Friday, February 17, 2012

Fresh Friday: Fresh-Dill Basmati Rice with Stil-fry Greens and Chickpeas

Follow along with me on my resolution to eat not just locally, but seasonally in San Francisco.  Fresh Friday!

This recipe was a little longer and more detailed (read complicated) than I would normally have time for on a weekday dinner, but I made it on a day off, so I had time to prep everything before hand, and start it before my husband came home from work. I omitted the masala, because I didn't have any,used quick-cooking brown basmati rice, used leaks instead of shallots, and added three or four small bunches (heads?) of bok choy along with the stir-fry greens. It was delicious, and the lemon makes it really fresh and light.  It wasn't hearty enough to be a meal, but could a good side to a lemon chicken I think. 

Fresh-Dill Basmati Rice with Stir-fry Greens and Chickpeas

2 cups basmati rice
1 pound stir-fry greens, washed and thick stems removed
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 shallots, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 bunch fresh dill, large stems removed, chopped finely (about 3/4 cup)
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne
Juice of 1 lemon
1 lemon, sliced into wedges (optional)
In a medium-size bowl, rinse the basmati rice with a few changes of water, then cover with at least 2 inches of water. Set aside while preparing the other ingredients, allowing the rice to soak in the water for at least 20 minutes. When ready to use, carefully drain the rice with a fine-mesh strainer.
Steam the greens either in a steamer or a large, covered pot filled with about 2 inches of boiling water. When the greens are limp and bright green, transfer them to a bowl to cool and squeeze as much water as possible from it.  Roll tightly into bunches and chop finely.
In a large, heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, fry for 15 seconds, then add the shallots and onion. Sprinkle with the garam masala and sauté the mixture until the onions and shallots are soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the drained rice, folding to coat the grains with spiced oil mixture. Add the chopped dill, winter greens, chickpeas, vegetable stock (or water), salt, lemon zest, pepper, and cayenne. Cover and increase the heat to medium-low and tightly cover. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy, watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the lemon juice, fluff the rice with a fork, and cover again. Allow to sit another 10 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.
From Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love Week: Love Letters

One year for my Birthday, Andy wrote me a sonnet.  We had only been dating a month, and it was that new relationship predicament, of what to do. He typed it on a piece of his new "signature" stationary, which was part of becoming a "new man in San Francisco."  It was perfect and sweet, and still hangs above my dresser, where I see if every morning as I'm putting on my jewelry and getting ready for the day.  A simple love letter, to me, about me.

I love letters.  I'm extremely fond of the hand-written note, more so than email or even the telephone.  I love the time it requires to be set aside for the purpose, set aside for the person to whom the letter is being written.  I love being able to say what you want without interruption, and the patient anticipation of one being returned.
Do you send love letters?  To a long-distance love?  A note tucked in your sweetheart's pocket?  Even just to friends?

Work, Weekend, Wine Bar: J.Crew Blythe Blouse

I bought this blouse last weekend from J.Crew, and thought it'd be fun to show a three ways to wear it, "work, weekend, wine bar!"

 Work: tucked into a high-waisted ponte knit pencil skirt, and paired with a black pump and a lady-like work bag, all ready for 9 to 5.

Weekend:  Style it down with neon pink denim, some nude flats, a cross body bag and chunky accessories like this Marc by Marc Jacobs rose gold watch and Chloe round sunglasses -- ready for brunch or the park.

Wine Bar:  Lady meets edgy when paired with black lace shorts, a boyfriend blazer, and hello legs heels in blush suede! Quilted Marc Jacobs cross-body bag leaves hands free for holding a wine glass, or your date's hand.

I'm so excited to wear it!  What do you think?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love Week -- Flowers

Flowers are something special.  Years ago I worked at a flower shop, and it's a different place.  You know all the town's secrets, who has a mistress, who got elective surgery, who's getting married, who appreciates their secretaries, who comes into and out of this world. It's funny how we find such an answer in flowers.  There's a value with them, spending such money on something so temporary, because someone is worth it, and because flowers have the ability to bring such joy, and brighten up a day, a space, a memory.

They're also so traditional that we just can't get away from them.  Weddings, dates, proms, funerals.  I like spring flowers most, daffodils, peonies, and then dahlias all summer and fall.   Don't we just love?

Totally in love with this little frock from Kate Spade right now.  Love the length and the faux belt. How darling for a Saturday brunch, or an upcoming wedding by the water?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Breakfast

We celebrate holidays with food in this house.  I love you Valentine, and hope your days starts out savory, and ends sweet.

In case you're wondering, -- it turns out that chickens in love lay heart-shaped eggs, who knew!?

Love Week: Romance

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope there is romance in your day today, even if it's a-typical (perhaps your sweetheart is cleaning the bathroom for you, perhaps your sweetheart is cleaning the bathroom so they can set up a lovely bath for you, perhaps your dentist is "romancing your teeth out of your jaw bone" as mine put it).

We'll be celebrating by ordering takeout, lighting a fire, opening a bottle of wine, and playing some scrabble.  It's Andy's treat to me, my ultimate date these days, takeout and spending quality time together.  I'm sure every newly married couple thinks they have it the best, but we're pretty certain that no one has as much fun together as we do, and that's our version of romance, caring for each other.  What's romance to you?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Week -- wedding details

I was updating my portfolio, and reminded how much I enjoyed making all the pieces of our wedding. I'm dying for another event to make for, and wish we could get married all over again, or have another super fun party to create things for.  I'm pretty sure our paper suite was my favorite part.  
In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm going to celebrate love all week!

Let's do it again.

Fresh Friday: Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash

Follow along with me on my resolution to eat not just locally, but seasonally in San Francisco.  Fresh Friday!

Errr, Monday.  Sorry this week's Fresh Friday is a little late, due to my soft foods diet and vicodin-induced nausea, there wasn't much cooking going on other than a big pot of French onion soup.

I made this squash and served it with an simple salad of spinach from the farm and radicchio from a friend's garden, a little parm and a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar, along with green beans that we sauteed in the spices and butter that were left in the pan.  It got rave reviews and was crazy easy.

Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
3 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

I sliced the squash lengthwise, rubbed with a little of the butter and turned the halves upside down on a silpat-lined baking sheet, and roasted for 45-50 mins in a 400 degree oven.
When it comes out of the oven, the squash halves look just like any other squash,  turn them over and let cool slightly, then using a fork, scrape the tines across the short side of the squash and pull it out as it "spaghetti's up."
In a skillet over med heat, melt the butter and saute the garlic a little bit, then stir in your spices, and toss the strands of the squash in the butter. Serve hot and eat it up!

recipe from Gourmet, February 2002

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


  I have a confession.  I've been holding on to a copy of Domino magazine for three years now, saving it for a time when I'm in serious need of a pick-me up.  Domino was the best magazine ever to grace the stands, in my opinion, and the day it came in my mailbox was even more exciting than now when the day House Beautiful comes is the best day of the month.  Perhaps the only magazine I've ever read every issue cover to cover, and when they folded three years ago, I was heart broken, as if it had been my name on the masthead that was no more.  So, the February 2009 issue came, and I didn't read it, saving it to savor it, wanting to allow the right amount of time, of attention, and state of mind to devour it. And then I just kept saving it, and saving it. I laughed when I moved and placed it, still in it's unopened plastic mailing cover, first in a moving box, and then into the bookshelf, waiting for that day that would be just right.

UNTIL NOW:   They are making a new one, on newsstands April 17th!!  It looks like a one-off, "Quick Fixes."    I'm having my wisdom teeth out this morning, and taking this news combined with that pain and reading my ever-old copy whilst I recover.

P.S.  It turns out I'm super nerve about getting my wisdom teeth out today, so much so that I didn't sleep at all last night.  Eeek!!  Here's hoping for quick and easy recovery!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Parenting hopes and dreams

We read a really interesting article in this weekend's Wall Street Journal comparing French parenting to American parenting, and the resulting toddlers.  The article is written by Pamela Druckerman, an American mom, living in France, and it's the kind of article that makes me think I CAN have the kind of children I want (French todlers) instead of the kind I'm afraid of having (American toddlers).

Why French Parents Are Superior

Soon it became clear to me that quietly and en masse, French parents were achieving outcomes that created a whole different atmosphere for family life. When American families visited our home, the parents usually spent much of the visit refereeing their kids' spats, helping their toddlers do laps around the kitchen island, or getting down on the floor to build Lego villages. When French friends visited, by contrast, the grownups had coffee and the children played happily by themselves.

She wrote a book about it, Bringing Up Bebe, and it's coming out tomorrow, published by The Penguin Press. You can read a great review of it (from the WSJ) here: Parenting A La Mode, or, in tomorrow's WSJ.

Get your own copy here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fresh Friday: Bittersweet and Nutty Mustard Greens

Follow along with me on my resolution to eat not just locally, but seasonally in San Francisco.  Fresh Friday!
Week 3:
-- I served this with a roasted acorn squash
Bittersweet and Nutty Mustard Greens 

2 Pink Lady apples
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon raw sugar
A pinch of cinnamon
1 bunch of mustard greens
2-3 leeks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, pecans or almonds
 (I used pine nuts that I toasted because it's what I had)

Core and dice apples into ½ inch cubes.  Melt butter in a medium skillet and add apples.  Sprinkle with raw sugar and cinnamon and cook over medium heat until soft and somewhat caramelized.  Remove from heat and set aside on your serving dish.
Toast nuts on a small baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 5-7 minutes until golden.
Wash mustard greens and leeks thoroughly. Cut off any tough stems on the greens and tough green tops of the leeks. Cut the greens into one-inch wide strips and thinly slice the leeks.  Using the same skillet as before, heat olive oil over medium high heat and sauté garlic slices until golden.  Add greens and leeks, stirring constantly until everything is wilted (about 90 seconds).  Lower heat and stir in soy sauce or liquid aminos.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes until greens are tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine apples and nuts with the greens in the skillet.  Toss well and serve immediately.