I've found that the older I get, the more occasions I have for sending sympathy cards. I wish it were not the case, but if I learned anything from the difficult times we've had it is that one of the worst things you can do is to say nothing at all. Emily McDowell released a thoughtful, sometimes funny line of cards last week that are perfect for sending to your friends or family when the are down and out. Emily is a cancer survivor and she created these cards based on what she would have liked to receive when she was sick. You don't want to have to order any of these cards, but if the occasion arises, I'm glad to know cards with an appropriate message exist.
It's not too late to order a special card for your Mom, mother-in-law, or one of your momma friends to send before May 10th. I know it is May and National Letter-writing Month is over, but why not continue and brighten someone's day with a hand-written note? Below are a few of my favorites. How did the letter-writing go? I missed a few days of writing during April, but I definitely sent at least 30 cards and enjoyed sitting down most nights to write a note or two. The best part has been the notes I received from people - thanks!
Speaking of Mother's Day, if you haven't seen this video of blindfolded children identifying their mother, you should watch it. Warning - it is a tearjerker!
I love a designer bag as much as the next woman, but the classic canvas boat tote from L.L. Bean will always have a special place in my heart - and my closet. They are functional, durable, preppy and always in style and I find that I reach for those totes much more often than any other bags we own. Even Blythe is the proud owner of a L.L. Bean tote bearing her name! I recently stumbled upon a fun version of the tote that is emblazoned with preppy logos from Crab & Cleek. For summer, the French sailor shirt and the lobster caught my eye, and I adore the thermos and the Woody tote for fall and winter. With Mother's Day just around the corner, you could order one for your Mom and fill it with some of her favorite goodies and a bottle of wine?
The totes are 22" wide, 14" tall and 10" deep.
All images credit to Crab & Cleek.
It was these tiny shoes that initially caught my eye and led me to Rufus and Murdog, my new favorite online spot for darling items for little ones. The Canadian brand was started by two moms who clearly have excellent taste and the fun name is comprised of the names of the stuffed dogs owned by two of their little boys. I had trouble picking just a few favorite items to share with you, but aside from the striped moccasins pictured above, I'm particularly enamored with the pink heart pants, the Instagram wooden camera, and the superhero tights.
All images credit to Rufus and Murdog.
I previously posted that Serena & Lily was going to launch its first line of women's clothing and it did so today. Unsurprisingly, the pieces are timeless, tailored, and a bit pricey. I'm coveting the Jane Striped Shirtdress (I have a thing for shirtdresses and stripes), the heart-print pajamas (they'd make a nice Mother's Day present), and I adore the fabric in the Alice Party Dress, although it would be too short on me. Do you see anything that catches your eye?
This isn't a big cake household. Rob and I didn't have a wedding cake because in the hierarchy of desserts, cake falls pretty low down both of our lists. Give me a scoop of ice cream, a piece of dark chocolate, or fruit with whipped cream any day over cake.
But these days, I am all about simplicity. This is my first week back at work and making dessert isn't really in the cards. That said, my sweet tooth, which was utterly absent when I was pregnant, is back with a vengeance. If the evenings were not dedicated to spending time with Blythe, I'd be making elaborate desserts, much to Rob's (and my waistline's) dismay. Instead of making Profiteroles, I'm making cake - and one that can be made in two bowls, without a mixer, and in 15 minutes at that.
The Raspberry-Ricotta Cake in the March 2015 Bon Appétit caught my eye. You can make homemade ricotta (or not) and use fresh raspberries (or frozen). The end result will be an extremely moist cake that tastes great on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream. I think any fruit would work well with this basic recipe and I'm already planning to make this again with peaches in the summer. The best part about this might be that this cake masquerades well as a breakfast food the following morning!
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups ricotta (I made mine, which is easy and SO delicious; plus you will have leftover ricotta to add into pasta)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh raspberries, divided (I think other berries would work well, as would peaches or plums. If you try another kind of fruit, please let me know.)
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9”-diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray (it turns out I don't have round cake pans anymore, which is odd - I used a square pan and cut the cake into squares). Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended. Then fold in butter, followed by 1 ¼ cup raspberries, taking care not to crush berries. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining ¼ cup raspberries over top.
Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
It's the 4th day of April and so far I've managed to write a letter each day. Only 26 more to go! I've enjoyed taking a few minutes to myself each day after Blythe goes to sleep to write a note and to reflect on what we've been up to, what's on my mind, etc.
Happy April Fool's Day! Did you mail your first letter today?
Jackie left a comment reminding me about the collaboration between Paper Crown and Rifle Paper Co. that includes some seriously cute pieces in darling prints. I adore Rifle Paper Co.'s stationery and the designer, Anna Bond, collaborated with Paper Crown to bring her illustrations to life as fabric.
I first read about the collaboration on the blog of a favorite shop of mine on Beacon Hill in Boston, Holiday. They are carrying a few pieces from the collection and I managed to snag a skirt in the Spanish Rose print. You can buy select pieces online at Anthropologie, as well as at Tuckernuck, Proper Topper and Penelope's. I've included images of a few of the pieces below - the Spanish Rose print (the navy floral) is my favorite).
I'm in my 12th week home with Blythe. Time flies and and we've settled into a bit more of a routine, but hanging with B, walking or running outside (I'm obsessed with my FitBit so I have to get my steps in!), taking care of household tasks, and making dinner is still challenging for me. And I expect it will get even harder once I return to work. Any tips from those of you who are parents?
In our first weeks home, what was incredibly helpful was the generosity of friends who brought us delicious meals. I had no idea before having a baby just how great it is to have a warm, home-cooked meal prepared by someone else and delivered to your doorstep. To all of my friends who have already had babies, I apologize for not bringing you a meal. Going forward, this is something I will absolutely do.
One of our absolute favorite meals was a coconut-braised short ribs dish that I will post about soon. This dish was so good that I purchased the cookbook from which the recipe came (Cook this Now by Melissa Clark) and have made it three times. It was accompanied by an unconventional salad that, admittedly, I was initially suspicious of. I would never have paired citrus with olives and citrus is not something I am drawn to... but the unusual combination was delicious. Something about the zesty citrus offset by the salty olives and the spice of the chili powder - I am hooked.
I didn't go to much effort to plate this salad and make it look beautiful (see above comment about finding time to get everything done), but just using different color citrus as suggested and offsetting the orange and red of the fruit with the green of the olives made this salad stand out.
Sliced Oranges with Olives and Red Chile
Recipe from Cook this Now by Melissa Clark
3 large oranges - a mix of orange navel, pink Cara Cara, and blood oranges makes the salad colorful
High quality extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt (I used Jacobsen Sea Salt)
3 tablespoons thinly sliced olives
Chili powder to taste
1. Trim off the top and bottom of an orange so it can stand upright on the cutting board. Use a thin, sharp knife to slice off the peel and white pith, following the curve of the fruit as you go. The juicy orange flesh should be exposed. Turn the orange so the curved side is lying on the board, then thinly slice the orange 1/4 inch thick. The slices should look a little like flowers. Repeat with the remaining oranges.
2. Spread the orange slices on a large plate, overlapping them somewhat but not entirely (or if you are feeling lazy, put them in a bowl like I did!). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Top with the olives and dust with chili powder right before serving.
It is with the greatest joy that I share that we became a family of three on December 28th when our daughter, Blythe Eden, arrived. I haven't felt this happy since the day I married Rob.
This blog has been in flux for the last year and a half. You see, I was pregnant in 2013 as well. Rob and I were thrilled to be expecting a girl, due in April 2014. Those of you who know us personally know that Quinn was stillborn. In the wake of losing Quinn, I was not interested in cooking, taking photos, and sharing fun finds. I was really just incredibly sad. I have more to share on this subject, but that is for another post.
When we found out we were pregnant again, we were so hopeful, but also quite anxious. We no longer equated pregnancy with having a living, breathing baby, and while I posted a few times in the months leading up to Blythe's birth, my heart just wasn't in it. It has only been in the last few weeks that I've found myself thinking about how I want to share some cute stationery line or product launch or a new recipe, so I am going to try to start posting again, and aspire to do so with some regularity. Thank you to those of you who are still reading.
Serena & Lily is one of my go-to spots for home furnishings and bedding and they just announced that on April 21st they are releasing a capsule collection for women. There wasn't much information in the e-mail other than the date and the photo below (love the dress), but I'm intrigued. Mark your calendars!
Write_On is a campaign to inspire people to write 30 hand-written letters over 30 days in the month of April, which is National Letter-writing Month. The campaign was inspired by Tess Darrow's (founder of Egg Press) personal challenge to write a letter each day and the official campaign launched in 2014. To inspire you to start writing, you can sign up for a free kit containing 4 letterpress cards and a Gelly Roll pen here. I am always interested in receiving free letterpress cards!
We'll see if I actually write a note every day in April, but I'm going to do my best. Any one else up to the challenge? The Write_On website even provides a list of "Reasons to Write in 2015." The ideas are pretty creative and quirky... and I got a chuckle out of "To save the US Postal Service." Thanks to V for telling me about this!
If you need stamps for mailing your notes, how about some of the new releases from the USPS? My favorites are the Vintage Rose, the "Gift of Friendship," (to be released April 10th), and the "From Me to You," stamps pictured below.
Images credit to the US Postal Service.
A dear friend got me the best birthday present this year - tickets to Ina Garten's Make it Ahead tour. Ina (I feel like we are on a first-name basis) has a new book out, Make it Ahead (which has just made its way onto my Christmas list), and she's visited/visiting Boston, Chicago, Cupertino, Denver, and Beverly Hills to talk about writing her cookbooks, filming her show, and cooking. I'll see her on Wednesday and I can't wait. I wish I realized sooner that she was visiting other cities... I'm afraid the only one left in 2014 after Denver is Beverly Hills on Thursday, November 20th. You can find the 2015 dates and cities here.
If you are in Denver and want to attend, tickets are still available here.
Does anyone have the new cookbook? I have three of her other books and I love them. I'm recently obsessed with meals that can be prepared in advance and meals that can be frozen. If any of you have favorite recipes (particularly that can be frozen), please share them!
When given the choice of pastry at a well-stocked bakery, I will almost always choose a croissant. I like a plain butter croissant rather than a pain au chocolat or an almond croissant. I don't need anything to distract from those flaky layers of dough. In my book, a croissant and a latte are breakfast perfection.
I first made croissants at home when we still lived in Boston. I took a cooking class at Stir in the South End (which I highly recommend) and we cooked out of the Tartine cookbook and received a copy. The croissants in the cookbook drew me in and I knew I had to give them a try, even if they seemed daunting. The thing about croissants is that the actual hands-on time isn't all that much or particularly tricky, they just require multiple steps, rises, rests, etc. If you start the process on Friday night, you'll be enjoying them by brunch on Sunday and you won't have slaved away in the kitchen all weekend. I'd recommend determining when you want to serve the croissants and working backwards through the recipe to calculate your starting time.
Despite my preference for plain croissant, I live with someone who loves pain au chocolat, so I always turn about 1/3 of the batch into pain au chocolat. This requires only that you have dark chocolate chips on-hand (you could use a chocolate bar broken into pieces as well) and that you roll them differently. There is a good visual for how to roll pain au chocolat here and I've added the steps below.
Aside from getting to enjoy fresh-baked croissants at home, I find that I get immense satisfaction from making croissants from scratch. I'm not sure if it is the intimidating layers or just that they sound complicated, but I really did feel quite smug the first few times they emerged from my oven.
A few tips:
- Use high-quality, unsalted butter. I usually purchase store brand butter, but I always splurge when I make croissant.
- In the rolling process, be sure that the butter isn't melting as you are rolling out the dough. It is best to roll out the dough in a cool kitchen (e.g., don't try to do this right next to your oven if it is on). If you start to see that the butter is melting, put the dough in the refrigerator to chill.
- Plan out the steps ahead of time if you need these to be ready at a specific time. If you have flexibility, you don't have to worry and can let the dough chill for longer between steps.
- I have made the dough and frozen it, which works well. Just remember to put the dough in the refrigerator to thaw the night before you want to use it.
- Be sure to create the right environment for the last rise (after you have shaped the croissants). Our kitchen is quite cold right now (hello, winter!) and my rise didn't go as well as it has in the past because I couldn't find a warm enough spot (I even tried preheating the oven and letting them rise inside with the door ajar). You don't want it too hot (you do not want the butter to melt), but if it is too cold, they won't rise.
- Bake the croissants on a rimmed baking sheet. They will drip butter and it will spill into your oven if you use a flat baking sheet (I speak from experience and a now-dirty oven).
- You don't have to eat these all at once! I usually keep about 4 out and place the rest in a large Ziploc for freezing. I remove them individually and reheat them at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Having a croissant for a treat in the freezer is amazing.
Homemade Croissant and Pain au Chocolat
Recipe from the Tartine Cookbook
Yield = 12-16 croissants depending on how exact you are with rolling the dough and the number of croissants vs. pain au chocolat that you make
¾ cup non-fat milk (6 ounces/150 ml)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (15ml)
1⅓ cup all-purpose flour (6¼ ounces/175g)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (20ml)
1¾ cup whole milk (14 ounces/425 ml)
6 cups all-purpose flour (28 ounces/800g)
⅓ cup sugar (2½ ounces/70g)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt (20 ml)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (15ml)
2¾ cup unsalted butter (22 ounces/625 g)
4 large egg yolks (2 ounces/60 ml)
¼ cup heavy cream
To Make the Preferment:
In a small saucepan, warm the milk to take the chill off (between 80° to 90 °F). Pour the milk into a mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk, stir to dissolve the yeast with a wooden spoon, and then add the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon until a smooth batter forms. Cover the bowl with cheesecloth and let the mixture rise until almost double in volume, 2 to 3 hours at moderate temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
To Make the Dough:
First measure out all your ingredients and keep them near at hand. Transfer the preferment and then the yeast to the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until the yeast is incorporated into the preferment batter, which will take a minute or two. Stop the mixer as needed and use a spatula to clean the bottom and sides of the bowl, folding the loosened portion into the mixture to incorporate all the elements fully. When the mixture has come together into an even, well-mixed mass, increase the speed to medium, and mix for a couple of minutes. Slowly add half of the milk and continue to mix until the milk is fully incorporated.
Reduce the speed to low, add the flour, sugar, salt, melted butter, and the rest of the milk, and mix until the mass comes together in a loose dough, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 15 to 20 minutes. This resting period helps to shorten the final mixing phase, which comes next.
Engage the mixer again on low speed and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, a maximum of 4 minutes. If the dough is very firm, add a little milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Take care not to overmix the dough, which will result in a tough croissant that also turns stale more quickly. Remember, too, you will be rolling out the dough several times, which will further develop the gluten structure, so though you want a smooth dough, the less mixing you do to achieve that goal, the better. Cover the bowl with cheesecloth and let the dough rise in a cool place until the volume increases by half, about 1½ hours.
Lightly flour a work surface. Transfer the dough to the floured surface and press into a rectangle 2 inches thick. Wrap the rectangle in plastic wrap, or slip it into a plastic bag and seal closed. Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 4 to 6 hours.
To Make the Roll-in butter:
About 1 hour before you are ready to start laminating the dough, put the butter that you will be rolling into the dough in the bowl of the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until malleable but not warm or soft, about 3 minutes. Remove the butter from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill but not resolidify.
Laminating the dough:
Lightly dust a cool work surface (I use a large sheet of parchment paper dusted with flour), and then remove the chilled dough and the butter from the refrigerator. Unwrap the dough and place it on the floured surface. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 28 by 12 inches. With the long side of the rectangle facing you, and starting from the left side, spread and spot the butter over two-thirds of the length of the rectangle. Fold the uncovered third over the butter and then fold the left-hand third over the center, as if folding a business letter. The resulting rectangle is known as a plaque. With your fingers, push down along the seams on the top and the bottom to seal in the plaque.
Give the plaque a quarter turn so the seams are to your right and left, rather than at the top and bottom. Again, roll out the dough into a rectangle 28 by 12 inches, and fold again in the same manner. Wrap in plastic wrap or slip into a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for 1½ to 2 hours to relax the gluten in the dough before you make the third fold, or “turn”.
Clean the work surface, dust again with flour, and remove the dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap, place on the floured surface, and again roll out into a rectangle 28 by 12 inches. Fold into thirds in the same manner. You should have a plaque of dough measuring about 9 by 12 inches, about the size of a quarter sheet pan, and 1½ to 2 inches thick. Wrap in plastic wrap or slip into the plastic bag, place on a quarter sheet pan, and immediately place in the freezer to chill for at least 1 hour. If you intend to make the croissants the next morning, leave the dough in the freezer until the evening and then transfer it to the refrigerator before retiring. The next morning, the dough will be ready to roll out and form into croissants, proof, and bake. Or, you can leave the dough in the freezer for up to 1 week; just remember to transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw overnight before using (I've done this and it worked just fine).
Making the croissant and pain au chocolat:
When you are ready to roll out the dough, dust the work surface again. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 32 by 12 inches and 3/8 inches thick. Using a pizza wheel or chef’s knife, cut the dough into long triangles that measure 10 to 12 inches on each side and about 4 inches along the base. If you would like to make pain au chocolat, divide the dough. Slice the regular croissants as instructed above. For the pain au chocolat, cut the dough in rectangles 4 inches wide by 6 inches tall.
Line a half sheet pan (rimmed) (about 13 by 18 inches) with parchment paper. To shape each croissant, position a triangle with the base facing you. Positioning your palms on the two outer points of the base, carefully rolling the base toward the point. To finish, grab the point with one hand, stretching it slightly, and continue to roll, tucking the point underneath the rolled dough so that the croissant will stand tall when you place it on the sheet pan. If you have properly shaped the croissant, it will have 6 or 7 ridges.
For a pain au chocolat, place the shorter edge of the rectangle facing you and place about 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips along the 4" edge. Roll the chips and the dough away from you, creating a log.
As you form the croissants, place them, well-spaced, on the prepared half-sheet pan. When all the croissants are on the pan, set the pan in a draft-free area with relatively high humidity, and let the pastries rise for 2 to 3 hours. The ideal temperature is 75 °F. A bit cooler or warmer is all right, as long as the temperature is not warm enough to melt the layers of butter in the dough, which would yield greasy pastries. Cooler is preferable and will increase the rising time and with it the flavor development. For example, the home oven (turned off) with a pan of steaming water placed in the bottom is a good place for proofing leavened baked items. To make sure that no skin forms on the pastries during this final rising, refresh the pan of water halfway through the rising.
During this final rising, the croissants should at least double in size and look noticeably puffy. If when you press a croissant lightly with a fingertip, the indentation fills in slowly, the croissants are almost ready to bake. At this point, the croissants should still be slightly “firm” and holding their shape and neither spongy nor starting to slouch. If you have put the croissants into the oven to proof, remove them now and set the oven to 425 °F to preheat for 20 to 30 minutes.
About 10 minutes before you are ready to bake the croissants, make the egg wash. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cream, and salt until you have a pale yellow mixture. Using a pastry brush, lightly and carefully brush the yolk mixture on the pastries, being careful not to allow the egg wash to drip onto the pan. Let the wash dry slightly, about 10 minutes, before baking.
Place the croissants into the oven, immediately turn down the oven temperature to 400 °F, and leave the door shut for the first 10 minutes. Then working quickly, open the oven door, rotate the pan 180 degrees, and close the door. This rotation will help the pastries to bake evenly. Bake for 6 to 10 minutes longer, rotating the pan again during this time if the croissants do not appear to be baking evenly. The croissants should be done in 15 to 20 minutes total. They are ready when they are a deep golden brown on the top and bottom, crisp on the outside and light when they are picked up, indicating that the interior is cooked through.
Remove the croissants from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool. As they cool, their moist interiors will set up. They are best if eaten while they are still slightly warm. If they have just cooled to room temperature, they are fine as well, or you can rewarm them in a 375°F oven for 6 to 8 minutes to recrisp them before serving. You can also store leftover croissants in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day, and then afterward in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the croissants. If you have frozen the croissants or do not eat them immediately, reheat them in the oven at 375 degrees before serving.
This is the first recipe I've posted in over a year, which is hard to believe. For awhile, I wasn't interested in cooking at all. The last few months, I've been getting back into the swing of things in the kitchen, but I haven't made much that I felt like photographing or that really caught my fancy. I had high hopes for these Pumpkin Scones that I made over the weekend, but neither of us liked them, which was disappointing (and I still have 20 in my freezer to bake later). I'm still obsessed with my favorite Kale Salad (if you haven't tried this, now is the time as persimmons are in season), I've been making and freezing spaghetti sauce, and when I eat out, I'm craving French Dip sandwiches (don't ask... but does anyone have a recipe? I'd love to make these at home). This weekend I even made homemade croissants (more on those later). I'm going to try to get back into posting recipes. Let me know if you've made something delicious that I should try.
And now, beef stew. Beef stew has been a long-standing favorite in my family. For several years, we had it on Christmas in lieu of a roast or something more traditional because I loved it so much. Today our weather turned towards winter and I found myself dreaming of a hearty beef stew. I knew I could wing it and make something, but I had flagged the recipe in the Flour, Too cookbook to try ages ago and figured it was about time.
In Flour, Too, this is actually called the "Best-Ever Beef Stew." I hesitate to call anything the "best-ever," especially a recipe as ripe for adaption as beef stew, but this is seriously delicious and perfect for our first snow this fall.
The best part of the stew is the broth. I didn't even have homemade beef stock, which I am sure would make it even better, but using a mix of store-bought stock, bouillon, red wine, and beer yielded excellent results. I suspect you can add any vegetables that you think will complement the soup - I included more carrots and potatoes that originally called for and am happy I did. Be sure to serve this with some crusty bread and butter that people can use to soak up the broth from their bowl.
"Best-Ever" Beef Stew
Adapted from Flour, Too
Yield = 6-8 servings (as a main dish)
Note - I found it very helpful to prep the meat and all the vegetables in advance. The vegetables get added in two batches, so you can prep and separate everything into two bowls, which makes getting the stew together incredibly simple. You can definitely add other vegetables that you have on-hand or think would go well, just be conscious of their cooking time as to when you add them so they don't overcook.
- Heaping 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
- 3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch rounds (peel if you'd like)
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1/2 medium fennel bulb (leafy tops trimmed and discarded), bulb chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 quarts liquid - The original recipe calls for 2 quarts of beef stock. I used 1 quart of beef stock (store bought), an additional 24 ounces of beef broth (water with beef bouillon), and one beer (I used Shiner Bock Octoberfest because that is what we had on-hand - I think the beer adds great flavor and would recommend putting one in).
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (peel if you'd like)
- 10 ounces pearl onions, peeled, trimmed, and cut in half
- 4 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and halved
- 3/4 cup red wine
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 tsp of the salt, and 1/4 tsp of the pepper. Add the beef and toss until the pieces are evenly coated with the flour.
2. In the stockpot, melt 2 tbsp of the butter over medium heat until it foams. When the foam begins to subside, add about half of the beef cubes, shaking them a bit to remove the excess flour before you toss them into the pot. Brown the beef cubes, turning them as needed, for 2-3 minutes, or until evenly browned on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a medium bowl. Add 2 tbsp butter to the pot and brown the remaining beef uses the same way and transfer to the bowl. Set aside. If your stock pot is big enough, you may be able to do this in one batch (I used a large Le Creuset and was able to do so).
3. In the same stockiest, add the remaining 2 tbsp butter and heat over medium heat until hot. Add the yellow onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and fennel and sweat the vegetables, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables soften and the onion is translucent. Stir in the tomato past. Return the beef to the pot and stir over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the stock, the remaining 2 tsp of salt, and the remaining 3/4 tsp of pepper and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hour to thicken the stew slowly. Add the rosemary, thyme, potatoes, pearl onions, mushrooms, and 1/2 cup of the wine and simmer for another 35 to 45 minutes, or until the stew thickens to the point that it coats the vegetables. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of wine and bring the stew to a boil. Turn off the heat.
5. Ladle the stew into bowls and serve immediately. The stew can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
The November issue of Matchbook Magazine introduced me to a fabulous letterpress studio out of New Orleans called Grove Street Press. Visiting their studio and shop will be on my list of things to do when I finally get to New Orleans someday (Louisiana will be my 50th state!). The designs are classy and whimsical - I think You are the Bee's Knees and Drop You a Line are my favorites. How about you?
All images credit to Grove Street Press.
In the last few years, I've become an avid football fan. This year, I even started an all women's fantasy football league, which I'm enjoying mostly because of the hilarious e-mail exchanges amongst the nine of us. I grew up a Broncos fan, but my years on the east coast and being married to Rob have turned me into a Patriots fan. When I saw these sweaters on Tuckernuck, I knew I needed to add one to my football-watching wardrobe.
The sweaters are made by Cliff Engle, which was apparently a popular sweater brand in the 1980s made famous by Mike Ditka who used to rock his Chicago Bears sweater. Alas, the sweaters were available in a very limited quantity on Tuckernuck and have sold out with very few exceptions (the Atlanta Falcons, I think). You can track vintage versions down on eBay and on the Cliff Engle site, but I'm hoping Tuckernuck will restock for the holiday season. Not only do I want one, but I think these would make great gifts for football-loving significant others.
All images credit to Tuckernuck.
I know, I know... it was just Halloween. That said, the holidays will be here before you know it and I love one of new offerings from the USPS this year called "Winter Fun." It contains four designs (three of which I like - there is something about the tiny heads on the skaters that looks weird to me):
There are some other new stamp releases for the holidays including a Rudolph series (pictured below), an international Silver Bells Wreath, and the Christmas Magi. Is anyone thinking about this yet or am I too early? I know at least two of you are because we had an e-mail exchange today on this very subject (you know who you are).
All images credit to the USPS.
Minted, my favorite shop for custom photo cards and stationery, has just started selling fabric! I've purchased custom-designed fabric from Spoonflower before with success and look forward to trying out these designs from Minted. We are currently revamping our living room and I can see a few of these working well to recover throw pillows. Below are a few of my favorite patterns, most of which are available in a range of color schemes. All images credit to Minted.
Why is it that most father's day cards tend to have something to do with work? There's a tie... or a briefcase... or a man wearing a tie with a briefcase. If you're lucky, you might find one with something to do with grilling. Is that what Dads do? Work and grill? I've tried to find a few cards that have fun messages or have to do with some other interest your father might have so that you don't have to remind him that on the day after father's day, he has to go back to work. Have you picked up a great father's day card yet? If so, where is it from? I'd love to know.
All images credited as linked.