MonogramGift Tags

Monday, November 30, 2009

I like this simple, graphic idea from Martha Stewart: Monogram letter gift tags. These ones appear to me made out of old holiday cards--a great way to give the paper a second life before recycling it.

Mouse in the House

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's bad news when you find yourself googling the phrase "mouse in oven." That's all I have to say on the matter--for now.

J. Crew Animation

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh, J.Crew! Check out the awesome animated graphic that's up on J. Crew's homepage right now to promote their 2009 gift guide. (Above are three screen grabs from the full sequence.) I love this! It makes me want to shoot a photos to make a flip book of a present being opened. Little interweb treats like this make me happy!

I Paid $200 for a Stump

Friday, November 06, 2009

I'm a sucker, it's official: I paid $200 for a stump. I'd long admired the rustic wood tables from Pottery Barn and West Elm. Recently, I purchased one for a shoot with the intention of returning it afterwards, but the thing was... It just looked so great in my living room! I finally decided that I could justify the splurge because I've had lots of great gigs recently. And you know what? I love it. I might even say it was worth every penny.

Recipes From The Late, Great Gourmet

The week the news broke that Gourmet magazine would cease publication, I held a dinner party to honor Gourmet.

I've been a subscriber off and on for years, and I recently resubscribed to the magazine because of the amazing photography. In the last few years Gourmet departed from the trendy Donna Hay-style, short depth of field food photography to embrace a rich, deep-hued point of view. I was totally hooked. I also loved reading the great food journalism and cooking many of the recipes. I am incredibly sad to see this great magazine disappear.

Here are two of the recipes that I made for the Gourmet dinner party, which were both incredible crowd-pleasers.

Scalloped Potatoes (from February 2008)
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3 pounds large boiling potatoes (about 6)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in upper third. Generously butter a 2 1/2-quart shallow baking dish (not glass).
  2. Stir together nutmeg, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Peel and thinly slice potatoes. Layer potatoes in baking dish, overlapping slightly and sprinkling each layer with some of salt mixture and some of butter. Pour cream and milk over potatoes, pressing down gently to submerge potatoes in liquid.
  4. Cover with foil and bake until potatoes are tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  5. Remove gratin from oven and discard foil. Turn broiler on and broil gratin 2 to 3 inches from heat until top is browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Roast Pork with Apricot and Shallot Stuffing (from June 2002)
  • 4 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (3 large)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 lb firm-ripe apricots (3 large), cut into 1/3-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (3- to 3 1/2-lb) center-cut boneless pork loin roast (3 1/2 inches in diameter), not tied
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Make stuffing:
Cut just enough bread into 1/3-inch pieces to measure 1 cup and spread evenly in a shallow baking pan. Toast bread in middle of oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Leave oven on (for pork).
  3. Cook shallots in butter in a large nonstick skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add apricots and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bread, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  4. Stuff and roast pork:
Make a hole for stuffing that runs lengthwise through pork loin: Beginning in middle of 1 end of roast, insert a sharp long thin knife lengthwise toward center of loin, then repeat at opposite end of loin to complete incision running through middle.
  5. Open up incision with your fingers, working from both ends, to create a 1 1/2-inch-wide opening, then pack with all of stuffing, pushing from both ends toward center.
  6. Pat pork dry and and season well with salt and pepper.
  7. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until very hot and just smoking, then brown pork on all sides, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast in middle of oven until a meat thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into meat (avoid stuffing) registers 160°F, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 20 minutes.
  8. While loin is standing, straddle roasting pan across 2 burners. Add 1/2 cup water and deglaze pan by boiling over moderate heat, scraping up brown bits.
  9. Slice meat and serve with sauce.

Post-Halloween Pumpkins

Thursday, November 05, 2009

If you didn't get your fill of pumpkin carving for Halloween, here are four pretty pumpkin carving ideas from Country Living that could easily translate for general fall decorating or even for Thanksgiving. (Personally, I carved plenty of pumpkins for various stories, but the rest of you may still have the urge.) I especially love the faux bois pattern. All four look like they were carved using a linoleum cutter to carve away only the top layer of the pumpkin's flesh.

The NYC Marathon

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

This year I was in bed at 9:00 pm on Halloween because I was resting up for my 4:00 am wake up time for the New York City Marathon the next day. However, despite the lack of celebrating, I did manage to get a photo of me in a costume.

I ran the marathon to raise funds for UNICEF, and on Friday night I attended a dinner for all the Team UNICEF members. When I discovered a UNICEF trick-or-treat box costume in the lobby, I couldn't resist putting it on. Pretty funny, right? If I'd managed to fill it with money, I am sure I would have been the star fundraiser of the team.

I'm proud to say I exceeded my initial fundraising goal and that our team raised $140,000 in total. I'm also proud that I ran the marathon in just over four hours with a time for 4:00:57. Not bad for a first time!

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