Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Flea Coming Back to FG!

Here's some happy news for Fort Greene: The Brooklyn Flea will be setting up in the historic Williamsburgh Bank building at One Hanson Place this winter. The three-month, weekends-only flea market will open on January 9th. As The Flean's management explains on Brownstoner.com explains:
The owners of the building had a tough time finding a large retail tenant given the landmarked status of the old bank interior so they've decided to turn it into an events space that will be known as Skylight One Hanson. We're obviously thrilled, not only because of the space's size, location and grandeur, but also because it will be the first time (other than an occasional Open House New York weekend) that the public has had unfettered access to view the architectural gem in many years. We're planning on having vendors on the main floor, the mezzanine and the basement. And, yes, there will be food!
Great news for us! I can't wait to check it out.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
Enjoy this 1997 Polaroid by Tim Burton from his show at the MoMA.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cranbery Cookies

My favorite Christmas cookie? It's not what you'd think. My mother makes these cranberry cookies every holiday season. They're an unusual cookie: They're not too sweet and have a consistency almost like a small cake, rather than a cookie. I made them myself last week for a cookie swap with my fellow ShelterPop bloggers, and, if I do say so myself, they came out perfectly. Personally, I like one with my second cup of coffee mid-morning. Don't skip the brown-butter glaze--it makes the cookie!

Cranberry Cookies
from Betty Crocker’s Christmas

1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened (margarine may be used)
¼ cup milk
2 Tb orange juice
1 Tb. grated orange peel
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour (up to half may be whole wheat—try to fine “white” whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
2-2½ cups coarsely chopped cranberries (frozen ok—chop while frozen)
1 cup chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
Browned butter glaze (at bottom)

1. Heat oven to 375o.
2. Mix sugars and butter, then stir in milk, orange juice, egg (and orange peel).
3. Stir in remaining ingredients and drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheet.
4. Bake until light brown, about 10-15 minutes.
5. Cool slightly and then spread with glaze.

Browned Butter Glaze
1. Heat 1/3 cup of butter over low heat until golden brown; cool slightly.
2. Stir in 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla.
3. Beat in 2 to 4 tablespoons of hot water until smooth and of desired consistency.

The General Greene Grocery

I was surprised to read in today's DailyCandy’s weekend guide that Fort Greene now has another fancy, gourmet grocery. Apparently The General Greene on DeKalb has converted its back into a retail grocery store with an old time-y feel. The store will be called The General Greene Grocery. The Local blog on The New York Times’s site lists house-rendered lard, speck and homemade hummus among the items to be stocked in the shop. Here’s a description of some of the wares from The Local blog:

“Japanese Kewpie mayo from a dish of cold poached prawns and sriracha finds it way to the back shelves (as does the sriracha). Uniekaas gouda, a pure, grassy gouda shaved atop your local mixed greens, can be purchased by the pound. Briny olives on your lemon chicken can be bagged and taken back to your kitchen. Moreover, this table-to-stockroom combo best fits the fact that you have to walk through the restaurant to get to the grocery, a mildly VIP-esque experience or merely a way to pass the time while waiting for a table.”

I’ll have to check it out when I return to Brooklyn.

The General Greene Grocery
229 DeKalb Ave at Clermont Ave.
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
(718-222-1510)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Anthropologie Light Bulb Props


I love, love, love the prop styling for Anthropologie's 'Outfit Enlightenment' concept. A rough-hewn brown backdrop and globe light bulbs give this a vaguely circus-like feel. I also sorta love those drawn-on white stars. I know they're cutesy, but hey, a little cute never hurt.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Cauliflower Kick


Earlier this week, I made Mark Bittman's Curried Cauliflower Flatbread. The flatbread makes a great lunch when paired with a green salad (this week's salad combo is cherry tomatoes, avacado, arugula, red onion and feta).

Then last night my friend Samantha and I got to talking about cauliflower, she says this Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Vinaigrette recipe from Gourmet's September issue is amazing. In fact, her exact words were "you won't believe how good it is." It also get four "forks" on epicurious.com--I've added it to the top of my to-cook list.

All that talk of cauliflower last night made us order a cauliflower crostini as part of our meal at 'inoteca's Murray Hill outpost. While everything we ate was delicious, the eggplant lasagnette was just about the best thing I have eaten in recent memory. Made with paper-thin slices of eggplant instead of lasagna noodles and layered with meat-free tomato sauce, this was one spectacular vegetarian dish.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Marcus Samuelsson's Apple Cake

'Tis the season to be cooking, so I've got tons of recipes to post from the last two weeks. First up is this awesome apple cake from Marcus Samuelsson's new cookbook New American Table. (I spied the recipe in a recent issue of House Beautiful, but I found it online on NPR's website.)

I made the apple cake last week for a special occasion weeknight dinner. It was super-easy to make and very tasty. Serve it with fresh whipped cream or vanilla icecream, if you're feel like dressing it up a bit. And be sure to eat the leftovers for breakfast with your coffee--yum!

Marcus Samuelsson's Apple Cake Recipe

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Granny Smith apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1 large egg
1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and coat with the bread crumbs.
2. Toss together the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Set aside.
3. Peel and core the apples, then slice one apple into 16 wedges. Combine the cinnamon and 1/3 cup of the sugar mixture in a medium bowl. Add the apple wedges and toss to coat. Roughly dice the remaining apple.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the remaining sugar mixture on medium speed until light, fluffy, and lemon colored, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix until combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and baking powder. Slowly add the half-and-half, and mix until combined. Fold the diced apple into the batter.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Arrange 14 of the apple wedges fanned along the outer edge of the pan and place the 2 remaining wedges in the center. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the center is golden brown.
6. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a small offset spatula around the edges to release the cake from the pan and remove the springform. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, then cut into 12 wedges.

Photo: House Beautiful

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

It was my grandfather's 94th birthday yesterday. He's had a rough couple of months, so I am especially thrilled that he got to celebrate at home with his family, and I wish I could have been there myself. Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Baked Orzo = Genius!

My sister and I first made this baked orzo recipe from the November issue of Everyday Food when my father was in town. It was so easy and so delicious, that I decided to make it again on Sunday night.

However, we stopped into three shops looking for dill and didn't find any anywhere. So, instead of the ingredients listed below, we made it with half the lemon and no Parmesan; I also added a pinch of red pepper flakes, about 1/4 c. of sun dried tomatoes and 1/4 c. of chopped fresh parsley. The results were just as delicious as the original recipe.

The actual prep time for this dish is less than ten minutes and then it bakes for 40 minutes--so, so easy!

Chicken Lemon and Dill with Orzo from Everyday Food
(serves 6)

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 1/4 t. coarse salt
  • 1/4 t. ground pepper
  • 1 lb. chicken cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. orzo
  • 4 oz. feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh dill
  • 2 t. grated lemon zest, plus 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 c. grated Parmesan

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degress.
  2. Bring broth, 3/4 c. water, butter, salt and pepper to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. In a 3-quart baking dish, combine chicken, orzo, feta, dill, lemon zest and juice.
  4. Pour boiling broth mixture over orzo and stir once to incorporate.
  5. Bake orzo until tender and creamy (about 4o minutes).
  6. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Packing Fail

Good Housekeeping's home intern snapped this shot on our last photo shoot. And yes, we're pretty sure antler and air mattresses were packed into that box. Sounds like a great idea, no?

Wild Kingdom Bird Hook

If money were no object, I'd replace all the coathooks by my front door with these amazing brass Wild Kingdom Hooks in the bird pattern from Anthropologie. For now, I'll have to remain satisfied with the perennially popular BLECKA hooks from IKEA.

Speaking of handsome hooks, my friend Elizabeth picked up this Branch Hanger (below) at the Container Store recently. Kinda cute, right?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

I normally eat yogurt with fruit and nuts for breakfast, but lately I've been eating some variation of this breakfast a lot lately: Whole grain toast covered with a layer of plain yogurt and topped with sliced bananas, diced dried fruit (in this case apricots) and sunflower seeds. One slice is usually enough to get me going, but I'll up the ante and have two on days when I know I need a little extra fuel. And always, always, always: Coffee with milk.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Ideas For Bulgur

Like many people, I am trying to eat less meat these days. The other day I tried a bulgur recipe from Everyday Food, and now I have a sack of bulgur waiting in my cabinet for me. Here's the recipe from ED, which we liked very well:
Bulgur With Roasted Red Peppers, Chickpeas and Spinach
serves 4

1 c. bulgur
2 red bell peppers
1/2 c. plus 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 can (14.5 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 c. baby spinach

1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil and add bulgur. remove from heat and soak until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve. (Note: I skipped the draining and it was fine.)
2. Roast peppers in broiler, place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. let cool, then peel peppers. Chop into 3/4-inch pieces and reserve juices.
3. Heat 1/2 c. olive oil in a small saucepan. Fry chickpeas in batches until crisp (about 3 minutes per batch). Drain on paper towels and season immediately w/ coarse salt.
4. Add chickpeas, peppers and reserved juices, spinach and 2 T. olive oil to bowl with bulgur and toss. Season with salt and pepper.
Here are four more ideas for bulgur that I'd love to try:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

NYT's Pasta With Kale Pesto and Butternut Squash


It would have been easy to miss Melissa Clark's column in last week's New York Times, with all the focus on Thanksgiving and post-Turkey Day leftovers. However, it caught my eye with the title 'Feeding a Runner With Miles to Burn.' The Pasta With Kale Pesto and Roasted Butternut Squash was the writer's husband's pre-New York City marathon meal earlier this fall. (Mine was a decidedly less virtuous meal out at Al Di La with my father, sister and boyfriend--I had a farro salad, ravioli with a sage butter sauce and a glass of red wine.)

While a pre-race meal may sound unexciting to most, I was intrigued: Pesto made with kale? I made a mental note to try it out. Last weekend at the farmer's market, I saw both kale and butternut squash, recalled the recipe and decided to give it a whirl. Boy, am I glad I did! I made this for a friend who came over last night and it was great. I upped the garlic to three cloves, but otherwise followed this recipe to the letter--you should too, it's delicious! The recipe is right here.

I am also curious to try Mark Bittman's risotto-style pasta.

Shaker Style

So simple, so perfect. I love the lines of Design Within Reach’s Shaker Settee. Design Within Reach’s Shaker Settee. According to DWR's site, they worked with a New York-based company that's been making furniture since 1807 to manufacture this particular piece.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Window Film

When I first moved into my ground-floor apartment, I immediately realized I'd need to come up with some creative ways to keep people on the street from seeing into my apartment without preventing light from getting in. I ended up installing Emma Jeffs window film on two of the windows in my bedroom, more than 2 1/2 years later it still looks great.

However, the less fancy window film on another window is beginning to peel away from the glass. I think this time around I'll stick to some basic frosted, window film from the hardware store. I like what Anna of DoorSixteen.com did with hers--she cut a simple, thin border around the edge for a finished look. Take a look at her handiwork above.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Blue Plate Special

I don't normally get excited about china patterns, but gosh, aren't these Japanese-inspired plates from Calvin Klein home pretty? Totally minimal and modern, but cast in in classic blue and white--I like it. However, at $90 for a five piece place setting, the Bayard pattern isn't likely to join my collection any time soon.

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