Thursday, September 30, 2010

I heart artichokes

My favorite vegetable (its actually a thistle, not sure if that is a vegetable) is the artichoke. Its not the just the slightly bitter but still sweet and delicious taste, but the whole process of preparing and eating an artichoke that I find relaxing and somehow more civilized than any other vegetable. Its surprisingly easy, but does take a bit of patience to get to the good part. I like to steam mine and eat with an aioli or lemon butter sauce, getting down to the middle and then scraping out the choke to get to the yummy heart. A few months ago, The New York Times had a great dipping sauce and easy steaming directions.

2 large or 4 medium artichokes

1 lemon, cut in half

Dipping sauce, below

1. Lay an artichoke on its side on a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, cut away the entire top quarter in one slice. Rub the top with the cut lemon. Cut off the stem at the bottom, so the artichoke will stand upright, and rub the bottom with lemon. Pull off the tough bottom leaves (bracts). Then, using scissors, cut away the thorny end of each remaining bract. Rub the edges with lemon.

2. Bring two inches of water to a boil in a steamer or pasta pot, and place the artichokes in the steaming basket. If they are too big to fit, place them directly in the water. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes or until a leaf easily pulls away. Remove from the heat. Serve hot or at room temperature with a sauce for dipping the leaves. Use your teeth to scrape the flesh from the bottom of the leaf. Have a bowl or plate on the side for the discarded leaves. When you reach the papery leaves that cover the heart in the middle, cut them away along with the choke and discard. Divvy up the heart and enjoy.

Yogurt-Mayonnaise Vinaigrette

Traditionally steamed artichokes are served with drawn butter or with a mayonnaise. I use a vinaigrette-based sauce thickened with just a bit of mayonnaise and yogurt.

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

Sea salt or kosher salt to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 small garlic clove, minced or pureed

2 tablespoon Best Foods or Hellmann’s mayonnaise

2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Whisk together the vinegar, salt, Dijon mustard and garlic. Whisk in the mayonnaise, yogurt and olive oil, and blend well. Taste, adjust salt, and add pepper. Use as a dip for artichokes or other vegetables.

Yield: 3/4 cup

Not only is the artichoke delicious, but is also a good source of magnesium, potassium and fiber. I was reading this week that only 23 percent of American adults eat vegetables 3 or more times a day (and lettuce on a burger counts as a serving!). I probably fall into the veggie- insufficient catagory so will be upping my artichoke intake to compensate!

*image via flickr

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Little cakes with flags

So adorable. Cakes in different shapes and textures. Love the height of the cake dome to the far right. Flags here. From Once Wed.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ta da!

Nicollette from Little Flower School sent over a pic of my finished dahlia arrangement. I am obsessed with it. Dahlias, eucalyptus seed, snowberries, astrantia, nine bark and sedum.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vintage crate

I need to find a cool looking crate to store my pretty crafting and wrapping paper. Decor8.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Black and white

How cool is this black and white kitchen? Love the chalkboard walls. See the whole house on Remodelista.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Little flower school- ode to the dahlia

So, I've been a little disgruntled lately with the summer ending and coming back from vacation to a mountain of work, but nothing is the cures the blues like a couple of hours spent playing with my most favorite flower (and its gorgeous late summer flower friends). I took Little Flower School's Ode to the Dahlia class on Wednesday and it was a refreshing blast of gigantic, amazing, freshly picked floral gorgeousness.
How does one take a class in Brooklyn on a workweek Wednesday when you live in Chicago, you ask? Easy! Just schedule all of your clients to come to NYC around your flower arranging schedule. Problem solved.
Pictured are Sarah and Nicollette, the lovely and insanely talented ladies who run the school in addition to their own businesses (Sapuia and Nicolette Camille). They explained the somewhat overwhelming concepts of selecting, arranging and caring for these specific flowers in a very easy to grasp, step by step way. I was so into the process (and possibly the glass of sparkling wine at the end of class) that I somehow did not photograph my actual arrangement at the end so these are some randoms. Oops! I know Sarah and Nicolette took some so will have to share when they post.

Thakoon Spring 2011

So pretty! Images from nymag.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Friday Fashion's Night Out

I was at Bloomingdale's 59th street store for Fashion's Night Out on Friday and what a scene. All I can say for Fall is booties. Booties everywhere. Mostly the ones for your feet, but there were several unfortunate dresses out there that may have exposed some of the other kind. Manhattan felt a little bit like New Year's Eve, only better weather and better outfits. The photos are of the live models in the windows of the Third Avenue side of the store.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Annie & Kevin's Sweet Sonoma Wedding part 1

Congrats to Annie & Kevin! We were so honored to join them last saturday at their wedding in Sonoma. Both the ceremony and reception were held at Copain Winery in Healdsburg. As you can see from the photos, it has an amazing view. The wines they were serving were lovely as well! Among the super cute details: being greeted at the hotel by a package of fresh jam and croissants, a vintage car parked in the driveway, the annie hearts kevin sign, chicken coop wire with clothespins holding the escort cards, placecards pinned to figs at every seat, and loads of mini cupcakes at the end of the night. So fun!

Flannel for the feet

These look like a perfect candidate for my comfy fall shoe. J Crew.