Thursday, December 30, 2010

What Are You Doing New Year's?

We're hosting a brunch to ring in the New Year!
Take a look at the (emailed) invite/menu, including some good luck foods: black-eyed peas (with collard greens), pork (bacon), grapes (fruit salad), and cakes (french toast and donuts!)
Happy New Year to you and yours!!
Event: New Year's Brunch
Cinnamon-Nutmeg French Toast
Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Parmesan
Applewood Smoked Bacon
Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens
Fruit Salad
Coffee, Mimosas, and Bloody Marys
Black, White, Silver, and Turquoise

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twelve Days of Gift Tags

Here are the tags that I created for this year's presents. This is a bit of an experiment- try printing them and let me know if the quality is too bad. If you send me your email address, I can send you a PDF file!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a well-wrapped gift!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fun, Fabulous, Furnish 123

The fam recently opened a new concept furniture store in the heart of ATX!
Whether you are looking for a sleek sectional sofa, a cute dinette, or a whole new bedroom suite, Furnish 123 has something for you AND, with incredibly reasonable prices, and quick delivery, it's the perfect solution for your space!
They are located just north of 2222 on Burnet Road, right next to Elsi's Restaurant.
Go online to create your own living room... then go try out your new comfy sofa in-store! I'll be showcasing some of their hottest items on the blog over the next few weeks- you know, to give you an idea of how to spend that Christmas cash!

furnish 123

Kocurek Christmas Supper Party- 1809WESTdesign

Beautiful home, a fabulous gathering of friends... it was a pure delight to decorate for this Christmas Supper Party.

Theme: Tradition with a Twist
Colors: Red, Green, Gold, Silver, and White
Flowers: Casablanca Lilies, Fresh Garland, Holly with Berries, White Roses, Gold-Flecked Eucalyptus
Details: Decorative Chair Wrappers, Trailing Centerpieces, Powder Room Arrangements

Hughes Living Room- 1809WESTdesign

Take a peek at my latest living room re-do!
The goal: Unite bold artwork and a streamlined sectional sofa to create a warm and cozy spot in this 1980's condo.
The space: High ceilings, combination living/dining room, big windows and white walls.
The scheme: For the cooler months a warm lodge-like feel--- that easily transitions to a breezy sea-side resort during our hot, hot summer. It's a living room with DRAMA!

Recipe For the Week

Parties, parties, parties!
Only one night for a normal dinner this week...
I'm planning on Real Simple Mag's Pappardelle with Beef and Mushroom Ragu. Merry Christmas!
Pappardelle with beef and mushroom ragu
2tbsp olive oil
1lb beef chuck, cut into 1inch pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
1 lg onion
2 carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 lb assorted mushrooms, sliced
12 oz pappardelle or fettucine
1/2 c grated parmesan, plus more for serving

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium hi heat. Season beef with salt and pepper and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate
Heat remaining tbsp oil in saucepan over med hi heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic, rosemary and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6-8 mins. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened, about 1 min more.
Return beef to pan and add broth and tomatoes. Simmer, covered, stirring occ. until beef is fork tender, 60-75 mins. 
Add mushrooms to pan and cook, covered stirring occ., until tender, about 10-12 mins more. If sauce is too thin, simmer uncovered until thickened.
Meanwhile, cook pasta accding to directions; drain and return to pot. Add beef ragu and parmesan and toss. Serve with additional parmesan, crusty bread, and salad.

Holiday Cookbook!

I simply remember my favorite things... and then I don't feel so bad!
A few recipes (both the tried and true- and the aspirational too!) for the Christmas Dinner or a NYE blast! Happy Eating!

Herb-Crusted Standing Rib Roast
Herb-Crusted Standing Rib Roast from Cooking Light Magazine and myrecipes.comTruffled Wild Mushroom Lasagna
Truffled Wild Mushroom Lasagna from Cooking Light Magazine and
Roast Chicken with Meyer Lemon Shallot Sauce

Roast Chicken with Meyer-Lemon Shallot Sauce from Cooking Light Magazine and
Pommes Anna (Potatoes Anna)
Pommes Anna (Potatoes Anna) from Cooking Light Magazine and myrecipes.comBrussels Sprouts Gratin
Brussels Sprouts Gratin from Cooking Light Magazine and
Salty Caramel Croquembouche with Ricotta Cream recipe
Salty Caramel Croquembouche from Fine Cooking

Easy Chocolate Chess Pie- Like my momma makes!
Apple, Fennel, and Cheddar Cheese Straws recipe
Apple, Fennel, and Cheddar Cheese Straws from Fine Cooking
Winter Salad
Winter Salad from The Gourmet Cookbook and
Profiteroles with Coffee Ice Cream
Profiteroles with Coffee Ice Cream from Gourmet Magazine and
Tomato-Basil Soup

Tomato-Basil Soup from Cooking Light Magazine and myrecipes.comHerbed Goat Cheese
Herbed Goat Cheese from Cooking Light Magazine and myrecipes.comBeef Rib Roast and Yorkshire Pudding from the Grill
Beef Rib Roast and Yorkshire Pudding from the Grill from Cooking Light MagazineWhite Bean Dip with Rosemary Olive Oil
White Bean Dip with Rosemary Olive Oil from Sunset Magazine and myrecipes.comPomegranate Champagne Cocktail
Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail from Cooking Light Magazine and

Christmas Card

Wishing you a happy holiday season!
~From 1809WEST~

Christmas Decor 2010

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a well-decorated house.
Here are some pics and details from this year's Christmas decor- inspired by the Iloka Karasz's beautifully illustrated book "The Twelve Days of Christmas."
The book was published in 1949- and the pastel colors, abundance of life, and use of numbers provided a springboard for my winter wonderland.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Menu for the Week

Monday~ Pork Roast with Red Cabbage
Tuesday~ Southwest Chicken Soup
Wednesday~ Veal "Schnitzel" with Arugula Salad and Spaetzel
Thursday~ Arthouse Affinity Group!
Friday~ Preppin' for Party- Hmm... Little Deli Pizza?
Saturday~ SD&McConnico Associate Holiday Bash- catered by Tino's Greek Cafe- Decor Details to Follow!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Howard Living Room- 1809WESTdesign

I recently took on a new interior design client. Her condo's living room needed a breath of fresh air, and a new floor plan!
The goal: Give "hand-me-downs" a "pick-me-up!"
The space: Hard angles and difficult dimensions made the room a difficult one to lay out. I created a new floor plan that flows and functions.
The scheme: I created two decor schemes- incorporating existing furniture items (saving money!), giving others a new life, and pulling the room together in a sophisticated and interesting manner.
Take a look!

Menu For the Week

Monday~ Greek Chicken Salad
Tuesday~ Chicken Piccata with Arugula Salad and Angel Hair Pasta
Wednesday~ French Onion Soup
Thursday~ Happy Thanksgiving!!
Friday~ MMM.... Leftovers!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Highlights from NYT Design Mag

It's always such a delight to find the Design Issue of the NYT Magazine carefully tucked inside the Sunday Times.
Here are some things that tickled my fancy. (Do I see a dream Christmas list forming? Why, yes I do!)

Reversible Tote from Tiffany (Actually, they misquoted the price in the Mag- its 395, not 595. Ahem.) The Camel/Gold combo will be an instant classic, in my book.

Stick the Snail from Donna Wilson- He's just darn cute. And kinda grumpy.
seating for eating
Studioilse's Seating for Eating- Clean, simple, oddly proportioned.

Matt Pug's Owls- Cute little owlies in oak, walnut and a myriad of colors.

Oh and THIS house.

Indian Take-In

Easy Chicken Masala
Surprisingly, there aren't a whole lot of options for good, cheap, quick Indian food here in Central Austin. So, when we don't feel like shelling out 40+bucks for Clay Pit, or driving down to Tarka, or up to Bombay Bistro- here are my go-to recipes for a yummy Indian feast. (Yes, there's India Palace, and Star of India- but sometimes even they seem to far to travel. And they're not that cheap, either. We like a sampling of everything for our Indian fix!)
(Modified slightly from Bon Appetit- and I apologize for all the borrowed photos lately! By the time dinner is ready, this baby is ready to EAT! I'll try to take more pics.)

Event: Indian Take-In
Easy Chicken Masala
Basmati Rice with Cumin, Peas, and Carrots
Caramelized Cumin-Roasted Carrots
Cool Cucumber Raita
Oven Warmed Naan (Indian flat-bread, HEB makes white, wheat and garlic versions and sells it in the deli area.)

Easy Chicken Masala
1 c plain yogurt
1/4 c coarsely chopped cilantro
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp garam masala (Indian spice mixture available at Whole Foods or Central Market in bulk spice section)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 roasting pieces OR 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 pkg chicken tenders
2 small onions, cut into 1/4 inch slices

Mix yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, salt, garam masala, and garlic in a roasting pan or large bowl. Add chicken and coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Or overnight!)
PH oven to 400 degrees. Arrange onions on a large rimmed baking sheet to form bed for chicken. Arrange chicken pieces on top of onions in a single layer. Discard remaining marinade. Roast chicken until cooked through and juices run clear. (30mins to an hour, depending on cut of chicken used. Breasts/tenders will take significantly less time than bone-in chicken pieces.) Serve chicken with roasted onions. 

Basmati Rice with Cumin, Peas, and Carrots
1 c basmati rice
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 c frozen peas and carrots mixture

Cook rice according to package directions. While fluffing, add cumin seeds and peas and carrots. Cover and let veggies thaw before serving. (Approx. 5 mins)

Caramelized Cumin-Roasted Carrots
non-stick spray
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into diagonal 1/4 inch slices
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp kosher salt

PH oven to 400 (Same as for chicken recipe.) Spray roasting pan with non-stick spray. Combine carrots and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on roasting pan. Roast carrots until tender and lightly caramelized; turning once. 35-40 minutes.

Cool Cucumber Raita
(One way to make raita... out of many. I could do a whole post about different takes on yogurt sauces.)
2 c plain yogurt 
1 english (hothouse) cucumber, peeled and coarsely grated
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
4 tsp finely chopped fresh mint

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Chill 30 mins. Serve with chicken and warmed naan.

Tortilla Soup- Roaring Fork Style

There are so many variations on Tortilla Soup- and, I love them ALL!

This version (based on Roaring Fork's recipe) is super spicy, super thick, and seriously good. Put your leftover turkey or chicken to use. And have a cold beer... or in my current condition, a cold glass of water, on hand.

Tortilla Soup a la Roaring Fork

2tbs veggie oil
1 small onion, diced
1 dried ancho, seeded and minced
1 poblano, seeded and chopped
1 small jalapeno,  minced
1/2 c chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp garlic, minced
3 c chicken broth
1 c coarse cut/toasted corn tortillas
1/4 c cilantro
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

For chicken/avocado "relish":
1 c roasted and shredded chicken meat
1 avocado, diced
1 squeeze lime

For garnish:
Cilantro sprigs
Sour Cream
Monterrey Jack Cheese
Lime Wedges
Extra Tortilla Chips/Toasted Strips

Heat oil over med hi in large stockpan. Add onions, peppers, tomatoes, and garlic. Saute until vegetables are tender. Add chicken broth, tortilla pieces, and cilantro and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med low and simmer until reduced by 1/4 (about 30 mins.)
Puree soup with hand blender, or in small batches (carefully) in regular blender. (Do not seal top completely while blending hot soups!)
Combine chicken and avocado in a small bowl. Squeeze lime over relish.
Divide chicken mixture (relish) into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of relish. Top with cheese, sour cream, cilantro sprigs and a squeeze of lime.  Serve with tortilla chips. 

Cool Mornings, Warm Tummy- Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Recipes
A nice twist- with a healthy kick- on a classic. (From Cooking Light Magazine). It is tasty with or without the peanut butter glaze! Perfect with a cup of Anderson's House Blend coffee. YUM!
I'll have to try to make the CHOCOLATE banana bread. (Also from Cooking Light!)

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

  • 1 1/2  cups  mashed ripe banana
  • 1/3  cup  plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1/3  cup  creamy peanut butter
  • 3  tablespoons  butter, melted
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 6.75  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4  cup  ground flaxseed
  • 3/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground allspice
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • Cooking spray
  • Glaze:
  • 1/3  cup  powdered sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  1% low-fat milk
  • 1  tablespoon  creamy peanut butter


1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare bread, combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until blended.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.
4. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread.

Menu For the Week

Lots o' new recipes this week!

Sunday~ Tortilla Soup- Roaring Fork Style
Monday~ Chicken with Shallots, Garlic & Vinegar, Mashed Root Vegetables with Horseradish, Sauteed Spinach
Tuesday~ Tri-Tip Roast with Parsley-Cherry Tomato Sauce, Spinach Salad, Roasted Potatoes
Wednesday~ Patty Melts, Yellow Squash Casserole
Thursday~ Fiesta Por Madres (Chicken Chalupas!)
Friday~ Out?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Holiday Cookbook!

I'm putting together my favorite faves for the holidays... Stay tuned.

Monday Night Football Worthy Salad

Works well for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday Night Football as well!

Buffalo Chicken Salad- From a "15 Under 15" posting
Vary it up with Original Ranch Dressing+Blue Cheese, made from scratch.
1/2 c buttermilk
1/4 c chopped fresh herbs (chives, parsley, cilantro)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp mayo
1/4 c crumbled blue cheese
Whisk together in a small bowl, or shake together in a lidded jar. (Keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu for the Week

Monday~ Buffalo Chicken Salad
Tuesday~ Chicken Tikka Masala, Cumin Roasted Carrots, Raita, Naan
Wednesday-Friday~ Fly By The Seat of Our Pants!
But, at some point, I'll be making Peanut Butter Banana Bread. YUM!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Supremes de Volaille a l'Ecossaise

Julia, oh,  how I love thee. Let me count the ways.
It could be the many flavorful ways you gussy up chicken breasts...
Mrs. Child provides one master recipe for "supremes," or deboned chicken breasts, cooked - and three variations on the theme. Back in her day, this might have been a complicated dish- boneless, skinless, perfectly trimmed pieces of meat weren't at the ready in the meat department. But, that step already completed by the butcher, these supremes are supreme, no matter which way you prepare them.

Last night, I whipped up Chicken Breasts with Diced Aromatic Vegetables and Cream. Divine!
(And don't forget my earlier post- Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream)
Chicken Breasts with Paprika, Onions, and Cream is also delish, with a Hungarian twist. I'll make that one later!

Event: I Heart Julia! 
Supremes de Volaille a l'Ecossaise- Chicken Breasts with Diced Aromatic Vegetables and Cream
Mashed Russets
Steamed Green Beans

For the chicken:
The following vegetables cut into neat 1/16th inch cubes:
1 medium carrot
1-2 tender celery stalks
1 medium onion
(Ya know, they sell pre-pack diced veggies in the produce section- another short cut!)
1/8 tsp salt
5 tbsp butter
4 "supremes" and the sauce ingredients in the master recipe

Master Recipe Ingredients:
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
big pinch white pepper
round of wax paper, cut into a 10 inch circle and buttered on one side
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup dry vermouth, sherry, madeira or port
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper, lemon juice to taste

Cook the diced veggies slowly with the salt and butter for about 10mins in a covered casserole or deep 12" saute pan. 
Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken breasts with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken breasts to the pan with vegetables, 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. I think our chicken breasts are more "plump" than they used to be!) 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 vegetables) 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.

Serve with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. 

You may have to switch to sweatpants after this meal...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Menu for the Week

Monday~ Supremes de Volaille a l'Ecossaise- Chicken Breasts with Aromatic Veggies and Cream, ya'll!, parsley potatoes
Tuesday~ Potato-Leek Soup with Crostini
Wednesday~ Mini Sliders, Sauteed Acorn Squash with Rosemary and Brown Butter
Thursday~Chicken Paprikash with Whole Wheat Egg Noodles, Quick-Pickled Cucumber Salad
Friday~Dinner Party at arthouse! Congrats on the re-opening!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chicken Chalupas and Ragu of Pork al Maialino

Our Supper Club met up at Diana's house last night. It's always such a wonderful surprise to find out what tasty creations we get to eat for the week!
Isaiah made Chicken Chalupas- but wasn't ready to share his secret recipe. Instead, I'll share my quick and easy version that may closely approximate Isaiah's dish. Maybe!
Tonight we dined on Ruth's fabulous Ragu of Pork from last week's NYT mag. Delish!

Chicken Chalupas
1 rotisserie chicken (meat removed and shredded), or 3 shredded chicken breasts
1 jar roasted red salsa
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp red wine vinegar
6 Tostadas
1 can refried black beans
2 avocados, sliced
1 jar pickled, sliced nopales (cactus)
1/2 c queso fresco, crumbled
1 jar Mexican crema

Heat salsa in a skillet over medium. Stir in chicken, cumin, red pepper and heat through, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in red wine vinegar. 
Meanwhile, heat refried black beans in microwave or on stovetop.
Carefully spread warm beans on tostadas. Top with chicken mixture, nopales, avocado slices, queso fresco, and drizzle with crema. 

Here is the NYT recipe for Ragu of Pork al Maialino... it is truly succulent! A bit of work- (which because this was Supper Club, I didn't have to do!) but completely worth it.

1 pork shoulder, bone in, roughly 4 pounds
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 rib celery, cut into large pieces
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into large pieces
1 quart chicken stock (or enough to almost cover the pork)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 9-ounce boxes dry lasagna, broken into 3-inch shards
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated grana Padano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Small handful arugula leaves, cleaned.
1. Using a sharp knife, remove the thick skin from the pork, leaving a sheen of fat on top of the meat. Season aggressively with salt and place in the refrigerator until ready to use, as long as overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it shimmers, gently cook the onion, celery and fennel until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and thyme and bring to a simmer, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Rinse pork to remove excess salt, dry with a paper towel and add to seasoned broth. Cover and place in the oven for 90 minutes or more, until the meat just begins to pull away from the bone.
3. Allow both meat and broth to cool on the stove top for 30 minutes, or until you can touch the meat with your hands. Remove the pork and gently pull the meat from the bone, then tear the chunks into bite-size shreds. Place these in a large bowl.
4. Strain the liquid into a separate bowl and then pour enough of it over the meat to barely cover. (Use the rest for soup.) Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
5. Put a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.
6. Place a large pan over medium-high heat and add the pork and braising liquid. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the butter and stir to emulsify.
7. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water according to the directions on the package, 10 to 12 minutes. When it is finished, drain and add to the sauce along with a splash of pasta water. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the lemon juice, half of the cheese, a tablespoon of olive oil and the parsley. Stir to incorporate.
8. Serve immediately, topped with arugula and the remaining cheese. Serves 4. Adapted from Nick Anderer at Maialino in New York.

Menu for the Week

Sunday- Chicken Chalupas (Supper Club creation by Isaiah)
Monday- Pork Ragu al Maialino (Supper Club creation by Ruth)
Tuesday- Southwest Chicken Soup
Wednesday- Justine's for Legal Build Fundraiser
Thursday- Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries
Friday- Tarragon-Cream Chicken and Polenta Pot Pies

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Have I mentioned...

how much I love RUE MAGAZINE!?
It's exclusively on-line, and created by design bloggers. My favorite feature- roll-over almost any object and you will be directed to a site that offers that item for sale. A fantastic time-saver! Rue has the "feel" of a traditional magazine- you can zoom in to read articles and see detail, or just flip through it to your hearts delight.
What a fab spin on traditional media! Congrats on the successful launch, Rue Magazine! (Funny thing, we've kinda got the same color scheme going on...)