Stuff I Love Saturday: 5.31.14

Stuff I Love Saturday

Tomorrow is the first day of June and, true to form, Texas will be rolling out its notorious summer heat this coming week. For some people that means hanging out poolside with a Corona forever at their lips, but for me, it means three to four months of hibernating in the shelter of my air conditioned house with the blinds closed tight.

Summer ain’t my thing. I’m just more of a fall/winter kind of gal. I can literally feel my dopamine levels rising when the sky clouds over—and if there’s rain or snow involved, I’m completely ecstatic. But I do manage to find ways to have all kinds of fun indoors during the warmer months. Here are a few of the things I’ve been enjoying during these initial dog days . . . Continue reading


Fettuccine with Carrot Cream Sauce

Carrot Cream SauceA good friend of mine recently described a meal she had in Italy that involved pasta and some type of carrot sauce. Since I’m always on the lookout for an interesting vegetarian dish, I was intrigued and eager to either find a similar recipe or invent one of my own. I pecked around online and found a few recipes that seemed to roughly approximate the dish, so I took some of their basic elements and then came up with my own concoction. I loved the end result, and the best part is, there are lots of ways you could change it up to suit your own tastes. Continue reading

Mad Men Dinner: Chicken Kiev

Chicken KievOn the heels of my last post, which featured a Mad Men-inspired cocktail, I thought I’d continue indulging my mid-century fetish by cooking a dish featured prominently in the first episode of the show’s fourth season.

Don is on a date with a pretty young blonde named Bethany Van Nuys. The waiter comes over to take their order:

BETHANY: I don’t even need to look. Chicken Kiev.

DON: They make you wear a bib.

BETHANY: Come on. Let’s have some fun.

DON: Two Chicken Kievs.

Indeed, let’s have some fun. Continue reading

Muddled Raspberry Vodka Gimlet

Muddled Raspberry Vodka Gimlet

My go-to cocktail is a vodka gimlet. It’s simple, classic, and yes, I most definitely nabbed it from Mad Men‘s Betty Draper. Now, this may offend purists, but last night I decided to shake things up and add a little more flavor to my poison. I had raspberries on hand, and the result—I call it a Muddled Raspberry Vodka Gimlet—was pretty sensational, and perfect for these breezy early summer evenings we’ve been having. Continue reading

Kale Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado, and Pine Nuts

kale saladI pretty much always make the same salad to go with whatever meal I happen to be cooking for dinner: spring mix, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and red bell pepper. It’s good, but it’s starting to get rather boring. Last night I decided to have a go at the oft-derided leafy green that’s become the butt of many a hipster joke as of late: kale. Continue reading

Mother’s Day Brunch: Spinach and Gruyère Quiche

spinach gruyere quiche

In my neck of the woods, restaurants tend to get absurdly busy over Mother’s Day weekend. There’s nothing very special about waiting for the better part of an hour only to be seated in a crowded dining room teeming with dozens of noisy strangers and more than a few unruly members of the under-12 set. Come Mother’s Day, I prefer to cook for my mom at my house, where we can chat and sip coffee and linger as long as we’d like in the quiet of my living room.

This weekend I decided to have my mom over for a celebratory brunch. On the menu were spinach and Gruyère quiche, breakfast potatoes, mixed berries, and Poinsettias. The quiche is rich, delicious, and easy to make. It’s one of my go-to breakfast/brunch recipes whenever I have company. Continue reading

Recent Reads: Other Voices, Other Rooms

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 8.09.17 PM

The first book of Truman Capote’s that I read was not, as you may suspect, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but rather In Cold Blood, a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction and arguably Capote’s finest effort. I loved it so much that, in a failed bid to secure admission to a Ph.D. program at one of the Holy Trinity Ivies, I once even wrote a lengthy scholarly paper on the book.

I’ve since read Breakfast at Tiffany’s (like any girl worth her salt, the movie is one of my favorites, but the book is very different—not necessarily better than the movie, but more like a different story altogether) and the several short stories contained therein (“A Christmas Memory” is possibly the best short story I’ve ever read). Next up was Other Voices, Other Rooms, which had been sitting on my nightstand for several months after I received it as a gift, and I finally got around to reading it last month. Continue reading

Cranberry Margaritas

cranberry margaritasNormally I’m a classic margarita kind of gal. On the rocks, salt on the rim. But every now and then I get in the mood for a splash of something different.

I must confess, I only recently started making my margaritas with fresh lime juice instead of that sickly, syrupy, pre-made mix stuff, but now that I’ve mastered the art of making them from scratch, I’ll never go back. A basic margarita is pretty simple: tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. Continue reading