Monday, May 30, 2011

A Week of Foodie-ness

Some people object to the term "foodie", but how else can I explain my obsession that has led me to start cooking and baking again?  That's a mesclun salad with blackberries, raspberries and fingerling potatoes with lemon sesame soy dressing.
More berries for triple berry muffins and Lemon Berry Pitcher Punch from 101 Sangrias & Pitcher Drinks by Kim Haasarud of Liquid Architecture.
Food Bloggers: I commend your ability to take gorgeous shots while you're in the middle of everything: I'm either too messy, or forget, so here's a Chocolate Carmalua cake from a recipe by Mrs. Fields cooling by the window, but without the caramel sauce.
I finally found the cord to my rice cooker and made some Korean namool: sesame seasoned spinach, shiitakes and zucchini.
Koru Kate and I had a lovely dinner by the water at Trinity in Hoboken: here's the chicken pot pie and a Panda's Dream cocktail. 
Louise and I had a WONDERFUL dinner at Kin Shop with a delicious menu by Chef Harold Dieterie: my fave was the Warm Sliced Snap Peas with Diver Sea Scallops, Crispy Shallots, Pea Greens & Toasted Coconut. We also had Aquatic Vegetables, Fried Pork & Crispy Oyster Salad, Stir Fried Rice Flakes with Rock Shrimp, Massaman Braised Goat, fabulous cocktails made with house-infused ginger mekhong, guava nectar, thai basil and rum, and tasty Galangal Ice Cream and Calamansi Sorbet...amazing...
Next day I prepped for a lunch for my aunt and her husband.  You can see Mila being very helpful in the background.
No time to iron the tablecloth!
We started with tomato, basil and mozzarella with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I tried my hand at some huge scallops from The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook.  No pic here of the smoked chili cream, but it was quite tasty.
And we finished with Lepore's Home Made Chocolates.
Since I was being a hostess I didn't make it to my parents' trip to Valley Shepherd Creamery but my Dad sent me some pics of baby sheep, alpacas...
and some very nice looking wool.  I want to go back and take one of their cheesemaking classes!
At the end of the day there were some leftovers for me.
And my aunt brought me some pink pasta and a pink spatula she won at a raffle for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Wonder what I'll make with these...we'll see.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Little Origami

My friend Tomoko brought me a fabulous gift from her last visit to Japan: a generous package of beautiful origami paper.
I love the colors and wish you could feel the textures.
There are even a few prints of little bunnies!
There's a section on origami in the Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Crafts.  Did you make these little fortune tellers when you were little?  The pattern for the box is on her website
along with instructions for a quick placecard holder.
I can't imagine folding 1,000 paper cranes for a wedding despite the lovely symbolism.  Tomoko says in Japan they send them to someone who needs some cheering up.  Mila was skeptical:
but then curious
but leaned in for a little kiss anyway.
And I hung a few cranes on some quince branches for good luck I guess.
And then yesterday the porter at our kitchen made this elephant out of paper and masking tape!
And I saw this video of an elephant who speaks Korean.  Fun stuff, have a good day!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jar of Hearts

I was so touched when I heard this song covered on the Glee prom episode so I looked up the original by Christina Perri.  She says of the guy she wrote it about that "My heart wanted to see him, but my head knew better".  
- My friend Bernice says that you can get so lost in a relationship that it's like when you're trying to open a jar and forget which way makes it tighter and which way loosens it.  
- Henry's Mom says that love is being able to fall in and out and back in love with someone over time.  
- Ellaine says that closure comes at different times in different forms.  
- And my horoscope yesterday said that life is full of compromises and in order to be who you want to be you may need to give something up, but to remember that what you're giving up is something you once wanted very much, so choose carefully.
- So, that's just some stuff I'm thinking about today, the day before everyone is predicting that the world will end.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Back to School

It's my biggest arrangement yet!  Had a fabulous time on Saturday in flower school with Remco van Vliet and Cas Trap, the floral designers from Van Vliet & Trap.  I wanted to bring the team some treats, so I made some lemon poppy mini muffins.
And wrapped them in a fat quarter of fabric called Boys will be Boys by David Walker.
The staff brought in loads of branches for everyone in the class to use.
Beautiful azalea, crab apple, lilac, scotch broom and snowballs
and they kindly helped us cut the fat branches: they made it look so easy!
It reminded me that so many jobs can be surprisingly physical.
Remco shared tips from his many years of creating designs for events, weddings and for every Monday in the Great Hall of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
where he stands on a painter's ladder to make the huge arrangements there.
So of course his demonstration arrangment was gorgeous.
I was struggling a bit and he showed me how to hold the clippers (I got the purple ones! although though I was holding them upside down).
And the class buzzed happily creating their own arrangements.
Here's mine!
Remco says that each arrangement showed its creator's personality.
Somehow I got it home.
And the lilacs smell really wonderful here.
Today I pared the piece down a little to weed out some branches that didn't make it
and put some lilacs in the bedroom
and made room in the kitchen for baking a few cookies.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cupcakes, Doughnuts & Love

Happy Mother's Day!  I haven't gone to sleep yet, so it still counts.  It's been a while since a crazy catch-up post and there's a lotta love here. The 2nd Avenue Deli spells it out in salmon where I took my Mom last year and she wanted to go back today, so love also means pastrami sandwiches and potato pancakes.
I also put some love into the 192 (yep, that's 16-dozen) strawberry lemonade cupcakes I made for the Vicious & Virtuous 2nd Annual Bake-Off Beat-Down to benefit Autism Speaks organized by CupcakeHussy.
This recipe by Annie's Eats was popular when I made 48 and this time the judges from SweeteryNYC, Paper Magazine and Dessert Buzz NYC awarded them "best unusual ingredient" for the edible flowers and....
Best in Show!  And I was very happy with my attire for the event, a special apron by Jessie Steele, so freakin' cute.
There were also edible flowers at a dinner for Cartier by Chef Sam Talbot: they topped yummy, little lemon soufflés.
I loved the day I had with wedding planner Kate Sullivan, who I've known since kindergarten and new friends event planner Tammy Golson and photographer Angela Gaspar: girly, event chat with jap chae, okonomiyaki, ramen and bibimbap.  Big thanks to Kerry from handmade Quade for bringing us together, can't wait for our next outing!
We also trekked out to The Brooklyn Lyceum's spring craft market and to the Smith Street Paper Source: "paper heaven!" sighed Kate.
I put my purchases to use for a congratulatory card
which went with a Lemon Infused Lemon Glazed Lemon Cake from Jon at Victory or Death in the Kitchen.  I added yet more strawberries since I'm on that kick these days and there was a yummy lemon syrup, which you brush on after baking and before pouring on the lemon glaze.
The Hester Street Fair opened yesterday and I met Angela and wore shorts for the first time this year.  The weather was so gorgeous I just wanted to stay outside all day.  Awesome coffee from Wonder City Coffee & Donut Bar.  I somehow resisted their donut holes with caramel sauce, but that will need to be remedied soon.
We saw adorable, little drawstring bags with felt appliqué by The Honey Pie Tree.
and had some spinach & ricotta and saffron & mozzarella arancini from Arancini Brothers...mmm...yes, more fried food in my life...bliss.
Sometime I have to go here when I'm on my way home so I can carefully buy a terrarium from Casa Helecho because aside from being beautiful I think echivaria and cacti are the only things I can keep alive, Mila excepted.
We snagged rose petal donuts at Doughnut Plant -- they're only made for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day -- wow, even MORE edible flowers!
And it was a great day just for lying around in the park.
But back to Mother's Day: how did I forget to take pictures of the gifts I picked up at the Spring Handmade Cavalcade from hycCreative and Wish By Felicity?  Too eager to get wrapping I guess.  Well, here's a pic from Felicity of a necklace similar to the one I bought my Mom, whose favorite color is blue.
Another perfect spring day: we went trolling through The Antiques Garage on 25th Street
and yes, over to the 2nd NYC Doughnut Plant location (hehe....more donuts in my life...)  This one is much bigger than the Lower East Side location, but not as large as the one I visited in the Myeongdong region of Seoul, South Korea.  Love these pillows on the wall on 23rd Street though.
Over in Madison Square Park I saw something that stopped me in my tracks: "Echo" by Jaume Plensa.
The artist says “Many times we talk and talk, but we are not sure if we are talking with our own words or repeating just messages that are in the air. My intention is to offer something so beautiful that people have an immediate reaction, so that they think, ‘What’s happening?’ And then maybe they can listen a little bit to themselves.”
This was my reaction to the piece exactly and I listened to myself quietly for a moment, then the sounds of the city came back and I looked around me at what's really important.  Love you, Mom, Dad & Emily.
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