Thursday, September 29, 2011

I love meeting prep :)

Tonight I have been busy prepping for a meeting with one of my clients regarding skincare...not a bad (self given) homework assignment. I want to have glowing skin when I walk into the meeting :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lucali's

Tonight my husband and I decided to have an impromptu date night. He gave me three restaurant options and I was to pick one. I honestly can't remember what the other two were but when he said Lucali's I jumped at the opportunity. This restaurant is a tiny hole in the wall pizza joint sitting amongst a beautiful tree lined street with magnificent brownstones. Its BOYB (does it get better) and they only serve pizza and calzones. The "kitchen" is right in the main dining room and you can literally watch your pizza being made. Even on a wednesday night we had to wait 30ish minutes for one of the 8 tables in the restaurant. All in all, i HIGHLY recommend you check this place out! The Pizza is to die for!!!

This is an image of the "kitchen"

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fresh Pasta!



Per my pasta making class post; I have fallen in love with fresh pasta. I have never really been a pasta lover (I actually don't really even like it) but have always wanted to learn to make fresh pasta. After the (very easy) amazing adult pasta making class at Taste Buds I pronounced to my husband that we needed to get the pasta roller/cutter attachments for our kitchen aid. After many conversation (and some convincing) we took the plunge and ordered the set on amazon (with gift cards; bonus).

Today was the day that it finally arrived; much to my surprise I got a text from my husband asking if I wanted to make pasta tonight together for dinner! I got home from work and we went right to work on the pasta adventure!

Fresh Pasta Dough -
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • water (if needed - we needed)
Directions for dough -
  • Measure flour and add to a medium sized bowl. Make a hole in the middle of the flour (enough room to add the remaining ingredients). Add eggs, oil and salt.
  • Start mixing the wet ingredients (in the middle of the bowl) with a fork until they are all mixed together. Little by little add flour with a fork from the sides (don't just try to mix everything together) until a sticky dough starts to form. Once you have a formed dough (sticky and not all the four is incorporated) you can start to knead with your hands. If mixture is too dry add water as needed to form a tight dough (not sticky).
  • Knead for 10 to 15 minutes (until you have an elastic dough that is not sticky). If you have two or three people break the large dough ball up and let everyone kneed equal portions of the dough.
  • Let rest for 30 minutes (this step is crucial)
Directions for Linguini pasta (I use the kitchen aid pasta attachment to create the pasta)-
  • Once dough has rested form small balls to feed through the pasta machine
  • Start with setting 1 and feed dough through (folding it in half every time) aprox 8 to 10 times. (Important - Make sure dough is not wet or sticky, if it is knead small dough ball and add flour so it is elastic and smooth). Setting 1 is important because its the final step to the kneading process
  • Move to settings 2 - 4 feeding pasta through 2 times per setting
  • Lay out do slightly dry (or on a pasta rack).
  • Switch to the cutting attachment and feed through your sheets of pasta
  • Boil water (and a 1 tsp of olive oil)
  • Add cut pasta to water to cook (it only needs to cook for 3 to 4 minutes)
  • EAT!!!
We decided to eat our linguini pasta with our homemade tomato sauce with ground turkey and brussel sprouts on the side.



A few tips:
  • TIME - give yourself LOTS of time upon first attempt! It took us aprox an hour and a half from start to completed pasta on plate. I imagine it will get easier as we get use to it!
  • MESS - be prepared to make a mess (and in our case use almost all of our dishes). We had flour everywhere.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I LOVE my job!

So for those of you that don't know, I work at FACEBOOK!!! I honestly could not love my job more, its such an inspiring place with inspiring people! This week (thursday to be exact) we changed some things in a major way and continue to make the world more open and connected! I wanted to share some fun photos from Thursday's at FB NY (viewing party for our clients)!


We celebrate in a classy way :)


Saturday, September 24, 2011

All purpose tomato sauce

I LOVE canning (there I happily admit it). I have mainly focused on jam (and dabbled with salsa once) and have had a lot of success with various flavors (I'll post some recipes at some point). I have really been trying to focus on seasonal fresh food. Given that the farmers market had so many great tomatoes available I decided to dabble in tomato sauce.

In reading up on recipes I discovered a genius recipe that was multi-purpose (and in my opinion perfect for canning) and this recipe that fit my canning needs. I (of course) had to adapt both recipes to create my own concoction (sans garlic - based on an allergy). I love this recipe because if you make it chunky it can be good for bruschetta and if you make it smooth its great for pizza sauce and somewhere in the middle is the perfect base for pasta sauce. I plan on adapting each jar into something unique! Some of my thoughts are; adding meat to make a meat sauce, adding cheese to create a delectable creations, incorporating spinach to get more vitamins and the list goes on and on!

As always the most important thing with anything canning is the ingredients you choose! Below are some images of my canning adventure as well as the recipe I followed (er - made up!).

Ingredients needed:

7 - 1/2 pint mason jars (or any jars that will seal for canning)

6 (ish) lbs fresh tomatoes (6 lbs was aprox 18 medium sized tomatoes)

2 large white onions

Olive oil (for cooking onions)

1/2 cup chopped basil and/or 1/8 cup fresh oregano

juice of 2-3 lemons or 1/4 cup vinegar

salt and pepper to taste (start with 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and don’t over season)

Directions:

Chop onions and sauté in pan (with swivel of olive oil in it)


Once onions are slightly caramelized add them to large pot with chopped tomatoes (roughly chop tomatoes). Bring tomatoes and onions to a boil and then let simmer until cooked and soft (aprox 20 to 30 minutes). Optional - blend aprox 1/2 (or whatever ratio you want) in a blender to desired consistency. Add all additional ingredients and cook to desired flavor (to taste test I recommend taking a piece of bread and dipping in mixture). Once you have your desired flavor add to jars and boil jars (follow canning instructions).

Voila - final product!


Can't wait for my next kitchen gadget to arrive!

Pet Adoption Photos!!


This video was so moving to me, I absolutely LOVE photography and dogs. I really want to figure out if there is a way to work with any rescue groups in NYC to do something similar. Oh how I LOVE dogs and am so inspired by this video.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Subway

Think the arrow is pointed towards the wrong place!

Summer repurposed!

I pulled this gorgeous jewel toned silk slip-dress out of my closet this AM. I had originally bought it to be a staple throughout my wardrobe this summer; however every time I tried to style it I just didn't like how it looked.

Skip to fall; I now LOVE this dress with tights and a cardigan! Yeah for shopping my closet.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Empire State of Mind


Scrumptious Scones

Scones have been one of my favorite items to make since I was little (and my mom showed me her tricks). They look so gourmet and there are so many varieties! You can make savory and sweet (my favorite is savory). When it was decided that said baby shower was going to be a tea party I jumped at the opportunity to make these delightful treats. I made three varieties; blueberry, cheddar cheese and chocolate chip!

My preferred way to eat them is right out of the oven (nice and warm); however they are delicious warm or cold (even better days later as long as they are sealed in a container)! To jazz up this party I also brought some homemade strawberry jam (I also picked the strawberries and canned the jam this spring) and some honey butter. Aren't they pretty!


Recipes:

Scones (make it your way)

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup filling of your choice (some suggestions: fresh blueberries, raspberries, chocolate chips, fresh grated sharp cheddar cheese, swiss cheese and ham you name it)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
extra sugar (for the top of sweet scones)
extra cheese (for the top of savory scones)

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Combine the dry ingredients
  • Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (if you don't have a pastry blender, which I don't, you can take the butter and break it up by hand to resemble coarse crumbs. The best way to do this is to take your stick butter and cut it into small squares. Once you have done that toss each of the squares in the dry ingredients so they have flour on each of them. Individually take each square and start breaking off small pieces of butter and tossing them into the flour. Once you have done this to each square your butter will resemble course crumbs)
  • Stir in blueberries
  • Add milk
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk (reserve 1 egg white)
  • Stir with fork until all ingredients are moist and generally mixed together
  • Take dough and form into small round balls and stick on baking sheet (should make 12 to 18 small to medium size scones)
  • Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar or cheese (as directed above)
  • Bake at 425 F for 12-15 min.
  • Serve hot with butter or homemade jam (both recipes to come in a later post)



Monday, September 19, 2011

A Tea Party Baby Shower

If you are going to have a baby, you should quickly friend Anne because she will throw you an amazing shower (that also saves the planet). I had the pleasure of helping Anne throw an amazing baby shower on this past Sunday!

The theme of the shower was an afternoon tea party; complete with tea sandwiches, scones, cookies and the delectable Prosciutto wraps.

I made the scones (my mom taught me to make when I was 10) which are a speciality. I will post the recipe in a separate post so you can enjoy all of the beautiful photos (and decor) from our sophisticated tea party baby shower!

We also set-up a photo booth to create photo advice and words of encouragement for the mom-to-be. I will post those photos in a later post as well!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Natural/safe/inexpensive make-up remover

For years I have been using baby oil to remove make-up on my face! Initially I was scared to put actual oil on my face (especially since in high school I was told oil was the cause of all breakouts so only purchased oil free products for many many years). My best friend turned me onto this miracle product (sometime in college) and I have been in love ever since. My face has never felt softer and the oil removes any pesky make-up! I am also approaching the big 3-0 an don't have any wrinkles in sight (wish I could say the same about grey hair) and have super soft skin! The other great (arguably best) part of this product is that it's very inexpensive and lasts a long time (I have to refill cotton balls before I refill the oil)!

I recently purchased this pretty green glass bottle to house said oil; doesn't it look pretty!

Dirt meet baking soda!

Did you know baking soda not only ads a necessary ingredient to cookies but is also the wonder cleaner! I am amazed that what I digest in my body is also acceptable to clean with (and it actually works well)! In doing research on this wonder product I found so many useful ways to clean with baking soda (27 ways and another 40 ways) and even a bunch of recipes to use. I am new to the natural (and even zero waste) products; but like the idea of duel use products that are non-toxic (and they save money).

Here is my first attempt; Dirty pan - baking soda - clean pan


I am a HUGE fan and now need to find a container to keep it in (because the key food box is only acceptable for the refrigerator)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Homemade Honey Wheat Bread (Yum)

Last night I had the urge to make homemade bread. I have made it in the past and it's been so delicious! I tried a different recipe this time (I think I'll try the old one to compare). The bread came out a good but not great. It was a little hard in the middle (I like it nice and soft and almost hard to cut).

Below is the recipe I used as well as an image! Hard or soft; homemade bread is the best!

Honey Wheat Bread

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, divided
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon salt
Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups whole wheat flour and yeast. In a saucepan, heat milk, water, honey, butter and salt to 120 degrees F-130 degrees F; add to flour mixture. Blend on low speed until moistened; beat on medium for 3 minutes. Gradually stir in remaining whole wheat flour and enough of the remaining all-purpose flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Shape into two loaves; place in a greased 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 375 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Welcome to tights!

I LOVE tights; they make you feel good in so many ways! The suck you in to make you feel oh so small, they cover up flaws and generally make everyone look smaller (or at least I feel smaller)! I was a bit bummed out about fall yesterday (30 degree temperature drop in a matter of hours was quite the shock) but feel more comfortable with welcoming the weather change with my beloved tights!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Welcome Fall (maybe)

I left for work today and it was in the mid 70's and tonight when I got off the subway to come home it was (gasp) in the 40's. Summer is my favorite season of the year because I love the sunshine (and especially how late the sun stays out at night) however I am quickly coming to grips with fall (I don't think I have a choice)! I can get comfortable with the seasons as long as I am dressed appropriately (tonight I had on a dress and flip flops...not appropriate). I need to say goodbye to white and hello to sleeves.

To get myself in the fall spirit below is a list of a few things I am excited about!

-Brussel Sprouts!!! I have been eating them for weeks (I have already eaten them 3x this week for dinner) but I am excited to find them at the farmers market.
-Canning - I LOVE to can stuff. It feels so great to open a fresh jar of jam or salsa and eat it. This year I am taking on the task of tomatoes. I am going to can fresh tomatoes (purchased from the farmers market) as well as marinara sauce (and salsa again). This falls within my new "less waste" philosophy (which will be a new post in itself).
-Boots - I love boots, they are so great to keep my toesies warm on fall days.
-Football - while this has already started I love a good football game and am excited to enjoy the viewing pleasure of more games!
-Friends! Everyone travels so much in the summer its hard to get together. I am hoping to see more friends this fall.

There are so many other things I love but I wanted to start with a small list.

Sorry no photos - life took over this post.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NYC Favs!

My favorite Wednesday night activity (sadly we didn't get to watch the races tonight)!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Learning to cook PASTA!

This is kind of funny for me because I don't really like pasta but have strangely had this obsession with learning to make it! So when I saw a steel of a deal of gilt city for a BYOB pasta making class for pennies I jumped at the chance! I bought two tickets (prior to having anyone to go with)!

I invited my friend Jillian (featured below) - she is the best date and we had so much fun! Randomly Jillian also knew the owner of the company (who also randomly attends the church my husband and I go to).

We made four kinds of pasta (and I am kicking myself for forgetting to grab the recipes on the way out) and all were delicious!

- Fettucini
- ravioli (spinach ricotta filling)
- tortellini (spinach ricotta filling)
- dessert ravioli (ricotta honey filling - berry balsamic topping)
- delicious simple tomato sauce (tomato, basil, oregano, carrots, onion, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper)!

I want to recreate this meal (need to convince the husband that we need the pasta kitchen aid attachments as I don't think hand rolling the dough is doable) every night!

Lessons learned -
- fresh pasta is not like anything else (boxed pasta is no good)
- it's not that hard (with the right equipment)
- dessert pasta is delicious - I already have additional recipes brewing in my head foe additional desserts!
-cooking with friends is a fabulous way to spend Tuesday evening!