Tuesday, November 30, 2010

what goes around comes around

My apologies to all for being so MIA, with the Thanksgiving holidays and other events, I'm afraid life has gotten in the way for a little while.   If some of you might recall, two weeks ago I posted about losing a bet to my father.  Well, I lost only half of a bet.  The other half of the bet I won, and was treated to lunch at my FAVORITE restaurant Pastis.  Not only is the food fabulous, and you feel like you've stepped out of Manhattan and into Paris, but it is usually packed with celeb sitings (past encounters include lunch between Conan O'Brian, one of the guys from scrubs (hat tip my dad since I don't watch the show and had no idea who he was) Heidi Klum and fam. and Michelle Trachtenberg)

Anyway this year, my mother and I arrived to lunch a bit early.  And instead of shopping (always a major temptation in the Meatpacking District) we decided to venture on up to the Highline, since my mother has never been.  I went when it first opened and haven't been back since and I really hope NYC finds the money to keep it around.  It truly is a remarkable park, if you have not been and are journeying to NYC soon, please do take the time to go visit it, regardless of the time of year.

a view of the old railroad tracks 

mother at the highline

Back to Pastis, unfortunately no celeb sitings, but I had a fabulous lunch with my mother and father (I had the mixed green salad, a croque monsieur, and a glass of sparkling rosĂ©...my usual order)  Every time I go, I am just blown away by the food.  Yes, the prices are exorbitant, but trust me, every bite you take of their delicious food will be absolutely worth every penny.


my croque monsieur

Thank you to all of you who read my blog.  I just got over 300 views.  Please pass it along to friends!

Hope you are all doing well.  I'm off to Paris this afternoon, I'll be posting plenty from the City of Lights...a bientot! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We Now Present The Seventh And Final Installment In The Epic Tale Of Harry Potter (part one)

With Johnny at the advance screening! (sans our new wands and Gryffindor scarfs)

After a long day of selling handbags on the Upper East Side (well long only because I keep looking at my watch every five minutes willing it to read 8 o'clock already) I got to go to an advance screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (complete with a free wand and Gryffindor scarf!) and it. was. INCREDIBLE! My brother, Johnny, who was sitting next to me hemming and hawing throughout the whole film wasn't quite as taken with it as I was.  Though I understand his reasoning, while obviously, David Yates and his team had to make some tough choices to make the intricate books more accessible to all of those who aren't die-hard fans, Johnny believes that there were moments that could have been truer to the book though maybe not as visually stunning.

I look at the film from a slightly more macro perspective: were all the major plot events in the first half of the seventh book covered? Yes. Was it visually stunning? Yes.  Could some of the sub-plots been addressed more? Yes. Am I dying for the second part of the movie already? YES! 

I was thrilled that my favorite of the Harry Potter books was so well adapted and highly recommend you go out and see it ASAP (double feature on Saturday? Morning Glory and Harry Potter? sounds perfect if you ask me!)  Can't wait for the next part this summer and the battle for Hogwarts.

Now I'm going to enjoy the rest of my night re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and drinking tea out of my Hogwarts mug!   Happy almost TGIF

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prep Royalty (literally)

Today's breaking news about Kate Middleton and Prince Williams engagement has made me gitty with excitement.  A follower of their romance for years I cannot wait for another royal wedding that will get us all up and huddled around our tv's at 4am. 

Prince William could not have made a better choice.  Kate Middleton (at least in photographs) appears to be fashionable, gorgeous, down to earth-and most importantly- a prep icon (I mean she studied Art History at St. Andrews!).   Over the past eight years there have been countless pictures of her in riding boots, herringbone, barbour coats, and cable knit sweaters.

Congrats and best wishes to the happy couple, and this is my tribute to England's next preppy princess:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What's the Story?

So we took a family outing today and headed to the movies to see Morning Glory.  If you haven't seen it yet it is a must-see.  Both New York Magazine and the New York Times disagree with my opinion,  but what these critics failed to do was sit back, relax and enjoy the film.  It's not trying to do anything except for provide viewers with an hour and forty-two minutes of entertainment and laughts, and it's supposed to be taken with a grain of salt.  So I say A+  and get on Fandango and find the next time it's playing in your neighborhood.

P.S. Great soundtrack too-download Same Changes by The Weepies and Strip Me by Natasha Bedingfield

Thursday, November 11, 2010

gotta love when losing a bet means you're elbow deep in tomatoes

Well, like the title said, I lost a bet.  And because of said bet, I've had to spend all afternoon cooking (good thing it's something I love to do so it's not the total end of the world) and I don't get to sit around and watch my dad make me a ginormous batch of his awesome spaghetti sauce for me to take back to DC and freeze.

While I'm sitting here listening to the You've Got Mail soundtrack and Michael Bublé, and waiting for things to cook in the oven, I thought I would share with you what I'm currently cooking for dinner (which just happens to be one of my favorite recipes-see, I made a lose a win!)

The recipe below is courtesy Michael Chiarello and the Food Network (with my own few edits, I hope you don't mind)

Pastina Risotto with Roasted Tomato and Pepper Sauce

Rosted Tomato and Pepper Sauce:
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 red peppers, cored and cut into large pieces (depending on size, I usually use 4)
  • 10 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary roughly chopped (I love rosemary so I use about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Put the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the broiler to high.

Smash the tomatoes with your hands and put them and their juice into a large bowl.  Add the peppers, garlic, oil, vinegar and rosemary.  Season with salt and pepper and mix the ingredients well.  Pour out onto a shallow baking pan and place the pan on the middle rack of the oven under the broiler for 15 minutes.  Give the mixture a good stir and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the peppers are tender (I recommend stirring every 5 minutes so it cooks more evenly)

Puree the mixture in batches in a blender.  (Do not fill the blender more than half full and hold a kitchen towel firmly over the blender lid while pureeing.  Hot liquids can expand causing the lid to pop off and the hot liquid to splatter) If not using right away, allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

The Pasta:
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound pastina (I love the pastina, but I usually use orzo, it's a little bit easier to eat)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken stock, canned low-sodium chicken broth, or water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups Roasted Tomato and Pepper Sauce (I just put in the entire batch of sauce) 
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (plus more for garnish)
  • 6 cups firmly packed spinach leaves, large stems removed, torn (I don't always use 6 cups, I just use all of a store bought container, it wilts down a lot more than you think it will)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.  Add the pastina and cook for half the time recommended on the package.  The pasta should still be very firm in the center as it will be cooked more.

Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and drain again.  Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together.  You can prepare the pasta to this point up to 8 hours ahead; refrigerate until you are ready to finish the dish)

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over high heat.  Add the garlic and saute until browned.  Add the oregano and cook briefly to release its fragrance, then add 1 1/2 cups water.  Bring the liquid to a boil, add the partially cooked pasta and stir to coat.  Add 1 cup stock or broth, season with salt and pepper, and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the Roasted Tomato and Pepper Sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. then stir in the spinach to wilt.  Thin if desired with some of the reserved pasta water.  Remove from the heat, place in serving spoons and sprinkle with Parmesan.  Serve warm.

Now if you want to be really decadent, I cook short ribs to put on top of the pasta. This is my recipe:

Short Ribs 

Preheat the oven to 425

Stand up the short ribs in a dutch oven and add half chicken broth, half water until the short ribs are 3/4 covered.  I usually add everything but the kitchen sink-honestly just throw in whatever sounds good that you have lying around.  Today I put in herbs de provence, garlic, rosemary, oregano, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Roughly chop the garlic and rosemary to release the flavor.

Put the lid on and cook.  When the short ribs look like they have been cooked on the outside, the broth is bubbling, you can smell it etc. (45 minutes to an hour) turn the oven down to 325 and cook until the meat is thoroughly cooked and falling off the bone (about 2 more hours)

Plate the dish by putting the pasta in a bowl and adding the short ribs on top.  Finish with a dollop of goat cheese.

Hope you enjoy it, believe me it's delicious, my mouth is watering just sitting here.  Now I'm off to finish cooking before heading off to spinning so I can burn a few calories before this dinner!
Happy eating-and in my house, it's also happy TV Thursday. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010