Thursday, December 31, 2009

~Happy New Year~

Thought about throwing a dinner at home... maybe next year... And I'd use this tablescape as inspiration. Simply gorgeous and super simple. Thanks, iDiY!

Hope the new year brings you health, happiness, and humor!

I'm White Burgundy?

Sorry, bad Will Ferrell joke... Well, his joke is funny. Mine is just bad.

Wanted to share a new favorite wine. A Chard from Burgundy. Had it with our Supremes the other night and thought it should be noted, before it is recycled. Domain de Rochebin Vin. Not very many white wines capture my fancy, but this one is quite nice.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Belated Christmas Decor

Well, it's too late to give you any ideas about decor for this holiday season, but maybe for next year?

(Some of these things could be done for other holidays too!)

Our Christmas Card: I designed it in MS Word with the fantastic Budmojiggler font (download at with fun little flourishes from dafont too.

Our Christmas Tree: This year I went with a black, red, gold and white theme. Kinda Hollywood Regency. Kinda mod. Created a monogram "brand" for our gift tags using the Budmojiggler font. Found some way cool vintage ornaments at The Antique Mall. Gold cardboard and black pipe cleaner H's rounded it all out. Unfortunately, I took this pic today, and our tree is so dried out!

B&W Abstracts for the Tree: H and I painted with black acrylic paint on a large sheet of parchment paper. I then cut it into smaller rectangles. The frames are made from cereal boxes, painted with black and gold acrylic. I just taped the paintings to the back of the frames and tucked them into the tree. I love the way the light shines through the paper!

Christmas CardDisplay: Tack ribbon to the top of a door or window and secure cards with tiny clothespins. Last year I decked the kitchen with yarn and attached the cards all around the island. I also attached cards to what was the "Bat Tree" then became the "Fall Tree" and is now the "Christmas Card Tree." (I think I'll take it down after NYE and figure out a new display for that table.

Miami: Sra. Martinez is ABFAB

At the beginning of December, Mark and I slipped away to Miami for the giganitimo art fair, Art Basel. While we were only there for 3 days, we visited Michelle Bernstein's Sra. Martinez twice!
Tapas with a twist, everything was delectable!
My favorite was their spin on Patatas Bravas. Crispy proscuitto tucked inside a hollowed out new potato, with just the right amount of spicy Huancaina sauce (A kind of Peruvian cheese sauce... hard to pronounce, easy to eat.) A surprise was grilled the cauliflower, sliced with the leaves and all. The grill brought out a flavor you'd never expect from such a banal vegetable. Deep-fried artichoke hearts with long stems and lemon coriander sauce- simply divine. Chef Bernstein herself was working the downstairs bar on our second trip. Add one to the list of restaurants that need to open in Austin...

Julie & Julia

By the way, we watched the movie last week... and Mark and I agreed: not necessarily less Julie, but definitely more JULIA!

So enchanting... and I'm not even a huge Meryl Streep fan. But, really, you should read the book. I'm adding My Life in France to my goodreads queue.

Lindsey & Julia (Doesn't Have Quite the Same Ring)

But that's alright with me... I can still make a mean Supremes de Volaille aux Champignons. (Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream)

Here's Julia's guide to a very delicious dish.

Event: Lindsey & Julia, Together at Last
Menu:Supremes de Volaille aux Champignons, Steamed Asparagus Stalks, Buttered New Potatoes with Parsley

For the Chicken and Mushrooms:
5 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced shallot
1/4 lb diced mushrooms
1/8 tsp salt
4 supremes (boneless skinless ckn breasts)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
big pinch white pepper  (I don't really like white pepper. In fact, I think it smells like feet. So I excused it from this recipe and used black pepper.)
4 MORE tbsp butter
1 piece of parchment or wax paper cut to the size of a large skillet or oven-proof casserole pan, buttered on one side

For the sauce:
1/4 c chicken stock (I did not make my own- YET!)
1/4 cup vermouth, you can also use Madeira or port
1 c whipping cream
salt and pepper
lemon juice, as needed
2 tbs fresh parsley, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the butter in a large casserole (oven-safe) or skillet over moderate heat, until foaming. Stir in the minced shallots and saute a moment without browning. Stir in mushrooms and saute lightly for a minute or two without browning. Sprinkle with salt. Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken breasts with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken breasts to the pan with mushrooms, and roll in butter quickly. Lay the buttered paper over them, cover casserole, and place in hot oven. After 6 minutes, press top of supremes with your finger. If still soft, return to oven for a moment or two (Mine needed 5 more.) When meat is springy to the touch, it is done. Remove the supremes to a warm platter and cover while making the sauce. Pour the stock into the casserole with butter (and mushrooms) and boil down quickly over high heat, until liquid is syrupy. Stir in the cream and boil down again over high heat until cream has thickened slightly. Off heat, taste carefully for seasoning and add drops of lemon juice to taste. Pour the sauce over the supremes and serve at once, sprinkled with parsley.

For Asparagus:
1 lb asparagus tips
lemon juice
kosher salt

Steam asparagus until tender. Remove from heat and sprinkle with lemon juice and kosher salt.

For Buttered White New Potatoes with Parsley:
1 lb white new potatoes, quartered
1 tbsp salted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tbsp parsley, minced

In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain in colander and return to pan. Add butter and toss. Sprinkle with parsley.

I've Got Work To Do!

My fabulous husband tested the limits of stocking stuffing this year...
Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking greeted me Christmas morning.
My lovely in-laws gave me The Gourmet Cookbook, and from my brother-in-law, The Gourmet TODAY Cookbook.
As I said, I've got work to do!

Daily Candy's Adorable Artiste

I've received Daily Candy emails for almost 8 years now... and have always adored their little watercolors. Today's DC featured a video about their creator. Caitlin McGauley's watercolors are so precious and whimsical! She preserves her memories and day-to-day activities (from food to new shoes) in colorful little sketches and vignettes. And now she's doing commissioned work! Oh, how I wish I had time to paint about my life...

Dear, Oh Dear: Green Bean Casserole, AT LAST!

Well, I suppose even bloggers need a vacation?

Anyways, about that green bean casserole...

After Thanksgiving, I thought, I don't need to write down what I did, I'll put it on my blog... Well, that didn't happen, so when my mother-in-law requested it for Christmas dinner, I was a little concerned. Would  I be able to recreate it, sans- recipe? The answer is YES!

So, here you go:

Green Bean Casserole with Shitake Mushrooms and "Tobacco" Onion Topping

2 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
1 1/2 cups shitake mushrooms, chopped
1/2 stick butter
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large shallots, thinly sliced (about a cup)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup water
2 tsp dried sage, crumbled
1/2 cup parmesan
2 oz cream cheese
kosher salt and black pepper

For the "Tobacco" Onion Topping:
"Tobacco" Onions are a mixture of red and white (or yellow) onions, dredged in flour and fried. The resulting topping looks like dried tobacco leaves.
1 red onion, sliced into rings
1 yellow or white onion, sliced into rings
1/2 c flour
2 tsp paprika
kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbs butter
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet or stockpot (with cover.) Cook shallots and garlic with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 5 mins. Add wine and boil until reduced by half. Add cream, water, sage,1/4tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and bring just to a boil, stirring constantly. Add green beans and mushrooms. Simmer, tightly covered, until beans are tender, 20-30 minutes. Stir in parmesan and cream cheese until melted.
While beans are cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil and butter for onions in a small skillet.
In a shallow bowl, combine flour, paprika, salt and pepper. Dredge onion rings in flour mixture. Cook onion rings in small batches, until golden brown and crunchy. Allow to rest on paper towels.
When beans are tender, pour them (and sauce) into a large casserole dish. Top with fried onions. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until beans are bubbly.
Can be made one day ahead and refrigerated. If doing so, do not put onions on top until ready to reheat. Will take 25-30 minutes to heat through.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


To post about Christmas Decor tomorrow!
Plus, the GB Casserole was delish... gotta post that recipe before I forget how I made it!
Stay tuned...