Archive for March, 2013

Easter-over

March 30, 2013

Tonight we are celebrating “Easter-over” a hybrid of Easter, Passover and a celebration of spring. It’s an opportunity to indulge in the flavors and traditions of the holidays, and the diversity of the guests. The rules are simple: it’s my made up holiday,and  it’s appropriate to serve anything I feel like making, within the confines of the season and the holidays. That could mean matzoh balls and pork chops, or gefilte fish and fried chicken, but it’s not either one of those.
This year, I have mixed it up, and for those of you who follow us on Facebook, or Instagram, you have been getting hints of things to come.

Here are a few “works in progress”, as our Easter-over feast comes together:

A beautiful mess of food scraps. What were they from?

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Personally, I loathe raw, red onions, and will surgically remove them from my food if they are there. Sometimes, a recipe really needs a little jolt, and these do the job well. They look pretty, don’t they?

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Nothing says spring like daffodils and asparagus!

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Apples, walnuts, honey, cinnamon….what could this be?

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Yum,chocolate! That’s a little almond flour you see. This one just happens to be gluten free and passover approved!

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Maybe a little white chocolate bourbon cream to put on top would be nice…

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Spring lamb is synonymous with the season. This one has a rosemary,garlic coating to keep it moist and flavorful. The meat is sitting on a bed of baby fingerling potatoes, which should get crisp and tender as the lamb cooks.

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Did we get you hungry yet? If you’re in the neighborhood, dinner is at 7!

photos by indigo-jones.

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(Easter) Basket Case

March 29, 2013

CHOCOLATS DE PAQUES

It’s Easter, and inevitably, there will be candy. Here are a few “fun” facts to help you decide if it’s really worth it to indulge:

The Chocolate Bunny:

Your average run of the mill drug store bunny is considered 3 servings. Eat the whole thing for a calorie total of almost 700. Add in 66 grams of fat, and almost 70 grams of sugar. It’s filled with high fructose corn syrup, and other additives. If you are going to go the chocolate route, go for rich dark chocolate. It’s heart healthy and so much more satisfying than a waxy tasting chocolate rabbit.

Jelly Beans:

These little nibbles are fat free, but contain 34 grams of sugar. Don’t even think about what created all those attractive colors. ( if you really want to know, click HERE) That lustrous sheen comes from the secretions of female lac bugs, and is very much the same product used to shellac wood. Yum!

Peeps:
Five of these little chicks will cost you about 140 calories. They are fat free, but contain 34 grams of sugar per serving. They have absolutely no nutritional value, and contain sugar, corn syrup, preservatives, yellow dye and carnauba wax, which is commonly used on cars.  The gelatin that gives them their spongy texture, is made of animal skin, bones, hoofs, cartilage and intestines. Many people prefer them when they are stale. Sorry, but that just doesn’t seem appealing to me.

Dove White Chocolate Mini Eggs:

Um, chocolate isn’t white. This confection is made from cocoa butter, powdered milk and sugar, if you’re lucky. The less expensive versions trade the cocoa butter for vegetable oil. There is absolutely no chocolate in white chocolate. These faux -chocolate tidbits pack about 24 grams of sugar and 24 grams of fat. If you love it, go ahead and enjoy it. Just don’t pretend it’s really chocolate.

Cadbury Cream Eggs:

Each one packs 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 20 grams of sugar, and Castoreum, which is excreted by beaver’s anal glands. And admit it, you aren’t only going to eat one, are you?

Indulgence is fine, as long as it is worth the splurge. In my opinion, these Easter treats are not it for me. I’d rather have something else.

For children, consider making a basket containing real eggs, dyed with natural food colorings, and baby carrots to share with a cute little stuffed bunny.

Happy Easter!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Natural Easter Egg Dyes

March 28, 2013

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This Sunday is Easter, a sacred Christian holiday that has somehow become synonymous with bunnies, chocolate, and colored eggs. Like Christmas, the commercialized aspects of the day have turned it into Everyman’s celebration of spring.  The drugstores, grocery stores and toy stores are filled with bunnies; some stuffed, some chocolate, and some made out of a nasty colored, chemical laden marshmallow mixture. The colored eggs, when not formed from plastic and designed to hold some of the above, are made at home.

There are many ways to dye Easter eggs. Some hard-boil them; some poke a hole and blow the contents out, leaving a hollow egg to embellish. They can be painted, drawn on, covered in fabric, yarn or colorful tapes. There are decals and decorating kits, produced just for this purpose.

I prefer to create eggs that can be eaten. And I sure don’t want to eat something that has been dipped in possibly toxic dyes and vinegar.

Why not consider making naturals dyes, derived from real foods?
Here are a few ideas for creating edible dyes in beautiful hues to enhance your Easter basket:

Chick standing by broken egg, studio shot

Blue:

Boil 2 cups of chopped red cabbage in a quart of water. Add ¼ cup white vinegar. Strain before using.

Alternatively, cook blueberries in water and vinegar for a purple-blue cast.

Lavender:

Mix 1 cup of Concord grape juice with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.

Pinks and reds:
Simmer 2 chopped beets with ¼ cup vinegar and 3 cups water. Strain before using.

Cranberries can also be used instead, to create another red hue.

Yellow:

Mix 3 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of white vinegar. Bring to a boil and add 2 teaspoons of turmeric. Allow it to steep for at least 10 minutes before using.

Green:

Mix the yellow dye and the blue dye together to create a new color.

Orange:

Mix 2 tablespoons of paprika with 3 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of vinegar and allowing it to steep before using.

Alternatively, mix the red and yellow dyes together to obtain the perfect color.

Allow the dyes to cool before using. The longer the dyes are allowed to steep, the deeper the hue will be. The dye should look darker than the desired shade before using. The longer the eggs are soaked, the deeper the color. Experiment with other colorful foods to create beautiful, edible eggs.

Happy Spring!

photos: Glasshouse Images

Plaid Redux

March 27, 2013

Plaid is having a resurgence for Fall 2013, turning up as the pattern of choice for many designers. From Celine’s sublime signature coats,to Hedi Slimane’s controversial ode to grunge for Saint Laurent, today’s plaids are used in a way that is anything but classic.

Mulberry’s over-scaled plaid tunic is covered in clear sequins for a glazed effect.

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Mulberry

Celine works bold plaid into new shapes for Pheobe Philo’s covetable coats and mixed, not matched separates and accessories.

Celine

Celine

Celine

Celine

Tracy Reese cuts a tartan circle skirt, and pairs it with a sequined sweatshirt for a young, urban look.

Tracy Reese

Tracy Reese

Designers, such as Antonio Marras and Aquinlano Rimondi took a more retro, ladylike approach with their mixed media plaid dresses.

Antonio Marras

Antonio Marras

Aquinlano Rimondi

Aquinlano Rimondi

Stella McCartney keeps it light, for her voluminous coat.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

Marc Jacobs kept it short at Louis Vuitton, allowing the pattern to fade into an embellished border on his plaid coat.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Eggshells

March 26, 2013

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Cracking eggs often results in tiny shards of eggshell falling into the bowl. Those slippery little devils cling to the egg white, and are hard to fish out with a fork or even a finger.

Did you know that using a piece of the discarded egg shell as a scoop makes this an easy task? The eggshells are attracted to one another and you can remove those little pieces quickly and easily.

Upping your egg cracking technique can further eliminate the problem from the source.

There is great debate as to whether you should crack the egg on a flat surface, such as a counter top, or use the side of the bowl or pan.

Advocates of the flat surface technique claim that they get less shell fragments that way, as they tend to stick to the membrane vs. getting forced back inside the egg itself.  Gently smash the side of an egg on the counter top and using your thumbs to separate the shell, open the egg over the bowl or pan taking care not to break the yolks. That’s it. Hopefully,this eliminates the need to go yolk diving, but if you happen to have a mishap, no worries. You now know how to easily remove them.

BTW, uncooked eggs are a source of salmonella. Always wash your hands after handling raw eggs. poultry and meat.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Socca Pizza

March 25, 2013
The finished product

The finished product

I have already posted our recipe for Socca, a chickpea flour flatbread that is gluten free, high in protein and delicious. Tonight, I was looking for something low in carbs, crispy and full of vegetables. After a little thinking, I decided to use the Socca as a pizza crust, and top it with a hearty blend of tomatoes, artichokes and mushrooms. The result was a beautiful flatbread, brimming with flavor and surprisingly filling. As with any unrecipe, top it with whatever you are craving. Consider adding goat cheese, parmesan or a little shredded mozzarella. Toss on some finely sliced pepperoni or bacon if you are a meat lover. Use zucchini instead of artichokes, or even both. The possibilities are endless!

For the crust:

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Whisk together 1 cup of garbanzo flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 cups water. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or up to a few hours.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat the bottom of a 12″ skillet with olive oil. Add a chopped shallot, and place in the hot oven until sizzling. You can also add the herbs of your choice at this stage.

Pour the batter over the shallots, and bake until the flatbread is crisp and brown, about 40 minutes. The flatbread will easily lift out of the pan when it is fully baked.

For the topping:

The topping

The topping

Saute 1 clove of garlic and about 6-8 sliced mushrooms until brown. Add a few chopped artichoke hearts ( canned or frozen) and lightly saute them. Season with salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Add 2 chopped plum tomatoes (or some crushed canned tomatoes) and cook until the tomatoes start to soften. If the mixture gets too dry, drizzle in a little more olive oil.

When the crust is done, spread the the mixture over it, leaving a rim all around. Sprinkle with chopped arugula, and enjoy!

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Art Imitates Life

March 22, 2013

We’ve often heard the saying “life imitates art”, but as Eric Schwortz, the creative director at Glasshouse Images puts it, “art is beginning to imitate life.”

bowling pins, old, vintage

As social media and photo sharing apps continue to gain prominence, the commercial world is embracing the DIY look popularized by sites such as Instagram and Flickr.

There is a movement towards “faux authenticity”, and special effect filters that give photos an accessible quality.

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Coming off of a trend towards HDR (high dynamic range) imaging, where every pixel of the photograph is so highly sharpened that it gives an illusion of hyper reality, these highly filtered images allow for a more down to earth, old school experience.

Jai-Lee Egna, an artist’s representative at Glasshouse Assignment, correlates this aesthetic shift to what is happening in the world today. “We are looking to step away from the harsh realities of our lives, and taking a more nostalgic approach to the way we see things. We are able to use technology to emulate the look of analogue photography.”

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Young photographers are not only using plugins and postproduction techniques to create images that have a vintage characteristic, they are also reverting back to shooting film, as they yearn for the simplistic look of the past.

With the photo-sharing (and over sharing) phenomenon growing in popularity, the quest for quality imagery has shifted. While the seasoned professionals in the art-buying world understand the necessity to pay photographers for their work, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to control.

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Pinterest, the online content sharing service, is just one of the many vehicles in which photographer’s work is used without consent or compensation. The site does attempt to link the work back to its original source, but that does not necessarily benefit the photographer, whose images may have been used or commissioned by the brand or magazine that posted it.

This accessibility, compounded by the diminishing printed media industry, has made photography more difficult to succeed in than ever before.

What do the experts look for, when representing a photographer today?

On the assignment side, Egna says she looks for photographers with a specific niche, well-developed technical skills and an aesthetic sensibility that makes them stand out from the pack. A congenial personality and a high level of professionalism are crucial elements to success in today’s narrowing marketplace.

In selecting images for the stock library, Schwortz looks for a style that is consistent and evocative. Each photo needs to tell a story, and the lighting, composition and execution need to be flawless.

While current technology allows anyone to take a great photo, the professional photographer is able to execute a vision beyond the norm.

photos courtesy of Glasshouse Images

article published on Fashionista Cafe

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Biker Chic

March 20, 2013

Biker influences were all over the Fall 2013 runways this season. From takes on the classic Perfecto motorcycle jacket in black leather, to the loosely interpreted hybrids, it seems biker chic is a trend to watch.

Sacai was a much buzzed about collection during Paris fashion week. Designer Chitose Abe merged familiar elements with one another to create unique versions of fall favorites. The teal double-breasted princess coat with an inset leather front bearing classic motorcycle jacket details is a feminine and modern twist on the expected.

Sacai

Sacai

Consuelo Castiglioni took an austere approach at Marni this season, showing strict cuts and angular silhouettes. Her woolen coatdresses utilized the asymmetry and zipper details associated with the classic motorcycle jacket. Low slung belts and shiny boots completed the look.

Marni

Marni

Joseph Altuzarra layered a shrunken vinyl biker jacket over a trench coat, and worked the fabric into body con dresses for his eponymous collection. Both vinyl and leather were skillfully manipulated with other fabrics to create a young, sexy collection with lots of street cred.

Altuzarra

Altuzarra

Phillip Lim cited “girlfriends of bikers” as his inspiration for the season. His edgy collection was filled with motorcycle references, including zippers, asymmetry and channel quilting, often on leather. He softened and feminized the look, opting for softer colors and mixing it with more fluid fabrics.

Phillip Lim

Phillip Lim

Junya Watanabe took the classic Perfecto jacket on a journey, as he mixed it with plaids, tweeds and denim to create a collection of punk inspired clothing with a thrift shop vibe.

Junya Watanabe

Junya Watanabe

At Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld stepped away from the fur just long enough to craft a cobalt blue leather motorcycle jacket with a high-low hemline. Layered over a white dress with thigh high slits, and shown with contrasting hot pants and over-the-knee stockings, the jacket added an urban air of sophistication to the look.

Fendi

Fendi

Etro, the Italian house known for its rich paisley patterns and luxe fabrications, got on the biker bandwagon, showing long and lean leather pieces over plaid. The double layer effects and fur trim, added a sleek modern air to the collection.

Etro

Etro

Highly hyped designer Fausto Puglisi mixed two of the season’s biggest trends: biker and plaid, in his mixed media jacket. Paying homage to the upcoming Met Costume Institute’s show entitled “Punk: Chaos to Couture”, Puglisi managed to make the obvious look new and exciting. By combining his motorcycle details with tartan, as well as crystal and metal embellishments, he rebelled against the expected, creating his own style revolution.

Fausto Puglisi

Fausto Puglisi

Photos: MCV photos courtesy of Fashionista Cafe

This article was previously published on Fashionista Cafe

Hot Tips Tuesday: How to Revitalize a Dried Up Marker

March 19, 2013

Hey creative types…this ones for you! You know the irritation of finding the marker you need has dried up? Don’t toss it just yet. Help is on the way.

Bucket of Markers and Colored Pencils

Dip the tip of the offending marker in plain white vinegar and set it tip up to dry. After about 5 minutes or so, blot the marker, and put the cap back on securely.

Allow to sit overnight, and viola! The marker is good to go.

Not the instant gratification you might have been looking for, but a good way to save the marker for future use!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Avocado Cream

March 18, 2013

This rich, creamy topping is so delicious, it’s hard to believe that it is healthy and low in saturated fat. I’ve served it on simple broiled fish, but it is equally good with chicken, or as a dip for fresh vegetables. Try it on a toasted baguette with a little smoked salmon as an hors’doeuvres,or instead of mayonnaise in a sandwich.The options are endless!

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Avocado Cream:

Blend together 1 ripe avocado, a large dollop of fat free Greek yogurt,the juice of a small lemon, salt, and a few squirts of Sriracha, or Tabasco sauce until smooth. Serve with fish, chicken or vegetables, and enjoy!

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