I'm cracking up as I post this because The Hulk lost a bit of his steam since the last go 'round.  He's less green in the face and a lot more wrinkly from post-Halloween storage.  This is assumably because we were running late that morning--most likely bogged down from all the wine and food the night before and also because it was imperative that I bake SCONES instead of crawling into my Batgirl costume in a timely manner.  After stalling stalling stalling and then rushing rushing rushing to grab everything, we got into the car in full regalia, fully irritated.  Have you ever tried to remain irritable while in a Batgirl costume?  And with someone else painted green and dressed as The Hulk?  It is ridiculous.  And impossible.

This picture shows us many things:

a.) The Hulk apparently wears New Balance.
b.) David's brother Chris should not step foot into West Hollywood in his Robin costume.
c.) Batgirl was the photographer.

Here's to a great week...

quinoa salad with veggies and herbs

Friday, April 8, 2011

I know quinoa has reached its trendy zenith but I must say that I've been enjoying my ride on the quinoa bandwagon for years now. And I don't know how I know this (I tend to have a sticky memory for Random And Useless Information) but quinoa is a seed, not a grain as most people believe.  

I can't help myself but share this stupid trivia with anyone whenever they are making quinoa's acquaintance.  

Them, usually: "Wow! What is this healthy grain? How do you spell/say it?"

Me, knowing I'm annoying: "You know, quinoa, pronounced 'KEEN-wa', is actually not a grain at all."

Them, shocked: "Really?"

Me, knowing I sound like a douche but not being able to stop myself: "Yes, it's in fact a seed."

Feel free to steal this douchey and braggy seed tidbit.  And even throw in the fact that quinoa was a major food staple for the ancient Incas.  Just make sure to feed them something delicious afterward so they'll forget you acted like a know-it-all.

The thing that makes this salad so delicious is the boatload of olive oil involved. You could use less but it won't be as good.

Quinoa Salad
serves 4

1 cup quinoa (I mixed the red and the regular together but you don't have to)
heaping 1/2 cup small-diced tomatoes
heaping 1/2 cup small-diced cucumbers
heaping 1/4 cup chopped green onion, white and light green parts only (I used 3)
7T minced parsley
4 heaping T minced mint
4T lemon juice
6T olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1 t sea salt (more to taste if desired)
lots of freshly ground pepper

Rinse the quinoa in a sieve (it has a bitter coating on the outside that serves as a built-in pesticide.  OMG, why do I know so much about quinoa?!)  Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook it like pasta for 12 minutes.  Drain well. You can throw the quinoa back in the hot pot for a couple minutes to dry it out even more if you like. Transfer it to a bowl. When it's cooled to room temperature, add the remaining ingredients, stir, and season to taste. Don't skimp on the salt and acid--it makes all the flavors sing!

Happy Friday!

P.S. Quinoa has 9 grams of protein per cup. Lord help me.

goody goody two clips

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I bought a pair of these rad hair combs from the 70s/80s the other day.  I was wondering if they had an official name and then noticed it in tiny print near the bottom of the package.  They are called "Kathy Side Combs".  I don't know who this Kathy is, but she is one lucky lady to have some groovy side combs named after her.

On the back of the package, the good people at Goody send this message:

"It's a pleasure to be a woman.  You have so many different sides of yourself to express and enjoy.  That's why Goody offers an inspiring range of hair accessories and styling tools to help you create any look with ease."

I guffawed upon reading this for the first time.  But upon reflection, I believe it is a pleasure to be a woman and I, for one, certainly enjoy expressing and enjoying many different sides of myself.  I don't know if I can go all the way to say I feel that Goody's hair accessories are inspiring, it's a bit presumptuous there on Goody's part but I appreciate the sentiment nonetheless.

The jury's still out whether I can wear them in a way that is not uninspiring.  I like the idea of them so much but in practical application they're a bit wonky.  After wrestling with them for the better part of fifteen minutes, and finally getting them (and my hair) looking semi-cute the other night, I promptly got a headache from the comb tension.  That made me grouchy.  And I didn't enjoy expressing that side of myself to others.

the remedy

Monday, April 4, 2011

This cold is wiping me out.

David and I made a grocery outing yesterday morning (this is a giant deal in itself: the two of us have only stepped foot in a grocery store together 6 times in 13 years) and in the span of 4 minutes in the produce section I had dropped 3 things, including a dry pint of grape tomatoes that went rolling everyplace.  Have you ever seen your significant other regard you with a combination of concern, disappointment and affection?  I have.  

I had such a loopy weekend.  I would have these waves of energetic motivation and begin cooking/photo projects, only to get halfway through and begin to peter out.  Looking around my kitchen in utter disarray just made me feel sicker.

Miraculously I rallied to finish  these scones from Smitten Kitchen.  OMG these were good.  I added an additional tablespoon sugar and also sanding sugar on top before baking.  I can not recommend these more!  I didn't take any pics because I was busy dropping things and acting weird.  But please go check them out on her site.

I did, however, take pictures of this elixir while I made it.  This is the best drink at any stage of a cold.  When you feel your defenses down, when you're knee-deep in it or on the happy upswing.  I suppose you could also drink this when you're perfectly healthy and are just craving a nourishing hot beverage.

Lemon Ginger Maple Remedy
adapted from homeopathic ski pro Paul

Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T maple syrup
1 inch of fresh ginger
Boiling water

Cut the skin off the ginger and then slice into little matchsticks.  Combine lemon juice, syrup and ginger pieces in a large mug.  Add boiling water.  Stir.

When you get down to the ginger pieces, nibble on them if desired.

Feel better!

Thanks for all the well-wishes, everybody.  I hope this helps all of you out there who have been under the weather too...


it's snot funny

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blech. David tag-teamed me his cold and it would've been so much better had we just gotten it over with simultaneously. He's emerging from the snot tunnel while I'm just entering. Boo. I thought I was supposed to be Super Human after that cleanse. Alas, no.

I thought I'd share a few work-in-progress snaps of this great herringbone cowl from the purl bee. Isn't it delicious? I wish you could touch it. The yarn is soooo soft yet it's got some heft too. It's the perfect thing to curl around one's chilly neck.

This is my prescription today....

And if that doesn't work, David's lovely mom sent Rice Krispie Treats! They ought to make me better stat.

They were sent in honor of his Birthday but I'm sure she would want me to have the lion's share considering they might make me better...right?

Hope you have a great weekend...
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